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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  July 28, 2022 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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discover is accepted at 99% of places in the u.s. ["only wanna be with you" by hootie & the blowfish] ♪♪ good day, everyone. this is "andrea mitchell reports" in washington. the president is expected to speak this hour about the economy after fears of a recession were amplified today by an unexpectedly negative gdp report showing the u.s. economy shrank by nearly a full percent during that three-month period. attributed to inflation. only yesterday, the federal reserve raised rates again to try to combat persistent inflation. today on capitol hill, all eyes are on arizona senator sinema after manchin's agreement with
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schumer on a major reconciliation bill that would lower prescription drug costs and invest hundreds of billions of dollars to combat climate change and clean energy programs. sinema's support is crucial to get the bill through a 50/50 senate and to the democratic house for a vote. vladimir putin's top spokesman was annoyed the u.s. had gone public about ongoing talks for a prisoner swap to free brittney griner and paul whelan. tony blinken is expected to call sergei lavrov for the first time since the ukraine invasion after shunning him since the invasion in february to talk about a possible swap. president biden spoke with china's president xi this morning as tensions have risen over potential congressional trip to taiwan led by nancy pelosi and the passage of a senate bill increasing competition with china in the semiconductor market. we begin with the president and the economy. joining me now, nbc white house correspondent carol lee, nbc
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capitol hill correspondent ali vitali, financial times editorial board chair, julien tett, white house editor sam stein and former republican national chairman michael steele. carol, this is a terrible gdp report for white house with inflation, the economy being top issues for voters, midterms just four months away. how is the president going to manage communicating all of this today when he comes out in about a half hour from now? >> part of the president's strategy that we have seen from his written statement is to say that this is no surprise. because there was record economic growth over the past year and that the fed is taking steps to try to bring down inflation by raising interest rates, that this is what's expected to happen. frankly, we have heard this from the white house all week. as early as sunday, janet yellen was on "meet the press" saying this is something happening. the economy would be expected to be slowing down. we are not in a recession.
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that's another piece of the message that the white house is trying to put out there. that's not for them to determine. but that's their message here. part of the concern is they don't want to will a recession. if you talk about it too much or you say that's something that could be happening soon, that it actually would wind up happening or spurring that to happen. so what we're going to hear from the president is things like that we have had the job market remains very strong. that's one of the things that we have heard from the white house. the economy is moving in the right direction. while there's still more to do. we expect that he will talk about that deal that was unexpected that the white house has been hoping for and after a series of setback on president'sagenda, how much that will help the economy. >> ali, that surprise deal, it's exactly a year to the day since
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that letter between manchin and schumer when they first were trying to get to a deal. it took a full year to get here. it came together at the end as they are about to hit august recess rather surprisingly. >> reporter: truly in the 11th hour. at a moment where most of the senators i talked to in the aftermath of manchin announcing there was a deal, there were shockwaves. most didn't know there was a deal. they didn't know what the details of it was. last night, we saw some of the details begin being released by senator schumer's office. now that bill text is going to the senate parliamentarian. they need to make sure, does it abide by the rules of reconciliation? does it hit a budgetary bottom line so they are allowed to do it by this that allows democrats to go it alone? >> that's where the problems
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start. while most democrats are enthusiastic about this package, there's one person who we have our eyes on and we have been in this space before, senator sinema. when i spoke with senator manchin -- he is out with the coronavirus virus. well enough to talk to us and well enough to negotiate this package, even as he is home in quarantine. what he told me is that he has not yet spoken to senator sinema. there's something in this bill in the tax portion that sinema has previously drawn a red line, around closing the carried interest loophole. in the past in negotiations, she said it's not something she wants to do. i asked manchin if it was something he would be willing to lose if it meant keeping sinema on board. he said he wasn't. now we have to wait to see what sinema says. they need all 50 democrats on this so kamala harris can come in and break the tie and actually pass this.
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>> when the -- the issue of when it's a recession and when it's not a recession. the national bureau of economic research has the final say on whether the u.s. is in a recession. this new gdp report is a bad sign. but it's not definitive as the white house is pointing out, as janet yellen pointed out sunday on "meet the press." jobs numbers are great. >> exactly. basically, the definition is two quarters of contraction. the problem is that very often the gdp numbers are revised significantly. also right now, you are getting contradictory signals coming from the economy. the employment data is very strong. in many ways, this reflects the fact we are in a very, very, very weird moment in economic history because of the pandemic. there is no precedent for shutting down an entire economy and then trying to start it up
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again in the middle of geopolitical tensions creating supply chain problems. we really don't know how far we can or cannot use history as a guide. one thing that's crystal clear is this made the federal reserve's job hearter. they jacked up basis points. until recently, the assumption the markets was going to continue. what we see is that investors are repositioning themselves thinking maybe next year the fed will cut again. the problem with that is that it's not just hard for ordinary consumers and companies to know what to do about that kind of vision for the future. it's also sending out really confusing signals about just how committed the fed is to try to crush inflation or not. and, of course, raising concern about the prospect for stackflation. inflation plus recession, that we used to think was very retro 1970s. but it's rearing its head again
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now. >> it's a really confusing economic picture, indeed. michael, what is the political impact of this spending bill? certainly surprising to see mitch mcconnell and john cornyn, who are masters of the game, get blindsided by this last-minute agreements. >> yeah. it's fascinating to watch. we will see what the fallout is. there's now a mad shuffle to try to get house members who have already indicated they support this bill to back off of that support, which is a problem. now you are asking them to position themselves and the party in support of china. against american economic interests. most importantly, national security interests with this chip bill. they got, for the first time in a very long time, the democrats outfoxed the republicans putting
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it in raw political terms. now republicans are trying to figure out, okay, so what is the reemerging game on this? i really don't see one going into the fall national elections unless you are willing to justify handing a win to china. after all the trumpian wing of the party has said about that in the past, i don't see that freedom caucus going along with chucking one in the bucket for china. >> you know, sam, it really would be extraordinary. it is extraordinary to see senate republicans urging their house colleagues to vote against something that they supported, the chip bill, at the very time when they have been pushing for a harder line and more competition against china. >> yeah. as chairman steele noted, it's
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an odd position for them to be in. it suggests they are letting hurt feelings over a process of a separate piece of legislation determine how they vote open policy in a different piece of legislation. the first time in recent memory that i can recall that mitch mcconnell seems to have been outmaneuvered. they let the chips bill pass and then announced the deal. it does strike me as untenable to whip against a bill you have come out in support. keep in mind, there's another piece of legislation in limbo which is legislation to address veterans who have been harmed by burn pits, which is near and dear to the president's heart. it came it a vote yet in the senate. it didn't pass. the question then becomes, will republicans hold up these two pieces of legislation because they feel burned by the fact that manchin came to some climate agreement with chuck schumer and the white house? >> god forbid there be a climate agreement.
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president obama tweeted his praise for the biden administration's agenda, trying to really stress this is a big win and there haven't been that many big wins. last summer was a disaster, build back better and waiting for progressives and joe manchin to get together, which they never did. this is a win. president obama is sounding off on it. >> yeah. look, it's hard to -- every week is a make or break week for white house. in this case, you can see the next three to four weeks, maybe more, are super critical for the president. it's not just build back better or whatever we want to call this version. it's the chips bill. it's the burn pit legislation bill. it's brittney griner. it's maybe beginning a dip low the maic off ramp with russia. it's getting those gas prices still to come down. all these things could potentially move in the direction of the president. he needs them to, frankly, if he wants to carry momentum into the
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fall. i think what we are going to see in the next couple of weeks -- the white house has been passive. they let chuck schumer take the lead. my suspicion is that you are going to start seeing white house get more involved trying to close or at least help close a lot of these so when they come back in the post labor day period they can at least have some momentum and some accomplishments to tout to the voters. >> by the way, you mentioned the burn pit. we will talk about that more because that was -- from all of the supporters, we have covered this for years, really, john stewart, those 9/11 first responders who got no benefits, some of them have died since we started interviewing them, since they have been testifying and for the last minute -- i don't know how to describe the fact that the vote failed, the procedural vote last night, after it had been given
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bipartisan support. ali, carol, gillian, sam, michael, thanks for starting us off. we will speak to u.s. secretary of state -- excuse me, u.s. secretary of commerce gina raimondo. russian roulette. is there movement to getting brittney griner and paul whelan home? we will talk about a reversal of u.s. policy coming up. this is "andrea mitchell reports." you are watching msnbc. s. you are watching msnbc
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a very unusual prisoner swap appears to be in the works to free brittney griner and american businessman paul whelan from russia. secretary of state blinken announcing publically tuesday that the u.s. had put forward, quote, a substantial proposal to moscow.
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can you talk about why you would make such an important -- why you would put what you call a substantial offer on the table? >> first, as i mentioned, we conveyed this on a number of occasions and directly to russian officials. my hope would be in speaking to foreign minister lavrov i can advance the efforts to bring them home. >> the deal, according to two sources familiar with it, involves the u.s. trading russian arms dealer viktor bout, for the two americans who have been imprisoned separately, brittney griner testifying in court wednesday for the first time that when she was detained, her rights were never read to her and she had to use google translate to try and figure out what was being said. the u.s. hopes to free paul whelan, an american businessman and former marine who has been jailed in russia for four years now. what the u.s. called trumped up spying charges.
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>> it shows that the u.s. government is doing what it can. also, underscores the fact that there are limits to what the u.s. government can do to bring home americans. >> joining me is the founder and president of the national action network, reverend al sharpton. he has been helping griner's wife and family push for her release. reverend, are you aware of the negotiations? they have been going on for weeks. there's been a lot of pressure on the white house. they have been apparently trying to do something big. >> i have been in touch with heads of the state department at the highest level as well as the white house. i was never specifically told that there would be a swap with the merchant of death, as they call him. i was told they were doing all think could and that we should
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continue to pray for both brittney griner and whalen and make the appeal. they understood we were coming from a moral standpoint. i was assured this was not ignored and that the president was directly being briefed on it. when brittney griner sent the letter to the president 4th of july, he responded. he talked to her wife. i stayed in touch with both her wife and her father. we continued to try and keep a spotlight on this egregious act. i might say that if, in fact, this swap is real -- again, no one has confirmed that to me -- we are looking at a guy who clearly anyone would want to see held accountable. but do we really want to say that brittney griner on whalen should remain in jail, for a guy who will be out in the same
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time. even though i don't think anyone wants to see the merchant of death go free, when you weigh it in balance, i think that if the swap is what they're talking about, i can see where that would make some kind of balanced sense in terms of dealing with the fact that it's not like this guy would be in jail forever. you are talking about brittney griner in her case facing ten years. >> reverend, we understand that this decision was made by the president at the high he have level. there was opposition from the justice department. there frequently is. law enforcement works very hard to get these people behind bars. they went to thailand to capture -- they did capture bout. he had been on the lamb for some time. that said, the white house says the balance here is, yes, it could encourage more hostage taking. but it's important to get these americans out.
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>> it's very important to get these americans out. i think all of us that have raised this question around brittney griner and whalen is saying we would support the president if he, in fact, did what was necessary to protect american citizens. on one hand, you've got to weigh, we don't want to just bargain away and encourage people to take hostages. but in another level, do we want to send a message that americans going abroad, you are on your own if you get grabbed? remember, brittney griner was going to russia for several years playing on a russian team in large part because women basketball players here do not get paid the same as men. she was quite popular on the russian team for several years. she was going in and out of russia with no problem. clearly, many of us felt she was being a pawn with the fact that
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she was arrested only a couple of weeks before the invasion of ukraine. america should be able to protect its citizens all over the world and not at any level regret on making sure they are treated fairly and safely with the backing of their government. >> we appreciate that point. we are joined now by terry jackson. i know you know her. she's the executive director of the wnba. i'm sorry, of the players association. what popped up was the commerce secretary. let me just be clear, she's coming up next. first, we wanted to talk to terry jackson about brittney griner testifying in court yesterday. terry, thanks for being with us. you as a representative of the players association have known brittney griner for a while. you have been working hard with her wife as the reverend al has to get her out.
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what was your reaction to the prisoner swap and to the way she looked in court yesterday in her testimony? what did you think? >> well, it's always a mixed bag of emotions when we get to see our sister, brittney griner. when we get any visual, any pictures, any video, anything it puts us at ease, it helps know know -- it helps us to see her to figure out how she's doing, believing she's doing okay. i think i tried to lean in each time that i do see her and i see her -- i see you playing some photos right now, sharing photos right now. i try to lean in and see, can i tell she's doing okay? it gives us -- like i said, it gives us a little peace and comfort. hearing the news yesterday, again, helps us understand that there is some forward movement on this process.
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we're hopeful. we're supporting any and everything that the biden administration will do to bring detainees home. that's what it's all about. >> terry jackson, thank you so much. reverend al, thank you as always. i know we're hoping that this works. it's a tough negotiation. it involves a big change of policy. secretary blinken was not talking to sergei lavrov, not since before the invasion, a week before, and has decided to reach out now and try to move this along. thanks to both of you. we are moments away from hearing from the president. his remarks from the white house. the second quarter gdp report this morning showing a shrinking u.s. economy. that is a political blow, an economic blow to the white house. concerning reality for business leaders also who have been hiring, despite months of persistent inflation. joining me now is the commerce secretary. thank you very much. thanks for your patience.
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>> nice to be here. >> what are you hearing from the business community? what is your take on the economy now when you see these numbers? are these numbers -- they were worse than expected. is this something you think will be revised down the road? >> yeah. >> what do you think is going on? >> as you know, i talk to business leaders daily. in fact, in a little while i will go over to the white house to talk to a handful of ceos with president biden, because we always want to hear from them. i would say by and large, the business leaders i speak with aren't concerned. they weren't surprised. obviously, gdp is going to slow. the gdp growth we saw last year, 5%, 6%, 7% at times, isn't sustainable. we were expecting a slowing of the economy. i would say when i look at the numbers and i talk to business people and i talk to workers, you know, businesses are hiring.
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right? the economy created a million jobs last quarter. businesses are still hiring. wages are up. consumers are spending. consumers -- personal household balance sheets remain strong. fundamentally, there's still a lot of reason to feel good about the economy. obviously, inflation is our number one economic issue. we're focused on that. that is coming down. the long-term forecast for inflation are coming down. i think if you talk to companies, they are hiring, they are spending, they are growing. no big job losses. we're feeling, except for inflation, which i know is tough on consumers, there's a lot to like about this. >> you don't think that this is an indicator of an impending recession or one already here? >> i don't. as i said, the economy is clearly slowing. we all knew that would happen.
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we all knew that 5.5%, 6% growth wasn't sustainable. a strong economy grows at 3%, maybe 4%. i don't see that. i see inflation as our biggest issue. you see the fed doing what it needs to do to get a handle on inflation. you see gas prices coming down. again, i talk to ceos across industries every day. right now, they are telling me, consumers are spending, people are buying. they are hiring. >> you are meeting with the house progressives about the chips bill, the semiconductor bill, increasing competition with china. republican senators are whipping against the bill, whipping their house colleagues, because the senate democrats surprised them with the reconciliation bill and the agreement with joe manchin. even though they supported the chip bill. what's your reaction to that?
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>> you know, it's politics and unfortunate. you shouldn't play politics with our country's national security. frankly, they are playing into china's hand. this is exactly what china would want. it's frustrating. republicans with whom i spoke yesterday, they were solid yes votes. they are getting afraid. they may be a no vote today. having said that, the vote will be today. it will be a very strong vote. it will be a bipartisan vote. i think everyone realizes that we need to do it. we need to do it to strength our economy. we need to do it to compete and outcompete with china. we talk about inflation. the best way to make sure we don't have long-term inflation is to increase supply. increasing supply of chips will in the long run bring down prices. i hope i'm wrong. i hope i'm surprised. i hope more republicans do the right thing for their country and vote yes. but i also feel confident that we have the votes and we're
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going to get this to the president's desk in the next day or two. >> how confident are you about the reconciliation package? we have not heard from sinema. she has in the past been against tax measures and there are tax increases on this. >> yes. this is a great package. it's the president's agenda. you talk about inflation. it's going to help consumers pay for prescription drugs, bring down costs, make vital investments in kwlie mat. we mentioned tax increases. we need to be responsible. i'm confident in that. there are ups and downs in every piece of legislation. i have no doubt that between now and when both of these bills get to the president's desk, there will be ups and downs. we are persisting. american people are with us. both of these packages are
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enormously popular. i think that's because people realize it's the right thing to do. >> with such a big focus on inflation, of course, the biggest economic problem right now, is it time to remove those tariffs on china? >> it could be. the president is taking a very hard look at that. is studying the pros and the cons. i will say, i don't -- even if the president were to lift tariffs, it's not going to have a huge impact on overall inflation. what it will do potentially is lower the prices on certain consumer goods that we currently import from china. there is merit to doing that. that's why the president is taking a hard look at it and we are advising him that it's worth looking at, because honestly, we have to do everything we can right now to bring down inflation. the president is always asking,
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what more can i do? he is open to doing anything he thinks will help. >> there were reports that among those persuading joe manchin to support the reconciliation bill, which he did in negotiations while he was quarantining with covid in west virginia, that larry summers, who has been such a hawk on inflation and was predicting what happened this year, was one of the people who persuaded him to go along with it. >> i don't know, andrea. i have been fully focused on getting chips across the finish line. that could be true. as i said, this is a deficit reduction bill. if you are worried about inflation, getting spending under control is certainly a good thing to do, as well as bringing down prescription drug prices. >> the commerce secretary, thank you very much. a busy day. thanks for making time for us. we appreciate it.
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broken promises. can a hard fought bipartisan deal to improve care for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits be revived after a block by senate republicans at the 11th hour? as we have been reporting on this, we have an important update today. this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. that's why the alzheimer's association walk to end alzheimer's is full of them. because flowers find a way to break through. just like we will. join the fight at ♪ i'm the latest hashtag challenge. and everyone on social media is trying me. but if you don't have the right auto insurance coverage, you could be left to pay for all of this... yourself. so get allstate.
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you can buy gold for this. and talk about life's wins and misses. responsibly sourced like my gold but not responsibly cooked. because at the end of the day, nothing keeps it all together quite like - gold. visit to see how gold is everyone's asset. senate republicans are blocking health care benefits for veterans exposed to toxins in burn pits. more than 3 million veterans would benefit from the bill. republican senator pat toomey is objecting to the spending after technical changes were made by the house. on capitol hill earlier, john stewart blasted the republicans. >> i have been coming down here a long time. i'm used to the lies and i'm used to the deception and i'm used to the cowardice and i'm used to the hypocrisy. but what i am not used to is the
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casual cruelty. every minute of delay is a minute that a veteran who fought for this country and their families and their caregivers suffer and die. we have lost people through this fight. >> john stewart with ali vitali. joining us now is a first responder john feel who has been fighting to get this passed for years apdz has lost some of his fellow responders along the way. louis alvarez, others who have testified and died of cancers. you have to be furious. >> thank you for having me. i wish i could be there with jon today. but i had surgery yesterday. i told jon to score score much earth this morning. he did that. america needs to know the gop stabbed veterans in the back this morning.
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pat toomey took orders from mitch mcconnell. thousands if not millions of veterans are now going to pay the price. many of them are going to die waiting. i'm trying not to show emotions today, andrea. if you want to bleep me, that's fine. but my heart breaks for those veterans. on june 16, we won. we passed the bill 84-14. for them to do this now and then say they are going to go on their vacation and then come back and we will get it done, that's cruel. jon said he is used to a lot of things but not the cruelty. i'm used to the cruelty. i don't have to put up with it. america doesn't have to put up with it. we are going to scorch the
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earth. we're going to -- 41 of those -- 25 of those 41 people voted yes on june 16. they fell in line and they all -- many of them are veterans. they all voted against this. they have no reason why. they are going to feel the pain, the suffering. we're going to make their life miserable. we are human beings. those men and women who stood out there today in the heat with oxygen tanks and cancer while the senate was in their air conditioned offices laughing, we're not pushovers. we're a formidable opponent. we have whipped their asses for the last 17 years. i look forward to doing it again next week. >> i understand your emotion. i can't even imagine what you are going through and your colleagues.
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you have lost fellow responders. i want to show some of the news conference with senator john tester of montana, democrat from montana, and his reactions to this. >> what happened yesterday is totally unaccessible. there are going to be veterans dying between now and when this bill pass this is total blm blm. we had strong bipartisan support. at the 11th hour, senator toomey decides he wants to rewrite the bill, change the rules and tank it. >> she has been working on this for years with you. veterans affected by agent orange in vietnam would be covered in this bill. you fought to get medical care after responding to the 9/11 attack. louis alvarez died fighting for care, testifying on the hill, using whatever breath he had. what does it say about our country that victims have to die to fight for health care?
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>> republicans love the soldier but they don't love the veteran. that's the bottom line. again, politics and game playing at the cost of human life is unacceptable. no matter what the issue is, americans don't have to put up with it. i don't care if you are far right or far left. this is not about politics. this is about human life. those who are going to tweet and text me and email me and say, i'm this and that, i'm a human being. i'm a human being before i am a republican or democrat. i am a human being before i am an american. when human beings suffer and you do not get involved and watch that suffering, you are as guilty as the party who is pushing out that suffering. enough is enough. to watch lou alvarez and others -- i have been to 191 funerals. soon i will go to my own. the fact that we have to
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continue to fight for veterans or first responders is proof that the congress and senate in this country do not get it. the american people should be fed up, like jon stewart. pat toomey said they wanted him to block that. his wife should divorce him. his dog should bite him. he should not get health care when he retires because he is a piece of shit. >> john feal, we have to take a break. i want to thank you so much for coming on today. i know you are angry. you have expressed yourself. >> i want to apologize. but we are talking about human life. >> i get it. there are some things more important than anything else. thank you. and jon stewart and everything fighting for this.
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we hope we will live to fight another day. nobody told you guys in the burn pits, the epa told you that there was no toxic problem and it wasn't until years later when people started getting cancer that they acknowledged what was going on out there. >> andrea, 9/11, our story is the same. it is the same story as what the veterans are going through. we were lied to about the air quality. they said, you can't use jet fuel to start a fire in the united states. but it's already around the world? to let all of these young 18, 19-year-old soldiers stand around and roast marshmallows? come on. we're better than this. what have we become? we're animals. >> you stay in touch. we will keep covering it. thank you. >> thank you, andrea. we have breaking news this hour. immigration agent is have found 73 migrants inside houses
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believed to be operated by human smugglers in d.c. according to internal documents, reviewed by our team at nbc news, i want to bring in homeland security correspondent julia ainsley breaking this story. let's be honest. you and i live in this area of d.c. neither of us had in any idea there was human smuggling goen on in our own backyards. >> that's right. we are neighbors. i'm happy to call you my neighbor. when we walk around, we would never think that inside some of the houses there might be migrants stashed there, some of them perhaps against their will. that is the reality not only in d.c. but more cities across the country as smugglers are starting to move their networks internally. what we know now from documents at nbc just obtained is that just yesterday, there was a bust essentially. they went into six different houses in northwest d.c. and found 60 adults and 13 children. they were all being held in
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stash houses by human smugglers. smugglers are the people who migrants have to pay to bring them across the border. often the ones in stash houses are those who have not been encountered by law enforcement. they are trying to stay under the radar as they make their way to their final destination. they are at the mercy of smugglers. that's why we have seen many stories over the past few months about migrants being left in tractor-trailers on the side of the road as they were in san antonio. others who have been exploited or kidnapped during this terrible journey for them to try to get to their final destination, the united states. we see it more and more as these policies that punish migrants continue, especially that covid era rule title 42, that turns any migrant that's encountered back into mexico. now they are more reliant on smugglers. we see this. i have to say, this was shocking to see this far into the united states. i don't have the exact
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addresses. i'm still working on getting those. i will let you know. we know at least six houses within northwest d.c. where the average home price is $750,000. it's surprising. >> how common is this? especially up here. this far from the border. >> it's not very common. usually, you would see this in houston. it would be that far in. especially it's more common to see them in places very close to the border, because usually the law would take anyone who is caught within 1100 miles of the board, they would be deported more quickly. after you pass the 100 mile barrier along the southern border, a lot of times it's safer to move around. as we know, this administration de-prioritized migrants for deportation. it raises a lot of questions about how cartels and smuggling organizations are operating now and how they are able to continue to get money from migrants even further into their
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journeys. >> julia ainsley, thank you. breaking another big story out of homeland. thanks again. on call, president biden getting on the phone with the president of china. do they succeed in reducing tensions? we are expecting to hear from the president any minute now. we are waiting for him to show up in the state dining room. you can see the podium is there with the flags. he will speak about the economic numbers, about the gdp numbers in a few moments. we will bring that to you live as soon as he begins. you are watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. lit! and i'm taking a detour. and if you don't have the right home insurance coverage, you could be working this out yourself. so get allstate.
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holding his first call in several months with chinese president xi jinping, the two leaders speaking for 2 hours and 17 minutes, we are told. taiwan at the forefront of u.s.-china relations with a potential trip from speaker nancy pelosi, although that has not been officially announced. china claims it is part of its territory and that agreement goes back 40 years with the u.s. joining me is correspondent for "the new york times." the chinese have put out their
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statement, according to our bureau here. we're still waiting on a white house readout, but apparently president xi jinping is objecting to the stated points of the administration, which is that china is our greatest economic rival, saying that is not helpful, that does not communicate what the two countries need. according to reuters, and i haven't seen this ourselves, but reuters is reporting from beijing that the chinese leader told the president on thursday that the u.s. should abide by the one china agreement. very frankly, there's some people on capitol hill who are critical of the president for saying three times, most recently on a foreign trip, that the u.s. would defend taiwan militarily, which does alter the ambiguity, we support, we arm taiwan, sell them weapons, as you know better than anyone, but we don't say, supposedly, don't
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say we will defend taiwan militarily. the white house says that is consistent with long-stated policy. what's your take? >> thanks for having me. it's all so foggy, isn't it? i mean, president biden, as you said, mentioned that the united states would defend taiwan militarily, but what does that mean? that's when his officials turned around and said there's no change to the one china policy. the whole point of what they're trying to do is keep this as ambiguous as possible. that's the driving force behind america's one china policy. in fact, this ambiguity and successive administrations don't want to explicitly say what the united states would do in the event that china, god forbid, invaded taiwan, and they want to leave that up in the air. they want china to worry about that, and, you know, it's all
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part of american national security strategy. this conversation today, though, between president biden and president xi is so interesting. as you said, they haven't talked since march, which was right after russia invaded ukraine, and china has been doing a lot of complaining in recent days, as reports have come out that speaker nancy pelosi is planning on going to taiwan, to visit taiwan. there's some question about whether all of this complaining by china is mere political theatre, is that because xi is trying to turn attention away from his own domestic political problems at home? that's quite possible. one administration official i chatted with today certainly seemed to believe that was the case, and he pointed out that back in april there was talk of
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speaker pelosi visiting taiwan back then. she called it off because she had covid, but china didn't seem to complain too much back then. i think there's a lot of theatre right now that's under way. >> and, of course, ukraine does hang over a lot of this as well and the economic tensions, here and covid and all the economic tensions in china domestically. so both leaders have a lot at stake here, and of course president xi is heading into a party congress and is expected to reaffirm his position as the leader. he has really transformed the leadership of china, instead of leaving after five or ten years. he is going on. by the way, bill burns, the cia director, was telling me in aspen just last week that he does believe it's not a question of if china will try to take
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control of taiwan, but when. and he does not think it's going to be before the party congress. what you're hearing from the white house is that they believe that the pelosi trip, if it were to happen, could create more tensions because the foreign minister very clearly told tony blinken there would be a very strong response, implying there could be a military response, which would mean the taiwan strait, most likely. >> that's true. the white house was not pleased when reports started to come out that speaker pelosi was thinking about going to taiwan. there's been what some people call an effort to distance the white house from it. but at the same time previous speakers have. the last one was 25 years ago. it's not that unheard of for a top u.s. official to visit taiwan. so it's kind of a delicate --
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it's a very narrow pole, balance beam, that the administration is trying to walk right now. it's interesting to see. i think her visit may not be seen as coming at the best possible time. at the same time, they don't want to say she won't do it. >> we're going to have to jump in because the president has just come out to talk about the economy. let's listen. >> i spoke with both senators schumer and manchin and offered my support for a historic agreement to lower inflation and lower costs for american families. it's called the inflation reduction act of 2022. some of you will see a lot of similarities between it and the build back better initiative. it's not all of it, but we've moved a long way. i'll be going into detail in a minute. but simply put, the bill will lower health care costs for millions of americans and it will be the most important investment, the most important
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investment we've made in energy security and creating clean energy solutions for the future. it's a big deal. also for the first time in a long time, we began to restore fairness to the tax code, began to restore fairness by making the largest corporations in america pay their fair share without any new taxes on people making under $400,000 a year. experts, even some experts who have criticized my administration in the past, agreed that this bill, this bill will reduce inflationary pressures on the economy. this bill will, in fact, reduce inflationary pressure on the economy. it's a bill that will cut your cost of living and reduce inflation and lowers the deficit. it strengthens our economy in the long run as well. this bill has won the support of climate leaders like former vice president al gore who said the
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bill is long overdue and it helps us take decisive action on the climate crisis and leads for the world by example. inflation hawks like larry summers said this bill is, quote, fighting inflation, let me say it, this bill is fighting inflation. progressive leaders like senator elizabeth warren said, quote, this is a bill that truly is about fighting inflation, bringing down the costs for families and putting our country on a sounder economic footing. here's how it works. first, the bill finally delivers on a promise that washington has made for decades to the american people. we're giving medicare, we're giving medicare the power to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, which means seniors and consumers will pay less for their prescription drugs. medicare will save in the process about