tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC August 15, 2022 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
crudités, would trend nationally on twitter, on my birthday, but here we are. but perhaps the best response came from our good friend, chef jose andrés. the world central kitchen founder definitely knows his way around the grocery store, and here's what he had to say. quote, doctor oz, i am inviting you to come with me and shop together, by the avocado and tomatoes, and you can make the guacamole salsa for $2. and you can make a great vegetable fried rice for 12 people. less than $1 per person. kiss emoji, hashtag, learn to shop bipartisan. now, that sounds like a party i would like to attend. and i hope the doctor takes him off on that offer, because whomever is serving on cooked asparagus on their veggie tray, or crudités, whatever you want to call it. it's not gonna have a very popular party. stick to the baby carrots and bell peppers. uncooked asparagus, it's a hard pass. and on that note, i wish you
all a very, very good night. from all of our colleagues across the networks of nbc news, thanks for staying up late. i will see you at the end of tomorrow. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> let's do at home joining us this hour. it's great to have you here. do you remember the name brandon van grack? it's a very memorable name, so you might remember the sound of it. if not, the circumstance in which you first heard it. but if you are like me, in all likelihood, the first time you heard the name brandon van grack, it was the first time you heard the word, espionage, formerly associated with the presidency of donald trump. espionage as in the espionage act, as it not just spy movie stuff but as in u.s. law. but we are only about four months in to the u.s. trump administration in the new york times first reported that the then brand new trump
administration had made a very unusual hiring decision that ultimately implicated the work of a veteran espionage prosecutor at the u.s. department of justice. it was very early on, it was may 2017. so think about that for second. i mean, trump was inaugurated at the end of january. this was a list than four months later in may of that year, less than four months into his presidency, we learned that the new york times, that during trump transition, a person who they had been considering for job of national security adviser, not just somebody to be a national security adviser to the new president, but literally the national security adviser. a guy they've been considering for that job according to the times, had notified the trump transition team that there was a big problem with him potentially being appointed national security adviser. a very serious problem. this guy who was being considered as national security
adviser, he told the trump transition, hey, you know what? i feel like i have to let you know, i'm under active federal investigation as potentially unregistered agent of a foreign power. [laughs] full stop right there. it's not like i want to let you know, i had a speeding ticket i'm getting points on the license, i'm in a dispute with my property tax, build a and they say i am short 200 bucks but i know i'm not. this is i am under investigation for being a foreign agent. i am under federal investigation for being an agent of a foreign power. if you are under federal investigation of being a foreign agent, you can't work in the cafeteria at the white house. you can't get a job emptying trash cans in the congress. you certainly can't be national security advisor. if the justice department is actively investigating you as a
secret foreign agent. at least you would think. but this guy who was under consideration for that job, he came to the trump transition. he warned them about the fact he was under active investigation for that, and the trump transition, the incoming trump administration, they decided they would hire him anyway. they would hire him despite that, and that is how we got michael flynn as national security adviser for approximately five minutes while he was under investigation as a potential foreign agent of the nation of turkey and, before he started lying to federal investigators about his communications with the russian government. when we all read in the new york times in may, 2017 that they had hired him anyway, even though they knew, even though they had been warned, and we learned that the investigation into the matter was being led by a veteran espionage prosecutor named brandon van
grack. i remember my stomach flipping over the seriousness of this thing. it is one thing, all those shenanigans, maybe not the best people, there's some incompetence, some cavalierness, some stuff to worry about here, but when it's the espionage prosecutor that has to be working on the case involving a new national security adviser, that is bad right? your country has been put in a bad situation if a new president, a new administration is playing games like that. if that's how it's starting, you can be sure it is not going to end well, and it's likely not going to end for a long time. things like that have long tails. even if the veteran espionage prosecutor in question as a fantastic and memorable name like brendan van grack, he will be in the news of the first
four months of a new administration, and it being about somebody has the job of national security adviser, that's bad. that's a really bad start. that was how it started five and a half years ago. and now tonight, five and a half years later -- stomach churning reporting by the new york times, after all those years in the thick of the entry and upset of administration, brendan van grack has now left the justice department, and i'm honored to say he's gonna join us live here on the set. he's here tonight of course at a time when the espionage act is back in the news. on friday we learned from the unsealing of the justice department search warrant that is an inquiry under the espionage act that led the fbi to execute a search warrant of former president trump's property in south florida last week. it's an amazing thing. files seized from former president are part of an espionage act inquiry.
go back in time and trying to convince your grandparents in a great-grandparents that this is the america that we inherited from them. files seized from former president part of espionage act inquiry. what it meant specifically when we learned that is that that search warrant that they unsealed cited a portion of the espionage act that concerns the handling of national security information that could harm the united states and help our enemies. to get even more specific what it means is that to get that warrant to search trump's house in florida, prosecutors had to prove to the satisfaction of a federal judge that there was probable cause to believe that at trump's home they would find evidence that that part of the espionage act had been violated, that that crime had been committed. now, the first question that raised for many of us, is this real? am i dead, is this really my life?
next question was, it is this the end of it? certain specifically to that question as to whether that search warrant might have been the end of the matter by which i mean were they using the search warrant to collect that material that trump wasn't supposed to have? but then once basically once they had and retrieved immaterial, is it basically case closed? the new york times put it this way last week in print. they said quote, it is not clear whether the search was carried out simply to ensure that the documents and other material probably turned over to the archives or whether it was possible precursor to a prosecution of mr. trump for obstructing the efforts to get this stuff back. did prosecutors get that search warrant because they believed that trump wasn't handling over the sensitive material that he had, so they used the warrant just to get the stuff back by force and now that's it, that's the end of, it that's as far as they wanted to go? or, did they go get the material using the search
warrant as part of an investigation that is not over now that they've got the stuff that is pointing in the end towards possible criminal charges towards whoever is responsible for this breach? was the search warrant just to get the stuff or was the search warrant to lead to a potential criminal case? and filing tonight in federal court, the justice department explains that it is the latter, that it is not over, now that they've got and snatch back all the classified a top secret information that the former president inexplicably had stashed in his basement. tonight in a filing explaining to the court why the justice department doesn't want to release further information about this case at the time, the justice department says in this filing that the search warrant wasn't the end of it, that it's just part of an ongoing investigation. the use that term repeatedly. quote here the government has a compelling, overriding interest in preserving the integrity of an ongoing criminal investigation. quote disclosure at this
juncture of the affidavit supporting probable cause would cause significant and irreparable damage. if disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap for the government's roadmap in ongoing investigation providing details in a matter that is likely to compromise further investigative steps. that's all in the justice department's court filing tonight, what we learned from that court filing is that the justice department is expecting further investigative steps. they are contemplating further investigative steps and what they repeatedly described as a ongoing criminal investigation, an ongoing criminal investigation quote that implicates national security. so, again one of the main questions about what is going on here is now answered by the justice department's filing this evening. the point of that search warrant last week was not just to go get the stuff and now
they've got it it can be safely put away under lock and key and case closed. no. the search warrant we now know was to get that stuff, but it was also part of an ongoing criminal investigation that could lead to criminal charges. an ongoing criminal investigation involving the espionage act and the former president. which is astonishing. for him, and that's bad. for him, it's sort of hard to narrow it down. there is a lot that's bad right now. for example, just in today's news, the former president's lawyer, the lawyer who took the lead for him on trump's efforts to try to stay in power even after he lost reelection, that lawyer rudy giuliani as you know he is already had his law license suspended in at least one state because of those efforts on behalf of trump. today prosecutors in georgia notified julian that they no
longer consider him to be a material witness in the criminal investigation of election interference efforts in the state of georgia, mr. giuliani's lawyers say they were notified today by georgia state prosecutors that their client rudy giuliani is now officially a target of that investigation. no longer a material witness, a target. that effectively means prosecutors are warning giuliani that he may get indicted in that case under georgia state law and he should get his ducks in a row. now beyond that, trump ally republican senator lindsey graham, he had argued recently in federal court that he should be allowed to defy a subpoena to testify to the grand jury in that case. senator graham says he's been notified that he is not a target, he's just a witness, but he does not want to answer a subpoena to testify as a witness in that case because he told a court in georgia he is he was just doing his job as a senator and he should be protected as such from having to answer questions about it. his lawyers had argued to the court that when senator graham called george officials after the presidents election, he was
doing his quote, to due diligence. he was just asking questions to inform his own vote as a senator and whether he was going to vote to certify the election results. they say because he was just doing his work as a senator when he made those calls he should be immune from questioning about it. well, a federal judge in georgia rejected that claim and did so bluntly. the judge ruled that in fact senator lindsey graham does have to answer questions from the grand jury because he was not just fact finding, he's not just actors asking questions and doing his due diligence to inform his vote as a center, the judge's ruling said today multiple voters said that when senator lindsey graham called georgia in factions election officials have to vote, he was seeking to influence their actions in the counting of the vote in that state. he's not just asking questions about state procedures, he was
trying to get them to do things that would benefit president trump, has president trump is trying to have the election results in that state overturn. and trying to influence the work of georgia state election officials is not the lawful work of a federal state senator. so they told him he has to testify in that case today. senator graham says he will appeal the judge's ruling, so we'll see how that shakes out. he's been notified that he is not a target of the investigation, he's just a witness but he is still trying to fight the subpoena ordering him to testify. now in that georgia case, the other people who have received target letters, the other people who think they will be indicted in that case, they're all people besides rudy giuliani who are implicated in the fake electors plot. the plot naming fake electors for trump in states that did not have trump electors because biden won those states. that fake electors thing is a criminal matter in georgia, it's also a matter under
federal criminal investigation as well. i think there's one thing pointing out about that that has been lost but someone of these gonzo headlines in today 's news. remember how we learned about the fake elector scheme? how we learned about how it came together how we learned about being under federal investigation? you might remember about the fake electors, it's sort of started as something that looked like a bunch of disparate efforts in disparate states. some people pretending to be electors who weren't really electors in georgia. another group trying to do the same thing in michigan, another group trying to do it sort of differently in the state of arizona. it looked different and a bunch of different states when that happened and when it first came to public attention. that mattered, the fake electors thing seen did have to become a federal criminal investigation rather than just investigations in several states, when it becomes apparent that it wasn't just spontaneously happening in various states, it was an organized thing. the trump campaign organized that effort around the country
these weren't just disparate things that were happening in different states at the same time sort of by happenstance by coincidence it wasn't organized that is the pattern that we saw happen with the fake central top down effort. electors thing. today, that same pattern started to become apparent and another thing they did to try to overturn the election results, specifically the effort to grab voting machines, to seize supposedly secure voting equipment and tabulators in multiple states, even though that equipment is very highly regulated, and it is only supposed to have, people are only supposed to have access to it under very tightly controlled circumstances. now, there have been criminal charges brought already in the state of colorado, for trump folks seizing and co-opting voting equipment there. the same thing is under criminal investigation in multiple jurisdictions in michigan as well. but now, today, the washington post reports that in colorado, in michigan, in nevada, in
georgia, in a whole bunch of states, these folks, messing with voting equipment -- apparently, they weren't just spontaneously acting on their own, to illegally access all this equipment. they weren't supposed to be able to touch. they didn't just all have the same idea all at once independently, coincidentally. the washington post reports today, it's something of a bombshell that just like with the fake electors, this one too appears to have been a centrally coordinated effort run by people close to trump, including at least one trump campaigner. again, with the fake electors thing, it was evidence of the trump campaign's involvement, their national coordination, of what otherwise looked like desperate efforts and a whole bunch of states. apparently, that's what led the now ongoing federal criminal investigation of the fake electors scheme. as of today, the washington post reports that there was a similar central organized effort running these schemes to
cease and corrupt secure voting machines in multiple states, and that it was linked to the trump campaign. so, you know, all of us have been trying to crack all these things. we're all gonna have to add another column to the billboard sized spreadsheets we're only maintaining now, trying to keep track of the various criminal investigations that surround the last president. president biden tomorrow is gonna sign what he hopes and expects will be the signature legislative achievement of his first term as president. the nation's first major legislation on climate, and the biggest and most important legislation on prescription drug costs in decades, something the democrats have been trying to do on prescription drug costs -- they've been trying to do it for 30 years. biden finally got it done. the big inflation reduction act, he is gonna sign that tomorrow. it is a huge deal, in terms of policy, a huge deal for the democrats, a huge deal for this president. before the presidency, before the country, he's got competing
headlines. because it turns out, there are years and years and years of ramifications, of electing somebody who, from the very start, was keeping espionage prosecutors busy here at home. in five and a half years down the line, from those first blood curdling headlines about what's going on with this president in national security, five and a half years after they hired him a national security adviser, even though they knew he was under federal investigation as a potential foreign agent, five and a half years down the line, that trump national security adviser, michael flynn, has been pardoned by trump, after he pled guilty to lying to investigators about his contacts with a different foreign hostile government. and the defense department recently announced that they're gonna try to recoup tens of thousands of dollars the russian government paid to michael flynn, that he never declared. five and a half years down the line, from the stomach churning start of that plot, in the
spring of 2017. that veteran espionage prosecutor who led the flynn investigation, we first learned about it in the spring of 2017, brandon van grack. he's left the justice department. he's left government service. he started his justice department career as a trial attorney in the national security division, and he prosecuted cases on cyberattacks and money laundering, and theft of trade secrets. and, yes, espionage. a spy for china out of michigan, a guy who was in running the high tech sanctions on iran. a hacker from kosovo, who provided material support to isis, specifically, he gave isis personal information on more than 1300 u.s. government and military personnel. he gave isis that kill list, effectively, of u.s. government and military personnel, brandon van grack helped prosecute him. after robert mueller, special counsel, appointed mr. van
grack as a prosecutor on his team to investigate the trump campaign's ties to russia around the 2016 election, van grack spent nearly three years investigating and prosecuting trump allies, michael flynn and paul manafort. interestingly, mr. van grack ultimately resigned from the flynn case, after a william barr appointee took over the u. s. attorney's office in d. c., and moved to withdraw the government's case against flynn. even though, flynn by then had already pled guilty twice. he resigned from the flynn investigation but the state of the justice department. it continued to leave the justice department fairer unit, the office that prosecute on which is third foreign agents. and that role, he became the first official to oversee all foreign influence operations across the u.s. justice department. brandon van grack has since left the justice department, but boy, there is nobody who i would rather talk to tonight about what's going on in our country with these remarkable and unprecedented charges and investigations involving the
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u.s. television interview is veteran, former espionage federal prosecutor, and former member of robert mueller's team in the prosecution of michael flynn and paul manafort, his name is brandon van grack. mr. van grack, it's a real pleasure to meet you. >> nice to meet you as well. >> first of all, thank you for doing this. i know you don't do this so i'm very grateful that you decided to be here. i want to talk to you about a lot of things in your career, but i want to start with the national discourse right now around this investigation involving the search warrant at the presidents home in south florida. the headlines that say, this is an inquiry under the espionage act, continuing to blow everybody's minds. i still find it to be almost impossible to look at those headlines and not see this as a movie, and see this is real life.
and but as somebody who has actually worked in the nitty-gritty around this part of the law, what should we understand about the seriousness here and, do you feel like any of the national discourse is around it is wrong? >> so, it's a really important point because right now, there is a focus on what is the end game? is there someone gonna be charged, and you don't need to get to that point to appreciate the fact that there is serious national security implications from the conduct and the information, just before us, just from the receipt of this search warrant, there are multiple series of documents that are classified, that are labeled, top secret, that were in unsecured locations for 19 months. we already know the fact that there were classified documents that were provided to the archives, seven months before that. you don't need to take any more leaps beyond that to appreciate the fact that there is real national security harm, or potential damage caused by that. right now, the intelligence
community is sorting through that information, and doing a damage assessment, trying to assess what sources and methods have been compromised. that is separate from whether in fact, you know, anyone is charged. and so, it's important that we don't get too far ahead of what's in front of us. >> one of the things that's been described by reporters, and i'm not quite sure that i totally understand that. i think i get it in my head, but not in my gut, it's that the justice department reference to the potential statutes that are implicated here, i keep hearing it described that it doesn't necessarily matter that the way they're stating statutory law doesn't necessarily matter if trump believes whether he declassify those documents. but the technical classification status of those documents wouldn't necessarily impact whether or not charges could be brought on those statutes. do you agree with that assessment, looking above scene in the search warrant? and can you explain it? >> yeah, i think that might be technically true. but in reality, i think ultimately, if in fact, this material was declassified, i think it would have a material impact on whether charges are
brought. so, the charge referenced in the espionage act, it concerns the mishandling or retention of classified information. in the u.s. 18 code 793. the language in the statute says the retention of national defense information, and that's through years of classified information, but for all intensive purposes the justice department considers that to be classified information, there's only one case in its history where information that was not classified information was charged, and that was actually a plea agreement. so, it wasn't sort of tested. and so, for all intents and purposes, the department of justice believes or has reason to believe that this information with declassified. and we don't know that, then it is a very unlikely that that, what's called an overattention case, the retention charge charge would occur. with respect to the other two charges that were mentioned in the search warrant, there was one concerning obstruction, and another concerning the removal of ultimately presidential records. that also doesn't have the connection to classified information. so, it doesn't technically
matter. but ultimately, the motive and intent behind the removal of the information, or the obstruction, does matter. and so, if people, involved in the process, did you believe they were declassified, that matters. now, that doesn't mean it precludes a criminal prosecution on those two statutes, but the point is, it matters, and it's relevant. so, i don't think simply saying, it's in the material is the right way to review the charges. >> if the person in question here, one of the people in questions here is potentially in trouble because of the way these documents are handled, is the former president. is there a way to divine his intent for the purposes of deciding whether charges are warranted, without interviewing him? >> so, the reality is that he's the target of an investigation, there isn't going to be an interview. and we do know from the information that you discussed in the top of the hour that there is discussion in the government's recent violent,
filing, in terms of the decision not to unseal the affidavit that there are witnesses who are cooperating in the investigation. you can specifically say that's a basis for not concealing the affidavit. so, there are certainly people in the orbit that would have information that would be relevant to understanding intent and motive. >> one of the things that arose today in the news was a claim by former president trump, that his passport went walking during the search warrant. they're in the execution of the search warrant, he just got them as being stolen by the fbi. it was later reported suggesting that these were perhaps, passports taken as part of a search warrant, and then we turn to him. what should we understand about that? >> a couple of pieces, which is, first, there's a lot of newest happen in this occasion.
and it's really part of that were not extracted by the cacophony, and really focus on the important information. and to my earlier point, which is just, based on what we know, there are significant national security implications on what's happened. with respect to the passports, if that is in fact, or if in fact there were multiple passports of the former president taken, there's really not much to read into that. it is unlikely that the department of justice is signaling that the former president is a flight risk. it is unlikely that the department of justice is signaling that criminal charges are imminent. more likely, again, if it is in fact true, it is simply responsive to the search warrant. the search warrant, specifically said, it can seize presidential records. and so, perhaps, at the fbi believed, i don't know rightly or wrong, these passports or were presidential records. there's also in the search warrant, it says information that's comingled with the classified information should be seized. and so, for all we know, these past parts or comingled. but talking about something that ultimately we don't think is significant, for any reason, the denial of these passports impaired the president's ability to travel, uncertain that a simple call from the presidents or, the department of justice, would resolve that.
so, ultimately, i think it's a distraction, and it's important because there are some real serious issues here that we don't get to look at. >> it's one of those things where it's like, you see, you know, the government has these passports, and you immediately go like, the issue of law an order where the guy got arrested and his passports are seized, because he's seen as a flight risk, but nothing here indicates that connection. >> and there are instances where passports do get seats, but that is when someone's about to be charged, or has been charged. and there is no in indication that we've reached that point in the investigation. >> i also wanted to ask about the news reported in the new york times this weekend that president trump through an intermediary, appears to try to reach out to the attorney general, after this search warrant was executed, obviously. and after the attorney general around the time of the attorney general making his decision, just to speak publicly about it, and ask for the search want to be unsealed. just from the perspective of somebody who is in the justice department, at the kinds of
levels that you worked at, is that wrong? is that weird? is that appropriate? is that normal? how do you view that? >> i guess i view it as irrelevant, right? the reality is that there are probably outreaches that occur to senior levels of government, the department of justice, all the time. this is something where i cannot see or think of a situation where an outreach like that would have any impact on the investigation. and so, appropriate or not, again, i don't think it will have any impact on the investigation. and again, really, i would consider it to be noise or distraction, one of the fact is, again, there are real national security issues that should be the focus. >> let me ask you about something which may just be a distraction, from the outside, it seems at least fraught. we have now seen three trump white house lawyers, white house counsel pat cipollone, his deputy pat philbin, and now, today we learned eric herschmann, all white house lawyers working for the president, all having received subpoenas from justice department. we don't exactly know the topic, we don't really know which
grand jury. there's a lot of different investigation, that itself is remarkable. we've also seen a member of congress, had his phone seized, as part of an investigation in which he's reportedly been told he's a witness and not a target. when we're talking about white house lawyers and serving members of congress, these sorts of people who aren't typically caught up in the work of the justice department, how does that influence you? your decisions as a prosecutor, as an investigator, knowing that people with a lot of political power, and people working in sensitive political jobs are in your sights? >> i think, one of the signals from the attorney general of the justice department, which is really important to stress is that, ultimately, those considerations really or not, have an impact. and that's and multiple investigations. in fact, i think there's also reporting today, indicating that the search warrant with respect to mar-a-lago was sitting with the attorney general for a period of time, and that he was wrestling with it. i think what we can say, even though i think it's common for there to be disagreement on some of the actions from the department of justice, that all
of the actions we're talking about are not influenced by political considerations. and there really is no appearance of political influence of these decisions. and i think that is such a critical issue for the department of justice. i mean, really, if you take a step back, and appreciate, and you talk about the department of justice, it is foundational to the legitimacy of the government to exercise its authority. i mean, it is a department that has the ability to deprive an individual of their liberty. and so, the legitimacy of that department is paramount. and i think the attorney general, not only appreciates that, but you can see through his words and deeds that that is a constant theme in how he acts. >> brandon van grack, veteran prosecutor from the u.s. justice department, member of special counsel robert mueller's team, again, this is your first usda interview. i hope it will not be your last, even with me. i hope you come back. >> absolutely. >> thank you. thank you for your service. all right, we'll be right back, stay with us. ust passed the inflation reduction act,
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if we abandon the truth. the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen is insidious. this is donald trump's legacy, but it cannot be the future of our nation. history has shown us, over and over again, how these types of poisonous lies destroy free nations. we are stronger, more dedicated and more determined than those trying to destroy our republic. this is our great task, and we will prevail. >> that was republican
congresswoman liz cheney's closing message, heading into her republican primary election in wyoming tomorrow. congresswoman cheney is facing a trump backed election denying challenger named harriet hageman. if you want a little sneak peek into why that election is going the way it's expected to go, you can just look at this. this is the latest poll from the university of wyoming on the race. it shows that voters who support hageman overwhelmingly think that joe biden secretly isn't really the president. of voters who support harriet hageman, the percentage of them who accept that joe biden really is the president, legitimately, is only 16%. meanwhile, if you look at the liz cheney voters, voters who say they are likely to vote for liz cheney, they believe joe biden's election was legitimate at a rate of 93%. 93% versus 16%. what makes those results even
more stunning is the fact that same poll shows cheney losing to hageman by nearly 30 points. it looks like republicans and wyoming are set to oust cheney because she accepts the reality that trump didn't win the 2020 election, and because of the way she stood up against his efforts to try and stay in power, anyway. that said, you know, polls aren't elections. elections are elections. anything is possible. we will see. for example, since that poll was taken, it's been revealed that the person who hageman supporters believe is still the rightful president, donald trump, it's been relieved to reveal that he's under investigation by the fbi and justice department, for among other things, potential violations of the espionage act. so who knows? maybe that will affect how they feel. the results of that election are gonna be a stunning development either way. polls are closed in that race at 9 pm, eastern time, tomorrow. 9 pm eastern, 9 pm eastern, that's important, because 9 pm eastern tomorrow, also happens
to be the opening bell for the very first broadcast of a brand-new show here on msnbc, called alex wagner tonight. the host of that new show, alex wagner, joins us here now. >> what's happening! >> all the electricity -- i'm talking to you from the future. >> how do you feel? >> thrilled, excited, terrified. in awe, you know? like i will say, rachel, and i'm not saying this because you're in front of me, and were on live television, but it really is, you've done an incredible thing with television, and in the 9:00 hour. and i feel very deeply honored to be shepherding through the rest of the week. and i hope that we are able to conduct ourselves with integrity and the rigor, and the just deep thought that you have established in this hour. it's just a privilege to share the week with you. that's all i will say, without making myself cry. anyway -- >> we will never speak -- a, thank you. b, we will never speak of this. you are working, of course,
especially in these early days, starting with the best staff in the business. rachel maddow's staff is epic. so, do not break them. but, i mean, taking over at this time, i feel like we are in this explosive moment in the news right now, right? where, you know, we are all under the microscope, and everything is under scrutiny, and we got all sorts of critcisim we have. but to all this have incredible privilege and responsibility to cover this moment, when america might stay a democracy and might not. >> i think it's not an overstatement to say it's an open question whether the experiment works, you know? like, we have taken for granted that this form of government is kind of democracy, will always exist, because that's all we've ever known as americans. but it really feels like there is an existential threat, and to be in the news as we are, not just a fire hose, but grappling with some of the craziest, most significant urgent issues of the time is, you know, it's overwhelming. but it is also terribly
exciting. i feel almost guilty saying that, right? but as a journalist, i mean, to have to navigate these choppy waters, and to do it in this place, with the team that we have is an extraordinary gift. >> i am psyched too that you've just come from a reporting trip in florida, and you can be doing a lot in the field. talk to me a little bit about that idea of matching national, it's kind of like a reading comprehension exercise to a certain extent. being on a primetime, right? i've absorbed what's going on in the news and here's what i think is important with it. matching that with on the ground reporting. and the shoe leather kind of work that you do. >> i hope to be able to do as much as time allows but i think it's really important to get out of the studio. for me, i learned so much in my time talking to people and understanding the issues in a very human way. i mean, we talk in the abstract about things like critical race theory, or originalism, and then, we see how that translates into actual school
curriculum, like in florida. or whether, how it affects peoples daily lives, how they internalize some strange arguments that are on tethered to a fact, or whether they are big advocates pushing the truth, and having a positive effect on american democracy. i think you learn those lessons, you understand the issues in a really powerful visceral way when you're talking to people themselves, and the people who are at the center of these issues. the plaintiffs and the lawsuit, the attorneys, the last abortion doctors in texas whoever they are. as a host i think it gives me a ton more perspective on the newa and i hope it gives the audience a better understanding of what is happening in america. so much feels like this side versus that side and the more that we can feel better about each other, but understand the humanity involved in all of this, i think the better job we are doing as journalists and
perhaps maybe somewhere along the way the more we can stay tied together in this democracy. >> less heat more light. >> we try. >> alex wagner, congratulations. tuesdays and fridays. >> tuesdays and fridays. >> alex wagner, the new host of alex wagner tonight premiers tomorrow at tuesday 9 pm eastern time. go with god. we'll be right back. stay right with us. stay right with us from over 200 indoor and outdoor allergens, day after day. feel the clarity and make today the most wonderful time of the year. live claritin clear. i get bladder leaks. i didn't want to feel like i was wearing the pads i wore when i was twelve. then i tried the always discreet pads. they fit perfectly in the places they're supposed to. look how much it holds, and it still stays thin! it's the protection we deserve!
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made. he got the first african american woman, ketanji brown jackson confirmed to the united states supreme court. in june, president biden signed the biggest gun reform bill into law decades, breaking a multi-decade gridlock on that issue. two weeks ago, a counterterrorism success, the u.s. finally got al-qaeda leader i'm ayman al-zawahiri of two decades of chasing him. just last tuesday, president biden signed the membership protocols to add sweden and finland to nato, expanding and strengthening that alliance in the face of russia's war of aggression against ukraine. that same day, you also signed the chips act into law. that's a 280 billion dollar piece of legislation that will kickstart the production of semiconductor chips here in the united states. it's a big deal in terms of competition with china, economically, and on national security grounds. that was all on tuesday. then on wednesday, he signed another huge bill to provide health coverage for up to three and a half million u.s.
veterans, who were exposed to toxic burn pits when they were deployed in iraq and afghanistan. also, gas prices have now dropped for 62 straight days. tomorrow, president biden will at his biggest legislative achievement get to that list, that inflation reduction act, which is stuff the democrats have been trying for generations. this is the bill that empowers the administration to negotiate drug prices, using the medicare program. it's the first time there will ever be able to do that. democrats have been trying to get that into law for 30 years. biden finally got it done. the bill also caps out of pocket medication costs for seniors who are on medicare. if you are on medicare, your drug costs, the out of pocket amount that you pay per year will no longer exceed $2,000 a year, no matter what your drugs costs. there's never been a kept like that before. it also close tax loopholes, and establishes a 15% minimum tax for corporations that make over a billion dollars a year.
perhaps, most significantly of all, the bill also is the biggest climate investment in the history of the country. and somehow, all of that is managed to pass in a 50/50 senate, that includes folks like these, senators kyrsten sinema and joe manchin, who got up and said you know in the morning, before they do anything else, just because it makes them feel good. tomorrow, the president is expected to return home from south carolina, where he's been on vacation. he's gonna sign that inflation reduction act, this big new bill at the white house. he believes it will be his signature legislative achievement, and in the coming weeks, president biden and vice president harris, and members of the cabinet, all expected to have the right to promote this thing, planning 35 different trips, to 23 different states. in a technical sense, in political science terms, this is called being on it will. watch this space. watch this space you can schedule service in just a few clicks.
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tomorrow is the premiere of alex wagner tonight. alex's show is every tuesday through friday, at 9 pm eastern. i'm not going anywhere. i will continue to see you every monday, and on other big night going forward. but tomorrow, really is the start of something new and exciting. alex wagner tonight beginning tomorrow, 9 pm eastern, right here on msnbc. now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. and i'm sure you know what my absolute favorite part of your show was tonight. >> no, what was it? >> i went into the control room to watch the isolated camera on rachel, so that i wouldn't miss a single fraction of a second of rachel blushing while alex wagner was -- -- was praising her and thanking her for what she has created here at msnbc. and you think a lot of that