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tv   Alex Wagner Tonight  MSNBC  September 20, 2022 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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>> that is all in on this monday night. hey, it's an alex wagner bonus show tonight. good evening, alex. good evening, alex. good evening, alex. good evening, alex. good evening, alex. good evening, alex. hey, there is an alex wright show tonight. hey, an alex wagner bonus show tonight. starts right now. good evening. >> it is. oh, right. i'm here. i'm going to pivot back to what you were just talking about which is much more serious and so the central question of what we are facing today. who are americans? what does it mean to be american? who belongs here? who belongs here who doesn't? it just echoes of our past and yet the questions remain so unresolved or so fraught especially at this hour, chris. >> it is pretty striking when you run the footage through the news reel filter how morally clear it is right? like well should we have taken one more vote of jews fleeing europe? obviously. when you put it in the contemporary context, well, you know, tough call.
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it's definitely food for thought. >> that is an under statement. thank you, chris. great job. thanks to you for joining us this hour. as chris said rachel is off tonight but she will be back again next monday. so, he is back at the scene of the crime. yesterday former president donald trump returned to mar-a-lago where fbi agents retrieved more than 100 classified documents last month. trump announced on his social media platform that he went to the scene of the unwarranted, unjust, and illegal raid and break-in so he could, quote, see for himself the results of the unnecessary ransacking of rooms and other areas of the house. so sad. of course the fbi searched the property last month because records remained missing even after two of trump's lawyers wrote and signed a statement certifying all of the missing documents had already been returned. as a result, two of trump's lawyers evan corcoran and christina bobb are now in need
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of their own legal representation. as the "new york times" reported last week the lawyers, quote, have subjected themselves to scrutiny by federal law enforcement officials. investigators are seeking information from bobb about why she signed a statement attesting to full compliance with the subpoena and they have signaled they have not ruled out pursuing a criminal inquiry into the actions of either ms. bobb or mr. corcoran. as trump's lawyers are in court fighting the justice department over those documents, the former president is now directing his rage not just at the feds but also at the state's republican governor and potential 2024 contender ron desantis. "rolling stone" reports trump is upset about desantis's decision to fly nearly 50 migrants from texas to martha's vineyard last week not because he thinks it was irresponsible and inhumane to target asylum seekers, no, trump is angry because, well, it was his idea first. quote, trump is telling allies and confidantes he is outraged that desantis thinks he is allowed to steal the ex-president's mantle as both media star and as undocumented
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immigrant barber-in-chief. trump has pointedly complained to some of his closest associates desantis is attempting to take the national news cycle away from him. the plan to use black and brown people as pawns, that was his idea. give him credit, governor desantis. you only got to it first because you're still in office. mistreating immigrants is trump's thing. of course trump did implement a lot of awful, cruel, and legally problematic immigration policies during his four years in office. of all of them the most morally bankrupt was his family separation policy. in their new book "the divider" trump and the white house, 2017 to 2021 peter baker and susan glasser detail how the trump administration decided to rip thousands of children and infants out of their parents'
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arms as an immigration deterrent in 2018. they document how it was decided that would be official trump administration policy. they also explore why the white house walked it back. you might remember this infamous white house press briefing. where trump's second homeland security secretary stood at the podium trying to defend that policy. >> are the children being used as pawns for a wall can you say yes or no to that. >> the children are not being used as a pawn. we are trying to protect the children. >> how is this not specifically child abuse for these innocent children who are indeed being separated from their parents? >> so i want to be clear on a couple other things. the vast majority, vast, vast majority of children who are in
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the care of hhs right now, 10,000 of the 12,000, were sent here alone by their parents. that's when they were separated. >> according to baker and glasser behind the scenes secretary nielsen was ready to pack her bags and resign over that policy, which she opposed. when trump immigration adviser stephen miller first began floating it in 2017. baker and glasser write that once the public began sounding the alarm, quote, suddenly trump officials who had pushed to take away children were denying that was their intent. attorney general jeff sessions who had privately told prosecutors weeks earlier that we need to take away children and comments that were only discovered by investigators long afterwards, sessions now told the public the opposite saying we do not want to separate
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parents from their children. nielsen was apoplectic. this is exactly what i -- said would happen she told jeff sessions. someone needs to get him on the phone and tell him to halt. her relationship with the president continued to deteriorate because the president continued to ask her to enact illegal immigration policy. as baker and glasser report in 2018 nielsen was already part of a group of trump officials including john kelly, jim mattis, joe dunford, bets i devos, ryan zinke on the verge of resigning en masse. all of them were worried that trump was off the rails. by 2019 nielsen formed a figurative mutual suicide pact with health and human services secretary alex azar from their new book, quote, from the minute he signed the executive order reversing course on family separations amid a national uproar trump basically regretted it and routinely threatened to
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consider turning it back on. as the president privately agitated to resume the practice azar and nielsen agreed they would not go along again and formed a mutual suicide pact. if trump did turn it back on they would both resign together. both knew a fight was coming. stephen miller would make sure of it. nielsen called her aide miles taylor now serving as her chief of staff to let him know it looks like stephen is going to be the border czar she said. this is -- we need to get ready. taylor then called miller and found the white house aide exceedingly excited to put on the crown as he put it. miller said he was going to go full napoleon once in charge.
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i want to make sure you recognize that this moment was my coronation miller said. my coronation. that anecdote is just one of several new insights into an administration dead set on breaking laws, harming those with the least agency, and staying in power at all costs. baker and glasser also detail moments when trump asked nielsen to cancel, literally cancel the ninth circuit court of appeals to, quote, get rid of the -- judges and when trump asked john kelly why his generals couldn't be more like hitler's nazi officers they described how close trump actually was to pulling the u.s. out of nato and how the director of national intelligence dan coates was so disturbed by trump's interaction
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with vladimir putin he wondered what the russian leader had on trump. baker and glasser paint a full picture of a former leader who is still front page news on a daily basis who might at any moment put his hat back in into the ring to return to the white house in 2024 and who is still fighting multiple legal wars on multiple fronts. one tomorrow. happening at a courthouse in brooklyn over mar-a-lago documents. another investigation happening in georgia. two ongoing with the justice department. another with the new york attorney general's office. and the list goes on and on. joining us now is peter baker, "new york times" chief white house correspondent and coauthor of the new book out tomorrow with his wife "the new yorker" journalist susan glasser. it is called "the divider, trump in the white house 2017-2021." peter, congratulations on this book. it is urgent in these times when trump is no longer just in the rear view but potentially on the horizon and thank you for joining me tonight.
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>> thanks for having me, alex. really appreciate it. >> so the book is called "the divider" for a very specific reason and you guys go in the introduction and sort of set the stage as to why you are calling this book "the divider" and sort of contrast the trump administration to previous administrations. you make note of the fact that george h.w. bush called for a kinder, gentler america. bill clinton vowed to be a repairer of the breach. george w. bush presented himself as a uniter and not a divider. barack obama famously declares there is not a blue america and a red america but the united states of america. now, obviously much of this never came to fruition despite the lofty ambitions but trump very specifically came into office preaching about american carnage and living life on the divide -- living his administration's life if you will on the dividing line that split america down the middle. talk to me a little bit about what you learned in the course of writing this book about how deep seeded that desire to divide truly was within this man who was our president. >> yeah, i think you put your finger on it. obviously other presidents didn't live up to the ambitions as you rightly said but at least they voiced them and believed there was a role for a president in leading the country as a whole. they didn't always, you know, live up to their greatest aspirations but they understood that was something that in the american nature that the leader of the country is supposed to represent all of us. for president trump it was always a strategy to divide. it wasn't just, you know, at a campaign event where you need to attack the opponent. dividing was part and parcel of his presidency from the beginning. dividing the country. dividing his own staff. dividing his party. dividing washington. dividing even at times his own family. it is the nature of who he is. he wasn't the one who caused the polarization in america that we
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see today. he in some ways was a symptom of it but he also of course took advantage of it. he recognized what was already happening in our society, how much we were fragmenting and pulling ourselves apart and into different tribes and that in fact became the launching pad for him to get to the presidency in the first place. >> the reason we focus a lot in the intro on immigration is because it is sort of the perfect capsule for trump's desire to divide, right, this literal border wall. this notion of us versus them. who belongs here. who didn't. and you note in the book that trump believes he won the 2016 election because of immigration. i found that really interesting. i think there are a lot of issues that he stoked fear around but none as forcefully and as effectively as immigration. can you talk more about his remorse that he had to reverse some of the policies like child family separations at the border and his reluctance to actually embrace that reversal? he wanted to go back to the period where agents were tearing
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children away from their parents. >> he believed there was almost nothing that could be done that was too tough when it comes to stopping people coming over the border and targeting immigrants in this country particularly illegal immigrants but also legal immigrants at times. some of the legislation he endorsed would have cut legal immigration to this country as well. it is not just about whether people have broken the law coming in or not. there was a visceral feeling inside the party and he started talking about building the wall at these rallies. he'd love the response he was getting. it encouraged him to go further. he understood he was crystalizing a policy down to these three words, build the
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wall. build the wall. and it was a powerful message to him that galvanized supporters to get people to come to these rallies and get them to vote for him. he needed to be as tough as he possibly could and that meant unleashing people like stephen miller hard liners on immigration who would be relentless in looking for every possible policy way to attack immigration. reducing the refugee cap. you know, getting rid of asylum claims to the extent you possibly could. time and time again president trump would tell her just shut the border. shut it down even though there is no legal authority to do that. when nielsen would tell him that
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he would pound on her and bullying her to the point where she finally told colleagues if she ever wrote a memoir she would call it "honey just do it" because that was trump's attitude. he didn't care if people told him it was illegal and he didn't have the power. he wanted it done and kept pushing and pushing until he found people who would do what he wanted them to do >> i found it staggering. you quote stephen miller at the moment he consolidates power vis-a-vis immigration saying this is my coronation. the sense of entitlement and impunity is breathtaking. can you talk more about the role that stephen miller played in being the architect of this and the sort of monarch if you will when it came to this draconian practice of child separation, family separation? >> stephen miller cared about this issue more than anybody else. as a result he became sort of the one person within the white house who made sure it was on the agenda every possible way it could be. he convened meetings of people from across the administration sometimes even without cabinet secretaries knowing about it. they would discover it only afterwards that miller was pushing some policy with officials who didn't even tell them what was going on. he was a very smart, savvy, bureaucratic player. he figured out how to enact policy to accomplish the goals he wanted to sometimes even if the president himself wasn't fully on board. he was relentless in pushing back against people he thought were weak like kirstjen nielsen, john kelly, anybody else who told him wait a second. let's follow the law here. there are rules and also tradition. he didn't like when people told him he can't do. his idea of this being his coronation when he felt president trump had given him the power, the authority, the mandate to finally enact some of
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these policies he wanted to particularly family separation it was a victory for him. he was the one person if you look back on these four years the one aide who stays on president trump's good side basically the entire time, never finds himself on the outs because he figured out how to manage the president, how to accomplish the things he wanted to accomplish as best they could within the power they had. and to stay on his good side. >> there are plenty of cabinet secretaries and the revolving door at the trump white house has been written about a lot. eventually nielsen leaves and many other people with their reservations leave but to make a point that when the people who sort of understood institutional integrity, who cared about the law, when they leave a vacuum opens up a know that, enter stage right rudy guiliani and sydney powell. specifically you talk at the end of the presidency. ivanka and jared are basically done washing their hands of this presidency and who is left but people who enable him? it is a kind of delicate calculation. i mean maybe not that delicate because people left in the end but there is a down side, right? you're an enabler on one hand if you're in the white house and you have, and who cares about the law but also the last gate keeper to an increasingly reckless president. did you sense there was concern after the fact when these officials left that they had effectively left no one minding the shop once they were gone? >> yeah, this is an enduring theme we came up with time and time again as we were researching this book.
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we did the research on this book after president trump left office. this is the work of 300 interviews we did in the last 18 months trying to learn what we didn't know at the time because people were freer to talk, willing to talk. told us things they didn't tell us at the time. so that is the value of doing a book like this is an after action report. as you point out it is sort of a live action situation because it may not be over. but you're right. time and time again people who work there told us of this struggle that they had within themselves. do they work for a president and administration that they found to be sometimes reckless, sometimes dangerous, pushing the edge of the law, or do they leave? in some cases be replaced by somebody they consider to be worse, somebody who would be more deferential to the president, more willing to do the things they felt were unwise or reckless or illegal? that was the struggle i think a
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lot of them had. you can see that in some cases that is self-justifying, a way of rationalizing a decision because they liked being in power. they liked having top jobs. they had am bigs of their own. sometimes it was a very painful struggle they had over what their responsibility to the country was. and you could see there is a difference. john kelly ends up at war in effect with president trump inside the white house over all these things he thinks are wrong. if he had been there in the last days and last months of the administration what would he have done? would he have allowed people talking about martial law into
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the oval office or would he have thrown himself into the doorway to try to stop them? he might not have stopped what happened over all but certainly would have been less willing to go along with it than his successor at that time mark meadows who in fact did seem to open up the door to almost anybody who wanted in no matter how fringy or conspiratorial they might have been. there is this argument that it did make a difference when people were there who weren't willing to go along with some of the more extreme versions of policy that the president wanted to go along but at a cost to themselves and to others. >> guard rails. the last remaining guard rails. it is critical reading right now, peter. especially as we enter a midterm cycle and another presidential election cycle. peter baker "new york times" chief white house correspondent and coauthor of "the divider, trump in the white house 2017-2021" which comes out tomorrow. thanks for joining us tonight. >> thanks for having me. we have much more ahead this hour. following a particularly questionable moment during a trump rally this past weekend we will take a look at how donald
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trump may be subtly or not so subtly courting followers of the extremist fringe q none conspiracy. but next samantha power one of america's top diplomats joins me live on set as world leaders convene for the first in-person u.n. general assembly in three years. that is next.
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this evening the u.s. senate received a classified briefing from senior biden officials on the situation in ukraine. the house will receive a similar briefing tomorrow morning. this is a complex and pivotal moment in the ukraine war. on the one hand there's been this stunning counteroffensive from ukrainian forces in the country's east. they've reclaimed territory from russia and sent russian troops fleeing. that shift has prompted observers for the first time in months to talk cautiously about ukraine maybe winning the war outright. something that was previously sort of unthinkable. but this was the scene today in one of those newly liberated towns. one that was liberated from russian occupation. more bodies were exhumed from a mass grave in izyum and ukrainian officials say they've recovered 146 bodies so far including many civilians and children. some bodies show evidence of torture and execution. and this one site may contain more than 400 victims.
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the kremlin spokesman today called the whole thing a lie. ukraine is painstakingly gathering evidence in the hopes they can one day prove in court the atrocities committed by the russians are very much real. meanwhile, the downstream collateral effects of the war across europe and the globe are only deepening. they don't look to be going anywhere soon particularly the de stabilization of food and energy supplies. when it comes to the human toll of those ripple effects from the war, the person at the forefront of the u.s. government's response is samantha power. as the head of usaid the country's agency for international development in recent weeks administrator power has been traveling from crisis point to crisis point around the world to places where a combination of natural and political disasters have wrecked infrastructure and caused dangerous food insecurity. all of it is aggravated by
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russia's invasion of ukraine not to mention climate change. samantha power brings to this role a very particular history. she served in the obama administration on the national security council and then as obama's ambassador to the united nations but even before that was widely recognized as one of the world's experts on war crimes and genocide and bringing the perpetrators of those kinds of atrocities to justice. at this precarious moment for ukraine and the world samantha power is here in new york where world leaders are gathering for the u.n. general assembly. i am very pleased to say she joins me in studio now. samantha power, usaid administrator. madame administrator samantha power my friend it is great to see you. >> great to see you. >> i'm going to say it is sort of a terrifying time in the world. i want to start with ukraine and the images of the digging up of
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graves in izyum, of the atrocities that look to have been committed there. do you think as someone who has written the book on this and understands this issue in a deeply emotional, granular way, do you think there is a chance putin will be held accountable for this or anybody will be held accountable i should say? >> it is a great question, and certainly those images, those lives cry out for accountability now from the grave. i'd say this was the biggest worry all along with this conflict is that you would combine a capacity for atrocities if putin had already shown himself capable of in places like aleppo teaming up with the assad regime or backing assad as he gassed people to death with the military prowess of a super power. and when you see the lines being pushed back and every time they are pushed back what is unearthed no pun intended you see the stakes of this conflict. and in term of the accountability question all i can speak to is from my own experience being in bosnia where again you had similar atrocities, mass graves,
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targeted attacks, use of sexual violence, killing of children along with elderly men and women, and the perpetrators just strutted around with that sense of impunity that you see in the territories russian forces have occupied and you've seen in crimea and donbas since 2014. and these names now, you know, became kind of iconic associated with war crimes. and they were so smug and they were so sure and all of the international community could do and did led by the u.s. is document the war crimes, painstakingly interview survivors. those scenes we see in izyum today and bucha not long ago, those are the same scenes we saw play out. and people wondered will it ever go to any constructive use? but even in recent weeks when you hear grumblings of discontent in moscow you start to imagine a scenario where at some point there will be different leadership in russia. just by definition the tables are such that it will happen at some point no matter what. so life is long.
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certainly the sanctions, the export controls, all of those other punishments that have been put in place, accountability becomes part and parcel to any scenario even after a peace agreement where those things get re-examined or loosened. and so the incentive structure changes over time and it's up to the united states and other countries to stick together and to continue to not only document and put yourself in a position to hold people accountable but see the international criminal court process through, see the u.n. human rights council process through. support the osc.
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support, we at usaid support ukrainian ngos on the ground who are now, they've set up 22 offices across the country just painstakingly documenting case after case and there are 15,000 incidents of war crimes that have been documented so far. >> yeah. i think ukraine's top prosecutor said they have identified 34,000 potential war crimes which is just a staggering number. i think that, i mean, that number alone can i think cause some people to be defeatist. i know you're hopeful. you're pragmatic as well. time marches forward. regimes change. but i wonder how much you think disinformation and the current russian posture is a different calculation than, you know, the sort of posture of genocidal leaders in the late '90s right? we are living in a time where the russians can literally take the stance that none of this is happening.
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all of this talk about whether it's war crimes or food insecurity, grain shortages caused by putin's war in ukraine. that is a confection of the west. that's not real. that ability to do and say that and have people believe them seems like a new development or do you think the practice of misinformation may be a different, through different channels but ultimately the same as it was? >> well, i'd say that there's various countries especially those involved in conflict have a history of misinformation. what is different is the hundreds of millions of dollars the russians are investing in media penetration around the world and having traveled for example to kenya, to somalia, to zambia, to malawi, sri lanka, pakistan just in the past couple months i've seen again the information overload by the russian federation through rt and sputnik and these other media, but i don't really get the sense many people are buying it. >> huh. >> now, one piece of evidence came early in the conflict. getting 141 votes to condemn the russian invasion at the united nations may not sound like a lot. there are 193 countries in the u.n.
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but i know first hand from working there most countries want to duck when a hard vote comes up. 141 countries stuck their heads up even though there was coercion and intimidation, harassment, you know, claims that resources were going to be cut off they still took that stand and many countries who abstained and did want to stay on the sidelines and didn't want to antagonize putin of all people you talk to them privately and they're horrified. because every country has an interest in territorial integrity being sacred and in one country not lopping off part of a neighbor militarily. as quaint as that can sound in an era where putin is seeking to do just that i do think it explains even the recent statements by prime minister modi, president xi, and others, there is a lot of discomfort even among those countries whose
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publics are imbibing russian misinformation as occurring of course in china, but, still, the leaders have a sense there is something awful and massively de stabilizing that one country has done to another and thus to the international system. >> the fact that xi and modi are speaking out in their way about this is significant. i have 1,000 other questions to ask you but we don't have time for them. i want to know, i want you to come back so we can talk about pakistan and climate change and how up to the job our aid systems are in terms of the crises we face as a globe. i know you're in town for the u.n. general assembly. we thank you for taking some time out of your very busy and important schedule to share your thoughts with us. thanks for your time as always. >> great to be here. >> usaid administrator and former u.s. ambassador samantha power thanks again. still ahead this hour, just how cozy is donald trump getting with the qanon crowd? scenes from a rally this weekend suggest quite cozy. five years since hurricane maria hit puerto rico hurricane
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fiona has devastated the island with most of the island in the dark tonight. stay with us.
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hurricane fiona is expected to continue to dump water across both puerto rico and the dominican republic throughout tonight. the national hurricane center is warning these rains could produce life threatening and catastrophic flooding along with mudslides and landslides. already one person in the french caribbean island has been confirmed dead. his house literally swept away by the flood and more than a thousand people have been rescued from flooding in puerto rico itself. if you've been watching coverage of the hurricane you have likely already seen this video of a bridge in the central mountain town being washed away by the floods. with power out across the island news outlets still don't have that many visuals to show you what is happening. the video is incredibly emblematic of the overall issue. this bridge is a temporary bridge installed by the national guard after hurricane maria in 2017. it was meant to be temporary. it was meant to be replaced by a permanent bridge that could with stand this sort of thing. but five years later it still
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hadn't happened. efforts to rebuild and fortify the island's infrastructure have been plagued by corruption, mismanagement, political red tape, more storms, and a series of earthquakes. it took 11 months after hurricane maria for all the power to be restored on the island. 11 months. you may remember that the first company puerto rico hired to fix the grid after maria was insanely under qualified for the task. they had a total of two full-time employees but somehow they got a no bid contract to repair the entire island's power lines. that contract was canceled. after that the president of a second company was arrested for bribing a fema official to land a similar contract. both have since pleaded guilty to offering and accepting gifts surrounding that deal. on top of all the contracting scandals it took three years for the trump administration to approve fema funding to rebuild puerto rico's power grid.
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and a lot of that money has still not been spent. as of last month the island's government had only spent about $5.3 billion of the $28 billion fema allocated for post maria recovery. last year after declaring bankruptcy the government run power company privatized and effectively leased its infrastructure to a private company on a 15-year contract. that company was supposed to help repair and fortify the power system but residents say outages are still frequent if not actually worse than before. large protests against the company have become a regular occurrence. just last month puerto rico's governor whose own administration was behind the privatization denounced the company. so as dangerous as it is that puerto rico tonight is without power and clean water, it is unfortunately not unexpected. the governor says he expects restoration will take days not months like hurricane maria. as for water he also hopes that situation will improve by the end of the week. president biden assured puerto rico's governor today the number of federal support personnel on the island would, quote, increase substantially.
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fema's administrator herself is scheduled to travel there tomorrow. tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of hurricane maria devastating the island and the memories are still fresh. we'll be right back.
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and it's easier than ever to get your projects done right. with angi, you can connect with and see ratings and reviews. and when you book and pay throug you're covered by our happiness check out today. angi... and done. on saturday donald trump held a rally for ohio senate candidate jd vance in youngstown, ohio. his most fervent followers showed up as they usually do but also did something they don't normally do. this is a video from that rally. see if you notice anything
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different. >> we are a nation that allowed russia to devastate a country, ukraine, killing hundreds of thousands of people, and it will only get worse. it would never have happened with me as your commander-in-chief. >> you see what the crowd is doing there with their hands? holding up a single finger? the reason all of those people in the crowd were participating in that gesture is likely because that song you heard playing while trump spoke, that song sounds just like a song that is associated with the qanon conspiracy called "where we go one we go all." trump officials denied the song they were playing a the rally was the qanon song. they claim it was a different royalty free song they use at rallies but the crowd at the rally clearly believed what they were hearing was the qanon conspiracy anthem and they were familiar enough with it to make that gesture as it played. four years now we have been watching trump communicate with fringe and extremist groups using dog whistles, some none
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too subtle. he famously told the proud boys to stand back and stand by during the 2020 election and a few weeks later refused to disavow qanon at an nbc news town hall. >> let me ask you about qanon. it is this theory that democrats are a satanic pedophile ring and that you are the savior of that. now can you just once and for all state that that is completely not true? disavow qanon in its entirety? >> i know nothing about qanon >> i just told you. >> i know very little. >> you told me but what you tell me doesn't necessarily make it fact. i hate to say that. i know nothing about it. i do know they are very much against pedophelia. they fight it very hard. >> like i said, we have seen
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some of this before from trump. but after january 6th seeing trump appear to openly court qanon feels dangerous. after all, qanon's beliefs are far stranger and even more fringe than your run of the mill election denialism. they believe the democratic party is full of secret satan worshiping pedophiles. when donald trump was tweeting complaints about mueller's russia investigation qanon adherents were promoting wild conspiracy mueller was secretly working with trump to arrest hillary clinton. they not only believe trump is still president but also one day joe biden will be forcibly removed from office and trump will be reinstated as commander-in-chief. it is these kinds of beliefs that often lead people to dismiss the qanon movement especially when there are other explicitly violent groups to deal with. there were plenty of qanon followers leading the charge on january 6 as well and their movement has far more reach than the other groups.
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last year a poll by the research institute found qanon has become as popular as some major religions with 15% of americans saying they believe the u.s. is secretly controlled by a cabal of satan worshiping pedophile. 15% of the country. if donald trump is now courting the legions of q followers openly in public rallies how concerned should we all be? joining us now is jonathan greenblatt, the national director and ceo of the antidefamation league. jonathan, i find this staggering. as if we've all been sleeping and not realized the sort of poison that has come in with the tide and the degree to which it has spread all over this country. how has this happened? how has qanon gotten this kind of reach? >> qanon goes back to 2017 when it first showed up on sort of a corner of the web that was favored by extremists. and q, this supposed government insider, who couldn't reveal his identity, started doing q drops
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where he would share information and again he started to contrive these -- he, she, it -- started to contrive these wild conspiracies. that as you said there was a cabal of pedophiles, satan worshiping pedophiles manipulating the deep state in order to change the country. so this started to gain steam when their followers, anones hence qanon started spreading the stuff on to gab, reddit, on to youtube, on to twitter and facebook and really all over social media. >> now what it feels like we're seeing is a kind of dovetailing of the forces right? >> oh, yeah. >> so the proud boys, the oath keepers, qanon, various elected representatives in the republican party. >> yes. >> are all seeing kind of the same things about stolen elections about trump being the rightful leader and it feels
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like that has helped, like launch this paranoid conspiracy fear mongering into the main stream of the republican party. >> yeah. i think conspiracy theories have become the coin of the realm where more people are getting news from tiktok or twitter than from television or the times. we are really in a moment. qanon has preyed on this and as you make the point spread dramatically because none of the normal filters or barriers that would push out such craziness are there to mediate it. so look. at adl we track extremists and i can tell you right now the extremists are celebrating. they're celebrating on gab, on fork chen, and what remains of those sites, celebrating on truth social. they feel validated because qanon after january 6th didn't come to pass. after trump actually wasn't the president on january 21st, 2021 they were in decline or a kind of recession but they tried to build upon the covid-19 and the antivaxxer movement and now they're trying to, seeing this as a moment in time where they can come back into the main stream. >> how much does this all
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conspire to increase their numbers? the investigations into trump, the search of mar-a-lago, the antigovernment rhetoric that trump is stoking. >> sure. >> you know, i'm sure claims of a stolen 2022 midterm election. how much does that then circulate more juice into the qanon -- >> this is what is so frightening about conspiracy theories. anything sort of validates and proves them right? and qanon is almost a cult. they are unwilling to see the reality even though it is right in front of them so indeed to your point all these different factors, they play into their minds as if, oh, this validates this shadow conspiracy that's manipulating things. look at adl again. we track conspiracies. we fight anti-semitism and there is a lot of anti-semitism in this movement. the blood libel, theories about power and manipulation. this is as if it came right out of the protocols of the elders of zion.
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a shadowy cabal of globalist manipulating events and this is why we should all be scared. this isn't normal. to have one of the two major parties of the united states trafficking in this? hosting things on his social media that the storm is coming? i mean, this is an apocalyptic idea, alex. they feel like there is some armageddon coming. it is not just that joe biden will not be the president. he should be tried and executed in public. >> yes. >> along with hillary clinton and chuck schumer and all these other perceived enemies. >> the idea that these enemies should be summarily executed, hung, whatever is -- all of this should terrify everybody. >> this isn't normal and we're all like frogs in the boiling water. and you know we think oh, trump, what harm can he do? but this is incredibly harmful. it's like a child playing with explosive chemicals. because the reality is that we've seen examples of where qanon has inspired violence.
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we've seen people killed by individuals who are motivated by these qanon ideas. so i think this is the moment for republicans, responsible republicans and people in public, you know, public figures to step up and finally say stop. enough. this has got to end. >> 15% of the country believes this stuff is real. jonathan greenblatt, the national director and ceo of the adl antidefamation league, thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you. >> we will be right back. >> we will be right back
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before we go, i have some very happy news to share. i and the whole team want to congratulate our beloved senior producer jen the wind beneath our wings and her husband matt on the newest member of their family, meet brendan. brendan was born this morning and clocked in at a whopping 6 pounds and 13 ounces. mom says he is, quote, the chillest little guy ever. you got a good one, jen. and congratulations of course are also in order to big brother liam who is now promoted to the official title of big brother. we are sending you guys all of
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our love, jen, matt, liam, and brendan. we'll have an ice cream party when you come back to work. now, that is the way to start the week. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. rachel will be back here next monday. "way too early" is coming up next. >> i, you know, in the cloak room on january 6th, before the attack happened, there were so many who wanted to show they were objecting that they set up the signup sheets in the cloak room. as i was sitting there, a member came in and he signed his name on each one of the states sheets and then he said under his breath, the things we do for the orange jesus. and i thought, you know, you're taking an act that is unconstitutional. >> republican congresswoman liz cheney sharing an


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