tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC January 6, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PST
good morning. i'm hallie jackson reporting live from capitol hill, back with you with msnbc's special coverage of this history making day, with joe biden set to official, again, become the next president of the united states. democrats inching closer to regaining control of the senate. in just under two hours from now, you're going to see lawmakers convene in a joint session of congress in the building behind me. that's ahead of a vote to sign off of president-elect joe biden's electoral college victory over president trump. republicans are expected to throw up some of those procedural roadblocks. it's only going to delay the inevitable. don't tell that to president trump. he's about to speak any minute to supporters gathered at the white house. he's leaning hard on vice president pence to shrug off his constitutional duty and reject the legitimate votes for joe biden. we'll talk to two senators on where this goes. speaking of the senate, this is
the race that will decide whether democrats take control of it. you have democrat jon ossoff leading republican senator david perdue in that key georgia runoff race. it's still too close to call at this hour. however night, nbc news projected raphael warnock the winner, making him the first black senator to represent georgia. our team is following all this for us. msnbc national political correspondent steve kornacki is at the big board. leigh ann caldwell is posted up on capitol hill. kelly o'donnell is at the ellipse next to the white house. historic win for reverend warnock. everybody looking at the race between david perdue and jon ossoff. it's going to control which party controls the senate given kamala harris' role that will be the tie-breaking vote as vice president-elect. we've been waiting for critical votes to come in. where does that stand? >> still waiting on the vote. the setup for this looks pretty
clear-cut. jon ossoff, the democrat, has a lead of 17,000 votes. what we're waiting on is some counties in georgia still have mail-in ballots, vote-by-mail ballots to be reported out. for instance, right here in the atlanta and immediate atlanta area there are about 30,000 of them across these full counties, about 30,000 we think mail ballots that they have to tabulate and report out. but mail ballots in the atlanta metro area in particular, a very democratic area, vote-by-mail bol lots tend to be democratic. i think it's very reasonable to expect ossoff will be extremely well with the mail ballots that come from this atlanta metro area. there's also a few thousand to come from the savannah area in chatham county. there's a scattering from elsewhere in the state. there are probably about 8,000 provisional ballots or so.
about 17,000 military and overseas ballots. the overseas ballots, the provisional ballots, those are not counted for several days. what you're seeing here in terms of what's left of the mail vote is a clear opportunity for ossoff to expand this lead. it is hard to see where purdue to erase the advantage ossoff has and is poised to bill. the key thing is half a point. if ossoff can build that lead to over half a point, it takes it out of the potential recount zone as well. >> if you are on david perdue's campaign, if you're looking at these same numbers, is there anything, well, maybe we have hope on x, y or z? >> 17,000 military ballots, military/overseas ballots, if you're the perdue campaign, you might hope you'd do better with ossoff there. there's also the provisional ballots. the provisional ballots we know are likely to be very heavily democratic group, too. it is hard to see where
perdue -- 17,000 now. it's easy to see it get significantly higher than 17,000. it's hard to see where or how perdue would erase that. >> steve kornacki at the big board. thank you very much. i want to come back to where we are on capitol hill. leigh ann caldwell is in the building behind me where in a couple hours congress is expected to officially count the electoral votes for solidifying joe biden's win. you know you still have this insurgent republican uprising, senators, house republicans, planning the object. do you have any new reporting on what you expect today or how this might go down? >> reporter: hallie, what we'll be looking for is the six states that republicans and the president have been complaining about and when the designated members of congress tick through the electoral college count, you should wait to listen to objections in those six states. the first is arizona because that is at the top of the
alphabet. when that happens, if there is a republican in the house and the senate that submits their objection in writing, that is when the debate takes place. that is when we know that house republicans at least are going to be referencing this 41-page memo that we obtained, that nbc news obtained that outlines their argument really. it ticks through a lot of complaints about changing the election law to allow mail-in voting because of the pandemic. there is not a lot of evidence in this 41-page memo. meanwhile, the democrats are prepared to talk about the constitutionality of congress's role today which is just to count the votes and also respond to the republican claims. at the end of that debate, hallie, that's when the senate and the house have to take a vote on each objection, and that is when those objections are going to go down, of course,
because the house is controlled by democrats in the senate. only 13 republicans have signified they would object, nowhere near the simple majority that is necessary. then they come back and do it all over again for the next state that there could be an objection to. look for georgia and so on. hallie, in what is supposed to be an hour or two process could take deep, deep into the night. the outcome will definitely be the same. joe biden is the winner of the 2020 election, hallie. >> it is entirely possible lee ann, that you and i will have the same conversation with this process still not finished. over to kelly o'donnell near the ellipse at the white house. any moment the president is going to be speaking with his supporte supporters. he has a very clear message here. he wants the vice president to try to do something in the process leigh ann is talking about. the vice president doesn't have the power to do anything.
>> reporter: this is all about pressure and perhaps prequel to what will be happening. the president is expected to make that case. so far we've heard from two of his sons and other supporters who have been hammering a message of fight. donald trump, jr., says the size of this gathering, the energy that is here, should be a message to those elected republicans on capitol hill that in trump junior's words, this is the party of donald trump and not their party anymore. also saying, a warning shot to all of them that, if they don't do what the trump supporters want, they will face a primary and will lose their seats in the future. so a very heavy-handed tone here about fighting, fighting for president trump, fighting against republicans who do not support him. i expect we'll hear some of that
from the president himself. he called on these supporters from around the country to come here, to show up for him. they certainly have. this is sort of a rally atmosphere, but it has a different energy, clearly affected by the november election and what's happened in georgia. many of these supporters believe some of the information they're being given here about stolen election. that is a widely held view for this group. and rudy giuliani was among those speaking here who said what they are calling for today, he claimed, was legal and appropriate as you've heard and we've been discussing on air today, the constitution has limits to that. folks here want to see something that goes even further. hallie. >> kelly o'donnell live there at a raucous national mall. leigh ann caldwell, thank you as well. i want to bring in senator kirsten gillibrand. great to have you on the show.
good morning. >> good morning. >> lots to talk about. you'll be in the room where vice president pence will preside. he's under enormous pressure to reject the votes for joe biden. what are your expectations? >> i think this is basically a photo op for republicans who want to run for president. it is an opportunity for them to stand up to the will of the people and to put themselves behind president trump. it is outrageous. the american people have spoken. we will have president biden and vice president harris, and we will begin to govern. we will do everything we can to defeat covid-19 as well as rebuild this country's economy. >> is it your expectation -- could this thing go off the rails? you talk about how this is in your view a photo op for potential presidential candidates on the gop side. do you think all hell is going to break loose?
>> i don't. i think there is a process. it's a formality. this election results have been certified in every state. many of the election challenges went through and president trump was clearly defeated and found that his claims were unfounded. so this is truly just going through the motions. i'm not concerned that it will change the results in any way. but we are here in the senate today to do our duty and meet our responsibilities to conduct this process. but i do not believe it will change any outcome. president trump is still the only person who doesn't understand that he has lost this election. >> we were having this conversation as you are on the precipice, poe tenlly, of being part of the senate majority, with democrats poised to maybe take over the senate if jon ossoff can maintain his lead over senator david perdue in
georgia. there will be i'm kagtss legislatively from a policy perspective. there's not a big window, a couple years, that democrats will certainly have control of the senate. what is top of the priority list as relates to the democrats and the biden agenda? >> first, i want to congratulate chuck shooub schumer and katherine cortez in winning this majority -- >> senator, i don't want to interrupt you. you said winning the majority. we're not quite there yet. >> we are going to win the majority. i'm very optimistic. when we do win the majority, i think the first thing we will do is a robust covid relief package. new york state is suffering as is every other state in this country. we will try to get checks into family's pocketbooks so they can put food on the table and they can provide for their families. we will give relief to cities and states that have been
desperate for federal money to make sure our frontline workers and our emergency responders can have the resources they need, and then we will do the hard work of rebuilding the economy, creating jobs, building infrastructure, making sure we have job training, and importantly, in this moment of vaccines, we want to have a health department force. this is something that joe biden believes in it's part of his platform and legislation i'm working on with many senators. what it would do is train thousands -- hundreds of thousands of workers to actually administer the vaccines around the country and do the contact tracing that still needs to be done. there's a long way to go to beat covid. but we will be able to govern and get the resources where they need to go. >> now, fair to say, right? perhaps easier said than done, no matter which party you're on,
the work of governing is sometimes messy. look what happened when mitch mcconnell got through the nomination of amy coney barrett to the supreme court. you had progressives talking about ending the filibuster, possibly expanding the court. do you believe that's something your party should be focusing on the, in fact, the senate majority becomes yours? >> i think the first thing we're going to do is covid relief and economic relief. we'll look at all issues, of course. when you're in the majority, that's what your responsibility isment we do need to reform the senate so it's more efficient and effective. we need to get things done. that means starting from a place of bipartisanship, from a place of bringing people together. as joe biden has said, he wants to heal this country and heal the soul of america which i believe he'll do. >> you said something there about looking at potential reforms. does that include in your book maybe ending the filibuster? >> it's something we're going to study and look at. it's something that we have a responsibility to do.
i don't know the outcome of that review, but it's something we will look at. we want to make sure that we can get things done and really deliver for the american people. it's one of the most important things that we need to do over the next year. >> before i let you go, and i'm almost out of time here, senator. any message you have for somebody who is going to be joining you in the democratic senator ranks, reverend raphael warnock, america's first black senator. it's projected he's won the race. >> i can't wait to congratulate reverend warnock. he is the 11th black senator in our nation's history. i can't believe that he's coming straight from ebenezer baptist church which is such a church and faith community of extraordinary history. i think he's going to bring common sense to the senate and he will be able to bring people together and try to begin to restore what's been lost over these last four years.
>> senator kerstin gillibrand. thank you for joining us on what i know is a busy morning and day for you. >> my pleasure. >> we're keeping an eye on the uncalled senate race between ossoff and perdue. we do know we're about to get an update on the election from the georgia secretary of state. we'll bring that to you when it happens. first, we've been talking about president trump set to speak to supporters any minute at the protest in d.c. we'll take you live to what's happening in that crowd just hours before congress starts counting the electoral college votes, a process that most years is not complicated at all. check it out, this past example. >> we, a member of the house of representatives and a united states senator object to the counting of the electoral votes of the state of ohio on the grounds that they were not under all of the known circumstances regularly given.
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president trump is getting ready to speak with his supporters outside the white house. hundreds of protesters have been on the streets of the capitol ahead of today's electoral college count. so far we've been standing up here, things pretty peaceful. every city police officer and the national guard have been mobilized. nbc's yasmin vossoughian is watching the scene of freedom plaza. you're doing a little way from the national mall. i know you've been talking to some of these folks. what are their expectations for today? >> reporter: -- they want to see vice president mike pence have that we know he doesn't have to. i'm out here since early this morning. you can see thousands of folks streaming down towards
constitution avenue behind me all morning, non-stop, trump supporters wanting to go to the state of america rally. behind me, as miguel is going to spin around, 30,000 individuals inside that arena over there in the ellipse sis. that's where donald trump will be speaking in just a couple moments. whip around towards the washington monument, thousands of folks on that capitol hill, that's where the mall is. i'm not overestimating this thing, hallie. they're expecting a lot of people out here. as you mentioned, the d.c. metro police, the national guard are all out in force in case something happens. at this point, everything seems mainly peaceful. i did have the opportunity to speak to a couple of different folks out there asking them what they want to see happen today. let's take a listen to that. >> what do you want to see happen today? what do you want from the vice president? >> let's hope and pray he does
the right thing. >> which is what? >> the right thing would be for him to choose the electoral votes. >> we think this election was rigged, there's fraud. we want to see the evidence. >> there's no biden supporters. there's trump supporters and there's trump haters. >> hallie, it's interesting. i got up the morning thinking how are things going to be different today considering what happened overnight in the senate. it seemed as if, as i was talking to a lot of folks out here, they don't even care about the senate results this morning. they are focused on mainly donald trump and wanting to see this election overturned. secondly i asked them, are you going to recognize joe biden as the president of the united states come january 20th, and many of them have been telling me they don't recognize joe biden as legitimate next president of this country because they don't recognize this election even. i do want to make one more note.
we're in the midst of a pandemic, over 350,000 people have died in this country during this pandemic. a lot of folks out here are not wearing masks. i continue to ask them about that and why they're not wearing masks. they feel it's because it's an infringement on their own personal liberties. we'll be out here all day. hopefully things will remain peaceful. >> yasmin, thank you. of course, masks are a public health initiative. joe biden will be the legitimately elected president. as for the georgia races, i want to take you there now. election official gabe sterling is speaking. >> -- need to be united to get through a tough fight like this, in a state trending, from the point of republicans, the other direction for years now. let's remember stacey abrams who is yet to concede the 2018 race came within 50,000 votes of winning that race. we need a june need team, with a june need message looking to the future.
i believe a cnn commentator pointed out, if you looked over the last two months, the president of the united states spent more time attacking governor kemp and senator raffensperger than raphael warnock. >> -- >> it irritates me. >> what are the numbers you've seen about votes that are still outstanding -- if ossoff does win -- >> right now we look at 60,470 that are available to come in for that. that number will go up as they continue to process ballots. it makes it look like jon ossoff will likely have a margin outside of the .5% to avoid a recount. reverend warnock is ahead of him right now. if ossoff avoids the recount, so does reverend warnock. >> is there a breakdown -- >> these are all absentees. one of the other things we're
asking for the counties is to get in the provisional ballots. we know in fulton and dekalb they're in the thousands. there's an issue where many democrat turnout machines say go to any precinct. in this particular election it doesn't matter as much because every precinct had the same people on the ballot. we have to make sure people get out of the habit of doing that. if you vote out of precinct in the regular election, you're disenfranchising voters when you train them to do that. >> you're saying we don't have a read right now, total provisional ballots there are? >> no, we don't. we can spit ball it. it will probably be somewhere south of 10,000. steve. >> are you concerned at all about blurring the line between -- with some of the comments you made over the last 24 hours and the way that might be interpreted once the results are -- >> yeah, on occasion. people ask my personal opinion. this is one of those things
where it's a well blended position. i'm a well-known republican. i think with the way this office conducted itself, it would have been a lot easier to go along with the presidential claims than to stand up for the truth. i understand people have that question. last i checked, i'm an american, i have a first amendment right to answer some of these things. i try to separate from my role here and when i answer a political question. every human being has opinions. i tend to be a little more honest about what i think of them. i think it gives me more credibility. yes. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> we're down to about 14,000 outstanding. it's the military and overseas. it's 14,000 available and to remind everybody, those that can be postmarked by yesterday can be received and accepted by friday. historically it's going to be more than zero that come in, a lot less than 14,000 that come
in. hey, mark. didn't see you back there. >> very high election day turnout, higher than the presidential election. why do you think that is? what's the explanation for such high election day turnout after good, but not that good, early turn out? >> a couple of things happened there. in the primary in june we have 880,000 show up. in the general election we had 970,000, i'm spit balling here. i have a lot of numbers in my head. 1.3 million showed up yesterday. part of that was, again, the president encouraging republicans not to use mail or early vote options. some people are going to skip it altogether. what we saw happen on monday, tuesday, wednesday, was the areas that had seen depressed turnout compared to metro areas started to show up. what happened in some partisan circles on the republican side, started dawning on them, oh, crap, we're going to lose this if we don't turn out. there was a real big push to get people out the last day.
the democrats did a very good job of banking their votes early and using options available to georgians for over a decade. there was nothing new here. these are all tools that have been available. coronavirus changed some voting patterns and behaviors. georgia is historically an in-person voting state. i think part of it is people getting used to doing it again. the threat of coronavirus while it's going up many some people has perceived it's going down. just let me say this, for the election workers and the launching of a new system, this state, this office and these counties launched the largest new voting system in the history of the united states and did it in record time, executed it well in the middle of a pandemic and had record turnout in each and every election we saw. that is unprecedented. i wanted to give a big thank you to election officials, poll workers and election workers who really worked their tails off to make this a successful election for georgians.
one of the things we haven't heard about, nobody was complaining about lines. nobody is saying they were disenfranchised. everybody who wanted to vote had an opportunity to vote. we feel very proud of that fact. >> have you looked at whether election day turnout requires an expected or lower than expected in republican or democratic area? >> i haven't had an opportunity to do a breakdown. we've been trying to stay on the counties and work with them -- like i said before, fast is good, accurate is better. analysis can come later to see the specifics. we want to make sure we get the right results out to take away the opportunity for people to say there was fraud and there's questions to be had about these things. these are the results. these are the ballots. we have known since last week, since last friday that there were going to be 2,703,000 votes that would be cast. that's how many were cast. the president continues to say they're finding ballots. no. we have known that dekalb county had those ballots since friday
evening, saturday morning. the statements he keeps putting out there undermine people's faith in the election process. this is a bay partisan problem. if you go back to polls of 2016 of democratic voters, there are 50% that believe they flipped votes for donald trump. that didn't happen. dominion machines did not flip votes for joe biden. neither of those things happened. everybody on both sides of the aisle who continue to make these kind of claims undermine the election process in the country, undermine democracy and undermine the health of the republic. >> have you received any inquiries or complaints from either of the -- any of the candidates on anything that has happened thus far. >> i think it's a little early. there may be legitimate questions out there from people. it's our job to answer them as frankly as we can with the facts as best we can, as quickly as we can. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> we made a request of them.
in georgia, the cutoff time to receive absentee ballots other than military and overseas is 7:00 p.m. on election day. that's when the drop boxes get locked down and the mail comes in. nothing else can come in after that. so while they're busy doing election day activities, it's hard to say we'll have a group of people over here, you go deal with absentee ballots. some of these counties are underresourced. they're focused on getting one thing done at a time. we're asking them, account for all the ballots you have in so we can tell the press and the press can tell the voters this is the number of ballots we can have to count. we know where there actually is or it can give the press and political talking heads the opportunity to make a call and in this particular case, the last couple of calls to be made are in the psc race and the ossoff/perdue race. yes, ma'am. >> [ inaudible question ].
>> not yet. but i will say one tling. it was an impressive feat by whoever did it to get 100,000 people to show up on a january election who did not show up in a november election. that is probably the margin -- my assumption is those are probably democrat voters. that's a testament to hard work done while republicans were busy attacking the governor and my boss, the democrats were out there knocking on doors and getting people to turn out to vote. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> i haven't had a chance to dig deep. but people i trust have stated that so i will accept it as likely true. that's the area where we believe congresswoman marjorie taylor green along with the president through their actions discouraged voting by republican voters which ended up hurting republican senators.
>> [ inaudible question ]. >> frankly, all of them did. this is a runoff. we had 4.3 million votes cast, almost 4.4. 5 million in the general election. that's unheard of. in 2018 we had 4 million cast in the original. in the runoff there was 1.485 million. the record previously for a runoff was 2.1 million was saxby chambliss. when you spend a half billion dallas of money from out of state, you can get people to turn out. that's another thing that's a little different than most runoffs. one more. >> you were very complimentary of how things went with the lines, no wait. is there intention from the secretary of state's office to keep some of ez that methods that were 3u9 in place for covid-19 that obviously made it a lot easier for more people to vote? >> all these methods have been available for decades in this
state. the one thing that makes it difficult on the counties is the increased use of the absentee process. essentially there's a three-week period where they have to run three elections at a time. you have to run the three weeks of early voting, then an absentee ballot program that literally by law runs 45 days beforehand. you're running that the entire time. about two weeks before the actual election you have to do the processes of the general election. these people are understaffed, they're underpaid, underresourced. so something has to give on that one. right now we have no excuse absentee. we may see a move to an excuse-based system, by having a specific photo id or unique p.i.n., driver's license, state id as a specific identifier that is binary as opposed to a signature match which can be viewed as subjective and kind of undermines people's faith to a degree. we're going to see reforms.
i guarantee that. one of the things i will say, this is one of the easiest states to register, one o of the easiest states to vote. very easy to vote and very hard to cheat. yes, ma'am. >> recap a situation in fulton county yesterday and the lawsuit that was filed in terms of the monitors. >> yeah. georgia rural congress center, that's a big place. it's a difficult thing to allow people to move in and around the stuff you're doing. fulton did a few extra things that i think were inappropriate. the intention of the law is to allow monitors and the public to view the voting process. that includes signature match, that includes counting. that includes all of that. unfortunately fulton county put up opaque barriers so you couldn't see anything. their argument, and there's push and pull with this, the state mandates you protect the personal identifying information of individual voters and the secrecy of their vote. that's one side. it also says, hey, you have to let everybody see what's going
on. you have to have a balance between those things. in our opinion and the court's opinion fulton county went a little too much on the side of keeping monitors away. the judge entered a consent order with the republican party, i think the fulton county republican party and fulton county. they kind of split the baby. keeping 20 feet away, they went 10 feet. they allowed some better viewing. we believe sunlight and transparency is better for people to secure. at 1:00 in the afternoon we recent, here is a state election board rule and the code section. you need to be -- we don't say go talk to your county attorney and make better situations about how you're letting people view these things. in the future, we hope there will be better practices and hopefully we went have jgiganti rural congress-type center things. thank y'all very much. >> i'm sorry. >> you're the kid in class,
aren't you? >> that's why i became a journalist. the psc candidate, republican incumbent won, more votes than it looks like at this point. >> about 38,000 more than senator loeffler and -- >> put on your republican hat again. what do you make of that? >> it went that there were people who didn't vo-- probably republicans who decided not to vote for the two republican incumbents. >> you have been listening to gabe sterling, of course familiar to many of us as one of the top elections officials in the state of georgia, giving an interesting update. we have called the race here for raphael warnock over senator kelly loeffler. we have not called the race between jon ossoff, the democrat, and republican david perdue.
i thought it was interesting, steve, of the several headlines we heard, and there will be time to talk about the political piece of this, this republican elections official giving kudos to the democrats for turnout. we talked about numbers. he said he believes that there will be a margin for jon ossoff that is beyond that recount percentage, that half a percentage. what did you take away from that? >> i think that's very consistent with what we've been outlining in terms of where we understand the remaining vote to be. he alluded to this. i think the idea is about 60,000 absentee, 60,000 vote-by-mail to come in. i think about two-thirds of those are going to come from within this zone of blue counties you see right here in the atlanta area. the biggest single -- you've got about 18,000, a little less than 18,000 that are going to be right there in dekalb county, overwhelmingly democratic. henry county, democratic county,
less than 10,000 mail ballots will come from there. about 6,000 from cobb county. about 5,000 more are going to come from fulton county, and about 5,000 more from gwinnett county. every one of these counties is a democratic county in that election. remember, you see 60% for ossoff in gwinnett county. we're talking about a very particular type of ballot. we're talking about vote-by-mail ballots. this is consistent across the board in this state, everywhere across the country. the vote-by-mail ballots tend to be much more democratic on average than election day votes and early votes. when i say you've got 40,000 or so votes from these atlanta metro areas, they're going to be even more democratic than you're seeing -- even more than 60% democratic i think you can expect. >> if and when that margin gets beyond the half a percentage point, what would senator
perdue's options be at that point? >> he needs that to be within half a point to trigger the recount. >> there's nothing else he could do. he couldn't pigts the secretary of state and say i think there's been irregularities? is that a possibility? >> that's where you get into a little of what we've seen. i don't know if you want to go down that road. is there any litigation? would they make any allegation, would they try to substance ate in court. i haven't heard them put anything specific out there. if you're outside of that zone for the recount, i think you've got to point to something and be able to litigate it. >> steve kornacki, thank you for breaking it down for us. speaking of georgia, atlanta mayor keisha lance bottoms joining us now. thank you for being with us this morning. >> thank you for having me. >> we just heard from gabe sterling. we are breaking down the numbers with steve kornacki as you just heard, too, on jon ossoff and
david perdue. nbc news projecting that race is still too close to call at this point. do you expect this to be wrapped up potentially as early as today. what's your sense? >> i do. we had so many people across the state who early voted. there was a group, battleground georgia, that focused just on turning out people who didn't vote in november. i think you're seeing those numbers show up, and thankfully in the metro area the turnout was very strong. >> what about reverend raphael warnock, he has been projected the winner. he would be your state's first black senator, happened to the pastor at the same church where martin luther king jr. breacpre, john lewis attended. >> it's an extraordinary moment. no one puts it better than dr. warnock when he talks about his mother who picked cotton, and
those same hands going to vote for him for senator. it is just -- it's an extraordinary moment, not just for our city but for our state and obviously for the entire country. people cared about this runoff election in the way that we often don't see excitement around runoff elections. again, there were people who turned out to vote who didn't turn out in november to vote. it was a very intentional effort. i think it really speaks to where we are as a state. there are questions and whether or not we were a purple state. i firmly believe that with these results, you can put georgia in the blue column. >> mayor bottoms, thank you for being with us this morning. we appreciate it. we've been covering all this developing news on the hill. we'll take you over to the senate gallery because senator chuck schumer is speaking and potentially taking questions. >> georgia just elected its
first african-american to the united states senate in its history. jon ossoff has been on the groundworking it for years. he was never daunted. persistent and never gave up. i'm so proud of both of their campaigns and so excited to welcome them to the united states senate. i also want to especially thank senator katherine cortez mass stow, our amazing chair and all the great staff who work at the dscc and a shout-out to two members who right after election day went down to georgia, spercht the spent their christmas and new year's holidays there, christy roberts and laura pasolokwa. a great shout-out to stacey abrams and her whole team at
firefight georgia. for ten years she and her team amend so many of the black women's groups worked and worked and worked to change georgia. stacey would be the first to tell you she didn't do it alone. so a huge thank you to the many organizations who had been working so hard for so many years to get this moment. of courts, none of this would be possible without the hundreds of thousands of organizers and volunteers who put their time, sweat -- >> you have been listening to senator chuck schumer, of course, speaking after we are getting some results in, some results still tbd from those georgia senate runoff races. we'll keep this up live because we think he might take questions here. i want to check in with nbc's kasie hunt. the person on our screen right now is maybe poised to become the majority leader in the senate if, in fact, jon ossoff can retain the lead he has over david perdue in georgia right
now. >> reporter: that's right, hallie. frankly, it wasn't necessarily anything that i think people here on capitol hill were expecting. there is a sense of surprise here this morning as we head into what is obviously a pretty difficult and divisive day with republicans planning to challenge some of the electoral college electors here in what is a pro forma process. instead, we also have this potential shift in power if, in fact, ossoff does end up being declared the winner in that race and we call the senate for democrats. this, of course, changes a lot of things for democrats here in washington. they would come into power in the senate. they would have control over committees, although we'll remind everyone that, if this is a 50/50 split which is what would happen if democrats controlled it, they would have to come up with likely a power sharing agreement of some kind to figure out how things would work up here. it wouldn't be quite the same as
if they had a 51-seat majority. but the incoming vice president, kamala harris, is going to be breaking ties in a democratic senate even under that 50/50 proposition. that means in particular we'll see a whole different set of issues come to the floor in congress. that's the most significant difference in terms of where power lies. if mitch mccome would contrnnell the floor, that's a different scenario. >> chuck schumer is taking some questions. let's listen. >> the number one credit i give to winning is our two candidates and our campaigns and the issues they campaigned on. they wanted to help the american people. president trump, the republican senators kept playing games. people want help. they want boeltd action. i think they realized that the two democratic senators in georgia would join a democratic caucus that wanted to do it.
>> thank you, senator. you're making it sound like the $2,000 check will be your first major piece of legislation. will it be limited -- >> i'm not going to get into either prioritizing or details. i said what i said about the checks. it's one of the first things we want to do once our new senators are seated. they campaigned on it. next. >> leader schumer, the last time there was a 50/50 senate there was a power sharing agreement. do you foreshadow that happening between you and senator mcconnell? >> i look forward to sitting down with leader mcconnell. we have a lot of things we have to discuss. we have to wait until the races are certified and the new senators are here and vice president kamala is in the chair before we can put anything in place. certainly we'll have to talk. yes. >> have you spoken with leader mcconnell yet? >> not this morning, no.
>> and the question about the $2,000 checks, are you envisioning a larger package? >> as i told you, it's one of the first things we want to do. our georgia senators campaigned on it. our caucus is strongly for it. we think the american people need it. >> leader schumer, how does this change the calendar? how does this change the way forward on nominees at this point? >> we haven't -- look, obviously with democratic control the ability of joe biden to move nominations forward will be easier. the calendar i haven't begun to look at yet. last one. >> can you expound a little bit about the moment that you found out you would be the majority leader and second, progressives are still pushing you to nuke the legislative filibuster. can you make that promise right now? >> we senate democrats know we face some of the -- one of the greatest crises americans have. we're united in wanting big,
bold change and we'll sit down as a caucus and discuss the best ways to get that done. the first question? >> -- >> i was sitting at home in brooklyn watching my television. at about midnight, having talked to ossoff about three or four times and warnock several times, i realized that even though he was behind by a couple thousand votes that all the votes that were coming in were going to be democratic votes and the odds were very, very high that he would win. and wow, who would have thought? as i said, this is not the path we chose to get here, but we're here. thank you, everybody. >> were you surprised by the result? >> you have been listening, of course, to senator chuck schumer, democratic senator there. i want to thank kasie hunt who was speaking with us before. i want to bring in senator bob casey of pennsylvania, one of the states we'll be watching
when congress counts the electoral college votes soon. senator, thank you for being with us. good morning. >> good to be with you. thank you. >> lots to talk about the electoral college count piece. but let me ask you, senator schumer very confident that jon ossoff is going to win this race in clear for our viewers, nbc news has not called that race yet for jon ossoff over senator david perdue. with the concern we heard back in november about candidates declaring victory too soon, are you at all concerned about the optics here, do you think maybe you just hold off until the race is called or are you comfortable with this? >> it appears to me, and i'm certainly not a georgia expert, but listening to steve kornacki and others, i've talked to some people this morning who know the data better than i. where the votes are still outstanding seem to be very favorable to jon ossoff. so i don't think it's a precipitous claim to say that we'll have two georgia democratic senators. >> we can talk about what that means from a governing perspective, but before we get to the governing, you've got to get through what's happening
today. of course in the halls of the building behind me here, in the halls of the capitol. your fellow senator from pennsylvania, republican of course pat toomey, has opposed the move by some of his gop colleagues to object to the electoral vote count. what do you anticipate today, will you have a role in any of this? >> hallie, when and if, and i think the question is only when, they get to the objection that relates to pennsylvania, that's when i will have a chance, under the statute, each senator who speaks has only five minutes, which is pretty rare, as you know, in the senate. and senator toomey will as well along with others. so we will speak in opposition to the objection. two points are relevant. one is, when we get through this process, joe biden and kamala harris are going to be president and vice president in a couple of days. these objections will be defeated. it will take many, many hours. this could go into tomorrow
morning, all the way through, there will be no break. number two is, these objections are based upon a lie, a falsehood about how the election was conducted. but we're going to defeat these objections. >> and do you anticipate taking perhaps -- you said five minutes for the different senators. have you coordinated with senator toomey on what you're going to say? >> no. but look, based upon the op-ed that he wrote just the other day, i guess it was monday, i think it's pretty clear the structure of his argument. but the good news here is you're going to have a bipartisan vote on these objections, one by one, over the course of the next 24 hours or so, that will be bipartisan in both houses. >> you're seeing this political tug-of-war over the results on capitol hill, frankly being replicated in your state, as you know, my home state of pennsylvania, on the floor of the pennsylvania senate, you had republicans blocking a democratic incumbent from being sworn in because his gop
challenger disputed the razor-thin election results. do you fear this might be a precedent-setting move, moving forward, this kind of thing we're going through here today? >> yeah, i do, i have real concerns about it. as you say, you can see it by just yesterday in the senate of pennsylvania. but i think a lot of americans expect every public official, here in washington, and in state legislatures across the country, to deal with the problems in front of us. the fact that in pennsylvania, we still have a high case number, a high death number, the most recent death number that i saw was over 16,546 people dead from the virus, and more than 673,000 cases. they want us to deal with the economic calamity, to create jobs, to create opportunity. that's what they want politicians to be working on. they don't want us to be spending, as we will today, probably 20 or more hours on this political charade which is
based upon a lie. >> i want to play for you something that one of your senate colleagues on the other side of the aisle, senator mitt romney, said just a couple of minutes ago this morning, just in the last hour. listen. >> well, it turns out that telling the voters that the election is rigged is not a great way to turn out your voters. >> i wonder if that is an area where you find common ground with senator romney, and more broadly, whether, given what we expect to unfold today, do you feel like you can still work with some of these senators across the aisle who are lodging these objections. is that door closing for you? >> it's going to be exceedingly more difficult because of these objections. the good news, hallie, is you'll have a lot more republicans vote to go uphold the constitution and our democracy as opposed to those who are going to be choosing to support the lie to disenfranchise millions of voters.
>> senator bob casey from pennsylvania, thank you for carving out time in your day for us, i know it will be quite the afternoon, quite the evening, and potentially quite the morning tomorrow. thanks to all of you for watching. our special coverage of the electoral college vote in congress begins right now. today the nation's capitol at the center of an historic election, when a joint session of congress meets to certify joe biden's 2020 victory. >> i pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but you knowfy. >> 7 million more votes than trump. and 306 electoral college delegates. but president trump denies that reality. >> this election was rigged. we won all over the place. >> trump supporters will not succeed in overturning free and fair election results. but today, they plan to try. this is msnbc's special coverage
of decision 2020, the final vote. well, you thought it was 2021? we're finally going to wrap up the 2020 election today. i'm nbc's chuck todd here in washington picking up our breaking news coverage. in just a few moments, speaker of the house nancy pelosi will call the house of representatives to order as the chamber prepares for a historic joint session of congress, with democrats now on a path to win back control of the united states senate. inside the capitol, lawmakers will be gathering to fulfill their constitutional duty, with vice president mike pence presiding, to count the electoral college votes which will officially declare joe biden and kamala harris the next president and vice president of the united states. we're going to see a sizable number of republicans try and fail to stop congress from affirming biden's win by objecting to the results. it's going to be a long, loud, and divisive day. a lot more theater than anything else. and this really is a sideshow,
if you will. this is in some ways a ceremony that's getting hijacked a bit today. outside the capitol we're monitoring trump protests. the president is about to address those crowds as you do his vice president and congressional allies to use this day to overturn the election results. we'll monitor the protests for any news, if there's any we'll bring it to you. after last night, democrats appear to be on their way to sweeping the georgia senate races, a shock, if you will, if you really think about where our politics was not too long ago. the democrats winning back the senate. nbc news has now projected raphael warnock has won his race. and georgia election officials just said that jon ossoff will likely have enough of a lead to exceed the state's half a point recount margin. so to cover it all, i'm joined by my nbc news colleagues here to co-anchor our coverage today,
andrea mitchell and katy tur. we'll speak with experts and election officials as this election day unfolds. we've got our team of reporters covering every angle. kornacki and the khakis are at the big board. kasie hunt on capitol hill, peter alexander at the white house, the great pete williams tracking the vote count. first, my co-anchors, andrea and katy. as the three of us were preparing today, andrea, happy new year. >> happy new year, so good to see you. >> happy new year. >> today is a ceremony, as i said, that is being hijacked. and i think we should put it in proper context. we wouldn't normally be covering this today, andrea. we've done this numerous times and you and i have never had to do special coverage of today's opening of the envelopes. >> i was the chief congressional correspondent back then in the
days past. this should be ceremonial. it's symbolic. we've never foreseen a president of the united states publicly and privately pressuring his vice president to do more than the ceremonial. we've seen in the past innumerable vice presidents, defeated vice presidents in the past, al gore most membershorab handing over gracefully, speaking out and shutting down a florida democrat who was trying to challenge it. so this should not be happening. and it is basically signifying the growing chasms, the civil war in the republican party which only became broader with the georgia election results overnight which are surely a repudiation of one man, donald trump. >> katy tur, there's something about last night and today that feels like all of a sudden we've accelerated towards the exclamation point on the end of the trump era. and it came in a hurry. how are trump's supporters going to handle today?
>> it is interesting, and it's unclear exactly where donald trump's supporters will go. but i have to say, i was on the campaign trail over the past year, even during the pandemic, talking to trump voters, both at rallies and outside of rallies, and they are invested in donald trump. they are invested in donald trump the man. they are not invested in the same way in the republican party. so my sense is that these voters don't go away as long as donald trump's voice is out there, as long as he is a symbol that they can attach themselves to. so it's going to depend on how vocal donald trump is in the next two and four years. and chuck, we've got to talk about where the republican party goes because of this, because so many republicans have lashed themselves even tighter to donald trump because of that base, because of the need to keep them during a primary. what we saw in georgia last night and into today was that that base will only take you