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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  February 9, 2021 3:00am-6:00am PST

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should head in the post trump era even if he doesn't vote to convict. he has not talked to the ex-president since last december. he said we need to purge the far right extremists from the party, like marjorie taylor greene, and embrace more establishment republicans like liz cheney. while i don't think he is voting to convict, i think he is going to be weighing in about where he thinks the party should head in the post-trump era. >> thank you so much for being up early with us today. i'll say it again are you putting history first or politics first. thank you all for getting up "way too early" on this tuesday morning. don't go anywhere. "morning joe" starts right now. . >> will all senators stand or remain standing and raise their right hand. do you solemnly swear that in
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all things apper taeupbing to the trial of the impeachment of donald john trump, president of the united states, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the constitution and laws so help you god. >> that was the last time u.s. senators took the oath of office in a donald trump impeachment trial. is anything different today? good morning and welcome to "morning joe". it is tuesday, february 9th. along with joe, willie and me, we have white house reporter for "the associated press", jonathan lemire. and rogers chair in the american presidency vanderbilt university, john meacham. he occasionally advises president joe biden. today begins the historic second impeachment trial of former president donald trump accused of in citement of insurrection
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for the january 6th attack on the u.s. capitol that left five people dead. trump is the only president to be impeached twice and the only former president to face trial in the senate. house prosecutors and trump defense attorneys will sit at those two long tables, allowing enough room for social distancing. the proceeding is expected to begin at 1:00 p.m. senators will need to pass a new organizing resolution after trump's attorney david schone paused the trial at the end of the week for the sabbath. he says his portion of the defense will be completed by then and that the pause is no longer needed. after adopting the new rules, the trial will continue with four hours of debate on whether the trial itself is constitutional. the senate jurors will vote whether to proceed. they only need a simple majority
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and is expected to pass easily. opening arguments expected to begin tomorrow, putting the trial on track for a possible verdict by early next week. right now there are no scheduled witnesses. many point out senate jurors themselves are already witnesses to what happened that day because they were there. we're also told to expect some personal stories from impeachment managers who felt their lives were in danger january 6th. so, willie, this begins an incredible moment in history but also i think a time when we get a sense of when your democracy came to the brink and we hear the personal side and perhaps see and hear the sights and sounds of that fateful day. no doubt about it. that will be the job of the impeachment managers when they begin making their arguments. they want to take the senators in that room and the american people on television back to that day on january 6th. and just remind them how crucial
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it is to hold the president accountable for what happened. so on the other side of it, let's see the defense by the former president's defense team, yesterday arguing that holding the president responsible is nothing more than political theater by democrats and the senate has no constitutional power to sit in judgment of a former president. we'll come back to that point in a second. in a 78-page brief, former president trump's lawyer said he did not, quote, direct anyone to commit unlawful actions, nor does it deserve blame for the conduct of what they call a small group of criminals who broke into the capitol, and killed a police officer. they asserted their client's false claims about a stolen election right before they began their deadly assault. they said those comments are protected by the first amendment. when their client told his supporters to fight like hell, he meant it in a, quote, figurative sense, and rioters
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attacked the capitol for their own reasons, citing a discredited source claiming rioters were anti-trump forces. at one point the brief chastises the house managers themselves. it reads, on january 6th, 2021, rioters entered the capitol building and wrought unprecedented halfic, mayhem and death. in a brazen attempt to further glorify violence, the house managers took several pages of their memorandum to restate over 50 sensationalized media reports. there is a lot to go through. in president trump lawyers' briefs. they restate the fraud and the falsehood about a stolen election and try to completely
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absolve president trump of any responsibility. he was just a guy talking and he's protected by the first amendment. that's the way their argument goes. >> the big lie continues. and of course the flurry of lies continue. they talk how it is a small group of criminals >> yep. >> wow. . >> they lay out 50 incidents of shocking attacks, rioting and mayhem. again, this is going to be easy for a lot of attorneys in the united states senate, whether they're republicans or democrats alike in their first year of law classes. again, talking about the "but for" test. certainly you can look at it on the criminal side as well. if you would removed donald trump from this scene, would any of this happened? if it had been don jr., would the riots have happened?
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no. if it were rudy giuliani talking about combat justice, would it have happened? no. they weren't there holding rudy giuliani signs. for years they had been lied to by donald trump about rigged elections, stolen elections. he started setting this up back in early spring talking about rigged elections and talking about all the other things the democrats were going to try to do to try to steal the election. and, john meacham, one of the great ironies, a guy whips people into a frenzy talking about a stolen election as he, in the words of liz cheney, is using this time to try to start an insurrection to steal an election himself. >> you know, watching these images again, i think it's going to be pretty powerful despite, with all due respect, to the
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president's lawyers. you know, i've been reading the past couple of days, at the risk of self-caricature, some of the early 19th century stuff. without being hyperbolic, when you look back you see the compromise, the missouri compromise. you see nullification crisis in 1833. you see the compromise of 1850, which really only lasted about three years because kansas and nebraska broke that up as we were dividing up -- trying to decide about the projection of slavery. and you see this, not as an inevitable progression but points on a graph that led us to a cataclysm. an important cleansing cataclysm, but a cataclysm. and you can do that with the kennedy assassination in dallas. you can look at the fact that
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stevenson was jostled. they spit on lady bird johnson. the john burch society was raising all of these questions. when you step back from major events in american history, you can often see a chain of events. and to remove donald trump from the chain of events that led to the insurrection and terror attack on the capitol is not conceivable. and so once again this is a little bit like the phone call of a year ago. it is in fact, the case what what the united states senators are going to have to do is concede the facts but decide it doesn't matter. at a certain point, when does something matter? if it doesn't matter, why go to
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the trouble to seek statewide office to sit in that chamber, take an oath. simply to fulfill a personal political ambition, or is there a higher constitutional obligation? you know, i'm not there. so i'm not -- it's easy for me to say. but i would urge the senators to think about what would they have done in the 1850s? what would they have done about calming violence down in the early '60s? >> i mean, john, it is unfortunately, you've seen what they've done time and again over the past four and a half years. people that you and i both know, people who define themselves as conservatives their entire life, behaving in a radical way, or at least empowering a powerful leader. so the question now this coming back, jonathan lemire, when you
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have witnesses, as mika said, when you have members of the jury, members of the senate who were witnesses to this, who heard the screams, the yells, who understood their venue lives could have been in danger. who certainly understood that mob was looking for mike pence to lynch him and to assassinate nancy pelosi because they were trying to stop the united states senate from doing its duty. >> the jurors, indeed, joe, were the witnesses. this is a senate that has now for, i would argue, four, four and a half years heard president donald trump undermine the faith and institutions, undermine the democracy, and lay the seeds for what happened on january 6th.
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this didn't just happen in 2020. this began in his first campaign. this began throughout his presidency where he would attack the very pillars of our republic, suggest there was a deep state out to get him, point the finger at bureaucrats and politicians and the like. supporters really undermine their faith in their very government that is meant to protect them. and safeguard our sacred institutions like an election. this has been working for a long time. they feel like there are no need for witnesses. to be clear, we will see a lot of video the next few days. we will see extraordinarily powerful images, many of which we have seen on television now for nearly a month. there is this understanding, as tragic as the events of that day were, five people lost their lives, including a capitol
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police officer. it could have been so much worse. people close to the investigation into that attack, into that siege say without a little bit of luck, heroism from some capitol police officers, the body count could have been much higher. perhaps they could have found vice president pence or speaker pelosi or high-profile members of congress. we have heard some of them, including alexandria ocasio-cortez describe in painful, horrifying detail, how scared they were, how scared she was that something was about to happen. yes, we believe this is a trial whose verdict is already assured. perhaps a few moreirense will break for conviction than did during donald trump's last trial or perhaps more than the five that voted against the majority of republicans in the organizing resolution a few weeks ago. not enough to be 17. it seems highly unliky. this is a matter of principal and history. they want republicans to go on record, approximate it your name
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to it. this is your job. this is your sacred oath. if you believe that president donald trump did nothing wrong, vote to acquit but be prepared to live with that vote for the rest of your life. >> today will be a procedural vote. this is the idea that a lot of republican senators have been trying to hide behind, that perhaps the entire process is unconstitutional. they have enough democrats to fix that. they will get over that. but the question that will be put to senators, if being the lead cheerleader of a big lie that led to the riot, just just on the speech at the ellipse on the day of january 6th but in the months and months that led up to it, if that conduct is not impeachable then what over the course of history and looking out to the future is or will be impeachable? >> well, let's go to nbc news correspondent on capitol hill. leigh-ann, that thereby an
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argument that he is not in office anymore, it's not constitutional, or why bother do this. but then you get back to the question that willie just put on the table, the tension on capitol hill must be really high. >> reporter: well, mika, that's absolutely right. as far as the trump defense team briefed, they are basing most of it on process. this praoefplt process is illegitimate. he was just using his first amendment right of free speech. and the fact that he was given no due process. the house impeachment managers they counter, especially all of those arguments but on the due process component, it's very telling that's why they called last week in a surprise move for the former president to come and testify at his own trial, which he refused.
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and so they are saying we gave you a due process opportunity and you declined. so they're saying that argument is not a thing. but as far as capitol hill is concerned, some of the things that i'm going to be watching for today, of course this vote this afternoon on the constitution ality of the trial will be the first big test vote for these republicans. when senator rand paul forced that vote on the senate, a similar vote a couple weeks ago, i heard a lot of grumbling from senate republicans who were saying we didn't want to take this vote in this way. this was not the time to do it. we didn't want to be forced into it so quickly. now they're going to have two hours of debate from each side. the trump defense team will say it's not constitutional. and the impeachment manager saying it's absolutely constitutional. so they will have an informed opinion today. so if that vote tally changes from a couple weeks ago, that could be telling.
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i'm going to watch the senators who have announced their retirement. are this he going to break from most people in their party and vote on this first test vote on if it's constitutional or not. . >> so, jonathan lemire, there's a challenge this week not just for trump's lawyers and also for republican senators to try to decide what side of history they want to be on, there's also of course challenge to joe biden. how does he balance the chaos of this trump impeachment with the covid relief bill he is pushing to get through. and how does he continue to look like he's maintaining the initiative despite this terrible distraction on capitol hill? >> right. the trial of his predecessor begins, the current president, joe biden, is going to be focusing on projecting the imaging of governing, that he is
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still doing the people's business in dealing with this pandemic. white house press secretary jen psaki was asking if the president will be watching the way of the trial. he said no. he would catch glimpses of it but that wouldn't be his focus. he is no longer a senator, so therefore he doesn't need to participate. he is not going to be voting himself and therefore is trying to remove himself from a little bit of the process. today in the oval office he is meeting with the treasury secretary and promoting this covid relief bill which he and his team have decided largely to go alone with democrats. they don't want to be held to a smaller compromised bill. they want to go big. as the week goes on, we expect them to head to the pentagon to talk to members of the department of defense, his first visit there. we expect him to meet with dr. fauci. his focus is going to be on this pandemic. even as the trial of president trump takes center stage, his team has been working behind the scenes talking to lawmakers on the house side in particular but
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testing the idea that the senate can do two things at once, the trial and the relief bill and continue to move down the tracks, this magsive package that they feel like is what is going to be so vital to their first 100 days. privately, as a final here, biden aides don't welcome this trial but they understand it's necessarily. they know the energy behind it. they know what democrats want to pursue it, and why it matters for history. so they will let that take center stage but continue to work on governing on their own track. >> leigh-ann, for all of those reasons, democrats in the senate want this to be quick as well. it's not just republicans who want to get it over with, but they want to move quickly as the timeline they laid out looking for a vote and a verdict as early as next week. how will that play out after today? assume we get past the vote whether or not the trial is constitutional. you get up to 16 hours for both sides to argue and then to
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question witnesses. do you think this really could be over by a week from today perhaps? >> it could be. especially now that there is a big indicator that the trump defense team no longer needs the saturday to celebrate the sabbath. david schone will just take the day off. they will move up the schedule most likely of this trial. democrats in the senate even are given the notion that they are still working on covid relief. they're holding a press conference with all the committee chairs with covid relief at 10:30 saying this is what they are focused despite the impeachment trial going on. most of the work on covid is being done in the house of representatives as we speak in those committees. they are taking the lead in writing this legislation. the senate doesn't at this time
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have that much to do on covid. so it's not going to interfere too much. but what it does is detracts from the messaging when they would rather be talking about american families and americans who have been suffering during this pandemic. instead, they are still talking about the former president. >> all right. leigh ann caldwell, thank you so much. we greatly appreciate it. john meacham, i would love to get your perspective on what you're reading through right now, studying the decades leading up to the civil war. and what strikes me, parallels between that time and where we are right now. i'm curious if you have been drawing any parallels between the wigs collapsing and vanishing because of slavery. the no-nothings doing the same.
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the rise of the republican party between 1856 and 1860, meteoric rise the past four years. this republican party, as you said for a long time, 150-160 year duopoly. two parties dominating for that long. we just look at the last election. in georgia, republicans of course lost the urban center of atlanta. they lost the suburbs of atlanta. now with marjorie taylor greene, they are starting to look some of the exurbs. you see this is a party going in a direction that mitch mcconnell knows leads them off a cliff. what parallels do you draw between history's lessons in the 1850s and what we're going through right now.
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>> i think you're right. the wig party cracked up for many reasons. chiefly because they could not find a consensus view on the question of the age, which was the expansion -- really the expansion of slavery. there were enough folks who were willing, as lincoln was through '62, to leave slavery where it was. they hid under the constitutional sanction of slavery and tried to focus the argument on the extension. so that was one position. but it cracked up because they couldn't find a coherency answer on defining answer on human power and humanoidity. i would argue the republican party is cracking up on their inact to find a coherency answer to a fundamental question, which is globalization and its
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implications. and multiethnic pluralistic democracy. and frankly the rise of donald trump is an indication that a lot of people who are aligned with the republican party and may be the republican party today simply are not ready to grapple with the end of a predominantly white america. and i say that as a white guy. you and i are southern white men. tend things to work out for us in this country. what we're called to do by history and by faith is to make sure that the problems of the declaration of independence is, in fact, available to all. no single party has ever been entirely virtuous and entirely able to do that. i'm not saying that. but right now what i think is really deeply troubling is we
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need -- we learned this in the 1790s all the way through. we need, in this big country, a healthy two-party system. and harry truman worried 80 years ago, 70 years ago, that we were going to have a problem if all the liberals ended up in one party and all the conservatives of another because the parties would not play a filtering process and polarization would become the norm. and i would argue that we are back to a place where polarization is the norm as we were in the 1850s. >> well, and, jon, i don't think we can overstate this actually. that what happened on january the 6th was the greatest threat to american democracy from within since the 1850s. since the start of the civil war in 1861.
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and you have the republican party who is now, many of its leaders are now saying let's just forget it. let's just turn the page. let's not hold those accountable -- responsible accountable. let's pretend this never happened. and i'm speaking of lindsey graham. that is such a position that a wig leaders would have taken in the 1850s that the issue of slavery would go away. is this slavery? no. this is not slavery. this is someone, a president trying to lead an insurrection against our constitutional republic. and you have one party that is split down the middle on whether they should should answer that threat or just forget about it and move on.
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>> this is not to say it doesn't have a lot to answer for. historically. it obviously does. but the point for us and this moment is that does anybody seriously think if there were a secret ballot that donald trump would not be barred forever from office. that's a trope of a question. i actually wonder here because i think that a lot of the republican senators, and i don't think they are able to say this. they might say it privately, realize that if trump were to leave and take his folks, they don't win another national election for a decade. just look at the math. if 30%, 35% of the republican party becomes a total trump party and there's sort of
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this -- i don't even know what you would call it. is it a romney -- that would be good for american but terrible for the republican party. does anybody think that when they vote, as they most likely will, to acquit this man, that it is a political calculation to avoid his public martyrdom and drive him from the party? political calculus over constitutional duty. >> well, and the political calculus, willie, it's been a catch-22 for republicans for five years. and i know, without knowing the specific date, you can go back to 2017 and find us talking about the catch-22 that the republican party found themselves in. they thought they needed trump to win primary elections. but that same support would lead them to losing general elections. and as we said yesterday, nobody has been as much of a political
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weight on his party as donald trump since herbert hoover. donald trump lost the house in 2018. he lost the white house in 2020. he lost the united states senate in&had to work really hard to lose the senate for the republican party. you can even go back to 2017. the suburbs of philly. democrats doing extraordinarily well in places like virginia, in statewide elections, just clean sweeps. 2018, all-time record victory by democrats by margin of votes in 2018 and the congressional elections. 2019. democrats winning. and that means republicans losing in the old confederacy, in louisiana, in kentucky. and then of course 2020, he
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loses the white house and the senate. so these republicans, because, other than liz cheney, there have been no people that have stepped forward to say, at least in the house, this is the direction we have to go. adam kinzinger, republicans for the most part are in the same position they were in in 2017 when donald trump started this long four-year streak of political losses for the gop. >> yeah. you don't have to go back very far. go back one month to the state of georgia when any republican will tell you donald trump lost them the two seats, that gave democrats the majority we will see play out the next couple of weeks. there is no question this is about fear of donald trump and fear of his voters. when you ask people publicly and privately, republicans why they are behaving the way they are. why they won't step out and
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criticize this man, why they won't consider a vote to convict him on incite of insurrection, eyes clear as day they don't want to cross his voters. the same reason why they won't give a full-throated criticism of the freshman congresswoman from georgia. they don't want to alienate the people they believe they need to continue to win elections and keep power. we will see it this week, today, about whether or not this is constitutional, mika. they want to get this vote of the process of impeachment because they don't actually want to go and have to put their name down and saying i vote to acquit, despite everything we will hear from impeachment managers, and everything we have seen on his twitter feed, the speech we saw january 6th where he sent people to the capitol. be spite all that, i vote to
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acquit. that's what a group of republican senators are probably going to do next week. >> all right. still ahead on "morning joe", new coronavirus concerns after a maskless super bowl celebrations in florida. what the mayor of tamba is saying about video like this. >> and why it's especially bad in the state of florida right now. >> a new investigation into president trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. and congressman hakeem jeffries who served as a democratic prosecutor during trump's first impeachment trial. you're watching "morning joe". we'll raoeubt back. we'll be right back. k. hmmm... where to go today? la? vegas? no, the desert. let's listen to this. louder.
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wright of texas passed away after suffering health complications two weeks after being diagnosed with covid-19. he was 67 years old. the congressman had also been battling cancer for several years. wright is the first sitting member of congress to die after being diagnosed with the virus. the house held a moment of silence for wright yesterday afternoon during a pro for ma session on the floor. that, by the way, the first member of congress to die from covid. new york city middle schools will open this month after being closed since november. officials announced yesterday the plan will allow 62,000 students who opted for in-person learning last year to return for at least part of the week beginning february 25th. it will be the first time since november that students in grades 6 through 8 in the nation's largest public school system
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will be able to attend class in person. however, roughly 70% of students have opted out of in-person classes altogether. choosing to learn from home through the rest of the year. no plan to reopen the city's high schools has been announced. this is just brutal on learning and brutal for parents, willie. >> it has. there's no question about it. new york city is a snapshot of what's happening across the country. a lot of parents say we will finish the year at home and hope for the first stkpwhraofplt in tampa florida, the effort to adhere to cdc guidelines took a hit as we saw mostly maskless fans pwraeug the super bowl win for the buccaneers a couple nights ago. 200,000 masks were handed out ahead of the game and a majority of people and businesses followed the rule. it's a little frustrating because we worked so hard
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dealing with covid-19. there is a level of frustration when you see that. white house press secretary jen psaki weighed in saying, quote, we all are concerned about the celebration scenes coming out of florida. this as "usa today" reports florida on sunday became the first state to report 200 cases of coronavirus variants, mika. >> geez. >> and that of course is a concern. obviously, florida remains a hot spot variant. it could spread quickly around the state. mika, vaccinations continue to go at an unbelievably slow rate. >> yeah. the vaccine process is painfully slow. people are in categories who definitely could apply for it now. people over the age of 70 cannot get it. and kids squashed together,
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screaming at each other, probably drinking. this is just a nightmare. that is a covid nightmare. >> you talk about your mother. someone who is 89 and has parkinson's and she hasn't been able to get a vaccine. and we know a lot of people who are in their mid to late 70s, 80s who have underlying conditions can't get their vaccines either. seriously. how hard has this been? i know ron desantis has been stumbling around over the past year or so and has had some real problems, especially as it has pertained to vaccines. but i don't think anyone would have expected him to foul it up as badly as he has. >> coming up, the latest guest says stakes are high not only for trump but for almost everybody else. "usa today" susan page joins us
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44 past the hour. a live look at washington, d.c. as the sun starts to come up this morning. joining us now, mark barnacle and bureau chief susan page. your latest piece is entitled "impeachment stakes are high not only for trump but for almost everybody else. you talk about charlie dent who said if the impeachment vote were held secret in a secret ballot, 80 to 90 senators would vote to convict trump. but this impeachment trial will set a precedent in many ways. explain. >> yes. of course the fact that it's not a secret vote and the fact that we don't expect more than a handful of republican senators
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to vote to convict former president trump tells you everything you need to know about the dilemma that republicans face now, the way they have been plunged into a worsening civil war because of this impeachment trial. you know, we don't think the outcome of this is in much step. it will set a standard around can presidents be held responsible for their behavior? what behavior is responsible? what can congress do? what does the separation of powers tell us about what congress can do to hold a president accountable for his actions even after he is out of power? those are among the questions we will see addressed the next week or so. >> forgive me for being so naive, but these senators did take an oath. it wasn't an oath to turn a blind eye to an insurrection, to turn a blind eye to a demagogue that riled up a crowd and got
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them to invade the united states capitol. they took an oath to protect us all. >> the oath is pretty familiar to a lot of people. and certainly ought to be familiar to every united states senator, was to protect and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, all enemies foreign and domestic. and they have dropped their duty, frankly. a lot of the republicans have just dropped their duty. and it's in comprehensible because they were active participants and really targets of what happened that day. and at a minimum you would think they would have to sit there and wonder, okay, what did the president do and when did he do it some we know about the speech january 6th. what we haven't focused on is what he did once the chaos and the rioting and the insurrectionists invaded the capitol ensued.
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what did he do then? he did nothing. he did nothing for hours on end. he watched tv and revelled in the chaos and the violence and the death. if they can't grasp the meaning of their oath after all of this, i don't know where we are as a constitutional republic. really seriously. . >> susan, you mentioned the vote, the 830 to 90 votes there may be if this were a secret ballot. we have heard that before. it is incredibly frustrating for a lot of people to hear for normal americans who are not cynical creatures of washington who may have a moral compass for example to say, yeah, boy, if nobody knew i was doing it, i would do the right thing in this case. so what do they say as reasons? is it just plain fear of donald trump and his voters? >> it's a fear of former president trump and his voters. it's a recognition of the way the republican party has been
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remade in trump's image over the past five years. this is now the trump party as much as it is the republican party. and here's a question moving forward. they were talking about the history of the whigs. can a party today including both laze cheney and marjorie taylor greene? that is a big question. for the first time during the decades i have covered national politics, there is a serious debate going on in the republican party about splintering into a third party. that is a hard thing to do. that's why it almost never happens. hasn't happened in more than a century. it is possible that we will see that happening today because of trump's continued influence in the party. you know, even if trump disappeared, his voters continue to make up a significant portion of that coalition. >> and when he is not on the ballot, jonathan lemire, they may just stay home.
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>> this is a remarkable test of the former president's continued hold on his party. susan, that's why i wanted to get you to weigh in. he's mostly down at mar-a-lago. he's golfing. and he recognizes there is no good coming out of him talking right now. all he can do if he were to speak is perhaps upset a republican senator who right now is inclined to acquit. where do you anticipate going if this trial ends as we think in the next week or two? what will trump do to try to return to the stage. and what sort of reaction do you think some of these lawmakers
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will have? >> one of the things that really struck me since president trump left the white house be is how his interest has gone down. if he weren't being impeached, would we be paying much attention to him? >> no. >> it's typically what happens when presidents leave the white house. i'm not sure. i think that twitter decision silenced him in a way he has had trouble figuring out how to get around. when this trial is over, will we pay much attention to him? i'm not sure that we will. >> all right. susan page, thank you very much. that's a good question. and still ahead, new evidence in the house investigation into the trump administration's handling of coronavirus, including new documents showing alleged political interference. we'll be right back.
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someone you're. the girl born in the mississippi delta moves up to detroit. she and two of her friends hang out around berry gordy's studio for three years, pushing him, begging him to get a record contract. they finally get it. he finally gives in. and music history is made. >> absolutely. stop in the name of love, baby love, where did our love go. a lot about love. but they were amazing. they were not in those days
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diana ross and the supremes, they were the supremes. the three of them. and mary wilson had a great voice. diana ross had that twinkle, x factor and eventually emerged as the lead singer of the group. but you remember back the old days when on ed sullivan and all of a sudden there would be the supremes, that was a big deal. number one, to have african-american acts on that kind of showcase. and number two, their elegance. they always presented themselves with this sort of supreme elegance that was accessible to people, that was impressive and
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that everyone was really proud of. and they rocked. they really could sing. they were amazing, iconic group. and we will miss mary wilson. >> just a moment before the top of the hour right now. mike barnicle is still with us. joining the conversation, capitol hill correspondent and host of "way too early", kasie hunt joins us. and washington bureau chief elizabeth miller joins us as well. good to have you. >> before we get into impeachment really quickly, kasie, can you tell us where are we as far as negotiations going on between the senate, the house and the biden white house. i was watching "way too early" this morning. and it sounds like, from your reporting, that the white house is really starting to move
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forward. and if the republicans want to catch up they can. but they're moving forward as quickly as possible. >> that seems to be the decision, joe, that they will move forward, press ahead with the bill regardless if there are republicans that want to get on board and get behind them. they are willing to do it just with democratic votes. that of course sets up some potential conflicts inside the democratic caucus, in the senate and the house. those are some of the questions you are starting to see play out. there's a big one about the minimum wage. this is something bernie sanders is focused on. he wants them to try to put minimum wage in this bill. to do it with democratic votes, the process is more complicated. there are others, including the white house yesterday they couldn't go that far, make that kind of a big change. that's disappointing some progressives here. big picture, joe, this type of
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bill was something that a lot of republicans were on board with as donald trump was leaving office. they wanted to get money out the door to people particularly pause they wanted to win senate races in georgia. now they are turning around and raising concerns whether there is too much money being spent here. bottom line, it does seem like the biden team learned from the experience they had in 2009 when they tried to negotiate with republicans. it took months. they didn't get anywhere. and the politics really turned on democrats. so it looks like we will move pretty quickly here. >> and what makes this so interesting, mika, as the white house said time and again, this is a package that republicans should want to be a part of. if joe biden, as he's talked about, narrows the focus to make sure the people that get the checks or those who need the checks most. this is actually a package that has the approval of 70%, 75% of the american people. so if they're not on board of a
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more focussed package, they will only be hurting themselves politically. . >> and then this part that is fairly challenging for republicans. today begins the second impeachment trial of former president donald trump accused of inkraoeuplt of insurrection on the january 6th attack at the u.s. capitol that left five people dead. he is the only president to be impeached twice. much more on that in a moment. but first a story that connects to much of what will play out in the impeachment trial. it is a front page story in this morning's "new york times" that looks at how donald trump, as president, emboldened the actions taken by paramilitary groups in michigan last year and which signaled a profound shift in republican politics. "the times" reports, quote, following signals from trump, who had tweeted liberate michigan, after an earlier show
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of force in lansing, michigan's republican party last year welcomed the support of newly emboldened paramilitary groups and other vigilantes. prompt members formed bonds with militias or gave tacit approval to armed activists using intimidation in a series of rallies and confrontations around the state. that intrusion into the state house now looks like a portent of the all the halfway around the country months later at the united states capitol. and how under his influence party leaders aligned themselves with the culture of militancy to pursue political goals s. so far six trump support tprers michigan have been arrested in connection with the storming of the capitol. meanwhile, the chief organizer of a protest was elected
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co-chair of the state republican party on saturday while the lead organizer of the april armed protest on the michigan statehouse last week announced a bid for governor. it's beginning to pervade our politics, joe, and we keep turning the page instead of making these obvious connections. >> well, lindsey graham just wants us to forget, the former chairman of the judiciary committee. liz miller, i don't know, a bit surprised that michigan is the epicenter of this, although there have been reports of militias in michigan for decades. showing up here and there in your papers and others. armed gunman coming in to try to intimidate the michigan legislature. we heard the horrifying plot to kidnap, try, and execute the governor of that state.
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and in this story, which you reported on. tell us how michigan became ground zero and how that actually spread and impacted what we saw january 6th. . >> well, i think michigan was a dress rehearsal for what we saw january 6th. you saw there were no consequences at the time. donald trump basically was supportive of what was going on in michigan. antagonistic to the governor. she was in great danger. and he was attacking her. it emboldened his supporters. as we know from some of the people that have been arrested, some of the rioters, they say they were acting on trump's orders, on trump's encouragement. so i think it really was, again, a dress rehearsal, emboldened his supporters, emboldened trump. and here we are today in the
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second impeachment president, the first time in history we believe talking to our grandchildren and great grandchildren about this. it will be in the history books. this is an historic day. >> yeah. willie, elizabeth makes a great point. michigan was a dress rehearsal. you saw the images of people coming in with military style assault weapons. getting in cops' face. pushing them. being rude to them. people just trying to keep order. this was nothing. this had nothing to do with law and order. it had nothing to do with donald trump and those who lie and say that they're pro-police officer when obviously cop killers in their midst and now they are trying to let the cop killers
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and the president who inspired the cop killers off the hook. >> yeah. no question about it went a step further on january 6th at the capitol. the images we saw at michigan were white men with semiautomatic rifles face-to-face screaming at them. they pushed their way in. they talked about kidnapping governor whitmer. that plot was foiled when the people got into the capitol january 6th, they were going to look for elected leaders as well, including the vice president of the united states. and we're actually hearing from some of the people who have been arrested. through he men facing federal charges for their alleged actions at the capitol are pointing the finger directly at former president donald trump. an attorney for one suspect is calling donald trump, quote, an unindicted co-conspirator in the january 6th attack. the paper goes on, to date, the in more than two dozen of the cases related to the capitol
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assault. matthew ryan miller, 21-year-old construction worker from maryland, accused of wielding a fire extinguisher against police on the capitol steps wrote through a lawyer that he was merely following the directions of then president trump, the country's chief law enforcement officer. ethan nordean, another man said in a filing sunday, said he was egged on by donald trump, other politicians, and news media and legal advocates. when you look at the breach ahead of the trial on impeachment, first amendment, he was just a guy out there talking. that is not incitement of an insurrection. boy, a lot of people heard something else from the president. >> right. they heard insight to an insurrection. they heard him tell them to go to the capitol and fight like hell. and that's what they did. and they had heard this build up over the course of a couple of
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months after the election. you have to fight to take back a country. all the language that the president used. directed at these people. he brought them to washington and sent them up to the capital. the thing that is really striking about "the times" story about michigan, though, is how insane politics have gone at the state level. we focus here in washington and congress and the national political party organizations. and that's bad enough. on the republican side. but you look at the state party, for example, that now, you know, the wyoming party censured liz
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cheney. the nebraska party is about to censure ben sasse for the second time. they are true, you know, signed up chapters in the cult of trump right now. it's not just what is happening in state capitols in a lot of ways is more frightening. >> you know, mike, i know you have a question for elizabeth. but before you go there, this is something down that horrifies mitch mcconnell. when you have extremists being elevated in michigan, there is a swing state that suddenly breaks blue and stays blue. because the suburbs will start breaking hard against that extremism. in ads, they have done bizarre things since the election. really, the going after cindy
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mccain and going after flake and going after these other republican officials who, you know, maybe they didn't like who they voted for this election, but they need them back next election. they need to win maricopa county. oregon, a state that let's republicans run the state legislativers, they have gone so radical that is not going to happen. this is all nebraska. ben sasse, he won nebraska too. donald trump lost it. that makes a big difference. omaha can make the difference between who wins the presidency and who doesn't if it's close. we thought that might be the case this year. so, yes, this is all horrifying to america in general. politically, cynically, it should be scaring the hell out of the republican party.
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these are the losing moves. >> you said it probably horrifying mitch mcconnell. but it didn't horrify him enough to stand up and speak out when he was attacking truth each and every day, fake news each and every day. and you have to wonder, as you just pointed out, you have to wonder about people like ben sasse and senator lankford and senator thune. thoughtful people at one level. where have they been? what are they thinking? why don't they act? elizabeth, the story in the taoeupls today about michigan surely being the precursor of what happened january 6th, it sort of points also to what i was just talking about, where have these united states senators, all of them republican, where have they been as this daily onslaught against things we hold dear as a country, like truth, justice,
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accountability, where have they been and what are they going to do? we know what they will do next week when the vote comes. it really is a terrible dilemma for the united states of america. >> i think the senators, they all have their own, you know, futures, their lives, their political future. we have seen this for the last four and a half years with donald trump. they saw their fate tied to his. on for whatever reason, they still do. it is questionable where we will be in six months to a year with donald trump. i wonder about his staying power with the republican party. he's very diminished already. we haven't heard from him for a month. he has been silenced on twitter. i really do wonder if this will wear well over time, the votes. i think they will look back perhaps and regret them. because i don't see a sustainable future for this kind
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of republican party. >> elizabeth miller, thank you very much for being on this morning. still ahead on "morning joe", on january 7th, the day after pro trump rioters stormed the capitol, congressman hakeem jeffries called for donald trump to be impeached immediately. the chair of the house democratingic caucus is standing by and joins the conversation left. you're watching "morning joe". we'll be right back. ing "mornin. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (quiet piano music) ♪ ♪
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it is 18 past the hour. the "new york times" has a fascinating interactive about the day the capitol was stormed. "the times" explains how a source provided data that followed the smartphones of thousands of trump supporters, rioters and passersby on january 6th as donald trump's political
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rally turned into a violent insurrection. it revealed in part about 130 devices inside the capitol, exactly when trump supporters were storming the building. this animation shows the throngs of people who rushed directly from the trump rally to the doors of democracy where the riots took place. this was collected by smartphone apps and fed into a dizzying and complex digital advertising ecosystem. "the times" says the course who leaked the information was outraged by the events of january 6th but also deeply concerned about the surreptitious data collection. it brings up two issues here, joe. one, whether it's okay to be following people like this.
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number two, you actually do see the rally the president was having turn into the riot at the capitol as all the phones head towards the capitol. . >> yep. >> it's fascinating. joining us now, chair of the house democratic caucus, congressman hakeem jeffries of new york. we appreciate you being here this morning. the impeachment officially starts today. what do you hope will be put forward that might compel some republicans to change their minds? >> well, good morning. it's great to be with you. it's my hope that the foundation is laid for why the events of january 6th took place. yes, of course accountability needs to occur that donald trump, in my view, did incite the spilling of the american blood from the insurrection.
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it is because donald trump told a big lie. that he actually won the election and the presidency was stolen from him and artificially handed to joe biden. that's why the violent mob was there on january 6th attacking the capitol. to halt the peaceful transfer of power. and the question should be asked over and over and over again, had donald trump simply done what other other american president and presidential candidate has done, which is to accept the results and will of the american people, would the insurrection have occurred. the answer unequivocably is no. >> you know this is scheduled to be a speedy trial, looking for a vote perhaps as early as next week on this with 16 hours of debate testimony from each side and moving forward to a vote. do you think they should take more time to call out witnesses
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to really drive it home, or is it a good idea to make this a speedy trial? . >> well, in my view, this is an open and shut case. donald trump summoned the mob to washington, d.c. he then incited them to fight i think 15 or 16 times on that day, and hughes his henchmen use rhetoric like trial by combat and other statements that were made. the other thing that then occurred is that he directed the mob to march on the capitol, which they did, of course. and many of those individuals have publicly acknowledged at least through their attorneys, that they were there because of the direction given by donald trump. now, let's see how the trial unfolds. ultimately that call is going to be made by lead impeachment manager jamie raskin in consultation presumably with the
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speaker. good attorneys make decisions based on how the evidence goes in, their read on the reaction of the jury, and whether additional information needs to be presented. so i expect that call will be made at some point toward the latter part of this week after the president's lawyers make their case. . >> so the vote to convict would be an uphill climb for democrats as they try to make the case. you need 17 republicans to get a conviction here. if president trump is acquitted, knowing everything that you just laid out about what he did not just january 6th but the lie he told in the months leading up to january 6th. if he is acquitted and not convicted on these impeachment charges,ing what message do you think that sends to the country, what message do you think that sends to history, and what message does it send to future presidents in. >> well, let's take one step at a time. it's my hope that if the senators on both sides of the aisle follow the facts, apply
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the law guided by the constitution and let the chips fall where they may, it should lead 67 or more of them to conviction. now, i recognize that's a challenge. i'm not going to be pollyannish about it. i believe the five senators who voted to proceed with the trial in terms of it being constitutional to have a trial connected to a former president, which is clearly the case based on precedent and the overwhelming scholarly authority, that is a floor not a ceiling. if there is still an opportunity to find 12 other senators based on the evidence that is presented, which is going to be very compelling who might see their way toward conviction. however, let's see what took place. what i can say is that this is a defining moment in american history. the greatest generation rose to
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the occasion to defeat fascism. we're thankful. the cold war generation rose to the generation to defeat communism. we're thankful. our generation now has to rise to the occasion to defeat authoritarianism and protect our democracy. the question is will those senators stand up or step back and fail this their constitutional responsibilities. >> kasie hunt is here with a question for you. >> some congressman, good morning. it's good to see you. president biden has largely dodged questions about impeachment. he's engaged a little bit. but do you think it would be helpful to your case if he were more forceful in insisting former president trump needs to be convicted here in this trial? >> no. i think joe biden is doing exactly the right thing. we're in the midst of a once in a cent relative covid-19 pandemic. there's been a lot of pain and suffering and death. and he's leading us forward in
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the effort to crush the virus, provide direct relief to everyday americans who are struggling, and ultimately laying a foundation to super charge our economy so we can build back better. that's incredibly important leadership at this moment. and joe biden recognizes, based on his experience, 30 plus years in the senate, that there is a legislative prerogative connected to impeachment as the mechanism that the framers of the constitution put in that glorious document to hold an out of control president accountable. and the senators are sitting in a court of impeachment. they haven't received the facts, the presentation of evidence, the legal arguments. i think it would be premature for him to way in. and his approach is presidential, unifying. it's the right thing to do. >> all right. mike barnicle has the next question. mike? >> congressman, $1.9 trillion package is on the table that we
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will have action on at some point, programs the next three weeks. state by state you can go down the list. they are all having difficulty distributing the vaccine, finding the vaccine. so what is the position of the members of congress who you know, republican members of congress who you know on this 1.9 trillion package we keep hearing and reading it's way too much, they've got to cut it back, scale it back. where are we going given the immediate need of the states like new york, massachusetts, every state in the union? >> well, state and local assistance is going to be extraordinarily important. and that's been one of the aspects that has been left out of the more recent packages because republicans, for whatever the reason, have decided that these states should be left on their own. even though the impact and adverse effects of the covid-19 pandemic have had nothing to do with the states in terms of how it all started.
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and the federal government's response under the previous administration was an unmitigated disaster. under the $1.9 trillion is to provide state and local stabilization funds. it's not just esoteric. so public safety, public health, public transportation, public housing and the provision of the public good, which is in so many ways delivered by state and local governments, can be preserved or else those communities that have already been hit the hardest will continue to be impacted the most. the other thing i would say, mike, is it's always fascinating to me that some of my republican colleagues all of a sudden worship at the altar of so-called fiscal responsibility only when there is a democratic president. but when, you know, donald trump was supportive of a $2 trillion
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gop, where 83% went to the wealthiest 1%, they had no concern with the impact on the debt and the deficit. certainly we need to think about these things in terms of spending as we move forward. but in the midst of a crisis where over 450,000 americans have died, more than 25 million have been infected by the covid-19 pandemic, and tens of millions have been unemployed, food insecure, on the brink of homelessness, we have to act decisively. that's what joe biden, nancy pelosi and chuck schumer are leading us forward to do. >> congressman, before you go, we're asking all of our guests to choose a black american who they want to highlight for black history month. so who are you looking at this morning? >> well, i'm looking at rosa parks because of her quiet dignity and strength and her commitment to justice. and in many ways she served as
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the spark for what was the beginning of the second reconstruction in american history, the civil rights movement that led to the dismantlement of jim crow and trying to bring to life the right to vote and also ultimately the initiation of the great society programs. her decision to sit down gave the courage and initiative to many others to stand up. and that's why i want to recognize and knowledge her as we would say in brooklyn, shout her out this morning and thank her for standing on sure shoulders. thank you very much for being on this morning. coming up, another standoff between the u.s. and iran over its nuclear program. plus, the secrets to george shultz success. the diplomat who helped to end the cold war. "morning joe" is coming right
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former secretary of statement george shultz, who served in four different cabinet level posts died saturday at the age of 100. a key figure in the 20th century american politics, he served as richard nixon's secretary of labor, director of the office of management and budget, and secretary of the treasury as secretary of state for ronald reagan. he was essential in improving realizes with the soviet union using the tools of democracy. he negotiated the first ever -- sorry. he negotiated the first ever treaty to reduce the size of the soviet union's ground based nuclear arsenals despite fierce objections from mchale gorbachev. shultz was the longest serving secretary of state since world
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war ii and had been the oldest surviving former cabinet member of any administration. former secretary of state henry kissinger reflecting in his memoirs on the highly analytic calm and unselfish shultz paid him an unselfish compliment. if i could choose one american to whom i woulden trust the nation's fate in a crisis, it would be george shultz. . >> that is quite a compliment. let's bring in right now the columnist and associate editor for the "washington post", david ignatius, whose latest piece about the secrets to george shultz' success. like most secretaries of state, could be a brilliant talker. but his most intimidating skill was his ability to keep his mouth shut, maintaining a tkphraeurbl, withering silence more devastating than any verbal riposte.
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help me there, mika. riposte. >> yeah. >> it was part of an intellectual edge that made shultz one of the most effective public servants of his generation. of course, david, i have seen remembrances of shultz, my hail gorbachev saying what a compliment for him to say this. he said, yes, the cold war would not have ended without ronald reagan, but ronald reagan couldn't have done it without george shultz. and the remarkable moment when he walked all the way up steps slowly in a quiet audience to shake the hands of the new soviet foreign minister. he not only could play it tough, and he could be tough. we've all heard personal stories about that. but also he knew when to use a
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kind gesture to make a big difference. >> joe, it was precisely that combination that made him such a rare man. i had the opportunity to cover george shultz has secretary of state when i was diplomatic correspondent for "the wall street journal" in 1984, 1985. and i remember that tkphraeurbl stare i was describing. it was completely intimidating for young journalists, for anybody. he had been a marine. he landed on the guadacanal. he was a tough guy. i liken him to the cowboy in the movies. he has that gentle smile. but you know do not mess with this guy. but he combined that with a rare quality of vision and judgment. and he had the vision to see something was changing in russia
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and convinced reagan to take this change seriously. he began to open the doors intellectually to the possibility of a different kind of soviet union. the end of the soviet union finally. so he is a significant person in the story. he embody the tradition of public service that mika's dad embodied, that so many of the figures that you write about in your book about harry truman embodied that carried the nation forward through the cold war years. george shultz was part of the chain of public service. and it was a such a blessing that he lived a long life and was tar particulate, lucid to the very end. he continued through the trump years to express that public service perspective, to be critical of trump, to give leadership to people who looked up to him. so in sum, he was a rare man. we are all lucky to have had him
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in government working for us. >> and in one of the obits about him, there is a story of his kindness and a reporter going to talk to him as he stumbles across his room and they were all christmas cards from george shultz. that was the kind side of him. again, he could also be very tough, even late into life, went out to visit the hoover institute -- institution and he was -- there was a story -- that we are still talking about. one of the trump's cabinet members had gone out to talk. after it was over, there was
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applause. he slowly walked up to him. he said, you know, of all the people i have been blessed to meet in my remarkable life, you were without a doubt the least impressive. a 96-year-old man still throwing 101-mile-per-hour fastball. >> yeah. joe, my recollection of george schultz is about another quality, the ice water in his veins. in 1988, i was a young new foreign correspondent assigned by the "washington post" to south america and was told to go meet george shultz. he was making a latin american swing, and i was to cover the bolivia leg of that trip. and so we were at the airport outside la paz.
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and driving down this long, winding steep road that leads into the city. and a bomb exploded. guerrillas tried to kill george shultz. he was uninjured. we get to the embassy in the middle of la paz. and you can imagine the tension and the craziness that's going on. and he was just a rock throughout the whole thing. he went inside for a little while. and then he came out and went about his business. he conducted his trip as if nothing at all had happened. finished his business in bolivia, flew off to central america. we all trailed after him. but he was a brave man. >> nerves of steel. >> ice water in his veins. >> yeah. >> and nerves of steel.
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i had one quick question for david ignatius, though. you covered george shultz and mike pompeo. there is an evolution there. do we have a chance to recapture what we had? dr. brzezinski, dr. kissinger. controversial but a giant. are there giants in our future of foreign policy? >> you know, gene, i think that generation of mika's dad and henry kissinger and george shultz, one of our tragedies is it didn't reproduce itself. i think people of that extraordinary stature probably we won't see for a while.
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but what i think is going to be different is a climate of respect for foreign service and public service. at the state department. bizarrely, mike pompeo, who had served in the military, treated many of his state department officers and percent at the cia when he was director, what people experienced was a con people would dry to brief and he would say got it, got it. meaning go away. they felt they weren't being taken seriously. tony blinken is by every account a decent, kind person. he license to people. you can see that when president biden came to visit the state department. i don't think we should look for henry kissinger or brzezinskibr.
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but people who care about the enterprise of public service base they're back. we have foreign policy news to discuss. the u.s. and iran remain at odds over what comes next in their standoff over iran's nuclear ambitions. over the weekend, iran's supreme leader said the u.s. must lift all sanctions before his country will return to its commitment on the 2015 pact. this morning, iran's intelligent minister warned his country could push for a nuclear weapon if the crippling international sanctions remain in place, according to a report on state division. david ignatius, your thought on where this stands now, especially with a new administration in place and a new attitude towards foreign policy compared to the past one. >> mika, i think we are at an impasse for the moment on the question of how the u.s. and
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iran together would rejoin the nuclear agreement of 2015, the so-called jcpoa. iran is saying the u.s. has to first give up sanctions. the u.s. is saying, no, iran has to first be in compliance with the pact, return to the limits. and i don't see either side budging. nothing indicates that. the iranian statements over the weekend were strong. u.s. signals have been similarly very strong. so i think this is where we're going to see an attempt of creative diplomacy. it may be necessary to find another avenue outside the existing agreement where the two sides can bargain and rediscover limits and ways of making an agreement. at the jcpoa agreement, there is now blockage that i don't see being broken. >> kasie hunt has a question. kasie? >> yeah. david, how would you, big
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picture, evaluate how republicans in congress and others are going to react to the moves that the biden administration has made so far in this arena. i mean, i'm already hearing particularly from republicans criticizing the way they are going about things. i'm wondering how much of that do you think is just politics as usual here on our shores and how much of it reflects a true change in how we're going to interact with iran? >> well, i would think republicans who had been worried that the biden administration would move too quickly back into an embrace with iran would be applauding the decision that we will not ease sanctions until iran is in compliance, that's the position they would have urged. so it would be strange if they were critical of that. i think the question of what the relationship between the biden
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administration and israeli prime minister bibi netanyahu will be is still hard to tell. i don't think they have had a phone conversation to this day. they certainly hadn't as of yesterday. that relationship was so close under president trump, it is in a different phase. similarly, i don't believe there has been a phone call between biden and ham ned bin salam. it ain't going to happen as near as i can tell. . >> david ignatius, thank you so much for being on this morning. and coming up, ahead of today's impeachment trial, donald trump's lawyers argue that the former president doesn't deserve blame for the conduct of a, quote, small group of criminals. we'll ask former acting
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house democrats are renewing their investigation into the trump administration's handling of the coronavirus crisis, with new documents on evidence of what they political interference in the government's response to the virus. the select subcommittee led by james clie born released e-mails from a trump science advisers that shows how the administration. in addition, "the washington post" reports quote, it releases e-mails in which then hhs science adviser repeatedly appealed to health officials to inkwees access to hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment, despite evidence that it was
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ineffective. the post goes on to note that under trump administration pressure, the fda authorized the drug last march to be used for patients hospitalized with covid-19 before revoking the authorization in june and subsequently warning about the drug's risks. president trump complained about the fda's reversal and appointees like alexander urged the agency to reconsider. mike barnacle, this is just evidence of what we know of the slow response from the trump administration to coronavirus. we know because we have heard it on tape from president trump himself with bob woodward saying i always wanted to down play this because he thought it reflected poorly on him and got in the way of his election campaign. >> this is not a stand-alone story. if you make some calls today to people you know and i know, they will tell you lurking in the back ground is what else is there in each rand every agency
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with regard to the future of programs and the trump administration and carrying out those programs. there is a reason why the vaccine distribution is so phenomenally screwed up. the reason is that the trump administration had been lying to people about the progress they were making. they were making no progress. and the biden administration was left with a basket full of problems in terms of distribution, in terms of getting aid to states that need states. so this story about hyping hydro clor quinn, that's just one story in one agency, in one individual. and it would probably behoove all the members of the senate, including the republican senators to think a bit before they cast their vote as they most certainly will, to acquit the former president of the united states, to think about what else is out there and what will we slowly but surely
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discover about the level of incompetence and soft absorption all devoted to donald trump. what else are we going to find out about what happened to our government during the course of four years. >> and of course the question for the senate is what president trump is alleged to have done to incite the insurrection on january 6th. as the release of these e-mails show us again, the role-out of the vaccine response was disastrous. >> yeah, it was disastrous. and there is basically one reason. 467,000 americans have died from the pandemic. and many of those deaths are because the previous add money strags treated the pandemic as if it was all about one person, as if it were all about donald trump, how it made him look, how it made him feel, whether he
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wanted to test less so he had fewer cases to report. it was all about him. it's astounding. historians will scratch their heads. >> thank you. still ahead, the latest on some of the key questions over the president's covid relief package. will it increase an increase in minimum wage. kate bedingfield joins us with the latest when "morning joe" comes back. when you drive this smooth, you save with allstate the future of auto insurance is here
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will all senators now stand or remain standing and raise their right hand? do you solemnly swear that in all things pertaining to the trial of the impeachment of donald j. trump president of the united states now pending you will do impartial justice according to the constitution and laws so help you god? >> that was the last time u.s. senators took the oath of office in a donald trump impeachment trial. is anything different today? good morning and welcome to "morning joe." it is tuesday, february 9th. along with joe, willie and me, we have jonathan la mere and
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rogers chair in the american presidency at vanderbilt university. jon meacham joins us. he occasionally advises president joe biden. today begins the second impeachment trial of former president donald trump, accused of incitement of insurrection for the january 6th attack on the u.s. capitol that left five people dead. trump is the only president to be impeached twice and the only former president to face trial in the senate. will sit at those long tables allowing enough room for social distancing. the proceeding is expected to begin at 1:00 p.m. senators will need to pass a new organizing resolution after trump's attorney withdrew his request to pause the trial at the end of the week for the sabbath. his portion of the defense will be concluded by then and that
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the pause is no longer needed. after adopting the new rules, the trial will continue with four hours of debate on whether the trial itself is constitutional. it is expected to pass easily. opening arguments are expected to begin tomorrow, putting the trial on track for a possible verdict by early next week. right now there are no scheduled witnesses. many point out that senate jurors themselves are already witnesses to what happened that day because they were there. we're also told to expect some personal stories from impeachment managers who felt their lives were in danger on january 6th. so, willie, this begins an incredible moment in history, but also i think a time when we get a sense of when our democracy came to the brink and we hear the personal side and
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perhaps see and hear the sights and sounds of that fateful day. >> no question about it. that will be the job of the impeachment managers when they begin making their arguments. they want to take the senators in that room and the american people back to that day on january 6th and just remind them how crucial it is to hold the president accountable for what happened. on the other side of it, let's see the defense by the former president's defense team arguing that holding the president responsible for the deadly capitol attack is nothing more than, quote, political theater by democrats and that the senate has no constitutional power to sit in judgment of a former president. we'll come back to that point in a second. former president trump's lawyer said he did not direct anyone to commit unlawful actions, nor does he deserve blame for the conduct of what they call a small group of criminals who broke into the capitol, killing a police officer.
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the trump team asserted false claims about a stolen election delivered at a rally right before supporters began their deadly assault. they say their comments are protected by the deadly amendment. they cited a discredited source that claimed rioters were anti-trump forces. at one point, the brief chastises the house managers themselves. it reads on january 6th, 2021, rioters entered the capitol building and brought havoc, mayhem and death in a brazen attempt to further glorify violence, the house managers took several pages of their memorandum to restate over 50 sensational media reports detailing the horrific incidents and shocking violence of those hours. arguing the constitution provides jurisdiction for the
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trial and the president's conduct was, quote, categorically unacceptable. there is a lot to go through. 78 pages where they restate the fraud, the falsehood about fraud in the election, about a stolen election and try to absolve plt trump of any responsibility. he was just a guy talking, and he's protected by the first amendment. that's the way their argument goes. >> the big lie continues and of course the flurry of lies continue. they talk about how it is just a, what, a small group of criminals. but then they lay out 50 incidences of shocking attacks and rioting and mayhem. again, this is going to be very easy for a lot of attorneys that are in the united states senate, whether they're republicans or democrats alike in their first year of law classes. again, we're talking about the
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but for test. and while that's retorts. also you can certainly look at it on the criminal side as well. if you had removed donald trump from this scene, would any of this had happened? if it had been don jr. making that speech, would the riots have happened? no. those people there aren't holding giuliani signs. those people hadn't been lied to for years by donald trump talking about rigged elections and stolen elections. he started setting this up back in early spring, talking about rigged elections and talking about all of the other things that the democrats are going to try to do to try to steal the election. and, jon meacham, in one of the great ironies, a guy whips people into a frenzy talking about a stolen election as he,
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in the words of liz cheney, is using this time to try to start an insurrection to steal an election himself. >> well, you know, i'm watching these images again. i think it's going to be pretty powerful, despite, with all due respect to the president's lawyers. i have been reading the past couple of days at the risk of self-caricature, some of the early 19th century stuff. and, you know, without being hyperbolic, when you look back, you see the compromise, the missouri compromise. you see the nulliication crisis. you see the compromise of 1850 which only lasted three years because kansas and nebraska broke that up as we were trying to decide about the projection of slavery. and you see this -- not as an
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inevitable progression, but points on a graph that led us to a cat cliz m, an important cleansing cat cliz m, but a cat cliz m. you can do that with the kennedy association in dallas. they spit on lady bird johnson, that the society was raising all these questions. when you step back from major events in american history, you can see of events. to remove donald trump from a chain of events that led to the insurrection and terror attack on the capitol is not conceivable. it's -- once again, this is a little bit like the phone call of a year ago. it is, in fact, the case that what the united states senators are going to have to do is
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concede the facts but decide it doesn't matter. and at a certain point, when does something matter? if it doesn't matter now, will it ever? and if that's the case, then why go to the trouble to seek statewide office to sit in that chamber, take an oath? is it simply to fill a personal, political ambition or are there higher constitutional obligations? you know, i'm not there, so i'm not -- it ease easy for me to say. but i would urge the senators to think about what would they have done in the 1850s? what would they have done about calming violence done in the early '60s? >> i mean, john, unfortunately, you have seen what they have done time and again over the
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past four and a half years. people that you and i both know, people who define themselves as conservatives their entire life behaving in a radical way or at least empowering a radical leader. so the question now, this coming week, jonathan la mere, when you have witnesses as i think miikka said, when you actually have members of the jury who were also witnesses, members of the senate who were witnesses to this, who heard the screams, who heard the yells, who understood that their very lives could have been in danger, who certainly understood that mob was looking for mike pence, to lynch him and to assassinate nancy pelosi because they were trying to stop the united states senate from doing its duty.
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>> the jurors, indeed, joe, were the witnesses. and this is a senate that has now for, i would argue, for four and a half years heard president donald trump undermine the faith in institutions, undermine the democracy and lay the seeds for what happened on january 6th. this didn't just happen in 2020. this began in his first campaign. this began in his presidency where you would attack the very pillars of our public and suggest there is a deep state out to get him, point the fingers at bureaucrats and politicians alike and really undermine their faith in their very government that is meant to protect them and safe guard our sacred institutions like the election. this has been in the works for a long time and that's the argument the democrats will make. they will narrowly focus on the events of the 6th.
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to be clear, we will be seeing a lot of video over these next few days and extraordinarily powerful images, many of which we have seen on television now for nearly a month. and there is this understanding that as tragic as the events of that day were, five people lost their lives, including a capitol hill police officer, it could have been so much worse. people close to the investigation into that attack, in that siege, say that without a little luck and heroism from capital police officers, the body count could have been higher that they could have found mike pence or speaker pelosi. we heard alexandria ocasio-cortez describe in painful detail how scared they were, how scared she was that something was about to happen. yes, we believe this is a trial whose verdict is already assured. republicans a couple more
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republicans vote in the organizing resolution a few weeks ago. not enough to be 17. it seems highlyunlikely. but this is a matter of history. and they want republicans to go on record, put your name to it. this is your job. this is your secret oath. if you believe that president donald trump did nothing wrong, vote to acquit, but be prepared to live with that vote the rest of your life. coming up, kate bedingfield joining the conversation just ahead on "morning joe." ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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let's go to leeann caldwell, who is standing by on capitol hill. there will be an argument that he's not in office anymore and it's not constitutional or why bother do this. but then you get back to the question that willie just put on the table. the tension on capitol hill must be really high. >> miikka, that's absolutely right. as far as the trump defense team brief, they are focussing most of it on process, that this process, this imteachment is illegitimate, that it shouldn't happen because the president is no longer in office. he was just using his first amendment right of free speech and the fact that he was given no due process. well, the house impeachment managers, they counter, especially all those arguments, but on the due process component it's very telling.
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that's why they called last week in a surprise move for the former president to come and testify at his own trial, which he refused. so they are saying, we gave you a due process opportunity and you declined. so they are saying that argument is not a thing. but as far as capitol hill is concerned, some of the things that i will be watching for today, of course this vote this afternoon on the constitutionality of the trial is going to be the big first test vote for those republicans. when senator rand paul forced that vote on the senate, a similar vote a couple of weeks ago, i heard a lot of grumbling from some senate republicans who were saying we did not want to take this vote this way. we did not want to be forced into it so quickly. now they will have two hours of debate from each side. hearing from the trump impeachment managers saying it
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is absolutely constitutionally. they will have an informed opinion today. if that vote changes from a couple weeks ago, that could be telling. i team going to be watching the senators who announced their retirement. are they going to break from their party on this first test vote on whether it's constitutional or not. >> democrats in the senate want this to be a quick trial as well. senate democrats want to move quickly as we saw in the time line they laid out looking for perhaps a vote and a verdict as early as next week. how is this going to play out over today? you get 16 hours, up to 16 hours each for both sides to argue and then to question witnesses. do you think this really could be over by a week from today perhaps? >> it could be, especially now there is a big indicator that the trump defense team no longer needs the saturday to celebrate
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the sabbath. it sounds like they're just going to plow through, really moving up the schedule most likely of this trial. but democrats are, in the senate even, are intent on giving the notion that they are still working on covid relief. they're holding a press conference this morning with all the committee chairs on covid relief at 10:30 saying that this is what they are focussed on despite this impeachment trial going on. let's be clear most of the work on covid is being done in the house of representatives as we speak. in those committees, they are taking the lead in writing this legislation. and so the senate doesn't at this time have that much to do on covid, so it is not going to interfere too much. what it does is it detracts from the messaging when they would rather be talking about providing relief to american
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families and americans who have been suffering during this pandemic. instead, they're still talking about the former president. >> thank you. and coming up, donald trump's post election was enough to get him impeached even before the domestic terror attack on the capitol. we'll talk to neal katyal straight ahead on "morning joe." (judith) at fisher investments, we do things differently and other money managers don't understand why. (money manager) because our way works great for us!
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to know it's covered. (screaming) this commercial is now over. logo. three. no nonsense. just common sense. jon meacham, i'd love to get your perspective on what you're reading through right now, studying the decades leading up to the civil war. and what strikes me, the parallels between that time and where we are right now, i'm curious if you have been drawing any parallels between the whigs
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collapsing and vanishing because of slavery, the no nothings doing the same, the rise of the republican party between 1856 and 1860, a meteoric rise over those past four years. and then you look at this republican party that, as you have said for a long time, been in 150, 160 duolopoly, two parties dominating for that long. we look at the last election n. georgia, republicans, of course, lost the urban center of atlanta. they lost the suburbs of atlanta. now with marjorie taylor greene, they're starting to lose some. you see this party is going in a direction that mitch mcconnell knows leads them off a cliff. what parallels do you draw between history's lessons in the
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1850s and what we're going through right now? >> well, i think you're right. you know, the whig party cracked up for many reasons. but chiefly because they could not find a consensus view on the central question of the age, which was the expansion, really the expansion of slavery. there were enough folks who were willing, as lincoln was through the first inaugural through '62 to leave slavery where it was. they hid under the constitutional sanction of slavery, and they tried to focus the argument on the extension. so that was one position. but it cracked up because they couldn't find a coherent answer on a defining question of human power and human identity. i would argue that the republican party of today is foundering, is cracking up on their inability to find a
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coherent answer to a fundamental question, which is globalization and its implications. and the genuine creation of a multiethnic pluralistic democracy. and, frankly, the rise of donald trump is an indication that a lot of people who are alive with the republican party and who may be the republican party today simply are not ready to grapple with the end of a predominantly white america. and i say that as a white guy. you know, the -- you and i are southern white then. things tend to work out for us in this country. what we're called to do by history and by faith is to make sure that the promise of the dechar ration of the independence is in fact available to all. and no single party has ever been entirely virtuous and
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entirely able to do that. i'm not saying that. but right now what i think is really deeply troubling is we need -- we learned this in the 1790s all the way through. we need in this big country a healthy two party system. and harry truman worried, you know, 80 years ago, 70 years ago that we were going to have a problem if all the liberals ended up in one party and all the conservatives in another because then the parties would not play a filtering process and polarization would become the norm. i would argue we were back to the norm as we were in the 1850s. coming up, the biden plan to fight covid-19. we'll talk to kate bedingfield about that. and the push on capitol hill for more economic relief.
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>> about 20 million american children have not been in the classroom for nearly a year. there is a mental health crisis happening. >> there really is. >> women are dropping out of the workforce. is this a national emergency? >> it is a national emergency. women are dropping out of the workforce because they either have to stay at home with their children or if they had a work, drop out because child care is so expensive. i think it is time for schools to open safely. teachers want to go back. my wife is a teacher. but what they are told is you have to have fewer people in the classroom. you have to have ventilation system that had been reworked. you have to have more school
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busses because not as many kids can get on one school bus. you have got to have sanitation and everything from the dining room to the lavatories. our cdc commissioner will be coming out with science-based judgment within i think as early as wednesday to lay out what the minimum requirements are. i made a commitment to try to get k through 8 back to school by the end of this 100 days. >> there are teachers unions across the country, though, that are resisting efforts to open classrooms. mike bloomberg has said it is time for joe biden to stand up to teachers unions because kids are the most important things. is that going to happen? >> they are. and i have. i met with the teachers unions. they want to go back to school. they need some guidance. >> as you can see, there is a lot on president biden's plate. joining us now white house communications director kate beddingfield. kate, thanks for joining us.
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>> thanks for having me. >> great to have you. joe biden says he wants to work with republicans. will he be working with republicans on covid relief? is that going to happen? >> he's trying to. he's put forward a big bold package, the american rescue plan. he's been working with republicans to try to secure their support for that plan. he met with a number of senators last week to hear their plans and their recommendations on how we should adjust the package. so he is working with republicans because this crisis doesn't see a party. there are no blue states when it comes to covid. there are no red states when it comes to covid. as a country, we are all in this together. so he's put forward a bold plan that will fund vaccine distribution. it will make sure we get shots in americans arms. it will ramp up testing so that we can move more freely because we're able to test and we're able to know and understand where the virus is. it will provide money to help
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get schools reopen. you heard him talking about how it is time to get schools reopened safely. and the money in this package will help do that. it will help schools have the resources that they need to ensure that they're able to open safely. so his hope is to be able to work with republicans, but what he has said, miikka, is that this is a crisis. he will not sacrifice speed. he believes urgently we have to get this money out the door, so he's not going to slow the process down. he hopes republicans will vote for it. he believes that, you know, for these republicans to go home to their states and have to say that they didn't support this package, that's a tough lift. but ultimately he wants to move quickly because the cost of inaction here is just enormously high. >> a lot of facets to this. one of them is the minimum wage. do you think all democrats should support a raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour? >> the president certainly does. he believes that no american
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should work a full-time job and have to live in poverty, particularly in the workforce that has taken care of us during this crisis, people who are on the front lines, essential workers. he said many times it is good to celebrate them, but we should also pay them. we should pay them. they should not make a poverty wage working these jobs. it's why he put it in the package. it is an important piece of this package, and it's something he very much wants to see passed. >> and finally, at least for me and then i think willie wants to take over, but i want to ask you about the unprecedented impact that this crisis has had on women. we heard president biden in his interview with nora o'donnell talking about that and talking about how he's putting money in there for child care because one of the big issues is everything has fallen on them, taking care of kids at home, trying to do jobs, losing their jobs. how do we help women get themselves back into the
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workforce? and by the way, equal pay, which is something that, you know was a priority during the obama administration. it has been a priority for many. but they have been set back in a massive way during this pandemic. getting back in is going to be tough, and they're not even paid the amount that their male counter parts are if they do somehow get back into the workforce. >> exactly right. exactly right. and president biden believes that's outrageous. he has proposed a number of pieces in this package to try to particularly support women. obviously your heard him talk about child care, the child tax credits. and, you know, a lot of essential workers on the front lines of this crisis are women. so unemployment insurance extension and food assistance, i mean, these are things in this bill that are particularly going to help women get back on their feet. but broadly speaking, he
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believes that we have to do more to ensure that we're not losing an entire generation of women from the workforce, which, you know, has a tremendous economic impact over time. we can't afford to do nothing and allow this large cohort of women to fall out of the workforce. that is simply unacceptable. so there are a lot of pieces of the american rescue plan that are specifically designed to ensure that women can get back on their feet, get back in the workforce. child care, of course, incredibly important. i'm a mom. i know you're a mom. for everyone that's been juggling the difficulty of child care and working during this pandemic, what the president has put forward is a proposal to try to help make things easier and ensure women can get back in the workforce, which is critically important to the health of our economy. >> good morning. back to schools, a lot of the teachers unions have said that teachers should be vaccinated before schools are open again.
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does the president agree with that? should a vaccination be required before a teacher should go back to school? >> he believes the teachers should be a priority on the vaccination list. he has supported that. he believes the teachers should get their vaccines. but he's listening to the science and there are a number of important steps we need to take to ensure that schools will open safely. vaccines are one piece of it, yes. but also there needs to be masking. there needs to be room for social distancing, so there is mitigation measures that are just as important. vaccine is critically important. it's why he has said the teachers should be vaccinated. they are prioritized in the vaccination schedule. but just as important are also these mitigation measures. what he's done is propose money to ensure that schools can take these mitigation measures, to ensure they're able to open safely. he believes it is time for kids to go back to school safely. that's the critical point here.
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we need to do it safely. >> amen to that. your own cdc director said last week, quote, vaccinations of teachers is not a prerequisite for safely reopening schools. what's been born out in a lot of districts that have opened partially is that the school, including here in new york city, have been among the safest places in our city. so i know that's not the official cdc guidance. that was her speaking at a white house briefing, though. does the president disagree with the cdc director on that question of vaccinating teachers? ? as you said, the official cdc guidance will come later this week, but we will let the cdc make their recommendations. we'll see that guidance when we put it forward. what the president believes is we should reopen schools safely. vaccines are part of that, but mitigation measures are part of that, too. we need to provide the resources. i mean, you know, that is why it
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is so critical for congress to pass the american rescue plan. this is a package that has the support of 70% of the american people, because they want schools to have the resources that they need to reopen. they want their states to have the money that they need to be able to get shots in people's arms. this package is going to be critical to helping us start to turn the corner on covid. it's going to be a long problem. this is not a problem we will solve tomorrow. but he's taken critical steps since he got into office, for example, ordering 200 million additional vaccines to ensure we have enough vaccine to vaccinate every adult in this country. he started putting fema boots on the ground as you saw yesterday when he did the virtual mass distribution site in arizona in partnership with the state, the federal government, fema. you know, that is a concrete step that he's made to move forward, to make progress on what is going to be a very long
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hard slog for the country. >> just to tie this up because there are a lot of parents watching and this is a core question as a mom ourself. if the cdc says masks, distancing must be observed in schools but teachers and students don't need to be vaccinated to reopen, the president will go along with that. >> the president listens to the science. he will listen to the cdc guidance. let's not get ahead of the cdc. let them make their recommendation later this work. as always, the president will work to move forward as safely as possible to get schools reopen in a way that's safe for teachers and parents. >> on the question of the minimum wage, the president said i put it in, talking about the $15 minimum wage, but i don't think it's going to survive. to which people like bernie sanders said, wait a minute, we want that in the package. as president biden conceded that the minimum wage hike will not
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be a part of this package? >> no, not at all. this is a question for the parliament. if you take the full context of his quote, he said he believes it may not survive the senate rules. so it's certainly something we wants to see in the bill obviously. he proposed it. he pro posed it as a critical piece of the package, so it is something he very much wants to see passed. but this is a question for the parliament. his quote is he believes it will pass. no american should work a full-time job and live in poverty. he believes it should pass, but this is a question for the parliamenttarian. >> i know you are focussed on this covid relief package. but on a personal level does the president of the united states believe that former president trump incited an insurrection
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with rhetoric leading up to the attack on january 6th? >> well, i think president biden was unequivocal on that day that this is domestic terrorism, and i don't think that anybody could look at the campaign of 2020 and have any question on where joe biden stood on donald trump's fitness to be president of the united states. he ran an entire campaign based on the premise that donald trump was not fit to be president and won. he's proud of the role he played in helping to ensure that donald trump didn't have another four years in the white house. as he said many times, he's going to let the senate carry out the impeachment process. if you are asking whether joe biden thinks donald trump was fit to be president of the united states, he didn't, and he ran a successful campaign on it. >> yeah. and kate, though, it is the white house position that the impeachment proceedings should continue? a lot of republicans and critics are saying this is a distraction. we need to focus on the bigger
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things. what's the importance of these proceedings being carried out and having these votes registered in the logs of history? >> yeah. the president believes that the trial should go forward since the house served the articles of impeachment. the senate needs to conduct the trial. for him, he's going to stay focussed on what the american people sent him to washington to do, which is get the virus under control, get the economy back on track, tackle the racial equity crisis, the climate crisis. he will stay focussed on doing the business of the american people while we let the senate handle its business this week. one thing i would say, i would point out is, you know, during president trump's first impeachment trial, the senate was able to move forward on dom knees and confirmations. and that's something we're hoping the senate will be able to do. we really hope that they will
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continue to move forward where obviously in a schools crisis in this country as we discussed in this interview. we need a secretary of education. while the senate is doing this important business of conducting the trial, they will also move forward on confirming some of president biden's nominees. >> white house communications director kate bedingfield, thank you. up next, some of the rioters on capitol hill charged in the attack appear to give democrats new fuel in their impeachment case against donald trump. we're going to explain that next on "morning joe." we're back in 90 seconds. 90 secs e for yourself in gaming? then make a name for yourself. even if your office, and bank balance are... far from glamorous. that means expensing nothing but pizza. your expenses look good, and your books are set for the month! ...going up against this guy... and pitching your idea 100 times. no, no, no! no. i like it. -he likes it! ...and you definitely love that.
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most common side effects were nausea and tiredness. serena: ask about ubrelvy. the anytime, anywhere migraine medicine. . welcome back to "morning joe," former president trump's impeachment defense team claims he cannot be held responsible for incisement of a riot because some of those charged with attacking the capitol preplanned their activities. house impeachment managers say in the brief filed yesterday that trump engaged in a, quote, single course of conduct constituting incitement that began with actions before january 6th. an attorney for jacob chancely the suspect who sported face paint and a hat and that hat had horns on it and later told investigators he came to the
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capitol at the request of the president, that all patriots come to d.c. on january 6th. took that democratic argument a step farther in an interview with cnn. >> that trump talk, that propaganda, was going on non-stop, not since november, but since prior to trump assuming the office. trump's tweets, his social media exploitation, what he said day in, day out, that we all permitted, included untruths, misrepresentations, out and out lies. not every now and then. every day. not once a day. multiple times daily. the process of unwinding from years of trump, years of lies -- >> you make it sound like he's being de-programmed from a cult.
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>> well, i've likened the entire thing to 1978 and jim jones down in giana, this is very real for these people. >> wow, joining us now, former acting u.s. solicitor general, now an msnbc legal contributor neal katyal. and professor in law at georgetown university and an msnbc legal analyst paul butler. good to have you both on board. paul butler, i'll start with you, the argument that this was bunch of criminals who acted on their own you could see joust countered actually by a lawyer for one of the insurrectionists who was inspired by trump. i mean, i have a brain, i can use it, it's obvious. but it's a case that has to be made for republicans who refuse to believe that this is an important argument to be made as it pertains to protecting our democracy. what can be presented in this trial that can compel republicans to see beyond what i
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believe is some sort of political or cultist connection to donald trump? >> look at the president's words, look at his actions. after trump knew he'd lost the election, he unleashed the mob to attack congress. he inflamed the insurrectionists to go after his own vice president. he then sent shoutouts to the insurrections as a crime was going down. he called the thugs very special people and said he loved them and reportedly he watched the terrorism going down at the capitol with glee. and it's all one video videotape. and not only are the senators jurors, they're witnesses, they're victims, and they're survivors. >> hey, neal, it's willie, i'm sure you'd like a crack at this case that the hos managers have to prosecute. let me give you a mock trial
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here, let's start with today before we get to the evidence, the constitutionality of this trial. we're going to get a big group of republicans, we expect, voting to say this is not constitutional. what do you say to that? >> first, i want to echo my agreement with my colleague georgetown paul butler. one thing i'd add to it, you can interpret some of the president's statements one way or the other but the difficulty is the president didn't make them just right then, like out of context, he made them after people like gabriel sterling said on december 1st, mr. president, stop with your rhetoric, someone's going to get shot. someone's going to get killed. and the president doesn't change anything. he does the same thing over and over again. with respect to the legal question of can a former official be impeached? i think here the brief filed by donald trump yesterday is so telling because, you know, you can always tell whether a lawyer is worth her salt by is she just singing her song or is she
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grappling with the opponent's argument. here the big argument -- even if you think a former president can't be impeached the big argument is he wasn't a former president when he was impeached. he was the president when the house voted. so this whole constitutional question is beside the point. that argument was made very well by mcconnell, not mitch mcconnell, but michael mcconnell, a very prominent former conservative judge. and there is zero answer to that in the brief. nothing. not one word. and that, i think, tells you what you need to know about the strength of this argument. >> and somehow that's been muddied, you're right to point out again that he was impeached, of course, while he was still president of the united states. so, paul, what about the first amendment defense we saw in that 78-page brief from president trump's lawyers, they say he's protected by the first amendment, he's just a guy talking out there. he's just a guy posting things on twitter. he's not responsible for what people do because of that. what do you say to that
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argument? >> the first amendment does not protect speech that incites violence and crime, willie. so when the president said fight like hell, that's exactly what they did. when the president sicked the angry mob on congress they went running down to capitol hill. every day in criminal courts all over the united states, people are prosecuted for words that incite violence. the president is not above the law. he should be treated like any other common criminal. when he threatens violence. and then that violence happens, he must be held accountable. >> neal, you've got a group of republican senators in that chamber today and this week who've effectively made up their minds, mostly for political reasons, they don't want to cross president trump, and his voters. what case would you make to them, if there's any sway to be had over them, what would you
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say to them today? >> i'd say the eyes of history are watching them. i mean, you know, the question is, do we want a president to act the way he did, in his last weeks of office, this is what liz cheney said, quote, the greatest violation of his oath by any president in the history of the country, greatest violation of his oath, can we really look and turn the other way? and paul's absolutely right that the free speech defense is bogus, but also for another really simple reason, and this is pointed out by peter kaiser yesterday, who's a very prominent conservative lawyer, he founded the federalist society, that conservative legal organization, he said, look, you know, people have free speech rights all the time to do things that are really distasteful against criminal prosecution, like, you know, burning a flag or wearing a swastika. those things are protected by the first amendment. but darn it, those are obviously impeachable offenses if the president is doing those things. so the first amendment doesn't really work in the impeachment context the way it does in an
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ordinary criminal case. >> all right, neal katyal and paul butler, we'll be watching the impeachment proceedings. they begin officially today at 1:00 eastern time, and we will be having you both back as it plays out, and willie, we expect to hear a lot of the sights and sounds and experiences that members of congress went through on the day that the capitol was rioted by insurrectionists. and i think, you know, we're going to see all wrapped up in one proceeding the divide between those who really were there, were present in the moment when our democracy was interrupted, and those who somehow still want to push this aside for a man who doesn't even exist now in the presidency, he's gone off twitter, and he lost everything for them.
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it's, to me, you know, number one, i still can't figure it out, why they would still stand by him and then secondly it's something to fear, in a way. >> and that's what house managers will do, beginning tomorrow, really, because they have to get through this constitutional vote today, this process vote. they will be taking those senators back to that day, something that they themselves lived through. we'll see if any of them are compelled to convict based on that testimony. that does it for us this morning, we will see you right back here tomorrow morning, msnbc's special coverage of the second impeachment trial, of former president donald trump, begins right now. we are beginning on msnbc right now, our coverage of the second impeachment trial of former president donald trump, just four hours away from the start of what will be an extraordinary event. a former president accused of inciting an insurrection against the country he was sworn to protect with the goal of keeping himself in power. impeached twice now. so today

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