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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 11, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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lot of lawyering on the other side of trump legal teams and has been watching this trial as well, thank you so much for talking to us. >> thanks for having me, chris. >> that does it for us and all in this evening. the rachel maddow show starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris. thanks, my friend. much appreciated. and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. i will tell you right now our first guest we're going to have tonight to somebody who you're going to want to see. we've got an interview tonight with somebody who is in an absolutely unique status as a national newsmaker tonight. i will explain who she is, and you will want to see this interview coming up in our next segment. but it is -- it has been a remarkable news day today. president biden announced today that the u.s. government has found a way to purchase another 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine. this is moderna and pfizer, the first two vaccines that have been approved here. they're both those two-dose vaccines. they've got 200 million more
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doses. and what that means mathematically is now we've got sort of a horizon on our pandemic finally. i mean at least on paper what this means, what this announcement from president biden means tonight is that we should have enough supplies on hand to vaccinate every american by the end of july. today we had another day of more than 2 million shots administered in a single day. remember then facing all that skepticism about whether they could get to a million shots a day to get to president biden's goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days. today we had another day where they did 2 million -- 2 million vaccine doses administered today. we're finally starting to get there. we're going to have more on that story ahead. it is really tremendous news. chris hayes talking about that tonight on msnbc with a lot of optimism in his voice. i share that feeling. alongside that, some disturbing reporting from "the new york times" tonight that the former president, president trump, was
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actually quite grievously ill with covid-19 when he was hospitalized for it in october. now this is "the new york times" reporting. nbc news has not confirmed it. but per "the new york times" the white house and the president's doctors seem to have quite comprehensively lied to the american public about how near death the president was. including an expectation at the time we're now learning about for the first time that they thought he was going to have to be put on a ventilator when they whisked him off to walter reid that first fight. we're going to have more on that disturbing story tonight as well. plus of course we're expecting the cdc tomorrow to release its new guidelines for how to safely reopen schools. reopening schools, of course, is another stated 100-day priority for president biden. the devil is absolutely in the details in terms of how to safely reopen schools particularly if the best case arise frg getting everybody
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vaccinated is now for high summer. but all those things are happening at once and we're going to have more on all those stories ahead. at the same time today was of course day three of the impeachment trial of former president trump, the only president to be impeached in office twice. the only president to ever face a senate impeachment trial twice. now, as we anticipated on last night's show the prosecutors, the house impeachment managers they didn't use all the time allotted to them to make their case. they gave back hours of their time. yesterday they used less than 6 of the 8 hours they had. today they used less than 5 of their allotted 8 hours. they wrapped up around 4:30 p.m. eastern today. but the prosecutors did wrap up their laying out the facts of the case. tomorrow the president's defense will start laying out their case. they, too, of course, will be afforded the same amount of time. 16 hours over two days. i've been wondering how they were going to handle that because of some weird dynamics within the president's defense team. there was that disastrous
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performance by one of the president's lawyers in particular when they got to, you know, put the car on the track and run the first few laps in the trial on tuesday. i have to say i apologize for last night saying that mr. caster's performance on tuesday was bart simpson meet foghorn leg horn. that was uncalled-for. i apologize for that, but mr. caster did have some real trouble. and reporter kaitlan collins at cnn is reporting today that president trump actually considered firing mr. castor on the spot after his disastrous turn in the spotlight on tuesday. president trump decided not to fire him. mr. castor is still on the team, but mr. trump's other main lawyer david shoen who president trump reportedly didn't dislike quite as much as he disliked the other guy, mr. shoen is only available to the president's defense team until 5:00 tomorrow and not at all on the second day
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afforded to make their case, which is saturday. for religious reasons he can't be part of the trial anytime after sunday or anytime on saturday. so how are they going to handle that if tomorrow they've got 8 hours and saturday they've got another 8 hours to lay out their case? if mr. shoen can't be there for the bulk oof the time, and if the other guy they've got president trump can't stand the sight of him, how are they going to deal? well, the reporting would seem to indicate the way they're going to deal with this problem is just by not mounting much of a defense at all. they've been allotted under the trial rules 16 hours over two day tuesday make their case. they're reportedly planning on using maybe a total of 3 hours using none of their time on saturday, maybe only using 3 hours tomorrow. they would be starting at noon tomorrow, be done before they'd even need to take a single break. that is reportedly the plan, but
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who knows. mr. castor who had that sad showing on tuesday he reportedly wasn't even supposed to speak at all on day one before he gave his master meander class that afternoon. how can you, like, wake up on a tuesday not knowing if you're giving an hours long presentation to the united states senate as a defense lawyer for the president. how can you wake up on saturday thinking that's not going to happen and then it happens? apparently that's kind of how they're rolling. today in making the end of their case against president trump the prosecutors, the house impeachment managers, they covered a lot of ground and as they said did so fairly quickly. they talked about the rioters that day saying explicitly that they were there in d.c. because they believed they had been invited to be there by the president. when president trump asked his supporters to come to d.c. to stop the steal, to stop the certification of the vote on january 6, his supporters took
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him seriously and literally. the president's defense is expected to argue tomorrow as they did in their written legal filings that all these people just came to d.c. of their own accord and for their own reasons and it really had nothing to do with president trump. the rioters' own words that day many of which were broadcast today in the senate chamber for senators to see, and the rioters' words in their legal defense filing since they've all been arrested give assertion they are thathere at trump's request. the impeachment managers rebutted from the president's lawyers that somehow inciting the crowd to violently attack the u.s. capitol is protected speech under the first amendment. president trump's lawyers have suggested they will make a first amendment defense. i think it seems quite clear they will. i'm not sure how many other avenues are open to them.
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but it is clear even if you're not a lawyer that the first amendment is totally irrelevant as a defense since -- as a defense to the question of whether somebody can be impeached for things they say and do as a public official. the first amendment is about protecting private speech from government encroachment. if you are speaking as a public official and you are being impeached or potentially convicted for your words as a public official and whether or not they constitute high crimes and misdemeanors, a violation of your oath of office, then the first amendment is literally completely irrelevant. but the impeachment managers mounted that defense today as a sort of prebuttal to what they're expecting the president's lawyers tomorrow to say. congressman cicilline talked about the consequences of the attack on the capitol including something that's been largely visible to the public which is
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the terrorization of the people who worked at the capitol building that day including people who work in-house keeping staff and janitorial staff and congressional staffers as well. incidentally the letter from current congressional staffers, the open letter from current congressional staffers to the senate begging senators to please think about their staff, to please consider what the staff went through that day and please vote to convict the president so this never happens again, it's a letter we have previously reported on here on this show. as of today we're now told it has more than 400 congressional staffers signed onto it, again, begging senators to please convict. congressman joaquin castro talked about the conskwz of the attack for our national security, the reaction of other countries, and particularly other countries that hate us. the public gloating in exploitation of the attack like our enemies, a country like russia saying the attack proves democracy is over because look
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at the smoking hulk wave made of it here. but i think the most jarring argument today was the argument we heard in different ways from multiple house managers that there's really no reason to think the threat is over particularly as senators vote to acquit the former president and thereby assure there are no consequences for him for having done this. and of course he'll try it again. i mean why wouldn't he? the country is talking about this and trying to contend with this as an incredible tragedy, as a disaster of magnificent consequences for our country and for our democracy including as i said for our standing in the world. but there's no sign that president trump sees it that way at all. there's no sign he has any problem at all with the fact he did this once already. >> he didn't react to the violence with shock or horror or dismay as we did. he didn't immediately rush to twitter and demand in the
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clearest possible terms that the mob disperse, that they stop it, that they retreat. instead he issued messages in the afternoon that sided with them, the insurrectionists who had left police officers battered and bloodied. he reacted exactly the way someone would react if they were delighted and exactly unlike how a person would react if they were angry at how their followers were acting. >> this pro-trump insurrection did not spring into life out of thin air. we saw how trump spent months cultivating america's most dangerous extremist groups. we saw how he riled them up with corrosive lies and violent rhetoric. he'd seen many of the exact same
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groups he was mobilizing participate in extremist violence before. more over, he's seen clearly how his own incitement to violence and praise after the violence took place galvanized, encouraged and electrified these extremist followers. these tactics were road tested. jan 6th was a culmination of the president's actions not an aberration from them. the insurrection was the most violent and dangerous episode so far in donald trump's continuing pattern and practice of inciting violence. but i emphasize so far. >> he does not say in that video, for example, everything i said in the months prior went too far. and he does not say the one sentence that matters. he does not say the one sentence that would stop future political
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violence, the election was not stolen. he still hasn't said that sentence. that is why national guard troops in full body armor still patrol outside. >> he knew they were coming. he brought them here, and he welcomed them with open arms. we hear you and love you from the oval office. my dear colleagues, is there any political leader in this room who believes if he's ever allowed by the senate to get back into the oval office donald trump would stop inciting violence to get his way? would you bet the lives of more police officers on that? would you bet the safety of your family on that? would you bet the future of our democracy on that? president trump declared his conduct totally appropriate. so if he gets back into office
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and it happens again, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves. >> senators, the evidence is clear. we showed you statements, videos, affidavits that prove president trump incited an insurrection. an insurrection that he alone had the power to stop. and the fact that he didn't stop it, the fact he incited a lawless attack and abdicated his duty to defend us from it, the fact that he actually further inflamed the mob -- further inflamed that mob, attacking his vice president while assassins were pursuing him in this capitol -- more than requires conviction and disqualification. we humbly, humbly ask you to
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convict president trump for the crime for which he is overwhelmingly guilty of. because if you don't, if we pretend this didn't happen or worse if we let it go unanswered, who's to say it won't happen again? >> who's to say it won't happen again? congressman joe neguse there at the end. the impeachment manager trying to make the stakes as clear as they can be here. that not only would an acquittal of the president after this trial legitimize this conduct by the former president last month, it would effectively legitimize conduct like this for hypothetical malevolent future presidents or even for the last nonhypothetical malevolent president to maybe try it again.
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and if he's going to try it again, if he's knowing to try to use violence to get his way politically again, what's to say he's not going to use it for people who are hearing that argument from congressman neguse here today. the president knows he's got a mob at his fingerprints. maybe some of them will go to prison for it but he golfed today. and even all the republican senators in that room know that trump would happily direct such a mob against them if it served his purposes, and he'd do it at the drop of a hat. >> if we don't draw the line here what's next? what makes you think the nightmare with donald trump and his law making and violent mobs is over? if we let him get away with it and then it comes to your state capitol or comes back here again what are we going to say?
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these prior acts of incitement cast a harsh light on trump's obvious intent, obvious intent, his unavoidable knowledge of the consequences of his incitement. the unavoidable knowledge of the consequences of his incitement and the clear foreseeability of the violent harm that he unleashed on our people and our republic. january 6 was not some unexpected radical break from his normal law-abiding and peaceful disposition. this was his state of mind. this was his essential m.o. he knew that egged on by his tweets, his lies and his promise of a wild time in washington to guarantee his grip on power, his most extreme followers would show up bright and early ready to attack, ready to engage in violence, ready to fight like hell for their hero. >> congressman jamie raskin today the lead impeachment manager talking about the president's state of mind, his
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obvious intent, his essential m.o., his modus operandi. watching the managers lay out their case the last couple of days it has been interesting to see -- interesting to me at least. i didn't expect this. that one of the things that has loomed increasingly large with each, you know, few hours of this trial that have gone by, maybe it's gotten bigger and bigger overshadowing this and for me at least on some days is the question of whether there might actually end up being a criminal prosecution here. i mean this is a court of impeachment. this is not a criminal court, and the president doesn't have to be found guilty of a crime that's in the penal code in order to be convicted by the impeachment court. but what about the prospect of him being criminally prosecuted? i mean it didn't happen that the president's defense counsel went there right on day one which i'm sure did not help with the whole president trump wanting to fire him there on the spot right then and there probably. >> after he's out of office you
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go and arrest him, so there is no opportunity where the president of the united states can run rampant in january at the end of his term and just go away scot-free. the department of justice does know what to do with such people. >> you know, go ahead and arrest him. y'all thought of that? that is the defense lawyer for the president. nice job. the article of impeachment approved by the house which is the basis for this trial now in the senate, the charge of incitement for ininsurrection which former president trump is being charged in the senate right now, in addition to january 6th the article mentions just one other specific event. quote, president trump's conduct on january 6, 2021, followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election. those prior efforts included a phone call on january 2nd during which president trump urged the secretary of state of georgia, brad raffensperger to find
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enough votes to overturn the georgia presidential election results. president trump threatened secretary raffensperger if he failed to do so. i know that that thing in georgia, that little episode of attempted election interference by donald trump has been swallowed up by history already. all right, this phone call was eclipsed by the violent attack on the u.s. capitol just four days later. it's like how the resignation of vice president spiro agnew got swallowed up in history because watergate forced the resignation of president nixon right after. when i wrote a book about spiro agnew people were like who's that guy? you wouldn't believe that for a mipt until a bigger scandal eclipsed us and made us forget the other one. when a really, really life changing thing happens it tends to blot out the memory of a lot of really bad stuff that might have happened before that. and so it is with this georgia call. but there's a reason this
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georgia call, this january 2nd phone call is the one other specific event that the authors of the impeachment resolution decided to include in their charges against former president trump. it's because before the january 6th violent attack on the u.s. capitol members of congress were already considering a second impeachment of president trump just for that call. because at that point before the violent attack on the u.s. capitol, his hour-long phone call to georgia's secretary of state pushing and threatening that georgia official to try to get the election results overturned there -- before the attack on the capitol that was president trump's most egregious and blatant act of trying to apparently criminally alter and mess with the election results to try and hold onto power. and he not only did it, it was all on tape. >> so what are we going to do here, folks? i only need 11,000 votes. fellas, i need 11,000 votes. give me a break.
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you know what they did and you're not reporting it. you know, that's a criminal -- that's a criminal offense. and you can't let that happen. that's a big risk to you and to ryan, your lawyer. that's a big risk. it's not fair to take it away from us like this, and it's going to be very costly in many ways. and i think you have to say that you're going to reexamine it, and you can reexamine it but reexamine it with people that want to find answers not people that don't want to find answers. you can't let it happen and you are letting it happen. i mean i'm notifying you that you're letting it happen. so, look, all i want to do is this. i just want to find 11,780 votes. >> i want you to find exactly enough votes to declare me the winner of the election in your state. and if you don't, that's a big risk to you. i'm notifying you.
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i'll call that a criminal offense by you. say you have reexamined it and i actually won or else. and when president trump made that call on january 2nd, four days before the attack on the u.s. capitol, he had already called georgia's governor to pressure him to overturn the state's election results, too. trump had personally called a lower level official in the secretary of state's office, the guy in charge of election investigations and spent a long time personally pressuring that guy, to quote, find the fraud that would result in overturning the election results in georgia and declare trump the winner. while trump was making all these calls personally the u.s. attorney in atlanta resigned under direct pressure from the trump white house because president trump felt and communicated to that u.s. attorney that he was not doing enough to find that nonexistent fraud that would somehow allow the overthrowing of the election results. one of the things that made this
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series of escalating interventions in georgia's election so remarkable is that it was just all so blatantly illegal, right? not just impeachable but illegal, like go to jail illegal. it is against the law in georgia to solicit someone to commit election fraud. threatening state election officials to find you exactly the number of votes you need to turn the election result the other way, threatening elections officials that they need to change vote counts in your favor or else would surely seem to fall under that statute. well, now even as donald trump's second impeachment trial unfolds in the u.s. senate -- and what a spectacle it is -- and that trial unfolds on an article of impeachment that specifically references trump's threatening call to georgia's secretary of state. well, now a high profile state prosecutor in georgia, the district attorney of the largest county in the state fulton county has now opened a criminal investigation that centers on
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that phone call. the district attorney there has sent this letter there to georgia's secretary of state, governor, lieutenant governor and attorney generalect kping them to preserve any and all records related to the 2020 election. quote, this letter is notice that the fulton county district attorney has opened an investigation into attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 georgia election. this investigation includes but is not limited to potential violations of georgia law prohibiting the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the elections administration. quote, this matter is of high importance. excuse me, this matter is of high priority. the next fulton county grand jury is due to convene in march. this office will begin requesting grand jury subpoenas as necessary at that time. again, this is a criminal inquiry in georgia.
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soliciting election fraud can be a felony in the state of georgia that can put you in prison for a year. and while this new investigation centers on that phone call that president trump made to the secretary of state on january 2nd, the same one that's mentioned in the impeachment article, it's also broader than that. a state official telling "the new york times" the fulton's d.a. inquiry will include all those other calls trump made to georgia officials to try to lean on them to overturn the election. it will also look at the u.s. attorney who was forced out by the trump white house for not pursuing trump's bogus fraud claims. whatever happens in this senate impeachment trial which is still under way and i think we're about to get to some of the really good stuff, and whatever president biden's justice departments decides ultimately about potentially pursuing any federal criminal charges against the former president, donald trump as of this week is now looking at potential criminal liability in two states. remember in new york state prosecutors there continue their investigation of trump's
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finances, whether he may have committed tax fraud and bank fraud and insurance fraud. and now in georgia this new criminal investigation into trump's efforts to overturn his election loss in georgia by pressuring georgia state officials with responsibility for elections to do his bidding. former presidents it should go without saying have no immunity from prosecution anywhere. they just get tried like regular citizens. and it looks like that may really happen potentially with prison time on the line for president trump. the fulton county district attorney who has just announced the opening of this investigation, she is going to join us live for her first national interview since taking this step. she's here live with us next. ut . state of the art technology, makes it brilliant. the visionary lexus nx. lease the 2021 nx 300 for $359 a month for thirty six months.
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in addition to the events of january 6th at the u.s. capitol
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the article of impeachment against donald trump also highlights something that happened four days earlier, trump's phone call with georgia's secretary of state in which trump spent an hour trying to alturninately coax and threaten that state official into overturning biden's election win in that state. trump told him, quote, i just want to find 11,780 votes. he told the secretary of state that he should tell the public he has recalculated the vote tallies in georgia and discovered that trump actually won. and we know this is what president trump said because the whole thing is on tape. well, now a georgia state prosecutor, the district attorney in fulton county, has opened a criminal investigation centered on that phone call. it's a crime in georgia, potentially a felony to solicit someone to commit election fraud. here's one other thing worth understanding about this. sort of wild about the situation in georgia when it comes to investigating this matter. one of it reasons the fulton county district attorney has decided she should be the person to pursue this as a criminal investigation is that every
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other investigative agency in the state that could conceivably have jurisdiction over a crime like this, every other one is potentially compromised by being a witness to the crime. this is what i mean. this is from the letter announcing the investigation that the d.a. sent to georgia's governor and lieutenant governor and secretary of state and attorney general. she says this, quote, it has come to our attention via media reports contacts were made with subjects of the investigation with others that could be investigating this matter including the secretary of state, the attorney general and the u.s. attorneys office for the southern district of georgia. as such this office, the fulton county district attorney's office is the one agency with jurisdiction that is not a witness to the conduct that is the subject of the investigation. i mean, legal -- legal terminology aside this is how pervasive president trump's pressure campaign to overturn the election was in georgia. i mean the georgia secretary of state's office has opened its own investigation into trump's
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call, but that means investigators there are in the awkward position of investigating a phone call that involved their own boss and one of their coworkers. if they find anything criminal they can refer it to the attorney general's office but guess what? trump called and pressured the attorney general, too. well, how about the federal prosecutor there? oh, right trump forced the u.s. attorney, the federal prosecutor out of office for not pursuing his bogus voter fraud claims. so the fulton county district attorney says she's going to have to be the one to figure out whether any crimes were committed here because she's the only office of relevant jurisdiction that wasn't actually implicated or targeted by this potential criminal. that district attorney's name is faunae willis. she was elected last year after beating a sixth term incumbent d.a. who also happened to be her boss. and now she has launched what will be one of the most watched and closely scrutinized criminal investigations in the country. i'm very pleased to say the fulton county district attorney
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joins us now for the interview. this is her first national tv interview since opening this investigation. district attorney willis thank you for your time tonight. i really appreciate you being here. >> thank you for having me. >> we have, of course, limited visibility into the actions of your office. we know what we know from the letters that have been made public from the statements from your office and from other public source reporting. i feel like i need to just ask you ought the outset if i've gotten anything wrong or anything i've misconstrued in terms of explaining the actions of your office thus far. >> actually while i was listening to you i thought you got it exactly right, that you understood what i was trying to express in that letter, so, no, there's nothing i heard that you got wrong. >> oh, good. the way your investigation has been reported in the press as i understand it is that it is centered on but not limited to this phone call that former president trump made to georgia secretary of state brad raffensperger.
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is that a fair way to understand it? >> absolutely. i've been in this business now for 25 years, 19 of those years have been spent as a prosecutor. what i know about investigations is they're kind of like peeling back an onion and as you go through each layer you learn different things. to be a responsible prosecutor you must look at all those things in investigation to be fair to all those involved. this is very important matter as you've already highlight. and yes, the investigation seems it will go past just this one phone call you played for your viewers. >> the phone call is obviously a unique piece of evidence because the whole country has heard it and because it has caused such a political uproar. when it comes to the question of whether or not it -- people heard on that call may be implicated in a crime either as victim or perpetrator, is state of mind, intent a key part of
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determining whether in fact a crime was committed in a call like that? and i'm asking because the real thing i'm curious about is whether or not you are going to expect to for instance depose the former president to try to understand what his state of mind and his intent might have been behind that call. >> well, two things. first of all, in criminal law we don't do depositions. in very, very rare occasions, so that's not something we could use. obviously if one is charged with a crime they're a defendant and so they have a right to remain silent. so, no, there would be no intent to depose. someone you're investigating you can inquire about an interview and certainly they can voluntarily come in and give an interview, but to depose them would not be a correct word. you said it's the state of mind of the individual important, and absolutely when any prosecutor throughout this country is interviewing people and trying to determine if a crime was committed and if they understood what they were doing, the mens
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reas is always important. and so you look at facts to see did they really have intent, did they understand what they were doing. detailed facts become important like asking for a specific number and then going back to investigate and understand that that number is just one more than the number that is needed. it lets you know that someone had a clear mind. they understood what they were doing, and so when you're pursuing the investigation facts like that that may not seem so important become very important. >> you mentioned in your letter -- and first of all, thank you for setting me straight whether deposed is is the right way to think about this. i'm not a lawyer and i don't pretend to be. i don't even play one on television, so thank you for that. but if you could further educate me on the grand jury process a little bit. you did mention in your letter the next fulton county grand jury is due to convene next month and your office will begin requesting grand jury subpoenas as necessary at that time. can you just walk us through what that means, what's the work
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you'll be doing leading up to the grand jury convening, what circumstances might cause you to request or not request subpoenas at that point? >> yes, ma'am. so one of the things i did when i took office is that i made a commitment to the citizens of this county, which is the largest in georgia as you mentioned, with over a million people. something the prior administration did is they bragged about having this process of indicting and charging people within 45 minutes. i don't think you need to be a lawyer to know that that is probably an unjust process both for the victims of crime as well as the people that are investigated. so when i took office on january 1st i met with the chief judge, and i told him that i did not -- there was no need to bring a grand jury in the first term of court, which for my jurisdiction terms of courts are two months. so the term of court would be january and february because i needed to reinstruct my staff that we were going to investigate these crimes, and any crimes that we were going to
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present to the grand jury for charging our indictment would come up in the next term of court, which would be the march, april term. the grand jury, though, is a tool that is used to issue a subpoena. and so i can write a nice letter toman and say, hey, will you please give me this. but if they don't give it to me, there's no legal consequence. so the way to formally ask for an indictment that is compelling as opposed to just a lovely request is to issue a subpoena. and so what i was doing as a courtesy to people that i respect very much is simply putting them on notice that when a grand jury convened, which would be in march, that they could expect to receive subpoenas and that i would just ask that they as also members of the law enforcement community inform and educate their staff to not destroy anything, to make sure that things were preserved because we would be coming to ask for them and make sure those
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people we needed to talk to as witnesses would be forthcoming as -- but we needed them to be truthful as we investigated this matter. >> a very important point as yet there's no indication any georgia official is a target of the investigation. madam district attorney would you mind if we took a quick break and came back? i have a couple more question but we just to take a quick breather. >> thank you. no problem. >> faunae willis the district attorney of fulton county, georgia. her office has just announced a criminal investigation of efforts to influence the election administration, the general election in georgia this past fall. and you know what that means. i'll be right back with her after this. stay with us. e right back with after this stay with us i'm super emma. but when we realized she was battling sensitive skin, we switched to tide plus downy free.
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announced the opening of a criminal investigation into attempts to influence the administration of the election in georgia. with reference to what is included to the impeachment article against president trump a call to pressure the georgia secretary of state into changing election results for that state. fulton county district attorney fani willis joins us again for the interview. this is her first national tv interview since opening this investigation. thanks again for sticking with us. i want to ask you about the impeachment element here, this phone call between then president trump and the secretary of state in georgia is mentioned in the article of impeachment in which president trump is being tried right now. did the impeachment and that process have any bearing at all on your decision to open this investigation or how you look at your responsibilities here? >> zero. none whatsoever. >> so a completely independent process, okay. >> yeah, it's a -- i mean if we watched -- i just want to be clear if we watch that trial and
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witnesses come forward that are relevant to my investigation, certainly we will do our due diligence and interview them. but whether there was an impeachment or not an impeachment would not change the fact that something occurred here within my jurisdiction that may be criminal. and if that is the case, it needed to be investigated. >> i will mention impeachment in one other context here. just because we have all as a country watched for 2 1/2 days now as house impeachment managers have laid out this evidence about how the former president incited his supporters to violence against his perceived enemies. we've seen these videos of trump supporters menacing and intimidating local and state officials they perceive to be anti-trump. i vus have to ask if you are -- obviously you have 19 years as a prosecutor and obviously stand on firm ground and know what you're doing. i have to ask if it's crossed
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your mind if you're worried about your own safety and that of your staff if opening this investigation could make you targets? >> oh, absolutely. since we've opened this we've gotten -- my security has doubled. we've gotten a lot of comments. interestingly enough the comments are always racist, and it's really just a waste of time and foolishness. it's not going to stop me from doing my job, and i don't think it's an insult to remind me that i'm a black woman. so it is a waste of their time, but we do understand that some people are unstable. the people think the nerve of me to actually do my job. but i took an oath. i made a commitment to the citizens in my community, and i'm going to do my job. >> fani willis, the district attorney of fulton county, georgia, i am sorry that you are getting those threats already. i have incredible confidence in your ability to handle anything that comes your way, but i am
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sorry that is coming your way in that way already. thank you for helping us understand this investigation, and good luck to you and your staff. >> thank you so much. all right, we'll be right back. stay with us. l right, we'll be back stay with us son says, since tide antibacterial fabric spray kills 99.9% of bacteria. just to be sure. he wants us to spray everything every time we walk into the door. it's just to be sure. just to be sure! i thought you just sprayed those. ma, it's just to be sure. see, he takes after my side of the family. for every just to be sure, it's got to be tide antibacterial fabric spray. it's time for the ultimate sleep number event on the new sleep number 360 smart bed. what if i sleep hot? ...or cold?
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as the impeachment trial of the former president heads into day four tomorrow, his defense, starting tomorrow. as the president is also facing criminal investigation for his efforts to mess with the election results in georgia, joining us is sheldon whitehouse of rhode island. senator whitehouse, it's good to see you tonight. thank you so much for making time. >> thanks for having me on. >> i wanted to -- if you don't mind, i think you were able to just see my interview with fan willis, d.a. from fulton county, georgia. i just wanted to get your reaction to that, if you didn't mind. >> welling i'm super jealous because if this case ever goes
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to trial, she's going to have a real jury, and when she presents her case, if she is convincing, as damning in her presentation as the house managers were in the impeachment, she could very well get a guilty verdict. but we've got a very different jury and they've predetermined there's going to be no guilty verdict, at least of many them, so it's kind of nice to see the process of justice work the way it's supposed to or at least see the opening days of that begin. in a way that ends up in front of a real jury and not a compromised senate. >> we are expecting to see the start of the president's defense tomorrow. there's reporting that suggests that they're going to go very short. that they're not going to use anywhere near even half the 16 hours that are allotted to them.
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i wonder at this point in the process do you feel like there should be witnesses? part of the reason people said there shouldn't be witnesses is this thing was going to go on for too long. it seems like a lot of the hours set aside for the trial are not going to be used by the impeachment managers on one side or the defense counsel on the other. >> you know, it will be interesting to see what the defense wants to do. i think that they know that they're just in a terrible position. they're in the position where if this were a regular trial, in front of a real jury, they'd be running to the prosecutors and saying, cut me a deal. please. whatever it takes. get my guy out of here. you've crushed us. so i think they're just going to want to get out of there and rely on the fact that, you know, trump's sway over the republican senators is going to get him acquitted. but if they do raise something that puts a fact, an issue, and there's a witness who could bring that to light, then i think there's still the opportunity for the managers to move to try to make sure they have that chance, but at this point i think the managers have just put in a really great case. just sitting there as a lawyer, as somebody who's done a little
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bit of this stuff, they were very, very good. they were all very, very good. and raskin was fabulous. so, this is a great case. they don't need try to -- now with witnesses. >> there's been some controversy tonight with some of the republican senators, apparently meeting with the president's defense counsel tonight, a long meeting on the capitol grounds. that feels a little improper. is that actually improper in this context with them effectively being jurors meeting with one side of the table? >> well, you've -- particularly the case when the president's lawyers have objected to the very well-regarded and widely respected pat leahy, sitting in the sort of nominal foot of presiing over the senate through this trial, on the grounds of that is a conflict of interest. i guess in a kind of wrong analogy to a criminal trial, but even if the analogy were
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correct, you sure as heck as the defense counsel don't meet with your jurors. so the -- yeah, it's -- it's bad behavior. and it's particularly bad behavior after the defense counsel have made those kind of silly accusations against senator leahy. >> rhode island senator sheldon whitehouse, sir, it is always a pleasure to talk to you. particularly in the midst of all this super interesting legal stuff. thanks for being here tonight. appreciate it. >> of course. >> all right. we'll be right back. stay with us. this is a color laser printer.
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that is going to do it for us for tonight. i told you you were going to want to see who my first guest was tonight. fulton county district attorney fani willis. again, opening an investigation. potential criminal investigation that could result in felony charges against the president as a private citizen. former president, president trump. just astonishing interview. anyway, see you again tomorrow nigh

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