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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  February 15, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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but it's still mardi gras and it is still new orleans no matter what. this year people in new orleans have been channeling their creativity into among other things decorating houses as if they with parade floats. here's one with giant crawfish, giant okra, and a little tiny bernie sanders? here's one paying homage to the late supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg. this house by the aptly nad croup de tat, gets it, needs no other explanation. this house titled georgia on my mind features portraits of shirley chisholm and two new elected senators in january. this features dolly parton holding a syringe of vaccine. god bless her. god bless you, new orleans, nothing can keep you down. next year could be mardi gras like we've always known it.
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could be. that does it for us. see you tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> thank you for the peek at new orleans. i have a huge branch of family in new orleans. i haven't been able to get there because of covid. that was nice to see. >> yeah. >> rachel, it was the night of the impeachment managers on msnbc. david cicilline is going to join us in this hour. >> oh, good. >> one thing i found fascinating about the trial, as you know in the house, it is very rare for a house member to get to speak on the house floor for more than one minute. they actually -- the one-minute speech is the general rule on the house floor, so there's a way in which we really don't any what they're capable of. we never really get to hear them speak. >> that's a good point. >> and so joe neguse and david cicilline and ted lieu and all of these managers, stacey plaskett, coming to the house
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floor, knowing their work as well as i did, i didn't now how they were going to hold the senate floor and they, they each were just so compelling throughout every minute. >> yeah, and jamie raskin, obviously, put together that team. jamie raskin three decades as a constitutional law professor and an incredibly charismatic person in his own low-key, incredibly competent way, but then to assign out the different pieces of the case to each of those other eight impeachment managers, and to have them each perform basically flawlessly, was an -- was, i mean, had a tremendous effect, obviously, but it was also just like an organizational feat to have them all so well placed for each part of the case that they handled. >> and of course, a salute to the staff, the unnamed staff who we never get to see out there at the microphone, but they obviously did a tremendous -- >> yeah. >> -- job servicing, helping the members of the impeachment managers' team. thank you, rachel. >> indeed. thanks, lawrence. >> thank you.
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washington columnist elizabeth drew has covered the most presidential impeachment proceedings that a single lifespan could include, from the nixon impeachment hearings pof of 1974 to the impeachment of bill clinton at the end of the 20th century and now both of the 21st century impeachment trials of donald trump. the impeachment process has changed dramatically over just that period of time. but the words in the impeachment clause of the constitution have never changed. as elizabeth drew points out, those words were written in 1787 before political parties existed. elizabeth drew's interview with lead house impeachment manager jamie raskin immediately after the senate trial reveals why the presidential impeachment process can no longer work as the founders intended. elizabeth drew will join us at the end of this hour on how trumpism has, in effect,
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rewritten the impeachment clause of the constitution. on saturday after the nine house impeachment managers left the senate chamber after running the largest number of bipartisan guilty votes in the history of presidential impeachment trials, it suddenly sounded as if they had left one impeachment manager behind. >> there's no question, none, that president trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. no question about it. the people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. and having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false
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statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet earth. the issue is not only the president's intemperate language on january 6th, it is not just his endorsement of remarks in which an associate urged, quote, trial by combat. it was also the entire manufactured atmosphere of looming catastrophe. the increasingly wild myths, myths, about a reverse landslide election that was somehow being stolen, some secret coup, by our
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now-president. >> mitch mcconnell voted not guilty, claiming that it was not constitutional to hold the senate trial after donald trump left office. in a moment we'll be joined by house manager david cicilline. we'll get his reaction to what it felt like for the house managers to hear mitch mcconnell, the republican leader of the senate, agree with every word that the house managers said in their presentation of evidence and hearing that after mitch mcconnell voted not guilty. morally responsible. mitch mcconnell found donald trump morally responsible for the insurrection at the capitol but voted not guilty. >> president did not act swiftly. he did not do his job. he didn't take steps so federal law could be faithfully executed and order restored. no.
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instead, according to public reports, he watched television happily, happily, as the chaos unfolded. kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election. now, even after it was clear to any reasonable observer that vice president pence was in serious danger, even as the mob carrying trump banners, beating cops, and breaching perimeters, the president sent a further tweet attacking his own vice president. >> no republican who voted not guilty dared to come to the senate floor after that to say that mitch mcconnell was wrong. senator cruz, senator hawley, senator lindsey graham, senator
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rand paul. none of those trumpist extremists dared to say that mitch mcconnell was wrong about the evidence in the case and house managers did not prove what mitch mcconnell says that they did prove. mitch mcconnell said donald trump hasn't gotten away with anything yet because he is now subject to criminal prosecution, and we will discuss the possible criminal prosecutions donald trump will soon be facing later in this hour with chuck rosenberg. mitch mcconnell's speech made next week's confirmation hearings for attorney general nominee merrick garland much, much easier. lindsey graham was planning to grill merrick garland about possible prosecutions of donald trump and try to use that as a weapon against merrick garland's confirmation. on the senate floor on saturday, mitch mcconnell took that weapon out of lindsey graham's hands. lindsey graham might still try to use it, but now it will have no effect in the senate. the most that fair-minded
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evaluators of the evidence could hope for at the beginning of the senate trial was a majority vote of guilty. 51 votes for guilty would have been bipartisan and it would have been the highest number of guilty votes in the history of presidential impeachment trial. trials. the house managers got 57 guilty votes including 2 guilty votes from 2 republican senators who had earlier voted against even having the trial. at this hour on friday night, we were delivering the breaking news that congresswoman jamie herrera butler released a statement quoting what donald trump said to house republican leader kevin mccarthy while the invasion of the capitol was going on. kevin mccarthy told congresswoman herrera butler that he called donald trump trying to get donald trump to help save the capitol from the trump invaders and donald trump said this about the trump mob in the capitol.
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"well, kevin, i guess these people are more upset about the election than you are." on friday night we speulated about the possibility of that evidence being included in the house managers' case the next day on saturday, possibly by calling witnesses and on saturday the house managers tried to call congresswoman herrera beutler but after negotiations settled on accepting her public statement as the equivalent of an under-oath affidavit. congressman david cicilline drove home donald trump's words in his final comments to the senate jury on saturday. >> in those critical moments we see president trump engaging in a dereliction of his duty by further inciting the mob in real time to target the vice president with knowledge that the insurrection was ongoing and that's, of course, included in the conduct charged in this article of impeachment. what does the president say in
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response? not i'll send people right away, i didn't realize you were in danger. he says, well, kevin, and i quote, i quote, "well, kevin, i guess these people are more upset about the election than you are." "i guess these people are more upset about the election than you are." the president just as he conveyed in that tweet at 6:01 was essentially saying, you got what you deserve. >> leading off our discussion tonight is house impeachment manager and democratic congressman david cicilline of rhode island. congressman cicilline, thank you for joining us tonight. we really appreciate it especially after that week of work you had last week. i want to begin with mitch mcconnell's statement on the senate floor, and i stayed glued to the senate floor after you left. i expected some speeches. chuck schumer gave what may be
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the best speech i ever heard him deliver. he's delivered plenty of good ones about your work. and then to my shock and amazement, mitch mcconnell stood up and by the time he was three or four sentences into it, i was absolutely stunned at what i was hearing. and i began to wonder where are the managers right now? are they all gathered together? are they in a room together watching what mitch mcconnell is saying? where were you when you heard what mitch mcconnell was saying on the senate floor? >> we were in a -- most of us were in the room we had worked out of throughout the trial as 219. you know, your first thought is, like, has he picked up one of the manager's closing arguments? he made the closing argument that we made. he clearly -- it was very clear throughout the trial he was paying very close attention and what we knew is that a substantial majority of members of the united states senate
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found the former president of the united states guilty of inciting a violent insurrection against the government of the united states 56-43. and virtually every republican who voted to acquit the former president didn't say, oh, he didn't do this, you didn't present sufficient evidence, they relied upon one of these bogus constitutional arguments that trump's lawyers advance, either a first amendment argument, a due process argument, or for the first time in our history this argument that you can't impeach former officials even though we have done that on many occasions and that has always been the rule of the senate. so, you know, it's what we understood was we had presented overwhelming evidence of the president's guilt, but there were certain jurors, certain senators, who were committed to figuring out a way to let him off the hook, but they couldn't refute the overwhelming evidence so they had to admit it then find one of these make-believe constitutional claims to avoid
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finding him guilty. >> but, so you're gathered together, most of you, anyway, and you're hearing mitch mcconnell say this. are you just kind of looking at each other stunned as you're hearing this? >> yes. i mean, it was, obviously, an acknowledgement from the republican leader in the senate that the house managers had done their job, that we had met the burden of proof that was required, that we had established the former president's guilt of a constitutional crime inciting an insurrection against our own government where five people died and so much damage and injury followed. so, you know, we heard that. it was hard to reconcile that with his not guilty vote, but he had written a letter to the caucus earlier that morning saying he intended to vote to acquit the former president based on a constitutional argument that former officials couldn't be tried. so i think he was trying to have it both ways. it was very difficult to listen
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to because the senate minority leader acknowledged the overwhelming evidence of the defendant of the former president's guilt in inciting this insurrection and then doing absolutely nothing about it as his own vice president, speaker of the house, and members of congress were under direct attack and faced imminent death even if these domestic terrorists had gotten to them and his answer was, you know, you got what you deserved, how could you expect anything different when you stole the election from me and from my supporters? it was monstrous what the president did and really disappointing what senator mcconnell did. >> i want to go over the sudden development that happened on this show friday night when we got that statement from congresswoman herrera bueteler quoting what donald trump said to kevin mccarthy you then quoted on the senate floor. we speculated at that time, you know, could you possibly bring someone in as a witness to bear witness to this evidence and you
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went -- you made that move on saturday to try to get the congresswoman as a witness. you settled for using her statement as not just an under-oath affidavit but an uncontested, completely uncontested under-oath affidavit. there was no counterevidence submitted by the other side to in any way question a single word in that affidavit. i completely understood why you made that deal to do it that way and not go through all of the time it would take to get a witness in there, but could you explain it to the audience one more time? because i know i could see in public comment that there were a lot of people out there wondering about why you didn't fight to actually get that witness in the room. >> yes. so, you know, every single decision we made as a group of managers was with the purpose of convicting the former president. that was the sole objective and so every judgment we made throughout the trial was to
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achieve that objective. and at the very least, if we couldn't convict him to make sure it was the most bipartisan, the biggest number of votes for conviction that we could achieve. and we did do that. we got the largest number, most bipartisan presidential impeachment in american history. we thought that was really important. and we initially when we heard the news of this, like, really unbelievable statement by jamie herrera beutler that had been relayed to her by kevin mccarthy, the president, again, was advised the capitol was under attack, his own vice president, and they were pleading for help and he basically said, "well, kevin, obviously they care about the election more than you do." utter dereliction of duty and betrayal of his oath of office. our goal was to get that before the jury. before the senators. unlike most trials, the witnesses don't come to the senate floor and raise their hand and testify in public. it's done by way of deposition. so what would have happened is
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she would have been deposed, given that testimony, it would have been read on the senate floor as part of our case. when the republicans agreed that her statement would be admitted into the evidentiary record and we could then rely upon it because it was part of the official record of the case, we got everything we wanted without any risk, that is the ability to find her, the certainty that she would come, maybe the likelihood the republicans would then get to call one witness in response. it had a lot of other things. we got all that we wanted by way of that stipulation and so we were able to put that into the record and argue it forcefully to the jury at the conclusion of the case. >> congressman david cicilline, thank you very much for joining us tonight. and before you go, i just have to tell you, having worked in the senate, i've been on the senate floor for many important speeches, sitting beside senators on the senate floor as they rose to give in some cases the speech of their lives, i've seen the pressure on them. i have never seen anything like the pressure that's on impeachment managers appearing
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in the united states senate. and you and your fellow managers did such a great service to the country, to the house of representatives, and to the senate in the way you presented that evidence, and i just really want to be part of the thanks delivered to you for that. >> thank you, lawrence. and thank you for your nice words and thank you to our incredible staff and all of the managers understood this enormous responsibility that we had and the privilege that we had of defending our democracy and we hope we did it justice. >> and, please, pass along my awe and respect for all of the staff involved. >> absolutely. >> thank you very much. >> thanks for having me. >> thank you. and when we come back, republican governors and mayors across the country are voicing their bipartisan support for president biden's corona relief package. coronavirus relief package. that is bipartisan support. whether washington thinks so or not. john heilemann and david frum
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will join us next.
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democrats managed to find bipartisan partners in the senate impeachment trial of donald trump with seven republicans voting guilty and even mitch mcconnell fully, fully agreeing with democrats on the evidence, but disagreeing with the constitutionality of the trial. the next big vote in the senate will be on president biden's $1.9 trillion covid relief package. republicans will be allowed to offer amendments to that bill on the senate floor and in committees. there is already bipartisan support for the biden relief bill and that support comes from republican governors and mayors around the country. some of those republican governors and mayors met with president biden on friday. joining our discussion now, john heilemann, nbc news and msnbc national affairs analyst, and david frum, senior editor for "the atlantic." and, john, i want to begin with you, on the -- on what happened on the senate floor immediately after the impeachment trial when mitch mcconnell went out there
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and said, basically, you know, you can go prosecute -- you can certainly investigate donald trump criminally, the justice department, and you can prosecute him. that completely changes the dynamics of merrick garland's confirmation hearings in the judiciary committee a week from now where lindsey graham had been planning on attacking merrick garland relentlessly over even the possibility of investigating donald trump. >> yeah, i think that's right, lawrence. i mean, i think that -- whether we end up actually seeing a federal investigation of donald trump or not is an open question, but when if comes to that confirmation hearing which i don't think merrick garland would have had a hard time getting through in any event, it certainly takes away some of the -- of the -- takes some of the clubs out of the bag that someone like lindsey graham would have wanted to bring to bear on merrick garland. he will -- he may, you know, it's lindsey graham, right? so he may still try to run that -- to run that play, but i think that it will look awfully
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foolish in the context of what mitch mcconnell said and, you know, you've seen joe biden already adopting some of mitch mcconnell's rhetoric about the question of donald trump and impeachment. you know, the biden team is looking for ways to use mcconnell who has thrown them -- there are a lot of -- it's horrible about what mcconnell did and hypocritical and craven and disgusting and machiavellian and manipulative, but there are a variety of ways in which he threw some lifelines out to joe biden or gave joe biden a hand. that's one of them. >> david frum, washington's idea of bipartisan -- well, certainly the washington press corps's idea of bipartisan always involves congress nal bipartisan votes. joe biden is showing there's another way to look at bipartisanship. he has republican mayors and governors coming to meet him to talk about the covid relief package. that they support. he has massive bipartisan support for the package in polling in the american public. and so washington's going to have to decide what
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bipartisanship means. >> well, i think one thing that's important to keep in mind is the republican party already split. it split in 2018 where big parts of what was historically the heartland of the republican partying the suburbs, kind of places that elected newt gingrich, eric cantor, those parts of the country went democratic in 2018 and they are for the time being, not permanently, but they're for the time being inside the biden coalition and sort of the right edge of the biden coalition. the reason that joe biden has these kinds of prefinancial crisis levels of support, he's got levels of support these early weeks that we haven't really seen since before the cold war. high '50s, low '60s. that's because part of the republican party is already inside the biden coalition for now. not forever. >> john heilemann, so there's the white house deciding we can talk bipartisanship with people other than members of congress. >> right, well, i think that's
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just an acknowledgement, lawrence, and it's a long overdue acknowledgement that in our incredibly polarized washington climate that bipartisanship, if you're going to measure it in terms of republican crossover votes, you're almost never going to be bipartisan. i think the biden people have been very shrewd in this regard in kind of trying to redefine what it means in a highly bipartisanship. with you're right. beyond the governors and mayors its the notion these measures they're putting forward are registering approval that encompass large sways of the republican party and make the argument very ix explicitly to say if with you don't want to go along with our own voters, that's fine, our definition of bipartisanship is we have millions of republican vote who are are in favor of this measure or that measure. with you guys want to fight it, that's your political problem, we're going to capitalize on it. >> david, the senate can be a free for all of bipartisanship when this package comes to the
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floor as a reconciliation bill. and when it's being developed in the committees. because the committees are wide open to amendments from republican members on the budget resolution, the first stage of this, on the senate floor, they already accepted republican amendments. so they may come out of committee with republican amendments. they may pick up republican amendments on the senate floor. and then republicans saying it's not bipartisan after we got amendments into the bill. that always in the past was the definition of bipartisan. >> i think we also saw in the -- at the end of the impeachment trial kind of a strange thing. a kind of public sign language negotiation between mitch mcconnell and president biden. mitch mcconnell made it clear, i don't want these witnesses. the democrats got the votes to call the witnesses. so they won that round. but mcconnell then signaled, if you proceed with this plan, i will wreak havoc in the senate and the democrats then yielded
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to him. it wasn't like they got nothing in return. they got the mcconnell speech and they got the permission to go ahead and all of that happened, i don't think we take -- if we get sort of reports from inside a sealed room, we think that's real. when it happens in front of us, with people sort of signaling and winking, we don't take it as real. but there was a tradeoff. no witnesses. mcconnell's speech. and permission for this covid package to go ahead and in a way with probably less obstruction than you've seen at any time since the first months of the obama administration. >> well, we'll see how much obstruction we get when they actually get to the bill. john heilemann, david frum, thank you, both, for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> take care. coming up, mitch mcconnell says donald trump hasn't gotten away with anything yet because donald trump is still subject to criminal prosecution. chuck rosenberg joins us next. as donald trump's possible future as a criminal defendant starts to come into focus. want to brain better? unlike ordinary memory supplements— neuriva has clinically
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president trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office. as an ordinary citizen. unless the statute of limitations is wrong, still liable for everything he did while he was in office. didn't get away with anything yet. yet. we have a criminal justice system in this country. we have civil litigation. and former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one. >> joining us now, chuck rosenberg, former u.s. attorney for the eastern district of virginia. he's an msnbc legal contributor and host of the podcast, "the oath." and, chuck, one of the things that's striking about the mcconnell speech is that line he says when "he hasn't gotten away with anything yet" and says the
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word, "yet," twice, that one written in his note. he looks up from his speech and extemporizes that and it was so -- >> that's right, lawrence. one way or another donald trump has a bunch of legal problems on his doorstep, whether they're civil, whether they're criminal, whether they're both. we'll see. there's a huge difference between being civilly liable, say you buy a product that's defective, it blows up in your hand, you get hurt, you sue for damages. that's a civil case. it's about money. typically. criminal case requires a heck of a lot more than that. you have to prove normally intent, you have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. you have to prove it to a unanimous jury. it's much, much more difficult than what house managers tried to do in the impeachment proceeding. and so whether or not he's ultimately criminally liable, time will tell.
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>> well, the georgia case seems to be the one that's the ripest at this point since the exhibit "a" through "z" is his phone call to the georgia secretary of state where he's clearly trying to tamper with election results and that seems to be specifically over the line in the georgia law. >> right. so we have the recording. you're right. you mark that government exhibit 1 and you put that into evidence and you play it as often as you can for the jury, but i think this is an important "but," lawrence, it's not enough in and of itself. right? i mean, he could make a claim, theoretically, that he really thought he had won the election and so asking the secretary of state to find his votes isn't a crime. look, i don't believe that. i'm just telling you what someone could argue. and so you would have to show that he intended for that secretary of state, raffensperger, to do something that georgia law forbids. and the way you would prove that, of course, would be with
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the tape that we just discussed but also by interviewing the people that spoke to trump before and after that phone call. that's crucial because if you want to prove intent, you need as much evidence as you possibly can. remember, proof beyond a reasonable doubt to a unanimous jury, is the tape damning? you bet it is. would i stop there as a prosecutor? absolutely not. >> there are at least 150 -- close to 150 capitol police officers, about 140 who were injured, one of them killed in the insurrection at the capitol. could they bring civil damage suits against donald trump, a wrongful death suit in the case of officer sicknick and in the others where they just need to prove to a fair preponderance of the evidence, that donald trump made this happen to them. >> thetheoretically, yes.
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you're right about the standard of proof. preponderance of evidence controls in a civil case. there could be all kinds of civil suits, right? one place we're seeing that now, it's slightly different, is with dominion voting systems and smartmatic which are bringing sieve ss civil suits s they say people defamed their company and defamed their product. they'd have to prove that to a preponderance of evidence. to your point, officers who were injured or families of the officer killed in the riot could also bring civil suits and would have a much lower standard of proof. remember, civil cases are typically about money. criminal cases are typically about liberty. and so, of course, cases about liberty, criminal cases, would require more than civil cases in terms of proof. >> and civil cases are -- because they're about money -- easier to settle, theoretically, because it's just a number. and donald trump would be facing the question of do i really want to go in front of a d.c. jury on
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a civil case being sued by officer sicknick's family, what do i think that jury is going to do to me as opposed to what i might be able to settle this for before going to trial. >> right again, lawrence. i mean, lots of civil cases settle for that reason. not just because you're worried about what a jury might do but because the cost of litigating a case and how much time it takes to litigate a case, you know, really can start to run. remember, this is not the only civil case on his doorstep. the attorney general of the state of new york is looking at the trump organization for violations, civil violations, of new york state law. he's being sued by women that he sexually harassed for defamation. so there's lots of legal problems on mr. trump's doorstep. civil and criminal. >> defendant donald trump is possibly his principal occupation in the coming years.
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chuck rosenberg, thanks for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> yes, sir. when we come back, we have a new study now showing there are seven covid-19 variants that have originated here in the united states. as the country continues to struggle with the delivery of vaccine to patients who need it. dr. ashish jha will join us next. next in this family, everyone does their own laundry, but they all do it a little different. honestly, i add a couple of tide pods and just stuff everything in. it works.
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there was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations. were were leaving it to the states and local leaders to try and figure it out. and so in many ways we are -- we're starting from scratch on something that's been raging for almost an entire year. >> dr. anthony fauci who turned 80 years old in december said this yesterday. >> did you worry at any point that this virus might get you? >> yeah, i mean, i think you'd
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have to be oblivious not to consider the fact that if you get infected that you are already in a category of someone who has a high risk of having a serious outcome. i didn't fixate on that, but it was in the back of my mind because i had to be out there. i mean, particularly, when i was going to the white house every day when the white house was sort of a superspreader location. >> today, dr. michael osterholm whose predictions about the course of the pandemic have been reliably accurate said this. >> the next 14 weeks i think will be the worst of the pandemic. people don't want to hear that, but if we look at what these variants are doing, particularly this one in the united kingdom, and see what it did in europe, see what it's done in the middle east, it's now beginning to start that here in the united states. >> joining us now is dr. ashish jha, dean of the brown university school of public health. dr. jha, let me just begin where
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michael osterholm left off which is the worst is coming. and that is based on the development of variants including of a number of possibly seven variants already developing in the united states. sourcing in the united states. new variants. >> good evening, lawrence. thanks for having me on. dr. osterholm has been reliably right and i disagree with him with some trepidation, but i'm a little bit more optimistic than he is. i'm worried about the variants. let me be very clear. i'm very worried. there are a couple differences between us and the uk and ireland and other places were when they were hit. first, we are vaccinating and we're vaccinating relatively quickly. second, we know that this is coming and we can take proper steps, so i'm hoping we can stave off the worst, but that's not going to happen naturally. we are going to have to be
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vigilant about the variants. not to downplay them at all. >> we heard vice president harris at the beginning of this segment say they came into a situation where there absolutely was no plan whatsoever. states and localities fending for themselves. they are no trying to develop that plan. we at the retail level are watching breakdowns, we're watching dodgers stadium, the biggest vaccination center in america, had to close down because it had no vaccine the other day. that's the retail story that people are picking up. out here. what can you tell us about what's coming in vaccine delivery? >> yeah, so i think the vice president is actually right about this, she's faced a little bit of criticism. people said, oh, no, there was a plan. the plan was let the states figure it out, as she said. so i think she was right about that. the federal government is now reformulating a national strategy. and what i'm telling people is that, look, the next few weeks are going to continue to be difficult in terms of demand way
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outstripping supply. once we get to the end of march into early april, i think we're going to start seeing a good amount of vaccines available. by the time we get to may, lawrence, we're going to have more vaccines than people who want them. we're going to then at that point be really trying to make sure there's enough demand and deal with vaccine hesitancy. good news on the front in terms of there will be a lot more vaccines coming. >> does the big breakthrough come when you're able to get it to the pharmacies, the cvs-type places, in the local neighborhoods and people don't have to make a trip to their nearest major league stadium? >> yeah, that certainly is going to help a lot. i think the major league stadiums have a role, right? they can do large numbers quickly. the bottom line is cvs, walgreens, walmart, these guys have a lot of experience and they're ready to go. they can do a lot of vaccines very quickly so i think it's smart for the administration to rely on them as one of the arms.
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not the only way to get vaccines out but certainly one of the ways of getting vaccines out to people. >> dr. ashish jha, we hope your more optimistic view of where we're going on the curve of infection is what prevails. thank you very much your joining us tonight. >> thank you. and when we come back, washington columnist elizabeth drew has covered as a reporter the largest number of presidential impeachment proceedings that a single lifespan could possibly include. from nixon to trump. the esteemed elizabeth drew joins us next. ♪♪ comfort in the extreme. the lincoln family of luxury suvs. ordinary tissues burn when theo blows. so dad bought puffs plus lotion, comfort in the extreme. and rescued his nose. with up to 50% more lotion puffs bring soothing softness and relief.
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none of us can escape the demands of history and destiny right now. our reputations and our legacy will be inextricably intertwined with what we do here. and with how you exercise your oath to do impartial justice. >> when elizabeth drew
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interviewed lead house manager jamie raskin after the senate trial on saturday, she asked if he ever expected to get two-thirds of the senate to vote for convicting donald trump. and congressman raskin replied, "i always thought there was a better chance of our getting 100 votes than 67. i thought that when we presented our case, the bottom would fall out from trump's side, but a apparently there are no depths too low for our gop colleagues to sink. we've arrived at a point in history where a once-great party can behave like a cult. facts, logic and the rule of law have dropped out of the equation." in her latest column for project syndicate, elizabeth drew points out that the fundamental problem with the impeachment clause of the constitution is that it was written in 1787 and, "at the
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time the nation did not have actual political parties." joining us now by phone is elizabeth drew, political journalist and author. she covered the watergate investigation of president nixon for the new yorker and has covered every impeachment proceeding since then. elizabeth drew, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> you're welcome. >> really appreciate it. you focused me on something in your column that becomes very simple as you stare at it. and that is that the impeachment clause of the constitution, which is the only impeachment law that we have, was written for another country. it was written for a country that didn't have political parties. >> that's correct. the founders were geniuses, but they couldn't anticipate everything. they couldn't anticipate the motor car and television and so on. and at the time the contusion was written, including the
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impeachment clause, there didn't exist political parties as we know them. they were very worried about it. they worried about factions, george, in his farewell address warned about factions and political parties. they actually wrote the impeachment clause as against there being political parties. so what's happened is what was supposed to be a bicamera process, the house and the senate has really become a political party process where it's democrats versus republicans. that wasn't their intention and it's one of the reasons you can't really -- it doesn't work. the other thing is as you know, lawrence, very well, the senate has the small conservative rural states have an out sized role in the senate. the senate is not meant to be representative, and it's not. so it doesn't work very well at all. and i don't know -- >> in your interview with congressman raskin -- >> right.
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>> -- the way he put it so clearly was, he said, "it's not two branches that govern congress now. it's not house and senate as you're saying. he said, "but it's two parties, and one of the parties has surrendered reason and common sense." so it's worse than partisanship. you and i have seen partisanship in the past, but with each party having a recognizable philosophy to why they were disagreeing. >> well, that's congressman raskin's view of the republican party. he's an unabashed partisan. and he wanted it said that way. but the point is that impeachment is not now what it was intended to be or what they intended did not last very long. i would add a cull of evander johnson, so i missed that one.
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the subject came up because it was seen so often and frightening and alarming. you made me remember that, lawrence. when the subject came up, oh, my god, impeachment, no. now it comes up every other week. >> it was genuinely inconceivable in the 1970s. i remember i was in college at the time of the nixon investigation. and it went from investigation to impeachment in a way that surprised everyone. you were there covering it. but -- and tell us how the republican party itself has changed from the way they behaved when their republican president, richard nixon, was being investigated and then impeachment articles drawn up in the house judiciary committee, how that republican party is different from today's republican party. >> almost completely. that republican party was much more moderate and it wasn't vindictive the way it is now. i mean, people worried about nixon and nixon had a following then -- he still has a
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following. i get pretty banged up if i criticize nixon at all still. but the point is it was a very different party. the trump party has taken it furthest of being not only radical, but very vindictive. i mean, anybody who votes against his interests, they're getting censured by their state parties. people are going after them. they worry about their personal safety. this would not have been conceivable in 1974. >> it seems the 1974 republicans were worried about what would happen to them politically if they were associated with a criminal. in other words, they were worried about their future by being associated with a criminal president. >> well, that's true. but there was the other side of it, too. when the republican leaders went down to the white house, people get this wrong, and they say they told them to resign. no, they didn't dare tell him to resign. they said, sir, you don't have any support in the senate. and he was a smart man. they led him to draw his on
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conclusions. but that was partly -- it wasn't courage. they didn't want to vote, and so they wanted him to make it easy for them by withdrawing. >> elizabeth drew, thank you. that final point of the republicans going down to the white house for nixon is so important. i did not know that. thank you very much for joining us tonight. elizabeth drew gets tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. >> well, good evening once again. day 27 of the biden administration, and with the impeachment drama now over, the president has truly entered the post-trump era. the white house and democrats in congress beginning a full court press to make biden's agenda a reality. first order of business being his almost $2 trillion covid relief plan which he'll be pitching in ernest and in person to the american public this week.

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