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tv   MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson  MSNBC  February 19, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST

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crisis to crisis for texas this morning with about half the state now dealing with unsafe drinking water, although the power at least is coming back on. watch. >> i'm trying so hard not to cry. i'm very stressed, too, with everything going on. it's hard. but i'm trying. >> a fifth straight day of record cold, busted pipes, frozen lines, damaging countless homes. look at this, that's what happened at a garage in galveston, cars encased in ice after a pipe apparently burst.
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overnight president biden calling governor abbott telling him he will in his words work relentlessly to get his state what they need. we're also learning from texas energy officials that the entire power grid was seconds and minutes away from a catastrophic failure that could have left the state in the dark for months. we're asking a texas congressman about that in a moment. plus, cruz damage control. the senator back in texas this morning with backlash building after he flew to cancun with his family while millions of his constituents shivered in the dark. >> we shouldn't have had to be without lights. i know it's freezing, but somebody is responsible for this. you've got people dying out here. you've got hypothermia, dying. you know? people's houses all busted up because of water and the pipes that busted. i'm surprised mine didn't bust. lady behind me hers busted. and breaking this morning
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capitol police confirming dozens of officers are now under investigation, six suspended, with questions about what they really did during the riots last month. we are live with the breaking details coming up. i want to bring in our nbc news reporters, antonia hylton in jersey village, texas, outside houston, gabe gutierrez is in houston itself. antonia, let me start with you and the latest on the power and water situation. what are you hearing from folks on the ground who are, as we just heard from that woman just a moment ago, very clearly frustrated? >> reporter: absolutely, hallie. i mean, this is starting to become a cumulative impact on people, particularly those who are low income and don't have the means to keep coming up with new solutions and go out and buy new products and supplies for their homes. as you mentioned, this has gone from a power issue into a water one. the electric reliability council of texas actually just announced that they're ending emergency conditions here so water is really the story. i met people yesterday who were
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driving from gas station to gas station, grocery stores and finding that shelves were completely empty. they couldn't find drinking water. i met with a woman who went out and took somebody's pool water, said she could bring it home and boil it and use it to wash some of your kids' clothes and take a bath because they hadn't properly bathed since last weekend. many folks i'm talking to come from communities that are lower income and they are feeling like they are getting the worst of it. i spent an evening at an affordable housing complex where everyone at that complex said they had no running water whatsoever. so while some people have water to work with and it's under a boil advisory, there are people who are turning on their taps and getting absolutely nothing that they can cook with, nothing that they can use. they feel, you know, just at this point like they are at their wit's end, hallie. >> right. it's the sense of desperation at this point. it's been a week. it's been five straight days for people. they are looking forg some kind of relief. in many instances, gabe, they
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are looking to their leaders for some of that help. you have one of the leaders now, ted cruz, in full damage control in that state after that very quick trip on his part to cancun with some shifting explanations now for what happened and some new overnight developments, gabe. >> reporter: yeah, hallie, you're right. on wednesday night as millions of texans were without power and struggling to keep warm as you mentioned, senator cruz boarded that flight to sunny cancun. now, he returned yesterday, did not take questions from reporters at the airport, but then gave a few interviews at his home here in houston. take a listen. >> i had initially planned to stay through the weekend and to work remotely there, but as i -- as i was heading down there, you know, i started to have second thoughts almost immediately because the crisis here in texas -- >> it was not my intention in --
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in saying yes to my daughters to somehow diminish the -- all the texans that were going through real hardship. >> reporter: so what's interesting about that, hallie, is that earlier in the day he had spoken to reporters as he boarded that flight in cancun. he had not acknowledged at that time that he was planning a longer stay, that he was hoping to stay there through the weekend, but in those interviews last night he did say that he had regrets as soon as he got on the plane. of course, he was also spotted getting on that plane in those photos went viral and a source familiar with his travel arrangement tells nbc news that he actually rebooked that flight at 6:00 a.m. thursday, even though initially he was supposed to come back on saturday. now, breaking overnight as well, hallie, is this reporting from "the new york times," "the new york times" reporting on a series of text messages, a text message chain by -- where cruz's wife, heidi cruz, apparently
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sent some text messages to some friends and neighbors inviting them on a vacation to cancun because her home was freezing according to those text messages. "the new york times" citing that they were provided those text messages and they were confirmed by a second unidentified person on that chain. now, we have reached out to ted cruz's office about those text messages. they have not responded as of yet. as for questions about whether he might self-quarantine when he comes -- now that he's back, the cdc recommends self-quarantine for international travel, but there are no requirements. a source close to ted cruz does say that he took a covid test when he was in cancun, but that it came back negative. hallie, certainly mounting backlash here in texas. we spoke with several people in line for propane yesterday who were still without water and they were absolutely furious. texas democrats of course asking him to resign.
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hallie? >> we're going to hear more from those folks later on in the show. gabe gutierrez, antonia hylton, thanks to the both of you. we appreciate your reporting. let me drink in congressman lloyd dogget representing the austin and san antonio areas. congressman, good morning to you. >> good morning. good to be with you, hallie. >> great to have you. i know it's been an unreal week for you i'm sure. this is now a water crisis in addition to a power crisis. how are people in your district doing? >> well, there are tens of thousands of people without water of any kind and a boil order -- boil water order in effect from san antonio through austin. i know we had a big apartment fire in san antonio last night, water was an issue, water pressure is an issue here. you know, what we have today is bright sunshine and thanks to some really tremendous utility workers who have been out there in the cold reconnecting us we've got power for most people, but we lack dependable water.
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and that's because we have in greg abbott our governor and his republican allies a government that just has not been able to deliver. they could not deliver reliable power, they could not deliver weatherization for our energy sources and now they can't even deliver water. we've just been trying to get bottled water from fort worth where it is to austin. finally our local government had to contract its own truck to go up there and get t we hope we will have some of that water later in the day. but the inability to deliver to the people is really a failed state government. >> so what can the solution be? is it turning to the federal government? we've been showing congressman on our screens, i don't think you can see it, but that video of the apartment fire in snt that you're referencing and the issue partly was frozen fire hydrants, firefighters couldn't do the job fully they needed to do. we know president biden is pledging the federal government will step in and help.
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is that going to be enough at this point? >> well, it is very important and i appreciate the role that president biden has played because usually, you know, our texas politicians like our jet setting republican senator, they devote so much time to attacking the federal government, but when we are in a situation like this, we really need federal help. we need federal cooperation. it's obvious the state of texas and our republican governor are as inept at doing this as they were in fighting the pandemic last year and so that federal assistance will be very valuable. water is the big issue right now. we will as we thaw out and we're not quite there yet, there will be more and more broken pipes. it affects water pressure. in talking with our local firefighters there's concern about our ability to fight fires and to provide adequate service. one of the big issues has been in our hospitals because adequate water pressure is essential to having the steam to
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heat those hospitals. so it's just one problem after another and instead of combating those problems our republican leaders were off attacking renewable energy. actually it turns out the reason we were able to get everybody reconnected other than the essential workers doing their job is solar power. it played a big part of this. so instead of attacking the rest of the country and refusing to do anything in following the science on climate change, we need a big shift in our leaders and we need to hold them accountable. >> when we talk about the energy issues here, you've got ercot the electric reliability council of texas, the folks who run the grid, who say that the emergency conditions are ending today but we are now learning the situation could have been a lot worse. those officials also say they were, quote, seconds and minutes away from a total collapse of the grid. that could have led to months' long blackouts. at the same time your former governor, rick perry, this morning called this severe winter weather a black swan event, something that might only
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come around once in 100 years. do you agree? was that a black swan event, what happened and what we're seeing in texas, and what is the responsibility of ercot, one of the obviously energy leaders in the state to do something about this? >> well, ercot the electric reliability council, was clearly not reliable, but it is a mistake to put all of the accountability there. this really goes back to rick perry. they knew a long time ago that this type of event was likely. they knew how to respond to it by requiring weatherization. you were showing people wrapping their pipes. that's something they might have done at the well head on these fossil fuels. >> so you don't believe rick perry when he says it's a black swan event, congressman? >> i seldom believe rick perry, but on this particular event, yes, it was a worst weather event than usual, but anyone who lives in texas knows that our weather changes all the time and with climate change it becomes
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increasingly intensified and severe. they have known since the perry administration what to do to weatherize this. finally now that the horses are out of the barn yesterday governor abbott called for a special emergency consideration of weatherization that should have occurred when rick perry was governor. the other item in that call, though, is very significant because he calls on the taxpayers to pay for the weatherization. it is, again, a typical texas republican tactic to shift to the taxpayers something that the industry should have done decades ago. >> before i let you go i have to ask you, you referenced a moment ago a jet setting leader in your state, i have to assume that's a reference to senator ted cruz as my colleague, gabe gutierrez, reported, he is now back in the state of texas with some democrats in your state calling on him to resign. are you one of them? >> there is no chance that ted cruz will resign and he's not the only one.
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my local republican party chair here in austin, travis county, he was trying to recruit people to get a private jet to go to miami. i think the day after this happened. it's just this jet setting attitude that there's one special rule for these folks and everybody else has to make it on their own. that kind of attitude is what has caused so many of our problems here in the state. we have to turn it around. i'm pleased we have some federal assistance and we also have some dynamic local leaders, mayors, county judges, like those in san antonio and austin, who are really out there working hard. we're pulling together to make up for the failures of our state government and with a little additional federal assistance i think we can recover. >> congressman lloyd doggett, thank you for being with us, what i know is a difficult time for you and your constituents. if you want to help victims of the crisis in texas visit nbcnews.com. we have a lot of information for you there. we want to turn to breaking
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news coming into us this morning on the capitol riot and specifically capitol police now announcing just this morning investigations into dozens of officers for what they did that day, the suspension of other officers as well. let me bring in nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. what else do we know, if anything, about why this is happens? >> we had heard right after the riot that some police officers were suspended. tim ryan who oversees the budget for the police department said one officer was seen wearing a maga hat and giving directions, another posed for selfies with some of the rioters. you can see some of that behavior in the videos that came out immediately afterwards. no you what the capitol police say is that its office of professional responsibility is investigating 35 officers and that of that 35 six from now been suspended. so that's what's new here. the question is did they engage in behavior that helped the rioters? was it simply a situation where
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they bowed to the inevitable, they were overwhelmed and sort of stood out of the way or did they aggressively and actively help them in any way? some -- there's been some suggestion from the court documents from people who have been charged by the fbi that they say the capitol police gave them directions in some cases, welcomed them in, said it's your house now. so that's, i think, what the capitol police are trying to sort through. which of this was just surrendering, if you will, to the inevitable and how much of it was actively assisting the rioters. >> pete williams live for us in washington. pete, thank you. a major reversal from the trump era, the biden administration is making a big move to break the impasse with iran. we're talking about one of the main architects of the iran nuclear deal next about what it means. plus why the u.s. will no longer be a global climate outcast starting today. and later, the disturbing surge in anti-asian hate crimes across the country. we are live with an assault survivor who was brutally
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president biden is making his debut on the world stage, meeting virtually with g7 world leaders just in the last hour. no cameras were allowed in for that virtual discussion, but we will see him next hour at the munich security conference. the theme today, the u.s. turning the page on his predecessor's america first policy, committed to working
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with global partners. those words turning into action with a couple of big moves today. first you've got the administration formally offering to restart nuclear talks with iran, a first step towards potentially reentering the 2015 agreement that former president trump pulled out of. also as of today the u.s. is officially back in the paris climate deal. nbc's josh lederman is following all of the developments from washington. what can you tell us about what these moves today mean and what comes next? >> reporter: the biden administration working today to send a message to the rest of the world that the u.s. is back, that diplomacy is back and that the biden administration will be much more engaged on all of these critical issues than the trump administration. on the iran issue the united states last night opening the door to diplomacy with iran for the first time and it's kind of been this chicken and egg situation where both iran and the u.s. signaled they were willing to return to the iran nuclear deal that trump left, but only if the other side jumped first.
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neither side willing to take that step. now the united states via the state department saying it's willing to attend a meeting if it was invited by the european members of the nuclear deal to meet with iran, figure out a way to get back to the table, back into that deal to lay the groundwork for an even more all-encompassing deal with iran that would also address other issues like iran's missile development, human rights violations and other matters. on the paris climate deal today the u.s. officially back in that global emissions cutting agreement. over the next several months the biden administration will have to come up with a new target for the united states for how much the u.s. is willing to reduce its emissions of heat trapping greenhouse gases by the year 2030. we heard from joe biden just a little bit ago, we didn't hear actually from him but we saw him at the g7 meeting briefly. we will hear from the president in the next hour when he speaks at the munich security conference expected to touch on all of these issues as biden and his aides try to send the message to the rest of the world
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that they are going to be directly engaged with allies on trying to solve all of these critical issues facing the world. hallie? >> josh lederman live for us outside the capitol, thanks. i'm joined by a key architect of the iran nuclear deer err necessary moniz. good morning, thank you for going on with us. >> good morning, hallie. >> so the state department is calling this more of a first step rather than a break through. as somebody who helped put this together do you agree and is it a welcome first step in your view? >> i think it's quite welcome. the last four years have put us quite simply behind in every dimension of the attempt to make sure iran has no nuclear weapon and ultimately to resolve some of the regional problems that frankly we had hoped would have been worked on in these four years. also the negotiation, the
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diplomacy being reactivated with iran is very important and i think very important to realize it will be step by step. it's not like there's some, i believe, some magic solution overnight, but we will have to take reciprocal steps with iran to get back to where we were and then to keep going on to agreements that resolve all the other terribly difficult issues we have with iran's regional behavior. >> there's also a question of whether iran itself comes back to the negotiating table, right? the biden administration says it will accept that invitation to meet with the countries that were initially part of the 2015 deal. do you think does iran come back to the table and should the u.s. lift economic sanctions to get that to happen? >> that's part of the step by step, even the first step to get sitting at the same table, and i think iran will come back
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because frankly they need to and i think we want to in order to relieve some of these regional tensions while, again, achieving the essential goal of making sure -- of having the world be sure that iran is not reinvigorating a nuclear weapons program. i also want to add that i think it's very important with the europeans, but it's equally important in my view that the administration -- and i believe some of this has been going on, having discussions with our own congress on both sides of the aisle, with the europeans but also with our middle east allies because, frankly, especially going to a so-called jcpoa plus, we need all of those players in line. but i wouldn't let iran off the hook, either. frankly, just as we saw a bipartisan divide in this country back in 2015-2016, let's
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face it, iran also has its internal divide between the rouhani administration and the revolutionary guard. so both sides are going to have to provide some evidence that we can provide a stable solution for moving forward. >> it will come as no surprise to you, as you lived through the republican push back initially to what happened in 2015 that there is gop push back now as well. you've got president biden sort of as part of the diplomatic process withdrawing a demand that the u.n. put in place tough new sanctions against iran, he also lifted travel restrictions on some iranian officials. you have senator cotton tweeting that iran is in his words exploiting biden's weakness. liz cheney is accusing the administration of emboldening a terrorist regime in her words with these moves. how do you respond to that? >> i think it's showing president biden's strength because diplomacy is about
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showing strength. now, the question is can we bring together -- can he bring together the parties? again, i'm not suggesting across the aisle, republicans and democrats are going to agree on some solution, but i think the key is -- and it goes back to 2015 and 2016, we have to be able to demonstrate that there is a pathway to going to the jcpoa and then beyond the jcpoa to discuss those regional issues, those missile issues, et cetera. i think that's how we bridge the partisan divide. and also hopefully bring along at least to a certain extent our middle eastern allies. >> i only have a couple seconds left but i do want to ask you quickly about the u.s. rejoining the paris climate deal as we reported with my colleague josh lederman a moment ago. you said earlier this year we have to earn our place back at the table as far as the u.s.
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is this a step towards doing that? >> absolutely. and the almost immediate appointment of john kerry after the election was a demonstration of the commitment, but, as i said, that international leadership that john hopefully will help restore has to be based on a foundation of what we do domestically. we have to walk the talk to have the credibility to bring the world along to -- along the lines of the net zero emissions commitment by mid century that we need and just as an aside, of course, the kinds of things that we saw in california last august and now in texas and other parts of the country now with much more extreme weather, it's giving the public an idea of what the stakes are for addressing the climate crisis. >> former energy secretary ernest moniz thank you for being on the show. talking about that severe
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winter weather in texas, it is grinding vaccinations to a halt in a lot of spots causing big delays in vaccine shipments. we're live where fedex is headquartered with what's up behind that clog in distribution. and in this trump era, what finally post-trump era, rather, what finallyy. hed one gop lawmaker to call it quits with his party. ® for double the protein on footlong subs and the new protein bowls. and if you want to go pro like marshawn, you don't let anything get in your way. here we go! yeah, appreciate you, man! whatsup, alice! hey, marshawn! good call! go pro and get double the protein for just $2 more on your favorite sub or new protein bowl. subway. eat fresh. or new protein bowl. (man) i'm a verizon engineer, part of the team that built 5g right, the only one from america's most reliable network. we designed our 5g to make the things you do every day better.
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milestone, which seemed unthinkable just a year ago. nearly 500,000 deaths from the covid pandemic, as of this morning passing 28 million cases. it comes as at least a dozen states are reporting vaccine shipment delays and delivery delays of the vaccine as well. you can see them here as that brutal winter weather bears down on shipping hubs. some state and local officials across the country are being forced to reschedule appointments as they wait for more of a supply. >> the vast majority of the resupply we expected for this week has not shipped from the factories yet. >> two shipments of moderna vaccines were expected to arrive in l.a. this week were delayed. >> because of the storms that we're seeing throughout the country it's basically sitting in the fedex warehouse. >> nbc's priscilla thompson is in testimony 'tis, tennessee, home to fedex headquarters on the ground there. priscilla, talk about the latest in these delays. when do they think they're going to get back on schedule?
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>> reporter: that's the big question and the answer is a little unclear. i want to show you really quick what memphis, tennessee, looks like. some of these main roads are open and cars are able to get through, but then you look at these other streets that are still covered in snow, still cars that are needing to be pulled out or dug out. this is sort of the situation that we are dealing with here and so fedex has certainly been impacted by this, their world headers here. we're told that they are still working to move vaccine and they are rerouting vaccine shipments where necessary, but the cdc has said that there is going to be a delay until things get back up and operating at full speed. what we do know is that a number of governors have requested that the national guard be activated to actually come and pick up those vaccine shipments and hand-deliver them to those states. now, that activation request has not yet been approved, but i had an opportunity to speak with the ceo of a number of rural health
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clinics in neighboring mississippi about how patients are responding to this and what is happening at his clan nick. take a listen to what he told me. >> we have been besieged by phone calls want to go know when, but of course people could not get to us anyway. they were ice locked, couldn't get out of their driveways, so on and so on. we even discussed briefly the option of maybe getting in one of our four wheels and driving around to some houses. >> reporter: and ultimately that clinic was of course not able to go door to door and administer those vaccines, but the ceo tells me they have 160 second doses that will be ready to go as soon as conditions allow for them to reopen. they're going to be working through the weekend and extended hours next week to get all of those patients in, but they are still waiting for a new batch of first doses and that is really
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sort of part of the concern here with these shipment delays. hallie? >> priscilla thompson live in memphis, thank you. a programming note for you, tune in this sunday for richard engel's special report on the effect of those new covid strains and the impact on the battle against the virus. that is on "on assignment: covid mutants" sunday, 10:00 eastern. anti-asian hate crimes including the personal story of one man who felt it firsthand. that's next. al story of one man who felt it firsthand. that's next. proof of less joint pain and clearer skin. proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis... ...with humira. humira targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further irreversible joint damage and clear skin in many adults. humira can lower your ability to fight infections.
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in just about an hour from now we will hear from house speaker nancy pelosi. she will be joining members of the congressional asian pacific american caucus to give us an update on the recent spike in anti-asian hate crimes and violence across the country. we can tell you this morning a man who attacked and assaulted a 52-year-old asian-american woman outside a bakery in new york city is behind bars partly
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because of the viral video that you are looking at and a digital manhunt after the video was shared by actress olivia munn. the case is one of many headlines about the disturbing violence against asian-americans. not everybody has a celeb writ activist behind them to help their case. according to stop aapi hate that started tracking violence in the wake of the covid pandemic and racist rhetoric around the virus those attacks are up 1900% in the u.s., nearly 3,000 firsthand accounts of hatred were reported starting in march from the end of last year and 7% of those accounts came from among the most vulnerabler asian-americans over 60 years old. joining me now noel cantana and russell jung stop aapi hate co-founder. thank you both for being with us. noel, good morning to you. >> good morning.
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good morning. >> so first of all, noel, thank you for joining us and i'm sure this is not easy, but if you could take us back to that day, you were on the subway, i understand, in new york. can you tell us what happened? >> yes, it was wednesday, wednesday morning, i'm about to go to work at 8:30 so it's about 8:00 something. i'm already -- i'm already inside the train, l train, and the train is standing room so it's really packed and there's a lot of people there. so i stand -- i stood on the entrance, but on the other side, so that i won't be an obstacle for the people coming in and out of the -- of the train. so when i'm already in bedford
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station a man came, boarded the train and he stood beside me and the next stop would be first avenue. so when i was standing here -- when i was standing on the train i just felt that -- he just kicked my tote bag. so i turned away from him, i turned so that -- and i put my bag on my -- on my -- in front of me so that it won't touches him. i don't think it touches but
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just in case i won't disturb people anymore. after a few minutes i felt again that he kick -- he kick my bag again. so -- my bag again. so i moved over to the train and said to him, what's wrong with you? and that was a time when the train stops at the first station and when the -- and when the door opened he stepped forward and slashed me. i thought he was going to punch me, but when i didn't feel any punch at all, i just saw the people at the train shocked. and when i saw his hand i saw a box cutter and i panicked.
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i said, i think i was slashed, and then i put my hand on my face and then when i look at my hands there's blood i was seeing. so i cried for help and -- i cried for help, but nobody helped. not even to call the train operator to stop the train and call for 911. so when i realized that that was happening, i decided to go out of the train and look for help at the station because i don't want to go to the next station bleeding. so there were, i think, three people in the -- in the subway. >> yeah. >> so i saw a girl talking on
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her phone, probably she was calling 911, and there was another man, a cleaner, and he just told me to sit down. but i didn't sit because i really need helped. so i have to walk from end to end of the station in order -- because i knew that there would be somebody in the -- in the booth. and when i reached the booth i asked the lady inside to help me and call 911. so she did. she was shocked, but she was able to help. she was able to call 911 and then the police came. >> and let me -- noel, i can't imagine what that was like for you. russell, i'm wondering if you can come in here because i know that you've been doing so much work on this issue and this exposes noel's story here another fragility in the police system. in his queso initial of the nypd was saying it's kind of a gray area to call this a hate crime.
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how does law enforcement need to be handling these crimes as they happen? >> i think what -- well, again, noel's incident was horrific and it's what's happening across the nation, asian-americans are really alarmed at the racism directed towards them, so i think police and law enforcement need to be sensitive to the spate of racism, to ask questions about what was said during the attack, if it was racially motivated or not and to pursue it if it was racially motivated. a lot of times these types of crimes if they're hate crimes that are racially motivated they go underreported and people continue to get victimized in this way, it's terrible. >> talk about that piece of it, the underreporting piece of it, because, noel, other asian-americans might feel discouraged to report these kinds of incidents which are all over the scale, verbal assaults, spitting, physical assault like what happened to you. what is your message to somebody who might be feeling apprehensive about reporting something like this?
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noel, can you hear me okay? >> me. yeah. yeah. well, i encourage all the asian-americans to speak out because if you don't speak out nobody will help you. it is also important that we should bring this case to -- to the authorities so that we could -- they could help us. we can get -- can't get help if we just kept silent. i'm also encouraging them and also wanting them to be -- to be aware of their surroundings and, you know, keep away from -- from persons that might harm you. actually, i'm so aware of my
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surroundings, especially when i'm still waiting at the -- when i'm still waiting at the train. >> i can imagine. >> yeah, because there were a lot of cases who are -- the trains were coming and being pushed towards that. >> right. >> so i'm aware that -- that the people around me would not do that. but i wasn't aware that somebody would slash me in the train, inside a train. >> it's unbelievable. >> so just speak out. >> noel, that you're aware. i'm sorry, we have a bit of a delay. russell, quickly, i want you to are of jump in here on what the solution s right? it's not an easy thing to talk about, you've been tracking this spike since the pandemic began, you have the biden administration trying to raise awareness of this. we know the house speaker is going to be holding an event later this morning. is awareness the first step? what else needs to happen? >> yeah, beyond awareness we
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need, again, much more community safety. we need people to intervene in cases like noel's, if it's safe, to call 911 and to be sort of eyes and ears for each other to protect each other. we also need broader law enforcement. a lot of the harassment we're experiencing aren't crimes, but they are discrimination and we need more public accommodation codes to protect us. >> russell and noel, thank you both for being here and being with us. noel, thank you very much for sharing your story. we appreciate it. here on the show as texans endure another day of subfreezing temperatures and boil water alerts you have tempers boiling over after senator ted cruz as we have talked about decided to take his family to cancun while millions of his fellow texans were left without power and heat. here is some of the reaction from folks on the ground in that state. >> get his butt back over here and help us out, help these
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people out. a lot of people out here still don't have electricity, a lot of people out here who don't have water. >> ted cruz has never cared about us i feel like. i think it's time for a change. following the fallout nbc news capitol hill correspondent leigh ann leigh ann caldwell. you have republicans who are coming to ted cruz's defense. you have people saying, what is he supposed do? what can a senator do in these citizens? you have others pointing to former leaders like beto o'rourke who are trying to help out. what's the sense of what you are hearing on the hill? >> reporter: that's right. his opponent, who ted cruz barely beat, he made over 7,000 phone calls to see what help they need. there are things that senators can actually do in the state if it's not large-scale, having an individual impact. as far as democrats are concerned, the attack groups and some of the groups are calling on senator cruz to resign.
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pointing out the hypocrisy. officially on the hill, there's not a lot of reaction from democrats because they think this is a scandal of his own making and he is doing a good enough job to really lie in the bed that he has made. the thing that people outside are really frustrated with is the level of hypocrisy coming from the texas senator. a lot of people are pointing to the tweet that he did a few months ago about the austin mayor during the cvid crisis. with ted cruz, he has a long history of calling out people for things like this. also, it's not just flouting leaving the people in his state as well. it's also the fact he really rails against elitism, that he could leave on a moment's notice
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to go to cancun because he had no heat, mostly elitists are able do that. in the wake of the insurrection at the capitol, spurred on by members of his own party, one republican is saying he has had enough. watch. >> today, i'm announcing that i'm leaving the republican party and will continue to serve the people of arkansas as an independent. i watched as members of my own party and our former president tried to overturn the results of a fair and free election. we all watch violence in the halls of our nation's capitol and couldn't believe our eyes. we couldn't believe what we were seeing was our own country. but it was. for me, that day was the final straw. >> the final straw after years of rhetoric from former president trump. others in his party pushing the
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gop to the extreme. joining me is independent state senator jim hendron. thank you for being on the show. >> thanks for having me. >> i'm sure you have seen the backlash to republicans who like you have spoken out against the direction the party is going, the influence of the former president. you have senator thune calling it cancel culture. i'm wondering what the response is from your constituents to the move you announced yesterday. >> from my constituents, it's positive. from some of the gop establishment, there has been some negative feedback. there's been criticism. there's been some false accusations. that's part of the reason that i felt it was necessary to make this change. the politics i have seen the last four or five years is just not something i want to continue to be a part of. >> there have been headlines of thousands of voters leaving the republican party in recent weeks.
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that only represents a small sliver. do you worry that might leave in the party the furthest right faction behind? >> i think it may. i think that's the problem the gop has to wrestle with. i do think there's a broader and wider group of people who feel politically homeless now. my four adult children feel that way. that's part of what has driven me to this. right now, they don't have a home. >> there's a governor's race next year in arkansas. you have former press secretary sara huckabee sanders announcing. she's seen as a serious con contender. do you worry you are moving away from voters in your former party? >> from voters in my former party. but i don't think from the majority of people here. from everything i hear, i see a hunger for people to come back to the middle, to stop the
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nationalization of our state politics and to give a return to bipartisanship. when i joined the legislature in the late '90s, it was not like today. i think people are ready for something different. >> is there anything -- is there any chance you would run for governor yourself? >> i've been asked that. it's something i have considered. what i had said is i'm not going to run as a republican, clearly. i will not make a decision about whether i would run as an independent until i see if it's a viable path. it's more about building common ground arkansas, an organization to foster leaders from both parties and independents who want to work together and solve problems and try to tamp out some of the extremism that plagued both parties. >> we should note for viewers who don't moe your background, you served for a number of years. you know the arkansas republican party well. your uncle is the governor.
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is there anything that would -- that could happen or would have to happen for you to rejoin the gop? is that something you would consider if certain conditions, for example, are met? >> i would never say never. i will tell you the gop has several years of struggle and potential civil war ahead of it in everything that i see. until that is resolved, i certainly feel like my efforts can be more fruitful somewhere else. i hope the gop comes back to what it was when i joined the gop and began to work as a young voter, voting for ronald reagan. it is a long way from that. if it gets back there, certainly, i still believe in conservative principals. i don't like what i see now, which is not about those. it's about a personality. >> thank you so much for being on with us this morning. we appreciate your time. thanks to you for watching this hour of msnbc. we will see you back here on
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and, they absorb 40% faster. the gush happens fast. that's why always absorbs faster. good friday morning to you. i'm jeff bennett in for craig melvin. we are following a lot of moving parts at this hour. at the top of the list, president biden is minutes away from his first remarks to the international community as commander in chief. he is ditching trump's america first approach and will instead push global partnerships. we will bring you his virtual address live as soon as it starts. first, from one crisis to another in texas. it's reeling from a winter storm. the power is finally back on for many but not for everybody. for millions of others, a lack of clean water is leading to desperation. >> we don't have water. to flush the toilet and stuff. >> the problem is, we get a

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