>> thank you, senator booker. i'm going to make motion to introduce record letters of support for judge garland's nomination. there are 25 different categories of letters to support. i'm struck immediately by the diversity of support that you have. 150 former attorneys general and top department of justice officials. alberto gonzalez, eric holder, lorretta lynch. dozens of former judge, former states attorney general. to have the national sheriff's soeshs, the fraternal order of police and the leadership conference on civil and human rights is an amazing political achievement. the list goes on. advocated for crime victims and
survivors. former fbi director louie free. they both have written letters of support for you. i want to take a moment in light of your closing statement from this round to tell you that your work and your life has been recognized across the board. this array of letters of support speaks to fairness and honesty in the way that you've dealt with your legal profession and your public service. without objection, i'll introduce these letters of support for your nomination into the record. now we're going the take a lunch break. i'm going to declare, i guess i have the power to do that now. we'll return at 1:40 and the first person up will be from the
sovereign state of louisiana, john kennedy. we'll all await his contribution. let's stand in recess. all right. welcome to a very busy monday. it is "meet the press daily." i'm in for chuck todd. so much happening right now in washington. you were just watching the hearing for judge merrick garland's confirmation. they have just taken a lunch break. we're expecting that hearing to last well into the afternoon. moments ago president biden delivered remarks on small business relief while urging the passage of his covid relief plan. he's preparing for a ceremony marking the grim milestone of 500,000 covid death here in the u.s. the daily white house briefing has just begun as well with press secretary jen keeping an . we have it across town for you.
on capitol hill merrick garland's confirmation hearing for attorney general is continuing. his nomination has bipartisan backing. this morning he warned lawmakers the dangers we face from domestic violence extremist is greater than what he saw in the wake of the 1995 oklahoma city bombing which killed 168 people. in his testimony, garland has vowed the aggressively continue doj prosecutions of those involved no matter how high up the case might go. former president trump has lost a key fight with the supreme court which said it will not block a new york grand jury from getting president trump's perj and corporate tax returns. the new york prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into trump's hush money payments and other financial transactions. we have reporters covering this for you fp garrett is on capitol hill. shannon is standing by outside
the white house and with us pete williams. pete, let me start with you. we had a little bit of an emotional moment there from president biden's nominee talking about his own family's remarkable story of coming to united states and why he feels it's important to serve. what have you heard throughout the morning in the wide variety of topics that have been covered. >> i'm not surprised by that. merrick garland is a person who is very bright but also very emotional. i'm not surprised by that at all. i think the main points were he said on the january 6th investigation, he'll follow it where ever it leads. tracing back to see who may have inspired or contributed money to it. beginning on people with ground at the cap dal. he will talk to john durham who was tasked by william barr to look into the origins of the fbi investigation of the trump
campaign. he will see what more he needs to continue. he says he's assured that president biden will not interfere with with the justice department's investigation which barr opened into the tax issues with hunter biden. couple of other things. he said the administration will pause the federal death penalty. in the closing months of the trump administration, it was resumed but there are a will the of questions about it. legal questions especially in terms of fairness of who gets the death penalty. he says that he called the child separation program of trump administration shameful. he said i can't think of anything worse. he also doesn't support defunding the police but he did say the justice department has an obligation under federal law to resume the pattern and practice investigations that were sort of a hallmark of the obama administration but the two attorneys general who succeeded eric holder both jeff sessions and bill barr were very much
scaled that back. he said he'll pick those up again. >> this hearing will continue into the afternoon. pete, you have been reporting on this major breaking news. we have been listening to all these events around former president trump's taxes. it's state case but it's the supreme court that made the decision there. what happened? >> the supreme court said sorry. your claim the subpoena is of broad, we're not going to take it. the president's accountants received a subpoena. a grand jury wanting about eight years of personal and corporate taxes. the president went to the supreme court and said you can't subpoena these. the supreme court said that's not right but you can attack the subpoena as over broad which is what he lawyers did. they lost in lower court and now the supreme court said it's not going to hear the case. it's just a one line order
saying that this appeal is turned down. there were no noted dissents. this is the end of the road. they must turn this material over to cy vance grand jury. my guess is that will nap a matter of days. not weeks or months. the accountants are aware of what they have to turn over. everybody has been in the starting blocks waiting for the supreme court to act. now that material will be in the hands of investigator. >> that's fascinating stuff. we may never see it but the investigators are going to see it very, very soon. let's pull out the lens a bit. shannon, this is major week for the biden administration. covering this from the white house angle. we heard from the president a few moments ago on another topic, on small business loans and covid relief. what, today, do you think we should all be zeroed in on here in terms of what the administration is doing. they are doubling down on some
of the nominees they have the potential, they're in trouble like omb. how do they feel across the board about how they are proceeding here as they watch the garland hearing unfold? >> certainly a lot going on. i will say the focus primarily in the white house remains on getting this american rescue plan passed through congress. we heard president biden a few moments ago in talking about the changes to the ppp that small business loan program to try and make it more equitiablely distributed to minority owned businesses, women owned businesses and get to the smallest businesses. the president made a point of making his sales pitch for this 1.9 trillion dollar covid relief package. we'll see a lot of activity on that in the hill. the white house continues on the full press court there. one other thing, the nomination of tandem. the white house is sticking by her. they are double down on support even though they are really
doesn't seem to be path for her to get nominated based on the people who have come out in opposition. one person said there's not incentive for the white house to pull back on her nomination or pull back on support for her right now. this could be good for her going forward. it raises her profile and the white house may be able to find a position for her in the administration somewhere down the line or the white house. continuing to push forward on this covid relief bill. >> garrett, let's pick up right there and start with tandem and some of the other nominees and we'll chat about covid relief. on the nomination front, i can't come up with a republican who would be willing to raise their hand to save this nomination. this is part of a bigger puzzle. they have other nominees they are trying to confirm and there's other strategy going on. what's your take on how this is playing out from your end of
pennsylvania avenue? >> we're seeing a good example of the full end of the spectrum over the last 24 hours between merrick garland who could get up to 85 votes for confirmation and tandem who is stuck at this 49 spot right now. it's very difficult to see who will be the one republican that wants to stick their neck out and say i would like to save this democratic nominee who other democrats don't seem eager to try to save. that puts her in off the spot. this is a really interesting week for the biden nominees. you have xavier bacerra. bacerra comes in to it with republicans skeptical he has the relevant experience to take over health and human services having no significant medical background of his own and deb hollen comes in as a victim of a biden energy policy that
republicans don't like. they need handful of republicans. they need none if they can keep every one together. they would like to try to find a handful of republicanrepublican can. it's a tinemy bit of give and take. it's juggling between the white house, leader schumer and the democratic members as they try to get all these folks across the finish line. >> right. it's chess game. the one big question, minimum wage and whether a hike in the minimum wage will end up in that bill. when do you think we may learn about whether that part will move forward. >> reporter: we may hear from the parliamentarian as early as
this week. that's not even necessarily the last word on this. this is going to be attached to the house version of the bill. it will end up here on the senate side. if the parliamentarian says no, that may be the end of this. even if they say yes, it's not entirely assured that democrats can keep all 50 of their votes in line for a $15 minimum wage. this will be the defining fight of this covid relief bill over the next week or two. >> all right. naung all as always for getting us started with your great reporting. we'll dig deeper now into the merrick garland attorney general hearing. joining me chuck rosenberg. thaing both so much for joining us. chuck, let me start with you in terms of what we have seen from
merrick garland over the course of this hearing. he's caried himself in a very measured and careful way. clearly very experienced in dealing with high profile situations like there one. where has your focus fallen as you have listened to this? >> i agree with you. measured thoughtful, careful. the words i heard from him today are comforting. the attorney general ought to be very much independent from the white house and the president. bill barr at the top of the department of justice. empg he said was good and proper and comforting. time will tell. i don't mean to suggest i'm skeptical but this is a very hard job. attorneys general walk difficult jobs.
i should add there are appropriate roles for an attorney general to coordinate with the president in the white house on legislation, on policy, on judicial nominations and there are things where it should be absolutely off limits in terms of the criminal enforcement mechanisms of the united states. i like what i hear. it gives me hope. this is how it should be. time will tell. >> matt, you worked at doj also. i was struck by chuck mentioning bill barr. we know there has ban lot of discontent among many sections of the justice department, career officials who were frustrated with how things were run during the trump administration. what is the project ahead of a future likely attorney general merrick garland in trying to change that part of the ship.
change the way things have been done. >> i had a bit of deja vu. a lot of the things he promised is what eric holder promised in 2009. and just make it apolitical again. i think that's the job that merrick garland will have today. someone who understood the department's core values and principles and respect them would lead the department again. i think that's the job that judge garland will have. i think, frankly, in some
instances it will be an easy one. it's not going be hard to write the internal ship at doj because that's ha the career employees expect. that's what they want to see. there's a culture they will respond to. the more difficult challenge will be restoring public confidences and kind of letting the american public know again that after four turbulent year the department of justice is really independent and decisions are on the fact and the law and not because what the president of the united states wants. >> if we look at the invest igss that merrick garland will touch in the course of his tenure that run the gam met from the former president of the united states to the current president's son with all sorts of political pressures buffeting him from capitol hill to elsewhere.
how do you see him navigating those very charged, highly sense -- sensitive situations? >> great question. we have always, as a department of justice confronted highly charged, quote unquote political cases. if you let the career men and women, if you let the agents and prosecutors do their work, you give them the necessary resources, you give them the necessary support and you don't make political determinations about how things ought to turn out, then you're fine. i don't mean that members of congress won't complain. i don't mean that columnists won't write nasty opinions. that happens. if you let men and women do their work, your fine as a department.
the work of department of justice has to be two things. it has to be absolutelily fair and it has to be perceived as absolutely fair. having only one of those two things is never sufficient. if the work is fair, that gives me great comfort. if the attorney general is not making determiations about how cases should be o charged, that makes me okay. you leave the people alone to do their work. they'll do their work. it's not that hard. >> let's talk about some of the policy situations that they will have to con front one question is the level of focus on white supremacists extremism and how
the administration both within the department of justice and across the rest of the administration will work on that. another many of the immigration policies that the trump administration put into place. we touched on that earlier in the hearing as well. how do you think policies in those sensitive areas may evolve? >> it gets to something that tom cotton was touching on though not in way he intended. there are ways and areas in which the justice department is not wall off. the attorney general is independent. you heard judge garland promise he will full by investigate and prosecute those responsible for the january 6th attacks on the capitol including some of the
organizations who may have been behind them. that's not going to be fluff. there's going to need to be a broader policy response. it's very similar to the home grown terrorism policies that the obama administration had to adopt to try to stop home grown islamic terrorism. i think there's going to be a broad policy across the administration to try to attack that problem head on. law enforcement is at the back end of that problem. by the time law enforcement investigates, they'll have to figure out way to stop that problem from ever occurring in first place. >> thank you both for a smart conversation about this. really p appreciate it. we're expecting the garland hearing to return in about 20 minutes. we'll bring all of you the news from that as soon as it happens. up next here, the crisis continues in texas. entering the second week as millions are still without
drinkable water. the death toll from the coronavirus virus crosses another grim milestone. half a million people dead. states are trying to play catch up after the winter weather forced the cancel lags of thousands of vaccination appointments. don't go anywhere. we'll be right back. ents don't go anywhere. we'll be right back. (vo) ideas exist inside you, electrify you. they grow from our imagination, but they can't be held back. they want to be set free. to make the world more responsible, and even more incredible. ideas start the future, just like that. my auntie called me. she said uncle's had a heart attack. i needed him to be here. your heart isn't just yours. protect it with bayer aspirin. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
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get gym results at home in just 10 minutes a day. no expensive machines, no expensive memberships. get off the floor with aerotrainer. go to aerotrainer.com to get yours now. welcome back. millions of texans are still in crisis as dangerous and winter weather has passed. nearly nine million texans are unable to drink their water. in houston the boil water advisory was lifted this weekend but many families still don't have running water or working pipes to run it through. many say there's no solid time line for when their service will be restored. over the weekend, president biden signed major disaster declaration making federal disaster funding available to the state and the governor
announced a temporary ban on cutting offer power if a customer can't pay as texans are dealing with high energy prices. nbc talked to one couple whose electricity bill reached $10,000 just for the last few days. such a difficult situation for so many families. what have you learned? >> reporter: the storm is gone but the fall out continues. we have the water crisis fp families depending on water distribution sites and food banks because their pipes are bunk busted. there's significant damage to many homes and apartment complexes. then we have another emerging crisis here which is the financial one. these texans who are being hit with the astronomical bills. these are customer who is signed up for wholesale variable rate deals with providers and in
normal times it means they are getting a great, cheap deal on their electricity. in abnormal times when the market is in crisis, what you see happening is the prices skyrocketing and that's what's happened over the past week. residents said they think this is outrageous, shocking. they are confused as to how the providers can reach out to residents and ask them to pay these prices after a week of so much human suffering. i want you to meet one of feem this happened to. >> on saturday they sent me an e-mail saying basically jump ship. the e-mail was sent at 2:47 p.m. on saturday. the last line said you got to hurry because nobody will switch you after 3:00. for monday and tuesday we have an $1800 total for monday and a
2,000 total for tuesday. i was just shocked. >> how would it or how will it affect you to have to pay that amount? >> i don't have that money. >> reporter: i want to reemphasis what we heard her say which is her company gave her a 13-minute window to jump ship before the prices were about to skyrocket. she was not able to find anyone else who would take her as a customer in that short amount of time. she told me that typically her bills are about 130 to $200 only. right now she's holding out hope that the governor and state legislatures are able to act on this and make sure that texans don't have to foot the bill. if they fall short in any way she will need someone's help getting on a long term repayment plan. >> she was so straightforward with you saying this is not money that i have available to give you. i don't think anyone would be prepared for that. thank you so much.
ahead, the covid death toll in our country has hit half a million. it's far worse. as confirmed cases continue to fall, pressure is continuing to rise to get schools reopened an kids back in the classroom. i'll talk to the head of one of the country's largest school districts in one of the hardest hit state, coming up next.
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welcome back. our country, today, marking the grimmest record yet amid this pandemic surpassing half a million coronavirus related deaths. here are the facts. tonight, president biden and vice president harris will hold a moment of silence and a candle lighting ceremony to remember those that we have lost. for perspective, 500,000 deaths rivals the entire populations of atlanta or sacramento, california. cases and hospitalizations are on a downward trajectory with hospitalizations hovering around 56,000. that's a low that we haven't seen since early november. cases are down 65% from this day last month. that's some good news. more than 19 million americans are now fully vaccinated and more than 43 million americans have received one shot. on average about 1.5 million doses are being administered each day. six million doses were delayed due to winter storms ta gripped the country. dr. fauci says all vaccines
should be back on track by the middle of this week. in california, the los angeles county department of health has given the l.a. unified school district the green light to resume in her honor classes. there's still one giant piece missing, vaccines. thank you so much for being here today. i want to talk about something that dr. fauci said over the weekend when he was speaking on meet the press. they were talking about this question of vaccinating teachers. i know your elementary schools have been given the green light to reopen. priority isn't going to start roll out until march 1st. do you believe elementary schools in your unified school district should be open right now before those vaccinations go out? >> three things, they have said
you need to have the right health practices placed in school. we up grated the air filtration systems with the equivalent of n-95 masks. we have the most comprehensive school based covid testing program in nation. able to test, provide tests to students and staff at least every week. they also said community spread matters. on your show and others just weeks ago we were talking about los angeles as the epicenter of the virus. community spread in the areas we serve still very high and vaccinations are an important piece of the puzzle. we think the right path is all three pch. we need to do the same thing in
los angeles pop. >> why hasn't it happened yet in l.a.? >> that's a darn good question. one i asked all the time. quarter million dollars household income of the most affluent community miss the nation. i'm not sure they spell covid the same way we do here in l.a. more than 80% of families we serve live in poverty. the hardest hit communities in nation are right here in los angeles. we start providing vaccinations to families we serve as well. >> at one point do you think that you'll be able to commit to all of your teachers they have the opportunity to get the vaccine if they want one. do you believe that teachers who elect not to get vaccinated
should have to return to the classroom in. >> i think we take this in steps. we're advocating at the state legislature and the governor. there's a proposed bill that the state legislature put forth to provide to vaccinations which we strongly support. we'll start bringing back to school as soon as possible. down the road we'll sort out those that don't wish to be vaccinated. it's all three parts of the puzzle that the cdc told us. >> are you confident that all your schools will be reopened for the start of the 2021, 2022 school year. are you optimistic about that? >> i'm more optimistic about that. i think if we can get on with is vaccination program we have outlined. 25,000 people vaccinated, we'll reopen schools for a quarter
million students. help more than half a million of family members get on the path to recovery. we continue to vaccinate more school staff and open our secondary schools before this se -- semester is out. we hope it's to reopen schools this semester. show families we can do it safely. have more participation for those who elect to participate in summer school. by the time fall rolls around, have robust participation in person instructions in school. >> looking ahead a little bit. these kids, especially in many of the neighborhoods and communities that you've mentioned as those that you serve. when these kids are falling behind, they are struggling with their mental health. they are at a disadvantage compared to students whose parents have the option to say send them to a private school that's open. how do you catch those kids up so the last year isn't something that dogs them for literally the
rest of their lives? >> sure. we have to make children a priority in our country. in the los angeles area it's the last three or four days of the last 350 days that the level of covid has been reached. we have been reopening malls and all kinds of other things before school has been able to open. let's make thing a priority. we're working on the path to recovery in our schools. that's where the dollars are going. they need to come to schools to make sure we provide that support. the path to recovery has already started in our schools. we have a long road ahead. each day educate you ares working to make sure students feel comfortable, safe. we start the path to recovery. >> all right. superintendent of the l.a.
unified school district. thank you so much for your time today. really appreciate it. thinking of all of those kids who have just had a difficult year. coming up, we'll go live to birmingham, alabama. a city steeped in the history and struggle of the civil rights movement. ali velshi will join us with a group of residents about their experience and what they think about getting vaccinated. make sure to check out our interactive state by state guide to figure out when and where you can receive your covid vaccine. visit planyourvaccine.com to learn more. we'll be right back. plap
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the unjust law is the lack of justice. >> let's narrow it down to punishment in justice. if i suggested that justice in the concept of punishment is when someone gets what he deserves would you agree or disagree with that? >> i suppose it depends on get what he deserves mean. i think justice requires individualized determination of the kind of crime you did and the mitigating circumstances. yes. >> let me put it another way. is a person who commits a crime a sinner in the moral sense or a
sick person? >> this is probably beyond my competence. i think with justice comes mercy. i think we have to take into consideration all different kinds of things. i also think that the kind of crime that we're talking about is relevant to the question of what kind of person it is. i'm not sure exactly what your asking me. i'm not trying to be evasive. i don't know what you're asking me. >> okay. let me shift gears here. were you chief judge when coronavirus hit us? >> unfortunately, for my successor, my term ran out just before coronavirus hit us. >> if you had been chief judge,
would you have adopted a rule that said if one of our employees in the court gets coronavirus and goes to the hospital and is treated and is released and wants to come back to work at the court, it would be discriminatory to ask them to take a coronavirus test? >> no. >> isn't that what happened with a lot of our nursing homes throughout the country? >> i honestly don't know what happened with the nursing homes. i don't know what their doing with respect to -- i'm sorry. i'm not trying to be evasive. i don't know the facts here. i think in example you gave me, there's nothing discriminatory
asking people who might be infected to be sure they don't infect other people. if determination is made they are not infected then that's the end of it. equal treatment doesn't mean we don't take into consideration the possibilities of different degrees of health in particular circumstance. i don't know what happened with the nursing homes. i know it was terrible that many teem got covid in the nursing homes and it was major vector of the spread of the infection but i don't know why that was. >> i think science tells us that keeping our schools closed has a disproportionate impact on poor
people and children from poor families and on families, included but not limited to children of color. at what point do you think our refusal of some of our leadership in our schools to reopen becomes a civil rights violation? >> senator, i completely agree with your description of the consequences of the school closing. i tutor two children in neighborhood where most of the students in the school are people of color and i've been able to tutor them by zoom every week. they are taking classes by zoom. it's much more difficult, obviously, for them. although they have done
terrifically. not because of me, but they have. it would be with people of other resources. >> sorry. >> that's all right. i think public officials have to way very serious competing concerns with respect how to deal with covid. there's no doubt about it. on the one hand we have to be very worried about setting kids back in their schooling and on the other hand we have to be very worried about not spreading the disease in way that kills them or more, importantly, not -- more likely their parents or grandparents. >> judge. >> i don't want to be the person who makes that understanding. >> sorry to interrupt. >> sorry, i interrupted you. >> we just have limited time. you have written in one of your opinions. i'm going to read. i know you haven't memorized all of your opinions. you said the constitution quote does not contemplate that the district, district of columbia, may serve as a state for
purposes of the apportionment of congressional representatives. that tex textual evidence is supported by historical evidence concerning the general understanding at the time of the district's creation. is that still your considered opinion? >> yes. i would say that's a case -- one of my earliest cases which taught me what it means to be a judge which is to do the opposite of what you would do if you had public policy concern. citizens of the district of columbia should be able to vote but i didn't think the constitution gave me authority on my own, to give it to them. it made me sad but reaffirmed my role as a judge. >> okay. my last 20 seconds, i'll ask if you agree with there statement. allowing, i'm not suggesting you answer one way or the other. i want to know what you believe.
allowing biological males to compete in an all female sport deprives women of the opportunity to participate fully and fairly in sports and is fundamentally unfair to female . >> this is a very difficult societal question. i know what under lies it -- >> but you'll be attorney general. he may have to be decided, and i think every human being should be treated with dignity and respect. that's overriding sense of my character and what the law rierks. this particular question of how title nine applies in schools is one that, in light of the prospect case is something to look at. and i would not consider these kinds of issues so far.
>> thank you, judge. >> all right, we have been listening to the confirmation hearing for merick garland. they were talking about questions around title 9 and transgender women in supports. that has become an important pivotal fight. these questions that were raised by the attack on the capitol on january 6th. fighting domestic terrorism and white supremacist supremism. that's how the chairman of the committee started things off today. >> what's going on, is oklahoma
city a one off? >> i don't think this is necessarily a one off. they have indicated that the threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacist supremists series. >> this is going to be the focus of a big hearing tomorrow examining the security failures around january 6th. but in light of all of this conversation we want to continue to honor and celebrate black history month. we're taking an in-depth look at the current state of inequality in america and where the country stands in the fight against racism. it has been brought to the forefront by the
disproportionate impact ali vel think has been talking to black leaders. it is great to see you particularly on the story. what have you learned from the leaders and residents that you have been talking to as we mark this black history month. >> birmingham is overwhelmingly black. and it is the same problem and they persist here. black people don't get the sake access through health care. you couple that with the fact that there is lingers hesitancy
around vaccinations. i had this conversation with a number of residents here in birmingham. the fire chief is black and he was saying he is one of the first to get the vaccine to set an example for other people that say if he got it maybe i should think about it, too. here is some of my discussion. >> i received both doses of the vaccine. i started the process back in december. i did a risk benefit analysis to determine if it was the right thing for me. i did it for my family and the citizens that i serve. >> was there any part of your decision to vaccinate that was also about being a role model in the black community? >> absolutely. i noo u as a leader in the largest department in the state of bam had i to be a leader, so if the fire chief trusts the science maybe i should consider it. >> i get why people would not. i think that's how that market it to our community.
black people in general, people in general in color have a history of where the government uses their beginy pigs. >> i think until there is ownership on that part people were like that is in the past. when you go to a doctor, they ask you about your parents history. they want your full picture of this. we're not going for that. why would we ever want something called i know that warp speed was not it. those things the way the government labels things is intentional. when you look that paper work up, that's not a loan, but black people in business don't want debt. we want to apply because we hear the word loans.
they're intentional. i think they need a who different marketing department to help them market to people of color. >> one distinction to make. they're working on the black demand. we can worry about this later let's get it to the people that are not prepared to be vaccinated. >> right. that's been a problem here. a unique perspective for that conversation. we appreciate your work as always. be safe out there on the road. all this week the networks take a deep dive into the state of struggle don't miss any of that. but that is going to do it for me this hour chuck will be back
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