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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 22, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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covid, your job, your hobbies, what you cooked, what you learned, big changes and small. send it to us at we're working hard to commemorate this in an appropriate way. that's "all in" on this monday night. rachel maddow starts now. just after 6:00 p.m. eastern time, president biden and the first lady and the vice president and her husband led a long just devastatingly sad moment of silence from the south portico of the white house to honor the half million americans who have now died from covid-19. it has only been a year, and already we have lost this year more than all the americans we lost on the battlefield in world
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war i, world war ii, and the vietnam war, combined. all from this one contagion, this botched, terribly mishandled pandemic. before the moment of silence and the candlelighting at the portico, president biden gave what basically amounted to a national eulogy for all those lost. he addressed the bulk of his remarks to americans who personally have lost someone they loved to covid, bringing to bear what's become sort of his emotional trademark in his political life, his empathy for people who are hurting. >> we often hear of people described as ordinary americans. there's no such thing. there's nothing ordinary about them. the people we lost were extraordinary. they spanned generations. born in america, emigrated to america. but just like that, so many of them took their final breath
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alone in america. as a nation, we can't accept such a cruel fate. while we're fighting this pandemic for so long, we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. we have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur or on the news. we must do so to honor the dead, but equally important, care for the living, those left behind. for the loved ones left behind, i know all too well. i know what it's like to not be there when it happens. i know what it's like when you are there, holding their hands, as you look in their eye, they slip away. that black hole in your chest, you feel like you're being
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sucked into it. the survivor's remorse. the anger. the questions of faith in your soul. for some of you, it's been a year, a month, a week, a day, even an hour. and i know that when you stare at the empty chair around the kitchen table, it brings it all back no matter how long ago it happened, as if it just happened a moment ago, when you look at that empty chair. >> that empty chair. president biden tonight, marking 500,000 american lives lost to covid-19. but let's put up these new graphs as of today from the covid tracking project. there is good news now. new cases now continuing to steadily drop since mid-january,
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cases have been steadily dropping, and new hospitalizations have been steadily dropping too. we are still at a hospitalization number that matches the worst of the spring surge and the surge in the summer. see how our low point now is still as high as those high points ever got from earlier in the year. but at least it is heading down. and deaths are heading down too. but not fast enough. even now we are still losing nearly 2,000 americans every single day. and nobody knows yet whether the declines in new cases and new hospitalizations and deaths are attributable to americans finally start to get vaccinated in considerable numbers. dr. david kessler, top science adviser to the biden administration's covid response, told us on this show last week that it is just too early to separate out any potential vaccine effect as the cause of these recent improvements that we have seen over the past month. but on average, about a million
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and a half americans are getting the vaccine every single day now. that of course is coming to late for the half million americans who have already been killed and for their families and the people who love them. frankly, the vaccinations that are happening now are coming too late for the 60,000 plus americans who just got diagnosed with covid today. we're still over 60,000 new vaccinations -- excuse me, 60,000 new infections a day, even coming down from that massive peak. the vaccination effort moved too slowly to prevent 60,000 plus americans from getting infected now. but at least after all of this loss and failure, at least we are finally headed in the right direction, finally. and, you know, it is probably time to start thinking of what we are ever going to be able to do for our nurses and doctors and hospital staff and emts and
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nursing home workers, all the front line health care staff who we have just put through hell this past year, forgive me. we are still asking more from them than is humanly possible. we will be for months yet, as long as 50 and 60,000 americans are getting newly infected every day. we're still asking them to do the impossible, as long as numbers stay that high. but we are the country that has had more deaths from covid-19 and more sickness from covid-19 than any other country on earth. and the people who have had to care for us all through it all, the health care workers, are going to need some kind of thank you, some kind of respite at least when this is all done. they have had to do things that are unimaginable, and for such a long time, for a running sprint of a year. i don't know what we should do on that front but we really have asked the unimaginable of our nurses and doctors and health care staff. we're going to have to turn our minds eventually, and i think soon, to how we do right by
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them, to how we convey our thanks. in the midst of the pandemic, at 500,000 dead now, president biden's nominee to be health secretary in the united states will get his confirmation hearing, finally, tomorrow, more than a month after biden was sworn in. republican senators are already lining up to say how they don't want president biden's nominee, xavier becerra, to be confirmed as health secretary but it is likely he will be confirmed. there will also be nomination hearings this week for deb haaland for interior secretary. she will be the first native american cabinet secretary in u.s. history if she is confirmed. republican senators, though, are absolutely opposed to her too. while we're running down all the people of color that republicans object to as biden cabinet nominees, we should also note his nominee to lead the office of management and budget, neera tanden, is also on the big trouble right now in terms of her nomination because of not
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just republican opposition to her nomination but at least one conservative democrat, joe manchin, has decided he doesn't like her and won't vote for her. senator manchin, i should say, has apparently invented a whole new standard for neera tanden that he never applied to other nominees that he voted for, which has put her nomination at risk. we will have more on that in a few minutes tonight. but in addition to becerra and haaland and tanden, there will be hearings this week for the nominee to be cia director, william burns, and vivek murthy to be surgeon general. today of course was the first of two days of confirmation hearings for merrick garland, president biden's nominee to be attorney general. judge garland was president obama's nominee for a supreme court vacancy but republicans in the u.s. senate decided they would hold that supreme court seat open for more than a year so a republican president could fill it instead of even considering judge garland when he was nominated. republican senators are still
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pretending like that was some sort of normal move. it absolutely was not. but merrick garland himself apparently does not hold a grudge. i do. i think a lot of people do. i think holding a supreme court seat open for more than a year when you later prove once a republican president was in there that you could fill it in about five minutes if you wanted to, i don't think that's normal. i kind of have a grudge about that. merrick garland apparently does not. which means he is a better person than i am on that scale and many others. but in a sort of twist of fate, the news gods gave us a confluence of events today that you've got to feel like they've been cooking up for some time with a little bit of a smirk, perhaps, because while judge garland was having his confirmation hearing today, not for the supreme court because republicans held a seat open for a year instead of allowing him to be considered for that, today while he was not being considered for the supreme court but instead was considered to
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lead the u.s. justice department, it actually was the supreme court that made news big enough to justify news organizations breaking into the confirmation hearings for the next attorney general of the united states. and the news was in fact big enough to justify that. as "the new york times" put it in their coverage of the story today, quote, the supreme court's order set in motion a series of events that could lead to the startling possibility of a criminal trial of a former u.s. president. the former u.s. president in question soon affirmed that when he released a rambling and even for him almost hysterical statement in response to the supreme court ruling, saying, quote, the people of our country won't stand for it. he called the ruling of the court, quote, fascism. he was rambling about the court -- excuse me, rambling about what he called, quote, all the election crimes that were committed against me. really? election crimes committed against you?
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he said in his statement that he won the last election and therefore joe biden isn't even really the president. i don't know why that claim is at all relevant to the supreme court ruling that he is freaking out about here. but it seems clear that that's what he's going to say from here on out whenever he frequency out about anything, that's going to be kind of his go-to. this isn't happening, i'm still secretly the president in my mind, this can't all be true. the supreme court's ruling today was issued in a short, unsigned opinion with no noted dissents, was that no one, not even a man who believes in his heart of hearts that the earth is flat or that donald trump was reelected, no one is immune from investigation if prosecutors believe they have committed crimes and they have a legal predicate to move forward with such an investigation. no one is above the law. in august 2019, it was state prosecutors in new york who sent a subpoena for trump's financial and tax records to the accounting firm used by president trump and his business
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and president trump pulled out all the stops to stop the subpoena from ever become effectuated. he sued to stop the firm from complying with the subpoena. the case went to the u.s. supreme court twice. he lost both times at the supreme court. he also lost at every lower court the case was heard in as well. his legal avenues are now well and truly exhausted. the accounting firm is now going to hand over the data. their production to prosecutors will be millions of pages of financial documents and tax returns. prosecutors will reportedly collect this information, "the new york times" says, this week, from the accounting firm's lawyers in westchester county, new york. prosecutors will get access to those millions of pages and then get to work examining them and determining if they prove a crime. prosecutors have already retained a large outside
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consulting firm that specializes in crunching this kind of data. the prosecutors' office has also brought in a heavy hitting outside counsel who is a form chief of the criminal division and chief of the appellate division of the sdny, with a long history in white collar crime prosecution and defense work. the investigation that led to this point started with the investigation into payments made during the 2016 campaign, payments to two women designed to keep them from talking publicly about their alleged affairs with candidate trump. those payments were made to benefit the campaign of candidate trump and they were designated and prosecuted as campaign finance felonies by prosecutors in sdny. the president's lawyer, michael cohen, who facilitated those payments, he went to prison for those felonies. but those payments that mr. cohen made to those women to benefit the president's campaign, those payments were reimbursed by the president's business. reimbursed in a way that was apparently designed to look as
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if they were payments to michael cohen for legal services. that is not what they were. but that is how they were processed through the trump organization's financial systems. now, depending on how exactly that was done, that coverup could be a crime related to keeping fraudulent business records. if those fake legal expenses reimbursed to michael cohen were ultimately deducted in the trump organization's taxes, that could also be tax fraud. michael cohen, of course, then testified to congress and provided documentation attest to go what he described as a long running scheme by the former president and his business to defraud insurance companies and banks and tax authorities. he described a scheme in which the president and his business radically changed the valuation of various properties depending on who was asking. they basically kept two sets of books in michael cohen's telling. when it came time to pay taxes on a property, trump would call the property basically worthless. but when it came time to use that property as collateral to get, like, a loan from a bank or
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something, then suddenly that same property would be worth the sun and the moon and the stars. which is a cute way to do it. also it's potentially tax fraud, bank fraud, and insurance fraud. but then came september 2020. feels like it was 30 years ago. it was like several months ago. it's only february now, this was only september when it happened. it feels like a million years ago. september 2020. in the pages of "the new york times," we came to learn in very dramatic fashion why exactly president trump had been working so hard on keeping his tax and financial records hidden, why he was working harder on that than on anything else in the whole country. we learned why he was so panicked about keeping these things under wraps in september, when "the new york times" reporters, through separate means, obtained more than two decades of trump tax records. and that reporting, those documents that "the times"
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obtained threw off a world war's worth of bombshells. the president, a self-described billionaire, turns out he paid a grand total of $750 in federal income tax in 2016, which is the year he ran for president. nun in 2017, his first year in the white house, he again paid a grand total of $750 in federal income tax. in ten of the previous 15 years, he paid zero in federal income tax, he paid nothing. "the times" reported he owed as much as $100 million to the federal government in back taxes and penalties. they reported that the president had apparently paid his daughter ivanka as an employee of the trump organization and then double dipped, also paid her as a consultant to the trump organization. why does that matter? well, the money that he paid her as a consultant he deducted from his taxes as a business expense. and that may sound like an arcane little bit of accounting mishegas, but that's a kind of a fraud that other people regularly go to prison for. and now trump tax and business
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records by the millions are in the hands of state prosecutors for the first time. prosecutors who are reportedly investigating him for tax fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud. now, lots of questions remain as to why federal prosecutors did not pursue mr. trump for prosecution after they named him as individual 1, this undecided co-conspirator, in the federal case for which michael cohen went to prison. lots of questions remain as to what happened to the culpability of individual 1 in that case let alone the president's business and those who signed off on those bogus checks to michael cohen which were really repayments for the campaign finance felonies he was committing but were a disguised to look like business expenses. one of the things that merrick garland is going to have to sort out when he is confirmed as the nation's next attorney general is why his predecessor william barr personally spent weeks leaning on prosecutors at sdny to try to get them to go easy
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own that case. and then barr ultimately fired the us attorney in that office. merrick garland is going to have to sort all that out. the solution to that can't be don't do it again. the solution has to be accountability for those who abused the justice department and the justice process in ways that were designed to shield the president from accountability if that is in fact what happened there. but what's happened here, what the supreme court set in motion today is something that does not involve federal prosecutors and that whole sdny mess. these are state prosecutors. and their case is moving forward. and there really is now, as "the times" puts it today, the startling prospect of a criminal trial of a former u.s. president. we, the public, will not get to see these millions of pages that are getting handed over. we won't see them unless and until there are criminal charges filed in this case and they surface as evidence in that case. the closest we can get now is maybe to talk to the reporters
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for "the new york times" who have themselves seen more information like this than any other civilian we can talk to, reporters who in fact won the pulitzer prize for their reporting on exactly this scandal. one of those reporters is suzanne craig, investigative reporter for "the new york times." she joins us now. it's nice of you to make time for us tonight, good to see you. >> good to see you. >> from what you understand of the scope of the subpoena that was the basis of the supreme court ruling today, do you think that prosecutors are about to get their hands on a subset of what you and your colleagues saw at "the times" or do you think they are getting considerably more than what you guys were able to see? >> when it comes to the tax returns, they're going to get a subset. they'll see eight years of the tax returns and we had over two decades of the tax returns. in that sense they'll be seeing less. but they're getting just an entire universe more of information in terms of other
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documents that have been subpoenaed that could be really critical to actually making the case. and that includes communication between donald trump and his accountants, audited financial statements, communication that has gone back and forth, and a whole other array of documents that are going to be produced that sort of explain sort of what went into the taxes in a lot more detail. >> in terms of the communications between the president and his business and the accounting firm or indeed the communications among people at the accounting firm who were working on this account, why would those be so valuable potentially to prosecutors who are looking to try to uncover evidence of the kind of white collar fraud that i just described? >> when you say -- it's important but sort of top line. by using an example, there's questions you mentioned about the payment to stormy daniels and other potential hush money that was paid. we still have the tax returns. those payments aren't itemized. but there's a lot of payments
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those places could go. for example, legal fees is a likely one. they could have been put into a line where legal fees are a tax deduction but they're not itemized in detail. that's one really clear example of where they're probably going to look right away, if they can get all of that. they're also going to see communication back and forth. you're going to see the decisions that were made about what to file, what did the trump organization or donald trump tell his accountants, were there misrepresentations there. so a lot of things are really important, and the pieces that go into it. we did a story in 2018 where we found tax fraud that donald trump had committed in the 1990s. we did that by piecing together financial statements, bank statements, general ledgers, public information. but it was a whole, you know, kind of puzzle that we had to put together. financial statement -- or tax returns are kind of your best case when you're smith to the irs.
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there's actually a line where you can say, i accepted a bribe, people don't usually fill it in, but usually you're not filing that's just apparently illegal. >> suzanne, one of the reasons i wanted to talk to you today was seeing your reaction to this supreme court ruling. one of the things you talked about as a potentially sort of dangerous area for the president might be these consulting fees that he paid to his daughter ivanka trump. you also pointed out that there are a lot of unanswered questions about something that happened in 2016 where the president when he was running for president, his campaign was sort of low on funds, and you and your colleagues were able to report that he engineered a big cash windfall himself that appeared to originate with a las vegas hotel. i wonder if you could walk us through sort of both of those concerns, the las vegas issue and the ivanka issue in terms of the what the potential pitfalls might be there for the president. >> let's start with the payments, the consulting
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payments to ivanka trump. what's interesting about that, she got a lot of money for consulting payments. we don't even the totality of it. we were able to specifically identify some of it. the question there is, she's an executive of the company, why is she getting consulting at the same time? that could be a potentially illegal issue for them there. i think they'll be looking her siblings, did they also get these consulting fees? what did they do for that since they were already at the payroll at the trump organization that warranted these special payments? and then with the las vegas hotel, very interesting. in 2016, he got several one-time really outsized cash payments, more than $20 million that we can see flowing from a hotel in vegas that he co-owns with another individual to companies that donald trump alone controls and then they went out as just huge cash distributions in the middle of the election. he has said that there are agreements underpinning these. we could identify a couple of
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the payments where there was an agreement. others, we're not sure. we haven't seen those agreements so we don't even. i think that's one of the things that probably investigators are going to look at when they can get in and start to understand what's there. let's see the agreement, what did he tell his accountants about it. they were very unusual, and it was 20, $30 million coming to him during 2016 when he was -- his campaign was running low on cash. >> it's amazing that we had a candidate for president, ultimately a successful candidate for president, who engineered a mysterious 20 or $30 million payment to himself in the middle of the campaign and these years later, it's a black box. >> they were shocking to see, when we could actually trace the money through. it was significant amounts of money that we couldn't really explain. and they wouldn't provide us with the underlying agreements that they said existed for these just massive cash infusions that
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suddenly came to him just as he needed money. >> one of the things that i have always found difficult about this story from beginning to end, having read every word of your reporting on this, having read a whole bunch of books that touch on this subject, having followed it so closely, is i feel like i'm at a disadvantage because i'm not sure how bad the context is this much he appears to have been a bad actor. again, i'm not supposing any criminal behavior by the president, i realize this is an open investigation, no charges have been filed, he of course denies any wrongdoing. but it is my impression that the new york high end real estate market is sort of scummy and gray area enough in terms of legality and money laundering and all sorts of gross stuff that the president might be a sort of normal actor for new york city real estate standards, and that it's therefore hard for me to understand whether his
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behavior will be seen as essentially normal for a gross pseudo illegal area of business or whether what he's done really stands out, even in that sector. >> i think new york real estate, they do get a lot of tax deductions. but that's one thing. the things we're talking about are much different than that. were there payments, potentially hush money paid to women so they wouldn't talk and then used as a tax deduction, that has nothing to do with being a real estate developer in new york. you know, so there's a lot of things that are outside of that. we've talked about the appraisals and there's been a lot of attention on that. that's going to be one thing that's going to be interesting to watch. and, you know, when you look at that, it's not an easy case, people who use appraisals, they usually rely on experts, you hire an appraiser, you hire a professional, they can point to that and say we relied on professional advice. what they'll be looking for in cases like that is did donald trump go and shop for appraisals
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until he found the one he liked? we've seen that plenty of times in new york where people do that, that's one example that fits into what you're saying. all we can see on a lot of things when we look at tax information is the final appraisal that arrives. cy vance in new york will be trying to find out did he go appraisal shopping or did he put undue pressure on the appraiser. >> suzanne craig, investigative reporter for "the new york times," one of the only humans on earth who could preview what prosecutors are going to get their hands on, thanks for joining us. >> thanks, good to see you. we've got much more ahead tonight, stay with us. much more tonight, stay with us.
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"the new york times" wins the prize for the most eloquent summary of today's plot twist involving the potential criminal liability, potential criminal trial of a former president of the united states for the first time in u.s. history. "the times" saying today, quote,
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the supreme court's order set in motion a seefrpz events that could lead to the startling possibility of a criminal trial of a former u.s. president. they win the eloquence summary. but the prize for brevity today goes to the new york prosecutor whose office learned today that the supreme court had decisively cleared the way for something that president trump fought for a very long time and fought very hard to try to block from happening. former president trump's taxes and financial records will be handed over to a grand jury. upon receiving the supreme court's ruling clearing the way for that today, district attorney cy vance's response was three words. he said, quote, the work continues, period. dan alonso worked with vance. joining us now is dan alonso, former federal prosecutor and
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former new york prosecutor who served as assistant d.a. under cy vance. mr. alonso, thanks for making the time. >> thank you. >> i am not a lawyer and i want to give you a chance first to set me straight if there is anything that i have explained about this court ruling and its implications that strikes you wrong or that you think i might have gotten the wrong way round. >> no, i think you got it pretty much right and your previous guest is obviously pretty well-versed if this stuff. you got it hit after to a certain extent we're all speculating a little bit. it's educated speculation. we know from the d.a. and statements made in court and some of the great reporting that's been done that there are maybe six to eight areas of inquiry that they are tracking down. but we can't know whether they have smoking guns, whether they can really prove intent to defraud as suzanne was saying. so there are definitely a lot of questions to be answered.
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but i would say today's development is huge, not just because it's significant but also because they probably bought themselves millions of pages to have to sift through now. >> when you say six to eight areas of inquiry and this being potential huge consequences, how serious are the crimes that are potentially implicated here? obviously, again, there have been no charges, the president and his business deny all wrongdoing and we won't know anything about what the grand jury has done unless they present evidence in court if they ever do. the allegations that have been made by people who know something about these business practices, are these the sort of things that people get a fine and a sort of slap on the wrist or are these potentially serious charges? >> i mean, look, as with so many things in the law, they are -- it depends. so obviously there are very many serious charges that they're considering. just the fact that they're saying the words "insurance
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fraud," "tax fraud," "bank fraud," those are all serious charges. now, do they require time in prison? only at the high end. so we have to know whether the loss was high enough to require a judge to put whomever, you know, behind bars. you know, lower level felonies don't require it but they do permit it. we really need to know how much loss they can prove, whether that's tax loss or loss to the banks or loss to insurance companies or intended loss. once we know that, we can start to figure it out. but i would say all of these are at least potentially felonies. so i would say that by itself makes them quite serious. >> and dan, in terms of what you know about the operations of this office, it's one thing for us in the journalism world and as citizens to talk about millions of pages being handed over, terabytes full of data. but from a prosecutor's predictive and from the perspective of people trying to
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put together potential felony charges here, how long does it take to go through something like that? it sounds like kind of a life's work. certainly you need certain people quarterbacking it and organizing other people to work on it, delegating different pieces of it out. how big a job is this, how much time do you expect that much paperwork, how much time do you expect it to take for prosecutors to go through it? >> on the one hand, it's an enormous job. if this happened while i was first starting out as a prosecutor 30 years ago, i would say the sky is the limit as to how long it would take. but today the d.a. and the consultant that he's hired have very serious data analytics tools that can be used to sort through what they have to kind of very quickly do the kinds of searches that will get them to, you know, separate the wheat from the chaff pretty quickly. those start out as just simple word searches and number searches but they involve artificial intelligence. i think they'll be able to do
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this relatively quickly. this is very complicated. the new york real estate industry is extremely complicated to begin with. so they have experts guiding them on how that works and how all these, you know, 500 or so llcs work together. but i think at the end of the day they're really going to be -- right now they already know what they want to look for, so they'll start there. and then they'll do the sort of bigger sifting through the stuff. so it will take a while for sure. but it's not an impossible task, not in 2021. >> dan, there's also been very interesting reporting in recent days that the office has brought in a very prominent form federal prosecutor and high level white collar defense attorney named mike pomerantz, and he will be signed on as special assistant d.a. for the trump investigation. investigation three recent reporting that mr. pomerantz recently, within the last few
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days, interviewed, re-interviewed michael cohen, the president's former lawyer who went to prison for campaign finance felonies and other charges and made a lot of serious allegations about the president that seem to track somewhat with these bank fraud, tax fraud allegations we've her in public reporting, describing the contours of the investigation. what do you think of the appointment of pomerantz and does it surprise you that he's talking again to michael cohen? and michael cohen going to end up being a valuable witness here? >> for sure, you said it correctly, pomerantz is a prominent lawyer. it's he's what we call a heavy hitter. that's a good thing. i will put in a plug for my former colleagues, the office already has some fantastic assistant d.a.'s that have been working on this case for a while. even without mike pomerantz, the case would have been in good hands. that only enhances it, to have
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him in the case. in terms of michael cohen, very interesting. so, you know, i actually watched the cohen hearing today when he testified before congress. and some of the attacks that were made by the republicans will probably be made if he testifies in a trial, assuming that trump or someone close to him is indicted. and i thought those -- if handled correctly by the prosecutor, those will ring hollow. basically the attack is, this is a perjuring witness, this is somebody who lied to congress, how dare we have as a witness somebody who lied to congress. well, okay, but that doesn't end the story. i mean, i've put witnesses on the stand who had committed perjury, who had asked others to commit perjure. and that's not the question, if that were the question, we wouldn't put them on the stand. the question is are they telling the truth now. you have to ask why did michael cohen lie to congress? it was obviously to protect donald trump. it's not like donald trump corrected that testimony afterwards even though he
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presumably knew the truth. so you have to ask yourself, you know, is whatever michael cohen going to say corroborated by other evidence. and that's a lot of what they're doing now, by poring through these documents. other evidence and other documents and other witnesses too. so no, i think michael cohen could be a significant witness. but i think he's got warts. so it's got to be a very careful prosecutor who puts everything out on the table, warts and all, so the jury can see it all. but i do think that he could be a persuasive witness if properly corroborated. >> and nothing corroborates like millions of pages of documents that the president fought tooth and nail to try to keep hidden. dan alanso, veteran of the new york state prosecutor's office, cy vance's team that just got this credible decisive ruling from the supreme court today. thanks so much, dan, i appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. a lot more to get to this
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we're going to start off with a nice easy warm-up, start jumping jacques, nice, easy jumping jacques, everyone. we're going to have a lot of fun today. i don't even know what to do right now, i'm so nervous. >> the fact that our first lady is so into physical fitness and now we've got her on "the biggest loser" working out, that could not be any cooler. >> trainer bob very nervous. there's the first lady with that group of people, working out, michelle obama, april 2012, encouraging american families to get moving, to be fit and healthy. watching the first lady in action like that for a good cause, trying to encourage people doing crunches and lunges and jumping jacks, that was inspiring to a lot of people. this guy, though, had a different take. his reaction was this. quote, did you notice that while michelle obama is working out on
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tv, she is sweating on the east room's carpet? i'm just saying. dot dot dot. the guy who tweeted that is named rick grenell. back in 2012 when he tweeted that, he was a republican operative who had a very public habit of tweeting mean and frequently sexist things about the obamas and about their kids, also about then vice president joe biden, about prominent democrats. he would also sometimes use his twitter account to go after members of his own party as well. he repeatedly attacked former republican speaker of the house newt gingrich. he liked to go after newt gingrich's wife, he would make fun of her hair, that was kind of his level of insults, insulting people's looks and their weight, attacking their families, particular venom for women in the public eye. he's a real nice guy. this became a little sticky, kind of, for rick grenell when president donald trump surveyed the american landscape and decided that above all other americans, the best pick for ambassador to germany would be
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that guy, rick grenell. and there was talk when the nomination was announced that grenell's past behavior online might disqualify him from getting confirmed in the senate because it was so mean and sexist and petty and ad hominem and gross. turned out to be no problem, though, really, ended up being smooth sailing. mr. grenell and his archive of mean tweets were confirmed in the senate with bipartisan support, with votes to spare, not a big deal, apparently. right now, the current president, president biden, is dealing with a confirmation speed bump for one of his nominees, though. her name is neera tanden. she is biden's nominee to run the office of management and budget. and her nomination drew immediate complaints from republicans in the senate who campaigned that her past tweets about them were mean. they said her tweets about republican lawmakers were too combative. they said her old tweets long
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before she was a nominee would make it impossible for her to meet with congress. it seemed she would receive few if ever republican votes for her. on friday, democratic senator joe manchin announced that he won't vote to confirm neera tanden. he said it was because of her partisan statements on twitter and he said those statements would have a toxic and detrimental impact on her work. today, maine republican senator susan collins also announced that neera tanden's tweets are a problem for her as well. she says they demonstrate ms. tanden does not have the temperament to lead the omb, which is a peculiar decision on the part of those senators given that both those senators had absolutely no problem supporting someone with a hyperpartisan twitter warring history in the past. susan collins and joe manchin
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both voted to confirm rick grenell in 2017, the guy who used his twitter account to attack the sitting president's children, to mock a woman's hair, to attack all sorts of women for their appearance, to attack michelle obama for sweating on the east room carpet. but for them, neera tanden's criticism of republican senators, that's caustic and inappropriate and so she must be barred from a senate confirmed position. rick grenell is fine. neera tanden -- ohio republican senator rob portman who also voted to confirm rick grenell, he announced his opposition to neera tanden today, so did utah senator mitt romney. there's still time to find one republican, any republican vote for ms. tanden. republican senator lisa murkowski of alaska was notably quiet on the prospect.
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but until then, until a republican senator decides that he or she will vote for ms. tanden, tanden's nomination to lead omb is hanging by a thread tonight because of the outrageous double standard by e democratic senator who was happy to excuse much worse behavior than hers for a male nominee in a previous administration but has apparently discovered a double standard. the biden administration says they remain in full support of their nomination and they are not fulling it. watch this space. ts best. taking metamucil everyday can help. metamucil psyllium fiber gels to trap and remove the waste that weighs you down. it also helps lower cholesterol and slow sugar absorption to promote healthy blood sugar levels. so you can feel lighter and more energetic. metamucil. support your daily digestive health.
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despite the fact that biden clearly won wisconsin, a separate group of republicans in the state decided they would try to appoint themselves as wisconsin's state electors. it was weird, right? biden won the state. it was there for his electors to cast their votes. but these republicans, including the state party chairman, they just decided they would name themselves anyway, and then they started forging documents. they signed bogus certificates of election. they proclaimed that trump had actually won the ten electoral votes from wisconsin when in fact they were all won by joe biden. well, that was a weird moment in the post election craziness in the republican party. but now lawyers for a wisconsin union have sent a complaint to the milwaukee county district attorney to state prosecutors in wisconsin requesting that a criminal investigation be opened into those acts. the union wrote this letter and says these republicans violated six state laws, forgery, falsely
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assuming to act as a public officer, misconduct, conspiracy to commit criminal acts. something to keep an eye out of wisconsin. meanwhile, tomorrow at the national level, the first big investigative hearing on what happened on january 6th. it is a joint oversight hearing conducted by the homeland committee and the rules committee. we will hear from a number of officials who should be interesting witnesses. the sergeant at arms from the house and senate resigned in the immediate aftermath of the attack. they will testify tomorrow as well as the former chief of the capitol police who also resigned after the fact. those officials will all face questions from senators in tomorrow's hearing. it is called examining the january 6th attack on the u.s. capitol. should be one to watch. watch this space. and jackson hewitt knows your job description may have changed a bit. to say... account manager...
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that is going to do it for us tonight. i will tell you tomorrow is going to be a big news day particularly in washington. second day of confirmation hearings for merrick garland. today's first day of hearings was very newsy tomorrow should be a big deal. deb holland for interior secretary. she would be the first native american in history if confirmed. i'll see you again tomorrow night. now it is time for "the last word" can lawrence o'donnell. >> as


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