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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  February 23, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PST

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that is our broadcast for this monday night as we start a new week. with our thanks for being with us throughout, on behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of nbc news, good night. ♪♪ tonight on "all in," the big lie is alive and well. >> the election was not stolen, correct? >> joe biden is the president. there were a few states that did not follow their state laws. >> tonight even with trump in exile, the republican radicalization against democracy is in full swing. plus the man who would be attorney general on investigating the capitol insurrection. >> i'd like to make sure that you are willing to look upstream from the actual occupants who assaulted the builden
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>>sheldon whitehouse joins me live. and the aftermath in texas. ted cruz is not the only texas leader to flee the state during an disaster. as the nat mourns 500,000 victims, the coronavirus pandemic, new signs could be turning a corner and "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. the republican party is central to the identity of this faction. every day that passes the leaders of the republican party not only refuse to condemn the big lie that donald trump really won re-election but actively continued to push the narrative. that big lie gets further cemented as a corner stone of the republican party of american conservatism. in the run up to the election, there is a focus on donald trump as the person orchestrating all of it. and that is undeniably true. but, a majority republican
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members of congress affirm their support for that lie, voting not to certify joe biden's election even after the trump-fueled the attack on the capitol. donald trump is off twitter and down in mar-a-lago. the associated press found that in three softball interviews on fox news channel, trump repeated his false claim the election was stolen from him ten times, each instance unprompted and unchallenged. you'll never guess what the polling shows, new polling shows the republican party is still with the disgraced ex-president. according to a new poll from suffolk university, 73% of trump voters say biden wasn't legitimately elected. there was maybe a brief window following the attack on the capitol, that deadly insurrection before the peaceful
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transfer of power when every republican had a chance to turn things around. right? refute the big lie. that window passed. they're not just apologizing for it, they are embracing it. take the number two republican in the house. yesterday refusing to say the very obvious fact that joe biden was the legitimate election winner. >> clear this up for me. joe biden won the election. he is the legitimate president of the united states, the election was not stolen, correct? >> look, joe biden is the president. there were a few states that did not follow their state laws. that's really the dispute that you see continue on. look, if you're joe biden, you probably want to keep talking about impeachment. >> congressman, i know joe biden is the president. he lives at the white house. i asked you, is he the legitimate president of the united states and do you concede that this election was not stolen? very simple question. please answer. >> once the electors are counted, yes, he's the legitimate president. but if you are going to ignore the states that did not follow
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their own state legislatively set laws, that's the issue at heart that millions of people still are not happy with and don't want to see happen again. >> you hear that logic? millions of people. we told people there were voter fraud. that is all nonsense. that was a lie, right? so now a lot of people think there was voter fraud or that states didn't follow their own election laws, thereby invalidating the result. so now we have to make sure it doesn't happen again. we have to make it harder to vote. we have to control things, rein them in. even today, republican senator mike lee tried to probe attorney general nominee merrick garland about his thoughts on purging the rolls, a question that garland brushed aside. >> do you believe efforts to purge voter roles of individuals who have either died or have left the state in question or to require voter identification are racially discriminatory and an assault on voting rights? >> this is one i can't answer yes or no because
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you're asking about a motivations of individuals. some of whom may have discriminatory purpose. >> yeah. is it wrong to keep them off the voter rolls? yeah, it depends on why you're doing it. in the aftermath of donald trump's loss, he's a loser, he is a one term president. it doesn't happen often in american life, it happens when you get turfed out by people who don't like you. they have a choice in the aftermath of that. you can try to change your message so that you win elections, change your message, policies, try to appeal to become a 55% coalition. that's one option. or do whatever possible to deconstruct american democracy such that they can rule from behind a barricade of 45% of the population. they have chosen the latter. they're doing it every day in front of our faces. look at the way the big lie is playing out across the country.
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today we learned the supreme court will not take up republicans challenge the election results in pennsylvania which is good. but three republican appointed supreme court justices advertise their willingness to go in and override state election law in the future if that's what it takes. we have state legislatures diligently working hard to make voting harder when controlled by republicans. according to the center for justice, 33 states introduced pre-filed or carried over 165 restrictive bills this year compared to 35 bills on february 3rd, 2020. that is more than three new bills to make it harder to vote for every day this year. despite georgia's republican secretary of state saying donald trump's voter proud claims were just plain wrong, republicans in that state, in the legislature, have introduced a sweeping elections bill to limit early and absentee voting. as npr points out, many of the changes in the bill will effect larger minority heavy democratic strongholds of the states,
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constituents that allowed bide tone defeat donald trump in the state last november than boosted democratic senators in georgia's january runoff elections. rather than appeal to the georgia voters who booted them from power in two subsequent elections next to each other which they can do, they're trying to do everything they can to make sure those people can't vote again. this is the source of donald trump's power over the republican party, the conservative moment. it's not that he has a special talent, per se. he just continues to most authentically channel the anti-democratic paranoia of the base. he'll be making the big saturday when he plans to send the message he is the 2024 nominee which, again, fine. but if trump disappeared tomorrow or in the wake of the supreme court decision that his accounting firm has to hand over
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the tax return data from the prosecutor if he were to be locked up, the big lie and resulting republican push to disenfranchise millions will not go away. sherrilyn ifill has been following the big lie and the fallout. she's the president and counsel of the naacp defense fund and she joins us now. i thought that the scalise interview was really, really telling about the work that this is now doing. it wasn't oh, crazy donald trump. he's gone now. no. it's still there. and it's doing some important work for the conservative republican party. >> yeah. chris, actually this is one of the most dangerous periods that we're in. and i honestly believe that if we don't get to work addressing and thinking differently about how you protect a democracy, you know, in all of the various ways we can, i have spoken out about the legal profession. i believe it's true for media and journalism. the idea of allowing these lies
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and the kind of trumpist way of speaking to cascade into what becomes normal is really dangerous. it moves the line so that the outrages no longer depend on the presence of mr. trump. they then exist as part of our new normal. we have to get serious about pushing against that. >> you're seeing it too, in a way that is -- in georgia, for instance, you got this pointing to people's paranoia. i keep seeing republicans do this, right? so a lot of them i think learned whether they watch other people get sued or just too embarrassing to go down the full, like, the ghost of hugo chavez, broke into the machines and wired it for joe biden, that is too much. but now it's, well a lot of people believe it. because you told them that. but they're using that now as the predicate. >> yeah. but chris, this started decades
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ago with the myth about voter fraud. the failure to squash that lie despite countless reports demonstrating there is no existence of widespread voter fraud left it lying around like a loaded weapon to borrow from others for the modern iteration of the republican party and for trump to use. and that's why it's so important today and we saw it with the hearing of judge garland, who is the nominee to be attorney general. turning the page is really about refreshing a look at the rule of law. and what it really means. and part of the rule of law is restoring the department of justice to its role in protecting civil rights. things like voter -- voter suppression. since 2013, when the supreme court issued the shelby county versus holder case, the department of justice has had to
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fight a rearguard action and then after trump came in fight no action whatsoever, and so part of the reset we have to do of this big lie is reminding ourselves of how we got here, having accountability for how we got here and starting afresh, with a new way of embracing our obligations are to uphold democracy. >> you know, it's also striking to me that it's not like republicans -- you know, this was a very strange election in many ways. and in some ways, it was an experiment, right? lots of different policies being instituted precisely so as to make it easier to vote. i should note, many of those policies happening in states that donald trump won, which no one objected to, like north carolina and texas. there is no actual principle difference. it's just that trump won those. they don't object to those. but it is also the case like we have record turning out, and it's not like republicans got trounced everywhere. they did perfectly find in lots of races. it was a close election. it is a closely divided country. the idea you look at this turnout and say we can never win again if it we keep letting people turn out.
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that's crazy. >> it's almost like it is too hard to play by the rules and too hard to appeal to voters. what they discovered with the aid of social media is that actually it's easier to lie. it's easier to pretend. i watched today's confirmation hearing and, you know, i watched republican senators kind of switch it up. you know, it was almost as though it was 2015 again. we were talking about "fast and furious" and there was almost a pretense of what happened the last four years didn't actually happen. that's what they do. it's actually easier to lie. and any, you know, 7-year-old kid knows that. it's not easier on your spirit, your soul, your integrity, the rule of law. but to win in the short term, sure. sure you can just lie. and what is really appalling is that we're watching across the board an era in which there are scores and scores and hundreds and hundreds of leaders who have no honor.
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>> there is also the central fact here, and it's one that recurred in american history, that we have two major political cole layings in american life, and one of them is radicalizing against democracy. it is a faction increasingly divorced from the basic reality of the election and militant in the belief that those other people don't deserve to rule. even if there is more of them. and that's just -- to me that is a central story of american politics and as dangerous as it gets. >> what happened is that national politics now mirrors what has often been true in the south, right? today merrick garland talked about the department of justice having been created during reconstruction to fulfill the guarantees of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, which is to ensure that black people are full citizens. once again, southern white supremacists did not want to accept the outcome of the civil
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war. the outcome of the process that produced the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments and the reality of the fact that in many jurisdictions the black population outnumbered the white populations, so they embarked on this war of, you know, this violence and effort to suppress black citizenship. we saw this again in the years before the civil rights movement really began. we saw white supremacists after brown refuse to accept the supreme court's decision. and instead embark on massive resistance. this is what white supremacists have done in this country for the entire history of this country. is when the law does not work in their favor, refuse to accept the rule of law, refuse to accept the outcome of elections and if necessary, default to violence to stay in power. so we have to become clear-eyed that this is about power and it's about law. and we have to get very, very serious if we're going to reset and hope we're going to have a democracy of some integrity. sherrilyn ifill, whose work i always admire and whose insights i cherish, thank you very much.
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>> thank you, chris. i want to bring in ari berman, reporter of "mother jones." his latest report, and this is, to me, georgia is the canary in the coal mine here. it has been for a long time on this specific issue. you have a republican party that just got their butts kicked. they lost the state in the presidential, they lost two senate seats they didn't think they would lose, and this is the place where the existential choice is, okay, how do we go back and think like and how do we appeal to georgians more? or maybe we can pair off the margins with new voting roles. what are they doing? >> you're right, chris. georgia is really ground zero for voter suppression. the demographics of the state are changing. black voters in particular turned out record numbers. the state flipped blue and got rid of two republican senators. and the response by georgia republicans is to try to roll back all of the voting methods
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that led to that record turnout. to get rid of automatic registration. to eliminate voting on sundays when black churches hold souls to the polls voter mobilization drives. to restrict mail-in voting. georgia republicans wrote every aspect of their state's voting laws, but as soon as it didn't work any longer, now they want to change the entire system. >> that's a great point, too. and part of it doesn't cut as neatly as i think some people might think it does. obviously the souls to the polls and sunday voting has a very clear target, but i thought there was a plausible argument here saying that there is no reason to think that democrats benefited from, saying, male mail absentee voting, it does have a downside to the system. they can trade it for something they care about. which, of course, that is not the case. but republicans seem to have very clear images of like who this helps and who it hurts. and given the coalitions in flux, it's not even clear to me they understand their own best interest here.
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>> they are willing to accept a lot of collateral damage if they think it will hurt republicans more. so many republicans in georgia used automatic registration. so many republicans in georgia used early voting. democrats outnumbered republicans in early voting for the first time. that means that republicans used early voting in every single election in georgia before january 5th. before november, republicans were the ones who voted by mail in georgia in larger numbers. republicans specifically exempted voter i.d. from mail-in ballots because they thought their numbers would vote more by mail-in. so everything they're talking about now is a direct response to the fact that democrats won in november and won in january and instead of trying to reach out to new constituencies, they're trying to suppress the new constitueies from voting in the future. >> there were hearings about this the other day where a lot of them, and even raffensperger
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who to a certain extent, right, to his credit sort of stood up against the big lie, there has been a lot of this yada, yada, yada, where a lot of people think there say lot of fraud, so we have to do something even though there was no fraud. they're still using the false beliefs by people that are the subject of propaganda as a predicate to making changes to the law. >> yeah. it's amazing to watch, chris. you have the republican secretary of state of georgia stand up to president trump, yet he's completely on board with the party's voter suppression crusade. that's why i believe so few republicans denounce the big lie or even those that did denounce it still found it useful and in a sense they knew they could use this in the future. they knew donald trump didn't win the state of georgia, but they knew if they created enough doubt, if they manufactured enough of a crisis, they could introduce new laws in response to that crisis that would fit their political goals. so even though they stood up against trump, they are now using trump's lies or the perception of trump's lies as the basis to make it much more
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difficult to vote in the state. >> and there is a pattern here bigger than georgia that you have shown in your reporting which is that republican parties in closely divided states sometimes get -- are the most radical. they're the ones that are most militant about this. the stakes are so high. and a few, you know, 10,000 votes in either direction means the difference in power. they can be the ones that are the most extreme in the avenues they pursue to try to curtail the franchise. >> that's why we're seeing some of the craziest voter suppression bills introduced in states like georgia and arizona. they know if they can change 15,000 votes, that's enough to make a difference. they're talking about getting rid of things like automatic registration, and days of early voting and absentee voting that millions of voters used in the last election. we're not talking about small changes around the margins. we're talking about changing the entire voting systems in some of these states, changing policies that tons and tons of people use.
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so they believe if they're to shave off even just 20,000 votes, that's enough to try to keep the state red or prevent it from becoming bluer. >> you're doing the best reporting on this. follow his work. thank you. >> thanks so much, chris. all right. so senator ted cruz had quite a week, right? we all followed his travels. he's back from cancun. maybe he learned a valuable lesson? i mean i don't want to get too excited. anyone, of course, can go and hand out bottles of water and tweet pictures for everyone to see. but did he also just completely reverse his long-held conservative beliefs and come out for more regulation? could that be true? that's next.
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as texas continues to recover from that historic winter storm and subsequent energy disaster, the bills are coming due. literally. texas has the nation's most deregulated energy market by design and customers in the state could sign up for plans with very highly variable costs, costs that can shift dramatically depending on available supply. when that supply shrank way down amid the winter storm, right, some households that kept power were with electrical bills as high as $10,000 or more. seriously. one man nearly emptied his savings account so that he would be able to pay a more than $16,000 bill.
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telling "the new york times" my savings is gone. there is nothing i can do about it but it's broken me. now some are celebrating. the president of one drilling company said that his prices spiked that "obviously this week is like hitting the jackpot." meanwhile, many of the politicians who supported the deregulation are now rushing to condemn the effects of it. for instance, our old friend senator ted cruz who was feverishly doing damage control following his jaunt to cancun tweeted the high bills are wrong and that state and local regulators should work swiftly to prevent this injustice. but not long ago cruz was holding up texas' energy market as a model that should be exported to the rest of the nation. this is cruz two years ago, "success of texas energy is no accident. built over many years of principles of free enterprise and low regulation with more jobs and opportunities is the
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constant goal. we work to export this to more and more states so all americans enjoy the same prosperity." catherine traywick joins us now. when i first saw the news about the $10,000 bill, which i screen shotted, i thought it can't be true, viral, like someone photo shopped it. when the "new york times" push alert came out, i'm like, oh, my god, they're really going to do this, they're going to try to charge people tens of thousands of dollars. how is this possible? >> you explained it pretty well in your introduction. one option customers choose is to pay wholesale electricity prices, which is extremely volatile. most of the time it's fine because texas has so much oil and gas power that prices stay low, but as we saw last week those prices can skyrocket and it can bankrupt people. so anyone exposed to those prices last week are facing
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extremely high bills. the wholesale power market has a high price cap of $9,000 a megawatt hour. i'm not sure everyone who subscribed to these plans were aware of the risks that they faced. i will say that one of the main retailers who has been behind this bills has made it a point of saying they're not the ones necessarily charging the customers. they're making a small amount of fees. they're just essentially passing the costs from the market to the customers. i think it's worth noting they're not the only kinds of customers who will end up paying high electricity bills. even traditional utility customers will pay for this event in the same way that californias paid for the enron crisis for 20 years, that's because utilities that had to pay for gas and electricity and exorbitant prices last week will find a way to pass those costs on to their customers, even if that means spreading out utility
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bills over the next two decades. >> that's interesting, so there's the example of those folks who signed up for this wholesale power, which is a bit of a texas quirk that you can do that, there's a very high cap on that, so we're seeing the viral $10,000 bill. but your point is that these companies, the generators and utilities paid out of their eyeballs to get power, they'll just defray that cost to texans for years. >> yep. that's probably what will happen. we'll have to see how it plays out over the next few months. >> there's reporting today that ferc opened up two probes. i wonder how much you think as someone who covers this space this is an inflection point not just for texas but for everyone. >> it's definitely an inflection point. it's hard to say at this point
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how much will change in texas. texas likes to do its own thing. the federal government has very limited jurisdiction over texas' power markets. they can pretty much to some extent regulate reliability but not the crisis the way things are structured right now. so there's little that the federal government can do here. if they find manipulation, they can go after parties that manipulated prices during the energy crisis. but that's not something we'll know about for months or longer. >> i should note that ted cruz was not alone in leaving the state during this. we got news today that the attorney general, ken paxton and his wife went to utah during the texas freeze. there's a theme from texas republicans. catherine traywick, thanks for being with us tonight. all right. you heard sherrilyn ifill talk about that committee hearing
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today. the enormous challenge facing merrick garland leading the investigations into the january 6th attack no matter where they go. one senator wants to know how far up he's willing to look. hey, i just got a text from my sister. you remember rick, her neighbor? sure, he's the 76-year-old guy who still runs marathons, right? sadly, not anymore. wow. so sudden. um, we're not about to have the "we need life insurance" conversation again, are we?
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as the fbi continues to track down rioters who took part in the capitol siege on january 6th, we're getting a better idea of what people and groups were involved. "miami herald" reports that on friday a former florida police officer who quit back in august was arrested and charged after livestreaming his part of the invasion. he was not the only former police officer there. in fact, according to criminal complaint that revealed the stunning conspiracy charges against nine members of the oath keepers, the fbi noted one member's application paperwork boasted about 13 years of experience in law enforcement in north carolina serving as a canine officer and a s.w.a.t. team member before moving to private security. another member of the same group
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is jessica watkins, on the right side of your screen here by the fbi inside of the capitol. according to her attorney, she was there to provide security to the speakers at the president's rally and escort for the legislators and others to march to the capital as directed by then president. she was given a vip pass to the rally. she met with secret service agents. now the secret service denies it employed any private citizen to provide security. this woman's attorney draws a line from the president's rally to the very group the justice department alleges did knowingly combine, conspire, con fed rate and agree with each other to corruptly obstruct, influence and impede congresses' certification of the electoral college vote. the same group of which another member conversing on facebook about whether or not to bring firearms that day said okay, we're not either. we have a heavy quick response force ten minutes out though. more arrests were made, we're learning how much of an influence militias had on the attack at the capitol.
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today at the very scene of that attack, there's a hearing for the man who, if confirmed, will lead the justice department. and with this massive task involving hundreds of investigations that have just begun, he was asked about just how hard the doj would be willing to look. >> with respect to january 6th, i'd like to make sure that you are willing to look upstream from the actual occupants who assaulted the building, like in the same way in a drug case, you would look upstream from the drug dealers to try to find the kingpins, and you would not rule out investigation of funders, organizers, ringleaders or aiders and abetters that are not present in the capitol on january 6th. >> so how did merrick garland answer sheldon whitehouse's question about how far upstream
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there is nothing republicans can do to stop merrick garland from getting his hearing today. confirmation to be the next attorney general, the capitol hill insurrection was a big topic. >> with respect to january 6th, i'd like to make sure that you're willing to look upstream from the actual occupants who assaulted the building in the sam way that in a drug case you would look upstream from the street dealers to try to find the kingpins. and that you will not rule out investigation of funders, organizers, ringleaders, or aiders and abetters who are not present in the capitol on january 6th. >> fair question and your law enforcement experience is the same as mine.
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investigations, you know, i began as a line assistant u.s. attorney and as a supervisor. we begin with the people on the ground and we work our way up to those who are involved and further involved. and we will pursue these leads wherever they take us. >> a democratic senator asking that very important question. sheldon whitehouse on the judiciary committee and he joins me now. senator, it strikes me that in some ways that's one of the most fraught issues the new attorney general will face among a lot of fraught issues. which is how to conceive of and prosecute and investigate the capitol hill riots and insurrection and particularly the connections to more mainstream political actors and republican party. >> the good news is this is a guy who really knows what he's doing. and he has handled massive investigations before when he did the oklahoma city bombing.
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and it's not all that complicated from a prosecutor's point of view to understand how you take a street-level case and flip people and work the, you know, money trail to work your way up and get the people who are at the center of the enterprise or behind the criminal activity. so it's fraught in the sense that there will be some complaining and, you know, convincing about whether he did enough or too much. but you're not dealing with having to invent something new. this is very well trod ground by a lot of federal prosecutors and, you know, garland really knows his stuff. >> there were a lot of questions today from republicans about politicizing the justice department, which -- i know you're laughing, because -- i know, there is a weird time warp about how rogue the doj had gone in 2013-2014 with a memory wipe of the last four years. what did you make of that?
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>> well, i think there's a tactic that the republicans use that whenever we say something and they get kind of caught doing something, they try to create something so that it becomes offsetting penalties. so they try to make the department of justice of eric holder look like the bush department of justice or worse yet the trump department of justice. i can promise you you never have a federal judge file a brief in federal court written by another retired federal judge accusing the department of justice of the kind of mischief and malpractice that we saw in and around the flynn case. so it's political theatrics. there is not much behind it. but i guess you just have to smile to keep your morale up about that stuff. >> i thought that merrick
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garland had an interesting answer to a question from cory booker about sort of bigotry and anti-semitism i want to play in case folks didn't see it. it also spoke to sort of how you can conceive of the mission. take a listen. >> this is a great moment. i come from a family where my grandparents fled anti-semitism and persecution. the country took us in and protected us. and i feel that obligation to the country to pay back, and this is the highest best use of my own set of skills to pay back. >> i found that a profoundly moving moment. was it in the room? >> it sure was. the country that took us in, that protected us when we were
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fleeing from anti-semitism, that's a hell of a story. that's the american story right. there. the fact that it rose up in this fairly old guy with that kind of emotion at that particular moment, you may have your doubts about, you know, how much fight or energy he'll bring to the job, but, boy, you can't doubt the heart that he'll bring to the job. and if he keeps his head in that place where he remembers what kind of a country we are, we'll do very well with merrick garland as attorney general. >> what struck me is when he talked about reconstruction and the role that the department of justice played in protecting the rights of the newly franchised freed men post-confederate south, there is two histories to this department, right? it has been on the side of righteous guarantor of people's rights and democracy and it's been j. edgar hoover's fbi, sending tapes to martin luther
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king junior to try to get him to kill himself and the red scare. there is different dueling legacies in the department of justice and it really matters a lot how this administration is going to remake it. >> it does. it matters which legacy you attach yourself to emotionally and which legacy you choose to honor. and when you're also as able and as experienced and calm -- i mean, i don't know if you noticed it, but we had some pretty challenging questioners, a lot of whom want to be the republican nominee for president. and they couldn't lay a punch on him. he didn't have any tricks. he didn't have any quarrels. he didn't have any gimmicks. he just was a dead-honest principled guy. and that was enough to make them just miss every punch. >> i will say, he is someone i know a fair amount of people who worked with or clerked for or been around and his
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temperament and his judgment is universally praised. hard to find someone that has a cross word about him. thank you for making time for us tonight. >> thank you for having me on. >> all right. still to come, president biden doing something his predecessor did not. tonight honoring the more than 500,000 lives lost. here's the thing. if this dark moment could be the case that the darkest days of the pandemic are actually behind us, the road ahead next.
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500,071 dead. that's more americans who have died in one year in this pandemic than in world war i, world war ii, and the vietnam war combined. that's more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on earth. >> a few hours ago, president joe biden acknowledged a number that many of us could not fathom.
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more than 500,000 people in this country have died from the coronavirus. it's a number so large and indecipherable that it resists context. it is quite simply too much. you can't give comparisons. you can try to, but it's too much for us to understand collectively. and it is too much to bear for those millions and millions who have lost one person, one person they loved and cherished. the president and the first lady along with vice president kamala harris and the second gentleman commemorated the loss of life in a ceremony at the white house tonight. candles lit the stairs of the white house. the bells of the national cathedral rang 500 times to commemorate those we've lost. [ bell tolling ]
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we'll be living with the aftermath of this for a very, very long time. as shocking and horrible as it is to think about what it means to lose a half million people, there's also this truth, here in this dark pandemic winter. this is the very first time in the course of this pandemic, in the last year, that it seems possible that we actually are turning a corner, that the worst might be behind us, and things may not get worse before they actually get better and keep getting better. to help get a better sense of where we are now, i think i'm joined by dr. syra madad, an
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epidemiologist, senior director of system-wide special pathogens for new york city's public health system who has been dealing with this on a day-to-day biases for an entire year. first, doctor, let's just talk about the commemoration today. i've been working on a piece of writing about this, about how we think about this loss. and it is just -- it is notable to me how little collective public mourning there has been, partly because we're in the midst of it. how important do you think it is, this sort of memorialization? >> absolutely important. it's important to understand the number of lives that we've lost, the number of people that have been affected by this pandemic. just looking at today's milestone, that's the population of atlanta. it's a significant number. as president joe biden mentioned, in order for us to move forward, we need to heal. and we need to make sure that we humanize these numbers, that's so important. for me and my colleagues and so many health care workers that have been battling this pandemic, from a public health standpoint, we face so many
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different challenges, the carnage that we've seen in the past year. it's just unfathomable. but we're meeting this milestone with hope, we're seeing declines in hospitalizations, and that trend is certainly very, very positive. >> so i did a monologue last week where i sort of made the case for optimism, right? here's all the data you could accrue to make the case for optimism. we don't know the future, there's best case and worst case scenarios. you responded with a kind of "i agree with this," a bunch of other epidemiologists do as well, others think it's too rosy. where are you again, as someone who was there the first day in the new york city public health system, dealing with the worst outbreak in the world at this time a year ago in new york city, where are you at in terms of whether you think there's light just ahead? >> there is absolutely light at the end of the tunnel. i certainly am cautiously optimistic. i'm very hopeful looking at the trends. this is not an artificiality in
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terms of the number of hospitalizations and deaths on the decline. you're seeing a significant and steady decline. what you're also seeing is in this current period that we're in in this pandemic, we have a huge weapon, which are vaccines, very, very effective and safe vaccines. that certainly can turn the corner, that can really end the pandemic as we know it. it's just making sure that we, as you're hearing about the race against the variants and the cases and increasing the vaccination, that's very, very important. >> i want to ask you about messaging. in public health, messaging is policy. and i understand there's a kind of prudential caution, dr. fauci talking about the possibility we'll still be wearing masks in 2022, and a real hesitancy to tell people, look, if you've got grandparents who have been vaccinated, and it's been a few weeks, bring them into the house, they can hug the kids. i get that. it also seems to me that sending the message that there is something different and better
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on the other side of the vaccine, seems pretty crucial in the messaging here. and the message is like, well, nothing's really going to change after the vaccine seems a little self-defeeting. >> i agree, we have been more covid optimism, especially after the vaccines. we need to paint the picture for the public that better days are ahead. with vaccinations, if two individuals are vaccinated, they can certainly resume the pre-covid life, meeting indoors, going out without a mask, things like that. i hope we'll have guidance coming out very soon about the policy change, what people can do once they're vaccinated. that is what's lacking. i get messages from family and friends all the time, i'm vaccinated, i have a son who is vaccinated, can we meet each other, can we do things indoors? we want to see this from a public health standpoint, have that guidance come out. it's like playing catch-up right now. >> right. that thing, like what's on the other side of this, what's on the other side of the second
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shot, what's on the other side of this winter, what's on the other side of -- you know, meeting a friend for dinner indoors might be the thing that's on the other side of this. and that i think is a really powerful inducement for folks. again, it has to be consistent with what the data shows us, it's early, but i agree with you about how important that is. doctor syra madad, thank you as always for making time tonight. i appreciate it. >> thank you. it has of course been almost one year that we've been living with this pandemic, our lives have all changed in ways we couldn't have expected. we'll all be marking the anniversary in the weeks to come and we would like to hear from you. tell us a short story in video of what your life was like under covid, your job, your hobbies, what you cooked, what you missed, what you learned, big changes and small. send that video to us at allinamerica.msnbc@gmail.com. we're hoping to hear from you. we're working hard to commemorate this in an
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appropriate way as we come up on a year in this pandemic. that's "all in" on this monday night. rachel maddow starts now. good evening. >> good evening, chris. thank you, my friend. much appreciated. thank you for joining us this hour. tonight just after the first lae vice president and her husband led a long, 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 who died on the battlefield in world war i and world war ii and the vietnam war combined, more americans than are buried at all of arlington cemetery, all gone in one year, all from this one contagion, this botched, terribly mishandled pandemic. before the moment of silence and the candle-lighting at the

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