tv Morning Joe MSNBC February 23, 2021 3:00am-6:00am PST
forward, especially the other bills with the reconciliation process. the biden administration has talked about doing it with other items. and how they will use this partisan process to get things through or reach across the aisle. >> all right. alayna treene, thank you for yo you time this morning. appreciate your reporting. that's my question this morning is who in the white house is on the phone with joe manchin. we now have questions about their superior nominee and also they want to put minimum wage in this massive covid relief bill and he says he's not on board either. i guess we'll see. thanks so much for getting up "way too early" on this tuesday morning. don't go anywhere. "morning joe" starts right now. >> my grandparents fled anti-semitism and persecution. the country took us in.
and protected us. and i feel an obligation to the country to pay back. and this is the highest best use of my own set of skills to pay back. . >> for 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 they look in your eye and they slip away. that black hole in your chest, you feel like you're being sucked into it. but survivors remorse, the anger, the questions of faith in your soul. >> powerful moments yesterday from the likely next attorney
general first there and then the president, who tapped him for the judge. judge merrick garland reflecting on his own family's history and the promise of america. president biden led the country in a moment of silence for the half million americans lost to coronavirus. good morning. welcome to "morning joe". it is tuesday, february 23rd. with us washington anchor for bbc world news america katty kay and pulitzer prize winning columnist, associate editor of the "washington post" and political analyst eugene robinson. mika has the morning off. joe, watching that speech last night from president biden, tragically he was built for moments like that through the fires of his own life. you listen the way he talks about loss, grief with humanity, empathy and dignity. you wonder if there is another living american politician who could deliver the speech quite the way he did in the moment when the country needed it and couldn't have it the last four years under president trump, who
is not objectively incapable of delivering a speech like that. . >> you know, it's often americans select a president that has qualities that the previous president did not have. presidents are often reactions to what came before them. george w. bush following bill clinton. barack obama following george w. bush. and donald trump following barack obama. we have been ping ponging back and forth for quite some time now, katty kay. but there is no doubt of all the criticisms that were leveled at the previous president, lack of empathy was at the top of most everyone's list. presidential historians looked and saw that he just didn't know how to capture a moment and help americans heal on any front. that's something that joe biden is uniquely qualified to do.
and obviously we saw very moving moment yesterday also when merrick garland testified and for a man who didn't even get a hearing several years ago when barack obama selected him as supreme court nominee, he certainly was treated i think with the utmost respect by democrats as well as republicans. >> yeah. it felt, watching both of those events yesterday in washington, it felt like some of the kind of more high test toft ron ma cheese mow gone from the city. people like to say sometimes the man finds the moment and sometimes the moment finds the man. they believe this moment of pandemic was the moment finding joe biden.
after previous failed were attempts when it didn't work for him, this was the moment for him because of this single quality of empathy that he has by virtue of his lived experience, pause of what he has gone through in his own life. what was so powerful last night. we have heard hundreds of joe biden speeches on grief. i'll tell you as you have lost people as i have lost both my parents in the last three months, the speech sounds entirely different when you have lost people. it sounds like joe biden was reaching through the camera and speaking to my experience. and i imagine that for every american, for every one of the families and the loved ones of those 500,000 who have died of covid, that's how the speech sounded. he knows what it is like. he knows what you are hoping for, that you are hoping for that smile to come to your lips rather than the tear to come to your eyes. and he brought the singular experience of what he has gone
through to the nation. he spoke to individuals but he also spoke to the country about the hard time you're in becoming a better time. that there will be a better time for you personally and there will be a better time for the country as a whole. it was a beautifully written meditation on grief delivered by somebody who has so much authenticity on this subject that you feel he is speaking to you. >> and, katty, you're so right. so many of these lines that those survivors of the 500,000, need so badly to hear, would not have meant as much to me when i was younger. you just lost your father. i can tell you for me it took many years to think -- to think about my dad and have a smile come to my face. but that did come. and now i find when family gets
together and we talk about my dad, we're all laughing. we're all talking about the funny things he did. we're talking about the great memories. but, you're right, that moment where he tells gold star parents and tells others suffering, like you just said, when the thought of the memory of your loved one comes to you and brings a smile to your face before it brings a tear to your eye. that is something you're going through right now. you went through with your mother. and it is -- and you know and everybody else, the 500,000 families that have lost loved ones here understand that this is actually a man who's lost two children, who understands this. and lost them both in terribly different ways.
>> yeah. he spoke about that too. he spoke about what i know what it is like to have been there when he died and what it was like when he was not there. i was in the same position. i wasn't able to get there in time for my father. i landed to a text that he had just died. i think he was thinking of the people whose parents who died of the coronavirus who died alone. this is the brutality of this pandemic that so many people have died in a hospital bed holding the hand of a nurse or doctor wearing full ppe. it is what makes these so much harder for the families. they couldn't be there to comfort their loved ones as they were taking their last difficult painful breaths. i'm sure for all the families,
the people left behind last night, listening to that line about i know what it's like when you couldn't be there, that resonated as well. because that is the singularity of the pandemic and what so many of the 500,000 peoples families lived through. . >> that number there is unbearable. too many said good-bye over face time if they were lucky enough to say good pwaoeufplt let's listen to more of president biden's speech last night. . >> to heal we must remember. we know it's hard. i promise you i know it's hard. i remember. that's how you heal. you have to remember. . >> we off hear people described as ordinary americans. there's no such thing. there is nothing ordinary about them. the people we lost were extraordinary. >> we've been fighting this pandemic for so long we have to
resist becoming numb to the sorrow. . >> this nation will smile again. this nation will know sunny days again. this nation will know joy again. and as we do why they lived their loved ones have been left behind. may god bless you all. . >> so, gene, last night felt something like a eulogy for the 500,000 people in this country that you write about in the "washington post" we're still in the thick of it. we thought to think about how to prevent the half a million deaths. >> behalf a million. it is an unbelievable, unbearable number.
>> you don't forget those half million people. and you do everything you can to avoid there being a half million more. and, you know, we are at a crucial moment in the course of this pandemic where we had the vaccines now coming online, being distributed. we have cases and hospitalizations and deaths on the down slope which is, you know, for the first time in months. and that's a very, very good thing.
and we have a chance to really, if not squash this thing, to minimize the danger going forward. but we've got to do what the scientists tell us to do. we've got to wear masks. we've got to maintain our social distancing. and we have to do this in memories of and in honor of those half million people we've lost. in a sense their deaths will not have been in vain but we will have learned something about our society and their suffering. but that's my hope going forward we do all that we can to avoid further death. >> and, willie, watching joe biden, watching the president of the united states speak to the american people with extraordinary compassion,
extraordinary empathy, i'm reminded of -- i think we played a clip of bobby kennedy the night martin luther king died, the morning after we got the news that. what's the grace of god. of course bobby's words in indianapolis that night, even in our sleep, pain which cannot falls drop by drop until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom, through the awful grace of god. and that is a grace that, yes,
joe biden showed last night. but it is a grace that he's learned through the years drop by drop with one tragedy after another. and he is right. there are no ordinary americans. that is the same pain that hundreds of thousands of americans families have endured over this past year. and learning that awful grace of god. but joe biden has been able to use the tragedy in his life during these extraordinarily difficult times to bring hope to other americans. and of course let's hope that we can all do the same as a nation and help others as we do continue to move through this
pandemic. and let's pray that it ends sooner rather than later. >> yeah. so much of the last year has been wrapped up in statistics, in political fights, complaints about the speed of the response, now why isn't the vaccine getting out faster. those are all valid. those 502,493, the number on the mom of the screen, represents a family who is mourning. whether they died a year ago or yesterday. and i think that's what joe biden did, bring it back down to a human level last night and out of the political sphere where it's lived too long. we will talk much more about this throughout the morning. there is other news to get to. the new york district attorney's battle for former president trump's tax records is over. the supreme court removing the roadblock on the years-long investigation of alleged hush money payments and other financial transactions.
new york d.a. cyrus vance fan his srapbgz after former trump attorney, michael cohen, disclosed that he paid stormy daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about her claim that she had an affair with trump. the supreme court determined to quash the subpoena on the grounds that the president has absolute immunity but allowed him to challenge it on other grounds, which brought it back to the high court. vance responded saying, the work continues. the were toer president released a long rambling states about witch hunts, political persecution inspired by democrats. it does not mean the returns will become public and they might never be released. materials turned over to a grand jury must be kept secret. let's bring in spokesman, now msnbc security analyst matt
miller and andrew weissman, chief of the criminal fraud section, general counsel for the fbi under director mueller and a lead prosecutors in mueller's special counsel office. gentlemen, good morning to you both. andrew, let me begin with you, how significant is this, what does it mean to cy vance's case and is it a success for donald trump who kicked the can down the road past his presidency? . >> well, starting with your last question, it certainly has been a success in that it's been a year and a half since the manhattan district attorney issued the grand jury subpoena for accounting records. that was issued in august 2019. so that is quite a long time. however, looking at it from today's perspective, this basically means the manhattan district attorneys office has a green light. they will get the documents and
they can be key to making a financial case. i should say in light of your -- you know, the first report you have here, it's hard not to analogyize to al capone pause you have the major story of 500,000 deaths, many of those preventable. and what we're talking about now is whether a financial criminal case can be brought against the former president. they will not only get these documents, they brought in an outside accountable firm that will help them go through the documents. and they also brought in an outside lawyer, experienced white collar criminal prosecutor, former prosecutor mark pomerance. so they have the right team in place, they will have the right documents, and we all need to wait and see whether that results in a criminal case being brought. >> matt, now, the prosecutors
will see the documents, the grand jury will see the documents. president trump last night from mar-a-lago issuing a statement making it clear he is not at all happy about this turn of events. in a sense, a weird sense, there is something of a victory here, that he got this situation now, this ruling now and not six months ago before the election. and wasn't that in the end his aim? >> i think that's absolutely right, kty. it was always a political exercise masquerading as an objection. it was a lawful subpoena. it is clear quashing it were frivolous. the courts didn't respond with the haste that the time demanded. and i say that not just because of this one case but because trump across the board in both
attempts by congress or by prosecutors to hold him personally accountable or to hold his administration accountable to get documents from him personally or his administration, there was, as you will recall, this kind of broad legal block aid that they set up. all with the attempt not to keep documents out of congress's hands or out of prosecutor's hands forever but to just delay them past the election. ultimately he was able to achieve his goal, to delay this past the election. incident was a political win. ultimately a legal failure but one i suspect they knew would happen all along. . >> andrew, this is gene robinson, my question is these documents now will be seen by the prosecutors presented presumably to a grand jury.
when, if ever, will we in the public get to see these documents? . >> we will see them if and only if there is an indictment. a nall skwraoeuzing this to the special counsel investigation, we got the same documents from paul man port's, and those were used in a criminal case. at that point the documents used in that case, they can be internal accounting records, tax returns, those then become public exhibits. but under the rules, there is a grand jury subpoena. the grand jury secrecy applies to them. the supreme court noted that in ruling for the manhattan district attorneys office that this was not simply being done as a political stunt, that 24rs grand jury secrecy that governs. but if there is an indictment and these documents are relative
to that, which presumably they would clearly need to be, they will become public in the course of that proceeding. . >> while this was going on, merrick garland was going on the hill, judge merrick garland. appearing as the nominee for attorney general. garland said his first order of business would be investigations into the january 6th attack on the capitol and taking on domestic terrorism. here's judge garland in his opening statement, then some changes with republican senators. >> my first priority will be to have a briefing on where we are, if i'm confirmed, with the investigations. which from the outside appear quite vigorous and nationwide. and to find out what additional resources we need. but that is just the focus on what happened in the capitol. we also have to have a focus on what is happening all over the country. and on where this could spread
and where this came from. . >> let me ask you about assaults on federal property and places in washington, d.c. portland, seattle. do you regard assaults as adults of domestic extremism? . >> senator, my own definition, which is about the same as the statutory definition, is use of violence or threats of violence in attempt to disrupt democratic processes. so an attack on a courthouse while in operation, trying to prevent judges from actually deciding cases, that plainly is domestic extremism, domestic terrorism. an attack simply on a government property at night or any other kind of circumstances is a clear crime and a serious one and should be punished. i don't know enough about the
facts of the example you're talking about. that's where i draw the line. both are criminal. but one is a core attack on our democratic institutions. . >> in the midst of this mounting crime wave there has been increasing calls by some activists, including members of the united states congress, to defund the police. i have to tell you, i think this sends exactly the wrong message to law enforcement who feel very much overburdened, underpaid, under siege and the message to folks in working class communities, tell me what your position is on defunding the police? will you support it as attorney general? . >> as you know, president biden says he does not support defunding the police, and neither do i. we saw how difficult the lives of police officers were in the
body cam videos and when they were defending the capitol. and president biden believes in giving resources to police officers to help them reform and gain the trust of their communities. particularly those who are mentally ill and suicidal so that police officers don't have to do a job that they're not trained for and, from what i understand, they do not want to do. so those resources need to go to mental health professionals and other professionals in the community so the police can do the job that they've trained for and so that confrontations, if possible, do not lead to deaths and violence. . >> i want to ask you about this concept of implicit bias. . >> yeah.
>> does that mean i'm a racist no matter what i do or what i think? i'm a racist but i don't know i'm a racist. . >> the label racist is not one that i would apply like that. implicit bias just means that every human being has biases. that's part of what it means to be a human being. and the point of examining our implicit biases is to bring our con shouse mind to our uncon shouse mind. everybody has stereotypes. it's not possible to go through life bout working out stereotypes. it doesn't make you a racist, no. . >> the first was senator josh hawley, john kennedy of louisiana. there's so much low-hanging fruit i don't even think i need
to ask you a question, do i? . >> every time john kennedy, former democrat, former john kerry supporter, former oxford grad opens his mouth, all those institutions weep. if you listened in 2004, yes, i'm a democrat and that is why i support john kerry. that guy was doing everything but wind surfing in 2004. lake pontchartrain. it's such a -- yet, if he wants to ask if he's a racist -- he really needs to take that back to the cloak room and get on his knees wondering if he's a racist or not. but josh hawley, first of all, i must say, willie, it was a bit
jarring to see josh hawley actually asking questions to anybody about what a crime is and what a crime is not when, i mean, he was guilty of inciting sedition against the united states government. if not in jail, he should certainly be under investigation. but there were a couple moments in there, i loved when the question was asked about assaults on federal property and he said, well, it's -- they're all crimes but obviously the more critical crimes, the more disturbing crimes are those that are in an attempt to disrupt democratic processes. a core attack on democratic institutions. and then when asked a question
about police officers, he said of course i don't support defunding the police. and all you have to do to understand how difficult a police officer's job is to just look at the body cam footage on the capitol hill insurrection. i think if i were josh hawley, i would be a little more careful with the questions that i asked, especially since he and ted cruz and let's not forget that ted cruz was really right there with josh hawley, helped inspire the insurrection against the united states of america, the terrorist attacks against the united states capitol. josh hawley inspiring those people, urging those people on, raised fists in the air. and with his words and with his votes to go into the united states capitol and to terrorize members of the house and the senate. and, you know, willie, the
chants of hang mike pence, the hunting down of nancy pelosi, josh hawley was responsible for that. and you don't have to take that from me. i'm a small government conservative that doesn't have a party because the republican party is not what it used to be. listen to mitch mcconnell. listen to roy blunt. listen to their words. they clearly said after these attacks that it was donald trump and a few others that were responsible for this. mitch mcconnell begged josh hawley, and i'm sorry to go on, but we cannot forget, we cannot act as if it's normal that josh hawley is sitting there asking the next attorney general of the united states of america questions about law, questions about violence against government institutions when
mitch mcconnell, then majority leader, begged josh hawley to not try to toss out millions and millions of votes on january the 6th with his vote. to not challenge the votes because of the bad things that would happen. and he wouldn't listen to mitch mcconnell. he wouldn't listen to anybody. and he did everything with his words and actions to inspire the terrorist attack on the united states of america and he is sitting there asking questions about law and disorder on the judiciary committee. it was really a stunning moment. . >> and there was a bit of lecture in his question. i think he was hoping for an answer he didn't get. he wanted judge garland to excuse the violence we have seen in the streets of the country, and judge garland didn't do that. let's not forget josh hawley's day on january 6th was a raised
left fist and ended with a speech in the senate after the attack continuing to perpetuate the lie. so, matt miller, as you watched judge garland field the questions, some of them intended to be gotcha questions which he flicked away and imbedded in his answers imaccomplice it critiques of the person asking the question, did you see anything that would prevent him from being the next attorney general? >> no. with respect to senator hawley's questions, i prepared people before hearings for congress, one of the things i say to look out for is an easy question posing as a hard question. and that's exactly what the questions are. it's like during the campaign when people on the right thought they could, you know, ask joe biden, will you condemn antifa violence, will you defund the police. the answer is easy, of course i will condemn violence. that's the difference between
the two parties. just because he walks around with his fists in the air encouraging insurrection at the capitol, doesn't mean the nominee will have the same reluctance to condemn violence on the left. of course he is going to do that. and that is the very difference. i thought overall judge garland's performance was reassuringly calm and competent and drama-free. after four years when the department of justice has been consumed by drama, you know, just episode after episode after episode of controversy, of, you know, fights inside the department, fights between the white house and the justice department, i think he promises to return the department pack to sort of a period of normalcy, which doesn't mean that his tenure will be free from controversy. it is always controversial when you have a moderate temperate
person as he may be. >> andrew, what a stark difference between barr and what merrick garland viewed as his job where we had a president that ran around saying article 2 gave him the power to do whatever he wanted to do. that it was his justice department. it was his fbi. he could do whatever he wanted to do. we had we had merrick garland saying he's not going to allow anyone to interfere with the process of determining who gets charged with crimes, month does not get charged with crimes. that that wall that we all grew up expecting to exist between the white house and the justice department, that was one political norm that he was going to rebuild after four years of
trumpian chaos. >> absolutely. and i would add to the adjectives matt used, humility and integrity. it was so palpable in his testimony. as to substance, the clip you played with respect to his comments about january 6th and domestic terrorism really is a strength of merrick garland. because he's steeped in experience in domestic terrorism as is the incoming deputy attorney general, lisa monaco and i thought it was just terrific that he was phoebg used on not just what happened january 6th but increasing the aperture so you could see what was going on nationwide, where is it going, and what are the causes of this. and i think that is a really good sign in terms of what he is
going to be focusing on in terms of domestic terrorism when he is confirmed. . >> andrew weissman, matt miller, thank you so much. we appreciate you being here this morning. katty kay, i have a question for you. as you know, i'm but a simple country lawyer who rides to and from the courthouse on the back of a turnip truck. i don't know about oxford. could you educate people like me and fly over space. that accent that john kennedy, the louisiana senator has, that accent he has, what college at oxford is that dominant in? what sort of oxford accent is that that kennedy projects in the united states senate? . >> yeah. i don't know if you hear a lot of that accent in the hallowed
halls of the library or museum. possibly one of the more american leaning colleges has that. i have to say i did wonder whether merrick garland didn't think have a stumbled into a fifth grade civics class. perhaps i have the kind of kids who are not particularly bright in the class. but he handled it very well. . >> now, well, and, willie, i guess we have to also investigate what accent mr. kennedy was using in 2004 when he was endorsing john kerry. i am a democrat and that is why i am endorsing general kerry for president of the united -- you know, i guess sort of like madonna. madonna went to england for a couple weeks and came back with a british accent. . >> yeah. it's troubling. . >> it took kennedy a little longer for his oxford accent to
wear off after he endorsed john kerry and decided it was better to be a republican than a democrat. . >> we have to get some of these guys into acting classes. it is not quite working the way they believe it is for them. . >> willie, that's what is so offensive. we know they're acting. but they're just bad actors. . >> yeah. . >> ted cruz. just a horrible actor. i don't know if he should do the method. i don't know what he should do. speaking of which, i'm just curious, you know last night -- mika is in the south of france for a couple days. . >> sure. . >> last night i'm at home. you know the two channels i watch. channel 342 in my home cable system is the monster truck network. and two channels over of course is the big mouth bass channel. . >> sure. . >> you and i know it's as good as it gets. in between some reason it's a
weird configuration is netflix. i was flipping back and forth and i stumbled across "call my agent." all sub titles. i thought, do i really? i do enough reading. i've got to say if you have got time, "call my agent" is extraordinary. the actors are nothing short of extraordinary. again, subtitles. and you're thinking a guy that watches the monster truck network and big mouth bass. katty, have you seen any -- why am i even asking you this. >> yeah. saw the whole thing. . >> you probably saw it when it was first out. . >> i love it. i don't know if you know this, but there is a new series. you have a whole new week's
worth, well, you can binge watch it in a day. the latest series has just dropped, too. you are in for a treat. yeah, it's great. and what it is the acting is great. after 10 minutes you forget you're watching it on subtitles. >> it really is. the acting is great. the writing is great. it is must-see. all the people where i live, turnip trucks, they're all watching it. maybe that's something you elites on the coast can start watching sometime too. speaking of elites and secret societies, richard haass. you can tell mika is not here today. we have just blown through the break. we were supposed to go to a break. then i decided to talk about "call my agent," which you
should watch, richard incident to talk about things we have been talking about for some time. let's start with afghanistan. the debate goes on in afghanistan. we talked about this yesterday. you and i have spoken about it before too. but i'm just wondering, does the united states finally stop talking about the forever war, the endless war in afghanistan and just start looking at this as an investment that we make as an in dispensable nation, having the presence in a country that is always going to be a hotbed to terrorism. if it's 2,500 troops versus the tens of thousands we have had in south korea, is that not worth it? >> short answer is it is worth it. i hate the phrase joe, "forever war." it totally biases the analysis. and we are talking about a sensible investment.
it's better than the alternatives. it is certainly better than a so-called peace agreement, which is nothing other than an american leave agreement that would lead to war, lead to thousands of people being slaughtered and creating a venue in which terrorists can operate out of. >> you know, it also -- it seems that the united states, after 20 years of tragedy in iraq and afghanistan, that the united states has begun. the pentagon has started to figure out how to go in with the lightest footprint that has the greatest impact. we saw david ignatius went
there. he was on the ground. written about it extensively. what we did to syria to special ops forces, just those forces held back assad, held back putin, held back erdogan. it is extraordinary what just that small footprint was able to accomplish in syria. and now that we have drawn down of course it has become chaotic again. it seems the pentagon has learned a lot of the tragedies the last two decade. >> the pebt gone has because they have to worry about all sorts of things around the world, including dealing, say, with china, taiwan, russia, some
other part of europe. they can't afford to overcommit in the middle east. who hasn't learned this are many republicans and many democrats. under the bush neck station, under 43, the united states clearly overcommitted in iraq and afghanistan. we aimed for too much. we did it with too much. now i see a lot of people essentially underreaching. we have learned the hard way. if the united states does too little, they will come here. we are now 500,000 people have died from a virus. we see it with climate change. we learned it the hard way on 9 /11 from people who were trained in afghanistan. yes, there is a danger in doing too much. there is a very different kind of danger in the united states doing too little in the world. . >> hey, richard, let's move west one country to iran. the biden administration said it wants to reengage on the deal from 2015 that president trump pulled out of. what is the most likely outcome
here, and that kind of partner is iran right now? . >> iran never was and is not a good partner. let's just start with that. i disagree with the administration wanting to go back in this agreement. i think it was and is a flawed agreement. the real danger is if the united states and iran could agree on terms of coming pack in, which is easier said than done, we have a lot of sanctions that would be to have removed. we would not want to remove those linked to terrorism or human rights. i'm not sure the united states could agree. but the danger in this agreement is iran could in principal comply with it 100%, yet over the years still get closer and closer and closer to a nuclear weapon. it's a flawed agreement. in many ways it was based upon a hope that every time iran would melo and become a more normal state. that clearly hasn't happened. a much better approach, and we may end up with this because we can't negotiate our way back
into the agreement. that the united states come up with a formal arrangement. we say, hey, if you do certain things that we don't want to see, we are looking at more sanctions or other reactions including military force. if you don't do those things, you may get a degree of sanctions relief. it is not a formal agreement but it is an arrangement that we, the saudis and the europeans could live with. sometimes informal arrangements are the most you could hope for. it doesn't solve the problem, burr it might put an acceptable creel on it. . >> richard, i want to jump further east now again to another country we haven't talked a lot about but, who knows, we might at some point in a sort of crisis, and that's north korea. four years under president trump we had this weird symmetry, this "bromance" between president
trump and kim jong-un. so that's all gone. what are we left with? are we just left with historical -- north korea as a nuclear power? some regional containment? where are we? . >> for the foreseeable future, they have a lot of nuclear weapons, medium and long-range missiles and threaten south korea, japan and the forces that are still on the korean peninsula. i don't think we're going to get them to denuclearize. they saw what happened to ukraine when it gave up its nukes, what happened to saddam hussein and moammar gadhafi. i think a country that is as needy as north korea economically, in terms of covid, i do think there could be a negotiation where, again, we put some sort of ceiling, maybe even get some reductions, get some inspections on what is going on there. again, it doesn't solve the problem. but it does limit the scale of it.
and i would be happy if we could reach out the next couple of years. . >> for black history month, tell us about mr. burch. . >> i want to talk about ralf bunch. he is not a well-known person but he ought to be. world world war ii, he worked in the office of special services, then the state department and went to the new united nations right after world war ii. he got all the tough assignments. the palestine assignment. he was the man who negotiated the armistice between israel and egypt in the late 40s, 1950. the belgian congo, cyprus. he was the different african-american for the nobel peace prize. he was the first african-american who became a
member of the council on foreign relations. he described himself as an in curable optimist. he was one of the great diplomats in this country's history. not enough people of color have seen him as a model and followed in his shoes, and he really ought to be a role model. he was an extraordinary diplomat. for me as a real american hero. . >> 1950, won the nobel peace prize. 1963, president kennedy gave him the immediately of freedom. coming up this morning, we will speak with the arkansas state senator who just left the republican party because of former president trump's rhetoric that instigated the attack of the u.s. capitol. "morning joe" is coming right back. . >> i'm talking about the cultured cosmopolitan goats milk, latte drinking.
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like a hijacker taking control of an airplane with passengers cheering him on. i suspect there will be no happy ending for the party of trump. that republicans ever saw their ticket as a governing majority is damning enough. the fact that 76% of trump supporters would vote for him again in 2024, even after he lost the white house and surrendered congress to nancy pelosi and chuck schumer, proves again how destructive their obsession is with this political loser. even as the party tumbles ever closer to the earth, joe writes, app rafp eubgs race up and down the aisles hunt or for hair particulars on board instead of finding someone who can actually land their plane. if we nominate trump we will get
destroyed. the south carolina republican was right back then. the only question now is why graham and so many fellow passengers continue to cheer on their h pennsylvanialess hijacker. end quote. jim hen tron who recently announced he is leaving the republican party. he will continue to serve as an independent with no party affiliation. senator, it's great to have you with us this morning. mom line, what pushed you of the edge? why did you leave the party? . >> well, it was a process. but the final straw was when i saw political leaders like you were just talking about, hawley, cruz, and people that are leaders in our party, trying to overturn a free election. as a guy who spent 25 years in the military overturning free elections is something that goes down hard with me. when i saw 11 senators, a member of the congressional delegation from arkansas leading stop the steal rallies, convincing people
that the election was stolen, which led directly to the insurrection on january 6th, i said i can no longer be part of an organization that does that. . >> what's this journey been like for you? obviously you drew up in a republican party that's far different than the one that you see now. i did. i became a republican. i was a democrat. because everybody in the team south was a democrat. but quickly, you know, became republican because i was a small government conservative. was then. still am now. but this seems more like a personality cult than anything else. what's this journey been like for you. any constituents understand why you have done this? . >> well, the journey has been unique, i guess, and unexpected. i had hope after the november elections that we would begin
the process of restoring our party back to what you joined and what i joined after i graduated from high school and cast my first presidential vote for ronald reagan. i agree in the same thing, restrained government, fiscal responsibility. i don't know where those things went. i agree with you, joe. we have become a party about personality. and the events after the election showed that was not going to change, at least in my opinion, in the near future. so, yeah, it was a difficult decision. and it was, again, a process, as i said. the journey -- i listened to your segment earlier about foreign policy. i was in the middle east four times watching those events unhurl from the air operations center. i watched my son fly strike missions over iraq and syria. when i saw one phone call from erdogan to trump that allowed us to abandon one of the bravest and best allies, some of the best fighters to help us win the
fight against isis, the kurds, i went on state tv as an officeholder and still as a member of the air national guard at that point, and said this is just despicable. we do not treat our allies that way. so from that point to overturning an election, it became clear to me that the party of ronald reagan and george bush and the people i had so much respect for was gone. . >> and, senator, that's what's so stunning. my first vote for president was for ronald reagan. and a small government conservative ever since. i grew up in a family of cold war years who understood the importance of nato. understood the importance of alliances. understood of the united states fighting every war itself, teaming up with allies and the
kurds. if you look at what the kurds did and sacrificed for us, to see us abandon the kurds and then to see the republican party turn syria over to vladimir putin. first time the soviets, i still call them soviets. sorry. the first time the russians had been there since 1973. republicans have abandoned constitutional principles, balanced budgets. and my gosh, our national security. again, it's -- you can tell i'm still having trouble all these years later coming to terms with it. it has been a complete betrayal of reagan, has it not? >> well, it has. and i also agree and seen the importance of the alliances we have with nato. i trained and went toe highlight training with nato pilots.
i was there during the primary as trump was beginning to make his rise. i had members of nato working there with me, the brits and the germans and the french coming up to me and saying, what in the world is happening? as it began to look like trump may be our nominee? and i said i cannot imagine that this is going to happen. and i will never forget the response of one of my british colleagues. the rest of the world looks to america, and this is terrifying. i tried to reassure him. i said i don't believe america is going to go down this path. i saidive certainly misread the tea leaves. i didn't think the republican party would abandon the controls to you one person, but that's what they did. the affects on our nato allies, our leadership has been incredibly diminished. and i hope it can begin to be rebuilt. i did not feel like i could have the success trying to bring the pressure that needs to be
brought to the republican party from inside the party when you see 75%, as you said, still support him for the nominee in 2024. it is time to exert pressure from the center. that's what is missing i think in politics today. . >> arkansas state senator jim hendren, former republican, now independent. thank you for being here. it is top of the hour on tuesday, february 23rd. bbc's katty kay is still with us and joining us is the host of "way too early" kasie hunt. professor at princeton university eddie glaude jr. and elizabeth miller. mika has the morning off today. last night, president joe biden led a moment of silence in honor of the half a million people who died from the coronavirus. biden, vice president harris, the first lady and the second gentleman surrounded by 500 candles, each representing 1,000 lives lost to covid-19. the marine band played "amazing
grace" before that moment of silence and president biden addressed the grieving nation. . >> we often hear people described as ordinary americans. there's no such thing. there is nothing ordinary about them. the people we lost were extraordinary. . >> we've been fighting this pandemic for so long we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. . >> remember those we lost and those left behind. but as we all remember, i also ask us to act to remain vigilant, to stay socially distanced, to mask up, get vaccinated when it's your turn. we must end the politics and misinformation that's divided families, communities, and the country. it has cost too many lives already. it's not democrats and democrats
republicans dying from the virus. it's our fellow americans. it's our neighbors, our friend. we have to fight this together as one people. as the united states of america. >> this nation will smile again. this nation will know sunny days again. this nation will know joy again. and as we do, we will remember each person we have lost, the lives they lived, the loved ones they left behind. we will get through this, i promise you. but my heartaches for those of you who are going through it right now. my god bless you all. particularly those who have lost someone. god bless you. . >> eddie, last hour we were talking about bobby kennedy's words on that awful not in april 1968 when he quoted the greek playwright that talked about the awful grace of god that we learn
drip by drip by drip as the pain comes upon our heart. it's something that joe biden has uniquely qualified for for the most terrible of reasons. there it seemed we heard that grace yesterday. for too long it is something our leaders haven't been able to express adequately, over 500,000 families who have lost loved ones in this pandemic. . >> last night was so important. we have needed national rituals to recognize our dead, to understand that it's not just family members, members of communities folk who were the anchor to many people have gone.
when folk don't die right, they haunt. they shadow our lives. we have to create these moments of remembrance to settle them, to say you can go and rest now. and i think what president biden did last night and what they did right from the inauguration was really important to try to really come to terms with magnitude, the scale of loss and importantly the scale of regret. as katty said last hour, many people weren't able to say good-bye properly. that means death is tinged with regret, which means it will haunt for a long time. we need national rituals. i'm arguing. i light a candle every friday for the folks who have been lost. we need to do this regularly.
right? we need to do this regularly so we can remember so we can heal. last night was a wonderful gesture in that regard, joe. . >> elizabeth, there's that great jfk quote where he said of churchill that he weaponized -- i don't think he used the word weaponized. but he used the english language and sent it into battle, talking about the battle of britain. and churchill and britain in 40 and 41 are important about words mattering in war, in moving a nation. but we think back to the united states, reagan, the challenger disaster, 1985, he did bring comfort to a shocked nation. of course barack obama singing amazing grace in church after the charleston killings.
really it was something. that speech and song was something americans needed. and i think sometimes say it's only words and disregard a president being able to reach the american people. i think we saw again last night that it really does make a difference when we elect a president who knows how to empathize with the american people. . >> the words that struck me the most last night is when president biden said i know what it's like not to be there when someone ties. he was referring to his first wife and infant daughter. i know what it's like to be there when hold someone's hand, to see that look in the eye, and then they slip away. he was obviously talking about his son beau. it was hard not to watch and not be moved by that. he did reach out with those
words, obviously written by himself to americans and said i feel your loss. and talking about the black part of your soul. i promise you it will get better some day. you won't think of your loved one with a tear in your eye but with a smile. and that means you have gone better. buff it really was so personal and so raw and so moving. . >> you know, katty, i was looking back late march of last year, march 31st. the white house held a two-hour briefing. they shocked the country. they said we could have 100,000 on the high end from coronavirus. at that time there were 3,500 deaths from coronavirus. it seemed unthinkable, impossible. dr. birx and dr. fauci said it doesn't have to be that way, but we have to consider the possibility there could be a couple hundred thousand deaths. as we sit here this morning and as president biden reflected on,
well over twice what was phropblged on that horrible day. . >> yeah. sometimes i think it's very hard as the numbers have mounted. and they have mounted rapidly the last couple of months here in the states for us to really get our heads around what that means in terms of people. i think what joe biden did last night is so powerful to say each of these is an individual and each has a family member. this is the size of kansas city, missouri, atlanta. that is the population being taken from us. we did something on the bbc last night. we did a calculation. if you had a minute's silence consecutively for every single person who has died of covid-19 in the united states, it would take almost a year of silence. it's not just a figure.
each is a family. when joe biden spoke to the survivors last night, it was almost as powerful as anything. the people are left behind. they are the ones grieving. and have to reconcile themselves to the thought it could have been differently. if there had been mask mandates earlier, recognition of the scale of this pandemic earlier, then perhaps my loved one didn't need to be one of those 500,000. perhaps we didn't need to have this number that big. >> we will come back to the story much more throughout the morning. the supreme court rejecting a handful of cases related to the 2020 election, including a series of disputes by pennsylvania republicans to the state's expansive vote by mail policy. they sought to up end president biden's victory in the key battle ground state of
pennsylvania. it involved an appeal of a state supreme court decision to receive and count mail-in ballots that arrived up to three days after the election. the court's denial means fewer than four justices wanted to take up the cases. the high court already formally dismissed a range of constitutes by president trump and his allies in wisconsin, georgia, michigan, arizona. all states won by joe biden. the supreme court also declined to prevent a new york grand jury from obtaining eight years of donald trump's personal and corporate financial records from his accountants, removing the roadblock of alleged hush money payments and other financial transactions. manhattan d.a. cyrus vance began his investigation after former trump attorney michael cohen disclosed he paid important star stormy daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her claim that she had an affair with donald trump. the supreme court quashed the
subpoena on the grounds that the president has absolute immunity but allowed trump to challenge it which ultimately brought the order back to the supreme court. vance said the work continues. the former president issued a statement about witch hunts, political persecution inspired by democrats. now nbc law enforcement analyst chuck rosenberg. and tkaeufp aronberg. let's start on the pennsylvania rule. a lot of people are surprised this stuff is still floating out there. what did the supreme court say yesterday? . >> well, they basically said they're not going to hear it right now. interestingly, three justices thought they ought to hear it.
we have time now. the justices said something that would change the 2020 election. but maybe we can give guidance and get rules this place for subsequent elections. as you pointed out not enough wanted to hear the case at all, and so it stands. by the way, no guidance to other states that might end up in similar litigation down the road. i think the outcome is right. i understand why three justices thought this would be a good moment to provide additional moment information to states. >> let me press you on that. because of course as you said and as the court said, even those three that wanted to hear the case, there weren't enough votes to make a difference in pennsylvania.
>> you were asking us to do this in the heat of the election. there was a question whether the state court can at the last moment change the clear legislative intent of what the state legislature decides we will run these elections because the constitution has the state legislature setting up the rules for running the election. i do wonder why the supreme court wouldn't take this chance when we all have a breather, after the election is over to say, okay, let's provide guide answer to other state courts on whether they can alter the rules based on extreme circumstances, whether it's a pandemic or a war or whatever it may be in the future. i thought it was a missed opportunity by the supreme
court. >> i think that's exactly right. we have time. states need guidance that would be useful. the courts are slow. we're awfully lucky we have the court system we do but they are awfully slow. we see that with the trump tax returns. we don't get quick decisions whether don mcgahn can testify or not. they said we can give you guide answer. we're not going to change anything that happened, the election was fair. the election is over. nothing is going to change that. but to your point, joe, and it's a really important one, we the supreme court, think this might happen again. very likely will. let's give the state's guidance. it makes perfect sense to me. >> to pick up on the trump tax return story, to move in that
direction, of course the president's team succeeded in pushing a final ruling on this question out until after he was no longer president but incredible implications, even suggests from republicans on capitol hill that they would prefer the courts deal with donald trump so they don't have to politically. what's your take on what this decision means? i know you have been looking at the team that cy vance has put together to work on this case. what are you reading into that piece of this? . >> kasie, this case started with hush money payments to stormy daniels and karen mcdougal and led to a crime investigation. from a state prosecutor's standpoint, trust me, you don't go into a three-year investigation based on nothing. you don't do a fishing expedition. we don't have the time or resources to do it. so clearly there's something there. and getting these tax returns seems to be toward the end of the investigation rather than the beginning. it looks like it may be the final evidentiary piece of the
puzzle. to show how serious they are, they brought in mark pomerance, the former prosecutor who took down john gotti. you know you are serious when you are bringing in john notty's prosecutor. he's only going to be focused on investigating trump's financial information. they brought in international consulting firm that specializes in financial analysis. so they are clearly taking this seriously. and they acknowledge it's a very complex case. here's something else that hasn't been mentioned. . it looks like cy vance, the d.a. in manhattan, is not going to run again. he hasn't raised much money in his campaign. one of his proteges is in the race to replace him. his term expires in january. these decisions on charging president trump, and i think it's very likely he will be charged, will happen this year, probably around the summertime. and if i were trump, i would be talking to criminal defense lawyers right now. and for his sake, not the people who represented him in the second impeachment trial.
. >> yeah. what donald trump doesn't spend on lawyers we have plenty of evidence on that front. elizabeth, i wanted to follow-up on something that kasie said about republicans. listen, we're not going to condemn the president. let's just wait for the criminal courts to do that. you heard that not only from some of the president's critics in the republican party but also some of his long-time allies who basically punted the ball on impeachment but fully expect this former president will be charged in the court of law >> that's true. look, given what the tax records and financial records might show, i'm not a prosecutor but given what "the times" reported about trump's tax returns that he paid $750 in 2017 in taxes, that's it.
they're also looking at whether he manipulated the value of his properties so he was, you know, overvaluing the properties when he was obtaining lowe's and under valuing when he is paying taxes. there is thought to be a great deal there. they will be looking at whether there was any kind of money from russia going through his accounts. they will look at the $26 million that he claimed in consulting fees which included fees to his daughter ivanka who was a salaried employee. there is potentially a great deal there. this is what the republicans want. they don't want to be blamed for criticizing or taking down trump. they will leave that to the courts of law. . >> we had a window into some of these tax returns, some of this financial information because of reporters at the "new york times". but as a former prosecutor, if you get your hands through the subpoena process on the full documents, what does that mean to cy vance in this case?
. >> well, they are incredibly important. i was a white collar prosecutor, willie, for years. so tax returns are interesting in and of themselves, right? we want to see how the trump organization and donald trump valued certain assets and how they reported them to the irs. but they are also important for another reason. you have to hold the tax returns up and compare them to a bunch of other documents. how do they compare to documents that you filed for loan applications? how do they compare perhaps to documents that you filed in bankruptcy? how do they compare to documents that you filed to get tax evaluations or tax assessments? all the numbers should be the same. and i'm oversimplifying a little bit, willie. if you report $100 in income on the irs but you tell the bank you have $1,000 in income in order to secure a loan, at least one of those documents are false and maybe both. you could have undervalued your
tax return and you could have overvalued your loan application. and either one of those two things is a crime. so we want to see what the taxes say because they also point to discrepancies in all the other types of financial documents that an organization or an individual would file. right? they're important in lots of ways. and, willie, if i could add one more thing, they also give you a bunch of leads. they tell you where else to look. taxes are self-reported. but there's a whole bunch of information that goes into compiling taxes. so you want to see the work papers. you want to talk to the accountants. you want to go look at the bank records where income and interest are reported. so tax returns, to dave's point, where usually at the beginning of an investigation because they have a wealth of information about where the investigation ought to go. >> so, dave, you were obviously a sitting prosecutor in the
president's home county. we will not be talking about anything on the home county. let's go back up to manhattan and cy vance. and i want to talk strategy generally. there were some who questioned the house impeachment managers article of impeachment for being overly ambitious, the in citement of insurrection. when you are dealing with a hot potato like this, dealing with the former president of the united states, do you become more conservative with a small c, do you go after lesser charges instead of taking that big swing for the fence? obviously he's going to go wherever the law leads him. but explain to us, the strategy of taking on difficult cases like this with the highest profile clients.
>> joe, you go wherever the evidence leaps. cy vance gets elected by the people of manhattan. pause it looks like he's not running for re-election, the whole idea that he will be condemned for politicizing this, seems to be out the window. he will get his share of information but less so if he is not up for re-election. when you're a prosecutor, you have a huge burden of proving cases beyond a reasonable doubt. you tonight want to put up charges that you think you are going to lose. so you want to put up charges where you have a reasonable likelihood of getting that conviction. this is a complex case. and the key is to frame it in a way that lay jurors can understand. you want to hopefully for the prosecutor's case, find someone within the trump administration, perhaps someone from deutsche bank or his accounting firm to lead jurors through this complex maze of financial transactions. because you have to prove intent here. and you have to tie it directly to donald trump.
you know what he is going to say. i had nothing to the with the decisions. i was following advice of counsel. these banks are sophisticated actors and they have their own analysts. flipping someone to testify for the prosecution is key. someone the jurors can trust. you need to prove more than just an inconsistent property valuation here. you need suspensional criminal activity to prove the case beyond any reasonable doubt. >> state attorney dave aronberg, former u.s. attorney chuck rosen burg. a lot to sift through. good to see you both. kasie, we have been talking a lot about merrick garland and his nominating process, his confirmation process, to become attorney general. but there is a lot else in terms of confirmation in the atmosphere. first, neera tanden. nominated to be the head of omb but running into trouble. republicans coming out saying they would oppose her
confirmation. where does this nomination stapbltd? are they going to pull it, as some people said they might at the white house? >> willie, we don't know definitive live yet. they are saying publicly they are standing behind her and pushing forward with it. it's become very clear that there isn't a republican willing to raise their hand to save this nomination. you know, i think that's been true for the last 24 hours. but this is a complicated game of chess felting the entire cabinet confirmed. and they also are very focused on constituency groups that have backed these different nominees. there are some reports that they are quietly feeling out the person the president had named as deputy omg director could potentially replace tanden. leaving her out there and having focus on her as taking fire also potentially protects a couple
other nominees who may have some issues going forward. and deb haaland at the department of interior is one critical one. joe manchin still hasn't said whether he is going to vote for her. the reason often pointed to is energy jobs and her position there. he risks sparking a partisan war inside the democratic party if he opposes her. she would be the first native american person ever in a cabinet. you have see tweets from alexandria ocasio-cortez about this. i could see progress if's getting angry. and xavier becerra at health and human services. he has met with a number of senators. it is not locked up yet. it's not a sure thing. i'm not sure the biden administration anticipated the level of pushback they're getting on that one.
it is a very critical post, obviously, in the middle of the pandemic and the fact that it's still dragging out is a problem for them. . >> yeah. a group of republicans came out and asked the white house to withdraw becerra's nomination to be hhs secretary. put these all together. we are seeing the power of joe manchin as that 50th democrat in a 50/50 senate. his vote means everything in these nominations. . >> effort that. some people are calling him the most powerful person in washington right now. and he seems to be enjoying it. it's very interesting. i think merrick garland will go through easily. but tanden is just a matter of time. i don't see that one happening. i think perhaps they're waiting for her to withdraw. they are still backing her publicly. but joe manchin, has found himself, again, in a very powerful position. and i think we're going to have
to, you know, this will be a continuing trend we will see on all the legislation that will be happening on immigration, on climate, on the stimulus. who would have thought a few years ago this would be happening. >> you know, eddie, in the months leading up to the election i was going through all of the possibilities. the house, the senate, a democratic pollster and a strategist. and they were feeling -- democrats were feeling pretty good. and of course they never thought they were going to lose. but while i was talking to the straet gist, he told me, he said and then of course there was
what chuck schumer considers to be the worst-case scenario. i said what's that? being a minority again? that's not going to happen. he goes no. having a 50/50 split with joe manchin being the deciding vote every time. and that is exactly where he finds himself because we're a country that is split. but, you know, at the same time, it just proves how hollow the republican threats of democratic majority being socialist, being radical, being extreme, yeah, they are guided from bernie sanders to joe manchin. a guy who got elected as a democrat in a state that donald trump got 68% of the vote in. that is what used to be called a
big tent party. something the republicans know nothing about. >> right, joe. what's fascinating to me is joe manchin's position, which is a reflection of what you just described, i think in interesting sorts of ways exaggerate or ignite what we already know is the tension within the party. so there is -- we know the civil war that's happening in the republican party. we know what it means for trumpism to have metastasized and overrun the republican party. but we also know, and we saw this in the primary and even before the presidential primary, there were these cards within the democratic party, progressive wings pushing and the like. there was this armistice as you might say, let's consolidate because we have to get rid of donald trump. but those pressures are still present. if joe manchin exercises power in the way that he is inclined sod, if you continues to do with
regard to deb haaland and others, it will explode. we are seeing it for the fight for men mum wage, around student loans. there are these whispers. the fisures will erupt if he exercises what we know as his power in this moment. we have four political currents. we are paying what's happening in the republican party. but there is something happening on the other side as well. . >> thank you very much for being here this morning. katty kay, we will let you run as well. we want to mention that you have a new book out today, the latest in the confidence code. "living the confidence code." real girls, real stories, real confidence. we will have you and claire on tomorrow. what's the teaser? they are great books. my daughter reads them. what do you have in store in this one? . >> look, you know, i think in all the bad news we have at the
moment we need good news. these are the stories of 30 real girls around the world. poor ethiopia, across the united states, who are doing extraordinary and sometimes ordinary things. but all of them taking risks and making our world better. . >> can't wait to talk about that more with you and claire. take care. see you tomorrow. still ahead on "morning joe", senator dick durbin questioned the president's pick for attorney general and zeroed in on domestic terrorism. that and more straight ahead on "morning joe". that and more straight ahead on "morning joe". i'm draymond green with my subway sub with tender steak and melty cheese. my sub is gonna dunk all over your sub. excuse me? my sub has bacon. choose better be better and now save when you order in the app.
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navalny. president biden will work with countries on sanctions against russia. the response would mark a break with the previous administration but, which prepared a sanctions package following the poisoning but never implemented it. it would also constitute the new administration's first major step in holding russia accountable for human rights abuses, which biden and secretary of state anthony blinken have listed as a key pillar of their foreign policy agenda. . >> author of the new book "red line," unraffling of syria and america's race to destroy the most dangerous arsenal in the world. good morning. congratulations on the book. let's reset here and talk about where you pick up the story. we're in 2012. assad is effectively launching a
war on his own people. where do you pick up the story? . >> well, i actually pick up very early on in this conflict. it turns out the united states had a spy inside syria's weapons program. for years we were getting sophisticated information about what the syrians were up to and syria had quite an important chemical weapons program, a real weapon of mass destruction. within that arsenal are things like scattered around the country. it is being torn apart by civil war. this becomes a danger moment. you can imagine what it would be if a few leaders ended up in a western country or the united states. . >> yeah. as you write about in the book, there's the domestic war that assad is launching on his own people. there's that humanitarian threat. then you report in the book that
al qaeda and other islamist terrorists were trying to get their hands on some of those weapons. how close did they get to obtaining them. . >> very close, actually. a couple cases. by 2013, al nusra, essentially an al qaeda organization, was on the brink, at the edge of some of these facilities where weapons were kept. that's why, as much criticism as obama has gone for his redline comments, there was real concern in the white house this was going to be a global peril. hezbollah was operating inside syria and indications in 2012 that assad was about to give some of the weapons to hezbollah for safekeeping perhaps or whatever reason. hezbollah has artillery rockets aimed at israel from across the border in lebanon. for them to have the rockets is quite a scary prospect. >> good morning. it's kasie hunt.
can you take us for what you just outlined there into present day. you mentioned obama, the criticism he got at the time for the red line comments and then the way that they handled or failed to handle what happened next. then obviously president trump comes into office, sees images of syrian children and reacts much, much differently. how did we get from one of those places to the other. what does it tell you about the future in terms of these very scary weapons programs. . >> well, the caveat i think for both administrationsis our syria policy has been a failure. we failed to do the things we needed to do to stop the refugees flows, to stabilize the region. it was a complete failure. the difference is that decision was made biff trump to respond to chemical weapons attacks with missile strikes. that was applauded at the time. we were being tough, enforcing the red line. going back and reconstructing what happened, it didn't really make that much of an impact.
syria lost a few aircraft. planes were running hours later, dropping more barrel bombs. more importantly, it didn't deter assad, going on, making chemicals weapons months later. neither was able to completely deter assad. what we did during obama's time was to eliminate a huge stockpile, not everything. assad cheated. he kept some of it back. he used some again. but the pluck of his stockpile, strategic military weapon was taken out during nine months in the middle of a civil war. that was one of the greatest disarmament feats because it never happened before in such a compressed way. that probably gets underlooked. citizens would say you didn't stop the suffering. but it did stop things from getting worse. still today, the most deadly single day in the syrian conflict was august 2013 when a few artillery shells dropped on
the suburb of damascus. 1,400 people killed in a few hours. it is a danger to syrians. it is good most of it is gone now. . >> as you know, joby, there are stacks of. will he ever face consequences in. >> this is one of the jobs for biden as he is in office now. to try to hold assad to account. and this is something that has never happened. he has continued to get away with his crimes, the russians, north koreans. there is an erosion and taboo that existed for more than a century. job one has to be to try to find a way to hold assad accountable through the criminal court, through chemical weapons prohibition organization. this they are now gathering evidence, trying to build a case. has to go forward.
this is where diplomacy, working with allies, to make sure there is some accountability for assad. these are some of the worst war crimes of our time. >> national security reporter joby, thank you. the new book is "red line" thanks for being here this morning. >> coming up next, we will speak with senate judiciary committee dick durban. y committee dick durban.
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use authorization provided that 20 million dose figure ahead of a congressional hearing today on the nation's supply of vaccines. so far the united states has 600 million vaccines secured with pfizer and moderna. johnson & johnson plans to provide 100 million by the end of june and 1 billion globally by the end of this year. the house budget committee approved the $1.9 trillion aid bill in a 19-16 vote. it sets the stage for a potential house floor vote as early as friday, a potential senate vote next week. democratic majority whip dick durbin of illinois. good to see you this morning. let's start there with the covid relief bill. what is the state of the bill right now? it enjoys broad national support, 72% in recent polling of americans support the 1.9 trillion package. are you going to have it go
through and will you have reconciliation to do it? >> the first kamala harris act had a 96-0 vote in the senate last year. >> yep. . >> the december version which came down to $900 billion had 92 votes in support of it. and now we're looking around for republicans who will step up for the next bipartisan effort. we definitely need them. and we certainly need the relief going to the american people. more money for vaccines, for distribution. cash payment of $1,400 for many americans desperately in need of it. making sure unemployment benefits don't run out, providing money for rental assistance so people aren't convicted. this is an emergency measure. we need the same level of bipartisan support we gave during the trump administration. >> senator durbin, good morning. it's kasie hunt. if the minimum wage hike is
included in this bill, and it's going to be in the house version they send over, i know you're waiting on a ruling from the parliamentarian. if the parliamentarian says okay, will joe manchin vote for this. he has expressed concerns about it. kasie, he has expressed concerns. i support it as it passed. >> when you're counting the votes, do you think it will count? >> one senator makes a difference in a 50/50 senate. i don't want to suggest that joe decided to vote against it. i don't think he has made that announcement. i know he's thinking bit long and hard. >> senator, do you think in the event that this is excluded, the minimum wage piece of it, which seems to be problematic across the board for republicans as well, do you think you can get
some republican support for a package this big? senator mcconnell said it's not targeted enough. it's too broad. but there are of course moderates. mitt romney, lisa murkowski, susan collins may be willing to get on board. what are you hearing from them right now? >> i am hearing positive things. i sit in on the bipartisan group joe manchin convened. i haven't heard a commitment to $1.9 trillion. they have suggested some modifications. some, i believe, are in the area of reality, possibility. but others may not be. so we need to sit down and get this negotiated. and we have to do it in the context that this money is needed and needed. >> senator, eddy has a question for you. >> senator durbin, great to see you this morning. i want to ask you a question about the covid relief bill and those communities
disproportionately affected by covid-19. what aspects of the covid relief bill will directly address those communities that are in some ways on the front line of the devastation of covid-19, black and brown communities and resource deprived communities, poor communities. >> one of the things i have mentioned is more doctors and medical professionals in those communities. there are also provisions in there to create incentives for care to be given in these communities. i have to be very candid with you. when i talk to leaders in the community, they say there is a hesitancy, a resistance to the whole idea. the first injection of a vaccine in the chicago land area was an african-american hospital worker, and she had to be persuaded. once she went forward, the entire staff joined her, 90% of them joined her over the following weeks.
but there is a persuasion element that goes into the equation. >> senator, you have a piece in the bill arguing that her reck garland should be confirmed as the next attorney general. he drew praise even from your republican colleagues saying they respected him given the fact they wouldn't give him a hearing five years ago, but that's another matter. >> i think we know that the staff and professionals at the department have been demoralized by the last four years. we also know the reputation of the department is on the line. to think that the president went to the department of justice at his last stab at saving himself and persuaded a man named jeffrey clark to join him in overturning the results of the november 3rd election. what happened next is significant. the professional staff at the department of justice said we will resign in mass if you do that, mr. president and they stopped mr. clark and trump's last-minute scheme.
that's the desperate situation the department is in. her reck garland is not only a breath of fresh air, but he is integrity and honesty. i believe a number of them are prepared to vote for hit. >> senator dick durbin of illinois. president biden leads the nation in consoing the nearly 500,000 american families who lost loved ones to covid-19. we will play and discuss some of his remarks just ahead. plus former president trump suffers a setback thanks to the supreme court. our sbe views with bill gates when "morning joe" coming right back.
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. >> when my grandparents fled anti-semitism and prosecution, the country took us in. and protected us. and i feel an obligation to the country to pay back. this is the highest best use of my own set of skills to pay back. >> 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 and they slip away. that black hole in your chest, you feel like you are being sucked into it. the survivor's remorse, the anger. the questions of faith in your soul. >> powerful moments yesterday from the likelihood attorney general first there and then the tap who tapped him for the job. judge merrick garland reflecting on his own family's history and the promise of america while president biden led the country in a moment of silence for the half million americans lost to coronavirus. good morning. welcome to "morning joe." it is tuesday, february 23rd. with us katy kay and associate editor of the washington post and political analyst eugene robinson. miikka has the day off.
tragically he was built for moments like that through the fires of his own life. listen to the way he talks about loss and grief. you wonder if there is another living politician who could deliver the speech quite the way he did in a moment when the country needed it and frankly it couldn't have the past four years under president trump who is objectively incapable of delivering a speech like that. >> you know, it's often americans select a president that has qualities that the previous president did not have. presidents are often reactions to what came before them. george w. bush following bill clinton. barack obama following george w. bush and of course donald trump following barack obama. we have been ping-ponging back
and forth for quite some time now, katy kay, but there is no doubt of all the criticisms that were levelled at the previous president, lack of empathy was at the top of most everyone's list. presidential historians have looked and saw that he just didn't know how to capture a moment and help americans heal on any front. that's something that joe biden is uniquely qualified to do. and obviously we saw a very moving moment yesterday. also when merrick garland testified and, for a man who didn't even get a hearing several years ago when barack obama selected him as the preem court nominee, he certainly was treated with, i think, the yut most respect by democrats as well as republicans. >> yeah. i mean, it felt -- watching both
of these events yesterday in washington, it felt like some of the kind of more high testosterone had gone from the city. sometimes the man finds the moment and sometimes the moment finds the man, and they really believed that this moment of pandemic was the moment finding joe biden, that he was right for the presidency after those previous failed attempts when it didn't work for him, that this was the moment for him because of this quality, this single quality of empathy that he has by virtue of his lived experience, because of what he has gone through in his own life. i've heard, we all have, joe, right, hundreds of joe biden speeches on the subject of grief. and i tell you, when you have lost people as i have lost both of my parents in the last three months, when you have lost people recently the speech sounds entirely different.
it sounded to me like joe biden was reaching through the camera and speaking to my experience. i imagine for every one of the families and the loved one of those 500,000 who died of covid, that's how that speech sounded. he knows what it is like. he knows what it is you are hoping for, that you are hoping for that smile to come to your lips rather than that tear to come to your eyes. and he brought the singular experience of what he has gone through to the nation. so he spoke to individuals, but he also spoke to the country about the hard time you are in becoming a better time, that there will be a better time for you personally and there will be a better time for the country as a whole. it was a beautifully written meditation on grief delivered by somebody who has so much authenticity on this subject that you feel that he is speaking to you. >> and, katy, you are so right. so many of these lines that
those who -- those survivors of the 500,000 need so badly to hear would not have meant as much to me when i was younger. you just lost your father. i can tell you for me it took many years to think of -- to think about my dad and have a smile come to my face, but that did come and now i find that when family gets together and we talk about my dad, we're all laughing. we're all talking about the funny things he did. we're talking about the great memories. but, you're right, when he tells gold star parents and tells others suffering what you have just said, that there will come a time when the thought -- when the memory of your loved one comes to you and it brings a smile to your face before it brings a tear to your eye, yes, that's something that obviously you're going through right now,
you have went through with your mother and it is -- and you know and everybody else, the 500,000 families that have lost loved ones here understand that this is actually a man who has lost two children, who understands this and lost them both in terribly different ways. >> yeah. he spoke about that, too. he spoke about i know what it's like to have been there when they died. i know what it's like to not have been there when he died. i was with my mother when she died three months ago. i wasn't able to be there with my father, so i didn't get there in time. i think then he was thinking particularly of the people whose parents have died of the coronavirus, who have died alone. this is the brutality of this
pandemic, that so many people have died in a hospital bed holding the hand of a nurse or a doctor who was wearing full ppe with a mask on their face, and it is what makes these deaths so much harder for the families. they couldn't be there to comfort their loved ones as they were taking those last really difficult, painful breaths. and i'm sure that for all the families, those people left behind last night, listening to that line about i know what it's like when you couldn't be there, that resonated as well because that is the singularity of this pandemic, the awful singularity of what we have lived through over the last year and what so many of those 500,000 people's families have lived through, too. >> still ahead, our wide ranging interview with bill gates where we tackle everything from climate change to coronavirus to conspiracy theories. a fascinating conversation straight ahead. plus, why deregulation
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the new york district attorney's battle for former trump's tax records is now over. the supreme court yesterday declining to prevent a new york grand jury from obtaining eight years of trump's personal and financial records from his accountants, removing the roadblock on a yearlong's investigation into hush money payments and other financial
transactions. sigh russ vance began his investigations after michael cohen disclosed he paid stormy daniels $100,000 about her claim that she had an affair with trump. the supreme court denied it last time saying the president had absolute immunity. vance responded to the order by saying, quote, the work continues. the former president issued a long, rambling statement about witch hunts, fishing expeditions. nbc news reports the ruling does not mean the returns will become public, and they might never be released. under new york state law, materials turned over to a grand jury must be kept secret. let's bring in former justice department spokesman, matt miller. and andrew weissman. he served as chief of the
justice department's criminal fraud section. he was general council under mueller. gentlemen, good morning to you both. andrew, let me begin with you. how significant is this? what does it mean as a man hat an district attorney and is it a success for donald trump who kicked the can down the road passed his presidency? >> well, starting with your last question, it's certainly been a success in that it's been a year and a half since the manhattan district attorney issued its grand jury subpoena for these accounting records. that was issued in august of 2019. so that is quite a long time. however, looking at it from today's perspective, this basically means the manhattan district attorney's office has a green light. they will get those documents, and those documents can be key to making a financial case.
i should say in light of your -- you know, the first report you have here, it's hard not to anal guise to al capone because you have the major story of 500,000 deaths, many of those preventable. and what we're talking about now is whether a financial criminal case can be brought against the former president. and, you know, remember now they not only will get these documents, they brought in an outside accounting firm that will help them go through those documents, and they have also brought in an outside lawyer, an experienced white collar criminal prosecutor, former prosecutor mark pomeranz. so they really have the right team in place. they will have the right documents and we need to wait and see whether the results in a criminal case being brought. >> the prosecutors will see the
documents president trump last night from mar-a-lago issuing a statement making it clear he's not at all happy about this turn of events. but in a sense, in a kind of weird sense, there is something here of a victory for trump, isn't there? he got this situation now, this ruling now and not six months ago before the election. and wasn't that, in the end, his aim? >> i think that's absolutely right, katty. i don't think there was ever any chance he was going to be able to keep these documents from prosecutors. this was a lawful subpoena. it is clear his objections to quash it were frivolous. and i think the disappointing thing is that the courts didn't really respond with the haste that the time demanded. and i say that not just because of this one case but because trump across the board in both
attempts by congress or by prosecutors to hold him personally accountable or to hold his administration accountable, there was, as you will recall, this kind of, you know, broad legal blockade that they set up. all, you know, with the attempt not to -- not to keep documents out of congress's hands or out of prosecutor's hands forever, but to just delay them past the election. i think courts were slow to recognize that and didn't respond with the speed that the moment required and he was able to achieve his goal. it was a political win and ultimately a legal failure, but one i suspect they knew what happened all along. >> andrew, this is gene robinson. my question is, these documents now can -- will be seen by the prosecutors presented presumably to a grand jury. when, if ever, will we in the
public get to see these documents? >> we will see them if, and only if, there is an indictment. so anal guising this, we got reports from paul manafort's accounting firm and those were used in a criminal case. at that point, the documents used in that case, they can be internal accounting records. they can be tax returns. those become public exhibits. under the rules, there is a grand jury subpoena. the grand jury secretsy appies to them. this was not simply being done as a political stunt, that there is grand jury secrecy that governs. but if there is an indictment and these documents are relevant
to that, which presumably they clearly would need to be, then they would become public in the course of that proceeding. >> andrew weissman, matt miller, thank you both. what are the prospects for a long-term recovery? paul krugman joins the discussion just ahead. but first our conversation with bill gates is next. how am i doing? some say this is my greatest challenge ever. governments in record debt; inflation rising and currencies falling. but i've seen centuries of rises and falls.
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if you see wires down, treat them all as if they're hot and energized. stay away from any downed wire, call 911, and call pg&e right after so we can both respond out and keep the public safe. hey, welcome back to "morning joe." few people seem to be more deeply involved at tackling global challenges than bill gates. we caught up with the microsoft founder yesterday and we discussed everything from pandemics to income inequality to climate change. the billionaire investor is out with a new book titled "how to avoid a climate disaster: the solutions we have and the breakthroughs we need" in which he argues the world has just 30 years left to avoid catastrophe. first question out of the gate,
how to receive net carbon zero emissions from 2050. >> it's going to be difficult because you don't get to ignore any source of emissions. it's not just cars and planes. it is also the way we make everything, concrete, steel, even agriculture. so we have to come up with a plan, including research and development and incentives to take these next 30 years and move aggressively for all of those sources. so it is going to be hard, but it's doable. >> so over the last 30 years, there obviously economic disruption across this country. we seem to hear about it every four years, especially during presidential races about those left behind. how do we get from where we are in 2021 to where we need to be in 2050 without causing greater economic disruption. >> in general economic growth tends to be positive partly because of innovation, you know, better medicines, better digital technology. the climate constraint is an
important one but it also creates opportunity. the u.s. is the most innovative country. over half the world's innovations come from here. when it comes to green bays of doing things, just like the drug companies, if we're generous with the rnd, we get the companies and the jobs and those export opportunities. >> so i have been a small government conservative for most of my life, but i wrote a book that suggested in 2009 that we actually go in big and informs in alternative energy sources just for that very reason. it is the next great wave, not only for this country, but possibly for the world. here we are 11 years later, 12 years later and we're still dragging our feet. and i'm curious. do you think there is an appetite with american politicians, with american voters to start investing more heavily in these alternative fuel sources? >> well, i'll tell you the good
news is that a lot of young voters from both parties are thinking about climate as something that they care about. they want, you know, beyond their own individual success, to see a commitment in that area. and we see, you know, in some categories like passenger cars that the extra costs, what i call the green premium is coming down because there is intense competition. 15 years from now you would prefer an electric car over a gasoline car in all respects. so we need all the categories to get that green premium down. the main word i have is that these are long-term investments. you know, a new power plant, steel plant, building transmission lines. and, so, the private sector is going to have to see that these policies are going to stay in place. and, so, if we have one party
who always withdraws the policies, another puts them back in, that won't let us take full advantage of the next 30 years. green on a core of things including rnd and tax credits, i hope we can get some common elements so that there is a clear signal to use the limited time. >> so let's break down how we would get to net zero by 2050. i read something in your book that surprised me. i always look at traffic. i look at gridlock and i think, well, my god, once we move to electric cars, there is 50%. i find out that it's only 15%, 16% of the problem. not insignificant, but it's not as big as most americans would expect. if we're looking at a pie chart, a pie graph of how we get to net zero, what does that look like? we know that transportation is only 16%.
what are some of the other big areas we need to address more aggressively? >> yeah. there is five big areas and i think the two most voters know about are transportation and electricity. transportation we're saying cars like the tesla cars are starting to gain share. and electricity, we have cheap solar wind, although we need a grid and some way to maintain reliability. then agriculture, heating and cooling buildings which in the u.s. means a lot of natural gas. finally the biggest segment and the one i think is manufacturing. you know, most people don't know where their cement comes from, don't pay much attention and, yet, that industry is going to have to innovate because over 31% of emissions are coming from manufacturing the physical goods we take for granted. >> and what's the best selling point to voters?
because that's -- at the end of the day, to get this started up, what is the selling point other than -- other than obviously averting environmental disaster. what about the jobs being created? i take it that if we do this correctly, this will look a bit like eisenhower's interstate program in the '50s, that it is going to have to be expansive, but it will create a lot of jobs. >> that's right. the texas situation is an example of an extreme weather event that will become more common. transmission, some storage, probably some nuclear, will be needed to maintain that reliability. there will be a shift in job, but it creates new opportunities for those jobs. the -- i think the best way to
educate the public on the importance is that, you know, the u.s. government did not get ready for this pandemic in a modest amount of money. a few billion would have saved trillions and lots of suffering that even the economic figures don't capture. with climate change, we'll have five times the death rate and growing by the end of the century. most beaches will disappear. although that's kind of a negative message, it is honestly what we need to invest in now to avoid getting to that point and there is not anything like a vaccine that you can invent when the problem arises that gets you out of the awful situation. >> so you're talking about climate disasters. we're seeing what's happening in texas right now. i rarely golf, but one way to get me out golfing if there is somebody i can talk to for four, four and a half hours that i can learn from.
i get an invitation from a guy that ran an insurance company and he's specifically very conservative politically, but he had been telling me for some time and the economic disasters, about the environmental disasters. and i heard for four or five hours. he said, listen, if you don't believe in climate change, let me show you. come and look and see what i do every day. it seems that the evidence is to objective. we all should be able to do a better job of showing the american people how these climate events, how the cost of these climate events keep skyrockets over the year. >> there is something the government does a great job. for earthquakes, we have building codes so that we minimize the job. we are going to have to add climate change and pandemics as things you look at politicians to pick experts. we can disagree about the tactics, but the goal of avoiding these horrific jobs,
you know, hopefully that's more and more of a common thing. you know, because we have seen this this last year that when you don't prepare for eventualities the cost is a thousand times what it would have taken to be ready to go and a few countries actually did get it right like australia. it is very, very different there. let's talk off a few boxes there of commonly heard criticisms that you have gotten and you will get. bill gates, that guy has the biggest carbon footprint like west of the mississippi. who is he to preach to us about climate what i think? what do you say to him? >> it's totally fair. i, you know, have a large carbon footprint through technologies that are expensive today and i hope buying aviation fuel
reduces the extra cost. and a lot of things. so, yes, i'm a strange person to be talking about it. >> how about from the left? many people, including nancy pelosi who say 2030 is not possible to get to zero carbon -- net zero carbon emissions. what about those pushing the new green deal, who suggest that you're too conservative. you're taking too long? >> i wish they were right. and, you know, i would love to see concretely where is the power going to come from. i have done an open source model that anybody can fill in their parameters. where is the energy going to come from? how are we going to make physical goods. and what's your solution for the entire world? after all, even if the u.s. uses some brute force approach, that doesn't solve the problem. we have to innovate the cost of
being green, reduce it in my view by 95%. so then we can say to india, hey, by 2050 even though you are not responsible for most of this problem, we still want you to buy green steel and green cement. so without innovation, even if a few countries go brute force, this problem will be unsolved. >> let me go to a couple different topics here. i just want to ask you as -- as a person that helped create the technology revolution, the it revolution, the world that we live in today, a lot of parents including myself who have four children are very concerned about the impact, whether it's social media or whether it's gazing at an iphone or looking at screens are concerned about the long-term impact it had on especially younger children,
anxiety, depression. what can you tell me of all you have learned and all you have read? what can you tell me about those threats? >> overall, the digital revolution is quite positive for you want to learn. you want to stay in touch. you want detailed information. and parents can set appropriate time limits for things depending on the kid that can be very important. the main concern is the conspiracy theory and polarization and figuring out what are the rules. what are the government rules? what should the companies be doing so that things like conspiracy theories about the vaccine aren't creating vaccine hesitancy. we need some good proposals there. i haven't seen anyone who really
preserves the good and excises some of the problematic things. so we're toying with that and i hope that dividing line can be figured out. >> which leads to my next question. i've spent a good amount of time over the past year telling my family members, my friends and others that you are not part of this great conspiracy, global conspiracy theory. you and, you know, ed, 10, 15 other people. and i always ask where they see it. it's really plandemic or other conspiracy theory video that they will either see -- usually on facebook but sometimes other places on the web. it undermines democracy. it is bad for our public death. what can we do? >> i think in a pandemic it is not totally surprising people are reaching for over simplistic
explanations, you know, that there is some evil genius behind it or something like that. sadly, that leads people in the wrong direction in terms of mask wearing and vaccination. dr. fauci and i have been the two most mentioned in these things. the goal is to save lives. i feel lucky the foundation has such an expertise. we were able to put several billion to work to celebrate those solutions. so i hope it goes away over the next years as things get better, but it is strange that we thought this would mostly drive, you know, learning of drew things, but it is also driving the strange beliefs. >> and when do you think we will return? what is your best guest on when this country will return to normalcy or close to normally? >> well, certainly in the fall
if we get the vaccinate rates up and we'll have the supply by then and the logistics will be all worked out. the fall should be pretty normal. there may be big public events that we still don't do and maybe some mask wearing because we need to get rid of the disease outside the u.s. so it is not coming in and getting large number of cases. but in terms of schools, you know, most jobs, the fall will feel more like your normal life which, you know, that's fantastic. this has been a long, tough period for many people. >> all right. bill gates, thank you so much. it is great to have you here. the book is how to avoid a climate disaster, the solutions we have and the breakthroughs we need. we so appreciate you spending time for us today. the economic challenges facing the nation. paul krugman joins the
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maybe a couple throw pillows would help. get a strategy gut check from our trade desk. ♪♪ business before the bell is sponsored by td trade. i think the media is suffering where trump withdrawal where they attacked trump every day for four years. they don't know what to do so they obsess over my taking my girls to the beach. >> senator ted cruz after a brief moment of humility, joe, back to the same we expect from him. >> the party of personal responsibility. yes, here's ted cruise being self-righteous about leaving people freezing to death in his home state, being self-right nous about lying through his teeth about the fact he's going to drop his girls off and come
back. ted cruz lying through his teeth. the media made ted abandon his state. the media made ted abandon his state for cancun while millions and millions of people didn't have heat or safe drinking water. ted, do you think anybody buys that? you are a seditionist, and, yes, ted, you are not telling the truth. i'm just curious. i'm reading those polls that suggest that 76% of americans are like trump supporters still believe, still believe that joe biden stole the election and still believe that antifa was responsible for all of those trump people who were terrorists committing sedition against the united states. i guess ted believes that a sucker is born every second. well, maybe. maybe they are. but ted had enough trouble winning a couple of years ago
against beto o'rourke in the state of texas. i'm not so sure that this sort of cheap trump routine is going to work for him, willy. >> yeah. less than a week ago he was on hannity doing a cleanup effort and he said it was a mistake. i was going to stay through the weekend and i realized the reaction was so bad. temperatures have warmed up significantly, but at least eight million people still do not have guaranteed clean drinking water. the dallas morning news reports some texans have had to wait in lines for hours to fill pots and buckets from fire hydrants to wash dishes. paul krugman looks at why it
failed in texas. the collapse of the texas power grid did not just reveal a new shortcomings, it showed the entire philosophy is wrong. it showed the state is run by people who will resort to blatant lies rather than admit their mistakes. texas is not the only state with a largely deregulated electricity market. it has pushed it further than anyone else. paul, good morning. if we take a step back, in your estimation, how did texas get here? >> oh, what they did was they -- yeah, they deregulated, which a lot of states have done to some degree. but the thing that's striking about texas there was no precautionary principal, there were no rules requiring that power producers have some reserve capacity. there were no rouls requiring that they make that capacity robust. it is perfectly possible to
operate. they operate their natural gas pipelines. they operate their wind turbines. it is not a hard thing to be prepared for that. but texas didn't do any of that. they just relied upon the market, to the magic of the marketplace was going to make sure that everything was fine. what we've just seen is that that doesn't happen, that if you don't -- you cannot count just upon the measure of a free market. it isn't really a free market because it takes an enormous amount of effort to create a sort of market there. it just isn't good enough, and the result is a deadly incredible destructive disaster. >> paul, i wanted to ask you. mark a couple years ago wrote about how we've lived through two -- we have lived through the fdr dispensation from '32 to '80. when he wrote his book it was
2017. he suspected it was coming to an end. i'm wondering why texas isn't a bookend of sorts to reaganism 40 years later, the excesses of reaganism. and if that doesn't bring us into -- we're already moving possibility into a new era that's sort of a post-reagan era. well, i have stopped looking, but i understand where u.s. politics is going. there has been so many catastrophes. you would have thought that the california electricity crisis, which was even more outrageous because it was outright market manipulation and that was in 2000/2001 that that would have put a bookend to this. you would have thought that the financial crisis with run-away banks and run-away financial contrast that nobody understood that basically brought the world
to its knees, brought us down. so i'm giving up assuming that just because events happen -- if you look at the people running texas, they took a look at a failure of their free market policies and said the green new deal do it. this is joe biden's fault, so am i supposed to believe that a terrible mistake that the political system will fix. >> are there other states as far as extreme deregulation on energy in. >> most places have learned something. so if i'm contradicting myself a little bit here. but i'm sitting here in the northeast, and there are markets in power. wholesale energy is traded on markets in most of the country, and in most places, it has -- we're reasonably okay.
it's clear it's not great. within texas, there is one island of decent outcomes, which is the city of el paso, which has actually maintained a fairly traditionally maintained electricity market. but it is, in fact, the case that there are -- california has an electricity market which has not had a disaster like the one it had 20 years ago. so it is not that you cannot have some role from markets, but you need to have a clear sense of the limits of markets and you have to be prepared to have the public -- people acting in the public make sure that markets don't go completely off the rails. >> let's talk about the covid relief bill. larry summers had written. a lot of people have talked about he's concerned about inflation, possible inflationary concerns. i've talked to other democratic economists who also are not voicing those concerns publically but also share some
concerns. i know you have always -- you have certainly over the past 20 years said that more is better. not to be concerned about deficits and debt right now. >> right. >> not to be concerned about covid relief bill? >> it's a big bill. it's a bill that is big enough that i'm comfortable that it's doing enough and that's telling you that it's bigger than we normally get and, look, there were some people -- there is a case that it's a bit -- it's a bit richer than we need. but -- and i always take larry very seriously, and other people, olivia bombchard i always take seriously, very big. goldman sachs, they have a terrific team of economists, they think it's fine, bank of
america think it's fine, the international monetary fund thinks it's fine. if there's one thing we really learned from the obama years is that the -- the risks of doing too little are much bigger than the risks of doing too much. if it turns out that this bill was more than we needed, and the fed needs to raise interest rates a bit to keep inflation from taking off, okay, that's a nuisance. if the bill falls short we will not get another chance to do this. so it has to be -- it has to err on the side of being big. because you get, really, one shot at getting this right. >> can i -- we've talked about this before. i'm just curious as we sit here in early 2021 as we've discussed before, i've been a deficit hawk for 25 years. i've been a crank when it comes to federal debt. and i'm curious, at what point -- is there a point where
you get concerned about percentage of debt to gdp? or do you think that's looking at it the wrong way? >> it is the wrong way because you're -- at most you should be looking at interest payments. what's the actual burden of, you know, servicing this debt? and interest payments right now, federal interest payments, are about 6% to the federal budget. that's half what they were when ronald reagan was president. we're in a very low interest rate world. there's just no way to cook the numbers to make it seem like paying our debt is a huge problem for the united states right now unless you just somehow decide that their ratio of debt to gdp, independent of what it actually costs to pay that debt, is somehow a scary thing. and, look, you know, we've -- since the last time you and i debated this, you know, a lot of water is under the bridge. remember when boll and simpson
predicted a fiscal crisis -- that was ten years ago. so far the people who said, look, relax, debt is not a front rank issue for the united states have been right year after year. >> yup. kasie hunt is with us, she has a question. >> paul, good morning. you said that it's possible that this is -- that this bill is too big, although you obviously then go on to argue that that's probably fine. from the perspective of what's going to play out on capitol hill and how these negotiations may go down joe biden has looked at the camera and said what would you have me cut. as an economist, if you needed to take this number down a little bit, what would you cut? >> well, there's a funny thing which is that the piece of the bill that i am least fond of happens also to be the piece of the bill that the public loves most, which is those $1,400 checks that are handed out pretty much unconditionally to everybody with an income under
$75,000. that's not a particularly well targeted policy. there are some reasons to do a kind of scatter shot outlay because it will reach some people who other measures won't reach and that's the case that janet yellen has just made. but for sure, some people who don't acutely need money will receive money. but that's -- that's basically okay. if you want to -- but if you were looking for some way to get most of the economic impact of the bill while cutting the costs, that's what you go after. but, you know, with that -- that has got like 80% approval from the public. and the democrats would be crazy to take out that piece. they know that unemployment benefits that business rescue that money for shots in arms are the most crucial parts of the bill but okay, it's got to include some other stuff that helps sell it to the public and since we don't have a debt problem do it. >> so paul, let's look at the economy this year. we've seen some of the rosy
projections from economists that say after an obviously 2020 of contraction there will be an expansion of 3% or 4% in 2021, assuming this bill is a piece of that. does that line up with where you're looking at the next six, nine, 12 months? >> oh, yeah, i'm a relative optimist. but you need to understand, we're starting from a very deep hole. most economists believe the true unemployment rate is really -- the official number for perfectly innocent reasons but it's really understated. we really have an effective unemployment rate of something like 10%. when you start with 10% unemployment, 4% growth is not good enough. i mean, 4% growth still leaves you with only slightly less terrible unemployment at the end of the year. what you need when you have this kind of level of suffering in unemployment, first of all you need to get people through it. even if we grow rapidly over the course of the year, what about how are people going to be living in may and june when we're not yet back there, and
then also you need growth rates, you need morning in america style growth rates to get out of this which is what some of the estimates are suggesting. think think we'll have 7% growth if this bill is enacted as scheduled and that could bring us more or less back to a tolerable economy by the start of 2022. that's what we should be trying to do, saying, okay, well, you know, the economy is going to grow even if we don't do this. but it's not going to grow fast enough to avoid enormous suffering. >> get back to level before you can grow again. paul, we'll be reading your piece at "new york times".com. good to talk to you, thanks for being here. that does it for us this morning, stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage after this final quick break. oh... what? i'm an emu! no, buddy! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty. ♪ whatever stereotype you're gonna try . . .
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