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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 24, 2021 1:00am-2:00am PST

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under lockdown, surrounded by thousands of national guard troops in the wake of the january 6th attack on the capitol, was that today was the first investigation, today was the first congressional hearing into what happened that day, what went pro trump violent mob to storm the capitol building, interrupt the certification of the election, and come within just steps of the lawmakers in the building that day, whose blood the mob was crowing for. today, two senate committees took testimony from the officials in charge of the capitol security that day. i should tell you, we'll speak to the chairs of both of those committees this hour. the witnesses at today's hearing were the acting chief of the d.c. metropolitan police who took over that job just four days before the january 6th attack. as well as three officials who resigned in the immediate aftermath of the attack.
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the former head of the capitol police, the former senate sergeant at arms, the former house sergeant at arms. it was kind of a surprise the way it unfolded. before they started questioning the announced witnesses, the chair of the rules committee, senator amy klobuchar who will join us in a moment, she announced what was in fact a surprise guest. senator klobuchar said the committees thought it was important to hear from someone who was on the front lines. on the violent front lines defending the capitol on january 6th. she introduced captain mendoza, a member of the u.s. capitol police for 19 years. prior to that she was an active duty soldier in the u.s. army. captain mendoza gave a riveting and terrifying account of her day at work on january 6th. >> it was approximately 1:30 in the afternoon. i was home eating with my 10-year-old, spending time with
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him before what i knew would be a long day. a fellow captain contacted me and said things were bad and i needed to respond in. i literally dropped everything to respond to work that day, early. i arrived within 15 minutes and i contacted dispatch to ask her what active scenes we had. i was advised things were pretty bad. i asked where assistance was needed and was advised of six active scenes. there was an explosive device at the democratic national committee building. a second explosive device at the republican national committee building. and large hostile groups at different locations outside the capitol building. i made my way through the crowd by yelling and pushing people out of my way until i saw capitol police civil disturbance units in riot gear in the hallway. they were holding the hallway to keep rioters from penetrating deep entire the building. i immediately jumped in line with them to assist withholding the crowd of rioters.
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at some point my right arm got wedged between rioters and the railing along the wall. a cdu sergeant pulled my right arm free. had he not, i'm certain it would have been broken. shortly after that, an officer was pushed and fell to the floor. i assisted the officer to a safer location and got back in line. at some point the crowd breached the line officers worked so hard to maintain. civil disturbance units began to redeploy to keep rioters from accessing other areas of the building. i proceeded to the rotunda where i noticed a heavy smoke-like residue and smelled what i believed to be military grade cs gas, a familiar smell. it was mixed with fire extinguisher spray deployed by rioters. they continued to deploy cs into the rotunda. officers received a lot of gas exposure which is worse inside the building than outside because there's nowhere for it to go. i received chemical burns to my face that have not healed to this day. i witnessed officers being knocked to the ground and hit
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with various objects thrown by rioters. i was unable to determine exactly what those objects were. i immediately assumed command in the rotunda and called for additional assets. officers began to push the crowd out the door. after a couple hours, officers cleared the rotunda but had to physically hold the door closed because it had been broken by the rioters. officers begged me for relief as they were unclear how long they could physically hold the door closed with the crowd continually banging on the outside of the door attempting to gain reentry. eventually officers were able to secure the door with furniture and other objects. the night of january 7th into the very early morning hours of my birthday, january 8th, i spent at the hospital comforting the family of our fallen officer and met with the medical examiner's office prior to working fellow officers to
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facilitate a motorcade to transport officer sicknick from the hospital. of the multitude of events i've worked in my nearly 19 years in the department, this was by far the worst of the worst. >> this was by far the worst of the worst. u.s. capitol police captain. speaking today again, as i mentioned, this was an unannounced guest. a surprise witness at today's hearing. captain carneysha mendoza, a 19-year veteran of the capitol police. searing testimony from that officer on the scene on january 6, talking about spending time with the family of an officer killed in the attack. talking about her officers coming to her as a commander on the scene as they tried to hold open doors shut to keep the crowd at bay. that testimony formed the set, the backdrop for today's hearing. remember how bad this thing was. worst of the worst.
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and then with that understanding fresh in our minds, let us try to get to the bottom of how it happened. here's one theory of what happened that day. you might think the attack on the capitol was carried out by supporters of former president trump. you might think that because they carried giant flags that said trump and because they chanted things like fight for trump as they stormed the capitol after a rally in which they were incited to do so by president trump. you might think that white supremacists and other extremist groups were responsible because members were arrested and charged since the ensuing attack and because all the witnesses at today's hearing, one after another, all uniformly confirmed that white supremacist and extremist groups were among those that attacked the capitol. but ron johnson of wisconsin had a wildly different take. he used his few minutes of
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question time today to muse aloud and read a right wing blog post into the senate record about how the whole capitol attack on january 6th was actually carried out by anti-trump protesters. you see, all the people who committed all the violence that day, they were faking being trump supporters when they really weren't. it was secretly anti-trump people who dressed up as pro trump people. like an elaborate holiday pageant. yes. everything was all very festive, as senator johnson described it, until these anti-trump provocateurs started a riot. this is not like a guy heckling. ron johnson was the chairman of the homeland security committee. they made him chairman of homeland security. have you considered that maybe this whole thing was a clever costumed stunt by president trump's opponents?
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have you considered that? i read a blog about it once on the tweeter. the democrats now are on the senate. amy klobuchar runs the rules committee. she was one of those running the hearing today. she said this later after the close of the hearing. pointedly. she said, quote, as our hearing concludes, i want to make one thing clear. provocateurs did not storm the capitol. ooze they were not fake trump protesters. the mood on january 6th was not festive. that is disinformation. spread by senator johnson. and while he used his time on spread that disinformation, his successor who is the new chair of homeland security, michigan senator gary peters will also join us tonight. he spent his day today trying to run, you can, an actual hearing with questions and useful information that advances our understanding of what happened on the 6th.
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>> what did you see that leads you to believe that this was a coordinated attack? >> one, these people came specifically with equipment you bring climbing gear to a demonstration, you bring explosives, you bring chemicals such as what captain mendoza talked about. the fact the group that attacked our west front 20 minutes, approximately 20 minutes before the event at the elipse ended which means they were planning on our agency not being at full strength. okay, that event is ending. get on post. knowing we may not be at full strength at that time. and we were dealing with two pipe bombs that were specifically set right off the edge of our perimeter to what i suspect draw resources away. i think there was a significant coordination with this attack. >> clearly here we have a coordinated attack. all of you saw this immediately. i can imagine the conversations with the national guard. and chief, you were stunned by
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the tepid response. can you clarify that and tell us how the conversations went? >> there was a phone call that was convened between several. chief sund was on the call, literally pleading. there were several army officials on the call. i don't know them all by name. several officials from district government were on the siege. chief simons was pleading for the deployment of the national guard. in response to that, there was not an immediate yes of the national guard is responding, yes, the national guard is on the way, yes, the national guard are being restaged from traffic posts to respond. the response was more asking about the plan, what was the plan for the national guard. the response was more focused on, in addition to the plan, the optics, about how this looks with boots on the ground on the capitol.
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and my response was simply, i was just stunned. i have officers out there literally fighting for their lives. we're kind of going through what seems like an exercise to check the boxes and it was not an immediate response. >> one of the things still unclear, all these weeks after the capitol attack, why there was this apparent lack of urgency at the pentagon that day. why the pentagon seemed to not get what they were being asked to do and why. why didn't they immediately respond when they got these urgent calls about the need for the national guard to come supplant the defense of the capitol while the attack was underway, while the violence was in fact heading toward its apex. this is a call taking place in the 2:00 hour as the capitol is being overrun. they're being begged to send in the national guard. the response as the chief just said, was not an immediate yes. yes, the national guard is responding. yes, the national guard is on the way.
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one thing that did not come up in today's hearing but has still not been explained about that desperate phone call the d.c. police described, that the pentagon initially lied about one of the military officers who was on that call. the "washington post" reporting last month that after trump's disgraced national security adviser mike flynn told president trump he should use military force and martial law to seize power despite election results, mike flynn's brother was at the pentagon and on that call. the call where the pentagon allegedly slow walked approving deploying the national guard. mike flynn's brother, lieutenant general charles flynn, has denied that his relationship with his brother was any sort of factor in the response to the capitol attack. but the army has not explained why they repeatedly lied when they insisted multiple times that general flynn's brother had nothing to do with it. that he was not on the call when in fact he was.
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so to have one of the central figures in the president's election conspiracy, the qanon conspiracy, to have his brother involved in the inexplicable pentagon decision on january 6th to not send the national guard to help the overrun capitol police, that seems like something we should learn more about. we need to learn a lot more about the pentagon's lack of a response when they were being begged to respond in real-time. at the end of today's hearing, senator klobuchar, chair of the rules committee, summed up a number of things we should be learning. how changes are approved when they need resources, better intelligence sharing between agencies, some security changes are needed at the capitol building, the use of the national guard needs to be examined, how approval is made once troops are requested. she summed up what happened at
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the meeting which was very helpful after this dense hearing, especially because it is the first one that looks at what happened january 6th. as soon as the hearing was over, senator klobuchar announced there will be another hearing next week. a second one. that will include pentagon officials to get to the bottom of, among other things, what happened when the call came in for the national guard and the answer was basically, no, it was de facto no for hours. so today's hearing was finally something and it was something. it was also just the beginning. joining us now is senator amy klobuchar, the chair of the rules committee in the united states senate. one of the two committees that oversaw today's hearing. it's been a really long day. thank you for being here tonight. >> thanks for including captain mendoza's testimony at the beginning. that was so important. >> i can't hear her. >> okay. hold on. >> now i'm lost in space and nobody can hear me at all. all right.
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this is one of those moments when i'm going to call an audible. we are going to ask senator klobuchar to stand by. these are our technical difficulties, i believe. not hers. we'll be right back with senator klobuchar and senator peters, the two senators who chaired this hearing today on the attack on january 6th. we'll be right back. do you have a life insurance policy you no longer need? now you can sell your policy, even a term policy, for an immediate cash payment. call coventry direct to learn more. we thought
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i believe that we have
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tracked down, tackled and tickled to death our technical gremlins and that will mean i may be able to hear senator amy klobuchar, the chair of the senate rules committee when we bring her on. if not, i'm out of here. forget it. thank you for your patience. i appreciate it. >> no problem at all. very good. i was just saying earlier, i was so glad -- >> yeah. >> captain mendoza's testimony, which is so important to the story, all the frontline officers, you know, your point is what i really wanted to stress is that we need solutions here. you can just throw popcorn at the screen all you want at these hearings. if we don't get solutions out of it, we haven't accomplished anything. despite ron johnson's craziness and despite his literally refusal to believe what everyone knows, that there was an armed
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insurrection at the capitol, most of the senators treated the witnesses with respect. they asked the questions. and gary peters, who i know you'll hear from today and i both decided we want this to be a bipartisan constructive hearing and it was. >> senator, one of the things that i found, not baffling but sort of increasingly frustrating, was the ongoing discussions and in some cases, contentious discussions, about who had what intelligence in advance of january 6th, and to what degree there were specific warning that's this could potentially be a violent event. i know there is a lot to sort out but i thought you bottom lined it very well by saying, listen, whatever exactly happened here between different agencies, and between different intelligence silos here and things falling between groups and people not finding out what they're supposed to find out, the bottom line is that this is
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not a system set up to anticipate and handle a crisis. i do feel like we're splitting hairs in terms of how violent everybody knew things would be. looking at public source intelligence, a lot of people paying any amount of attention thought there would be any chance of violence. are we getting too bogged down in terms of who got what report when? >> i think we want to get the facts so we can improve the process. the two main things, january 3rd, they had an internal report with the capitol police that they should have listened to that purported thousands of people were descending on washington. the big one was january 5th, the night before, fbi emails from the norfolk office, they e-mailed a report that there's evidence that there are people showing up who want to go to war. who want to invade the capitol. and we just find out today that the chief only found out about it in the last few days, that
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the sergeant at arms had not seen it. you can't just press send at night. they also on their end had to have a way to see these reports so that's concerning. here are the things we talked about. one, better process on the intelligence. obviously. two, as you point out, why did the national guard take so long, will be our number one question at the department of defense at our hearing next week. the third thing is that this police chief reports to what is called a capitol police board which is three people, two of whom are the sergeant at arms. so i want you to picture, they're there guarding their members, trying to get them to secure locations. the police chief calls them because of the process in place to see if he can call in the national guard. i think anyone that heard that, republican, democrat, anyone watching knows we have to change that process. so there are some concrete things we can do in addition to figuring out how we use the national guard going forward.
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they were at the capitol for years after 9/11 in a smart way, how we change the security while still preserving the public nature of the capitol. when we are through this pandemic, we want student groups to come and we want veterans groups and people to visit the capitol so we can't lose the public nature of the capitol. it won't be business as usual when it comes to the security. >> that i know decision making process at the capitol, the call with request for help from the national guard, and the muddled and slow response is going to be the subject of the next hearing that you are going to convene on this right away next week. and i'm really glad to hear that. i have to ask, in terms of the investigation that you all have done thus far, what you've learned including at today's hearing, is there any indication, any reason to worry that there may have been essentially influence on the pentagon side in terms of
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slowing down the response? in terms of not allowing national guard troops to come in and back stop the police who are getting so overrun? was there any effort to try to let this riot run its course in a way that is going to be not just a tragedy but a scandal? >> i don't know the answer to that question. i hope that would not be true. we do know, i think it was mitch mcconnell who called president trump's actions that day disgraceful and a dereliction of duty. we know that he wasn't making those calls to bring the national guard in. it was vice president pence, it was the leaders of congress on both sides of the aisle. so we have no idea what actually went into that delay. one thing i would add is if you want to get the national guard deployed, some of this should have also occurred the night before, the day before that, and that also was messed up on many sides.
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so there are so many things that we can do and we all saw the horror as pointed out by jamie raskin and the house managers. that was a big part of the historical record, that impeachment hearing. now it's on us to improve the security at the capitol, and to figure out exactly what went wrong. and i was actually pleased that we got these witnesses, three of whom have resigned from their positions in the wake of what happened to come voluntarily and answer questions in a respectful manner. i don't think anyone thought we would pull it off but we believe that the public needed to know what happened, and the only way this is helpful for people is if we go forward with solutions. that's the next step. >> on that chain of command question, the decision making question, do you anticipate that you'll ask vice president pence or his staff to come in and testify about their role at any point? >> right now we're focused on the fbi, homeland security and
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the defense department. because they have not come in and testified about this yet. this was the first hearing in the senate after the impeachment trial so that's what we're focused on. i think part of what -- and i spent that evening with vice president pence because as senator blunt pointed out at the hearing today, at 4:00 in the morning, it was just vice president pence and senator blunt and myself walking with those two young women with the mahogany box, with the ballots, over to the house where speaker pelosi was waiting so we could finish our jobs. and i've talked to him about this directly but haven't asked him that. i think we have to look at these in a lot of different tracks. our job now is to look at the domestic terrorism and figure out solutions. the judiciary committee will be going at it in a big way and christopher wray will be testifying next week before the judiciary committee. then finally, major investigations going on in the justice department.
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already people charged and i think you heard merrick garland speak about how important this is for him and all of this by the way is going on while we must do our other work. get the people confirmed and also, for joe biden's cabinet, and also, see that light at the end of the tunnel getting through this pandemic. and we had a very solemn ceremony today for the 500,000 americans that have lost their lives. i'm so proud this new administration, it was just announced, up 70% from when joe biden came in with the number of the vaccines that they've sent out to the states. there is a lot going on here as you point out every night. we still have to make sure that this temple of democracy is safe. >> senator amy klobuchar, the chair of the rules committee that convened the first hearing today on the events of 1/6 at the capitol. thank you for your forbearance with our gremlins there. i really appreciate it. >> thank you.
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all right. much more ahead. as i mentioned, the head of the homeland security gary peters will be joining us.
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the reason that texas republican senator ted cruz is opposed to president biden's health secretary nominee, he says, is that that nominee javier becerra is not a doctor. if you're going to be health secretary, you must be a doctor. says ted cruz. so senator cruz is against javier becerra because becerra is not a doctor. nevertheless, senator ted cruz voted for the last health secretary under president trump who was a man named alex azar. senator cruz voted for him even though you'll be shocked to learn, alex azar is also not a doctor.
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see, it's unacceptable to nominate a nondoctor to be health secretary unless that nominee is from a republican president in which case i have to go. republican senator richard burr of north carolina has also expressed objection to javier becerra being nominated as health secretary. senator burr's objection is that javier becerra served in congress for a long time on committees that had important oversight roles in health care issues, involved in a lot of health care policy that way. but senator burr said that's not appropriate experience for someone joining the cabinet to work on health issues. that's his stance against javier becerra being health secretary. yes, he worked on health stuff a ton in congress but that's not the experience you need for being health secretary in the cabinet. despite that stance now, under president trump, senator richard
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burr expressed great enthusiasm for a trump cabinet nominee named daniel coats. he was nominated to be director of intelligence. why did dr. burr like him for that job. so even though dan coats had never held any national security or intelligence job ever before getting that nomination? well, senator burr explained it at the time. he said dan coats would be an excellent choice for director of national intelligence. he said his experience as a valued member of senate intelligence committee will help to guide him as the next director of national intelligence. he said i think his time on the committee has served him to understand what that role entails. so to be clear, just serving in congress, being on committees that work on something, that's not enough to make you qualified to serve in the cabinet on that issue unless you're nominated by a republican president and then it's okay. if you're nominated by a democratic president on the same basis, then you are deeply unqualified and you must be withdrawn. president biden's nominee for agriculture secretary tom
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vilsack was approved 92-7 today. for u.n. ambassador, linda thomas greenfield was confirmed as well, 78-21m but republicans are rummaging in their hats for any rabbits they can find to try to slow down or stop all the other biden cabinet nominees that they have targeted. javier becerra batted down objections from republican senators at his confirmation today. got objections that republicans are raising against him they have no problem with at all from president trump's nominees in similar circumstances. today president biden's nominee for interior secretary had her confirmation hearing as well, and the knock on her from republican senators is that deb haaland has expressed concerns about oil and gas drilling on public lands. well, i can see why that would be very difficult for them to swallow. do you know who else expressed concerns about oil and gas drilling on public lands? joe biden. who was elected president after
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publicly and repeatedly expressing those concerns, after making campaign promises about how he would govern as president, saying he would vector those publicly stated concerns of his into effect when he made policy as president. he was elected president saying i'm a little worried about oil and gas drilling on public lands and i'm going to do something about it. so yes, he has chosen somebody to be interior secretary who agrees with him on that. it would be weird if he didn't. it would be a scandal if he didn't. he wouldn't campaign on protecting public lands from oil and gas drilling and then put someone in charge of that part of the government and say gung ho, let's drill the bejesus out of this. i won't tell biden. who did you think he was going to nominate? but these shocking revelations about deb haaland that she holds the same policy positions that literally anyone nominated by president biden to this position
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would have to hold to get the nomination, that means republican senators will not only vote no against deb haaland. they spent today telling her how terrible she is and they want biden to withdraw the nomination because it is so outrageous that she agrees with him on basic policy matters that he campaigned on. good luck with that. deb haaland will be confirmed. she will be the first native-american ever confirmed to a u.s. cabinet position and it will be celebrated by native communities coast to coast like nothing you've ever seen. almost all republicans will have nevertheless opposed her on the grounds that she, heaven forbid, agrees with the president on a major policy issue. when almost all, if not all republican senators oppose her, native communities in their states will never forget that vote ever. deb haaland will be confirmed by the senate regardless of republicans' bad faith
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objections to her. and javier becerra will be confirmed by the senate, regardless of republican senators' bad faith objections to him. if you didn't care that alex azar was not a doctor, you can't explain that's your big problem with this other guy who isn't a doctor either. that's how you teach a first grader about what bad faith means. deb haaland and javier becerra will be confirmed, just like others were confirmed today. just like merrick garland will be confirmed as our next attorney general despite all the republican senators standing up and intoning solemnly about how much they're horrified by any hint of the white house trying to influence the workings of department prosecutors. you can actually read the republican senators' lock her up, lock her up tattoos through their shirt sleeves. while they are making these pious arguments as if this is something they have strong principled feelings about after
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they never once peeped about president trump burning the justice department down in terms of interference. lock her up, lock her up. anyone who is arguing to you that democrats need to move over to the republican senators on confirmations, withdraw any confirmations that republicans don't like, anybody who is telling that you democrats need to move over to the positions of republican senators on policy and start doing things that they say they want instead of what president biden and the democrats campaigned on and what they can do and want to do because moving over to the republican side will build good faith with republicans. it will build good will. if only the democrats unilaterally give stuff to the republicans they don't need to give up, the republicans there appreciate it so much, it will break open bipartisan cooperation. anyone arguing that to you in this century, in 2021, is not
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watching what the republicans are actually doing in the senate. or the absolutely bold bad faith with which they are behaving toward biden nominees. but beyond republicans trying to pull the same bad faith stuff over and over again, the other person playing that same bad faith game within the democratic party is west virginia senator joe manchin who is very concerned, he says, about civility, about temperament, of all nominees and he won't vote for any of them if they don't meet his exacting standards about civility and temperament and comportment. >> i worked my tail off. >> and did the word you used -- >> i already answered the question.
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>> i like beer. do you like beer? what do you like to drink? >> next one is -- judge, have you -- >> joe manchin voted for brett kavanaugh's nomination to the supreme court. he voted for rick grenell who had a rap sheet a mile long of insulting women online for their looks, women in politics, insulting politicians' family members. ripping mostly democrats and some people in the media, mostly women, in nasty sexist terms over and over again for years. he was like a professional twitter troll. joe manchin voted to confirm rick rendell. he voted to confirm men with records like that. and even behavior in the witness stand like that. but he has decided this year with a president of his own party, with a democratic president in power, he has a new
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standard now. now he says the biden nominee, neera attenden, her history of calling mitch mcconnell voldemort or calling ted cruz heartless, he has decided that what is violates this new line he's just drawn. he didn't apply or even reference when considering dudes nominated by trump over and over and over again. but here for neera tanden, a new standard for her. we are watching two things in washington right now where there's legitimately totally open question as to the outcome. one is about the minimum wage. the parliamentarian is set to decide if the rules will allow a rise in the minimum wage with just 50 votes or will it need to be 60, in which case it won't happen because ten republicans won't support it. we are waiting on that legitimate question. we're also waiting to see what will happen to the neera tanden nomination to run the office of
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bubble. the double standard she's being judged by joe manchin of west virginia is something that so far he's mounted no defense to at all. which is getting to be astonishing, given the starkness of the double standard that he's applying to her compared to the trump nominees that he was happy to approve without any reference to the things he's saying are a bright line for him with this nominee. it's interesting. in previous democratic administrations we mitch might have seen them caving. the in this case, they're not. president biden's nominee is standing by. standing by. saying she is the nominee and they intend to see her through. senator schumer also standing by her in the senate saying she is the nominee and they intend to see her through. it is just joe manchin.
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just him presumably, hopefully, thinking hard about his own ethical standards, and why this particular nominee felt so over the line for him when he's been very happy to vote for multiple trump guys who are so far over the line. it didn't even register as a line at that time. i think senator joe manchin not only knows his power but i think he is an introspective guy who thinks about his ethical role in the world and i find it hard to believe that he is not reconsidering his position on this given the stark double standard he's applying without any effort to defend it. the white house is not withdrawing her name and why should they? senator manchin hasn't even tried to explain himself yet. i don't know where this one ends but neera tanden will get voted out of committee tomorrow. watch this space.
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one of the repeated lines today from the senate hearing on the capitol attack was that the deadly events of january 6th were the results of an
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intelligence failure. officials testified while they were made aware of threats of violence, they didn't expect they weren't prepared for this level of violence. former chief of the capitol police testified based on the intelligence they received his team, quote, planned for an increased level of violence and that some participants may be armed, but none of the intelligence we received actually predicted what actually occurred. here's the thing, though, if officials made aware of potential armed protesters, why were they not prepared for an armed insurrection? i mean, they were expecting, what, a little bit of violence, a manageable bit of armed protest at the capitol. now that we're getting into the investigation on what happened on january 6th, it still feels like there was this elephant in the room. there was plenty of intelligence. i remember reporting on it before january 6th. plenty of open source
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intelligence that a mob of trump supporters primed for and capable of violence was going to be in d.c. during the electoral vote count. the president called them specifically for that date for that reason. he told them it was going to be wild. that was his word "wild." the underarmed, undermanned, underprepared security response to that is not because nobody knew they were coming. it is because of the still unexplained underestimation of the seriousness of the potential for violence from this kind of crowd specifically. why is that? joining us now is senator gary peters of michigan, chairman of the homeland security and government affairs committee, one of the two committees that convened on the capitol attack. thank you so much for making time tonight, senator. i really appreciate you being here. >> great to be with you tonight as always, rachel. >> so one of the questions that was raised indeed on january 6th
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and especially in the immediate aftermath was whether the potential for violence was underestimated because the expected protesters were largely white and conservative and were seen as aligned with the republican party and a republican cause. are we any closer to discerning whether or not that perception of the crowd was key to the underestimation of their potential for violence that day? >> well, i'll tell you, rachel, it is hard to understand how they could possibly underestimate the potential for violence with this rally. it was clear, as you mentioned, which is absolutely clear, on social media it was all over the place. in fact, we had reports of this crowd that was going to descend on the capitol to stop the steal when we know how the stop the steal was code word for getting folks incredibly angry and agitated that their democracy was being taken from them. we have president trump constantly talking about it. you mentioned his tweets calling
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people to come on january 6th. so it was certainly all over social media. it was pretty clear for anyone. in fact, i remember friends coming to me and saying, gary, how do you feel going to washington? are you concerned about what's happening? these were not intelligence experts. these were men and women, friends of mine, folks on the street. it was very clear that something bad could potentially happen. but then you also had intelligence reports, as we brought up today. on january 3rd a report from capitol police that talked about, in fact, what is public is the fact that it was going to be different from some of the activities that occurred earlier where there was violence against groups, between groups, that this one was -- the target was congress. it was congress itself that was going to be the target of violent activity. and if you remember, the capitol police, your job is to protect congress and it was out there. so it is very difficult to understand why the kinds of --
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or the procedures were not put in place to make sure there was adequate protection, making sure the police had riot gear, to make sure they were able to protect the capitol close up, to make sure the national guard was able to respond and be ready to respond at a moment's notice, which we know didn't happen. >> well, now that these hearings have started, you and senator klobuchar convening this hearing today. we have heard there is going to be another hearing soon with pentagon officials. i am very interested in that question on what happened at the pentagon when that call came in asking the national guard for help and they got hemmed and hawed for hours, backstopping those police officers who so desperately needed the help. what is your biggest remaining black box? what is the biggest open question for you that you feel needs to be answered most urgently that could be answered by the kind of inquiry that you and your committee are pursuing?
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>> well, this next hearing is taking a broader look. certainly what happened on january 6th and the question that we certainly need to have answered is why did it take so long for the national guard to respond. as you recall today in the hearing, i actually asked the chief of police, the metro d.c. police, he was on that call and he said he was shocked by the tepid response by the department of the army when they were pleading for help to have the national guard. he said the response coming back from the army official is, well, what are your plans? when it should be, we will be there. we will send folks to you right away. that didn't happen. it shocked the chief of police that that was the response that they were getting, we're going to ask those questions. we're going to have someone from the department of defense at our hearing next week. but we're also going to need to look at the broader issue, something i have been focused on over the last couple of years
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and plan to focus intently on now as the chair of the homeland security committee. this is the rise of domestic terrorism, of white supremacists, of white government groups. we saw it firsthand in michigan with a group that was plotting to kidnap our governor and perhaps kill her. we saw folks defend our capitol and the state of michigan heavily armed. this is a very concerning development. it is getting worse. we have to treat it with the seriousness that it deserves. we know that we need to get more intelligence on what these groups are up to and make sure that we disrupt any type of plots they may have to attack government buildings and officials, innocent folks, whatever it may be, we need to be better prepared to deal with domestic terrorism, and that will be a big part of what we talk about next week. certainly we saw evidence of
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that on the capitol grounds where groups came. in fact, we heard in testimony today that there were folks that were engaged in military type operations on that ground trying to create even more chaos and perhaps capturing members of congress to kidnap them. this is serious business. we have to treat it seriously. it was not treated seriously by the previous administration. in fact, you could argue it was encouraged. that's got to stop. we will take those steps to unfold. >> senator gary peters of michigan, chair of the homeland security committee with a message that is good to hear. god speed, sir. thanks. we'll be right back. stay with us.
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call today. that's going to do it for us tonight. we're expecting another busy news day tomorrow. we will find out if democrats are going to be able to move an advance, a rise in the minimum wage through a process that means they will only need 50 votes in the senate, which might mean it would pass as opposed to needing republicans to side with
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them. we're also expecting to see the man who donald trump put in charge of the post office for breaking it. we will see him tomorrow for a house oversight committee. that starts tomorrow morning. it will be a busy day tomorrow. "way too early" is up next. at some point my right arm got wedged between rioters and the railing. i received chemical burns to my face that still have not healed. i witnessed officers being knocked to the ground and hit with various objects that were thrown by rioters. of the events i've worked in my 19 years, this was the worst of the worst. the worst of the worst. harrowing testimony from a capitol police captain, the leadoff witness at the first congressional hearing into the january 6th

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