tv MSNBC Live With Ayman Mohyeldin MSNBC February 25, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
20 percent pure vitamin c. a serum so powerful dark spots don't stand a chance. see what i mean? neutrogena® good afternoon, everyone. 37 days into the biden administration, the president and vice president kamala harris are taking part in an event to commemorate the 50 millionth covid-19 shot. the senate hat confirmed a tenth biden member, jennifer granholm is the new secretary. energy department by a bipartisan vote of 64-35. the white house is one more vote closer to its first defeat with republican senator chuck grassley just coming out against confirming neera attenden.
meanwhile, they're expect to pass a land mark law to protect the lgbtq community from discrimination. and there is a new assistantoff in the halls of congress between marjorie taylor green and a democratic lawmaker with a transgender daughter. and kevin mccarthy is responding to fellow republican liz cheney, publicly contradicting him about whether president trump should be speaking at c-pac this weekend. we start things off right now with nbc news correspondent mike near the white house and jake, founder of punch bowl news and a msnbc political contributor. let's begin with you. last night the white house chief of staff told joy reid that chuck grassley was an open mind voting for tanden. now guess what, grassley is against that confirmation. is this nomination now dead? >> well, ron clain is a very
savvy guy and understands the capital probably better than nibble. it doesn't take much to know he wouldn't be for neera tanden. he's been getting them on assistant united on the items in the coming weeks and months with joe biden in the white house. to think that chuck grassley was going to buck mitch mcconnell and vote for neera tanden at the behest, it is not tied to any reality. there's only one question we need to be asking. will lisa murkowski, the republican from alaska, vote for neera tanden for omb. that's the only question we've been trying to track her around the capitol. she met in the last hour, lisa murkowski, that is, with chuck schumer. and john cornyn surmised that
she would use this, murkowski would use this as an opportunity to let the administration know of some of her gripes with the biden administration over oil drilling and things of that name. so lisa murkowski, in this governing contract, every senator is in play on every issue. so everybody can kind of use this as an opportunity to make their voice known and their preferences be heard. that's the governing dynamic we're in and that's what we'll be dealing with for the next two years. >> let me mail for you another part of what ron clain said to my colleague joy reid last night. >> if neera tanden is not confirmed, she will not be the budget director. we will find another place for her to serve that doesn't need a senate confirmation. >> so does the white house know what position they would put her in if she does not get
confirmed? and do they believe she would accept such a role? >> i was surprised frankly to hear ron klain to go that far to say there was a place for her. otherwise, it has been a real brick wall with her nomination, not willing to show any degree of uncertainty that they'll stand behind her and push this forward. so to open the door was enaddiction i have the of the fact, yes, they do know where this is likely heading. leasesa murkowski is the choice. and one thing we know about joe biden, he served with lisa murkowski for a number of years and he served with her father when he held the same seat for years. so if there is a state among all the states where pet projects back home are important, it will be alaska among many. the question for the white house
is, is it worth leveraging some of murkowski's priorities for tanden's priority or are they already moving forward with the contingency planning. there is a woman nominated to be the deputy omb director who has the support of key players in congress and would likely be the back-up choice. for tanden's future in a biden administration, no indications of where it would be and whether she would want to serve at this point. >> let me ask but another important aspect. the unemployment numbers. 730,000 filed for unemployment last week. that is a stubbornly high trend as we see in it february of thissier. is the white house still trying to persuade any republicans to vote for the covid relief bill tomorrow in the house? is it important to have bipartisanship? >> i think the white house is pretty realistic about the way
republicans on capitol hill are setting up as it relates to this covid relief bill. they've made it clear in both chambers, this is their first opportunity to really show some party unity. what we're seeing from the white house is continuing to press this idea that bipartisanship exists outside of washington. we'll see president biden meet with the national governor's association, including some republican governors as well. you mentioned the vaccine event that they're about to hold here where they'll tout some progress. they can only do it so much to underline the urgency. >> if there was a moment this past week that captures the split among republicans in the future of the party with former president trump, it was this moment where the number three republican in the house, liz cheney, publicly contradicted the top republican in the house, kevin mccarthy saying president trump should not be speaking at
cpac this weekend. mccarthy was asked about that this morning. watch. >> do you think that was necessary for congresswoman cheney to say that in front of the press? >> look, i don't believe in cancel culture, republican or democrat. >> so what is the state of house republican leadership there? are they united? if not on this issue, just generally united? >> no. this is day two of a feud between kenl mccarthy and liz cheney in which he suggested, yes, the president should go to cpac and liz cheney knowing that mccarthy and scalise are both close to president trump said no. he has no role in the future of the party, or the future of our country. that's at a house republican leadership conference. we reported punch bowl news yesterday that mccarthy and cheney had a private conversation about that. about what she said and also further more, i can tell you from my conversations with people in mccarthy's world, they
are not happy with this episode. and this is just me surmising after covering kevin mccarthy for the last decade. i don't think there will be as frequent news conferences in this format going forward. >> she was asked the question. she answered the question. what do you expect her to do? expect her to not answer? >> i don't expect anything. this is not my train to drive, brother. i'm just telling you what's going on. >> that's not a train anybody wants to be on this hour. >> a major moment in history getting underway. house members getting ready to vote on a land mark bill that bans discrimination on the basis of sex, sex discrimination and gender. it adds these protections. joining me now, angie craig of minnesota. she is is co-chair, the first lesbian mother only the elected to congress. she spoke on the floor and is
presiding over part of the vote. thank you so much for your time. we often talk about these bills in abstract times but this is a personal issue for you. tell us why this bill matters to you and your family and what a long journey it has been to get to this day. >> i grew up in rural america and i never thought that this bill would come to the house floor, much less that i would be a member of congress and a mental of the body. my wife cheryl and i, we've built a beautiful life together. we've raised four amazing young sons. and this is just really the fulfillment of a life's work for so many people across our country. >> there is a new gallup survey that finds a record 5.6% of u.s. adults identify as lgbt. that is up from 4.5% in 2017, suggesting that more people are feeling comfortable about coming out.
this act is controversial. many republicans claim it violates religious freedoms. what do you say to those who are using the argument of religious freedom to vote against this bill? >> well, my faith in christianity teaches me that god made all of his children in his image, even the gay ones of us that he made. so i think it is ridiculous. it is the same argument that you would have heard from folks 40 or 50 years ago when we talked about protections for folks raise in the other forms of discrimination. look, lgbtq americans are the only group of citizens who are still not yet protected from discrimination. i live in minnesota. many. these protections are already enshrined into law in minnesota. my wife and i can still receive discrimination based on housing or education or jury service in
many states across this country. >> i have to ask but what happened on capitol hill today. you are probably aware and saw congresswoman marjorie taylor green. she also filed a motion to adjourn before today's vote and this came after congresswoman marie newman put up the transgender flag in support of her transgender daughter outside her office door which happens to be across that of representative green's office. in response, and we have that on our screen, greene put up a sign. there are two genders, male and female. trust the science. there are nine members and two senators openly gay in this congress. what message is that sending them? >> i'm glad my colleague is starting to think about believing in science. that's amazing. i wishl my office had been across from hers so could i put my gay pride flag and my trans pride flag out there.
bullying trans youth in order to get some sort of political point with your base is just absolutely, it is vitriolic. if that's the best use of your time you can figure out to use here, that's why for every single person like my colleague bullying trans youth, we need a million of us to step forward and affirm the lives of trans youth across this country. we see you, we hear you, you matter, you're important. >> and we've been given the two-minute warning for president joe biden and his comments. i apologize if i cut you off. let's turn to covid relief. tomorrow in the house, we're still waiting for the parliamentarian to decide whether it can be in the bill. if it gets the green light, what do you do about democratic senators like joe manchin, those who aren't happy with the provision of a minimum wage? >> you know, look, i don't know what we can do about any other
member of congress. what i will tell you is i represent a district that's 25% democrats, 25% republicans, and 50% people who don't like democrats or republicans. and this bill, this covid relief bill, this american rescue plan has tremendous bynum support at home. and raising the minimum wage and lifting people out of poverty has tremendous support at home. so i hope that every center, republicans and democrats alike, will listen to their constituents. >> do you have those who consider forcing small businesses to lay off workers and minimum wage, is that a side you hear as well? that it could cost up to a million jobs if the minimum wage is increased to $15 an hour? >> what i hear is that you can't survive on $7.25 an hour.
and 15 an hour over several years, minnesota is already above $10 an hour. so i think businesses understand. as long as we give them a land scape for it. they can make all the appropriate business decisions they need to. that $15 an hour is absolutely the minimum we should have in this country as a wage. >> all right. we know you have to go speak on the house floor. thank you for your time. as we mentioned, the president and vice president about to speak. let's cross over now to that event commemorating the 50 middleth shot.
>> thank you. thank you. >> thank you all. dr. fauci, thank you for your leadership. thank you for being here. two weeks ago, i spent some time with you and dr. francis collins, excuse me, the director of the national institutes of health at nih. you gave me a tour of the vaccine research center in bethesda, maryland. it is the place where our top scientists spent years researching and developing vaccines and treatments of all kinds and all kinds of viruses. a brilliant team there made possible the rapid deployment of covid-19 vaccines and they're truly remarkable. this administration will follow the science to deliver more
breakthroughs. you know, we are doing that to beat covid-19 and other diseases like cancer, which is something that is so personal to so many families including me and kamala's and many of yours. we've asked the doctor, revered harvard m.i.t. sints sign, to head the office of science and technology policy and co--lead on adviser science and technology. these are the white house offices that bring together the country's top scientists to address our most pressing needs. and they'll be part of the work to develop an advanced research effort on cancer and other diseases just like we do with the defense department which develops break through projects to secure our national security. and relatedly, i am delighted the see five of the nation's
leading cancer centers are joining forces today to build on the work of the cancer moon shot i was able to do during the obama-biden administration to help break through silos and barriers and cancer research. we're making progress. there is so much we can do. . so progress within our reach and that's why i'm thankful for the folks here today for getting their vaccine shots. gerald, and corey hamilton, both d.c. firefighters. i said to corey, you know, an old expression. god made man and then he made a few firefighters and thank god we have them. linda is the manager of safeway grocery store in bethesda, victoria legerwood rivera, a local school counsellor, and elizabeth callaway is the nurse who administered these shots. the more people who get
vaccinated, the faster we'll beat this pandemic. that's why one of my first goals in office when i, just before i was sworn in, i indicated that my goal was to get one hundred million covid shots in people's arms in my first 100 days in office. at first critics said that goal was too ambitious. no one could do that. then they said it was too small. the bottom line is that america will be the first country, perhaps the only one, to get that done. and today i'm here to report, we're halfway there. 50 million shots in just 37 days since i've become president. that is weeks ahead of schedule, even with the setbacks. recent winter storms which devastated many midwestern cities, towns, and also the south. we're moving in the right direction despite the mess we inherited from a previous administration which left with us no real plan to vaccinate all
americans. every time we administer another 50 million shots, i'm going to use that milestone to report to the american people on our vaccination program and our overall fight against this pandemic. the good and the bad, i'll tell you. success and the failures. and here's the deal. here's the deal. the story of this vaccination campaign is like the story of everything hard and new america does. some confusion and setbacks at the start. and then if we do the right things, we have the right plan to get things moving. that's what we're seeing right now. weeks before i became president, the previous administration saw 6 million shots. this coming week we will administer 12 million shots. double the pace in just six weeks that we've been in office. other mile stones. we've increased vaccination distribution to states by phil%. nearly 60% of people over the
age of 75 have now received at least one shot. it was 14% six weeks ago. and close to 50% of people over the age of 65 have at least one shot now. it was 8% six weeks ago. it is important because people over 65 account for 80% of all the covid deaths. additionally, about 75% of the people who live in long term facilities have gotten their first shot and those cases are at the lowest level since reporting began in may. here's how we've been doing it. it starts with increasing the supply. my team has worked very hard with vaccine manufacturers, pfizer and moderna to ensure we have enough supply for all adult americans by the end of july. when we discovered the vaccine manufacturers weren't being prioritized when it came to securing surprise they needed to
make the vaccine, we fixed the problem. i used the defense production act to speed up the supply chain for key equipment, which has already helped increase vaccine production. last week i toured the pfizer facility, manufacturing facility and the plant in kalamazoo, michigan. it is incredible. the precision, the safety, the pride and the sense of purpose everyone involved. in project has. we've all seen the news about johnson & johnson's vaccine. the idea of a third safe and effective vaccine is very promising. the food and drug administration, the fda, is reviewing the data and review recommendations from outside committee of experts that will be meeting tomorrow. now, let me be clear. we are going to do this the right way. the fda will decide on emergency use authorization of a vaccine based on science, not due to any
political pressure from me or anyone else. no outside factors. what i will say to the american people is this. if the fda approves the use of this new vaccine, we have a plan to roll it out as quickly as possible. we will use every couldn't evable way to manufacture it and make even more rapid progress on overall vaccines in march. i'll have more to say about this in the days after the fda review. look, we've been laser focused on the greatest operational challenge this country has ever undertaken. administering shots in the arms of hundreds of millions of americans. we're increasing the number of vaccinators. what we found was you may have the vaccine but not enough people to put it into someone's arm, like you just saw. we brought back retired doctors and nurses.
we've already deployed more than 1500 medical personnel during national disasters from the federal emergency management agency, fema. and we commissioned our commission corps from the department of health and human services including the national guard supplying vaccinators. we're lining up thousands more to do the vaccinations. we're also setting up more places for people to get vaccinated. as of today, we provided $3.8 billion to states, territories and tribes to create hundreds of new vaccination centers and ramp up the existing ones there already. we're working governors across the country in red and blue states to bolster the efforts to stand up hundreds of vaccination centers from stadiums to community centers, houses of worship, large parking lots. we're providing personnel and equipment and covering the cost for the states, including for
the use of their national guard which is incredible. today, jill and i, i should say, tomorrow, jill and i will travel on houston, texas, to tour one of the first federal mask vaccination centers and to thank everyone involved. this is an example of the kind of partnership between federal, state and local governments and private and public partners to get this job done. we also sent millions of vaccines to thousands of local pharmaies across america to make it easier to get the vaccine shot like they would their flu shot. going to a familiar place, familiar folks they can trust and know to get the shot. for folks who don't live near a vaccination center or a pharmacy, we're deploying mobile units. these are special vehicles and pop-up clinics that meet folks
where they live and where they don't have transportation to get the shots. to get to the places to get the shots. we've also started to send vaccines directly to community health centers to help the hard to reach folks in cities and small towns of rural communities, black, latino, native-american will communities, that have higher deaths than anyone else. in five weeks, manager has administered the most shots of any country in the world. any country in the world. with among the highest percentage of population fully vaccinated. that's progress we promised. it is also true while covid-19 vaccinations are up, covid cases and hospitalizations are coming down. but i need to be honest with you. cases and hospitalizations could go back up with new variants as they emerge. so i want to make something very
clear. this is not a time to relax. we must keep washing our hands, stay socially distanced, and for god's sake, for god's sake, wear a mask. some of our progress in this fight is because so many americans are stepping up and doing those things. the worst thing we could do now is let our guard down. of course, my hope to come back in the next report after we've done another 50 million, another 50 million shots before the end of my first 100 days. but here's the critical point. as hard as it is now to believe, we're going to hit a phase in this effort, maybe as late as april or may, where many predict that instead of long lines of people waiting to get a shot, we'll face a very different scenario. we'll have the vaccine waiting. we'll have ramped up vaccine
supplies. we'll have folks to administer the shots to the most of the people who aren't eager to get the shots. at least that has been the prediction. i don't think that will happen. i think people see others getting the shots, it will build confidence. at the same time, people who live in hard to reach areas who can't get them and there are folks who are hesitant to take shot in the first place. we all know there is a history in this country of subjecting certain communities to terrible medical and scientific abuse. but if there is one message that needs to cut through, it's this. vaccines are safe and effective. and i believe as you see your neighbor, your husband, your wife, your son, your daughter getting it, that you will believe much more inclind to get it. listen to dr. fauci. listen to the scientists who developed the vaccines and the extensive and rigorous review
they went through. i did. i took my shots republicanly to demonstrate to the person people that it is safe and effective. but the time is coming, maybe 60 to 90 days, when the supply is adequate but not enough people can access the shots or don't want them. to address that challenge, we're going to launch a massive campaign to educate people about vaccines. that they are safe and effective. and where to go to get those shots in the first place. we're going to bring together leaders of all segments of society to educate and encourage all to get vaccinated. so i hope the senate will soon confirm a key leader. in effort. my nominee for the secretary of health and human service, javier becerra who did so well in this hearing this week. i hope congress passes the american rescue plan which i've been pushing which provides funds for everything we need to do to beat this pandemic.
get the economy going again. critics say the plan is too big. it costlies too much. but let me ask a rhetorical question. what would you have me cut out? on vaccines alone, if we don't invest 20 billion to vaccinate the nation, doesn't that make sense? or 160 billion total toward the pandemic for testing, to protective gear to vaccine production and distribution? i'm ready to hear any ideas on what will make the rescue plan better, stronger, effective. but we have to answer, who will get helped and who will get hurt? i want to close with this. the question i'm asked most often, when will things get back to normal? my answer is always honest and straightforward. i can't give you a date. i can only promise we'll work as hard as we can to make that day
come as soon as possible. while things relationship proving, and we're going from a mess we inherited to moving in the right direction at a significant speed, this is not a victory lap. everything is not fixed. we have a long way to go. and that day when everything gets back to normal depends on all. us. it depends on congress passing the american recovery act. the recovery plan. and also, for us to remain vigilant, to look out for one another. i've said it before. wash your hands. stay socially distanced. wear a mask. get the vaccine when it is your turn. when your friend or neighbor or loved one is eligible, encourage them to get vaccinated. when all, above all, remember, we can do this. this is the united states of america. there's nothing we can't do when we do it together.
so it's not over yet but we're getting close. god willing if we do all we have to do, we'll beat this, and beat it sooner than later. may god bless us all and may god bless our troops. >> so that was president joe biden accompanied by vice president kamala harris as well as anthony fauci commemorating the 50 millionth vaccine shot, administered in this country. in the 37 days, and let's just see if he'll make any more comments or take questions. it doesn't appear -- it doesn't appear he is taking those questions being shouted at him now by the reporters in attendance. the president there for the 50 millionth shot. he has a target date of a first one hundred days to get 100
million shots. he says we're a long way away despite the setbacks in this country. by the previous administration as well as some of the storm setbacks in recent days. despite that, he remains optimistic warning americans not to let their guards up, urging them to wear masks and continue washing their hands. also with us, mike, doctor, let me begin with you. i thought the president there was interesting, talking about the moment that we find ourselves in. that despite some of the setbacks, some of the challenges from the previous administration, so far on pace to hit the 100 million vaccines in the firls 100 days. what do you make of the sense of the optimism of the president? how do you evaluate how this rollout has been?
>> i think the optimism is warranted. i think covid has not a nasty experience in so many ways. every time we think we're getting ahead, there is a variant. it kills the most vulnerable among us. it has not tough. so i think what president biden is doing is giving us a little moment. hope. he said he would get 100 million shots in 100 days. and i think he is right to say, we're doing some things right even though we have a ways to go. >> he also laid out this interesting scenario where at the end of the first 100 days, he could see a scenario by april or may where the opposite is happening. we have a surplus in vaccines but a hesitancy among certain communities, and among certain people who would be reluctant to get the vaccine. >> yeah.
it is an interesting conundrum when we're in. with we first started vaccinating, we were really focused on vaccine hesitation and mistrust. i'm not calling it unfair questioning because people have fair questions to ask. people are jumping to go get the vaccine. they're wondering why the lines are so long and so hard. if we have to get to 70% vaccinated for herd immunity, we need to push the vaccine. so many are refusing to get it. so we know we'll hit this point where most of the early doctors have gotten vaccinated and quite a few folks lagging behind. it is why it matters so much that we have trusted messengers. that's your primary care doctors, your grandma who got the vaccine, people you trust. it may not be dr. fauci, america's doctor. it may not be president biden. but we have to make sure every
person to fight covid feels like they can help their community about vaccine questions to take it. because president biden is right. we'll get to this point where we're already ready to go. and then folks are like, not sure if i want to take the vaccine. >> yes, a point that was echoed the president made, if you see a loved one, a spouse, a son or daughter. i have to ask but two issues the president raised. he is using the back drop of this 50 millionth vaccine. as well as the nomination of javier becerra, which is still, should i say, has not yet been confirmed, though everyone remains optimistic from the president's tone. what do you make. president bringing in these two issues front and center with today's event? >> it is really interesting when you think about what we saw in
kalamazoo, michigan, when the president was there visiting the pfizer vaccine plant. we heard an echo of it today. a very fine line this president has to walk to make sure they're getting some measure. credit for the progress that we've seen. the very real progress that he's highlighting from the situation they inherited from former president trump. also using it as a call for action to press the case for his $1.9 trillion covid relief bill and in this case, the nomination of javier becerra. one thing we talked about, the precarious state of neera attenden's nomination. that has become a heat shield for some of the rest of the cabinet. and he didn't really have any major missteps and even
republican senators after the fact were acknowledging that he was very likely to be confirmed. he might not get what we've seen for most of biden's nominees, jennifer granholm today, upwards of 60 votes, a lot of them have had 70 and above, javier becerra likely to be a tighter vote but it does appear he's on a glide path of confirmation, and hopefully it is sooner rather than later. >> i feel like we've gotten used to the line the president says. he talks about the size. covid relief bill but then he talks about, what would they have me cut out? i've heard that line multiple times before. almost word for word. he's really trying to put the ownus on some republicans to join this effort to get the bill out. it doesn't seem it will be a bynum effort so far. >> clearly not. but that's not stopping the white house from doing everything they can on broadcast this message into local markets
including strategically positioned local markets with republican senators, republican members of congress across the country. and also, talking to republican governors as he will later today. he'll meet with a republican governor when he visits texas tomorrow. greg abbott, of course we don't expect him to express his support for the covid relief man but biden will be using that visit to visit one of the vaccination sites. and it is building up the program as well as testing other measures the white house is trying to make the case despite all the progress we're seeing in tackling this pandemic. nowhere close to behind us. this white house has been very sensitive about the goals that he established heading into the transition period, ahead of inauguration. among them was 100 million vaccinations in one hundred days. the next one which is looking tougher is getting schools reopened by the end of his first
one hundred days. at least k-8. as much as republicans want to criticize, they can get into the position of schools reopening. that's where a lot of funding is as well. >> thank you. alexei navalny has been moved from prison. we'll have a live report from moscow coming up. but first, a quick check on wall street before the markets closed. stocks are down sharply as a surge in bond yields spooked invefltors. the dow is down more than 600 points. the nasdaq down more than 5% for the week so far. han 5% for the week so far. i have an idea for a trade. oh yeah, you going to place it? not until i'm sure. why don't you call td ameritrade for a strategy gut check? what's that?
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joining me now, good to have you with us. what do we know about navalny's current status? what is the government saying if anything? >> reporter: the government isn't saying anything at all. we've spoken to his lawyer who said he went to the prison as they do every day. this afternoon, he waited there for three hours and only at the end of that three-hour period was he told that navalny had been transferred to another prison but he hasn't been told where. and it is quite unlikely that we now won't know his whereabouts for a good few weeks while he is being transferred to somewhere in russia's penal colony system. and it could be in a very remote location. his lawyers say he expected it to be somewhere in central russia but that's a vast, vast territory. he'll be taken by train. he may overnight be in transit stations overnight as they wait for another train to come. it is a long process. only when he gets to the prison,
his final destination, is he allowed to tell his relatives where he is. as you say, this was only a matter of time. he lost his appeal against his two and a half years sentence on saturday. he's always said the him, an em charge, were politically motivated. the kremlin has refused his release. his chief of staff said weeks of uncertainty will be a nervous, challenging time. his press secretary said, for anybody, this is a gray zone, a nasty time. but for alexei navalny, it's also extremely dang lutz, knowing what he's been put think. diana, thank you. we are following breaking news. nbc news confirms that cy vance
is now in possession of former president trump's tax returns. a spokesperson telling nbc news that the subpoena for trump's tax documents was enforced on monday, just hours after the supreme court declined to block a new york grand jury from getting them. joining me now is tom winter. i know you've been covering this story since the beginning. what happening now. >> ayman, you would think -- that the hard part would be over for the manhattan district attorney's office. in fact that's probably not just the case. speaking with former prosecutors, the work here is just beginning. a person fall with the matter telling nbc news there have been millions of pages of documents that have been handed over. they're going to have to first start with a timeline. basically what they're going to need to establish is what documents were shared with whom and when? specifically with banks, with insurance companies, and also
the state of new york from a tax front. what were the communication at those times. who was telling whom to do what, to present what, and were there -- was there anything presented there that resulted in any sort of fraud or projection of fraud? they're going to have to look at that. they're going to have to go through the documents, find out the intent. it's not just enough, as our legal expert chuck rosenberg points out in our story on one of the our -- you have to say more specific and point out exactly what is false. there's a lot of work that needs to go into this. it will be a long time before we hear, rather, whether there will be charges. obviously then even longer after that before we see any of this, ayman. >> tom winter, thank you for that update. in the aftermath of the
deadly winter storms across texas, senator cruz is not the only one facing criticism. it can it can attorney general ken paxton was seen earlier this week for the first time since the power crisis began, at austin's airport. he was returning from a trip to utah for what he said was a previously planned meeting. senator john cornyn's staff said he was stranded in washington, d.c. because of airport closures and canceled flights, but he was working to help his constituents back home. joining me now, alison barber. good to have you with us. there were two hearings in the texas statehouse and senate today about those blackouts. what did we learn, if anything? >> reporter: yeah, texas, kind of the trend has been there's a lot more questions than answers, but today we have seen legislatures in the house and the senate here in austin to try to get more clarity on what went
wrong and how to prevent it in the future. the senate hearing, which has lasted for hour focused on questioning and term from the president and ceo of ercot, the people in charge of overseeing the grid. one of the questions the legislature had had to do with preparation and some of the things we saw happen as the cold weather rolled in with equipment freezing. senators, like many people in texas, wanted to know why the equipment wasn't winterized, and ercot essentially claims they don't have that authority. >> we're not a regulator. the things we operate until, the market rules -- we have the authority to take actions for and again people if they have not operated until the market rules, but not penalties. it's just doing what is in the market rules. it's a long answer, but no, we
don't have the authority. >> meaning you don't have any enforcement? >> nom. >> they can decide to take up your recommendations or guidelines for weatherization or not? >> that. >> they can skimp on that if they want to. >> reporter: we have seen and heard politicians and community members point the finger at ercot, the deaths, and countless pain and drama, as well as the money from damages. ercot is kind of the group to blame here. we have seen members of the board step down, all of them saying they were leaving because they lived out of state and have been publicly criticized because of that. what we heard today from the ceo is essentially a defense of ercot. he says they did everything they could. they were minuted away from seeing the entire system go down in texas with a total blackout
that could have lasted weeks and months, and that they operated within the rules and the bounds of the market in texas. ayman? >> ellison, really quickly, do you get there's any sense of accountability from the hearings today? >> reporter: it's hard to tell right now. what i can tell you is we spoke to the harris county attorney. and also here in travis county, the district attorney, they are both launches investigations. in harris county they are looking at whether or not civil acts should be brought and potential passing on information for criminal charges should somebody be warranted. not yet, but they're trying to get there. >> ellison, thank you. i'll see you right back here tomorrow. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace starts right after this quick break. nicolle t after this quick break but the right pad can. only always ultra thins have rapiddry technology and, they absorb 40% faster. the gush happens fast.
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♪♪ hi there, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. today in a congressional hearing, a brand-new warning from the acting capitol police chief about the same groups who stormed the capitol on january 6th, this one about targeting president biden's first official address to congress during which the vice president and every member of congress will be in attendance. the warning from acting police chief yogananda pittman raises questions about