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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  February 25, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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that is going to do it for us tonight. i will tell you that here at the rachel maddow show, a senior producer on the show hemmed production tonight has been really running things, is about 30 seconds from giving birth. and so i just want to say a big shout out to my staff, more than usual tonight. the producers are always amazing, but to senior producer jen who did an amazing job tonight under incredibly stressful circumstances while being essentially on the precipice of giving birth, i don't know what the bonus that's appropriate for this is, but i at least have to embarrass you about it on tv.
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that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening. >> what is your name, sir good evening, rachel. jen once again goes above and beyond the call of duty. >> seriously. first of all, she is, like, the crisis manager of the staff in every circumstance, but at this point she's 15 months pregnant as far as i can tell. it's going to happen, we're there, and she's running everything, calm as a cucumber while you blew through two commercial breaks. >> you know how much work i put in if i had to go through one day of pregnancy. >> me too. >> guys wouldn't be showing up for work, i can promise you that. >> nor me. nor me, my friend. >> you're a good soldier. thank you, rachel. thank you. >> we are covering two breaking news stories tonight, and we have the perfect expert guests who cover both of those subjects
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in our opening discussion tonight. joe biden offered his first military strike today. american officials told "the new york times" it, quote, was essentially a tiny demonstration strike, one bomb cropped on a small cluster of buildings on the syria/iraq border, used to transit militia fighters and weaponry in and out of the country. the pentagon press secretary, john kirby, said these strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against american and coalition personnel in iraq. the buildings in syria were reportedly used by iranian-backed groups launching attacks against american personnel in iraq. "the new york times" reports, quote, the pentagon offered up several larger groups of targets but mr. biden approved the smallest option, american officials said. pentagon press secretary john kirby said this proportionate,
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the operation sends an unambiguous message, president biden will act to protect american coalition personnel. at the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern syria and iraq. the other big breaking news of the night is senate parliamentarian elizabeth mcdunn nah privately announced her ruling to senate staff that a minimum wage increase would violate the budget reconciliation rules of the senate if it is included in the biden covid relief bill in the senate. white house press secretary jen psaki immediately released this statement. president biden is disappointed in this outcome as he proposed having the $15 minimum wage as part of the american rescue plan. he respects the parliamentarian's decision and the senate's process. he will work with leaders in congress to determine the best path forward because no one in this country should work full
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time and live in poverty. he urges congress to move quickly to pass the american rescue plan, which includes $1,400 rescue checks for most americans, funding to get this virus under control, aid to get our schools reopened and desperately needed help for the people who have been hardest hit by this crisis. the house of representatives is scheduled to vote on the bill tomorrow with the minimum wage included in the house bill. now, it is common for the house of representatives to remove provisions when they know in advance that they will be stripped from the senate bill because of a ruling by the senate parliamentarian, if that parliamentarian's ruling comes in advance, as it did. but in a written statement tonight, house speaker nancy pelosi said the ruling from the senate parliamentarian is disappointing. house democrats believe that the minimum wage hike is necessary. therefore, this provision will remain in the american rescue plan on the floor tomorrow.
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the senate parliamentarian's argument for including the minimum wage in the senate bill, the arguments about that was led by the staff of the senate budget committee chairman, bernie sanders. the argument was strong enough that it took the senate parliamentarian days to make a decision on an issue that was never even previously remotely considered as something that would fit within the senate budget reconciliation rules. chairman sanders issued a written statement tonight saying i strongly disagree with tonight's decision by the senate parliamentarian. yet because of the archaic and undemocratic rules of the senate, we are unable to move forward to end starvation wages in this country and raise the income of 32 million struggling americans. that fight continues. in what was the most important news of this morning, which seems like a long time ago now,
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the acting u.s. capitol police chief, yogananda mittman, told a house hearing that the reason the capitol grounds are still surrounded by a fence topped with barbed wire and protected by the national guard is because the people who attacked the capitol for donald trump on january 6th would like to blow up the capitol for donald trump during president biden's yet unscheduled first address to congress. >> we know that the insurrectionists that attacked the capitol weren't only interested in attacking members of congress and officers. they wanted to send a symbolic message to the nation as of who was in charge of that legislative process. we know members of the militia groups that were present on january 6th have stated their desires that they want to blow up the capitol and kill as many members as possible with a
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direct nexus to the state of the union, which we know that date has not been identified. so based on that information, we think that it's prudent that captain police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward. >> after that hearing this morning, the chairman of that subcommittee, tim ryan, revealed in an interview that federal prosecutors are now investigating possible reconnaissance missions in the capitol led by republican members of congress or their staffs for visitors in the capitol, some of whom then attacked the capitol on january 6th. >> i was wondering if you've gotten any update about concerns about any house members giving tours to rioters on jonathan 5th, if that's still seen as a concern and contributing factor to what happened on the 6th, and
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whether a threat level of other members of congress is a concern. >> yeah. thanks for asking that. that is in the hands of the u.s. attorney here in d.c. now. they are reviewing the footage. that whole case is with the u.s. attorney, so we don't have any visibility on that at all. but we know that they are looking at it and it's been turned over to them. >> leading off our discussion tonight, democratic congressman jason crow of colorado and mikey sherrill of new jersey, members of the house armed services committee. congresswoman sheryl, let me begin with you on what we just heard from tim ryan. you were among the first to say you thought you saw what looked to you to possibly be reconnaissance missions in the capitol the day or days before january 6th. can you tell us if you have been
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contacted by federal prosecutors about that investigation? >> lawrence, i've spoken to federal investigators, i've told them everything i know and now that is under investigation. >> and what is -- what is your sense if you can tell us about what the elements of that investigation include? does it include possible investigation of members of congress? >> i don't want to go any further than that. like i said, i turned everything over to them and i know now it's an active investigation. >> let me also -- you rely on your military experience and your position on the armed services committee to get your reaction to the air strike that president biden ordered today. >> you know, i mean, this is -- it was almost ike a weight had been lifted off my shoulders as those of us who served know, when a president makes decisions as commander in chief, it
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affects so many troops on the ground. and to have a commander in chief in office who obviously looked carefully at his options, did not escalate the situation, we did not hear about this on twitter, he looked at the ways in which he could ensure that you can't attack u.s. troops with impunity. you can't simply attack u.s. troops without any response, and yet the response that he decided upon was measured. he looked to de-escalate the situation, not bring us to the brink of war. you know, as a member of the house armed services committee with representative crow, we'll continue looking at this and seeing the further developments and what needs to take place in the aftermath of this. but from what i've seen so far, it seems like a very measured and thoughtful response. >> and congressman crow to you and your combat experience and your position on the armed services committee, your reaction to the president's air strike, the first one he's
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ordered today. >> yeah, thanks, lawrence, for having us on tonight this is my view of that. we spent the last four years witnessing a stunning abdication of responsibility by members of congress vis-a-vis their responsibility to be a check and balance on the executive. our responsibility is not to rubber stamp what the president does, whether it's republican or democratic president. we saw the gop basically do whatever president trump wanted to do over the last four years. so, you know, the bottom line line for me is do i have more confidence in president biden in doing the right thing and actually trying to do a measured response and appropriate response to protect our country? yes. but in the same way that we didn't criticize donald trump simply because he was a republican, i'm not going to look at this and say, you know, yes, this is the right thing to do by president biden simply because he's a democrat. my responsibility is to look
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into the intelligence to conduct appropriate oversight. that's what we're going to as members of the armed services committee. we're going to make sure this was done right and all indications are that it was. but that's our responsibility. >> representative sheryl, did you have any information at the armed services committee before today that the president was considering a strike like this? >> i had not heard that he was considering this strike from the armed services committee. >> let's turn to what we've learned about the minimum wage and the covid relief bill. it is not going to be in the senate bill. the parliamentarian is going to rule that it violates senate rules. it would take 60 votes to overrule the vote through a vote of the senate. those votes don't exist. so as of tonight we know, there's no question about it, it will not survive, will not be in the senate bill. what should the house do about that?
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speaker pelosi said tonight she intends tomorrow to bring it to a vote with the minimum wage provision in it. has there been any consideration to try to send to the senate the bill in a form that they could actually pass, taking it directly from the house? >> lawrence, i serve on the education and labor committee, and i have to tell you, it is high time we passed minimum wage. we have a pathway to that in new jersey. i was a life guard in the late '80s earning $7.25. i'm sure many people would be surprised to hear that is the federal minimum wage. as i was on the education and labor committee, i heard people talking about what a great first job. in many cases, this is not people's first job. over half of the people that are working at minimum wage jobs are between the ages of 25 and 54. 6 in 10 are women, and we know that over a quarter of the people working in minimum wage
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jobs have children. so this is supporting families and it's supporting them at poverty level. we know there's no district in the nation where you can afford a modest two-bedroom apartment on the current minimum wage salary working 40 hours a week. so it's really time that we move this forward. we have a bill together, we're intending to pass it on friday. i'm not sure we know at this point what the senate is going to do. there's several pathways that they have before them. i think that sometimes we think the senate's going to do something based on what we hear and then we send bills over and they do something different. so i think we got to get this bill to them and get it passed as quickly as possible. >> i understand how mysterious the senate appears to be from the house of representatives, and i want to assure you having worked in the senate, the house appears to be equally mysterious to people who work in the senate. it's as if they're thousands of miles apart instead of feet
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away. let's look at last night about this situation with the parliamentarian. >> we're going to honor the rules of the senate and work within that system to get this bill passed. this is a $1.9 trillion package that is vital to getting this country in a position to crush the virus, in a position to get people vaccinated, in a position to get to schools open, and to help all those people that you talked about at the start of the show. we are going to get this package passed. that's our highest priority. we want the minimum wage as part of it. that's what the president proposed. but we're going to work with the senate to get this package passed. >> so congressman crow, ron klain saying there's absolutely no chance of vice president harris in her role as president of the senate overruling the parliamentarian. that's not going to happen. the parliamentarian's ruling is going to stand. so minimum wage won't be in the bill in the senate. the last time the minimum wage was increased, it was inserted
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in what everyone calls a must-pass bill, it was basically inserted in a defense spending bill and it passed the senate with 80 votes. that looks like the way it'll have to be done this year at some point. >> well, the bottom line is we have to do the right thing and the right thing is to provide relief to the american people and raise the minimum wage. people are struggling. they're barely getting by. i haven't had a single person in the community that i represent talk to me about reconciliation or the senate rules or the process. they just want relief. they want this done. you know, that's what people on main street in my community are talking about. i remember when i was a veteran returning from the war in iraq and afghanistan. and i remember, you know, all the -- we support our troop signs and the yellow ribbons that i came home to. but i couldn't find a job.
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i couldn't get my veterans benefits. i couldn't barely afford to pay for my rent. that's the situation our frontline health care workers, our service industry workers, the people that have been bearable getting by that have been making this country run are facing right now. so the bottom line is they need relief. we need to get them relief. and we need to figure out how to get it done. >> representative sheryl, we have heard republican members of congress complaining about why the capitol looks like an armed encampment with barbed wire fence and national guard still around. we learned today in this hearing that the acting chief of capitol police said oh, that's because the trump supporters who attacked the capitol have been planning to blow up the capitol when joe biden delivers an address there. >> well, i think that when you have the former president of the united states who incited an
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angry mob to attack congress, to attack me and jason quite frankly, as we were doing our constitutional duty of certifying the election, you have to put up some protections. when the party -- when i don't think republicans as a whole have come to terms with what happened on january 6th and have in many cases not taken appropriate steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again, then certainly you are going to see other measures to protect the capitol. we are not going to let the capitol be attacked again. >> thank you both for starting off our discussion tonight. really appreciate it. >> thanks for having us. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up, more on the breaking parliament tear news of the night, which is challenging political news. a minimum wage increase cannot be included in the relief bill. but nancy pelosi says she's still going to include it knit house bill. president biden says he respects
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the parliamentarian's ruling. senate budget committee chairman bernie sanders says he disagrees with it. what happens next? john heilemann and alex wagner will join us. boise... ...and even bakersfield. yeah, we're exhausted. whew! so, tonight... i'll be eating the gyro quesadilla from...al quick stop...in... hyde park. (doorbell) excellent. and, tonight... i'll be eating the chicken pot pie from...founding farmers...in... foggy bottom. (doorbell) (giggle) oh, they're excellent. i had so many beignets i thought i was going to hurl. do ya think they bought it? oh yeah. there it is... “the extra mile.” on the border of expected do y and extraordinary. it? for those willing to go further. like vans customized for work or play. with safety and tech to keep you connected. supported by a five-star sales, service and finance team. and backed by the one star you know.
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. part of what the president and i are offering as part of the relief is the american rescue plan to say it can't only be on folks. it has to be all of us working together. so that's what everybody needs to do as an individual, get the vaccine, social distancing, wash your hands. what we need to do is fas american rescue plan. >> passing that covid relief bill with a minimum wage increase in it has o now become virtually virtually impossible tonight with the senate parliamentarian ruling that a minimum wage provision cannot be included in a budget reconciliation bill. according to the senate's parliamentary rules. the same parliamentary rules do not apply in the house of
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representatives. house speaker nancy pelosi issued a statement tonight saying the senate parliamentarian ruling was disappointing and, quote, this provision will remain in the american rescue plan on the floor tomorrow. president biden is rewriting the washington formula for bipartisan. "the washington post" reports in his first five weeks in office, president biden is spending as much time if not more courting republican governors as he is wooing the senators he needs to pass legislation. here's what president biden said today in a meeting of the national governors association. >> in every one of your states and territories, millions of americans are hurting badly. we just have to step up. the economic toll, we have to address with the same aggression and seriousness and purpose as we do the virus. that's what the american rescue plan does. instead of chasing covid-19, it allows us to get ahead of it. the plan was created to create
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the things you collectively asked me for in conversation. the only way to contain this pandemic is passing the plan as quickly as possible. the vast majority of the american people from both parties support it according to the data. i'm grateful that many of you democrats and republicans expressed support we'll. we are not the type of nation that can or will stand by and watch our people suffer needlessly through no fault of their own. >> joining us now are john heilemann, nbc and msnbc national affairs analyst and host of the hell and high water podcast. alex wagner, contributing writer at the "atlantic," boast cohosts of show time's "the cuss." alex wagner, things just got complicated for both the house of representatives and the senate because the senate parliamentarian has ruled that you cannot include the minimum wage increase in the senate
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bill. that means in the end it's not going to be in the legislation. but the house is going to vote tomorrow, according to nancy pelosi, on a version of the bill that includes the minimum wage. what happens next? >> you know, i think that no matter what happens, progressive democrats aren't giving up on this. bernie sanders said he may try to tweak the language so that large corporations will not get tax credits, tax writeoffs if they don't pay their workers more than $15 an hour. that's his end run around this. i think that's probably unlikely to be in final passage, who actually knows. but i spent a day on the hill with house progressives and they're saying, look, if this is isn't in the final relief bill, we're going to pass a stand-alone raising of the federal minimum wage. and there are two goals in that, lawrence. one is to actually raise the federal minimum wage, and the other is to abolish the filibuster, which is actually
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the shiny apple at the end of the road for progressives as much as the federal minimum wage. house progressives believe that if they have a stand-alone bill to raise the federal minimum wage, they will pass it, they will send it to the senate, and then the question will be on the front doorstep of our political system. do we abide by the rules of the filibuster, which would kill that federal minimum wage raise, or widow do we actually use in a moment, this inflection point to abolish the filibuster, which is something the biden administration has been asked about, which is democrats would like to do. this will lead to a bigger fight over one of the biggest procedural hurdles to passing major progressive legislation in the biden era. >> jon heilemann, sounds like joe biden and chuck schumer have to swerve away from that fight because we know how it will turn out. the filibuster would not be overturned. there would not be 50 votes for that. and the way to do it is to make as fast a move as they can on a
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plan for including the minimum wage in something like a defense spending bill, a so-called must-pass bill. the congress has must-pass bills, and that's how they raised it last time. that's the only way they're ever going to raise it, put it in something republicans have to vote for. >> yeah, and something that the parliamentarian will rule as -- we'll get around this issue of trying to put it in reconciliation and, therefore, at the whim or discretion of the parliamentarian. and i think, you know, alex is putting her hand on -- her finger on one of the fundamental -- not just there's that ideal disjuncture between moderates and progressives in the democratic caucus, also one that's a disjuncture between the house and senate, right? no one in the world is more frustrated with the senate,
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particularly with the parliamentarian at the moment than house progressives in the democratic caucus. the reality is that there are not enough votes to pass the minimum wage hike to $15 with democratic reluctance in the senate. there's not enough votes in the senate to overturn the filibuster, so the question becomes how do they find another way to get the minimum wage hike which is overwhelmingly popular around the country, whether that number is $15 or below that. that is where chuck schumer and joe biden are going to go. joe biden doesn't have the stomach to try to overturn the filibuster. so i think that's what we're going to get is the solution that you just laid out. >> yeah, i'm completely in in favor of getting rid of the filibuster rules, but i know the votes aren't there to do it. in the meantime, alex, the enthusiasm for passing what they can pass is the challenge for joe biden and the speaker and chuck schumer to maintain.
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joe biden's statement tonight was i respect the ruling of the parliamentarian, and then he went on to stress everything else in this bill that is great, the $1,400 checks and the covid vaccine help, all of the other things that are worth voting for, and that's going to be his message for the next 24 hours and beyond. >> absolutely. you know, i think that the wisdom you hear from democrats on the hill, both moderate and progressive, is we're not going to let perfect by the enemy of the good. the package is $1.9 trillion in funding that touches so many aspects of the american economy. i don't think there's a single democrat who doesn't want to see it pass. not just because ideologically it dovetails with their entire agenda but because they believe they have the vast support of the american public, including republicans. i was talking to house leadership, and they marvel at the fact that republicans won't vote for this. they look at the very naked reality that americans are going to get checks for $1,400.
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donald trump understood what a political gift that was to the party that passes it. that's why he wanted his party to do it. the fact that the republicans won't play ball, there's no fingertips on stimulus checks that will go to american people families along with earned income tax credits, child tax credits, the average family of four could get $10,000 in stimulus checks and in tax credits. that is a major boon. that is not something american voters forget. that's why you've seen such remarkable unity from the democratic caucus on both ends of the spectrum on this. they will pass this bill. they will pass this bill. >> nobel prize winner was on with rachel in the last hour and is in favor of this bill, including the minimum wage hike. rachel asked him with the minimum wage hike removed from the bill, how good is the bill, and here is what paul krugeman said.
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>> this is a -- i mean, i'm kind of almost pinching myself. i can't believe that we're about to get a bill that is as good -- it's not perfect, especially -- i missed the minimum wage. but we're about to get a bill that is as good as it appears we're going to get. >> we might invite paul krugeman to talk to the democratic caucus on this if they have to eventually vote on final passage of a bill that doesn't have the minimum wage increase. >> yeah. you pointed it the right way. there's a lot of enthusiasm for the bill. it's pan about an amazing how the biden administration with a bill this big that normally would have a lot of political risks or a lot of democrats, they managed to get to this place where they have this overwhelming public support. they had a unified caucus in the house, mostly unity in the senate on the key elements aside the minimum wage on everything else, right? things have been going so well,
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in the same way paul krugeman is pitching for how good the bill is, a lot of people in the white house are pinching they must how flawlessly this has unfolded for them on the political side until this parliamentarian ruling. for their goal in terms of the messaging and paul krugeman helps them with this, keep your eye on the ball. don't get in the weeds. to alex's phrase, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good and keep this level of enthusiasm, keep this momentum going. the notion in politics that good gets better and best worst, keep building on get these points on the board right now, get that momentum going forward, get this bill done, $1.9 trillion and lay down a template for the next thing you want to do, a $3 trillion infrastructure bill. don't trip over your own shoe laces on the way to that. i think they have a pretty good chance of getting that done. democrats can get distracted and in the weeds. i don't think there's a high risk that have right now. there's a lot of focus on a lot
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of concentration on how important it is to get this bill passed. and on the merits, as krugeman lays out, it's a strong bill. >> the costars of sunday night's must-watch show time's can the the circus, thank you for being in a hotel where your window tells us exactly where you are for once. >> i brought it for you, lawrence. i brought it tonight, there you go. >> thank you. i know which hotel that is. thank you very much. coming up, ben rhodes has been in the room when the the president is deciding on a proportionate response. ben rhodes will take us inside the room and tell us how that decision is made. that's next. i'm super emma. but when we realized she was battling sensitive skin,
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tonight, defense secretary lloyd austin said this about the
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first air strike ordered by president joe biden today, which targeted buildings in syria used by iranian-backed forces. here's what the defense secretary said. >> we're confident that that target was being used for the same shia militia that conducted the strikes. we were deliberate about our approach, as you would expect us to be. we allowed and encouraged the iraqis to investigate and develop intelligence, and that was very helpful to us in refining the target. >> joining us now is ben rhodes, former deputy national security adviser to president obama. he's now an msnbc political analyst. you've billion about an in the room when these things have been considered and rejected and when they've been decided upon. what do you think it was like today for the president to make this choice? and the latest reporting on it is that it was a specific
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response to a specific action taken by those iranian-backed forces. >> look, it's the first time that joe biden has issued an order like this. even though he was in the room for eight years in these kinds of decisions, that's a big deal. and it's inside of syria, so that's also a big deal. but i think what you can tell is that there was a rigorous process here. there was an event where an iranian-backed militia killed a contractor working with u.s. military, injured others. the military clearly worked out a set of options for joe biden to consider. lloyd austin was the commander of u.s. forces in iraq. he was a commander of central command in the obama administration launching the war against isis in iraq. and joe biden based on the reports did not pick the most aggressive option here. he wanted to send a response and try to end the cycle of escalation, the risk, of course, is when you take a shot like this, there could be a
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rere-prizele and you could face escalation. >> the reports are that president biden chose the most minimal of the military responses. but my question about a meeting like this in deciding how to respond to this. is there someone in that room advocating no military response a response other than a military action? >> well, lawrence, what you would have is a military that worked up three options and the more robust option would have targeted other refresh your recollection associated with this militia perhaps in syria. and usually there's a lot of momentum to do something, particularly when there's been an attack on u.s. forces in iraq. this would be against an iranian-supported target inside syria. this could escalate thing with iran, including at a time when they're pursuing nuclear deals. you might have precaution saying this could prevent the success of diplomacy and escalate a military conflict.
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this raises legal questions, but my guess is that given that this was a specific response to a specific attack against u.s. forces in iraq, there probably was pretty broad consensus for some kind of response. and joe biden took a proportional response. >> is the state department typically represented in this kind of discussion? or is it in effect represented through the national security adviser? >> no, i would assume, lawrence, that everybody is at the table in the situation room. i worked with a lot of these people. they're process oriented, which we didn't see in the trump years. you would have a meeting in the situation room virtually maybe these days, with the secretary of state involved as well as the accessibility defense and the commander of the joint chiefs, and kamala harris, the vice president. this obviously being the first type of decision like this the she's participated in. i would assume he wants to hear
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from the advisers and then make the call. >> a secretary of state of trying to put the iran nuclear deal back together, which is to say get the united states participation back in line with it. this has to be a very, very difficult situation for everyone who's concerned with putting the iran nuclear deal back together. >> yeah, they're weighing all manner of different conditions in the region right now, including pursuing diplomacy with iran, including what we expect to have tomorrow with saudi arabia, including some of these ongoing attacks in iraq. but the thing is all of these people, nearly all of them, were present in the obama administration when there was a negotiation that led to a nuclear agreement, even as we did occasionally have these kinds of incidents inside of iraq. what's different here is this one is inside of syria. so in the past this team has seen that you can do what is necessary to protect u.s. forces even if it means taking a shot at iranian proxy, while at the same time trying to deal with the nuclear issue through
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diplomacy. >> ben rhodes, it's invaluable to hear from someone with your experience in the room in these situations. thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. >> thank you. donald trump is famously bad at sleeping. he has chronic insomnia, always has. and he will try to fall asleep tonight knowing that his tax returns are now finally in the hands of criminal prosecutors in new york city. that's next. think you're managing your moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's disease? i did. until i realized something was missing...me. my symptoms were keeping me from being there for him. so, i talked to my doctor and learned... humira is for people who still have uc or crohn's symptoms after trying other medications. and humira helps people achieve remission that can last, so you can experience few or no symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections, including tuberculosis, and cancers,
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life. he spent the last year and a half telling judges, including supreme court justices, that he appointed that a president should never have to hand over his tax returns to prosecutors, even though prior presidents willingly handed over their tax returns to the public. no previous president has ever been the subject of a criminal investigation until donald trump. now donald trump and his businesses are being investigated by the manhattan district attorney who has hired a high-profile special counsel to study the trump tax returns along with a forensic accounting firm. they will soon find out why donald trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes while president and zero before he was president. manhattan district attorney cyrus vance's investigation spans from hush payments to possible bank fraud and insurance fraud.
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investigators are focusing on the roles of donald trump jr., eric trump, and ivanka trump, along with allen weissleberg, the trump organization's chief financial officer. our next guest, tim o'brien, is one of the very few people who have ever seen a >> trump has spent decades fortifying arnold his finances and texas returns has been broken and vance's investigation appears to be broad enough to pose a serious threat to the president, his three eldest children. tim o'brien who has seen the texas returns joining us next. texas returns joining us next. alright, i brought in ensure max protein... ...to give you the protein you need with less of the sugar you don't (grunting noise)
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donald trump will try to sleep tonight knowing that manhattan district attorney cyrus vance has in mishands several million pages of trump tax returns and records.
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similar o'brien, senior columnist, the author of trump nation. just for the audience's benefit, when trump sued you for libel, which we lost, you got a chance to see tax returns, and the last eight years of tax returns. >> right what i saw was the early 2000s to the mid 200 on 0s and he has 2011 to 2019. i think it's unfortunate he doesn't have the earlier years because there is a lot of information in the 2000s. but this is better than nothing. we talked about the topic now i think for five years so you and i will sleep better tonight, and trump won't sleep better
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tonight. >> tim this is the reason i always thought he wasn't going to run for president. i didn't think they would get exposed through subpoenas through criminal prosecutors trying to find trump business crimes. the reporting indicates because it's the trump company, that includes his children. wieselberg who is basically the chief accountant of trump world, and someone who apparently knows everything and if he is in legal trouble, can he offer what he knows about donald trump as his way of surviving the legal trouble he might be in? >> of course he can. it's like he will had will. the thing to focus on, it's not just the tax records that cy vance has now. he probably has reams and reams
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of the accountant's work product. this is a criminal attempt, and anyone who has fallen under the investigation, and if there are emails and notes what about they intended to do when they inflated the value of buildings so they could get loans again them and deflated them so they can play lower taxes on and it there is communication that is gold for a prosecutor. that is the stuff they can educate a grand jury with. and i think trump's been well aware of that. that is why he is resisting it for so long with the bar gage executions of being under an audit or being victimized by all this. he is very afraid of what's in
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the documents, i think. >> if it's email, we know the email is not profr trump because he doesn't do email. but it would likely did an allen wiseelberg email saying this is the way we are going to do it. and what he is proposing is not exactly legal, and as the prosecutors zoom in, he will be faced with, do i tell them to trump told me to do this? and it's possible that he didn't tell them. >> there is reference -- this would be references in the email, even if trump is not the author of the email. you know, and i think a lot of this will turn out how aggressive cy vance chooses to be. he had the trumps in front of
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them for a fraud case in the past and he let them go with a slap on the wrist. there is no indication given the fire power he has assembled now he is going to back off. but one of the issues, he is going to be leaving office this fall. 's going to be a new manhattan d.a. will he will try to move forward to get some of it nailed down prior prior to that? i don't know how quickly he can move. really will depend on how steely and aggressive he wants to be. it's a state investigation. there are no federal parameters to protect trump and he is really in deal on that one. >> in the middle of sit the stormy daniels case, and the case can be made against trump at the state level.
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tim o'brien, thank you for joining us tonight. >> of course. >> that is tonight's last word. the 11th hour with brian williams starts now. good evening once again. it's indeed good to be with you. day 37 of the biden administration. and tonight, the breaking news we are covering concerning president biden's first military action as president. he tonight ordered u.s. forces to carry out air strikes in eastern syria targeting feign structure from iranian backed militia groups. it's in response to troubling rocket attacks against american and coalition forces in iraq, not long ago, the new secretary of defense, lloyd austin, briefed reporters on the air strike. >> we are confident t

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