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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  April 26, 2022 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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recall chesa boudin now. hi there, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. gone, finished, discredited, kaput. that's what mitch mcconnell thought of donald trump after the january 6th insurrection based on a brand new book by
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"new york times" reporters jonathan martin and alex burns, an excerpt shared with "the washington post," mcconnell is described as exhilarated by trump's political implosion. the sick part is that it took mutilated capitol police officers and our own damaged democracy to get mcconnell that animated on the topic, but i digress. here's how "the washington post" describes the new reporting on mcconnell, quote, i feel exhilarated by the fact that this fellow finally totally discredited himself, mcconnell told jonathan martin, one of the authors of a new book called "this will not pass" when asked about his feelings on the violence and the rioters. trump, the kentucky republican said, was pretty thoroughly discredited by this, quote, he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, mcconnell said standing in a doorway of the capitol after midnight. quote, it couldn't have happened at a better time. well, not so fast. the disgraced ex-president and the big lie still loom large over the party, which has gone all in on disinformation to
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serve its political ends, and now news yesterday that elon musk, who seems to at least at this point possess more expansive views on speech than twitter's current management has purchased twitter. that has sent shock waves through much of the anti-disinformation political universe, which for a moment at least senate majority leader mitch mcconnell stood in. he thought a deplatformed donald trump would and should be discredited after his conduct and speech on and before january 6th. "the new york times" reports this about elon musk, quote, mr. musk himself has had a rocky relationship with online speech. this year he tried to quash a twitter account that tracked his private jet citing personal and safety reasons, and he has gotten into trouble with regulators over his tweets. musk's purchase of twitter comes after years in which we've all witnessed and lived through the power and the peril of rampant disinformation. "the new york times" puts it like this, quote, the 2016 u.s.
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presidential election and the brexit vote that same year gave silicon valley executives, u.s. elected officials, and the public a peek into what can go wrong when social media companies opt not to wade too deeply into what people say on their sites. russian propagandists amplified the views of deeply divided americans and britains, further polarizing the electorate. during trump's presidency, particularly in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic and then as trump and his supporters spread false claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election, twitter, facebook, and youtube changed their tune about the role they play in fanning anger, lies, distortions, and division that left some people feeling exhausted and cynical about the world around them. and we should look no further than the elation on the right and the panic on the left to see where the fault lines exist
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right now as we speak right now around disinformation. and while trump has said he's sticking with his own social media app, it's called truth social, his allies will no doubt make great use of the twitter platform, whether trump ultimately rejoins it or not. the fight over disinformation as trump's grip on his party strengthens and twitter gets ready to redefine the rules of a digital town square is where we start today. national post investigative reporter and an msnbc contributor, also joining us, neal katyal, former acting u.s. solicitor general, he is now a georgetown law professor, max boot's here, senior fellow with the council on foreign relations, a "washington post" columnist, and with me at the table, donny deutsch, friend of the show. i want to start with you, caroline.
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your colleague, with some extraordinarily animated story telling about mitch mcconnell. i've actually never read of him describing himself as exhilarated, but at the idea of trump's political implosion, which he predicted would be the outcome of january 6th, he described himself as exhilarated. >> that's right, nicole, and you know, thanks to josh dossi and the two reporters at "the new york times," we know know ahead of when the january 6th committee holds its hearings in which we may learn some of the same material. now we're learning it in fresh realtime that immediately after january 6th's riot and the storming of the capitol, mitch mcconnell was elated, elated not about the riot. he actually was quite disgusted by the riot, as much reporting by all of us in washington revealed, but he was exhilarated that a president he had found impossible to deal with and was
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tolerating with clenched teeth for the last year of 2020, the last year of his term, he was looking forward to him basically going down, never being a political force again to give mitch mcconnell any headaches. they had had a very tense relationship as i've reported with my colleague philip rucker throughout 2020. they broke up formally when mitch mcconnell said on november 14th that he congratulated vice president, former vice president biden as being the president-elect, rightfully elected fair and square. donald trump called him and said how dare you, what are you doing? you're disloyal, and that was the end of it. on january 6th, finally mcconnell was feeling some elation that he wasn't going to have to deal with this guy anymore because he had ruined his legacy by lighting the match that started the riot in
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mcconnell's view. >> so neal, mcconnell used such extraordinary language, i'm going to read it again, and again, this is based on reporting in "this shall not pass" as reported by "the washington post." this is mcconnell speaking, quote, he, donald trump put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, mcconnell said standing in the doorway of the capitol after midnight. quote, it couldn't have happened at a better time. mitch mcconnell sees donald trump's role in january 6th exactly the same way that liz cheney does. should he share what led him to say those things with anyone investigating january 6th? >> 100%, nicole, and you know, these revelations in the book are paired with, of course, 2,000 texts that have been dumped on us as well, and these texts frankly have enough crazy in them to make you feel like trump has already got his twitter back. what i see in those texts is very much akin to what that mcconnell excerpt is, which is
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something that all of us in the reality-based community understand and know, which is that everyone on january 6th believed that the rioters thought they were following trump's instructions and that trump could stop it, and that's why you have quarter after quarter from trump jr. to all of these people that were in trump's inner circle emailing the chief of staff, texting him and saying trump has got to do something. got to stop it and the like. and you know, the trump defense is, well, i didn't say the words kill or invade the capitol or something like that, which is a silly standard because basically, you know, if you're the president of the united states, everyone knows you have to avoid any sort of stray language that might in any way give aid, comfort, encouragement to acts of violence. trump did the reverse. he always comes creeping up to the line in order to do this, and you know, that's why these revelations, frankly, aren't surprising.
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the only thing that was surprising to me in the mcconnell thing is the word discredited, that the january 6th invasion, you know, discredited trump, because that implies that trump had something resembling credibility in the first place. people sure believed in trump in the same way i guess the people believed in the new york yankees, despite all the available evidence, but the idea that he had credit, i just don't get. >> ooh, my yankees fans are mad at you, but i take your point. jamie raskin makes this time between the text. let me play you jamie raskin making the connection neal's making from the text and the disinformation that was being pumped into the white house chief of staff that sort of closes this circuit between republican members of congress, this frantic effort to sort of continue with the cover-up, continue to blame antifa even as
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the facts and the complicity of republican members in the plot to pressure pence to overturn the election are also laid bare in these texts. let me show you congressman jamie raskin earlier today. >> it's very clear a lot of people were trying to blame it on antifa from the beginning, and that's very much part of the this story, but then, you know, after that happened, the assertion was that this was just, you know, a wild demonstration as it had been called by donald trump that got out of control. but it was really a lot more than that because the insurrectionary violence can only be understood in conjunction with this attempt to pressure and coerce mike pence to reject electoral college votes and kick the entire contest into the house of representatives for a so-called contingent election, where i repeat, the gop had a majority and they knew they had a majority of the state delegations, and that was the ultimate destination of the whole thing. they were hoping to sanitize the
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insurrection and the coup by having a contingent election where they could legitimately say we've got 27 states, although you subtract wyoming because i doubt liz cheney would have gone with them, we have 26 states that are voting for donald trump. so he has legitimately seized the presidency, and that could have led to anything from martial law to civil war, to riots. who knows where it would have led. >> so this feels like a really important thing that the committee has tied together and we now see the evidence with which they did so, and what i think congressman raskin is saying there is the violence was the vehicle by which they were able to obtain the delay, and in the delay pence refuses to certify the voting, and that's when they're -- that's when everything in eastman's memo, which adam kinzinger describes as the blueprint for the coup comes to pass. the revel toir aspect of the republican members of congress being in on the whole eastman plot, being in the white house and also having some
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foreknowledge of violence as a potential seems to involve all of them as co-conspirators, no? >> absolutely. i mean, there's no question that a substantial body of republicans was involved in a plot to overthrow the u.s. constitution to destroy our democracy, even to the extent of suggesting martial law, which marjorie taylor greene can't spill, but which she is in favor of or was in favor of at the time, and what is really appalling here, nicole, is that even though you have some of these fanatics in the republican party, the people who are actually running the gop on the hill, kevin mccarthy and mitch mcconnell, they are not fanatics. they are cynics and they are cowards. they understood how wrong this was, and they hoped secretly in their heart of hearts that trump would be discredited by his attempts to incite this insurrection. in fact, we know they had that -- they hoped that because kevin mccarthy was audio taped saying exactly that and the quotes from mitch mcconnell, but they refuse to come out and to
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act upon what they perceive to be the case, that donald trump was incompetent, unfit, and a threat to our democracy and in the time since the january 6th insurrection, both men have tried -- and especially mccarthy have tried to repair their relationship with trump. and you know, i'm inclined to believe that tucker carlson is right. there is a crisis of masculinity in this country, although i don't think it's going to be -- but it will be solved by the republican manning unand -- up and standing up to donald trump and defending the constitution. >> they don't even need to go that far, i'll leave the tanning to anyone interested in that. the point is we cannot have a conversation about the digital town square and whether it is good -- free speech is of course a foundation of our country. everyone's for free speech, but i think it's a moment for the left to not abandon the idea that the people who are
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celebrating aren't celebrating the return of free speech. they're celebrating the ability to possibly -- and we don't know what elon musk is going to do. we don't know, but they're celebrating the possibility that some of the limits on the disinformation that is so central to everything they want to achieve politically can flourish again. >> 70% of republicans, that's almost three in four, believe that the republicans actually won the election. 70% of republicans, 15% of all americans, 15% of all americans, that means if there are ten people here, one and a half, believe the qanon theory that the democrats are a kabul of pedophiles, satanic worshipping, this stuff works. the musk story is a big story. the only little positive that's happened out of the past few days is out of the european union, the digital services act, which is going to have a lot of implications. this they said we're going to do a lot more safeguarding, particularly in the algorithms,
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that's where all the misinformation gets multiplied. they're not going to let advertisers target by ethnicity, bisexual orientation, and a lot of things that silo us. there is a little sliver of good news here, but still 50% of people get their news from facebook in this world and that there still is not the checks and balances, and we still -- the only thing that i think changes it is article 230, a change in that, which does not allow them to have the same type of protection against libel suits that abc doesn't have or cbs doesn't have, and so we're in a scary place and only getting scarier. i don't think that a lot of people, even when you present them with facts, they don't want them. this is -- i've said this very, very often. this thing is the devil, and the bespoke media that we create for ourselves and this is, i think, the greatest existential threat that we have in our country right now. >> yeah, and i mean, you are so well-sourced in the national
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security space. what national security experts will tell you and this is not -- this is not what's happening here, i'm not comparing the two situations in terms of what is transpiring, but just the role of disinformation is so powerful that if a country continues down this path, it can lie to the men and women they send into battle. disinformation is propping up a lie about what the russian military is doing in ukraine. most russians believe they are there on a mission to denazify ukraine. ukraine is led by a jewish president, and denazification is not at all what they're doing there, they're slaughtering civilians, they're forbidding humanitarian corridors to leave places they've bombed to smithereens, and they're targeting and murdering the most innocent people in ukrainian society, all to steal a country that isn't theirs. disinformation taken to the extreme can be used as a brutal
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weapon, and this conversation around disinformation in our country gets -- it gets clenched around right and left, when it really -- the platform is there, it could be abused by either side. tell me what the sort of thinking is in terms of disinformation in this country, particularly over the last eight weeks as some of it has been amplified in our country as it pertains to russia and ukraine. >> disinformation is a huge, huge worry for national security officials in the united states going back for three decades, worrying about the state of our security, not because of now our almost civil war division between right and left in this country, about what this country's about, what it's founded on, but just the idea that another country or even people within this country could start spreading lies that will be grabbed onto. and i'm going to just say that the point that donnie and max --
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the points that donnie and max made can't be emphasized enough, which is here in our country, we have republican members of the party -- and i'm zeroing in on them because that's the news that we're dealing with in the last several weeks -- republican members of the gop saying one thing privately and telling their constituents over and over again the opposite. marjorie taylor green, while being a fringe bizarre example, was very worried that the president should calm down the rioters storming the capitol so that no one was killed. that's what she really believed and felt, but that's not what she's telling her voters, and what we know in america is that it works to get on television and repeat over and over a lie. it convinces people. the more they see this on television, not in the newspaper, i'm sorry to say, but on television, the more they will believe it. and that's why those stats are so high.
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75% of republicans believe the election was rigged because donald trump told them over and over again on television. we've got to figure that out because it also stokes a domestic extremism, an unbalanced population that is looking for a conspiracy, looking for a way to serve, looking for a way to be a soldier, and that's what brought us january 6th. and going forward, the national security firmament is extremely fearful of what's going to happen in the next election. i don't mean the next presidential election. i mean the midterms. they don't want blood in the streets as a result of a series of people claiming, hey, the election was rigged and i didn't win my secretary of state position. they don't want that disorder and chaos, which can be stoked easily on tucker carlson's show or any television medium. >> yeah, and you know, what is so important to always come back
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to, neal, is that the variable isn't the lies. i mean, birtherism existed when president obama was president, donald trump was its purveyor, lies about president obama existed when my old boss john mccain was running for president against him, and john mccain i was standing this far away from him when he stood up to one of his own supporters at a rally and, trust me, people who come to your rallies are your most ar dent supporters. he stood up to one of his most ardent supporters, and he said president obama is just like us. he wants all the same things. we disagree on how to achieve them, but he is not what you say he is, ma'am. the variable that we're talking about here is not disinformation, it is the lack of any leaders in the republican party to stand up against it save for liz cheney and adam kinzinger. the variable is not having anyone with credibility or political power or political capital they're willing to spend to make sure their supporters
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don't believe the lies, and that is the threat. what do we do about that? >> 100%, nicole, and i think the variable is what i think of as ethics or responsibility. i mean, i was a junior lawyer on al gore's team in bush versus gore. i was like 29 years old, i remember when all of that happened, and we felt passionately about it, all of us. we stayed up for 36 days and nights, but at the end of that and after the supreme court ruled, the vice president, he didn't say, you know, i won and this and that and the supreme court is biased and has seven republican justices out of the nine on it and so on, none of that. he just gracefully conceded because he knew there was some higher purpose than just simply his candidacy. and what the republican party has become now under trump and, you know, in these invertebrates like mcconnell and mccarthy is something just to the absolute contrary. i don't know what there is,
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honestly, what the solution is, except that i expect that at some point the republican party will implode because it stands for nothing but secret coups and demonizing your opponents. i don't know if i've ever disagreed with you, nicole, on air, but this idea that you said that everyone believes in free speech, i'm not sure that's right. i think that people don't like to be confronted in this day and age with opposing views. i think talked about basically how people curate views, you know, using only social media using things only they believe. that's part of the problem. and unfortunately one party has bought it all. >> there's so much more to get to, so i'm going to ask everybody to stick around through a quick break. when we come back, i've got some more of those texts that everyone has referenced. they reveal the conspiracy theories that spread like wildfire through congress on the day of january 6th and the days beyond. plus, the u.s. taking a
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tough stance on russia today getting other nations on board with sending more military support to ukraine. and the u.s. secretary of defense calling out the kremlin for its dangerous, nuclear saber rattling. later in the show, congress is back in session today. lawmakers are facing those colleagues who they now know played very real roles in everything that led up to the capitol insurrection, for the first time all those stories and more when "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. k break. don't go anywhere. ♪ ow, ow ♪ ♪ with a big, fresh carrot ♪ ♪ and a whole lot of cheese ♪ ♪ and the mirror from your van is halfway down the street ♪ ♪ well, you can say that -- ♪ wait, what? i said, "someone just clipped the side view mirror right off the delivery van." when owning a small business gets real, progressive gets you right back to living the dream. now, where were we? why, you were fixin' to peel me. [ laughter ] ♪ ♪
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panel. everyone has mentioned these new texts. we had some more time to go through them overnight. this is marjorie taylor greene on january 6th. she writes this to mark meadows. mark, we don't think these attackers are our people. we think they are antifa dressed like trump supporters. on january 7th. i'm sorry nothing worked. i don't think trump caused the attack on the capitol. it's not his fault. antifa was mixed in the crowd and instigated it, and when people try everything and no one listens and nothing works, i guess they think they have no other choice. absolutely no excuse. i denounce all of it. after shutdown asks a stolen election, people are saying they have no other choice. gohmert, capitol police told me they'd been warned and today there would be a lot of antifa dressed in red shirts and hats and they get violent. these are just regular tourists. he says this on january 9th. i'd like to pass to potus we are still with him, i believe in him, and i want to encourage him. neal, what do these texts say to
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you? what's their import? >> they show me that approximately 11 members of congress i think are identified in these texts as having discussions with the white house about overturning the election with mark meadows and others, and to me the most striking thing, nicolle, is these are only the texts that meadows has turned over voluntarily. i think there are about a thousand that he is still withholding, and he apparently thinks it's worth risking jail time to make sure we never find out what's in them. and the texts are to be sure bonkers. i mean, you talked about the marjorie taylor greene one blaming antifa during january 6th. i mean, you got to admire her persistence. she knows the capitol's been breached. she receives the word of an active shooter and yet she still has time on the fly to make up this conspiracy theory of antifa? and then others are just beyond bonkers, even making marjorie taylor greene's look sane. there's a bunch of them from the my pillow guy, mike lynn dell, i was skeptical about the quality
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of my pillows before, but now i'm definitely concerned because it looks like this guy hasn't gotten a good night's sleep in a decade and just makes, you know, it's a very, very scary thing, and what i think carol said and others are absolutely right. this was a plot designed to basically create a soft coup through violence to buy time for this, you know, congressional vote, and that's what congressman raskin was talking about as well. it is chilling. >> neal, i know you have students to teach, if you disappear on us, we will not take it personally. max boot, i want to come to you on these texts. i mean, the notion that they were in the room as participants in the whole thing, and then what they participated and got out of control, and they said, wait wait, this is antifa. this stuff is antifa, is so bonkers, as you watch the prosecutions and the jury trials, there have been three
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put on trial, three juries have found them guilty, and they were not antifa, they were trump supporters who believed donald trump's lie. there's a direct line between the lies they were told by donald trump and the conduct they engaged in on january 6th. >> what's striking to me, nicolle, is that there's always been a lunatic fringe in the republican party, but it used to be folks like the john birch society in the 1960s. this is the same mind-set with the marjorie taylor greene and gohmerts and all the rest. they are almost literally out of their minds. the stuff they believe is illogical, dangerous, it's crazy. the fringe in the republican party is people like liz cheney or adam kinzinger saying we need to uphold the constitution and respect the sanctity of elections and defend our democracy. that's the outlying view in the republican party today. the mainstream is the people who say that the election was stolen from donald trump. that is in fact, a litmus test for being a republican in good standing. you see the way that david
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perdue is humiliating himself in the georgia gubernatorial race putting the big lie front and center. this is a formerly establishment republican. this is what they're doing because they think that's what they need to do to connect with the republican base and avoid the wrath of the orange man who still remains the dominant figure within the republican party. this is a very dangerous situation for american democracy because as we all know, joe biden's opinion ratings are very low right now. it's very possible to imagine that not only do republicans win the midterms in the fall, but donald trump could easily be elected president in 2024, and you know, with all the -- despite all the revelations about his attempts to overthrow our democracy, if he wins again, he'll get another chance. >> it is a brutal political reality, donnie, and i think it's important to show who mitch mcconnell, who said he felt exhilarated that donald trump basically had been revealed and
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discredited. nothing of the sort came to pass, and now the people in the republican party who are ascendant are the lauren boeberts of colorado, who tweeted this when elon musk bought twitter. mr. musk literally now owns the libs. that is how the right sees the purchase of this platform. oh, i have a quote, something you said that i pulled out because i thought it was so insightful ahead of the elon musk purchase. you said this back on april 14th. you get into the first amendment discussion where you go back and you can't yell fire in a movie theater. what are the ground rules. the issue is whether it's elon musk or anybody else, it's a problem that's bigger than elon musk. what the right has seized is this ground they're on the side of free speech. >> new republican survey that said was january 6th, fill in one of two sentences, was january 6th an act of
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insurrection or act of patriotism, 56% of republicans think it's an act of patriotism. this is how that works. the scary thing that's going on side bar here, max talked about georgia, let's talk about brad rafens berger and how he and one or two others saved the election, the laws that changed, putting the power in the state legislatures, so you have on one track disinformation that we know works. you see the stats, on the other hand we now have an apparatus set up in various states to overturn elections. that is the scary thing that is not being covered every day. >> we do. >> we were protected, but what's going on in the states, so you basically have teeing up over here, teeing up over hear, and we're headed to armageddon. democracy is very, very much in play. >> and carol, just to bring it back to sort of the national security focus right now, it's on protecting the democracy and the fight between ukraine and russia, and there's an echo and there's this elephant in the
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room. with everything that is said, there's something that is unsaid, and i wonder if you have any insight into how some of these leaders feel about our democracy at home? >> well, if you're talking about national security leaders and how they feel about what's happening at home, they're very aware that both -- there's an internal threat, an inside threat in this country and there's an external threat. they know foreign governments including russia's intel operations have been able to stoke the division in this country that's already so raw and painful for all of us to watch, at least, you know, two-thirds of the country willing to believe certain things that are demonstraby false because their leaders say it or because, more importantly, the leader of the republican party right now, donald trump says it. so that's the inside threat. then the -- forgive me, that's the external threat. then there's the inside threat, some of what russia is doing to and has done in the past to divide our country, divide our
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populous, stoke division and chaos, republicans are willing to go along with and are amplifying and/or enabling, and i think what they -- you know, i think i first said it on your program because you asked the best question, which was i have interviewed very senior republican members of congress who say they are afraid of their constituents at home. they're afraid if they tell them what's really going on, what's really happening, that this is -- that this is all manufactured almost like an enormouses a astroturf lobby campaign. they're afraid of their own constituents. that fear is a physical fear as evidenced by the way romney was personally attacked as he flew back to certify the election, attacked on an airplane,
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assaulted, not beat up but physically accosted and approached and scowled at by people at an airport as he tried to come back and do his duty in congress. >> and it was so shocking when you said it and so profound and it is corroborated over and over and over again. there's this great new reporting from these two "times" reporters but it's corroboration of the same theme that we keep coming back to, that republicans tell the truth when they're alone and no one's watching, but they lie to their voters, and i'm sure you're right about why they do so, carol leonnig, neal who had to leave us a little early to teach that class, thank you for starting us off. i really do think you're the most important voices on what's happening in politics. the u.s. telling ukraine today the world has your back. coming up, how a u.s.-led global coalition is responding to russia's warnings of an even
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(johnny cash) ♪ i've traveled every road in this here land! ♪ ♪ i've been everywhere, ♪ riman. ♪ral ♪ ♪ i've been everywhere, man. ♪ ♪ crossed the desert's bare, man. ♪ ♪ i've breathed the mountain air, man. ♪ ♪ of travel i've had my share, man. ♪ ♪ i've been everywhere. ♪ ♪ i've been to: pittsburgh, parkersburg, ♪ ♪ gravelbourg, colorado, ♪ ♪ ellensburg, cedar city, dodge city, what a pity. ♪ ♪ i've been everywhere, man. ♪ ♪ i've been everywhere, man. ♪ ♪ i've been everywhere. ♪ nobody wants to see a nuclear war, nobody can win them. and as we do things and as we, you know, take actions, we're always mindful of making sure that we have the right balance and that we're taking the right approach. so there's always, you know, a possibility that a number of things can happen, but, you
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know, again, i think it's unhelpful and dangerous for -- to rattle sabers and speculate about the use of nuclear weapons. >> that was u.s. secretary of defense lloyd austin in germany earlier today blasting the latest rhetoric coming from russia as being dangerous to every last one of us. the kremlin's foreign minister accused the west of waging a proxy war with russia by arming ukraine, and he warnings such support poses considerable risk of nuclear conflict. yes, nuclear. austin this morning continued to deliver that strong stance on our support of ukraine pledging and demanding really more weapons assistance from the west. while speaking to defense officials he gathered from more than 40 countries all of whom he said left the meeting, quote, more resolved than ever to help ukraine defend itself against russian aggression and atrocity. some big news from germany in that meeting, too, and on that
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front, germany announcing it would send up to 50 antiaircraft vehicles directly to ukraine. it seems like a major shift in its weapons policy after weeks of pressure to do more and to do more quickly. joining us now former u.s. ambassador to ukraine william taylor, now vice president for russia and europe at the u.s. institute of peace, and retired four-star general barry mccaffrey, a former member of the national security council now lucky for us an msnbc military analyst, and you have the tweet of the day on this nuclear question, but i just want to back up a minute because i haven't had a chance to speak to either of you since what feels like an historic visit by two of the most senior u.s. government officials, secretary austin and secretary blinken and secretary austin has sort of grabbed the mic in a way i haven't seen him do yet on the world stage as our country's top defense official. and i just wonder from your view, first ambassador taylor and then yours general mccaffrey, what you make of the trip and what it has yielded so far. ambassador, you first.
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>> thanks, nicolle. a great trip, great demonstration of u.s. support for ukraine. ukrainians appreciate it. others have been there, of course, but it's great to see the senior people of the united states government showing up in kyiv, having that conversation with president zelenskyy, and the defense minister reznikov, and the foreign minister. it was a long, substantive conversation, so it both was symbolic of our support, but it also got into the details of what kind of support we were going to do. it talked about the new ambassador going to come out there. they talked about moving the embassy back to kyiv sooner or later, hopefully sooner. so it was a good conversation, very glad they were there. >> and general mccaffrey, i want to understand from you how much more persuasive can you be whether you're speaking to your counterparts from, i don't know, say germany after having just been in the room.
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tell me how that translates in terms of sort of rallying for more nations to do more on the military front? >> you make a good point. look, at the end of the day the personal interaction, the personal sense of trust, and i might add secretary lloyd austin has properly let tony blinken be the face of u.s. foreign policy, but secretary austin and mark milley, the chairman of jcs have been determined and exhaustive in bringing together these coalitions. it started with u.s. european command in stuttgart germany, todd walters, an air force four star who actually runs with 15 nations cooperating the arms deliveries across the border to ukraine, and, you know, now we've expanded that, and the whole point of this conference was to regularize and get some longevity planning into
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supporting ukraine. we're very fortunate to have these two experienced, sober minded people running the pentagon. >> general mccaffrey, you tweeted this, it caught all our attention here about russia's -- the secretary of defense called it saber rattling. quote, the russian amped up nuclear threat is hard to fathom. i've dealt with nuclear strategy much of my life. a putin threat of nuclear deployment after a failed convention invasion is bizarre, illogical, not credible madness. russia could not survive. is it in your view, would you go so far as to say it's an acknowledgment of all of this, an acknowledgment that putin has failed in his conventional approach, and do you think it means that the risk isn't real? what do you make? >> well, look, from an intellectual viewpoint, and again, i have dealt with this issue throughout much of my adult life, you know, the height of the cold war there were like 20,000 nuclear weapons on each side. it was utter madness, but it was
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stable. it was deterrence. they were never used. there was never a shot fired in europe. now we've got a lot less nuclear weapons in a lot more hands, and it's getting unstable. so to have foreign minister laz rof and putin maing these outrageous, irresponsible threats with nuclear weapons, it's hard to fathom. either putin's starting to unravel, some of that's true, a lot of it's undoubtedly a complete bluff, but it's horrendously unsettling. i mean, russia would vaporize after three days of a nuclear exchange. they know that, so what are they doing? it's just entirely illogical and unsettling to the global community. >> and unsettling ambassador taylor to no one more than the ukrainians. i mean, i've heard public and private real despair and concern
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about what, you know, one of the most official -- most senior russian officials, i mean, i think these came from lavrov today, and now it's from sergey lavrov certainly always thought to be very close to vladimir putin, what is the sense from the people you talk to in ukraine about the real risk of putin using nuclear weapons there? >> the ukrainians don't put much stock in what president putin says or what foreign minister lavrov says. they have lied to the world, and they've lied to the ukrainians. they've said they were not going to invade. they said all the troops around ukraine were there for exercises, so the ukrainians -- they're concerned like everybody else, like general mccaffrey just said. the people are concerned, it's unsettling to hear that kind of talk from senior people in what you would hope to be responsible government, but they're not. and they lied, and so the
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ukrainians discount this pretty significantly. >> i want to ask both of you about the conversation around these issues in our country. we have some pretty astounding tape to show you from earlier today. when we come back, a sitting u.s. senator trying to argue with a sitting u.s. secretary of state that russia might just be justified in its invasion of ukraine. that is next. at is next
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had they been or are they to become part of nato, that means u.s. soldiers will be fighting in ukraine, and that's something i very much oppose. >> my judgment is different. if you look at the countries that russia has attacked over the last years, georgia, leaving forces in transnistria and part of ukraine. it has not attacked nato countries for probably a good reason. >> you could also argue the countries they've attacked were part of russia. >> well, that -- >> were part of the soviet union. >> i firmly disagree with that proposition. it is the fundamental right of these countries to decide their own future and their own destiny. >> we're back with former u.s. ambassador to ukraine, william taylor and retired four-star general barry mccaffrey, if you pull the thread, i mean, he's attacked countries that aren't in nato, perhaps because they're not in in the, and what is the
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implication, that we should give them back? what do you think when you see that? >> simply astonishing. i was a special assistant to the chairman, general powell, during the break-up of the soviet union, so i was in and out of all these countries, to include ukraine. it was astonishing, their desperation to flee the embrace of the russians. they're sovereign nations. they have every right to choose their own foreign relationships. russia is an active threat to all of them, not just georgia, moldova, ukraine, and belarus, but also to the eastern bloc of nato, so for senator paul to make those kind of statements makes you wonder from what value system he's approaching this. putin's a murderous thug. he kills and represses his own people. never mind being an active threat to western values. >> so, i don't know what's in
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rand paul's head, ambassador taylor, but i do know that one of the central tenets of russian disinformation, as furthered on telegram and other places where it's published in english, is this argument that russia's just trying to restore the countries that used to be part of russia, that they really want to go back to russia. i think it's been a brutal awakening for russia, along with its military, to see that that is not the case in ukraine, but it is one of the tenets of russian disinformation. what do you think when you hear something that perhaps coincidentally is straight out of the russian propaganda playbook come out of the mouth of a sitting u.s. senator? >> well, nicole, exactly what general mccaffrey said is right. that is, ukraine and these other nations, georgia, moldova, they're sovereign nations. if we want to get back to a world where sovereignty matters, where people abide by rules and don't invade each other's
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territory and don't send their military in to grab more territory and violate borders, we want to get back to that, we have to respect sovereignty. we don't go along with the spirit of influence, which is what president putin has been talking about, and others in this city are talking about. that's not where we are. that's not what we believe in today. we believe that nations are sovereign. the other thing, nicole, is that russia is not just president putin. the russians, over centuries, have been aggressive, have been aquiztive, have been expansionist, have been autocratic, and so with exactly what general mccaffrey said, when those nations became free, after the soviet union disappeared, and just before that, the wall came down, those nations, knowing russian history, they immediately wanted security for themselves, and they applied to nato.
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that was the direction. that's what -- that's what we're talking about here. >> general mccaffrey, what is the danger of an american sitting senator channeling lines that sync up perfectly to russian disinformation at a time when the ukrainians are desperate not just for us to lose our attention span on what russia is doing but to obscure the facts about what russia means to do or intends to do or where they might stop. >> well, you know, this harkens back to the first part of your show, the panel, you talk about chilling, frightening kind of revelation about the mindset of many among self-identified republicans. many of them now see russia as a friend. i mean, looking to this autocratic, desperate putin who miscalculated, got his country in a strategic mess, and yet, there is emerging support among
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some in the united states, not just senators and congressmen, but american citizens. it's hard to understand. it's the influence of disinformation and tribal, ignorant behavior. in this case, primarily on the right, but the extremes of both parties are anti-american in their values and thinking. >> we'll stay on it. former ambassador william taylor and general barry mccaffrey, thank you so much for your time and your expertise today. up next for us, the house of representatives has gavelled back in session. how lawmakers are feeling now that they know some of their gop colleagues have been exposed as participants and plotters of the coup, the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election results. we'll be right back. sfloechl th 20 election results. we'll be right back. sfloechl allergies don't have to be scary. spraying flonase daily stops your body from overreacting to allergens all season long.
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i hear the shot ringing out. i replay how i made plans to use my gas mask and my cane, newly at my side from a five-week-old knee replacement surgery to fight back if attacked. >> most of us made the call, you know, that call to family that nobody ever wants to make, wondering if that was the last call we would make to our family and our loved ones. >> we were told to put our gas masks on, and then there was a sound i will never forget. the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram. it's the most haunting sound i ever heard, and i will never forget it. >> hi again, everyone, it's 5:00 in new york. that violent attack on the u.s. capitol building was an january 6th, a harrowing experience for the lawmakers and the congressional staffers inside, crouching to get out of sight on
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the upper level of the house chamber, barricading offices closed, hiding under tables, removing congressional pins to make themselves less of a target. all as violent mob of trump supporters fueled by lies intent on overturning the results of a free and fair election and in some cases intent on threatening and injuring elected members of congress, all while they stormed their place of work. we bring these stories up again today, not to relive them, nobody wants to do that, but to look at them in a new light, that new light of the revelations that have come out over the past two days exposing just how much sitting members of congress, republican members of congress, were involved and the planning of the coup attempt, the effort to overturn president joe biden's victory. from the "new york times," quote, in a court filing, and in text messages obtained by cnn, new pieces of evidence have emerged in recent days, fleshing
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out the degree of their involvement with the trump white house in strategy sessions, at least one of them included discussions about encouraging trump's supporters to march to the capitol on january 6th. that's despite warnings of potential violence. some continued to push to try to keep trump in office, even after a mob of his supporters attacked the complex. from that court filing, the "times" mentioned, we learned that cassidy hutchison, a former aide to former chief of staff mark meadows, told the january 6th select committee that she remembered at least 11 members of congress were involved in some way in those discussions about overturning the 2020 election results. and in the uncovering of the thousands of mark meadows text messages, we can now see plainly, in black and white, text messages, trump allies in congress actively pursuing ways to overturn the will of the american voters. they include these exchanges. right after the election in november, congressman andy biggs of arizona appears to suggest state legislatures should
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appoint their own electors, writing this, quote, in the various states where there's been shenanigans, he wrote legislators could appoint look-tors, which is phonetically similar to electors. and on the day of the attack, congressman jim jordan said, mike pence should block the electoral votes that certify joe biden's win. and now, with the house back in session today, for the first time since these revelations were made public, members of congress will walk alongside and work alongside colleagues they now know, thanks to these newly released texts and other evidence from the 1/6 committee, beyond any shadow of a doubt, played significant roles, bigger than anyone knew before, in the efforts that resulted in that violent attack on the u.s. capitol. that had lawmakers from both parties fearing for their lives. it's where we start the hour.
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joining us is eric swalwell of california, a member of the house intel and judiciary committees. he's currently suing ex-president trump to hold him accountable for the attack on the capitol on january 6th. so, i guess i have to ask you, were you aware of the role that is now been made public and clear that these republican members played? >> no. they were all in on it, nicole, and it clearly went beyond their own expectations, because at the end of that day, we were all running for our lives together, and i actually was so foolish to believe that once we were put in the evacuation room, that we would come out of it united, and that would be our antidote to make sure a day like that would never happen again. and they were as terrified as i was. inside that room. but what did they do? they came out of that room, we didn't have unity. instead, they tried to blame it on antifa and then they went
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right back to saying that the election was stolen, creating the same exact ingredients for another combustible event in our country, and so it is really maddening to see how much criming they were doing ahead of time, and you just hope that there's going to be some accountability, a reckoning of sorts for their roles. >> what's amazing, what you learn from the texts is how deep into the executive branch of government republican members who were reaching to try to overturn the result of the 2020 election, which lifelong republican chris krebs deemed as the most secure in american history, in our country's history. i want to read a new text that cnn has just reported in the last hour. it's from one of your colleagues, scott perry, to ex-chief of staff mark meadows. and it says, quote, from an intel friend, dni needs to ask nsa to immediately seize and begin looking for international comms related to dominion.
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that's what perry wrote to meadows five days after the election was called for biden. what do you make of the sort of long-term participation of the republican members in this effort to overturn the election and to use the nsa and the dni to do so? >> look, it's so clear that so many of my republican colleagues from kevin mccarthy to marjorie taylor greene and others, they don't believe in democracy, the idea that a majority wins. in fact, they are opposed to that. and they're now more comfortable with violence than they are with voting, and they were willing to use any lever of government to try and take away your vote and make sure that it didn't count and as marjorie taylor greene asked for, imposing martial law, the idea that donald trump would be king of the united states, and that we would throw out a rule of law. and that's very scary, and what is even more concerning is, unlike september 11th, where there was an attack, we learned from it, we got better, we're
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safer in the skies because of it, it's the opposite. the lesson they've learned is that their coup wasn't successful, and we have to make sure that next time, when we lose the election, that it is successful, so they're putting in place candidates like in michigan who believe that the attorney general of michigan should be locked up if these candidates -- if the attorney general and secretary of state offices were to win this coming november. that's what really is on the line is this idea, does majority win or does violence win? >> and i guess to your point about the future, i mean, the 1/6 committee and vice chairwoman liz cheney has made clear this is about 2024. this is about what happens if the former president or one of his allies is in this situation again, and i want to read some more of these new texts, again, being reported exclusively by cnn from mr. perry. he's one of the trump allies who i think comes up in the jeff rosen testimony that was first given to the senate judiciary committee. he comes up in some of the
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earlier pieces of evidence that we've seen about who trump viewed as his allies. i think the transcript from those notes from mr. rosen said, to doj, if you just describe the election as corrupt, my -- our allies will do the rest and one of those "r" allies, at least in trump's head, was mr. perry. this is what cnn is writing. perry wrote to mark meadows again on november 12th, claiming the brits orchestrated a conspiracy to manipulate voting machines in the u.s. and that then cia director gina haspel was helping to cover it up. from the text, and gina is still running around on the hill covering for the brits who helped quarterback the entire operation, perry texted. dni needs to be tasked to audit their overseas accounts at cia and their national endowment for democracy. so, one of your colleagues seems to be suggesting to the white house chief of staff that the dni is asked to audit the
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overseas accounts of cia director and officials. does this -- i mean, as a member of the intelligence committee, what questions do you have about this? >> you know, it's so wild, it's so nutty, nicole, that you would walk out of a movie if it was presented to you as fiction. what's scary is that this is how close they came to taking away your vote and using the intelligence community to make sure that donald trump would win. it's -- and again, if we had used unity to overcome this and held those accountable that participated, i'd feel okay about it. but these folks are as popular as ever in their party, and integrity is a stranger to many of them, and that's what concerns me. and we saw, look, kevin mccarthy, he was integrity curious, right? he flirted with it for, like, 20 seconds on that call with liz cheney where he said, look, donald trump is responsible. i'm going to tell him to resign. and then, instead of putting
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america first, which they love to tell us is the mantra of their party, great, they put themselves first and they continue to put themselves first and as long as they do that, then your vote, your viewers' vote, the idea that a majority wins in america, that is not going to win. violence is going to win, and voting will be something we just don't do anymore in this country. that's why this is so important. >> and ultimately, you were an impeachment manager. the failure to get the u.s. senate to convict trump is why he's still on the scene. it's why it's a 2024 conversation. i want to show you one of the arguments you made in the impeachment process. >> he repeatedly, over months, told them to fight for a specific purpose. he told them their victory was stolen, the election was rigged, and their patriotic duty was to fight to stop the steal. and he repeated this messaging even after he saw the violence it was inciting. he told this to thousands of people who were armed to the
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teeth, targeting us, and determined to stop the electoral college count. what our commander in chief did was wildly different from what anyone here in this room did to raise election concerns. this was a deliberate premeditated incitement to his base to attack our capitol while the counting was going on. and it was foreseeable. especially to president trump. who warned us he knew what was coming. >> so, in light of the filing last friday night and the testimony of meadows' former assistant, ms. hutchinson, that 11 members of congress were aware of this plot, do you want to amend this statement? you said this. "what our commander in chief did was wildly different from what anyone here in this room did to raise election concerns." you know, you said at the top, they were all in on it. >> i gave them the benefit of the doubt at the time.
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i wish, again, i wasn't so naive to believe that they cared as much about the integrity of our democracy as i and mitt romney and liz cheney and adam kinzinger do. and that's why, you know, nicole, as i said, we're just now seven months out from an election that could be the last peaceful transition of power in our country, and i go back to kevin mccarthy, because he's the backstop. he's the insurance policy. and if he doesn't show integrity, when others in his party are calling on the intelligence community to intervene or they're calling for martial law, then donald trump is essentially the speaker of the house. that's what it means if kevin mccarthy wins, is that he is not the backstop. he is just a vessel for donald trump, and that means the person who orchestrated all of this, who defied the rule of law, would essentially be running the republican party and congress. >> you know, we know that's not what they wanted, right? like, we know from the revelations in this new book by the two "times" reporters,
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jonathan matter martin and alex burns, and we know donald trump doesn't want us to believe our own eyes or ears, but we've heard the tapes. we know mccarthy wanted to get rid of this guy once and for all. mitch mcconnell was quoted as saying that he was exhilarated that trump had been discredited. it's not what they want. what do you think it is that makes him more virulent and powerful as sort of this political virus now over their objections than before? >> it's crazy, because i thought going to congress, i would be serving with these giants who could take a hundred other jobs and they turned down those jobs to be here, and now i actually think that people like kevin mccarthy are afraid this is the only job they could ever get so you have to do everything possible to hold on to it, even if it means humiliating yourself as he did last week to show himself to be a 24 carat liar as he did. that's what's so scary is that
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you would like to think that people would be willing to lose their job if it meant it was for putting the country first. adam kinzinger did that. liz cheney's willing to do that. mitt romney's willing to do that, but they're not the leaders of the party, so if the leaders of the party, like mcconnell and mccarthy, aren't able to do it and they're just interested in themselves and their own power, then it's not america first. it's themselves first and america could be last in the realm of democracies. >> in service of donald trump. it is amazing. congressman eric swalwell, thank you so much for starting us off this hour. joining our conversation is jake sherman, founder of punchbowl news. also joining us, kimberly atkins stohr, senior columnist at the "boston globe" and the co-host of the #sistersinlaw podcast and charlie sykes is here, they are all msnbc contributors. so, jake, i wanted to ask you, you know, and you have been so blunt about the dynamics up on the hill and we call on you on the day that the republicans are
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against a medal of freedom for the law enforcement officials who protect every last one of them. we called on you in the days after january 6th, and we've called on you to understand what these days are like when it appears like the normal friction, which sort of the baseline is not ideal, might be heightened, and i wonder if today is one of those days in sort of the aftermath of these tapes of hearing kevin mccarthy in his own voice, of seeing these really revealing quotes by mcconnell, who notably isn't denying any of it, or is sort of the baseline dysfunction the new level set? >> so, a few thoughts. let's take this person by person, i guess, if we could. mccarthy, kevin mccarthy, who is the house republican leader and is seeking to be the next speaker, what most republicans are focusing on is that he dropped those objections, that he, in the aftermath, i think, a lot -- and again, speaking from what republicans tell me, it doesn't have any impact because he, in fact, did not call trump to tell him to resign, even if
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he flirted with it briefly. that's what they think. >> does that make him more awesome or more wussy? what does that make him in their minds? >> it makes him the only person in a lot of peoples' views who could be speaker of the house and that's the reality they're focusing on. and if you look at it from donald trump's perspective, what donald trump, according to a lot of republicans i've spoken to, what he thinks is, look at what happened. these two men, mccarthy and mcconnell, both kind of flirted with throwing me overboard, but mccarthy is fully in my corner, and mcconnell has said he will support me if he -- if i am the next republican nominee for president. so, i think that's what they're focused on. and listen, to mcconnell's, i don't want to say credit, but most republican senators understand what mitch mcconnell thinks of donald trump. he won't even say the man's name. he won't talk about him. he did obviously vote against impeachment, so when it came time to put a vote to those theories and to those thoughts
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that he had, he did not do it. so, i think that i -- from what i see, standing here today at the end of april, election day is kind of far away and the next speaker election is very far away, what a lot of republicans i talk to think is that. they think that kevin mccarthy did not ultimately do what he said he was going to do, and furthermore, is the only option to be speaker in their mind, but i have had republicans say to me, a few, not many, that almost the opposite of what eric swalwell just said, which is, if he's willing to stab trump in the back in a moment like that, what is he willing to do in the future? again, what republicans -- >> who was stabbed in the back? i lost the plot. >> that -- no, that they think that he was willing to criticize trump, that he committed -- >> for inciting an insurrection? >> correct. correct. >> got it. >> again, not me saying it.
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this is what republicans are saying. >> i know. >> i feel like i have to remind the public of that quite frequently. i mean, the fact remains that these are creatures, nicole, and you know this better than anybody, who will do anything to obtain increase, and maintain their power base in their party, in the republican party, and at that moment, it is this. it is that -- it is fealty to donald trump. although, the counterfactual, of course, is if they had come out and stuck with those points of view, that the president called for people to go to the capitol, he poisoned members of congress's minds with this idea that this was a stolen election, if these leaders came out and said, no, this is garbage, is this guy -- the president of the united states should not have done this, and we're going to stand in the front and say this, maybe more people would have followed them. we'll never know because they didn't do that. but that's something -- that is something that a few republicans say to me, like, what is the
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alternate reality if mcconnell and mccarthy stood up and said this stuff publicly? would more republicans follow and ditch trump? >> so, charlie, it's so far down the rabbit hole that i truly, you know, jake is here because he's a great reporter and he's calling balls and strikes, and that's his job, but it's so far down the rabbit hole that stabbing trump in the back is sort of the 30 hours that kevin mccarthy told the truth about what he saw with his own eyes, heard with his own ears, and ran with his own feet, which is high-tailed it down the hall to a room that he barricaded shut so the trump supporters who participated in the insurrection at trump's calling wouldn't get him. they weren't roaming the halls. they were all hiding too. so part of the plot that always confounds me isn't, why did they crawl back down the rabbit hole and continue with the lies? that's pretty clear. they were afraid of donald trump. it's how did we get to this place where there's only two? because john mccain was willing to stand up to the nativism in his own party as the republican nominee.
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mitt romney has done some heroic things, had heroic days, but liz cheney and adam kinzinger are running an investigation to try to cut the head off the fish that is trumpism. how are there only two? >> no, that is remarkable. look, i mean, kevin mccarthy had this burst of conscience but he quickly snuffed it out and apparently that's what his colleagues are rallyingaround, the fact -- not that he had the conscience, the moment of conscience, but that he was able to get beyond it. look, we talked about shamelessness being a superpower. it's also highly contagious here. the fact that kevin mccarthy recognized how serious the assault on american democracy was, and yet, as of right now, the only two republicans that are willing to continue to say what kevin mccarthy recognized back then are liz cheney and adam kinzinger, and they are both pariahs in the party. but i have to say this, listening to your conversation
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and watching the -- your set-up, it's very useful, nicole, to remind people exactly what happened, because our attention spans are so short. and it was so horrific. and there's been this attempt to memory hole much of what happened on january 6th, but it's not just that republicans have moved past it. i actually think that it's even worse. i think that if you listen to donald trump himself, if you listen to what he says at his rallies and the people who are closest to him, they have slingshoted completely around this investigation. they're no longer concerned with the question of, was there an insurrection or was there not an insurrection? they are at the point now where they are saying, yeah, sure, and we're glad. we're glad that we did this. the election was stolen. those people were patriots. the people who broke the law and attacked police officers are martyrs. donald trump has moved from
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denying responsibility for what happened on january 6th to now edging toward celebrating it, which really underlines the point you were making, that this is all about the next time. that rather than figuring out how to avoid a repetition, they're providing justifications for how this is what you need to do to fight for america, and that's what's so alarming about it. >> so, democrats control everything, and when we come back, we're going to get to some advice for the party in control about how and whether they should make the insurrection one of the other issues on people's minds as they head into the midterms. plus, we'll get a live report from ukraine as the u.s. takes a tough new stance against russia while ukrainians are discovering new and horrific examples in their country of russian brutality. and the news breaking this afternoon that vice president kamala harris has tested positive for covid.
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so far, she is asymptomatic and due to her travel schedule had not been in recent contact with the president, which is good news. her office says she will continue working from home. sounds familiar to all of us in this time of covid. she will not return to the white house until she tests negative, according to the white house. "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. stay with us. use" continues after a quick break. stay with us
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pull back the curtain on our editorial process here. there's some news that's broken in our commercial break since we've been on the air. those two "new york times" reporters who have all this fantastic new reporting about what goes on in that building
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where jake sherman spends all day every day have some new audio. we're trying to turn around the tape and play it for you here, as soon as that's ready, i'm going to interrupt whoever's speaking and play it for all of you, but i want to start with something that friend of the show a.b. stoddard has written with some advice for democrats. she would like to see them run on democracy, and as though democracy is on the line, because in her view, and i think it's a conversation we all have every day, it is. in a piece for the bulwark this morning, a.b. stoddard discusses the current political landscape this way. she writes, this is not the same group of republicans who democrats defeated in the 2018 midterms. that weak and compromised conference was in trump's thrall but democrats campaigning to defend the majority should warn the people they represent about this fact now rather than just complaining about it next year. democratic candidates should not fear emphasizing that in this election, a victory by the gop
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is not simply the validation of lying and cowardice and hypocrisy. choosing republicans on the ballot this fall is a choice to violate the oath of the constitution. strong words from a.b. stoddard. kim atkins, she's made some of those arguments passionately here, but it was powerful to see them written up today in the bulwark. >> yes. i don't just fully agree with a.b., because she is my friend and we share a birthday, but it's because she's absolutely right. look, even if you look at the 2020 election, which democrats should be doing, carefully, because that's what gave them their power in congress and in the white house, that was one of the issues motivating people. it wasn't just economic relief during a pandemic, which was a big part of it. it wasn't just racial justice, which was a big part of it. it was democracy. it was things like voting rights, the working class multicultural coalitions in places like michigan and pennsylvania, the largely black woman-led coalitions in places
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like georgia. that is what put democrats in power, so that, up until now, that has not been front and center at the democrats' agenda, it's really baffling to me. they should have been pushing voting rights. they should have been pushing election protections. this is what is not only the right thing to do but it was the politically savvy thing to do for democrats and in the time that they have left, that's precisely what they need to focus on and show exactly what the threat is to democracy that is increasing with every passing day. >> jake, i know democrats and republicans that you have covered view the midterms and their conclusions in some ways as structurally unsuspenseful but i'm haunted by this line in "american president" where annette benning says, on election day, people care about what i tell them to care about. do democrats believe that on election day, people might still care about what they tell them to care about? >> it's a really good question. i think that democrats are going
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to be hesitant to run on democracy. i really do. i think that everything we hear from democrats -- and you know, listen, it's difficult to speak about a party as a monolith, because democrats are going to run independent races across the country. but every democrat that i talk to says they're going to focus on the things that they've done in the capital to improve people's lives, and democracy -- bolstering democracy might be one of those things, but i've not heard a democrat who's in a tough race who says that they're going to run on democratic issues. i just haven't heard that. maybe they will. maybe that will change. but i think that they believe, and you can look at public polling on this, i think the public polling generally speaking, generally speaking, does not reflect that as a top concern of american voters, and it should be, of course. the health of our democracy is immensely important. but i think that democrats, the ones i talk to, do not say they're going to run on that. >> and i think democracy can be
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a big concept but violence is pretty easy to understand. there's breaking news that i want to read to all of you, this is from the "new york times" from the same reporters driving conversations these days, alex burns and jonathan martin who dropped this story at 5:11 p.m., and it goes like this. quote, representative kevin mccarthy, the house republican leader, feared in the aftermath of the january 6th attack that several far-right members of congress would incite violence against other lawmakers. identifying several by name as security risks in private conversations with party leaders. that is a remarkable, remarkable, remarkable new revelation. the piece goes on to say that mccarthy talked to other congressional republicans about wanting to rein in multiple hardliners who were deeply involved in donald trump's efforts to contest the 2020 election and undermine the peaceful transfer of power. this according to an audio recording obtained by "the new york times." do we have that audio recording yet? okay, let's listen to that. >> the other thing that we have to do is these members on
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either -- whatever position you are, calling out other members, that's got to stop, especially of this nature. so i'm going to call gates, but anything else we see, don't assume i see everything, don't assume i know everything. but we've got to have one central point, so i mean, if you can bring this stuff to dan so we can have it, but don't sit back around. it's going to be personal. the tension is too high. the country is too crazy. i do not want to look back and think we caused something or we missed something and someone got hurt. and i don't want to play politics with any of that. >> kevin mccarthy, unrecognizable from the man you just described. this is someone who says the tension is too high. i don't want to look back and think we caused someone to get hurt. what do you think? >> one thing to point out, mccarthy said -- first of all, this is amazing reporting by jonathan and alex.
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but -- and it's just remarkable to hear these tapes. if i were -- a few thoughts here. if i were kevin mccarthy, i would be exceedingly concerned that somebody in my leadership was taping all of his -- of my conversations. it's incredibly important, and thank god it got out, number one, but number two, mccarthy did say a sliver of this publicly in the wake of the january 6th attacks. he said that members of congress should not be talking about other members of congress, targeting other members of congress, because somebody could get hurt. so he did say some of this. he did not publicly single out people by name, and that's important. and here's the problem, nicole. the congressional leadership doesn't really have a mechanism to crack down on this behavior because when mccarthy cracks down on this behavior, the people that are behaving like this then use it to their advantage and say, they're trying to silence me. my leadership's trying to silence me. and then they go raise a couple
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million bucks off it. so this behavior is actually rewarded in a sick and perverse way. so, what is he going to do? what does mccarthy -- and i'm not defending him by any stretch, but we've seen examples here. he, you know, marjorie taylor greene was kicked off committees, not by mccarthy, but what did that do? it only emboldened her and caused her to do this more. so i think the congressional leadership, by the way, on both sides of the aisle, have trouble figuring out how to rein in their members because the incentive structure is so perverse and so sick. but yes, this is unrecognizable from what we hear publicly and that story in "the new york times," by the way, i just read it during the break, after j. mark texted it to me to make sure i could see it, but suggested also that steve scalise, who, by the way, stayed out of the fray here, very interesting, very important to note, steve scalise also said that some of this talk might actually be illegal. it might be so dangerous that it's illegal.
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i think that's the end of that story. so, i mean, just -- this was all in the immediate aftermath of january 6th and just absolutely stunning to read this and to get this perspective from the leadership all these months later. >> i mean, look, jake, having been a loyal member of the republican party, i would posit that the reason they're powerless is because their voters don't see any sign this is bad because kevin mccarthy says it's good. the reason -- >> no, no. >> the reason they get rewarded and raise money is because they have a leader that stuffs the truth back in the toothpaste tube and says, i'm with trump and his lies about the election. that's why mo brooks can go out and raise a million dollars and there is not the same problem on the other side. i know the point you're making is about structurally, it's difficult for any leader of either party but only one party participated in a coup plot. >> correct. yes. i was a -- to be abundantly clear here, i was speaking about the structural -- >> i know. >> the structural problems of congressional leadership. no, there's only one party that
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believes there were secret -- that, a, tried to overthrow the election, and b, believes there were secret spy satellites changing the election results, and c, thinks the brits and the cia were involved in this obscene and -- it's just so stupid and so ridiculous. >> it's so stupid. >> yes, there's only one party. but you're right. the fact that mccarthy doesn't say this publicly gives permission and gives leave to these members to keep doing it. again, if mccarthy said any of this publicly, any of this, then maybe people would stop doing it and i had a member call me, just one on anecdote for you, i had a republican member of the house who said to me he wishes -- and this is an ally of the leadership, somebody who flies under the radar but is close to the leadership, who said, why doesn't mccarthy bring these members in front of the conference, in front of all their members, and have them explain this garbage to us. tell us what you're talking about, just to embarrass them. they were talking about the madison cawthorn orgy and
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cocaine fantasy that he had, but like, that's a really good question. why not try to shame these people in front of the folks they're talking about and furthermore, do it publicly. the reason is, and let's just be blunt. mccarthy has to get 218 votes in the house floor to be elected speaker of the house. that's the cold and sad reality of it, and he doesn't have the ability to lose votes. so, every time he criticizes somebody, he'll look at the playing field and say, if i criticize that person, does this person also not vote for me? does this person not vote for me? and then he gets into a math problem and that is really the cold calculation that he makes at the end of the day. >> how math killed democracy. for our viewers, so, the gop doesn't have a bottom. we do. we told you about testicular cancer. we drew the line at madison cawthorn's orgies. if you don't know what it's about, google it, look for the images. i want to keep reading this story to you, charlie sykes. because there are two members
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that he is referring to in that tape and i didn't make that clear in reading the story. mccarthy's remarks represent the starkest acknowledgement from a republican leader, written by "the new york times" reporters, that the party's rank and file lawmakers played a role in stoking the violence on january 6th and that they posed a threat in the days after the capitol attack. audio recordings of the comments obtained in reporting for the book "this will not pass," in the phone call with other republican leaders on january 10th, mccarthy referred chiefly to two representatives, matt gaetz of florida and mo brooks of alabama, as endangering the security of other lawmakers and the capitol complex. but he and his allies discussed several other representatives and made comments they saw as offensive and dangerous, including lauren boebert of colorado and barry moore of alabama. charlie, your reaction. >> yeah, well, first of all, you know, clearly, kevin mccarthy understands how dangerous this is and let's connect the dots from some of the other things that we are talking about. democrats do need to tell people
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about this. this election needs to be more than just a referendum on legislation they pass. they have to make this into a choice. they have to tell the american people, look, you know, you might not tell pollsters that democracy is the top of your list, but these people are crazy, and they are dangerous. put crazy and dangerous and seditious on the ballot, because you know, as a.b. stoddard points out, you have -- if republicans win this year, these people that we're talking about right now are in the majority. they will run congress. they will be in power. and the time to talk about that is now, not complain about it later. so, again, i understand the conventional wisdom the democrats, you know, think that they need to talk about kitchen table issues, and of course they do. but midterm elections can either be an up or down referendum on
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the incumbent party which will will troublesome for the democrats, or it ought to be this stark choice between these different worlds, these different visions. and democrats should not hesitate and not listen to all the consultants and the insiders who say, don't talk about this. don't just come on msnbc and talk about it. go out into the world and say, look, you know, you might not like everything i've done, but look at these people who i'm running against. look who would be in power. look what they are saying. look what they did. look what they are defending, because you know, that's important. and it's not just a good political strategy, i think. it's just important in our politics to let people know exactly what the stakes really are in 2022. >> as the only former campaign hack on the panel, let me just say that it works. in 2002, the election was about homeland security. it was the first midterm election had after 2001. republicans defied decades and decades and decades of political muscle memory and they held on
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to majorities because the election was about homeland security. and if i were a democratic campaign operative, i would cut an ad with this new audio of kevin mccarthy talking about the danger to the homeland and sitting members of congress posed by republicans. listen to another new excerpt from the "new york times" reporters, the authors of the new book. this one, we haven't played yet. listen. >> okay, the other thing i want to bring up, and i'm making some phone calls to some members. i just got something about newsmax, something that gates said where he is calling people names, saying anti-trump and this type of atmosphere. and some of the other places. and this is serious stuff people are doing, and it has to stop. i'll make individual phone calls. >> mo and louis's comments, too, a lot of members have said, some real concerning things. >> did they say something today too? >> not -- louis was at -- i mean, mo was at the rally, you
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know, we're kicking ass and taking names thing at the trump rally. >> i think this is -- >> what did gates say? >> gates said -- gates brought up liz specifically. i just saw that on twitter. >> and adam. someone just -- just sent it to me so i'm calling gates, i'm explaining to him, i'm going to have other people call and see. if i'm getting briefing, i'll get another one from the fbi tomorrow, this is serious, to cut this out. >> yeah, that's -- that's -- potentially illegal, what he is doing. >> well, he's putting people in jeopardy. and he doesn't need to be doing this. we saw what people would do in the capitol. you know? these people came prepared. >> the nixon tapes changed the political conversation.
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i don't know if the same thing is going to happen to donald trump as what happened to nixon. i think it was geraldo who said to sean hannity if nixon had fox news, he would never have been impeached and i have not said this before but i think geraldo is right. take us through the voices we heard on that tape and its impact. >> that's kevin mccarthy, steve scalise, and i believe liz cheney because she was the only woman in the leadership at the time. a few thoughts here to just go over. number one, mccarthy had spoken out publicly against gates, so he did, i believe, at some point, say publicly that he had gone too far. but i know that in the days after the january 6th attack and the immediate aftermath, mccarthy did get warnings from -- i mean, i think he even said this publicly, did get warnings from law enforcement that some of this behavior had gone too far. i mean, it's really interesting, nicole.
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i was talking to a republican operative very close to mccarthy a couple weeks ago, i guess, actually, last week when the tapes first came out. maybe that was this week. i lose track. but this republican said to me, mccarthy should be -- should not bat this down. it actually shows him to have some sort of conscience and puts him on the same level as mcconnell. i wonder if some of those thoughts are going through his office right now. i've not checked in with him. let's put it this way. mccarthy said, publicly and privately, members should not be attacking members. he did go that far. it didn't work. no one listened to him. members kept attacking members. there's a primary challenge right now against liz cheney in wyoming. there are members of congress who attack members of the senate. republican members of congress who attack republican members of the senate. so, mccarthy's warnings on that front did not go -- did not -- no one listened to them. so, it was a useless exercise or
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it was an -- a not fruitful exercise. i think it was very useful, but it was not fruitful for mccarthy. it's just -- listen, as somebody, nicole, i spend my life trying to get information from these calls. i have, on occasion, gotten recordings for my book and for other reporting purposes of these calls. but it's just stunning to hear the volume -- just the sheer amount of reporting that jonathan and alex, my former colleagues at politico, have gotten from this incredibly important moment of time, and i really -- and i say this as somebody who is not only friends of these guys but also as somebody who does this for a living, this book is tremendous and everyone should go buy it because it just captures an incredible moment in our history when, as they say in the book, i think, democracy was really teetering and on the brink. >> and i guess i would posit, you know, i think kim atkins,
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these are also -- i'm just going to, you know -- these are also your competitors. i mean, you are on the same beat. these are your competitors, so that praise is important. i want to come back, though, to something that jake highlighted the first time he heard it because it jumped out to him even before me. this is about the illegality of what they were doing, and we've got not one but two probes into january 6th, the 1/6 select committee's work, which i don't know how it doesn't become all the more tumultuous. i mean, liz cheney's on these calls because she was in leadership before kevin mccarthy funded her primary challenger, so she obviously knew the substance of these calls, but now we've all heard the substance. and doj, which is now widening its probe to include the rally and all of these revelations, but 11 members in the center of knowledge of and possibly planning of the events before the insurrection. so, this is -- this is on the tape. he's putting people in jeopardy, mccarthy said of matt gaetz, and
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he doesn't need to be doing this. we saw what people would do in the capitol, you know, and these people came prepared with rope and everything else. representative steve scalise of louisiana, the number two house republican, suggested that mr. gaetz might be crossing a legal boundary. quote, it's potentially illegal what he's doing, scalise said. you've got the sound about a pardon. i mean, they knew laws were broken in front of their eyes, kim atkins. >> yeah, and you anticipated the point that i have been wanting to make before i could make it. you were talking about watergate. watergate crystallized, at the moment that the hearings became public and americans who had not yet tuned into what had happened were able to see it and understand its importance. and that is what led to, at that time, something we won't see happen now, but republicans tell nixon, this is done. this is over. so, what the january 6th committee needs to do, and i want to broaden this just beyond what democrats need to do in
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messaging for 2022. what the january 6th committee, who is tasked with creating the record of this event, need to do is to craft a very clear, very concise message, and it's going to be hard because it's so much -- the volume of information, just what we cover in these segments, it's going to be hard. but they need to convince americans why this is important and why they must care. they must do that in order to protect democracy. and democrats can take that. if they don't want to listen to, you know, what conventional wisdom is and everything else, they can take the january 6th committee and say, this is a specific moment in our nation and regardless of what my, you know, consultants are telling me, i think i need to make it clear to my constituents the importance of this moment and talk about that. and i think that's the only way, really, to save democracy. you need all of those things. you need truth tellers who are in office, who are running for office or not. you need the january 6th
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committee. and you need merrick garland at the doj speaking truth to power in holding people accountable, and that's really what we have left. that's what's left between us and the end of our democracy. >> well, and not to dumb anything that you just said so eloquently down, but they're lying liars, and if they'll lie about violence, if they'll lie about the threat of violence to one another, they're going to lie about everything, baby. i mean, this is a direct conversation to the voters. listen to the tape. listen to how they saw the threat posed by themselves, by republican members of the house of the representatives. and to sort of go back to where we started with jake, they viewed kevin mccarthy as stabbing donald trump in the back. kevin mccarthy stabbed himself in the become by putting all this back in the tube, something steve scalise thought was illegal, something kevin mccarthy worried -- i don't want to look back if someone gets hurt and feel like we didn't do
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anything. i want to ask the control room if we can apply the tape we have again. i just -- i think now we understand a little bit better from all of you and especially from you, jake. this is kevin mccarthy talking with leadership, which includes steve scalise, which says something remarkable about illegality on the part of matt gaetz and liz cheney, the one-time number two. let's listen to the tape again. >> the other thing that we have to do is these numbers on either -- whatever position you're on, calling out other members, that's got to stop, especially this nature. i'm going call gaetz. don't assume i see everything, don't assume i know everything. we've got to have one central point, so if you can bring this thing to -- so we'll have it.
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it's going to be -- tension is too high. the country is too crazy. i do not want to look back and think we caused something or missed something and someone got hurt. i don't want to play politics with any of that. >> i don't want to play politics with any of that. it's stunning. i don't want to look back and think we caused that. jake? >> no, i just want to add a will it. bit more context. i'm just hearing this for the first time as well. and i just caught something. what he's suggesting basically is people bring -- it's not clear if he's talking about staff or members or people who work for him is bring these recordings to the top and most trusted aides -- or treats, rather, and bring them -- flag them for him. so he's indicating, to me, having studied and reported on
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ken mccarthy for most of my professional life that he's trying to systemize a process by which he would get these tweets and flag them for people and go after, or at least warn these republicans that are violating what he thinks is the decor rum of at least the house, house republican conference, and -- you know, and he's trying to systemize this. so he understands how big of a problem this is. he's trying to systemize it. i have no idea whether he did or did not. maybe he did and failed. i have no idea. but he's trying to systemize this, and just to me, that indicates to me, knowing mccarthy and the leadership, it indicates to me he recognized how big of a problem this was and tried to do something and at least thought about doing something relatively serious and relatively organized to stop it. >> yeah, i mean, having been a staffer, once the principles are bringing in the staffers, the
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bleep's gotten real, right? >> yeah, nicole, i'd actually say -- this is not, again, to excuse mccarthy. >> i understand. >> i'm saying that for the larger msnbc audience. the leaders have a zillion things on their plate. nothing should be more important than people trying to hurt other members of congress, but what he could say in a leadership structure is, like, go to this person who's going to be organizing, flagging, and cataloging all of these horrible things that people are saying, and that just to me indicates more of a level -- >> that he took it more seriously. in defense of the msnbc audience i would be correct to point out he did not do any of this. >> he did not, no. >> here's a new piece of audio. these from "the new york times"
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reporters. these are recordings for their book of kevin mccarthy in conversation with it would appear, steve scalise and liz cheney. >> later after this call i'm going to get another briefing from the fbi. and it doesn't matter which side of the position you were, i respect it and i respect why you did what you did. but what we're saying on television, when we say a member's name, when we incite or we -- in our hearts maybe we think we aren't doing it, but you go back the last four years, everybody has done something. this is not the moment in time to do it. the briefings that i'm getting, you can incite something else. the country is very divided, as we know this. let's not put any member, a republican, democrat, or anybody not in congress -- watch our words closely. i get these reports on a weekly basis. i've seen something i haven't
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seen before some i'm asking all of you. i called some of you personally, and i want to you know what i'm hearing. be careful. i know you want to defend your vote, defend your position, and sometimes we get emotional about that, and part of our defense is that we explain where somebody else was at. that brings damage. do not raise another member's name on a television. even if they're in a different position or not. let's respect one another, and you probably won't understand what you're doing, and i'm just warning you right now, don't do it. don't do it in this time, unless you prepare for the future not to do it as well. >> so, the time line is coming into my mind here. he's getting briefed by the fbi about what would manifest itself in an extraordinary, i believe, terror threat warning for the country. it was renewed several times about the intersection of election lies and grievances, and i believe some covid restrictions. it remained a threat of domestic violent extremism, it was fueled
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by the election lies. and he's call on his members not to call out members on tv. the only ones called on the on tv were the ones who saw the insurrection the way liz cheney did and the ten would vote on in the meantime in the house of representatives. charlie, what else are you hearing when you hear this very sober, very alarmed -- this is between fbi briefings about the threat environment, that arguably persists to this day. >> well, i want to pick up on something jake said. that's kevin mccarthy as a grownup who is trying to be responsible who recognizes the danger of the country. it's a very different kevin mccarthy we've seen the last 15 or 16 months because he never actually did anything about it. what you have is kevin mccarthy in this moment of decency, and the real tragedy of course is now that in order to cia his
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political future in trump's republican party, he has to deny that he ever really did have this spasm of conscious or this moment of decency, because that kevin mccarthy there is quite a contrast to the kevin mccarthy who in a few weeks was on television ripping liz cheney by name. it was kevin mccarthy who led the campaign to oust her from leadership and then to defeat her. so the kevin mccarthy who was saying let's be grownups, let's be responsible, let's restrain, decided that he couldn't afford to be the grownup that you hear on that tape. >> so, kim, what i think charlie's bringing us back to is the kevin mccarthy who says the country's very divided, don't attack republicans or democrats. he says on tape, don't attack democrats. i wonder if that will go over in his speaker election. he and steve scalise ponder whether or not gaetz has broken the law.
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they talk about mo brooks and gaetz as endangering potentially other member of their caucus, other member of their chamber. then they go on away vicious campaign to purge liz cheney from leadership. now kevin mccarthy is sending money to her primary challenger. he's the only one through all of this emotion and whatever you want to call it -- acknowledgement of reality -- liz cheney is the only one who gets punish after these tapes were made. >> yeah, i want to go back to two points that we made earlier. one, that all of this is an attempt by kevin mccarthy to hold on to power because he's doing what he's doing because he wants to speakership and he thinks that's the only way he can get it. it points out that above all, one thing we know is that he lied. we know that he lead. this proves that he lied. so another thing that democrats can say in a simple message, is this will be the leader of congress. if you vote for republicans.
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i mean, that's where we are right now. it's that stark. and this is what -- and again, democracy depends upon this. so i think there is a way to make it clear to the american people what is at stake here. it's just a matter of whether that message will be made. >> and whether we still believe what we see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears. our thanks to all of you for being part of our breaking coverage. more on our breaking news. "the beat" with ari melber starts now. >> welcome to "the beet". i'm ari melber. we are continuing the breaking news coverage of these newly leaked secret tapes from leader kevin mccarthy. these from audio recordings that are ricochetting across washington. "the new york times" obtained them, and they reveal how leader mccarthy, the top republican in the house, was worrying that what his far right colleagues were saying and doing could


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