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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  September 25, 2020 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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it's going to be very busy over these next few days. we are expecting the president to announce his supreme court nominee tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern. it is likely to be judge amy coney barrett. she's also been very outspoken in her public remarks that the affordable care act should be eliminated. she's excoriated chief justice john roberts for his earlier vote to keep it in place as law. again, that's tomorrow, that announcement from the president expected at 5:00 p.m. eastern. and then right after the weekend on tuesday, it is the first
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presidential debate. no rest for the wicked or for any of us. that's going to do it for us tonight, though. i will see you again here on monday. now it is time for the last word for the great ari velchi. >> that was a great interview with olivia troy, notwithstanding her own observations. i think you said it, it is our first glimpse how that has happened over the last night months, how those decisions we only see later in a press release, a press conference and we're puzzling as to how they got to that point. it was remarkable to get inside, get behind that curtain a little bit. so thank you for bringing that to us, rachel. a busy week for you next week. all right. later this hour, we are going to break down rachel's bomb nell with olive that troy which just ended. our producers are going through that right now with some of the pieces that we want to hear again and share with you again. but with all due respect to my friend and college, the great
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rachel maddow, tonight is a night to flip her motto on its head. watch what they say, not what they do. president trump is using all the levers of power at his disposal to help his effort to remain in power. he's taking actions that could, if you don't consider them carefully, look good in a headline but upon closer inspection, they are mostly meaningless. take trump's big health care announcement in north carolina. he signed an executive order with great flourish that he claimed would protect people with pre-existing conditions. that's a joke. i think i can think about a stronger word for it than joke. it is an order that holds no legal weight, first of all. what does hold legal weight is that his administration is in great right now fighting to appeal obamacare which actually at its heart was designed to protect people with pre-existing conditions. something that the trump administration has actively fought to eliminate. or look at trump's justice
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department making scary claims about pennsylvania election officials throwing out ballots of trump voters. it was a shocking claim that was deliberately misrepresented. trump's doj politicized a still-pending investigation by sending out inaccurate press release that allowed republicans to shout about ballot fraud. the truth in this case is much less nefarious. a temporary worker accidentally discarded a small number of ballots and election officials did not know which were cast until the u.s. attorneys office disclosed it. once again, a great headline that falls apart when the facts come out. on the office chance that trump does something that actually helps people like his pledge to give billions in aid to puerto rico, the benefit is secondary. the main purpose is helping trump's re-election. it's been two years since hurricane maria hit puerto rico
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and now he cares about the island. it is great that puerto rico is finally getting help, but trump thinks it will help him win votes. don't watch what they do. watch what trump and the people around him say they are doing. this week, trump refused to commit to accept the results of the election if he loses, and he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. his attorney general has lied again and again about voter fraud, claiming widespread fraud exists when it does not. this morning trump's chief of staff tried to dismiss comments made by the director of the fbi because the director said he had seen no cases of widespread voter fraud. >> your own fbi director says he has seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud by mail or otherwise. >> well, with all due respect to director wray, he has a hard time finding e-mails in his own fbi, let alone figuring out whether there is any kind of
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voter fraud. >> oh, snap. why does the chief of staff think he knows more than the director of the federal bureau of investigation about this? now, we have to listen with care when we say watch what they say because not every example is as blatant as trump's or in this case mark meadows. take mike pence. the vice president said this last night. >> president trump and i will accept the results of a free and fair election. >> don't be mistaken. that is not a commitment to accepting the results of the election. this isn't an internationally monitored election. free and fair for treatment trump apparently in the eye of the beholder. trump will define those two terms as he sees fit. all signs indicate that nothing short of a trump victory will be either free or fair in his mind. think that sounds extreme? senator lindsey graham, the chairman of the judiciary committee says he will only accept the results of the
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election if the supreme court decided the outcome. >> we need a nine person supreme court, and people wonder about the peaceful transfer of power. i can assure you it will be peaceful. now, we may have litigation about who won the election, but the court will decide. and if the republicans lose, we will accept that result. >> courts do not decide elections in america. people do. the idea of a high court with six republican appointed justices, three chosen by trump himself over ruling the will of the american electorate is terrifying. he appears to take it as a given that trump will fall short, challenge the results and turn to the federal judiciary as part of a bid to stay in power. this is what we should be focussed on. republicans are taking meaningless actions meant to sound meaningful to win votes. but if those actions aren't enough, trump will just call the election a sham. and his justice department and senior republicans have indicated that they will go along with that plan.
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republicans are telling us what they're really up to, and we should listen. this is a fight for democracy. the lies, the deceit and the schemes are authoritarian tactics that strong men use to remain in power. the united states of america is not an authoritarian government, we hope, we think. terrifying to think what this country could be facing in november until you remember the truth of the matter. and the truth of the matter is that the system is not great. we must remain vigilant. all of us must remain vigilant that every vote gets counted and every voice is heard, and it starts with being an active voter, following every single direction on a mail-in ballot, using the right envelope, signing the right pages and tracking that ballot to make sure it is received. it means making a detailed plan on election day if you plan to get to the polls. it means doing whatever you can for yourself and those around you, however you can to make sure that this president and his
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lackeys cannot fix the vote. to be clear, this doesn't mean donald trump can't win the election fair and square. what it means is that should -- fair and square should be the only way that donald trump wins. not through lies, not through deceit, but through letting the voters be heard. if you don't believe me, maybe you will believe joe biden talking earlier today to my friend stephanie ruhle. >> twice now president trump has refused to agree to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. what are you going to do if you win and he just won't leave? >> well, number one, the american people aren't going to be shut down in this election. they're going to vote. they're going to vote in large numbers, and there is just not going to be denied. and it is going to be clear from the beginning exactly where this is going. i just think the people of this country are going to be heard november 3rd. every vote in this country is going to be heard. they will not be stopped. and i'm confident all the outrageous attacks on this country, we will have an
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election in this country as we have always had and he will leave. >> stephanie is joining me at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow and her full interview with joe biden will air as part of the latitude national business conference. full coverage tomorrow on "weekends with alex witt" at 12:00 p.m. eastern. adam smith of washington, the chairman of the house armed services committee. congressman, thank you for being with us. it is becoming hard to keep up with what the president is saying and what the president is doing. he is making promising that he didn't see fit to push through his legislation in his three and a half years as president and at the same time, he is making no promises to do the one thing upon which our democracy depends, honor the election and leaf offi leave the office if you lose. >> it is freightening the way he approaches this. so this is from a position of weakness. trump knows he's losing. he's desperate.
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he's sending money to puerto ri rico. he's trying to act like he's doing stuff, and then he's trying to undermine the election to put himself in a position, as lindsey graham said, to use the court to veto the will of the voters. and we need to stand up against that loud and consistently through election day and beyond. >> i want to ask you about reporting in the no"the new yor times" that trump will send troops into the treat. acknowledged they were talking amongst themselves about what to do if mr. trump who will still be president from election day to inauguration day invokes the insurrection act and tries to send troops into the streets. there could be resignations among many of trump's senior generals at the time of the election. i mean, on one hand, i like it that people who don't agree with the president would resign. although, i'm not sure i want
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military leaders to resign if the president is using the military inappropriately. >> i agree with you. i want the military to uphold the constitution and uphold the law. that's what they told me they will do. couple different pieces of this. donald trump will be president until january 20th. you serve one president at a time. but the second big piece is the military has made clear to me, and we have had conversations about this, they will not follow an illegal order. they will not follow an order that would illegally help the president overturn the election. they will uphold the constitution. they will uphold the laws. the big thing we need to focus on is the state by state election to make sure we get every vote, to make sure they're counted because remember the federal government doesn't actually certify the elections. it is the states that certify the elections. and if the states certify the elections then we will have the free and fair election we know we're going to have and we have always had. that's what we need to stay
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focussed on. >> and you are confident about this that when things start to look wrong or go wrong because we don't want to start discussing this on november 4th or 5th or 6th, you are confident that people will make the right decision, people who have access to the levers of power will make the right decisions? >> i am confident of that. fortunately, it isn't up to the president, and it's not even up to bill barr. it is up to a lot of officials in states. ultimately it is -- it is up to the judiciary if they want to insert themselves. the judiciary is loathed to overturn elections. keep in mind, let's say there is a contested election in pennsylvania. are the courts in pennsylvania going to want to overturn the election because they won't just be overturning it for precedess. it would be their entire state. they would be casting their state into chaos because of the president's paranoid conspiracy theories in his desperate
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attempt to overturn the constitution to hold on to power. i don't think there is going to be people who will follow him down that road. but we have to be vigilant and report on it. we have to have lawyers in the precinct to make sure the ballots are counted properly and we are prepared to repel all of these legal challenges. >> we will certainly do our side on reporting on it consistently. >> thank you for that. >> congressman, good to see you. congressman adam schiff joining us now. also john mee chum, he's the author of "his truth is marching on: john lewis and the power of hope." john, let me start with you because you and i have often talked in the last three and a half hours and how has a historian you're writing and watching history as it's unfolding. now we're asking you to look at history 40 days from now and
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beyond because we're starting to see the outlines, the rough sketch of something that most americans cannot believe that they might have to contend with. >> yeah. samuel taylor had one of the great definitions of history. he talked about how it was like a lantern on the stern and we could see what course we had come. but that lantern can cast light forward as well. as you say, we have talked about this a lot. the lantern on the stern of coldridge's boat tonight tells us that we have three and a half years of, to put it kindly, wildly unconventional and oftenen constitutional action on the part of a president and a base of support that are both more interested in the acquisition of power than they are in the ordinary conventions of governance and democratic practice. and, so, i don't think it's overly predictive. this is not johnny carson and
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carmac here. we have an extraordinary amount of evidence including, as you were saying a moment ago, the president's own repeated statements to worry. we have sufficient cause here. there is probable cause for a kind of national vigilance about this election. i wish i were as confident as chairman smith, but i am less so. not least because it's not a federal decision, a federal gesture that would suddenly sort of bring order today i don't say. it is a lot of different states. there is an unevenness, frankly, of talent in those state positions. we saw that in 2000. and if you don't think the courts can insert themselves into this, ask my friend and neighbor al gore how that works out. >> right, right. >> so there is a lot to worry about here. >> maria, fascinating that we
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are having this discussion. i just can't even believe we're saying the words we're saying, that we are looking for assurances from senior leaders in the military and possibly the secretary of defense and homeland security about what they may do if the wrong thing happens on some time between november 3rd and january 20th. the fact is we are being brought to question these things, and a lot of people, political activists are saying, well, just vote in numbers large enough to make this close. that can't actually be the answer in a democracy. in a democracy, the person that gets one more vote or one more electoral vote wins. >> well, i think actually this is -- democracy is being put to its test and it's actually falling on us as everyone as pointed out. the federal government, the justice department, they don't certify the votes, right? it comes down to every state. it is actually a weakness in our
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government that it comes down to counties and how they run their elections. but it also means that the people have the absolute power to exercise their right to vote and need to do that and need to do that in as high a number as possible to make it clear. but the point i want to make is that we know three and a half years this president misstates, lies, lives in an alternate reality. and when you deal with someone who has those kinds of issues, a truly delusional sense of his role in government, his powers, what we need to do is stay calm, is to have faith in our institutions. and by that i don't mean just quietly. i mean exercise and give strength to those institutions, including the press, which is reporting, rightly so. but also we do have
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decentralized elections. and that means we all have an opportunity to be vigilant and to make sure, as you said, ali, have a plan but also to be there to be ready to help people who may not be able to get to the polls or who have trouble understanding their mail-in requirements. and i'm not being pollyannish. i was there in december when the supreme court ruled. and i want to be clear. it is not because the judiciary is going to insert itself. it is rather that we know that someone, if it's close, someone is going to go to court. and i'm going to trust -- i have to believe that the justices will, in fact, uphold the constitution because that is what they have sworn to do. that is what this country has, institutions that have stood for more than 200 years. >> but for the complexity of casting the ballot, which has changed because of coronavirus, john, the rest of the stuff that
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the president is talking about and has been talking about for several months is a fiction because for all the things he can say about the electoral system, and there may be judicial or other fights after november 3rd, the activity, the democratic activity that each american can engage in is the same as it was four years ago, 40 years and 200 years ago, it is the casting of a ballot. so the bottom line is if americans can do what maria says, go out there and cast their ballot some time between now and november 3rd, in the end democracy still survives. >> yes but. and history turns on yes but. one thing is the casting of ballots has been an essential element in the american experiment. but 200 years ago it was a limited franchise. it's only been 99 years since maria was allowed to vote.
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and it's only been since 1968 when in my native region we have had presidential elections that have unfolded without apartheid. right? 1968. the 1964 presidential election unfolded under apartheid. so this is not -- and i'm relentlessly hopeful on this, but i'm not relentlessly optimistic because the story of the country is of painful and often provisional progress. and one of the absolutely essential elements in making a constitution as the one that we have now, which is amended and is actually being put into practice because the 15th amendment was ignored for so long, but after 1965 we got a little bit better at it, is the character of all the actors in the drama. and it is the character of the voters to be as you are saying
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to be determined to stand in those lines as long as it takes. everybody needs to help everybody get out there to register their will at the polls. all that said, though, it does require the character of those who do the counting and do the reporting and most important do the accepting of that result. >> yep. >> and so character is destiny. >> well, we have a little time for all of us to figure it out. but we know what our responsibilities are and may we carry those out. thank you to both of you. thank you for joining us. coming up, we will have more on rachel's big interview tonight with former pence aid who is explaining publically why she's endorsing joe biden for president. we will talk with republican voters against trump next. and later the plea for explanations out of louisville. the family of breonna taylor
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wants evidence to understand why no one faces criminal charges in the shooting death of breonna taylor. we'll go live to louisville for the scene tonight. scene tonight. ♪ ♪ smooth driving pays off with allstate the safer you drive the more you save ♪ you've never been in better hands allstate click or call for a quote today
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donald trump is doing everything in his power to undermine the election if he loses. but the president's ongoing refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power has some pushing back. a lifelong republican from texas recently decided that she had had enough. she was mike pence's lead staffer on the coronavirus task force. after leaving the white house in august, he joined republican voters against trump to warn americans about the dangers that she saw firsthand working in the trump administration. you can see them in these pictures here. here is what olivia troy said earlier tonight about witnessing political pressure put on task
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force doctors. >> i saw a lot of political pressure and dynamics on the doctors on the task force firsthand. there was a lot of pressure from very senior political figures in the west wing. i saw the doctors bullied at times. i saw them at times have to really stand their ground and fight. and sometimes when they did that it meant that most of you probably didn't see them in the press briefing the next day because they had probably said something that was a little bit too forthcoming and very true and it wasn't in line with their message. >> she explained how donald trump undermined the credibility of the coronavirus response during the white house task force briefings. >> he undermines the credibility of when the doctors then get up and speak because at that point he has told millions of
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americans some false -- basically false lie. completely lying to the american people. some of the people listen to this. when you are the president of the united states, people are tuning in. i mean, they're going to believe you. and this is part of the reason why this pandemic response has been so bad. how do you counter that when the number one person at the top is saying these things. >> joining us now is a republican strategist and the founder of republican voters against trump. i have said, sara -- thank you for being here, by the way. i have said it on twitter, there is no benefit to not have a functioning republican party that stands up for conservative principles and stands in debate with democrats about the way to approach things. but this election is not about that anymore. this is not about ideological positions or political parties. it seems to be about democracy versus a slide into
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authoritarianism. >> yeah, that's right. this election is about whether or not we can preserve this great democracy, which it turns out is slightly more fragile than some of us had thought. and that's why it is so important that so many republicans are speaking up in that moment and especially people like olivia, people like miles taylor, people like elizabeth newman who are inside the white house and stand to lose a lot by speaking out. but they are coming forward because they believe that americans need this information before they cast their vote in november. you know, olivia's entire career was defined by trying to keep americans safe. it seems to me joined the coronavirus task force because she wanted to help make sure that americans were safe. but donald trump undermined their work at every turn, and she -- you know, you could just tell when you watch her that this is something that is very hard for her. she's not used to the limelight. she was so alarmed by what she
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saw that she just feels like she has to speak out in this moment. >> i don't know if there are a lot of lawrence's viewers here who are uncertain who they are going to vote here. there seem to be 6% or 7% of people who are still trying to make up their mind. but everyone knows someone who has a lot of excuses for why they need to vote for donald trump. these might be normal republicans like you were, people who shared ideological positions or conservative positions with the republican party. what road map can you give those people to say you can't vote for trump now. one day you will be able to vote republican again. one day the republican party will rise like a phoenix from the ashes, but it's not going to be on november 3rd. >> yeah. i mean, look, donald trump, first of all, he's not a republican. he is not a conservative. he has done more damage to the republican party than anybody i can think of.
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and what i would say to republicans in this moment, you know, voting can be very triable. politics had gotten very triable. it's gotten very partisan. and republicans have talked themselves into this idea that, you know, it is not they're exactly more trump. it is that they're against those democrats and somehow the democrats are worse. that is simply -- there is just no way that you can watch what this president does, see how incompetently he's handled the coronavirus, see how often he lies, how he cozies up to dictators. this is just not a moment for partisan ship. it is a moment to think about your country, to identify as an american before identifying as a republican and to say, this is enough. we -- look, and you can -- you can have a temporary relationship with the democrats. you don't have to sign on for forever. this can be about one election, and it's really about preserving democracy in this moment and making sure that donald trump doesn't get a second term
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because if you think things have been bad for the last four years, when he is unconstrained over the next four years, i shutter to think what it could look like. >> and that is a place in which traditional conservatives, republicans can come together. they can say that's not what this republic is meant to be. >> absolutely. in fact, lots of republicans are. we started republican voters against trump essentially to give people a home where they could talk about why they didn't support donald trump and in fact were going to, you know, do the sort of uncomfortable thing and vote for joe biden. when we started the project, we had 100 people that sent in testimonial videos talking about why they couldn't support donald trump. now we have all these former trump officials who are also coming forward to explain why they can't vote for donald trump. and you see it every day, another republican coming out to say that they just can't support donald trump, that they're going to support joe biden, because this is just a moment where
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actually a lot of conservatives and republicans come together and say, this isn't who we are and this isn't what we stand for. >> thank you for joining us tonight. one of the founders of republican voters against trump. all right. coming up next, the protests in louisville. the family of breonna taylor and the governor of kentucky are on the same side tonight, demanding answers why there was no justice for breonna taylor. we'll be life in louisville next. life in louisville next want to brain better?
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why in 2020 am i having to tell you? why? say her name! >> breonna taylor! >> say her name! >> president. >> that was jacob blake sr. today speaking alongside the family of breonna taylor. here are live pictures from
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louisville, kentucky tonight where demonstrators tonight gathered for a third straight night protesting the decision to bring no charges against three officers in connection with the police shooting death of breonna taylor. police have set up barricades around the city and the demonstrators have been dispersed. calling on daniel cameron to publically release all evidence and the full transcripts of the grand jury proceedings as the community looks for answers and demands accountability for a justice system they say failed breonna taylor. wearing her niece's emt jacket, the count of breonna taylor read the maes saj today on behalf of breonna taylor's mother. >> i was reassured wednesday of why i have no faith in the legal system, in the police, in the laws that are not made to protect us black and brown people. i knew cameron would never do his job. but what i do know is that him and don'tless others will go to bed sleeping with breonna's
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face, still hearing her say her name. >> a curfew in louisville went into effect at 9:00 tonight and has been extended through the weekend. at least 24 arrests were made last night, including the state representative, kentucky's only black female legislator. joining us is shaquille brucer who knows what these protests look like and the anger in the community. shaq, what's going on there? >> reporter: well, you may hear the helicopter in front of me. you see the police presence here behind me. but it's been a relatively quiet night. that's despite the concern from the mayor who said through the weekend there would be more people coming in creating those larger demonstrations. officials have asked people to get off the roads, stay off the
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street once that 9:00 p.m. curfew. protesters left the main square where that has become the memorial for breonna taylor and marched a mile down the road to a church and have been holding demonstrations of 100, 150 people there chanting and still calling for change. today was an incredibly emotional day. we heard for the first time from the family of breonna taylor since that grand jury decision not to charge any of the officers directly for her death. as you mentioned, you heard the family call for transparency. they wanted the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings to be released because in the words of the family attorney, they wanted to make sure that someone was there advocating on behalf of breonna taylor and talking about her life and her connection and loss of life with that raid back in march. you know, i met with and spoke at a demonstration earlier with atika scott, that state represent who not only was one
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of the two people arrested yesterday but was the author of breonna's law and that call for police reform here in the state of kentucky. listen to what she told me a couple of hours ago. >> you see it here. it's peaceful, but it's been the police that's responding with violence unnecessarily. we were headed back to the square. so there is absolutely no reason for their flash bangs. i truly believe the mayor has to get the police under control so they will stop being violent. >> reporter: now, we do expect protests to continue tomorrow and through the weekend. that curfew remains in effect through the weekend. and it is -- i should remind you as you go through downtown louisville, businesses are still boarded up. you see the check points. this is a check point blocking traffic in and out of the downtown area, so there is still a heavy police presence. police are making clear they are enforcing that curfew and they want to keep the peace even as people continue to come out and exercise their first amendment
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rights in the name of breonna taylor. >> thank you, my friend. good to see you. roowe lost icons, but the l sons of their lives were to push on and fight on until you literally have no more life in you. that's next. more life in you. that's next. knowing who we are is hard. it's hard. eliminate who you are not first, and you're going to find yourself where you need to be. ♪ the race is never over. the journey has no port. the adventure never ends, because we are always on the way. ♪ ♪ it's ubrelvy. for anytime, anywhere migraine strikes without worrying
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last words. here is part of that's say read for "the last word" by john lewis's friend and add mir her. >> though i may not be here with you, i urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up to what you truly belie believe. in my life, i have done all i can to demonstrate the way of peace is the more excellent way. now it is your turn to let freedom ring. >> now it is our turn to let freedom ring. as john lewis told us, we must get in good trouble, necessary trouble. today ruth bader ginsburg made history again as the first woman and the first jewish person to lie in state at the capital of the united states. >> ready, get. ready, step. ready, step.
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ready, step. ♪ ♪ >> from the narrow straits, i call out to you. you, god, answered me with expanse. in the chambers of justice ginsburg hangs a framed piece of art that reads, justice,
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justice, you must pursue. today we stand in sorrow and tomorrow we, the people, must carry on justice ginsburg's legacy. even as our hearts are breaking, we must rise with her strength and move forward. she was our profit, our north star, our strength for so very long. now she must be permitted to rest after toiling so hard for every sickle one of us. ♪ america ♪ america ♪ i gave my best to you. >> justice, justice, you must pursue. and she did pursue. ruth bader ginsburg gave her best to america. ginsburg and lewis confronted discrimination with dtenacity.
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they didn't give up. they fought until the very end. they taught us that when times get hard, we must channel our despa despair. to vote, to listen, to speak up and most importantly to love. many have already donated in record amounts in the hours after the death of justice ginsburg, but this is just the beginning. how else can we continue the work of these two giants? after the work, we're joined to help us find that inspiration as we look at the empire state building tonight in red, white and blue in honor of justice ruth bader ginsburg. unitedhealthcare medicare plans offer so much more... ...so you can find just the right plan for you. like the "visit a doctor anywhere our rv takes us" plan. the "zero copays means more money for rumba lessons" plan.
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and i'm making corporations like pg&e and insurance companies play by our rules. we need experienced leadership to wipe away trump's stain on america for good. in 2015, justice ruth bader ginsburg was asked her advice for young people. >> fight for the things that you
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care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you. >> joining us now is melissa murray, and a law professor at new york university. she's a former law clerk to justice sonia sotomayor when she was at the u.s. court of appeals for the 2nd circuit. and back with us, maria echeveste, former deputy chief of staff to president clinton. welcome to both of you. thank you both for being here. maria, you and i had a conversation at the top of the show in which we talked about -- we sort of ended on the idea of what is left for us to do. despite all the bickering and talking about not giving up power if donald trump wins the election, in the end there is responsibility for voters, for average americans and the inspiration for that comes from john lewis, and it comes from ruth bader ginsburg, who just never gave up. they had a right to rest long before they did. >> absolutely. and one of the things that jon
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pointed out was that, in fact, yeah, women only got the right to vote 100 years ago, and the voting rights act was 1965. so it hasn't -- the founding documents have shown an abilities to adapt, to respond as our country, as our society develops, and that's really, i think, what i want to focus on, is that it is in our power. those things didn't happen by themselves. women fought to have the right to vote, and justice ginsburg used the law to make sure that women had equal rights. john lewis fought to have the right to vote. so i think it's just a lesson for us that it is in our hands to really help this country be the best that it can be and not give up even in these times when you are facing leaders who are
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lying and have distorted view of reality. we need to look at the facts. we need to look at what we can do at a local level, at a state, and, yes, definitely at the national level. but never give up is the lesson i take from both of those inspiring leaders. >> i think the lesson that other folks need to take, melissa, is the point that these rights didn't fall upon us. they were all hard fought despite the fact that there was a constitution, people had to fight hard for what they have. there's a beautiful picture that reuters published of a little girl saluting ruth bader ginsburg's casket on the steps of the u.s. supreme court wearing a superwoman costume. this little girl seems to understand the work that has been done and the work that is required to be done. the rest of us need to understand in preparing for our ballots that this does not happen to us. it happens because we fight for it. >> that's exactly right. both john lewis and ruth bader
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ginsburg read people of color, read women into the constitution. john lewis' bravery on the edmund pettus bridge fueled the passing of the voting rights act, and ruth bader ginsburg raised her voice up in dissent to defend those rights in 2013 when the supreme court gutted -- we going into this election have an obligation to the memories of both of these giants to do what we can to not only exercise our vote but to protect the rights of others to do so as well. >> maria, on december 14th of 2018, marking the 227th anniversary of the bill of rights, justice ginsburg spoke -- she conducted a naturalization ceremony for 30 people from 26 different countries, and she made this observation about her own life. let's listen. >> what is the difference between a bookkeeper in new york city's garment district and a
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supreme court justice? one generation. my own life bears witness. the difference between the opportunities available to my mother and those afforded me. >> one generation. the difference between the opportunities afforded to my mother and those afforded me, which by the way didn't automatically come. ruth bader ginsburg had to fight for those all the way. it's a message we still have to take today. it's a message voters have to carry now with 40 days -- 39 days, whatever it is, before the election, that you want your children to have more opportunities? you need to vote. you want more opportunities than your parents? you need to vote. >> absolutely. and i think what we're really facing in this moment is we've had over 40 years of a steady tilt towards an individualistic view of our society. you're poor because you made the wrong decisions. you know, the president constantly calls people losers because somehow they're not as successful as he is. what we're actually talking
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about is putting back out of many, one. that is we are really building a society, and we have to build a community. and when we vote, when we vote for leaders who are going to address our health care, our housing issues, our national -- our need for child care, all those things, we are voting to make our country a better place. >> melissa, there's a lot of despair in the country right now, particularly after this last week where we're seeing democratic institutions bend under the pressure of this president. what do people need to think about the fact that tomorrow we are going to have an appointment for a new supreme court justice to replace ruth bader ginsburg? >> this will be a pivotal appointment, shifting the tilt of the supreme court from a 5-4 conservative majority to a 6-3 super majority. this is absolutely huge. and, again, the issues of minority rule versus majority will are really on the table. if you care about the aaffordable care act, if you care about reproductive rights, if you are part of the majority
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of the country who believe in these things, then you should be concerned about a court where a bare super majority of nine people can write these out of existence. and that's exactly what we're seeing here, the court being used as a way to impose and to install minority rule. >> thank you to both of you. melissa murray and maria echeveste, we appreciate you being with us tonight. i'll see you back here tomorrow morning at 8:00 a. eastern. that is tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams begins right now. good evening once again. i'm katy tur in for brian williams, who will be back on monday. day 1,345 of the trump administration. 39 days until the presidential election. 4 days until the first presidential debate. tomorrow president trump will announce his pick to replace ruth bader ginsburg on the supreme court. two sources tell nbc news that federal judge amy coney barrett will be named as the nominee. she's been on

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