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tv   Hallie Jackson Reports  MSNBC  January 13, 2022 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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♪♪ whole bunch of breaking news as we're coming on the air in washington starting with the supreme court and the blow to president biden with the justices blocking his vaccine or test requirement for hundreds of millions of workers. but they did leave in place one mandate. we're about to get reaction from the white house any minute. the other big headline this afternoon, the leaders of the oath keepers under arrest. with our keep just getting more info on dramatic new details about the arrest of stewart
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rhodes, the highest profile person charged in the january 6th investigation yet. president biden leaving the hill just a few minutes ago after trying to wrangle the votes for his voting rights push. he doesn't have the votes. here with us, dick durbin. we're live with him one on one to take us inside that meeting later in the show. it is going to be a rock and roll hour. i'm going to call it now. i'm hallie jackson in washington with pete williams joins us, peter alexander with us as well. pete, let me start with you. break down the supreme court ruling and what it means. >> two rulings, hallie. the first one by a vote of 6-3, the supreme court is blocking the biden administration from carrying out the business mandate, the one that said companies that employee more than 100 workers must assure they either get the covid vaccine or wear a mask and undergo weekly testing. that's the one that would apply to about 80 million workers. it had ogone into effect after a lower court said the government
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could enforce it. but the supreme court has blocked enforcement again. the court basically says that the law that allows osha to do what it does empowers it to set workplace safety standards, but not broad public health measures. and in a separate decision by a vote of 5-4, the court said that the government can enforce the separate mandate that applies to about 20 million of the nation's health care workers, those who work in facilities that treat medicare or medicaid patients and get federal funds. the supreme court said that, after all, the law that applies here, that applies to the department of health and human services, quote, ensures that providers take steps to avoid transmitting a dangerous virus to their patients. that's consistent with the fundamental principle of the medical profession, first, do no harm. the dissenters were thomas,
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gorsuch, and barrett. two rulings, the government cannot enforce the osha requirement that applied to 100 million workers in private industry, but can enforce the second measure. now, that one was already enforced in about half the states, hallie. it had been blocked in other half. so, now the government can enforce the health care measure nationwide. >> pete, stand by. peter, let me go to you. unless i'm mistaking, i understand the press secretary will be briefing in a moment at the white house. >> i think that's exactly right. today she is scheduled to be joined by the national security adviser, jake sullivan, where there are other issues to be addressed. this will be front and center when she takes the podium in the next couple of minutes. clearly for this white house for the biden administration, this is a significant setback. i think the white house will argue that this will only prolong this pandemic. and it really challenges their ability to address what has been a real challenge for them, which
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is convince more americans who have been holdouts to this point to get vaccinated. how do they lift that number beyond the 60-some percent of americans who are vaccinated. the government at the time of this announcement, it was back in november. this was even before the surge of omicron. back then the white house or the administration said that they believe that this vaccine mandate would help make sure that it saved 6,500 additional lives. and beyond that suggesting that -- let me make sure you hear me a little bit more clearly -- and to make sure 250,000 americans, that they would have been okay. sorry, the microphone fell off as i began to speak to you. the president, hallie, he announced initially, said his plan was with this mandate to make sure to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated workers. and now many companies across the country have been taking
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this issue into their own hands, nike, columbia sportswear among others who are in the process, terminating some employees who have not either verified their vaccination status or provided medical exemption or simply just have not been vaccinated to this point, hallie. >> peter alexander with your booming and orobust voice. we are thrilled to have you back. peter, you're doing double duty for us. we're going to talk to you in a second about other issues for president biden today. pete williams, really appreciate your reporting on the supreme court latest. we're watching to see how the white house press secretary responds to this. we also have other news breaking on the january 6th investigation, the indictment and arrest of stewart rhodes, the head of the oath keepers. josh letterman is with us, and national correspondent for politico and contributor and former u.s. attorney and msnbc contributor chuck
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rosenberg. chuck, typically i would want to hear from our reporters here. i think what's interesting on this particular charge, as it relates to this justice department news is what this means. you're so good at breaking that down. put it into context for us. >> sure. thanks hallie. so, sedition is an attempt to overthrow or to, you know, hinder the government. it meaning rebelling against the authority of the government. so, a seditious conspiracy, which is what 11 defendants have now been charged with, including stewart rhodes, the leaders of the oath keepers, is agreeing, coordinating efforts to prevent or hinder the counting of electoral votes. when you allege conspiracy, as the prosecutors did here, they -- what laws the conspirators attempt to hinder. it was two amendments to the constitution, involving the counting of electoral votes and the date and time when a new president takes office, as well
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as one federal statute involving the counting of electoral votes. and we generally think of conspiracies as quite dangerous because it's concerted action, hallie. it's coordinated action. it's two or more people, in this case 11, agreeing to do something that the law forbids. a very interesting case, a very interesting indictment. as merrick garland said the other day, as the attorney general said, they are going to hold people accountable at any level, whether they were present or not that day if they bear criminal culpability. and that's what we're seeing now. >> let me read from the indictment here, jeff, because it is significant as it relates to what you're talking about. rhodes and certain coconspirators planned to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power by january 20th, 2021. they coordinated travel across the country to enter washington, d.c., quipped themselves with variety of weapons, donned
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combat and tactical gear, and were prell paired to take up arms. it seems as though the indictment makes a point to lay out the preplanning that was involved with this here because it has been a key part of the investigation, not just at the doj, but also on capitol hill, what was spontaneous and what was not. >> that's exactly right, hallie. and as with any conspiracy, you're going to see certain things. you're going to see an agreement or hear an allegation of an agreement, an agreement to do something that the law forbids, here, a seditious conspiracy to prevent the counts of the electoral vote. and what you were just referring to, which is so important, overt acts. it can't just be an agreement, hallie. if you and i agree to rob the bank, but we do nothing else. we haven't broken the law. but if we agree to rob the bank and we do one more thing, buy masks, buy a get away car, then
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the conspiracy becomes right. then we've broken the law. what you've just read, what are the overt acts. these are the things the government alengs the con spear tors did to advance their unlawful agreement. it's interesting to read because you now see the coordination among these alleged criminals. >> josh, i want to talk more about who this person is. you profiled stewart rhodes not too long about the january 6th attack. he has a background some might not expect, yale law school, former clerk for the arizona supreme court. you spoke to somebody who was the first oath keepers gathering ever where rhodes laid out the tenets of what oath keepers would be. >> he started out as someone who was trying to fight what he believes in from the inside. so, yale law school, congressional staffer, walked the same halls of the u.s. capitol that his group members would later attack on january
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6th. clerked the arizona state supreme court. to someone who was trying to undermine those same institutions that he was once a part of and really saw himself as outside of the system in a way that i think has hallmarks to the radicalization on the far right that we've seen from a number of these individuals. so, in stewart rhodes' case, he is somebody that started out preoccupied with the threat of big government and libertarian ideas that are fairly common in main stream political discourse in this country. he was skeptical of donald trump, in part because of the former president's comments somewhat accepting of gun control. and where did he get to over the years? he ended up someone who after the 2020 election wrote an open letter to president trump, calling on him to invoke the insurrection act, send special forces in to seize elections systems and redo the election, something that seems completely antithetical to our understanding of basic libertarian values.
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and what you see, if you study the writings of stewart rhodes over the years as he was forming the oath keepers, is that initial focus on the constitution and on libertarian values bit by bit over the years gave way to more of a nativist sentiment and this kind of conspiratorial thinking that we've seen now inherent in so many of these indictments that have come out of federal prosecutors, as we've learned more and more about what happened on january 6th. >> betsy, i would love to bring you into the conversation here because you have reported extensively on the investigation as it relates to the january 6th select committee, as it relates to the department of justice. there's a piece of video i think we have that shows that military-like callout that was so shocking to people on the day of january 6th and in the days after, a group of people very intentionally making their way up the steps. you can see it here. up their steps to the doors of the capitol there, each one holding the other person's back
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or backpack. talk to me about your thoughts and your reporting so far on this new arrest. >> that's right. that movement is called a stack. it's a military term for when troops follow each other by putting one hand on the shoulder of the person in front of each other. generally that's how the term is used. in this case we see members of the oath keepers using this military tactic to move toward the capitol building. and in the indictment that was handed down that became public today, which charges not just stewart rhodes, but brings charges against another ten oath keeper members, this talks about the stack movement. it talks about bringing charges against people in the stack that you just showed on screen. and also another similar group of oath keepers using the same tactic to move up through the capitol building. this isn't just chaotic. it's the opposite of chaos.
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it was planned and it was organized beforehand. what i find striking from having read through this indictment is the fact that federal law enforcement failed to see how much of the planning before january 6 was happening in public. one line of the indictment that's particularly striking is that it cites a public post that stewart rhodes put out on a website available to anyone with an internet connection saying that on january 6, they would have mission critical gear stationed close to the capitol building. the fact that that public commentary didn't result in the capitol building have the level of security that it's had on many other events is the type of thing that ought to be really sobering for the people responsible for keeping that building safe. >> betsy, when you talk about this issue of things that were available in the public sphere, if you will, prior to january 6, you have new reporting just out on, quote, significant chatter, in the hours leading up to
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january 6, that ended up going unshared by homeland security. tell us about it. >> obtained an internal dhs emails and shared with us. these are emails within dhs's low profile intelligence office. the emails show that on january 6th, as the violence broke out in the capitol, u.s. capitol police reached out to their intelligence allies in dhs and said do you have any intel about the type of tactics that these people, who are now holding under siege, could be using. that's a paraphrase. that gives you a sense of what capitol police was looking for. in these emails, what the emails reveal is that in the 48 hours prior to the attack on the capitol, dhs intelligence officials saw communications that were calling for violence. they saw communications that they describe as significant chatter. and added they believe some of these communications were just hyperbolic and chose not to share them with partners outside
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of that intelligence office. the rest, of course, is history. for at least an hour on the day of january 6, during the attack, from about 2:12 until about 3:12 p.m., there was a lot of back and forth within dhs's office of intelligence and analysis where a senior supervisor told people not to send intelligence out to capitol police and other intelligence agencies because they thought it met certain internal intel standards. i talked to one intelligence official. i showed these emails to that person, who said if they had been running the intelligence analysis at that point, they would have been shoveling out as much information as they had. instead dhs erred on the side of caution, and we can see how january 6th went. >> chuck, when you step back, when you look big picture at the moves that the justice department has been taking, at the few public comments that attorney general marland maz made about this
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investigation, what do you see as somebody who's been inside and understands how these things work? >> well, you know, reflecting on something betsy just said, hallie, i think might help put this into perspective. you see disorganized crime, people who showed up but didn't plan to commit crimes but did commit crimes. and you see organized crime. and an example of that today was the unsealing of the indictment involving the oath keepers. from a federal prosecutorial perspective, to prosecute organized crime, you need to get people on the inside or certainly helps to get people on the inside to tell you what happened. and it takes time to build these cases. one of the things i think merrick garland was telling the nation when he spoke just a few days ago was, be patient, we're working on it. this stuff is not necessarily easy. but that doesn't mean they're failing or flailing. and we're going to build cases wherever they're appropriate. the year might seem like a long time to folks who are outside of
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the justice system. but when you bring a charge, when you bring a case, you need to make sure that you can prove your case in court and sustain a conviction on appeal. and that takes time. disorganized crime, someone who hurls a brick through a window, that's easy. organized crime, people moving in this way, communicating in this way, stashing weapons in this way, that takes more time. and so what you're seeing are the fruits of that labor beginning to pay off, hallie. >> let's talk about the other piece of this investigation, which is being conducted by the january 6th committee, and the news this afternoon that republican house leader kevin mccarthy is not going to cooperate with the voluntary request for information from the committee. one of the committee members told our team they're not there yet when it comes to subpoenaing chairman lawmakers, but betty thompson is not ruling that out. >> that's where this is going. for mccarthy to say he's not going to comply with this
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request, it's a reversal from something he said in may of last year when he was asked if he would testify before the committee. and he said, sure. certainly the politics are visible in this position. we know he is someone who is likely to be one of the next speakers of the house, if republicans were to take control of the house chamber in the 2022 midterms. they fear that if he's speaker, the entire investigation shuts down. he has talked about it as a witch hunt, so now he's saying he won't comply with this. i loved earlier when you said that there are the pieces of this where they're trying to figure out what was spontaneous and what was planned. obviously what's happening today with the department of justice are the pieces of it that they are solidifying what was planned here. in terms of the spontaneous though, part of the reason they would want to talk to the top republican, kevin mccarthy, as well as the lawmakers they have requested information from, is because they were having
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conversations with people in the white house in the days before january 6th but also on january 6th itself. we all know about that phone call that mccarthy had with trump, that tense, heated phone call, well-reported and talked about both during the the impeachment trial but also in the immediate days and weeks after. mccarthy says part of the reason he doesn't want to testify is because he's got nothing more to say about that. when we spoke to thompson on the day this request was made, yesterday, what he said is he wants to hear from mccarthy about why he had such criticism for trump after january 6th but has completely reversed and changed his tune on the role that the former president played here. so, this was always moving towards the potential for subpoenas for lawmakers. others can speak to why that becomes a tougher road, especially because there are protections offered to lawmakers about free speech and ways they can talk about this. there are questions about if they can move forward subpoenaing lawmakers. certainly this reaching a fever pitch as the committee decides not just whether or not to go
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after rank and file republicans who were allies of the former president and mark meadows, the former chief of staff, but whether or not to go after the top republican in the house chamber right now, someone who could end up being speaker in about a year. >> thanks so much to you all. we're going to be talking more about this later in the snow. we've got to sneak in a quick commercial break. coming up, the number two senate democrat is going to be live with us taking us inside president biden's closed door meeting in a push for voting rights legislation. that will be happening in just a couple minutes. what president biden just told reporters as he left. didn't sound too optimistic. later, the worries of war in ukraine still looming large. we're going to be joined by john kirby to talk about next steps and the military's response to the covid pandemic. stay tuned. e covid pandemic stay tuned
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couple of things we're watching here, the white house
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on the right side of your screen. that, of course, is jake sullivan speaking so far about russia and ukraine. we're watching to see jen psaki take the podium. we're also looking at the senate after president biden wrapped up his visit with senate democrats not too long ago. you probably saw it unfold live on msnbc. he was making his pitch to try to change senate rules, to let this vote on election reform happen. here's how he sounded. see if you can read into his tone here. watch. >> i hope we can get this done. the honest to god answer is i don't know whether we can get this done. >> that's because even before the president got there, minutes before the president arrived, you had senator kyrsten sinema, one of two democrats to watch in this debate, announcing she is not in favor of making the senate rules change even though she supports the voting rights bill. we're also joined by eugene daniels, white house correspondent for politico and
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msnbc political contributor. carol, the president sounded kind of fired up, as he was walking out of that meeting. how did you read it? >> i read it, hallie, as he's kind of just acknowledging this is basically over. at one point he said, we missed this time. at one point he said, if we miss this time, we will continue to fight. he went over to the democratic caucus to try to change some minds. and senator sinema took the air out of that effort just moments before he was scheduled to arrive there. he was set to make his case to press senators about why this is important. and he talked a little bit about that on his way out. take a listen. >> it's about election subversion, not just whether or not people get to vote. who counts the vote? that's what this is about. that's what makes this so different than anything else we've ever done. >> the president also really
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forcefully said he will continue to fight for this issue. he made a reference to history, saying the history of the civil rights movement is such that you try and if you fail you get up and you try again. i think the question now that he has to answer, that the white house has to answer, is what does that mean? what does biden continuing to fight for this look like? that's something that really remains to be seen, hallie. >> eugene, you and your team politico report says it was a surprise, not a welcomed surprise. tell us about that. >> no, not at all. they didn't really know this was going to be coming. she, of course, was on the schedule to speak as early as last night. so, they knew she was going to say something. finding out she was going to pull the air out of their tires on voting rights, that's not something they want. the rocky relationship the white
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house has had with kyrsten sinema because of the fill buster and now because of this, that's continued. and now, heads up, usually a little bit earlier than this, but this is where they're at. i will say as the president talks about i don't know if we're going to get this done this time. and as carol was saying, they're going to keep fighting. this is what civil rights leaders and voting rights advocates have been upset with the president on for a long time. they thought the fact he came out so forcefully this week was great against the filibuster. but what they had been wanting and saying is had you come out six months ago, had you talked about this and come out for filibuster reform before you went into the build back better mode, maybe we would be in a better place. we don't know that. but that's what civil rights leaders are saying, so the president is going to have to answer to them about what the next steps look like because the pressure campaign on senators.
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kyrsten sinema has been unequivocal that that's not going to work for her. >> here's a little bit of her speech. >> eliminating the 60-vote threshold on a party line with the thinnest of possibly majorities to pass these bills that i support will not guarantee that we prevent demagogues from winning office. eliminating the 60-vote threshold will simply guarantee that we lose a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy from threats in the years to come. >> so, given all this, given this backdrop, what is chuck schumer's next move? >> hallie, democrats are on the verge of a major defeat on voting rights sledge legislation after senator sinema took to the floor of the chamber and put a dagger in this effort. she said she supports those bills, but as a practical matter that has no meaning because she's unwilling to change the rules. they will be filibustered. they will die.
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the question is what chuck schumer, the majority leader, does now. he has signalled in no uncertain terms he intends to put every senator on the record. he's gotten what's called a message from the house of representatives that allows him to skip the motion, to proceed and allow these bills to come up for debate with a simple majority. there's a problem with that. senator of hawaii has tested positive for covid. he's not even around. the problem goes from bad to worse. but he could be back between now and mlk day. and senator schumer could still execute this plan. what would happen is after that filibuster occurs, schumer could call a motion to appeal the share. that would call a vote to change the rules of the chamber to enable voting rights to go through. they would require 50 votes to make that happen. but right now democrats have a viable path to 48 votes. sinema's clearly a no. joe manchin is clearly a no. while sinema's remarks have wrinkled a lot of her democratic
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colleagues, there is one person in the senate that's happy. that's mitch mcconnell. the republican leader praised her for an act of courage that in mcconnell's view saved the senate. >> thank you all so much for that reporting. coming up, military medical teams being deployed to six states with covid surges overwhelming hospitals. we're going to talk about what the biden administration's doing to try to keep these services staffed as the pentagon's press secretary john kirby joins me and a whole lot more after the break. me and a whole lot more after the and a whole lot more after the break. ♪ ♪ [copy machine printing] ♪ ♪
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today i'm announcing our next deployment of six additional federal medical teams, a total of more than 120 military medical personnel to six hard-hit states -- michigan, new york, new jersey, ohio, rhode island. >> that's of course president biden today announcing his administration is deploying more federal medical teams to those states, six of them, along with plans to buy 500 million more at-home covid tests. according to the department of health and human services more than 152,000 people were hospitalized with covid yesterday.
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courtney kube is at the pentagon. courtney, talk us through this new move named by the administration. >> this is really just a furtherance of what the military has been doing the past six months or so. back in august the military began an separation where they started sending small teams of medical personnel across the country. the military would staff hospitals and send teams, sometimes a dozen, maybe 20 individuals, nurses, doctors, paramedics, people who go into a civilian medical facility and augment the staff there, who are either so overwhelmed by the outbreak of covid in the community or whose staff are sick from covid themselves and simply can't come to work. you may remember early on in the pandemic, hallie, we saw these cases where large numbers of members of the military were going to places to try to help out the local communities. well, what they've learned over the past nearly two years now is it is much more efficient and effective for them to identify specific facilities, specific
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hospitals, and send these small teams in to help out these communities that are really under surge of covid. so, that's what we heard today from president biden is this is really a furtherance or an acceleration really of what we've been seeing the last six months. in that time, about 630 members of the military have deployed to 19 different states. now, that has ebbed and flowed. right now there's only about 300 in ten states. the ones announced today, including the cleveland clinic in ohio, we will see the teams moving out in the couple of news. i want to bring in the press secretary for the department of defense, john kirby. admiral kirby, thank you for being live with us. >> you bet. happy to be here. >> let's pick up where courtney left off, with announcement from the president that dozens of military personnel are headed to states hit hard by the covid surge. we know the military has these
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teams in 19 states. what is fundamentally different here? what changes? >> well, i think the omicron variant and how fast and how easily its transmitted from one person to the next has really helped further this decision to advance our support to civilian hospitals. you can see the strain that they're under. many of their own employees are getting sick, and they're dealing with increased hospitalizations of patients. so, this is our chance to pitch in. and it's not, as courtney said, it's not a new mission for us. we've been doing this particular mission since summer and even before that, back in the spring, when we were deploying folks to put shots in arms. so, we're proud to be able to contribute in this way. >> let's talk about how the omicron surge, how covid is generally affecting the military. we know some branches have started separated members for refusals. do you anticipate these separations to grow in the months to come? >> you know, it's going to depend on the decisions that some of our troops are making.
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and i would add that the vast, vast majority are getting the shot. i mean, over 90% of the active duty force across the branches of services are fully vaccinated. so, that's good. and we want to get that up to 100%. yes, i think in general we're probably going to see additional members separated from the military for refusing to obey this very lawful order. and frankly, a vaccine that actually helps them, their units, their families, their communities. >> i've reported on the issue of vaccinations in the military in other ways with other branches. the vaccination rate, as you know for most of the branches is over 95%. are you confident you're going to meet the june deadline or would that slide? >> the deadline still exists and we still want to meet it. the army national guard is in june, and that's still the target. i don't know of any plans to extend it over to the right at all. we've still got, you know, six
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months to work on this. and we're going to keep doing it. we're going to keep making sure that we're educating and informing the force about the efficacy of the vaccines and what it can do to make them healthy and help make the force more ready. >> how about boosters? i know in december you talked about active discussions about booster mandates in the military. can you give us insight into that discussion? >> we are discussing it. we started doing that near the holidays. those discussions are ongoing now. we're working with the medical community in the military to see whether that might be the right move. in the meantime we continue to encourage booster shots to all those who are eligible because we do believe that they absolutely help lessen the effects of break through cases, such as what happens with omicron. we're urging everyone to get a booster who's eligible, of course, and we're deciding whether or not we want to make that mandatory or not. >> let me ask you about a couple
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other important topics. the pentagon has predicted that if putin were to make some kind of move, it would happen when the ground in ukraine is completely chosen. have you seen any change in russia's posture recently, this week, since the talks we've been covering on msnbc has happened? >> we have not seen a significant posture change happen. there is still a large troop presence. they are exercising now. they are adding to their sustainment capability, but no major muscle movements to speak of. what we have not seen, hallie, and this is important, is any attempts by russia to de-escalate the tension, to decrease the force posture. and that continues to be worse. >> have you changed at all or updated your assessment on whether putin might create this provocation, invade, or do something short of invading that
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would trigger actions against him? >> as of today our assessment is we don't believe he -- he, putin -- has made the decision to launch another incursion, to go back into ukraine with these additional forces. we still think there's decisions in time to work with. we still there's there's a path here for diplomacy. and here at the defense department, that's how we would like to see this solved. >> we heard from wendy sherman who talked about the consequences from russia. from your perspective from the pentagon, from the department of defense perspective, what would those moves be? >> what i would tell you is that he has a lot of forces there and there are many options available to him. i won't pretend to get inside mr. putin's brain, but he has enough force to cause instability and damage and violence inside ukraine short of a full-on invasion.
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he's got lots of capability available to him. and, again, we're watching that closely. we obviously want to get a better sense of what the intent is here and try to deter whatever those options were. and that's why we're in constant touch with our allies and partners throughout europe. >> let me ask you something else too, in light of the news that has broken today. the military has been working, as you well know, to try to eradicate extremism from the armed forces. this memo that was recently released from the watchdog says it will audit how the military screens applicants for extremist behavior. what changes do you believe need to be made from preventing these ideologies from getting stronger inside the military? >> what we're trying to do is take a look at an individual's time in the military from the beginning to the end and to make sure that we are doing what we can to bring in folks that don't espouse ideologies that are
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animble to the constitution of the united states. while they're in the service making sure that we are continually reinforcing the values of this institution, educating, and informing them. this is really critical. as they get ready to leave, we know that a lot of extremist groups deliberately recruit veterans because veterans have leadership skills and weapons skills and all kinds of capabilities available to them. we know they're going after these veterans so, we're trying to put in place now a specific training and education initiatives at the end of somebody's career before they become a veteran so they can understand what's out there and who's going to be looking for them. >> john kirby, thank you so much for being back with us on the show today. we really appreciate your time. from one press secretary to another, to the white house where jen psaki is talking about the supreme court decision nixing one of president biden's vaccine mandates. >> -- signs in terms of without this -- even in spite of the
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ruling that we would point to. one is that 57%, according to a navigator poll, of americans support vaccine requirements. according to a wills tower watsons report, a survey of 534 u.s. employers, a majority, 57% of respondents have or will require their employees to get vaccinated against covid-19. why? because nearly -- because employees want to feel safe in the workplace, because they want to incentivize workers to come back to the workplace, and because they've seen large companies across the country implement this and see how effective it is. >> the president is going to announce next week -- the website which is launching. why is it the middle of january right now and millions of americans are -- why is the
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presentation now? why didn't you take these steps three months ago? >> well, let me first say what the president -- what we've been working to implement is building on the steps we've taken over the last six months and more. remember when the president took office there was zero or one approved testing at-home testing option on the market. now there are nine. we needed to expand the market capacity. the president used the defense production act, $3 billion invested to expand that market. the reason he was able to announce the purchase of or the plan to purchase an additional 500 million beyond the 500 million we already announced is because of the expansion of the market. and just since last summer leading up to december, we quadrupled the size of the market. if you look at the comparison, right now we're doing almost 12 million tests a day in this country. we were doing under 2 million tests a day a year ago. there's about 300 million tests that are happening in this country every single day, in part because there's 20,000 sites, because there are federal sites now across the country, new ones to be announced every
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day, because we've sent 50 million tests to community health centers. all of this is an effort to build on that and make sure we're meeting the unprecedented demand for tests. >> the steps taken now because there's a need presumably could have been the exact same thing three months ago, when the need is obviously greater -- the system has to -- >> i would say, zeke, because of the steps we've taken, we're able to -- there's 300 million tests that are the happening in this country every single month. and that is enormous progress. we're not starting from zero. that is my point. this is building on that. in terms of the number of tests available in the market and the expansion of the market, remember a number of them were approved at the end of october or beginning of november. they're using the defense production act means we need to ensure there's manufacturing capacity and build on that. this has all been a building process and we're continuing to expand and build from here. in recent polls, despite some of the conversations we have here,
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it's less than 10% of the american public that can't find a test. we have expanded capacity and you're seeing the impact of that across the country. >> [ inaudible question ] >> of course the white house press secretary jen psaki in what amounts to the white house's first response to that supreme court ruling we talked about at the top of the broadcast here, knocking down, essentially, one of the vaccine requirements, the vaccine mandates, test or vax, that would have affected some 100 million american workers. but keeping in place another mandate. as that is happening, we're also getting news from capitol hill with our colleagues, our team on the ground there, reporting on president biden's push on voting rights. he went and visited capitol hill. he joined that senate democratic caucus meeting this afternoon and made what we're now learning was an emotional, as it's been described by at least one senator, an emotional speech that had a lot of interesting
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notes to it. apparently according to multiple sources, that received a standing ovation. and we're told senator sinema was looking at her phone majority of the meeting. i want to bring in dick durbin, senator from illinois. it's great to have you on the show. thank you for being here. >> it's good to be with you. >> take us inside that meeting. how would you characterize it? >> well, it was emotional because i think joe biden was speaking to us both as a president and as a former senator who understands our plight under the rules of the senate and also, i might add, a senator who came to the senate with a passion for civil rights. so, it's understandable there would be emotion in his response. >> did you leave the meeting feeling deflating or disappointed? and i ask that because it seems that the end of the road is upon you, given what we heard in senator sinema today. >> i was one of the two democrats on the floor of the
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senate when she gave her statement. i said through the statement i wanted to hear it in its entirety. like everyone else, we've been waiting to see what she would finally decide if this is a final decision. she is still talking to colleagues who support a rules change. i thought it was pretty clear that she was against thought it she was against it but who knows? it really comes down to an individual and personal decision by each of those senators in the end. >> i am interested to hear you throw a caveat onto this, to say, if this is a final decision. it seemed observing it like it was pretty final. do you have any indication that perhaps her minds can still be changed here? >> i understand this process. i approached another senator who after she spoke who last night she had another conversation with another senator that was more promising. i don't want to delude anyone here. i want to get to vote so we can vote and resolve it one way or
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the another. this is a historic moment as far as i am concerned on this decision on voting rights. we are going to do everything in our power to try to put all 50 democrats together. i don't know if we will be able to. >> do you think it was bad form for senator sinema to make that speech before president biden appeared to make his own speech. >> every senator can speak. maybe she wanted to clear the air before he spoke. whatever her motives, you will have to ask her personally. >> it is important not to lose sight what have this voting rights legislation would actually do for americans. we can get caught up in the minutia, the timing this, that, this is a priority for democrats to get done considering the legislature that's passing all over the states today. there is new polling out today.
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45% say democrats will protect them the most at the polls. 43% say republicans. when you will be at numbers like these how do you read them, how do you put them into context? >> exactly that, put it into context. for many of the republicans, apparently a large number of them buy the big lie. they believe that something terrible happened in this last election which denied their candidate donald trump re-election. they don't vie the notion that he went to every courtroom he could find in america and lost, went to his attorney general and lost. turned a mob loose on the capitol and lost. they are still believers. they believe the republican partyl restore hymn in power. on the democratic side i think we look at it from the sweep of history. voting ooitsz rights have always been the wedge used to discriminate against african americans and others. and we know unless we are aggressive and saying to states we are going to watch you carefully, you are not going to be able to do things that are discriminatory, but
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unfortunately history tells us those things happen. i think that's why we have a split opinion. >> 6 % of americans in the same poll felt like they had confidence in their state elected official to protect the right to vote. in your view is that confidence largely misplaced it? >> it wasn't this the last election. largest turnout in the history of the united states in terms of forgs of the vote. yet i would say most of those people are unaware what's happened in individual states since the last time they voted in the last election. at least in 20 of the major states controlled by the republicans you see efforts made, and in virtually every instance it restricts your ability to vote, to send in an absentee vote, for a national holiday to be part of an election. all of those measures are part of our legislation and not in those state measures. >> correct me if i'm wrong, but you said you thought senator
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schumer was doing the right thing in scheduling this vote and moving on it with it -- i see you nod. are you concerned at having manchin and sinema taking this vote that would have them siding with republicans essentially that it could be harder to get them to join you on other key elements on the biden administration agenda, like build back better, which is part of this? >> i don't think so. i think they are two separate things. i will tell you both of them, sinema and manchin were actively enphaged in the bipartisan infrastructure role. i played a minor role, an observer, not a participant but they were in there working with measures with democrats. that may be the next step, whatever it may be in terms of dealing with some of the challenges we face. on reconciliation, build back better, however you want to characterize it i would take the same attitude i do on the voting. it's okay for us to complete our negotiations butity get it done. close the deal, get a vote on the record. we spent a lot of time on this, if we are not doing to get it
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done we should move on to other things. >> senator -- i said i didn't want to get into the minutia, but i have a quick one. does the senator's absence because of a covid diagnosis make this not able to happen. >> we hope he will be back this weekend. yes, his vote is critically important n. a 50/50 senate, one vote can make the difference. senator mcconnell, i am sure you heard at least part of his remarks on the senate floor yesterday. he said he is open to one small reform which will be the electoral count vote change reforming that in essence closing some of the loopholes there. is there any part of you that thinks let's get that tonl and then vote on theeder pieces that you want to finish? >> i think electoral counting reform should be part of the voting rights reform. we saw the possibility, the worrisome possibility of some group trying to overturn the
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actual decision of any state and the selection of their electors. we don't want that to occur. and there are gaps in this law that has been on the books for decades that need to be corrected. as far as we are concerned, that is not a minor part of it, but only a tangential part the more basic conversation as to whether people's votes will be cast in a way that gives them a chance to express their feelings and whether they will be pointed accurately. >> senator dick durbin, thank you for being back with us here on the show. we appreciate your time. i know there is a lot going on this week on capitol hill snoochlt thanks to all of you for watching this hour of hallie jackson reports. that's our show. we knew it would be a busy one. find us on twitter. and show number two in just over an hour on our streaming platform. tonight and every week night. "deadline: white house" starts after this quick break. "deadline: white house" starts after this quick break
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