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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  January 21, 2022 9:00am-10:00am PST

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...i'm feeling a little lost. quickbooks can help. an easy way to get paid, pay your staff and know where your business stands. new business? no problem. yeah. success starts with intuit quickbooks. good day. this is "andrea mitchell reports" in geneva. secretary of state tony blinken and russia's tough foreign minister sergey lavrov facing off today. >> is there going to be an invasion? >> lavrov said, no, i don't think so. he then said in a statement, there are no breakthroughs and there were none. to vladimir putin's demand for a treaty reversing nato's decades
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old expansion. the u.s. will respond in writing, but officials say that's still a nonstarter. aevd, i asked secretary blinken about any results from today's talks. >> mr. lavrov has spoken today about hysterical rhetoric. what he called hysterical rhetoric from the west about an invasion, he claims to provoke ukraine. president biden said that is what has happened so far, that he believes that putin will move in, because he's got to do something. so, do you think, as of today, that you have a better understanding from mr. lavrov, first of all, of what putin's intentions are? do you have any commitment at all that they will stop the aggression that you say is standing in the way of any positive agreement? where do you see a space for any kind of engagement to defuse this crisis? >> we're not proceeding on the
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basis of emotion. we're proceeding on the basis of fact and history. the facts are that russia has amassed very significant forces in ukraine's border. and continues to do so. 100,000 troops, most recently, including forces deployed to belarus. that would give russia the capacity, if president putin so chooses, to attack ukraine, from the south, from the east. from the north. we've heard russian officials say that they have no intention of invading ukraine. in fact, mr. lavrov repeated that to me today. but, again, we're looking at what is visible, to all. and it is deeds and actions that words that make the difference. it was important, in the course of the conversations that we've had to date, andrea, both last week at the dialogue between the
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united states and russia, at the nato russian council, is he osc, to make sure that we fully understood each other's positions, each other's concerns. but it's very important to equally be clear about things we will not do. and one of those is we will not go back on the fundamental principles that we have. and that we're committed to defend. we will continue to prepare resolutely to both paths that we've laid out for russia. the path of diplomacy and dialogue. or the path of renewed aggression, confrontation and consequences. >> i'll be joined here today by nbc's senior capitol hill correspondent garrett haake. back in washington throughout the hour, garrett will be leading the way, but we begin with the at miller, former allied commander, michael mcfaul from the u.s. ambassador to russia during the obama
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administration. and rich haase, president of the council on foreign relations. gentlemen, secretary blinken is spending yet another day cleaning up with allies and the russians, most importantly, president biden's comments on wednesday when the president acknowledged divisions between the allies on the eve of these talks. divisions that u.s. has been trying to keep hold up. including in belarus in the north, ukraine is surrounded on three sides, admiral, supreme commander of nato, is it hard for president putin to step back, once he's assembled these forces as president biden suggested, without doing something? whether or not it's an invasion, kinetic invasion or some other kind of attack. >> i think he has -- >> yes. >> i think he has painted himself into a diplomatic corner. he's clearly moved all of these forces in place, as tony blinken
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has said. it's not only what we see here now, it's also the history here. he's invaded georgia. he's invaded ukraine previously. the third time may not be a charm, if you will. and as a result, i think he is going to have to come away with that table with something that he can go back to the russian people and say, look what i got out of this deal. i think he's put himself in a very tough position. and i think the administration has done a reasonably good job of aligning the allies,ch pushing military equipment forward, of threatening correctly to move nato troops closer to the russian border. i wouldn't really want vladimir putin's hand of cards from where we sit today. >> ambassador, mcfaull, we'll pick it up there, i want to play an important exchange. at the end of secretary of state blinken's press conference
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today. here's what he had so say. >> from the bigger picture, what do you think the kremlin wants from this current situation? >> well, that last question is probably best addressed to president putin, because in a sense, only he really knows. >> so, is it, you know, is it something that only putin can now decide, as the president himself suggested the other day? >> yes. it always has been. and always will be, as long as he's president. i think people in the west underestimate how centralized that russian system for decisionmaking is today. i think it's more centralized today than even during stalin's time. which is to say, president putin is not sitting down with his advisers, sergey lavrov saying what do you think i should do, sergey, he's sitting in his compound hoping for decisions.
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and we all hope, and we frame this as a block and we're worried that he's locked himself in as admiral stavridis said. what if he's not believing and he wants to use military force? if you go to that, then he has some very strong cards, very dangerous cards. as i look at this, particularly looking at belarus, that as one senior biden administration official said to me yesterday, that's a game-changer. that suggesting that they're preparing for military force. >> yeah. in fact, it was a briefing from a state department official the other night, right before i left, that really set my teeth on edge, if you will, about that very thing. then i heard that the cia director had been in ukraine in berlin, you know, at nato, just last week, consulting the allies there. as you know, cia director is one
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of your predecessors, ambassador mcfaul in russia and knows russia very, very well, bill burns. let me ask you to follow up on that, do you think there will be some other russian response, cyberresponse? >> look, any response where they cross the border it could be cyber alone, cyber in conjunction with other military force. but there's others, andrea, consistent with putin's comments. one would be he could take some of the diplomatic things on the table already and basically say that's a major gain. for example, security, arms control arrangements, he could say he got something there. alternatively, he may say, look, you're going to put forces close to my border, two can play that game.
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i'm going to do some things near your borders. he may, for example, increase the frequency of which bombers visit places like as nicaragua or venezuela or cuba and basically say, now, i've done something parallel, so you don't have any advantages. so, i think there's lots of ways this can play out, as mike mcfaul said, we don't know, anyone who says with confidence they know what is going to happen next doesn't know what he or she is talking abe. i'm not even sure mr. putin knows. he's less of a chess player, hi does martial arts, my guess is how he can push off balance and again, to deter things we don't really want to see and be ready to respond to things that, again, we wished had never happened. >> admiral stavridis, secretary blinken has promised a written response and it's a response that lavrov says should be to
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the vladimir putin demand that nato pull back from its expansion, decades-long expansion, and give putin veto power over the entry of other nations like ukraine which is not even up for membership in any realistic sense right away. maybe a decade. clearly, the blinken response is not going to be about that. it was indicated to me it was going to be on missiles and troop exercises so we're going to be at an impasse. can this only be decided on the president-to-president level? >> certainly, ultimately, it's going to require a summit, i think, to solve this one. but i would in fact direct folks, if you haven't, i suspect you have, read the nato treaty. it was written in 1949, and it's like 28 sentences long. you can read it in five minutes. that's kind of the written
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answer to the russians. if i were tony blinken, i'd just staple a copy of the nato treaty and tell lavrov to read article 10. which says democracies can join, they have to apply and accept the principles, freedom, democracy, liberty, rule of law. so, i think the answer is already there on that point. but, andrea, you are absolutely correct and as richard haass has told us, there is trade space here in terms of structures, missile defense systems, long-range cruise missiles. medium-range cruise missiles. nautical deployments, maritime. i think there are trade space issues, those will have to be worked at a technical level, but summit level to close this thing out. that's kind of the best case here, let's hope that's where we
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end up. >> and, of course, the worst case is something that happens by accident, or by the lack of stability in ukraine. mike mcfaul just yesterday, u.s. treasury department sanctioned four ukrainians including two parliament members trying to overthrow the government. and now you got lukashenko coming back in the country. how instable a situation is this? >> well, the situation in ukraine is unstable. and it helps to make it unstable. let's be clear, no agreement about non-nato expansion will stop them from doing that. he's been at it since 2004. he's not going to stop. he sees ukraine as a false country, he said they don't have a right to exist. he said it very bluntly, by the way, you don't need to believe me as a russia specialist, just read what will he said. it's all on the website.
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number two, he's threatened by ukrainian democracy. so if there's that on his neighbor from a slavic nation like russia, that's a threat to his dictatorship back home. that will continue no matter what happens under negotiations. >> richard haass, why are the allies so nervous? and the president has been widely criticized for his news conference, but he was really saying out loud what's going on behind the scenes that france is going one direction, wants the eu to be more involved. germany has its own issues, they're not angela merkel. they've been supportive verbally. boris johnson, nato, secretary-general, all coming to the defense of the u.s. position, in response to what joe biden said. >> andrea, you've been covering these issues for decades, so it's not going to surprise you. first, not all the european
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countries are on the same page. and, two, the european countries in the united states are not necessarily in the same page. some countries, they are worried that we're not tough enough. you heard ukraine, for example, was unhappy with the press conference. then you have countries like germany that are worried that the united states is overly confrontational. and don't want to see this thing escalate. that's part of the diplomatic challenge here. can we find some common denominators that are not too low. i think the biggest challenge will be how do you credibly threaten russia with painful sanctions at the time, in particular, the new german government, shall i say, has precious little enthusiasm for doing that. and the cold war trying to manage the politics of a multicountry alliance. i think now the alliance has grown in number. russia is not the soviet union. western countries have evolved in lots of ways. some of them have confidence in the united states or various reasons. so if anything, the art of
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diplomacy, the challenge of foreign policy, has grown even more difficult. >> my own prediction is they want to risk change, written answers, the answers won't get them any closer to the agreement. we're going to end up back here in geneva with meetings between the foreign leaders. thank you all so very much. i can't thank you enough for bringing the best minds in foreign policy in this conversation. mike mcfaul, richard haass and admiral stavridis. >> and of course, andrea -- >> sorry, i didn't mean to cut off admiral stavridis. thanks to them. legislative limbo, the
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democrats' agenda with infighting. my colleague garrett haake has more coming up next. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" live from geneva, only on msnbc. geneva, only on msnbc mm, smooth. uh, they are a little tight. like, too tight? might just need to break 'em in a little bit. you don't want 'em too loose. for those who were born to ride there's progressive. with 24/7 roadside assistance. -okay. think i'm gonna wear these home. -excellent choice. well, would you look at that? jerry, you gotta see this. seen it. trust me, after 15 walks... gets a little old. i really should be retired by now. wish i'd invested when i had the chance... to the moon!
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please recall school board members collins, lópez and moliga before our kids fall even further behind. welcome back, i'm garrett haake in washington where with growing signs that democrats could lose the house in the midterms they're now under pressure to legislate and to show voters the progress they've made. in a new column, senator bernie sanders warning democrats they're losing support among black, latino and young voters, the very base of the party. he said enough talk, it's time to vote on the president's build back better bill. but senator joe manchin is still not on board after also stymieing democrats plans to pass two vote rights bills earlier this week. the president admitting this week his economic proposal bill will have to be broken up. joining us, eugene samuels and
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jonathan lemire. and deborah edwards of maryland running for her former house seat. jonathan, the president said that the climate could be signed, but look behind chair number two, it's joe manchin tasked with that, writing that part. what are the chances of that working out? >> certainly, senator manchin has been a thorn in his side in this white house in the past year. he has signaled support, first on climate measures so we'll see if a deal can be struck. but certainly, there's frustration among white house aides it's come to this. the president, we heard in that news conference wednesday saying, quote, chunks of his agenda could still get through here, perhaps taking it individually, although speaker pelosi cast a little doubt on that. at the very least, it seems the package is going to have to get slimmed down. there's a chance for it to become reality.
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aides have signaled this, including white house chief of staff ron klain in an interview saying the white house is going to try to use the president's most valuable resource differently, his time. they're going want him to be seen as the president of the senate, they want him president of the united states. they're going to try to keep those negotiations more private and staff level. they want the president to be on the road more, talking more about to the american people about his midterms. >> press secretary on another network just talked about the chunks being mountain-size chunks. we'll discuss the relative size of chunks in legislative going forward. donna edwards, you're running for your former seat in congress now as democrats face the possibility of losing the house majority. a lot of polls showing the country is headed in the wrong direction. so, i'm curious, how you as a candidate, or if you were in congress right now, would tell people democrats are going to turn that around? >> well, i have to tell you, i
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haven't given up on the idea that democrats can maintain the majority. but it really does depend on making sure that some of these things really get done. and i think it's possible to couple and decouple different provisions of build back better so that we really do get a strong package through. and that will help democrats going into the midterm. look, i served in the majority and minority. i know the difference. i understand that. i do think i will bring the kind of experience that democrats are going to need, however it shakes out for the november election. but the key here is to really do some things for the american people. that's what they expect. and i think the important thing about president biden getting out on the road, talking about these various provisions, you know, developing the ground swell that's going to be necessary to push senators to do the right thing when it comes to climate and health care and early childhood education. these are all things that i
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think can be, you know, put together in packages that could make sense for the american people. and where a vote can be taken today, with legislation going on with the president for his signature. >> eugene, with voting rights now defeated at least for now in the senate, there's this renewed push to maybe resist the electoral count act. they do things like protect our presidential votes are counted, how they're certified in congress and at the state level. it's a start. but that kind of thing is probably not going to satisfy the base of the party, the activists who push for more federal action here. what are you hearing about the different ways to keep this issue front and center? or to maybe pass some of the elements that were in those voting rights bills that got blocked earlier this week. >> on the electoral count, i've been talking to advocates, civil rights leaders all week. they say it's not going to cut it. that's also what you heard from vice president kamala%. when he was interviewed and asked about the electoral count
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weeks ago. that is something that the white house sees as not addressing the issue that they have. it's not just about the electoral count act, or what that's about, but the actual voting, talking about gerrymandering, those kinds of things, the activists say they're going to continue to push the white house, push senators. and going to continue to try to add pressure, hoping that something is going to be done later on this year. all of us in washington, d.c., you know, we're seeing a hard time how that actually happens. but they point to, you know, the '60s, when after, you know, the president signed a bill that gave people some rights, they looked at the voting rights, and told martin luther king jr., there's no political will. basically have to do it. martin luther king iii, i spoke with him last sunday.
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he said the exact same thing, that is something cedric rich moan, senior advisor to the president also told me he's hoping this is what advocates do. advocates and activists, that's their job to remain more hopeful than the rest of us, i think. >> i'm trying hard to be skeptical, but not cynical. it's not exactly a new year's resolution, but i'm working on, it jonathan, to this point, there's a lot of ways to keep the voting package front and center including elements of it. how does the white house with the decision they're trying to stay out of the legislative day-to-day, feel about multiple votes and potentially multiple failures along the way as a tactic to keep this in the spotlight. >> speak for yourself, i'm a wide-eyed optimist. garrett, it's going to be challenging for this president and the white house. as much as they want, they know this is a central issue. eugene laid it out really well
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there in terms of how, yes, would it be a good step to have the electoral count reformed to prevent what donald trump wanted mike pence to do last year. to not certify? sure. people think that would be a good idea. democrats do. but they want much more than that. yes, the strategy of having smaller votes. yes, you're putting people's names on it you're establishing the record, and that's not moving the ball anywhere. and that will raise frustration levels among advocates that say, look, we're tired of the rhetoric and moral stance. we want to see results. we want to see action. and smts something that we should expect to hear more from, from the president, make it part of his pitch here, and those responsive saying he didn't prioritize it enough in 2021. but it's still hard to see a path to success. the hope democrats have it becomes an animated issue for
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voters this fall. we'll see, though, if the civil rights groups, black voters stay home. >> yes, it does. tough decisions for chuck schumer. thank you to the whole panel, eugene, jonathan, and donna. shots for tots, the new covid vaccine for kids under 5. as the u.s. marks one year of the first confirmed u.s. case. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. reports" only on msnbc the three ps of life insurance on a fixed budget are price, price, and price. a price you can afford, a price that can't increase, and a price that fits your budget. i'm 54, what's my price? you can get coverage for $9.95 a month. i'm 65 and take medications. what's my price?
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♪ ♪and they're always glad you came ♪ the u.s. has broken another covid record. the nation now surpassing 69 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic two years ago. this comes agency the cdc releases new data highlighting the importance of booster shots for americans 50 years and older. joining me, dr. ashish aja. dr. aja, the new rule from the cdc seems to reinforce the fact that it's booster shots keeping older americans out of the hospital. how do you interpret it? >> thanks for having me back, the data here is what we've seen until other cases, boosters really work, they work great
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against delta and fabulous in terms of omicron, preventing severe illness. people who are older, who are higher risk benefit the most. >> dr. fauci said this week that vaccines for kids under 5 will be approved within the next month or so. talk about what that means in the fight against the pandemic, not just for parents who are thrilled about that information. but to fightly get shots for this vulnerable group? >> yeah, this is really the last group that is not yet eligible for vaccines. i do know for a lot of my friends who are parents, it's going to make an enormous difference for them. and it will be great to have everybody in the country, a person from age 6 months, all the way to 100 to be eligible for the vaccines. i'm looking forward to it. we'll see what the data says. i'm anticipating a relatively short time period as well with these.
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that will be helpful. >> does that increase of percentages of americans vaccinated, how much does that help to close the door on possible future waves or variants? >> yeah. look. one of the things we learned with omicron, it's even a very invasive variant, you can still get people vaccinated against breakthrough infections. the issue of herd immunity becomes less achefable. better be very clear, vaccinating children, age of under 5, is going to build up population immune. it will mean any waves that we deal will will be far less substantial and help us get our lives back. >> speaking of this wave, we're now starting to see cases decreasing in new york, maryland, new jersey, here in washington, d.c. are we at or passing the peak of omicron, do you think? >> yeah, there's no doubt about it, nationally, we're past the
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peak. i think in the past couple of days, we hit that peak. we are slowly starting to turn. there are parts of the country that are still accelerating. we're a big country. as you ned, new york, d.c., down, parts of the country still rising but in next few weeks we'll see every part of our country descending substantial, that's a really good thing. >> does the relative transmissibility of omicron, how fast it spread, flatten that peak across the country? i mean, it's so contagious, does it burn through the populations even faster when it gets to these other places? >> yeah, that's what we have seen. that's what we saw in south africa. that was, i think, the first place that gave us hope, that if we saw a large increase, we'd manage it quickly. that's what we saw in the uk and looks like it's happening here. many parts of the world are just binning their omicron surge. i'm hopeful for as well that they'll get through it quickly. obviously, it's affected a large
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portion of the population. but having it end quickly is going to make a difference. >> dr. aja, we covered a lot of ground. thank you. coming up, the request objected on the eve of roe v. wade the supreme court delivers another blow to abortion rights activists. andrea is back with that here on "andrea mitchell reports" right here on msnbc. "andrea mitchell reports" right here on msnbc. to find 92% of colon cancers... even in early stages. early stages. yep. it's for people 45 plus at average risk for colon cancer, not high risk. false positive and negative results may occur. ask your provider if cologuard is right for you. we're in. amazing. jerry, you gotta to see this. seen it. trust me, after 15 walks... gets a little old.
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the supreme court delivering another major blow to abortion rights after the majority of the justices, in fact, continue the texas ban on abortions after six weeks for months more by letting the original trial judge hear an appeal. another setback, as the roe v. wade approached its 49th anniversary tomorrow. could this be roe's last anniversary, pending the mississippi state that could end the end of legal abortions as we know them.
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joining us now, sell celia richards the co-of century, of course the former president of planned parenthood. good to be with you. >> yes. >> we're nearing almost five decades of roe v. wade tomorrow. but the future of the abortion access is in the hands of the supreme court. what are their latest decisions in texas, on the procedural issues for a stay, basically, on the texas ban, to where you think we are with these 6-3 decisions? >> well, andrea, i think the combination of their refusal to act and intervene in the unconstitutional law in texas which has now been basically been music for five months, without allowing access to abortion, after five weeks of pregnancy, which not even
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knowing if they're pregnant. with the refusal act. and the mississippi hearing which did not go well, they clearly -- it was clear, particularly, that the new justices appointed by donald trump have no sympathy for the fact that this is a nearly 50-year constitutional right that people have had in this country. we're expecting that decision, of course, this spring, but even before the mississippi decision comes down, we are essentially living in a country where, in the state of texas, roe no longer exists. and it's affecting millions of people in that state. of course, we have about 26 states that are waiting to see what happens in the mississippi case. but 26 states that are prepared to ban most, if not all, abortions in their state. >> does that create pressure, in the likelihood that the mississippi case is going to be decided adversely for those who believe in freedom of choice, and texas still standing, does
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that advocate for some congressional action? or should states individually, given the trends in congress as well, should states begin trying to, you know, legislate on their own? >> absolutely. >> that abortions should be available. >> sure. absolutely, andrea. and we're seeing that in states that are working to codify roe in the in-state legislation. of course, if roe is overturned by this court, by this trump-appointee nominated court, that will be a state issue. of course that means some states will have rights, and other states, that they don't. and if we know, if abortion is made illegal, is this going to fall disproportionately on folks with low income, folks of color, people who can't go to another state, can't leave their
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children with someone else, why they go away, get time off work. that's the fear, and that's what we're seeing already happening in texas. i think the extraordinary thing about this, andrea, is that the roe decision just radically changed opportunities for people in this country. and particularly women, who are able to finish school, you know, get into the economy. get masters degrees. you know, be able to plan their families. all of that is now at risk. and it's not at risk because of some rogue group of people or right wing extremists. it's the republican party. it sits squarely on the fact that the republican party has made the decision to overturn the right, to make your own decision about pregnancy, and put it in the hands of politicians, that's why so many people are anxious about not only the supreme court decision. but also redoubling their efforts for the november elections which are going to be critical.
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>> are you surprised that there this has not been a base issue for those who are advocating for choice? >> well, i think, of course, it hasn't been, in some ways, an issue, because it's a constitutional right. and it's been a right for 50 years. i think what now is happening is, of course, folks from all walks of life are waking up and realizing that because of what the republican party has done, this is now going to be a political battle that everyone has to be engaged in. and i do think it's important to point out, to your question about what can congress do, the house of representatives recently passed the womens' health protection act which would protect access to state's illegal abortion. i will note it passed without a single republican vote. this is a matter that we have to take to the republican party. millions of people with abortion
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rights, can vote their values and vote their conscience. >> cecile richards thank you very much. i have this update as they say from my colleague kristen welker at the white house briefing. jen psaki just said that the president will be meeting with his national security team, unfortunately, at camp david on the russian question this weekend. coming up, new york has exclusive new reporting about the wife of a supreme court justice and her connection to those pushing election fraud conspiracies, you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. get moving wherever you have an internet connection. and when you're ready, enjoy access to thousands of locations nationwide. with silversneakers, you're free to move. enroll today at no additional cost by visiting getsilversneakers dot com.
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♪ and i think to myself ♪ ♪ what a wonderful world ♪ a rich life is about more than just money. that's why at vanguard, you're more than just an investor, you're an owner so you can build a future for those you love. vanguard. become an owner. court rejected donald trump's request to intervene and stop the january 6th committee from accessing his records. justice clarence thomas was the lone justice to dissent. now, a new "new yorker" article is raising questions about thomas' conservative activism. one example, ginni thomas and other conservatives signed a letter to minority leader kevin mccarthy demanding that the house republican conference remove congresswoman cheney and congressman kinzinger, due to,
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quote, their egregious actions. adding that the actions of reps cheney and kin zinger on behalf of house democrats have given bipartisan justification to an overtly overtly partisan political persecution which demeans the standing of the house. joining me is the chief washington correspondent for the new yorker and the author of the new article, is thomas a threat to the supreme court? thank you for being with us. i want to say clarence and thomas declined to be part of any article. we have not heard back. your story lays out jenny thomas's long history of conservative activism. talk act what you found. >> well, i mean, she has been an issue for quite some time because she's such a vocal activist in politics. and the court is supposed to be seen as kind of above politics.
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in fact, her husband has made a point to saying so. but what i was looking at was her ties to issues directly in front of the court. and there are so many of them, it is astonishing. and worrisome so that i interviewed ethics experts on the law, people like steven gillers who really is probably the foremost expert on judicial ethics who said that she is behaving horribly, and he fears that it's undermining the administration of justice and the rule of law, and the image of the supreme court which right now is handling some of the most explosive issues in front of the country, and also has a problem with public support at this point. it's dwindled to it lowest rate. and this is worry someat this point. and what happens is you take a close look, which is what i was doing, at where genie thomas is involved. she has aligned herself in leadership roles with groups that have issues directly in
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front of the court. they filed briefs in some cases they have asked to have their cases heard by the court. in one case, she's actually been a paid consultant, her firm has, to somebody who had business in front of the court. filed a brief in front of the court, that her husband was hearing while she was getting paid several hundred thousand dollars over two years. i mean, it's got a bad odor to it. and i think all of us can agree, we really want the court to be seen as above that kind of thing. it needs to be seen as above that thing. so that we can all cut respective. >> one of the things that jumped out, the list serve called thomas clerk world. it includes the justice's former law clerks on which thomas is apparently active. what can you tell us about that? >> it's true. i mean, and so the justice thomas is the senior justice at this point on the court. he's been on it for 30 years.
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he has a lot of former clerks. something like a network of 200 of them or so. and i spoke with an expert on the subject of court clerks who said that she is the only wife of a justice he's ever heard of who agitates for political points on this private list serve with all of these former clerks. many of whom now are in very prominent positions, including on benches and other courts around the country. it's kind of like a sub rosa political organization at this point. >> you note in your article after the current chief justice john roberts was nominated to be a justice, his wife retired from practicing law. there's a pretty long history of justice spouses kind of stepping back from the legal world. but just to play devil's advocate a little bit, i mean, is it fair to tell a spouse who has been a conservative activist for most of her life that now she can't pursue that career? >> you know, i -- it's interesting, because there are people who might say well, isn't
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this an anti-feminist position? but, of course, she can pursue her politics if she wants. then he needs to recuse from cases she's directly involved in. that's the standard for any lower court. the problem with the supreme court is that it doesn't really have an ethics code. it holds itself above the code of conduct that applies to all courts that are lower than the supreme court. but sure, i mean, clarence thomas can step aside and let his wife be a political activist and directly connected to january 6th uprisings as she was. >> well, to that end, are there any cases coming up where we should be looking out for the kinds of conflicts that you outline in this piece? >> so many cases. i mean, this is a very, very busy docket this year. and if you look closely and if you read the piece, genie thomas has connections to most of the major issues facing the court. whether it's affirmative action, for instance, where she's on a group that has filed an amicus brief in front of the court on that issue against harvard
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university's affirmative actions policies. you can also take a look at the january 6th litigation which is surely going to reach the court. she has so many connections to the organizers of those events. the gun case. she serves on a board of directors with someone who is on the board of the national rifle association. it's bringing the biggest case on gun rights in many, many years. it's affiliate in new york. you can go on an on down the list and find that she is involved with people on all of these major issues. >> it's a really interesting piece. online in the new yorker out today. thank you for coming on and talking about it with us. >> thanks for having me. >> you're welcome. i want to go back to switzerland where our chief washington correspondent andrea mitchell has final thoughts. andrea, roller coaster week for u.s. diplomacy. you mentioned the president is meeting with the national security team. what do you expect to come out
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of those discussions? >> well, they're going to try to figure out how to frame a response to what lavrov proposed today again. vladimir putin's proposed treaty. that is a nonstarter. but they're going to come up with substantive proposals that the russians have not yet responded to, but in writing about missile exercises, missile placement. so they're going to try to narrow some of the gaps, and try to entice the russians with areas where they can possibly agree. but i think then they'll be an exchange of dn -- an exchange of the documents between lincoln and lavrov, and probably vice versa, and then there will be another meeting. we might be on a shuttle back and forth with another meeting either in switzerland or some other capitol, but i think you're going to see not too long from now, a presidential level
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either a meeting, another virtual meeting, but there could be a suck mitt, because jen was just telling my friend kristen welker at the white house that they're not ruling that out. and i think that very much there could be a summit on the horizon. as everyone has been saying, garrett, only vladimir putin knows what he's thinking and only vladimir putin can decide. so thanks to you, again, for holding down the fort for us in washington. it's been fun to be with you the last two days and that does it for us for "andrea mitchell reports". richard engel in ukraine has an exclusive look inside the ukraine cyber head quarters, defensive head quarters, and i'll be back in d.c. in the chair there on monday. remember to follow the show online on facebook and twitter. "mtp daily" is right after this brief message. daily" is right brief message.
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♪taking a break from all your worries ♪ ♪sure would help a lot ♪ ♪wouldn't you like to get away? ♪ ♪ ♪ sometimes you want to go ♪ ♪where everybody knows your name ♪ ♪ ♪and they're always glad you came ♪ if it's friday, we can talk all night. but that ain't getting us nowhere. president biden starts year two seemingly stuck. as talks with putin and with his own party seem stalled. plus two out of three ain't bad. what can the democrats get done in president biden's agenda, and is there hope for a bipartisan compromise in some form of voting and elections reform? and later, does it get any better? can it get any worse? the white house covid response team

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