tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC June 25, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT
from 1972 to determine which states, cities and counties are covered by the voting rights act. in his opinion, chief justice john roberts wrote, "our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions." the court did not strike down section 5, which allows the federal government to require pre-approval. but without section 4, section 5 will have no actual effect. in the past two decades alone, just tis department officials have used section 5 to block for than 2,000 proposed voting changes in the pre-clearance states. in her dissent justice ruth bader ginsburg wrote "throwing out preclearance when it's worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away an umbrella in the rainstorm because are you not getting wet." joining me today, jonathan
capart, josh barrow, margaret carlson and also richard cohen, and from outside the supreme court, our own nbc news justice department correspondent pete williams. good morning to all. i want to start with pete. pete, can you just go through and explain this ruling? in keeping section 5, but throwing out section 4, am i right that they've essentially made section 5 unenforceable? >> reporter: well, they're sigh saying right now the map of states where section 5 applies is gone. so it doesn't apply anywhere. it could in principle if congress redraws the map. that's what congress will have do which will be politically a very difficult thing to do. what the court said is, if you look at the most recent census data, it shows that african-american voter registration and turnout is actually higher in the states covered by -- 5 of the 6 states
covered by the voting rights act in the south than they are in some places -- let me try that again. the court says that voter turnout and registration rates of african-americans are higher than whites in 5 of the 6 states covered by the law in the south. they say this is evident that times have changed and the law has to change with it and it has failed to do so and the problem, the court says, is that as a constitutional matter, section 5 is an extraordinary use of the congressional power because any change that a state wants to make in its selection procedures is presumed to be wrong. it has to go and ask the federal government for permission to do it. in essence, it is assumed to be guilty until proven innocent. when you put those two things together the court says section 4 is unconstitutional. now in her dissent, ruth bader ginsburg quoted martin luther king as saying the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task
through, she said that commitment has been disserved by today's decision. now one little footnote here. this does not strike down the entire voting rights act. individual civil rights groups can still sue local governments whether they make election changes, and the justice department can still sue to put a state or a county or a city in to the coverage under section 5. but that would and very difficult process. it has to do it case by says, it would have to assemble the facts that there had been a history of discrimination that continued. so that's an option but i don't know how effective an option would be. this really does put it back to congress, just as the court warned four years ago that it was going to do. it rattled its saber four years ago in a case from texas and said, man, things have changed. you know, congress, if you want to keep this, you better make some changes. congress didn't. so today's outcome should be no surprise. >> pete, we just got a statement in from the president on the supreme court ruling. he said i'm deeply disappointed
with the supreme court's decision today. for nearly 50 years the voting rights act enact and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan committees in congress. today it upsets decades of well established practices that help make sure voting is fair especially in places where voting discrimination has been prevalent. he says as a nation we've made a great deal of progress toward guaranteeing every american a right to vote but as the supreme court recognizes, voting discrimination still exists. while today's decision is a setback with doesn't end our efforts to end voting discrimination. i'm calling on congress to make sure every american has equal access to the polls. my administration will discovering in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process. by throwing this back to congress, i don't think anyone believes that a congress that can't agree on a farm bill or can't seem to pass any legislation that doesn't have to do with abortion is possibly going to pass legislation on voting rights. is that a fair reading of our
situation? >> i think you are absolutely right. i think are you going to see a slow but steady erosion of minority voting rights in the south. i think it is going to be particularly acute in alabama. it is a bad day for our democracy, quite frankly. the supreme court, 5-4, says that congress, which is virtually unanimous in reauthorizing the voting rights act, the supreme court has said congress doesn't know what it's doing and at the same time, the supreme court has said that minority voters can no long ver protections they've been afforded by the voting rights act for last 50 years. it is quite a sad day for our country. >> i want to bring the panel in. there was a funny tweet. "you have to pass a bill to fix this." congress -- we can pass bills? >> we have to pass a bill to fix congress. if congress were alive, you could see maybe you could expand the map to include places like ohio an pennsylvania.
but i see a law review article called "the success paradox," which is if something's working, then let's not do it anymore. >> i want to put the map back up. alabama, arkansas, georgia, louisiana, mississippi, south carolina, texas, virginia. this reads essentially like a map of the states that tried to pass the voter i.d. laws that wound up in lawsuits with attorney general holder. >> the question really is when do we no longer need race conscious remedies. the court yesterday in the affirmative action decision and the decision today was saying we're not throwing out all race conscious remedies but we're raising the bar for constitutional muster. and in the affirmative action case, they dikicked it back to e lower court. in this case they are kicking it back to congress. this debate will go on for a long time but the larger question is at what point have
these remedies been successful enough that we don't need them anymore. liberals tend to think not yet. and conservatives tend to think yet. >> is there an irony though that sort of one of the results of having first african-american president is a this tremendous backlash against anything that makes voting by minorities, by african-americans, by his base possible? >> yeah. because the election of the first black president means that, well, racism is over. everything is done and no worries, let's just move on. nothing to see here. it is extraordinary here listening to pete's comment about voter turnout in some of these states is larger than it is for whites. i haven't read the decision so i don't know what they're basing that on. but if you use the statistics from the 2008 election and especially the 2012 election, you're saying that because african-americans came out in droves across the country to elect and re-elect barack obama, that this isn't needed, when barack obama is not on the
ballot in 2016, will those numbers shift back? i'm sort of not mystified by what the court has done, i just find it rather interesting. >> it is not surprising. you did have justice scalia called any race-based remedy racial entitlement. he signaled his attitude about this going in. the reality is you did have very high turnout among african-americans, in part as a backlash to voter i.d. laws. there is so much irony here it is hard to know where to again. >> we're still in 2012. we've seen a lot of money spent by conservative billionaires on various initiatives that haven't worked very well. i think voter i.d. laws may go in that box as well. it doesn't look to me they've been effective in depressing minority voter turnout if that was the goal of those laws. i think when you look at the court decision, it's unusual for the federal government to be imposing differential laws on different states and to be involving itself so heavily in the processes of state election
management. so i think there's merit in the idea that congress does need to go back and look at this formula again when they point out justice department has taken two ii,000 actions under the preclearance vision. there are 42 states that don't have preclearance. it is not like in those states everything is going fine with the operation of their voting laws. so i think the 1972 standard is very old and it is time for a new look and when you say, well, congress is dysfunctional, it is not the supreme court's problem that congress is dysfunctional. supreme court has to decide whether these sorts of extraordinary interventions are allowed by the constitution. then people need to elect a congress that can go back -- >> if only we could. because these laws will make it tough doer thaer to do that. is there a remedy for lawsuits? is that going to be the only remedy to go back to court with the possibility that it could go right back eventually to the same conservative supreme court? >> you know, it's section 2 lawsuits by organizations like the southern poverty law center, by os by the aclu are always
possibilities. but civil rights lawyers in the south are few in numbers and we need the justice department in the first instance to try to police agencies. one of the people on this show just said that the south was perhaps not the only place where there's voting discrimination. and that's true. but the reality is, the south is still very, very different than other parts of the country. just one statistic to prove the point. in the last election, 40% of white voters in the country opted for an african-american president. in alabama, that figure was 15%. i think that tells that you something's very, very different in my home state and in other states in the deep south still. >> indeed. i want to go to pete williams for the last word. what more will the supreme court have brought by tomorrow? what else they going to strike down for us, pete? >> well, i can't predict what the outcome will be. i can tell you though that they will give the remainder of the decisions tomorrow and the two big ones we are waiting for are
the tests of the constitutionality of proposition 8 that bans same-sex marriage in california, and the federal defense of marriage act signed by president clinton that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in the states, now numbering 12 where they are legal. so we'll get those decisions tomorrow. >> pete, my good cop/bad cop theory of the supreme court, could it possibly hold that maybe they did the tough decision today because they're going to give us good news maybe in the final -- could you read those tea leaves in john roberts' mind? >> reporter: well, i would say that -- that there are many people that are thinking that that was going to be the outcome from the beginning of this term. "term," by its word, there's nothing in this decision. although a deference to the states, the supreme court does say today that one of the problems with the voting rights act is that it turns things upside down. normally the states are the final deciders of how they conduct their elections. what the supreme court said is one of its constitutional
problems it was put the federal government in charge of that. well, if you fly that same sort of federalism logic to the defense of marriage act, then that would suggest a good outcome for the opponents of the law because they said the states should define marriage, not the federal government. >> all right. well thank you very much to pete willia williams, as well as to richard cohen. as chris hayes my colleague here said, we're going to be looking forward to the first election without the voting right acts for the first time in 48 years in 2014. after the break, while members of congress lick their wounds after last week's stunning farm bill defeat, millions of americans struggled daily with hunger and poverty, realities that the legislation would have only worsened. we'll discuss food stamps and the bill's failure with the author of the senate's version, michigan's debbie stabenow when she joins us next on "now." [ female announcer ] a classic macaroni & cheese from stouffer's
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the lower chamber of congress may have defeated the farm bill last week, but as the meltdowns continue, it failed to secure enough votes after speaker boehner allowed an endless stream of right wing amendments to come to the floor, including measures that would push millions of people off food stamps with drug testing is now under pressure from the senate. two weeks ago the upper chamber passed its own verse of the bill with broad bipartisan support and now they are demanding that the house do the same. yesterday senate majority leader harry reid took a tough line of boehner's handling of the raucous caucus warning the upper chamber would not bail him out
with any stop gap measures like last year. >> the speaker should have known he couldn't pass what amounts to a partisan love note to the tea party. the speaker should dispose of the drama and delay. i want everyone within the sound of my voice to know the senate will not pass another temporary farm bill extension. >> but your voice is so quiet, harry. reid and other senate democrats are urging the house to vote on the senate version of the bill but the two bills differ significantly in just how much pain they inflict on the poor. the senate's $955 billion bill included $3.9 billion in cuts to food stamps over the next ten years. meanwhile, the house's $939 billion bill called for $20.5 billion in food stamp cuts over ten years. a cut so draconian it would throw 1.8 million people off of food stamps, mostly children and seniors. but house republicans don't seem eager to take up the senate bill. by the looks of it, they'd
rather take the milk money and run. cue paul ryan. a man who ran as a budget cutter, largely on the backs of the poor and the man who only a week ago was complain is that the farm bill did not include enough cuts to food stamps. yesterday this same paul ryan insisted his primary focus is on -- wait for it -- addressing poverty. >> look, i'm a conservative that believes our founding principles are the key principles for the day. this is why i'm focused on poverty these days. i think there are better ideas that we can use to approach and attack the root causes of poverty. >> joining us now from capitol hill is chair woman of the senate agriculture committee and author of the senate tafarm bil democratic senator debbie stabenow. >> good to be with you. >> we are waiting for the president to speak and if he comes along, we'll have to stop
you. until then, talk to us about the differences -- harry reid now saying the house must pass this farm bill. aren't this things that make in unpassable in the raucous caucus of the united states house? >> first of all, let me say that we've now passed twice the senate farm bill which we reduces spending. all those folks in the house talking about how they want less spending in we reduced spending by eliminating subsidies everybody's agreed should be eliminated. we have done major reforms. the first in decades. can't sit in the office anymore in new york and collect a farm payment just because you own some land. we put payment limits on. we do a number of things and we do not cut in any way the benefit structure or regular benefits for anyone who needs temporary help under the food assistance programs. we go after very narrow provisions that deal with waste, fraud and abuse. that's all. i do not support in any way cutting the regular benefits to folks who need some temporary
help. and so the question is, how is the house going to proceed here after we have passed this? in my judgment, i am not going to allow -- i will do everything in my power to stop just a temporary continuation like was done last year. why? because all of the subsidies these guys say they want to end that they don't support would continue under a continuation budget. we'd have no savings. we would have no reforms. all of those things that they talk about would be eliminated and we would just continue with the old way, spending way too much money on the wrong things, and things like local food systems, organics, fruits and vegetables, healthy foods in schools, would not have the funding to continue. so i don't support that. they need to get the job done. >> well, senator, i want to bring in josh barrett here. you've writ been what would happen. the senator was talking about the what-if, if this didn't pass. you wrote about the milk clip.
you shouldn't worry too much about it. the farm bill never gets done on time. last time one got enacted before the previous one expired was 1977. it is the only reason that we'll eventually get a farm bill. you're saying what? if it doesn't happen, which bad things that we're worried about would not happen? >> so first of all, the food stamp program continues even if the farm bill expires. it has to go through the normal appropriations process but that probably wouldn't get tied up -- >> you think that would pass by itself? >> i think so. the margin between where the republicans and democrats are on this is about 3% over ten years and how. much to spend on food stamps. >> $16 billion. >> right. out of a program that's nearly $800 billion over that period. it is not trivial, but it is not a vast difference in ideas about how top of spend. we did this last year. we got that one-year authorization. think the senator is right there are good reforms that should get done which won't get done if another temporary bill passes. you look at legislative history
over the past 30 years, the farm bill expires, we go months with none in force. the process is broken. but i don't think we'll see milk prices doubling to $8 a gallon like the law technically says they're supposed to if the bill expires. >> one thing i don't understand. republicans or conservatives don't like the idea of the farm bill, period, because it is a big agriculture subsidy that the people who say we should spend less say shouldn't exist. democrats want to keep the part of the farm bill that's a food supplement bill, that helps smaller farmers. why do we even go through this process anymore? why not separate these into two different things? >> well, that's a good idea, joy. let's vote. you said it here. because there are a lot of democrats who don't support subsidies either. according to senator stabenow, a lot of those have been taken out, though archer daniels midland is still getting their
subsidies. maybe it is a small percentage of the increase in what the house did on food stamps, but as you said, it is still a substantial cut to children and seniors. >> 1.8 million people that would potentially not have subs subsistance. >> i sort of say bring on the cliff. senator stabenow's argument amounts to this farm bill is less bad from the perspective of people who oppose it than the one that exists. that subsidies are not as egregious. but it still starts from this premise that there can't and free market in agriculture, that you need massive government subsidies, massive intervention. we've never tried living without that. >> senator, do you want to answer that question? >> yeah. please let me intervene here. there is a lot more to this farm bill than those two things that you are talking about, with all due respect. we have the largest investment in conservation on land owned by
somebody, which is over 70% of the land in this country, in what we call the farm bill. we have major reforms. over 650 environmental and conservation groups have endorsed what we have done to strengthen land, water, air management, protecting open land. none of that gets done unless we have what we call a farm bill. rural development. every small town gets their financing for roads, water, sewer, small business loans, housing, through rural development. economic development for small communities goes through this thing we call the farm bill. energy, whether it is bio energy or new bio-based manufacturing that we have put in here, goes through the farm bill. this goes on and on. this is a large piece of very important legislation, and i have to tell you, we are going from direct subsidies -- we are ending the direct subsidies and going to crop insurance, which at least puts farmers in the game with getting a bill, not a check, and they don't get any
help unless they have a disaster. >> senator, the argument about phasing out subsidies extends to every farm bill to do that and it never seems to happen. >> we don't phase it out. we end it. zero. 5 billion a ye$5 billion a year. gone. >> the question is why lump that together with the subsidies for agra business? and with food stamps? why not pull those things apart and have them voted on as separate programs? >> well, traditionally this has been really the rural economic development food policy for the country. we may have to take a look at something different now. but 16 million people work in this country because of agriculture and the food industry and what is in this bill. it is important for the country. the idea of free market -- i just have to tell you, nobody else has to worry about whether it is going to rain too much this week or next week as to whether or not they're going to have a product. we have a stake in making sure that there's risk management,
crop insurance, disaster assistance, do away with the subsidies. reform the programs. but the idea that we don't have a stake in the quality of our food supply just isn't true. there is a reason for the farm bill. >> senator, hold on. i'm looking at history. it started off as food stamps was a trade off, you'd get this food stamp to really buy fruits and vegetables. it was a simple system. but as the senator said, it's become this huge omnibus way to fund all of rural america. is maybe that the problem? the mission creep on what the food stamp started off on? >> sure, it is the mission creep. the other problem is we're all focused on food stamps and other things in the farm bill. but why did the farm bill go down in the house? it wasn't just because food stamps were cut. you had had a portion of the republican majority that wanted to cut more, and whether it was
food stamps or aviation or what have you, they want to get spending in order, in washington. and they don't care where the cuts come from. >> ground government intervention. >> right. that's the problem. unfortunately we are out of time. senator debbie stabenow, thank you. >> my pleasure. coming up, president obama presence f preps for major address about climate change. will he placate moderates and progressives? just ahead. i think farmers care more about the land than probably anyone else. we've had this farm for 30 years. we raise black and red angus cattle. we also produce natural gas. that's how we make our living and that's how we can pass the land and water back to future generations. people should make up their own mind what's best for them. all i can say is it has worked well for us.
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i'm disappointed in the supreme court's decision today. you may or may not have heard. in shelby county versus holder, the voting rights act, the voting rights act, the cornerstone of the american civil rights movement. the thing that really got me engaged in politics as a young kid, got me to run for the united states senate when i was 29 years old. that law, today's decision, upset a well established practice the voting rights act has been repeatedly enacted by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in congress. every time it came up for reauthorization, we got support. if i'm not mistaken, the last time strom thurmond voted to reauthorize it as well.
no, i'm serious. so in 2006, it was reauthorized by unanimous support of the united states senate, and near unanimous of the united states house of representatives. this report is based on a recognition that voting is a fundamental right. it is the foundation of our democracy. the voting rights act has been a critical and effective means to guarantee that core right. as the supreme court acknowledged, we made progress as a nation the supreme court also recognized voting discrimination still exists. between 1982 and 2006, the justice department blocked 700 changes in local voting rules. 700 changes. based on their determination that the changes were designed to be discriminatory, they discriminated. in 2011, south carolina passed a
law require be voters to show certain forms of i.d. at the polls. the justice department objected to the law. at the trial, showing that there were 60,000 black voters in the state who would have been denied the right to vote the day the law took effect. but folks, as we move forward, let's remember that not all voting rights act was struck down. the court -- i won't go into the detail of the decision, but it says the congress can pass new legislation. they struck down a section that talked about new regulations ensuring that every american has equal access to the polls we shall's going to work with congress in this effort and do everything to ensure fair and equal voting processes will be maintained. there is a lot of work to be done. >> that was vice president joe biden speaking at the white house just moments ago about the
supreme court's ruling on the voting rights act. meanwhile today, president obama will take up the latest major issue in his second term following gun reform and immigration when he reveals the nation's climate change goalsint a speech at georgetown university later this afternoon. >> i will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for consequences of climate change and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. >> now it seems he's following up on those promises. over the weekend the president released a video previewing his speech. >> this week at georgetown university i'll lay out my vision for where i believe we need to go -- a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impact of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it. >> while the u.s. accounts for just 4.5% of the world's population, we're responsible for 19% of the world's co2
emissions, second only to china. in today's speech president obama will use executive action to call for tougher efficiency standards for home eappliances and prepare the country for the impacts of climate change. while he has plenty of critics on the left, republicans in congress ha responded to his call for action with the standard refrain about job killing regulation. >> i think this is absolutely crazy. why would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more american jobs at a time when the american people are still asking the question where are the jobs? >> his favorite line. that kind of attitude explains the president's decision to skirt congress and push through these reforms by executive action. meanwhile at the top of republican wish list but not expected to be mentioned in today's speech -- the keystone pipeline which if approved would run from alberta, canada down through nebraska.
lobbying hard for the pipeline is the canadian prime minister stephen harper who recently extolled its benefits while down playing its environmental impact. >> less than .1% of the emission. i know the president will do a thorough analysis before arriving at his decision. >> the administration is expected to make a final decision on whether to approve the keystone pipeline later this year. joining us, phillipe cousteau. give the president a grade on his environmental record so far in your view. >> as you pointed out, joy, it's been a little disappointing over the last term and a half his lack of real robust action on these issues. there's been a lot of talk but not a lot of concrete action. so i had a chance to read through the president's climate report this morning and was pleased to see some of the more standard initiatives, higher fuel efficiency standards,
efficiency standards for buildings, in homes, more renewable energy to be built on federal land. but in particular and where we are all pleased to see this development is tougher carbon emission standards for existing power plants. this has been very, very contentious. we have to remember that the number one polluter, number one emitter of carbon dioxide in the united states are existing power plants. so this is a big step forward in the right direction. >> i want to bring the panel in. the power plants thing is a big sticking point. it is going to require some costs. in order for the president to have this policy be successful, he's going to hurt a lot of industries that are going to say that they are going to lose jobs as a result. >> i think if the president in his second term starts to think about his place in history, this looms very large. people will look back one day and ask how did obama deal with this epic transformation in the world, this threat to so many things we hold dear? and the first term didn't look
very good. but i have to think that his reputation is going to depend much more on leadership in a bigger sense on this issue than on some of the particulars. obviously the emissions in the united states matter. it is a pollution issue, not just a climate change issue. but it pales in significance to the growth in emissions that we'll see in the developing world, in china, in india. really it is a question of how much he can put the overall problem on the agenda and frame it as a moral issue. there i think he is a little bit weak and i think it is a little bit like health care, where he went very quickly into the tick lars but lost sight of the forest. >> margaret, is part of the problem, too, that americans just aren't concerned about it? whether or not people in various countries, various parts of the world think that climate change poses a threat. you see it is only 4 in 10 americans who believe this where in latin america, it is 65%,
africa, 54%. we are at the bottom of even people in the middle east. >> there is a piece in "rolling stone" about what's going to happen in miami. and you read it and whit will b underwater in decades and since all of development is on the beaches, you know, we won't know miami as it is. there are many ways in which the president could be a bit more dramatic about this than saying, we're going to get our general electric refrinl ragerators to useless energy. that's a big piece of this speech that he gave. appliance efficiency. really? >> new york city is about to spend -- bloomberg announced -- tens of billions of dollars to protect the city from climate change. there are many signs that's
necessary post-sandy, everyone sees how vulnerable the city is. that kind of drama i think is motivating. the issue about emission standards and whether you're going to have a carbon tax of 4 cents or 6 cents a gallon i think is less so. >> sometimes it does feel like it is a blue state conversation. i mean we had -- obviously big disasters transversed the red state/blue state divide. whether or not people want to believe that climate change is the cause of it, everyone knows that natural disasters happen, that they're horrific and you would think people would take the next step and say that we've got to do something about climate change. but why do you think people don't? it can't just be the president in talking about it. >> i think it is a challenge that we've lost the moral imperative. we get lost in this conversation about economics and jobs and forget that this is about our health. remember the number one reason for hospitalization in children 3 to 7 years old with asthma, this is about our national
security. we have to bring this back down to understand that when we don't act on these issues there should be outrage because it means suffering of people not only in the united states but around the world. that bigger picture is getting lost in some of the statistics and conversation around this issue. >> i couldn't agree with you more. thank you very much. well, attorney general eric holder just made a statement on the supreme court voting rights act decision. here it is. >> today the united states supreme court announced its decision in the case of shelby county v. holder and invalidated an essential part of the voting rights act. a cornerstone of american civil rights law. like many others across the country, i am deeply disappointed -- deeply disappointed with the court's decision in this matter. >> after the break, there is a chill in the air between washington and moscow. but there are some who are trying to link the edward snowden affair to the remnant of the cold war. the nsa leaker's disappearance
may have a more current and far reaching impact on u.s.-russian relations. we'll discuss next. my name is mike and i quit smoking. chantix... it's a non-nicotine pill. i didn't want nicotine to give up nicotine. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. [ mike ] when i was taking the chantix, it reduced the urge to smoke. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these, stop taking chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. if you develop these, stop taking chantix and see your doctor right away as some can be life-threatening. tell your doctor if you have a history of heart or blood vessel problems, or if you develop new or worse symptoms. get medical help right away if you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. use caution when driving or operating machinery. common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping and unusual dreams.
edward snowden is creating new headaches for washington. straining its ties with russia and china. yesterday russia aggressively responded to u.s. pressure to prevent snowed frn leaving moscow saying snowden never crossed russian borders and called attempts to put blame on the rush side absolutely groundless and unacceptable. today vladimir putin said snowden was in the transit area of the moscow airport and urged him to leave of his own free will. joining us now from washington, nbc news investigative correspondent michael isikoff. hi, michael. >> hi, joy. >> michael, can you explain how somebody cannot be in russia but also be in the moscow airport? >> well, he's in the transit zone. it is technically not russian
territory. but clearly, to imagine the russians are not fully aware of his presence there and what he's doing would be a stretch. one thing that is interesting and worth noting here is, putin is saying on the one hand he's denouncing u.s. allegations here as rubbish, and he has pointed out that there is no extradition treaty between the united states and russia. so when the united states requests that he be returned to the united states, snowden be, it is, in some senses, would be an extra legal process. now secretary kerry has pointed out that on occasion the russians have asked the us to return prisoners to the united states who they want and we have done so, so as a matter of being a dating, the united states has
a request that they want honored. purely as a matter of law, a lot of it rests on the law here. there is no farmal process to have russia return edward snowden to the united states. nbc's michael isikoff. thank you. coming up, the latest on the george zimmerman trial. legal analyst lisa bloom joins us next. she got a parking ticket... ♪ and she forgot to pay her credit card bill on time. good thing she's got the citi simplicity card. it doesn't charge late fees or a penalty rate. ever. as in never ever. now about that parking ticket. [ grunting ] [ male announcer ] the citi simplicity card is the only card that never has late fees, a penalty rate, or an annual fee, ever. go to citi.com/simplicity to apply.
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witness testimony continues for the second day in the trial of george zimmerman who is accused of second degree murder in the death of 17-year-old trayvon martin. a civilian staffer testified last hour. while she confirmed that the neighborhood watch participants are not encouraged to follow suspicious persons, she did say that they should not hesitate to alert authorities. >> if you see something suspicious, but you can't
necessarily say "i see a crime being committed," you're supposed to call the non-emergency number. >> yes. sometimes i would get questions like that. people say, well, how do i know if it is suspicious, i don't want to bother you guys for no reason. i say call us anynyways, let la enforcement officers collection it out. >> joining us now, msnbc legal analyst lisa bloom. wendy says when she gave these presentations to the neighborhood watch people, she would say to them, don't follow the person, but call us. >> right. and the whole time i'm sitting here in new york city thinking of the motto if you see something, say something. not if you see something do something. right? >> who does she help? because who does her testimony help? >> well, of course both sides are going to take something from her testimony. for the prosecution, he was supposed to be eyes and ears. he was not supposed to follow, was not supposed to confront. but for the defense, he was supposed to call in, even if there was just something suspicious. he didn't have to see criminal activity. he thought trayvon martin
appears suspicious on that night an that's why he called in. >> without the jury present there was this question before the judge of whether previous calls, george zimmerman made several calls to the 911 operators in the 11 months before the shooting and the prosecutors want to play these calls, i guess to establish what? a pattern? >> yeah. there's about a half-a-dozen of these non-emergency police calls where he saw something suspicious, a garage door left open, a dog wandering around, suspicious people in the neighborhood and he called in. the prosecution says this shows motive because it had built up in him the frustration and by the night of the shooting of trayvon martin he was really so frustrated that it led to his hostile animus. but the defense says he was just doing what he was supposed to do, calling in suspicious behavior and he's calm on all those calls. >> just really quickly, your thoughts on the defense trying to exclude trayvon martin's parents yesterday. they did not succeed. >> no, they did not succeed because victims' family members have the right to be in the courtroom. defense says that's not fair but that is the law. >> thank you so much, lisa bloom.
succinct and brilliant as always, msnbc analyst lisa bloom. you will be with us throughout the trial. >> i will. >> awesome. that is all for "now." i'll see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern with another supreme court decision day. yay! until then, follow us at twitttwitter and "andrea mitchell reports" is next. [ jackie ] it's just so frustrating... ♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom.
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports" -- gutting the landmark voting rights act. the supreme court strikes down the key enforcement mechanism to determine which districts must comply. >> like many others across the country, i am deeply disappointed -- deeply disappointed -- with the court's decision in this matter. this decision represents a serious setback for voting rights and has the potential to negatively affect millions of americans across the country. we will talk to congressman john lewis who still has a pen
that lbj used to sign the historic civil rights legislation into law in 1965. snowden standoff. russia today rejects the u.s. demand to turn over the nsa leaker, as vladimir putin confirms snowden is still at that moscow airport. side-stepping congress on climate change. the president is set to make a major policy speech within the next hour. announcing steps he plans to take by executive action to combat global warming. but will it be enough to satisfactory activist critics of his record? and, lost and found. rusty, the red panda, made his get-away from the national zoo here in washington. and as the search stretched out to nearby neighborhoods yesterday, theories popped up on twit ber this pter about this p run. "the panda reportedly booked a flight to havana with assistance from julian assange." after hours of eluding his