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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  March 26, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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with their lives and not have this hanging over their head. that's something that we need to consider going forward. >> eric, as we await jussie here, what are you hoping to hear from him? eric, do i still have you? >> hello, can you see me? >> can we hear eric? okay. >> can you see me? >> eric, i can hear you. >> okay. >> as we await jussie to approach these cameras, we've been given a couple of minutes' warning here, what are you hoping to hear from him? >> well, of course like everyone i'm hoping to hear some information that will shed some light on why the police made the decision that they made. a lot of the previous folks you've talked to have made the excellent point that a lot of people want to know how to feel about this, a lot of people want to know whether this is a situation where they didn't prosecute him because for some
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reason they didn't have evidence, that they found some evidence that was exculpatory, that seemed to indicate that he was telling the truth? what can we know about this, is the question. i'm hoping to hear something that will shed more light on revolving this iss resolving this issue. >> thank you to my panel. that wraps up this hour of "msnbc live." "andrea mitchell reports" starts right now. good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we'll have all the news from capitol hill where president trump is heading this hour, plus a live interview with presidential candidate kamala harris. first, of course, the breaking news from chicago, another stunning turn of events in the case of actor jussie smollett. prosecutors in cook county dropping felony disorderly conduct charges against smollett for allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a hate crime. the case will be expunged and all records sealed. mr. smollett's attorneys
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released a statement saying their client was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment. jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. let's bring in msnbc's anne thompson in chicago, msnbc legal analyst danny cevallos joins us by phone. we're waiting for him to come out of the court. tell us what's happened so far. >> he was in court earlier this morning, andrea, where the charges were dropped. he was, we are told by our producer who was in the state court, that he was -- mr. smollett was suppressiexpressio. he did not smile at the charges being dropped, he did not appear to be happy. he was very, very stoic. what this means is that all the charges, 16-count indictment, goes away. his record is wiped completely clear. cook county prosecutors' office
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issued a statement saying mr. smollett will have to forfeit his bond, that's $10,000 in cash that he posted when he was initially arrested on these charges. and they also praised his volunteer service to the community. now, his attorneys have been emphatic that this is not a plea deal, that there is no community service attached to today's decision. they say that all the charges have been dropped, that's it, he walks away, he's clean. there seems to be some discrepancy there. just in the last few minutes we got a tweet from his lead attorney mark geragos, who as you know is the unindicted co-conspirator in the michael avenatti case that has been brought by the federal attorneys' offices in both new york and los angeles about an alleged shakedown of nike. but at any rate, geragos tweets, today all criminal charges against jussie smollett were
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dismissed by the prosecution. jussie's record has been wiped clean. jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify. he was a victim and was victimized by a rush to judgment. apologies accepted. but the big question here is, what happened here, how did this case fall apart? nobody has an answer to that yet. we're anxious to hear from both jussie smollett and his attorneys and of course the legal authorities or the state's attorneys here in illinois about just what happened. a couple of weeks ago they presented it as almost a slam dunk case. now he walks away with his record clean. what happened to this case? andrea? >> thanks for that setup, anne. danny cevallos, what likely happened here? the evidence fell apart? >> any time you have the prosecution hurrying into court to dismiss a case and praise the defendant's work in the community, that usually can only mean one thing, it means that
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the prosecution's case went south, and it went south very quickly. that is a very reasonable inference based on the speech with which the prosecution in this case did a complete about-face from, as you discussed, a press conference weeks ago in which the prosecution seemed very confident of its case, to suddenly not feeling so confident. generally speaking this is the kind of thing that happens when a new piece of evidence surfaces or the witness goes south. either of those things could potentially have happened, and we'll have to wait and see if we will ever learn exactly what happened. >> jussie smollett is approaching or coming out of the door right now, we don't know if he's going to approach the cameras and stop and talk. he clearly has an attorney with him. we're not sure whom else is with him. let's listen.
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>> good afternoon. today, as you have figured out, the state made a motion to nole proc the charges against jul ju smollett and seal the records in this case. we believe that was the correct result in this case, we're happy for this result and we're anxious for jussie to get on with his career and his life and to move forward. i'll take any questions. [ inaudible question ] there is no deferred prosecution. the motion was nole proc which is a legal technical term for dismiss the charges. [ inaudible question ] jussie voluntarily agreed to the forfei forfeiture of the bond. we believe it goes to the city of chicago. [ inaudible question ] there is no deal. the state dismissed the charges.
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[ inaudible question ] we have nothing to say to the police department except to investigate charges and not try their cases in the press but to allow matters to be investigated, allow the state to investigate, and to bring charges and not to jump ahead and utilize the press to convict people before they are tried in a court of law. >> reporter: are you going to seek legal recourse from the city, or the two brothers? >> next question. >> reporter: you won't say -- >> reporter: do you think that the city brought a lot of attention on mr. smollett because of the pressure that was coming [ inaudible ]? >> i have no idea what occurred in this case or why it occurred.
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i can just say things seemed to spiral somewhat out of control. we've gotten to a result that is the right result in this case. and we're happy for that. [ inaudible question ] i have no idea. [ inaudible question ] plenty of people forfeit their bond in situations like this. jussie is, and if you were in the courtroom, you heard the prosecutors say, and we made sure that the prosecution knew, he is someone who has dedicated his life to public service since he was 15 years old. he has taken the city of chicago as his home. he has volunteered in a variety of ways. he is a good, solid citizen of the city of chicago. that was the comment made by the prosecutor today.
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>> reporter: they said twice on camera that jussie smollett paid $3,500 to carry out this hoax. >> the brothers said more than once the check they received was exactly for what jussie said, nutrition and training. they were his trainers. that statement was not true. [ inaudible question ] i don't know where the superintendent got that information. i was not privy to it. and quite frankly, i have not seen that footage so i have no idea where that came from, which is why you should allow investigation and allow the state to investigate a charge before you go to the press. >> reporter: -- testimony of the brothers? >> i have no idea. i don't have information that the state would have as to why they brought these charges. i don't know. you would have to ask the state. [ inaudible question ] the two men who attacked him
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have indicated that they attacked him. so we already know who attacked him. those brothers have -- well, that's up to the state. [ inaudible question ] no. >> reporter: why is he doing it? >> the two brothers have said that they attacked him. so, you know, we don't want to try them in the press any more than he wanted to be tried in the press. [ inaudible question ] that decision was made so he could go on with his life and get this over with, and not have to fight, and not have to continue with all of the disruption to his career. he is a very sweet individual who has for a lifetime dedicated himself to his career, to the public, to children, to the movement in the lgbtqia
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community. and this was a disruption to that. he wants to get back to it. i'll allow you to hear from him briefly and then we're gone. >> hey, everybody. i just made a couple of notes. first of all, i want to thank my family, my friends, the incorrect incredible people of chicago, and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, who have supported me, who have shown me so much love. no one will ever know how much that's meant to me and i will be forever grateful. i want you to know not for a moment was it in vain. i've been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. i would not be my mother's son if i was capable of one drop of what i've been accused of. this has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly one of the worst of my entire life but it i am a man of faith and a man of knowledge of history and i
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wouldn't bring my family through this, i just wouldn't. i want to thank my legal counsel from the bottom of my heart and i would also like to thank the state of illinois for attempting to do what's right. now, i would like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life. but make no mistake, i will always continue to fight for the justice, equality, and betterment of marginized people everywhere. again, thank you for all the support, thank you for faith, and thank you to god. bless you all. thank you very much. >> reporter: jussie, is your attacker still out there? >> jussie smollett thafrpgnking family, his friends, the people of chicago, saying that he's spoken the through it throughru that he's been honest and consistent. he was accompanied of course by his attorney, pamela brown holmes. she said her message to the police department is to investigate charges and not
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utilize the press to convict people before they are tried in a court of law. she did not answer a question as to whether they were going to file suit against the police department in chicago. she did say that he has forfeited his bond, but that many people forfeit their bond. she said the case has been nole proc'd, which means the charges have been dropped. danny cevallos? >> yes, the phrase is a motion to nol proc, a latin term meaning "will no longer prosecute," meaning the prosecution has decided on its own motion to dismiss the case. interestingly enough, in illinois, if jeopardy hasn't been attached, theoretically the prosecution could bring the case again. that doesn't appear likely at all, this doesn't seem like a situation where that is a likelihood by any means. it is a rare occurrence, as someone who practices criminal
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defense, to have the prosecution summarily just dismiss their case upon their own motion, the prosecution's own motion to throw the case out. but it is a true dismissal and exoneration for the prosecution to dismiss the case. >> his attorney said the two men did attack him and that he's a very sweet individual who has dedicated his life to the community in chicago. we have to find out more about those two men, the men who he paid $3,500, she said it was for what he said it was for, nutrition and training. let's hear if we can hear any more from outside as he's leaving the courthouse.
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>> they're wonderful, they're my family. >> they've been sending you prayers? >> everybody has been wonderful the whole time, the whole ordeal. >> we're rooting for you, jussie. >> out loud so everybody can hear. >> as you can see, jussie smollett is surrounded by people with patricia holmes, his attorney, outside, a crowd of cameras. and of course the main point made by his attorney was that cases should not be tried in the press, but we remember the chicago police superintendent had a dramatic press conference citing evidence. msnbc media analyst eric diggins is also with us. eric, it was a slam dunk case as
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far as the chicago police were concerned. and this man has already lost the rest of his -- the episodes, at least right now, on "empire." >> yes. it will be interesting to see what effect this incident has on his career. my suspicion is that people who are fans will remain fans and will see this as a vindication of his point of view. people who were suspicious of his story will be suspicious of why the charges were dropped. it may not necessarily change how they feel about him. i do think this is a vindication of the way fox has chosen to handle this. they moved slowly, they removed him from the last two episodes of the season, at the point where he had been charged, but they didn't necessarily fire him from the show. and it's entirely possible that he could return. and given the show's propensity for taking real life events and weaving them into their storylines, it's even possible that this might become some sort of story point.
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one thing that has been interesting to note is that the show's creator, lee daniels, seems to have in public sort of gone through a little bit of this whiplash that other supporters have gone through. initially he was very supportive of jussie smollett on social media. and then later seemed to walk back his comments a little bit when jussie got charged. so perhaps there will have to be a little bit of fence-mending there, some discussion with folks on the show, and a decision about whether or not they're going to reestablish the character on the show. but i wouldn't be surprised to see him return and in fact see people become more interested in jussie the actor and the character on the show given all the attention it's gotten now. >> indeed, a dramatic story, the twists and turns. nbc investigative reporter andrew blankstein joins us as well. andrew, how do we make sense of what happened, with the prosecution dropping a case where the chicago police had been as out front on this case
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as anyone could have been? >> well, i think we're going to learn a lot more. we had the superintendent of the chicago pd who is going to issue some kind of a statement or address the media shortly. we haven't heard fully, although we have the statement from the state's attorney's office, as well as perhaps the mayor of chicago. given the resources that were used, brought to bear in this investigation, more than a dozen investigators over several weeks. it's really going to boil down to that six-day period, i think, between the time that the brothers were arrested, when they came off a plane from -- a flight from nigeria at chicago o'hare airport, to the time that the grand jury indictment came down with the initial two counts and that was extended to 16. what happened where initially the brothers were not cooperating, then they did. they told a story that they were paid by jussie smollett to stage an attack. what happened, what did the
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police know at that point, what did the prosecutors know, how was it presented? those are key questions to really explain what we might be looking at today. but clearly there's going to be some part of this that we may never know. >> anne thompson, the drama of this will play out as we of course wait to hear from the chicago authorities. but they've got a lot of explaining to do. >> they certainly do, andrea. my first question is what happens to the owcendario brothers, will they be charged now? what happened to make prosecutors doubt their story? they said that $3,500 check that mr. smollett referred to and his attorney referred to, they said that was a payoff for the attack. now his attorney says, no, no, that was for what jussie always said it was for which was training and nutrition. so there are a lot of questions here. and there's also the question
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about how the chicago police got so duped. because you remember, the chicago police superintendent, eddie johnson, gave that extraordinarily emotional press conference after mr. smollett was accused of basically staging this attack, and said that jussie smollett took advantage of the pain and anger from racism to promote his career. how do you walk back those words? it is an extraordinarily difficult position i think that both the chicago police department and the cook county attorney's office finds itself in this afternoon. >> anne thompson, thanks so much. eric and danny and andrew blankstein as well, thank you all. we'll keep track of this. meanwhile, in washington, president trump is headed to capitol hill to rally senate republicans behind a campaign to punish those responsible for the mueller probe in his view. his strategy includes close ally lindsey graham, judiciary chair,
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proposing a new special counsel to investigate what he calls the other side of the story involving the justice department, fisa warrants and the steele dossier. house democrats meanwhile are demanding that attorney general william barr turn over the complete and unredacted mueller report by a week from today, april 2nd. joining me now, nbc white house correspondent peter alexander, and phillip rucker, white house bureau chief for "the washington post." peter, going on the attack rather than moving on, it's palpable as the president prepares to join the senate republican lunch today. >> yes, andrea, you see it with the president's allies and officials at the white house. it's come down to the three v's, victory, vindication, and now this sense of vengeance or vindictiveness for the president's allies and aides, and the president himself,
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tweeting, describing the probe as a disgrace, getting behind this idea, to get the full story as kellyanne conway, his trusted counselor, said to us within the last hour and a half or so, to try to find out whether it was members of the obama administration that were to blame for this, an aide naming some of those members of the obama administration, saying they need to be taken to task. the house democrats saying in a letter to attorney general william barr saying they want the full mueller report released in a week and a half. the justice department isn't commenting on that timeline, although that seems unlikely, the attorney general wants to consult with robert mueller to determine what needs to be
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redacted, likely grand jury testimony and other details. again, for this president as he prepares to head up to the hill for what may best be described as a victory lap behind closed doors, perhaps we'll have a chance to hear from him as he arrives in the next hour or so. >> and phil rucker, the democrats are really on defense because they are deflated, clearly, they thought there was going to be more from the mueller report and we don't have the mueller report, all we have is a four-page rewrite of it, if you will, the way the attorney general has presented it. but right now at least on the collusion front, they have a pretty clear statement, at least the section that was quoted, we don't have the backup information. how do they handle this? do they move on? >> yeah, andrea, it does not look like the democrats are going to move on. in fact they're digging in on this question of obstruction of justice and demanding the full report, the full mueller report from the justice department. but the problem for congressional democrats is they have very little information. all they have to go on here is attorney general barr's summary of that finding, and they're having to deal now with the
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president and his allies really launching an offensive about this and trying to make this a campaign issue in 2020. and there's an emerging divide among the democrats, between those who want to pursue this obstruction question to the bitter end, who want to continue investigating and probing this president, and who ultimately i think would like to see him impeached, and other democrats who feel like this is not a political winning issue for them and they ought to turn to some of the substantive policy issues that got them elected to win back the house in 2018 and try to reframe the debate heading into the 2020 campaign around issues other than this mueller investigation. >> phil rucker and peter alexander, thanks so much. president trump firing back, as we say, against his critics, vowing to punish those responsible for the russia investigation, after the special counsel found no evidence that he or his campaign conspired with russia in the 2016 election, according to the attorney general, that is. >> it lasted a long time. we're glad it's over.
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it's 100% the way it should have been. i wish it could have gone a lot sooner, a lot quicker. there are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, very bad things. i would say treasonous things against our country. and hopefully people that have done such harm to our country, we've gone through a period of really bad things happening, those people will certainly be looked at. >> joining me now is republican senator john barrasso, third ranking republican in the senate and member of the foreign relations committee. senator, thanks very much, thanks for your patience. as we talk about this, we'll be seeing the president. one of your colleagues, senator john kennedy early today on "morning joe" said he wished the president would just let this go and that certain things should be left unexpressed. do you have similar advice? do you want to go on, on this revenge hunt for the people who
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supported the mueller investigation, or is it time to move on and do some policy things? >> i'm looking forward to hearing the president spending time with him today at lunch. but the headlines are very clear. no collusion, no collaboration, no conspiracy. this was a thorough, extensive, exhaustive two-year study. and to come to that conclusion is complete vindication of what the president has said before about coordinating efforts with russia. it just didn't happen. >> the house judiciary committee has now voted unanimously to get all of the information from the justice department. should that all be turned over so that the relevant committees can read it themselves and find out exactly what robert mueller did conclude? >> well, i think that the report ought to be given to the american people in terms of accountability and transparency. everything that can be released should be released, not just to the committees but to the american people who spent over
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$25 million of taxpayer dollars and have been waiting two years for the outcome. the headlines are very clear, no conspiracy. >> now, on obstruction, it's not that clear, because according to the attorney, at least, robert mueller concluded that he could not conclude, and he left that open. it's not clear at all that mueller intended for the attorney general to reach a conclusion, but he just said that he could not fully exonerate the president despite what the president is claiming. so do you and the american people want to know more about the obstruction issue and what robert mueller concluded? >> well, it sounds like the house wants to go down that road. the intelligence committees in the house and senate are continuing looking into this, they have their own investigations going on. but i'm looking forward to spending time with the president today at lunch. i'm sure this will come up. i think also what's going to come up with the nbc report from earlier today about the number of illegal immigrants coming into the country now hitting a 13-year high. and i'm hoping what also comes up with the strong, healthy
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economy we have, where 71% of americans see the economy as strong and healthy. so we're going to spend over an hour with the president at the conference today. and i think there's going to be a lot of points to discuss. >> despite some warning signs from the reverse yield curve of a possibility of an impending recession down the road. one more thing, you're going to vote on the senate floor today about the green new deal. is this an attempt to embarrass the democrats because -- the democratic senators, because there's sort of no meat on the bone, that's an aspirational proposal from some of the house democrats, and it's not -- it's certainly not legislation. >> well, i'm looking forward to voting on it. i think it's important. but you're right, the democrats are trying to duck it, to dodge it, to distance themselves from it, because it's so unpopular, unworkable, and unaffordable. it would bankrupt the country. essentially every family would have to pay $65,000 every year.
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electricity bills would skyrocket. it's unpopular to the point where the afl-cio has come out against it. and it's unworkable, andrea. we do need more renewable energy but it's only 8% of the energy we have now comes from solar or wind. but republicans and democrats have been working together on bipartisan solutions with advanced nuclear power, with carbon capture and using that carbon productively. there are things we are doing in a bipartisan way. it's hard to know how the democrats are going to vote today. some say they're going to vote present but within the last hour, on the steps of the capitol, outside the capitol, democrats including a democrat presidential candidate who have co-sponsored this legislation were leading a chant that said we need the green deal, we want it, we want it now. they're going to have an opportunity to vote on it today. and i'm looking forward to that vote this afternoon. >> busy day on capitol hill. first you have lunch with the
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president. enjoy. thank you so much, senator john barrasso, great to see you. >> thanks for having me, andrea. coming up, democratic presidential candidate kamala harris joining us with the details of her new initiative to raise pay the america's teachers. stay with us on "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. ay with us onl reports" on msnbc. i'm really into this car,
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democratic voters this year in the primary campaign seem to be focused mostly on domestic issues like health care.
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and now the justice department yesterday joining a texas court arguing that the affordable health care law is unconstitutional, refighting obama. now a new education initiative announced by democratic presidential candidate and senator kamala harris aims to give teachers significant pay raises, a move that could tap into a wave of enthusiasm sparked by teachers' strikes across the country. democratic senator kamala harris joins us from capitol hill. thank you for being here. tell us about your educational proposal and how you pay for it. >> okay, we can get right into that. how we pay for it is we need to raise the estate tax on the top 1%. but let's talk about what it will do, because it's critically important we ask what will be the return on this investment. it's an investment in our teachers. and what we know, andrea, is that in our country teachers are paid on average about 11% less than other similarly situated college graduates. what we know, and i'm traveling
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the country these days, i have met more teachers who are working two jobs, sometimes three, in fact i recently spoke with a teacher in south carolina who is waiting tables as her second job, and realized that in that same restaurant waiting tables were four other teachers. it's a very real issue. we are not paying teachers their value. there are only two groups of people raising our children and educating them, parents and teachers. so we've got to correct what has been a long-standing pay gap around teachers and bring them up to where they belong, and especially as related to the service that they provide and the benefit that we receive from their professional work. and, you know, i think it's also really an important point to make, which is that, you know, if we are a society that cares about children, we have to acknowledge that one of the greatest expressions of love that we can give a child is to invest in their education. and that means investing in teachers and paying them their value, and letting them spend their time, instead of working
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an extra job or two, work on professional development, work on reviewing the class materials. let's give them that ability, because they've taken an oath and pledged a career that is absolutely about service for others. >> i saw a guesstimate that it would be $300 billion over ten years. is that the federal piece of it or would that include state and local funding, since most local communities support education through their local real estate taxes? >> that would be the federal piece of it. and then what we would do is we would have a matching program, so federal dollars matching state dollars to be able to bring teachers up to pay equity, which is on average going to be $13,500 a year. so $13,500 a year, that's the equivalent in most states of mortgage payments for the entire year. in most states that's the equivalent of paying for groceries for an entire year. in most places that's the equivalent of paying off a substantial amount of student loan debt. it's a very real issue, andrea, because we have people in
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college right now who are learning biology, who would love to teach a middle school student but instead go on and work in a pharmaceutical company because they have to figure out how to pay off their student loans. we have people who would love to go on and teach a high school student but have to go to wall street to pay off their bills. it's just not right. i'll tell you a personal story, my first grade teacher, mrs. frances wilson, attended my law school graduation. teachers are very special people who dedicate themselves to the future of our country. we need to pay them their value and we haven't been. >> i have the same experience with high school teachers who had a profound influence on me. all of the education studies we've always done at nbc and elsewhere have shown that the international grading of various countries show that teachers of countries like finland and
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singapore and others that pay the highest value to teachers have the best results. >> exactly. and so when people start talking about, what is this going to cost, no. look at it the way that our friends in the private sector who are efficient look at it. it's an investment. the question should be what will be the return on that investment. the return on the investment will be about recruitment of teachers, retention of teachers, and a better environment for our students and our children who of course are the future of our country. >> let me ask you about something that was announced by secretary of state pompeo this morning about health care and abortion funding to non-government groups around the world who have been backfilling for what this administration did in cutting back beyond what the former reagan administration rules were to prevent any federal funds that go to abortion. that has been the law forever, or for many decades, but now they're expanding that,
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tightening it further. according to non-government groups in latin america and africa, this will also affect hiv funding, other kinds of women's health care funding, zika virus funding. it will go well beyond money that goes to abortion by cutting off all these other groups from getting any kind of aid if they in any way do abortion counseling. do you have any reaction to that? >> absolutely, it's outrageous, andrea. it's outrageous. what anyone can tell you is, one, that part of our strength as a nation, which has also reinforced our ability to really have national security, is that we have been and have prioritized giving aid to those countries in need around a variety of issues that are about our diplomatic strength, and in particular supporting nations that need assistance with reproductive health care and services for the women of those countries, combatting aids and hiv has been something that presidents, democrats and
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republicans, have prided themselves and us on, as something that is part of our values as a nation, that we will support other nations' public health needs. and i think it's just outrageous and it's another example of this administration not understanding what it means to be strong on national security. we've got a big stick but we also have a big carrot. and part of our strength as a nation is that we have prided ourselves on supporting developing nations and those who need support with what is otherwise a health care crisis in those countries. i think it's just unfortunate. i think this administration has been on so many issues playing politics and real lives will be impacted as a result of this policy shift. real lives will be impacted. >> we should point out this is a reversal of george w. bush administration advances on pepfar. >> of course, of course. and he was rightly very proud of
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that work, rightly. >> now, there's another issue which is health care, which you've heard a lot from the voters whom you meet along the way. the justice department has now said in a letter filed with the u.s. court of appeals for the fifth circuit in new orleans that a lower court's ruling in texas, i believe, that the health care law is unconstitutional should be affirmed, that, quote, the united states is not urging that any portion of the district court's judgment be reversed. the controversial reasoning here apparently is that the supreme court upheld the aca's mandate as an exercise of congress' power to enact taxes. this is from the coalition of republican-led states. you asked attorney general nominee barr about this, during the confirmation hearing. i want to play that for you, not that you need a reminder, but let's remind our viewers. >> in december a texas judge struck down the affordable care act. if the decision is upheld, the results could include an
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estimated 17 million americans losing their health insurance in president first year alone, protections for preexisting conditions would be eliminated, and seniors would pay more for prescription drugs. would you reverse the justice department's position and defend the affordable care act in court? >> that is a case that if i'm confirmed, i would like to review the department's position on that case. >> are you open to reconsidering the position? >> yes. >> we've seen what happened now in the last 24 hours, though. your reaction? >> andrea, one of the top issues that keeps american families up at night, that weighs on them, that concerns them, that is a great source of worry, is whether they are going to be able to afford the health care that they need, be it for a family member who is facing an acute illness or just the health care that people need on a daily basis. it's one of the biggest, most
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critical issues facing american families. and it should first of all be understood to be something that in that way is not partisan and certainly should not be thought of as a political issue. and the other piece of it is we have seen that the affordable care act brought health care to tens of millions of people who otherwise did not have it. the existence of preexisting conditions, and that being a barrier to people having access to health care, we decided as a nation, we agreed, most of us, that that was immoral, that it was wrong that someone who has a preexisting condition should therefore be essentially denied access to any health care. and what this is doing is it's about playing politics with people's public health. i was attorney general of california at the beginning of a lot of these lawsuits. it was a shame, it was straight down party lines that these cases were brought. the motivation as stated by some of the people holding the highest positions in our government was that it was about
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defeating an accomplishment of the previous democratic president. it wasn't necessarily and certainly didn't seem to be motivated based on what is good public policy for the nation. >> let me ask you as a member of the judiciary committee, finally, about the william barr report, if you will, of the mueller report, because it's like watching or reading the cliff notes. we have four pages, we don't know how long the mueller report is, we don't know why robert mueller did not decide to reach a conclusion on obstruction but he certainly left it wide open, saying that he could not exonerate the president, and why the attorney general felt he should reach a conclusion rather than referring it to congress. what is your reaction so far, and are democrats deflated and put on their back heels, if you will, by the fact that, at least according to the attorney general, mueller reached the conclusion that there was no collusion, no conspiracy, i should say, with the russian
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government by anyone, including the president and his campaign, here? >> i don't have yet enough information to actually assess whether what barr did is appropriate or not. i can only assume, though, it took him only two days to write a four-page summary of an investigation that was conducted over the course of two years, and seemingly around the clock. so it calls into question the integrity of the document that he submitted, that four-page document, and the integrity of it in terms of whether or not it was comprehensive enough to give the american public a sense of what the investigation actually discovered, uncovered, and involved. for that reason, i strongly believe that in the interests of transparency, in president interests of the american public's interest in knowing and right to know, that there should be full transparency, that the mueller report should be made public, that the underlying evidence should be available to congress, i believe, and feel strongly, that the attorney general, barr, should be required to testify before the
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united states congress under oath, because congress has a responsibility and a duty to the american public to perform its oversight responsibilities. and in this case, we are presented with some of the most troubling issues and concerns in terms of the various branches of government. and congress should be allowed to do its job, which is oversight in particular as it relates to this issue. that requires transparency which we have not yet received, obviously. >> senator kamala harris, thank you so much. thanks for being with us today. >> thank you. and coming up, former attorney general eric holder says that attorney general barr made the wrong call on the mueller report. stay with us right here. we'll be right back. we'll be right back. (game beeps as ball hits paddle) video games have evolved. why hasn't the way you bank? virtual wallet from pnc bank helps make it easier to see what you're spending, stash more into savings
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costs. so call a licensed humana sales agent today at the number on your screen, to see if you're eligible to enroll today. and say yes to getting the right health care coverage without having to wait for it. there are a lot of questions continuing about why robert mueller did not reach a decision on obstruction of justice. joining me now to try to answer that question are harry litman and jeffrey smith. welcome both. to you first, jeff smith. we're losing track almost of the seriousness of the
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counterintelligence aspects of this case. we haven't seen that in the summary from william barr. we need to know more about that. you as a former cia official have a keen interest in that. the russians are crowing today claiming that the american media are all propaganda artists as though they, you know, we invented propaganda. but why did robert mueller leave own this whole question of obstruction do you think? >> i don't know. it will be very important to see what his reasoning why taken as a whole because at the moment all we have is mr. barr's summary of it. so important to understand it. my own guess is that he felt this is something that should be dealt with by the congress as a political matter and the attorney general decided to preempt that by ending it by saying no prosecution. sfwh a >> and the attorney general seems to be following what many have criticized as his opinion about the obstruction issue and
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what constitutes obstruction as he laid out in a 19 page document that he sent unsolicited we understand to the president in what many say was a job application. >> he may be. now, that 19 page document was about a very specific theory of obstruction, not really what mueller wound up taking on. but i really agree with jeffrey here, this is playing like some football match where trump puts up ten points in the fourth quarter and goes to victory. it is so much more serious than that. and it turns completely 100% on why mueller declined to do what prosecutors are expected do, reach a judgment. if he did it because he thought it should be in congress' hands to decide and the attorney general decided otherwise, that is a problem. >> it does seem that the whole point of a special counsel is to take it out of the hands of
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political appointees as much as one can. the fact is that robert mueller was supposed to be independent of interference certainly under the statute. so why would he be preempted by the newly appointed attorney general? >> it is hard to fathom at this point. when i first heard about it, i thought it is like president ford who decided to president nixon to, quote, he said our national nightmare. that may have been right thing at the time, but i think this s is a serious mistake because it does politicize the role of the department of justice. we'll have wait and see what lies behind that reasoning. but i think in a way he has essentially preemted the ability of the congress to deal with this as a political matter, but you at the same time, he has made the department of justice a much more politicized entity
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than it ought to be. >> and in concluding that there was no conspiracy to work with the russians, despite all the rewriting of the trump tower and falsifying it on the way home from the g-20, all of these instances, the meetings with roger stone, manafort and his relationships, how can we conclude without seeing what mueller says is the underlying evidence that there was no connection? russia, are you listening. let's see those clinton emails from the podium? >> i've always thought that it was going to be difficult to prove real conspiracy, real collusion. >> why? >>. >> but they were clearly cooperating with the russians, they were talking to them, sending various kinds of signals back and forth. the wikileaks thing we have yet to get to the bottom of really. but actual conspiracy sitting down and saying okay, russia, you do this, we'll do that, it
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never trustruck me -- they wereo smart do that. >> in other words they were the recipient of something that russia was doing. >> yes. but what concerns me most of all is that this began as a doubts ter in-against investigation. that is to say is there something that the russians have on trump either that they have done collected information on him or that he is so deeply in their debt in one way or the other. that he feels compelled to help russia. and that some of his decisions are being influenced by this inappropriate leverage the russians have over him. classic counterintelligence question. it is exceedingly serious. and we don't know what mueller has done with that. none of that is in the barr letter. and is that now finished, have they looked at all of that, is it back in the hands of the fooifbi. we don't know. >> major questions unresolved. thank you jeffrey smith, so much to consider harry litman as well. and turning now to more tragedy.
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two students took their own lives last week, one of those lost is sydney aiello who lost a close friend in the parkland shooting. >> does it reopen the trauma of what you guys went through? >> all of a sudden it is like 20 2018. we'll have to think about funerals again. it will open up a flood gate. i really am -- because everyone the strongest people that i knew thought about it right after. >> we have to keep hoping that it will get better even if it takes forever. find something that keeps you strong. find people that keep you strong. >> jeremy rich man, father of a 6-year-old who was killed in newtown in 2012 also has now died by apparent suicide on monday. for anyone struggling or concerned about a loved one,
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