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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  December 26, 2019 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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well-known candidate, i am surprised his standing improved in october when he suffered a heart attack. instead sanders is finishing the year in better shape both physically and politically. what surprises 2020 brings for him and everyone else we will soon find out and i can't wait. that is "hardball" for now. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> everything i do during this i'm coordinating with the white house counsel. >> senate majority leader'sclusion with the white house. >> when i heard that i was disturbed. >> tonight the republican senator bucking mitch mcconnell's tactics and what it could mean for the upcoming impeachment trial. >> i'm not impartial about this at all. >> and then a new plan to thwart russian interference amid new concerns about the security of the 2020 election. plus a push back on trump's border wall from landowners in texas. and the horror perpetrated in the world's largest democracy by
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one of trump's favorite world leaders. >> prime minister modi is doing a truly exceptional job for india and for all of the indian people. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. we had a big development over the last couple of days among senate republicans that could very well determine whether or not we get a real impeachment trial. so here's how things stand. after donald trump became just the third president in american history to be impeached by the house speaker of the house nancy pelosi said she would not appoint impeachment managers, those are the house members who will try the impeachment case in the senate, until she gets assurances from senate majority leader mcconnell about what exactly the impeachment trial is going to look like. here's how she put in a letter to her democratic colleagues. quote, it now remains to the senate to present the rules
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which we will proceed. we can then appoint managers. what pelosi is effectively saying is we can't appoint our lawyers until we know what they're going to be doing, what kind of trial it is going to be. and she's refusing to send the articles of impeachment over to the senate until she gets an answer. one of the biggest unanswered questions is whether the impeachment managers will be able to cross examine witnesses, are there going to be witnesses at all? senate minority leader shuck schumer has called for witness testimonies as well as the production of documents central to the case. that testimony and those documents of course were sought by the house democrats but blocked by the white house during the house impeachment process. now mitch mcconnell has made it clear he's not interested in any of that. i mean even before trump was impeached mcconnell went on trump tv to look into the camera and announce he is essentially not going to run a fair trial, that he's going to do whatever trump and his allies tell him to do. >> everything i do during this
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i'm coordinating with white house counsel. there will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this. we'll be working through this process hopefully in a fairly short period of time in total coordination with the white house counsel's office and the people who are representing the president. >> it's kind affen amazing admission, right, he's not even pretending. total coordination, no real trial. that's where things stand. we have this partisan standoff between nancy pelosi in the house and what happens next is largely in the hands of a handful of senate republicans. here's how the math works. you need 51 votes to set the rules of the impeachment trial, a majority of the senate. there are 53 republicans in the senate so four republican would have to break mcconnell to set rules that would result in a real actual trial as called for by chuck schumer as envisioned in the constitution. so the big question is kind of a
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political one at this point, are there any cracks among senate republicans? are there any willing to cross the aisle and join with democrats on procedural votes? there are a handful one could imagine breaking with the house, but so far we really haven't heard solid objects to mcconnell's stated position on coordination. that's until now. on tuesday senator murkowski declared you can't have a real trial if the people in charge are working in lock step with the defense. listen to what she told to an affiliate about her reaction to those mcconnell comments. >> in fairness when i heard that, i was disturbed. to me it means we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense. and so i -- i heard what leader mcconnell had said. i happen to think that that has
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further confused the process. >> further confused the process. now, murkowski is an interesting case. she's been a thorn in mcconnell's side on a number of issues. perhaps notably when she was one of the no votes against republican efforts to repeal obamacare. and her stance represents a crack, a real crack publicly in mcconnell's efforts to forego a real trial. it's a sign that mcconnell's decision to go on trump tv and declare he was coordinating with the white house was a big tactical error. heidi, i guess i wasn't shocked that murkowski said that, but it struck me as notable, highly notable that she said that publicly in terms of what it means for what she might be saying privately or what others in the senate caucus might be thinking. >> notable but let's not misinterrupt this or overinterpret it. she was a new week and case as
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you mentioned she was the only republican sen door the vote against brett ckavanaugh. and if you look at what she said, chris, she said nothing about witnesses. she said she didn't like coordination and she said she thought there should be a fair trial, but she said she thought she wanted to hear from the house managers and for the president's lawyers, again to go back to the math what you would need is four lisa murkowski's to not omsay they want witnesses but to agree with democrats on the specific witnesses that the democrats want. we're a long ways from that in just these individual comments she made here. i tried to talk to her about it, other reporters have tried to talk to her about, and she's been very mum so i don't want to discount this, but we're a long ways from four republican senators saying they want witnesses who the president has been blocking and who we know have more information to offer
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because john bolton has told us that through his lawyers. >> there's two questions to me heidi and jim, one is what happens in terms of the process they come up, but the other is about where the political pressure is and what the political experience is for the caucus. and jim, to heidi's point if you ask me to bet are you going to get four republicans to break with mcconnell and trump on these procedural votes, my bet would be no. >> but it highlighted a tactical error which is saying out loud he's coordinating with the white house which to me put his moderates or his more sort of vulnerable members in a worse position. >> i couldn't agree more. first of all, heidi's caution is absolutely correct when it comes to senator murkowski. but yes the interesting dynamic to watch is the fact that if mcconnell would have had this thing sewn up, if he would have
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had his caucus onboard, he would have had moved quickly to get this organized. and fact he's hedging his bets and made these comments gives me pause about actually where, you know, his caucus is. i think there are still a handful of folks really concerned about getting tied to donald trump on all of this especially when news is breaking day in,day out about, you know, different facets of the case. >> heidi, the pause here that's been hit by nancy pelosi for the stated reason they cannot appoint impeachment managers until they know what they're doing, the one thing clear about this is it's driving trump kaz crazy. this was him tweeting over christmas. i want to give people a taste of the juxtaposition. his christmas message, together we must strive to foster a
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culture of deeper understanding and respect, trades that exemplify the teachings of christ. he seems to not be enjoying this interregnum. >> well, maybe he's read the polls maybe that shows that 70% of the american public is actually with nancy pelosi on this, not on the withholding of the articles but on wanting to hear from these witnesses which is the premise of her holding the articles. so she may not succeed in forcing the witnesses who the president is blocking, but what she may succeed in is raising public awareness they are indeed being blocked. so these are witnesses who are material to the question. now, democrats felt they had enough of first-hand evidence of mick mulvaney himself going out on national television and saying, yeah, we did it, get over it with all the first-hand witness testimony, but the guys who were at the center of this
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are still refusing to testify, and there's no indication that we're going to hear from them. the public thinks we should. >> final question for you, jim, and this is sort of a blast in the past which is that this is always a political process inherently, right? mcconnell wasn't wrong about that, and this is interesting. james rogan who was an impeachment manager i believe back when clinton was impeached, he had this to say. trent lott, he said he did handsprings trying to make it go away. i have 55 republican senators 7 of whom who are up for re-election next year in tough races. you guys in the house just jumped off a cliff, we're not following you off a cliff. >> senator mcconnell is no trent lott. it's purely political to him and he's up for re-election as you know and he's doing everything he can to tie himself to donald
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trump until, you know, the polls go south on trump, which is why it's going to be interesting to see some of those republicans who are out there, those so-called moderates are going to stick to mcconnell throughout all of this. i'm not so sure they are but we'll have to wait and see. >> thanks to you both. i want to bring in the head of the office of legal counsel walter gellenger. and let me start with you not on the political question but a set of procedural ones. i mean at some level i guess all this is up for debate, but there are actual senate rules and there's precedent about trials, and what can we glean from those two sort of bodies of knowledge? >> you know, we can learn a lot from it, chris. there are permanent rules. they can be varied by the senate, but it takes 60 votes as mcconnell himself has acknowledged to change the rules. they were altered somewhat for the clinton trial, but that was by unanimous consent, 100-0 when
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the leaders worked it out. but what do those rules provide? they make it clear that testimony is anticipated on behalf of the house managers. there are three rules, rule 6, rule 17 and rule 18 all deal with the fact that witnesses may be called by the house managers, and the senate may compel their own attendance, they may provide if a senator is called he shall give testimony from his standing desk. they provide most relevantly when a witness is called one person may examine the witness on behalf of those who call the witness, and one person may examine the witness on behalf of the other parties. so the rules themselves completely reject the notion advanced by the majority leader that finding facts is for the house and not for the senate and that is simply repudiated,
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unless you have no real witnesses, no real trial, no exoneration. >> how essential do you think the question of witnesses is to the nature of the process this ends up being? >> i think there will only be a fair trial if witnesses are relevant to the issues at hand, and what's happened here compared to the past, in the past you've had full special prosecutor reports, you had the starr report, you had the watergate report, you had all the materials we in watergate turned over to house judiciary committee. it never got to the senate because the evidence was so clear that the president, nixon resigned rather than face the trial, but in the case of clinton there was a ton of evidence, there was an extremely full report -- so full i think the next rules were changed so that we wouldn't have to endure
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that kind of report. here you've been denied witness after witness after witness, and it's clear that people with direct knowledge of the exact things that we are looking at have been prohibited from testifying, and the standard at impeachment is very different than it is at conviction, just as in a trial you need probable cause for an indictment. you need beyond reasonable truth, beyond a reasonable doubt in a trial. and to get that we need these extra witnesses. the president deserves it and the american people deserve a full trial, and he cannot be exonerated if there isn't a full presentation of the evidence and a full rebuttable. so far there's been no rebuttable and doesn't seem to be a rebuttable. all there's been is don't let these people testify who actually have knowledge. and that says to me you cannot exonerate the president. >> walter, there's a deeper constitutional issue here which is what is the senate?
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they don't bring up bills he doesn't want to sign, they are essentially there particularly mcconnell as a kind of adjunct in some ways, he's certainly turned himself into that. what is your understanding of how the constitution both in theory and practice envisions the role of the senate in this undertake something. >> well, i think they are not exactly jurors. that is they have a broader scope of -- a broader scope of discretion i think than jurors would have. but on the other hand they take an oath to be impartial, which means they should try to do their duty under the constitution. and the idea that they would not hear from witnesses when we know in every trial in this country there are witnesses called at trial who are not part of the indictment or in this case the impeachment process. there's just no argument not to hear for four hours, you know, from the chief of staff and the national security officer. >> well, particular, jil, to your point when you're talking about someone like mick mulvaney
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presumably this is sympathetic witness for the president. he's being called by the, you know, prosecutors i guess in this case. but he worked for the president, he's an ally of the president, he defends the president. >> absolutely. and if he can't come forward, it is easy to reach a conclusion that that's because what he would say is worse than his remaining silent. and i want to point out during watergate it was a pretrial subpoena. after the indictment, after the house had already started impeachment proceedings, where we got the extra tape, we got the smoking gun tape. so it is not unusual to have evidence for a trial -- >> that's a great point. >> you did not have before an indictment, and people are forgetting that. >> that's a great, great point. thank you for your time tonight. up next the new tactics to prevent russian interference in the 2020 election by targeting personal data. that story next. targeting personal data. that story next. or what you neey
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big question looms about the conditions which we will undertake that election. will the russians or other nations or foreign entities attempt to abtaj the election they way they did in 2016, will they try to escalate it? we know thank tuesday bipartisan senate intelligence report that came out earlier this year russia targeted election systems in all 50 states, but were they in a position to actually penetrate all those systems? will they in the next election? the answers to that are unmaddingly unclear. "the washington post" is reporting some in the u.s. government are considering a sort of warning system to counter this type of interference by russia. quote, the new options contemplate targeting key leaders in the military service and potentially some oligarchs. the messaging would be accompanied by limited cyber operation that would demonstrate americans access to a particular system or account or a capability to inflict the cost. the message would warn the target if the election
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interference did not cease there would be consequences. is that a good idea? i don't really know. it seems there's a lot of arguments we have on both sides. and here with me now a u.s. senator who's been focused on elections for years and one of the cosponsors democratic senator jeff murkily of oregon. what do you think of this idea, of some sort of preemptive digital cyber warning shot to russian actors to kind of warn them off further interference? >> well, i think envisioned in a similar frame to the deter act which is past the senate which says, look, if you mess around in our elections there's going to be significant consequences. the deter act lays out those consequences in terms of additional sanctions. in this case what more or less is being said we'll have a special cyber unit that will prevent cyber consequences for
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key actors inside russia. the details just aren't really clear to me yet exactly the extent of what they're talking about or the impact or the breadth of it. but the idea of saying to russia you mess with our election, there will be consequences, that certainly has broad bipartisan support in the senate. >> there seems to me a kind of questioning about the nature of these actions on the international stage, sort of cyber intrusion and cyber war. and i harken back to obviously the sort of world wrestling what to do with nuclear weapons, a very different category but creating some kind of international regime to guide their use and treaties and it does seem like some bigger architecture is necessary here given just how dangerous in some could be in this sphere. >> well, this is good point because the active in the senate anticipates using established mechanisms that are very public
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mechanisms such as sanctions, but here we're talking about a host of possibilities that can range from attacks on peoples personal information, all kinds of impacts on their governmental systems, who knows? just as we're concerned about the breadth of possible russian impact on us. we had on the 2016 election a series of examples. we had the russians setting up a bot network to overload messages for facebook. we had them creating fake news to help drive that fake news. we had them as you mentioned on your program exploring how to penetrate election systems in all 50 states. we had all that going on, but there's also a lot of concern about the ability of countries to mess with operating systems of things like pipeline systems
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or utilities or electric grids. so there's a huge host, and that's where we're talking about things done privately, how might that escalate back and forth and to what degree are these acts of war? because this is really outside the frame of anything we faced before. >> on the question of sort of penetration of election systems, you know, there's been reporting about this but no public declarations about what exactly happened and where some the states have been informed, and there's a firm there called vr systems, an article in politico about it which basely is about whether vr systems was in fact penetrated or not. they say they weren't. they ran analysis, wouldn't turn it over to politico. do you feel we have a full public accounting of what actually did happy in 2016 and how far it got? >> absolutely not. there is significant information available that the vr systems was targeted.
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we have certainly a lot of concern about what happened in durham, north carolina, where their electronic poll books were messed up on election day and didn't function properly, has never been fully explained, but that was done through vr systems. vr systems has similar sorts of poll books, electronic poll books in many, many counties around the country. and i know that my colleague who serves as the top democratic on the intelligence committee, senator widen has been very forthcoming in saying we're not gelling the full story and the public deserves to know. coming up, one of the many reasons trump has failed to deliver on his signature campaign promise, the landowners blocking the border wall. next. rs blocking the border wall next
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itreat them all as if, they are hot and energized. stay away from any downed wire, call 911 and call pg&e right after so we can both respond out and keep the public safe. there are a lot of reasons why donald trump's promise of a border wall stretching all the way across the southern border was both a bad idea and ridiculous. i mean for one thing mexico of
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course was never going to pay for it. that was just a lie. for another there are just huge stretches of the border where it is either impractical or down right impossible to build a wall. like the parts of the southern border that cut through impassable desert or stretch across the rio grande or the parts that are usually private property that texans are fighting tooth and nail not to give over to the government to build a wall. as "the new york times" reports those landowners are a key obstacle to getting the so-called border wall built. here with me now a lawyer representing nine texas landowners currently fighting court to keep their land from being taken for a border wall. can you tell me who your clients are and what their case is against the government? >> so our clients right now are nine landowners in the path of the border wall who lib in the rio grande valley of texas. >> and they would have their land -- they would have to give over their land, my
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understanding is somewhat find themselves essentially on the wrong side of the fence were it to be constructed? >>iacy, that's exactly right. i've been able to look into this a little bit and there is so much land that would be if this is ever built between the border and the actual border wall, between the international boundary and where they want to build the wall. and we've measured it up, and it looks like it would be about the size of washington, d.c. that would be left between the river and the wall if this is ever going to get built. and because of the efforts of landowners like my clients and like the clients of the texas civil rights project that is likely to be given the place we have and between now and the election in 2020. assuming we do get somebody else in the white house at the end of the year. >> just to be clear on the details here, they want to build part of the wall -- the rio grande is the international border. you can't build a wall through the water, so they would build it like a half-mile or a mile in from the river, but that's a
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huge chunk of land between the wall and the river that's america and on the wrong side of the wall. >> yes. it would essentially divide entire communities that make up the rio grande valley, and that's where i live and that's where i work. and i'm originally from mccallan texas from the border region of the united states, and we're as much a part of the united states as anywhere else in the country. but the way landowners are being treated by this administration, the lack of respect we've seen both to my clients and to everyone in the path of this failed project really just shows the lack of -- the lack of due care that's being given to people who are really having their livelihoods taken away if this project were to go forward. >> have you been successful so far? >> the law is extremely favorable to the federal government, but at the same time everyone does have due process rights regardless of the emergency declaration, of how many buildings we've seen
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appropriated and that says that every single person in the path of the wall if they do not consent to their land being taken, they have the right to take it all the way up to a jury trial of their peers in federal court. and for us, that's what we do for our clients. there are so many people who don't understand they do have a right to refuse the government for its offer and to refuse to consent to this project entirely. we know that in south texas this is highly democratic area, this is an area that's almost universally opposed to the border wall project, and we understand most people don't want this, but this hasn't stopped the trump administration from driving this project through the border lands and attempting to bulldoze our homes. so the texas civil rights project has a commitment to represent every landowner in the path of the border wall who does not consent to a taking and cannot afford a lawyer on their own and we represent people for
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free. the reticence of many state governors who use their pardon power and potential abuse of that power in kentucky next. that power in kentucky next. maria ramirez?
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apps except work.rywhere... why is that? is it because people love filling out forms? maybe they like checking with their supervisor to see how much vacation time they have. or sending corporate their expense reports. i'll let you in on a little secret. they don't. by empowering employees to manage their own tasks, paycom frees you to focus on the business of business. to learn more, visit paycom.com america has just about the highest incarceration rate of any nation on earth. and one way to start reducing the number of people that we have in prison is for governors across the country to more aggressively start using their pardon power. in most states governors can issue clemency or pardons or do it with a parole board's
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approval. generally however, the politics of that decision are terrifying for governors who don't want to be attacked for being soft on crime. the end result is that they vastly underuse their ability to pardon folks. so now comes along the strange case of matt bevan. he's the former kentucky governor who also seems to have gone about his mass pardons and commutations in a way designed to produce the worst kind of discrediting of it project. after losing his re-election last month bevan spent his lame duck week pardoning more than 600 people. it made it controversial the lack of publicly stated rationale from the outgoing governor and one of the convicted murderers pardoned was the brother of a man who had helped a campaign fund-raiser for bevan. something that sparked the interest of the fbi. everything bevan has done to defend decisions has been frankly a pr disaster including this when he was asked during a radio interview about a child
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rapist whose sentence he pardoned. >> these girls both were examined medically, were examined physically. there was zero evidence, zero. both their hymens were intact, this is perhaps more specific than people would want, but trust me if you had been repeatedly violated as a small child by an adult, there are going to be repercussions of that physically and medically. there was zero evidence of that. >> joining me now one of the courier reporters who broke this story, lawyer and president of the non-profit criminal justice publication, the appeal. let me start with you. there's a what and a how here. there's the actual pardons and commutations offered by the governor and also the way he did it. i want to talk about that for a second. my understanding is there was no public rationale, no comprehensive paper put out by the governor. instead reporters like yourself learned of them case by case. >> right, when governor bevan
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lost his election by 5,000 votes in kentucky, he was never someone friendly with the press or had an open door with the kentucky media. we began to see in the secretary state's office these parties coming through, and looking through them and, you know, beginning to cross rrchs them, a pattern began to develop and governor bevan would often explain in his pardon letters these persons changed, turned their life around, really derive the whole criminal justice process saying it was a shoddy investigation. so when we looked further in the documentation there was no real evidence of that. it was just sort of the governor's discretion, and that's what it is in the constitution, chris. the governor has god-like powers to pardon whoever he wants. the baker case was obviously one that's drawn attention because of the fund-raising connection. and another one where the comments would be outside the realm of anatomy and science and other ones that has drawn our attention as well even amongst
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the offenders some people agree with and looked at those number wheres we found 95% of those pardoned were white. even within the context of criminal justice reform the governor's pardons did not meet the standards -- >> so 300 of those are low level offenders and 95% of them are white. i've been following your writing on this caand among folks in criminal justice reform movements who i respect tremendous amounts and have written about that the backlash here there's two things going on. the one is the way bevan did this and how and the backlash is being driven by some of the same impulses that stopped governors from using the pardon power in the first place to the extent they should be in states across the nation. >> yeah, i think i would start by saying there are a couple of decisions that governor bevan made that i would not have made
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and then i think absolutely are deserving of scrutiny and some of the statements including the one we just heard do kind of defy the laws of science. that being said i think that the media coverage of this issue has been extremely concerning and so reflective of what we see driving mass incarceration continually today even among populations that say they support change and the way we think about our criminal justice system. and when we talk about pardoning 600 people, right, and we focus on just 6 or 7 of those cases, we are doing a major disservice to the actual power of the pardon and refusing to contextualize in the history of american executive power, right? historically the pardon power has been used thousands of times over a president or executive's tenure, and now we're seeing it's used hundreds maybe dozens.
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andrew cuomo for example has commuted no sentences this year. we just saw dassy from making a murderer his request to be pardoned was denied. and what we're seeing with governor bevan is in part why that might be. i agree that 95% of those low level drug offenders, 95% of them are white is a major problem in a system and in a state where the disproportionate racial effects of the criminal justice system are significant. what i worry about on the other hand is that the implication then is that those people should not have been pardoned versus should matt bevan have gone further. >> here's the question i have for you, philip, final question part of what is strange is the incongruity between bevan's public profile and these actions. this is not someone as i
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understand talked about criminal justice reform or due process or kentucky's incarcerating too many people, and this seemed to literally come out of nowhere from someone who had just lost an election and was not really like comenseerate with the way he generally had talked about his public project. >> well, matt bevan's records have been mixed up, chris. he was certainly at the white house and there when president trump signed a criminal justice reform package, but many kentuckians have been at the forefront, senator rand paul, holly harris, an advocate for criminal justice reform. on christmas day governor bevan would often issue criminal justice reform or pardons, and remember his very first act as governor was taking away the voting rights of those folks. >> that is great point, and those -- a large percentage of those have been restored by governor bashir who defeated him
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in that re-election. thank you both. coming up, one of the president's favorite world leaders and what he's doing to his own people next. what he's do his own people next. e for the ud with retirement planning and advice for what you need today and tomorrow. because when you're with fidelity, there's nothing to stop you from moving forward. skip to the good part with alka-seltzer plus. now with 25% more concentrated power. nothing works faster for powerful cold relief. oh, what a relief it is! so fast! still fresh...
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in september of this year in houston, texas, president trump appear at a somewhat strange event that might easily have been forgotten. it looked like a trump rally but it wasn't a trump rally per se. it was organized by supporters of prime minister modi of india
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to celebrate the re-election of the leader of the world's biggest democracy. now, that's interesting because before modi became prime minister of india in 2014, before he spoke to tens of thousands of people at that football stadium in houston with the president there, modi had literally been banned for nearly a decade from much of the bush and obama administrations from even entering the united states that's because he was implicated in the 2002 anti-muslim riots where he was chief minister. those riots killed up to 2,000 people. credible evidence points to modi encouraging that religious ethnic violence against muslims or at the very least turning a blind eye to it as well as covering up the role of his state government in it. but then modi ran for prime minister on a right wing populist platform and won for the first time back in 2014. and after he became prime minister he was of course invited to the u.s. by the obama administration. he's been the subject of friendly press and unique praise
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in the u.s. and davos and now president trump has embraced him because modi with his far right politic, open bigotry and constant rhetorical war against those he views as his domestic enemy is the kind of foreign leader trump praises a lot. and trump's muslim ban is nothing compared to what modi has actually done. modi right now is in the midst of an audacious attempt to destroy that dates back to gandhi and instead replace with hindu naturalism and hindu supremacy. we're going to talk about all that next. supremacy. we're going to talk about all that next. i looove travel.
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since becoming prime minister of india in 2014 modi has used his popularity and position. he's launched a full-scale assault on the basic pluralistic multireligious principles of the democratic india enshrined by
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gandy and the party. india's only muslim majority state he sent in troops, put in cuff few and surveillance and cut affaccess to certain areas for months. modi has pushed for things like citizenship registries meant to disinf disenfranchise and he's pushed through passage of a law that would provide citizenship for immigrants of literally every religious minority except muslims. that law has provoked massive protesters around the country. for more i'm joined by an associate professor of journalism at nyu, originally from india, and a staffer from "the new yorker" who recently visited india and published a piece which is phenomenal read. let me start with you who was in
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india, wrote an incredible book about it there and gave a speech just a few months ago in india. this citizenship law which seems so cut and dry and explicitly bigoted has provoked some kind of reaction in india we hadn't seen yet. what's going on with that? >> for the first time in independent india's history there's been a law which has specific religious risks. so as you mentioned citizens of minorities in afghanistan, pakistan and bangladesh can come into india as long as they're not muslim. and this is -- has never really happened in india and failed through parliament without much protest and then an interesting thing started happening. young people in universities started protesting, and now it's all across the country. i mean the protests are led by the young but along with other measures the government wants to
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put forward like a national registry of citizens. they want to -- indians to produce documentary evidence that they're citizens and those who have been to india knows how hard it is to get any kind of documents from a government office. so the idea is the messaging at all levels whether it's kashmir, the citizens act, it's to send a message this is hindu country, you're here -- >> before the protests on citizenship law there's the move and you filed an incredible story where you went an indian journalist there to document what it was like, and what has modi done in?
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>> foreigners are prohibited so i just managed and i got on an airplane and put on a local costume and i got through. but what i think is most remarkable about it is when you pick up most indian newspapers or turn on the television they tell you everything's fine, it's normal, like everybody supports this. and kashmir's fine, go home. we found it's essentially on ooep air prison. the people are cut off from the rest of the country. there's no internet, no telephones. they're cut off from each other. there are soldiers everywhere, on every street corner. it is a really, really grim situation. i was there for about a little less than a week and personally i was going crazy because it was so claus trotrophobic and so ine and really fearful. so they locked it down and i got
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a really bad feeling when i was there and it was creepy and i've seen a lot of bad things and gave me a lot of bad feeling. i don't know where it's going, but it's not good. these demonstrations have been encouraging because it's really extraordinary to see the indians rise up. >> there's two things happening here, one is this sort of vision of hindu supremacy, india as a sort of ethnoligious s state fundamentally, like india for hindus which is obviously at odds with what gandy literally gave his life to avoid. and then also this authoritarian turn a little bit, like pressure on the media, pressure on academics in the universities. we've seen some arrests in universities. how much have you seen modi sort of moving in these liberal directions to get to? >> well, it really has been an all out war against intellectuals, against people
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who -- you see this on social media. i'm sure my twitter feed is blowing up right now with people saying i'm a traitor to india and i've given other talks about the situation. it's a kind of recognizing of the hipdue card, the idea that these countries stay and different religions have different countries. india should be for hindus. these people who -- but the issue is that the economy is really in the toilet. modi claims to have built tens of millions and dragged the economy into the toilet. unemployment is at a 45-year high. the growth rate went from 7% last year to 4.5% this year. so some of this is meant as a
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distraction. >> also as you document in that great piece in "the new yorker" this is very gifted and also popular politician, modi. this is someone who if you look at other folks particularly trump or bolsanaro and brazil obviously different countries they're not as popular. modi's approval rating is 65%. >> he's really smart wrshlg and i think what was the thing most disturbing to me when i was there was how much it felt like the united states except worse and how much -- how much modi resembled trump except he was worse. and so many indians said that to me when i spoke to them. and i said this is what -- we're going through the same thing you did, the differences, your institutions, yours and the united states, the press, the judiciary, the military. you've with stood the assault. our institutions have collapsed and that's what -- i think modi
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has been extremely deft at that. unithey're not shooting people in the streets. you're not going to see a 10man square and even in kashmir they're flying under the radar screen and it's very calculated so far he's been in power and he's been reelerkted in a landslide and it's worked for him. it's worked by taking a segment of the population, muslims and demonizing them he's been able to organize a majority around that. and a majority of people they've been willing to give him really unchecked power, and that's what's so skairy about it because you kind of feel that here a little bit. >> and to me the lesson here for everyone in many countries where something like this is just the importance of civil society in the face of this -- >> civil society has actually been reacting. and india's federal structure might actually save the country
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in the long run. 12 prime ministers, 12 chief ministers at last reckoning have said they will not support this national registry of citizens. so then it is a lot residents and i really have hope in the india in the long run because democracy has been around for a long time in the country. >> thank you both so much for joining me tonight. that is all for this evening. ale velshi in for rachel. thank you to you at home for joining us this hour. hope you're having a good holiday week. it's a weird week, isn't it? having a big holiday right smack in the middle of the week? if you are someone who has to work through the holidays or maybe you worked a day or two and had a day off and you're back and your office is weirdly empty, it's odd. take a look at this. this was the united states senate today. a handful of staffers and one single solitary senator

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