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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  October 24, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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chris, i'm going to head over to the white house and i'll see you from there later this afternoon. >> thanks so much. i'm chris jansing in for craig melvin at msnbc headquarters in new york. we begin with what you're seeing, a farewell to an icon. the casket of elijah cummings about to international statuary hall. he'll be the first african-american congressman to lie in state, bestowed on just a few dozen statesmen, military leaders and presidents throughout our country's history. a son of share croppers, a son of baltimore. cummings is being remembered for his decades of service. there we see the military honor guard. his casket will sit just 75 feet away from the statue of another civil rights icon, rosa parks, also mere steps away from the statue of former confederate president jefferson davis. that would stand as a stark reminder of our country's past and of congressman cummings'
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work pushing americans forward toward a better future. as we watch his casket solemnly being carried up the steps of the capitol, i want to bring in geoff bennett, jake sherman, both of them on capitol hill. geoff, obviously this is one of those rare instances where we see both sides coming together. we're going to hear from people, leadership on both sides of the aisle. tell us a little bit about the honors that will be bestowed on elijah cummings over the next 48 hours. >> reporter: chris, today and tomorrow we are going to see a public celebration for a man revered for the deep and abiding passion he brought to public service, a man widely regarded for being a strong, moral force here on capitol hill. house speaker nancy pelosi said el lie j cummings was her north
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star. adam schiff said he was the heart and soul of the democratic caucus. republican mark meadows said there was never a better advocate and never a better friend. so elijah cummings was one of the last remaining giants on capitol hill. that is why he's being so honored here today lies in state in the u.s. capitol. let's just reflect on that for a minute. as you mentioned, he was the son of south carolina share croppers. he was born in 1951. both his parents were preachers. they moved north to baltimore to give him and his siblings a better life. that's where he stayed. cummings, i'm told, when he was in school, he was marked as needing special education. there was a teacher who took note of his natural inquisitiveness and put him on a different track. here in congress he ascended the heights of political power, all the while never leaving the baltimore neighborhood where he grew up. people i talked to who he
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represented say he was a good congressman and he was a good man. so just that journey from being born to sharecroppers in south carolina in the 1950s to now lying in state in the u.s. capitol, his story tells the story of this country, the possibilities afforded to him are the possibilities he fought for to give other people, people close to cummings tell me. i suspect that when people euligize him today and tomorrow, former president obama, former secretary of state hillary clinton will speak at his funeral tomorrow, i suspect they'll lift up that element of his legacy, chris. >> his flag-draped coffin being taken inside the capitol. you talk about his passion for civil rights. he was the third child of seven. in spite of the fact they thought he might have had some disabilities, cummings and his friends worked to integrate a swimming pool in south baltimore
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when he was 11 years old so that moral core, that ethical core and that willingness to fight for what was right started at a very early age. jake, when the history books are written about this political moment in our country's history, what will historians say about congressman cummings, do you think? >> reporter: he's a warrior for democrats. the thing that sticks out to me about covering him -- and i've covered him since 2009, one of the first people i ever covered -- he was very fair with both sides of the aisle, a warrior for causes he cared about, was very fare. we would have moments where we would be talking, and i talked to him all the time because he was a chairman of the oversight committee during the obama years, a handpicked person to stick up for president obama. i asked, you've been in congress for a long time. when will you call it quits? he said i often think about that and go home to my constituents. they look me in the eye and tell me about what they're going
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through, my neighbors, and i feel like i can never leave. that's a pretty good encapsulation of elijah cummings who until the last moments of his life was fighting here on capitol hill. you'll see today one of the things that's really remarkable is, one of the people speaking today, mark meadows, one of president trump's staunchest and firm allies, he was a very close friend of cummings, somebody he got to know on the house oversight committee and somebody that they shared a bond and a bond that many people would not expect, especially because president donald trump launched a you sade against elijah cummings earlier this year, a very, very nasty crusade, heated crusade between the two. mark meadows did stick in his corner through a lot of that and a lot of the animosity before. this is somebody who had the ear of his colleagues, the ear of his leadership and the ear of
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his neighbors, frankly. i don't say that lightly. he was someone who went home all the time and still lived in the neighborhood he represented in inner city baltimore. >> i think one of the remarkable things about him is even though he was marked for leadership early, his class president at howard university, graduated phi beta kappa. he has 12 on rare doctoral degrees. jake, you can't overstate his devotion to balt more and baltimore's devotion to him. as you said, when he would go home and speak to his constituents, it was the driving force of what he did there on capitol hill. >> reporter: it was. remember this is somebody who could have had -- was close to barack obama, close to many leading political figures since he was elected to congress 20-something years ago, could have had other opportunities. by the way, was always mentioned as a candidate for statewide
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office, governor, senator most notably, someone who would have really given a challenge for a senate seat when it opened up. in his mind, in his telling throughout the year when i spoke with him, had this laser focus on his community in baltimore and also an unfailingly nice guy. a lot of people on capitol hill, who aren't reporters on capitol hill don't realize this, but as reporters we get to know members of congress quite well, and get to know them and what they care about. elijah cummings would comment on my tv appearances as an avid consumer of political news. sometimes it was nice, sometimes it was not so nice, but really somebody who showed respect to everybody around him and would also gaggle with reporters. he was a special guy, not from a partisan point of view. we as reporters tend to treat people on capitol hill as to whether they treat us with respect and treat us kindly. there are a lot of republicans who do and a lot of democrats who do. i would put in the decade i've
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covered congress elijah cummings as the top 1% of people who gave us his time, energy and attention as a member of congress to the press corps. >> i spent far less time on capitol hill than you have, but i would agree with that assessment. i would say when you were having a conversation with him, he was totally focused on you. i've called him for many years a consummate gentleman. he was. he showed so much respect to members of the press as professionals. whether, as you say, he agreed with how you were reporting things or not. and obviously, jeff, to pick up on what jake just said, his loss is being felt on both sides of the aisle by both democrats and republicans and both parties will memorialize him. i don't think that you can overstate the kinds of relationships that he has, the importance of them with people on the republican side, especially now. it's always been true of him, and he always drew the respect
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of people who disagreed with him politically. but in this atmosphere, this was somebody who it's very difficult for anyone to not look at and say that they held him in high esteem. >> you're right about that, chris. as the camera pans around the room, we caught mark meadows, one chairman of the freedom caucus, and there was that hearing months ago where elijah cummings said publicly, many people won't believe this, you're one of my best friends here on capitol hill. as jake mentioned, a kindness that always came through, a conviction that always came through. on that point, i think that will be one of the biggest voids left in the absence of congressman cummings. there were so few people who could sermonize for people and still make it plain for folks. you see emanuel cleaver right there, an ordained minister. he said he would refer to elijah
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cummings as a bootleg pastor. he didn't go to seminary, didn't have a church, yet to listen to him preside in a congressional hearing, it was almost as though he was behind a pulpit. that's a skill a lot of people don't have, a talent that's going away. we live in an era where there are so if statesmen and stateswomen doing the people's good work here on capitol hill. this loss i think is being palpably felt. >> including bringing back former speaker of the house. we saw my colleague the reverend al sharpton there, speaking on people who are on different sides of the aisle. we see those conversations going on in that hall as they wait for this to begin. i don't want to talk too much about politics, jake, at a time like this when we really do want to celebrate his life. he was inherently a political
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figure. he loved politics. he believed in politics. he believed in the work that congress could do. and when you look at the void that is left behind, particularly now in the impeachment process, you could put a whole laundry list of things together about why he will be missed, but i do think it's the rips he had, particularly with people across the aisle, the conversations he could have with certain other key members, and just the whom idea that when he talked in a hearing room, when he spoke, he did have that gravitas of a great preacher who believed so passionately in what he was always talking about. >> reporter: refs respected by both sides of the aisle which is something you need right now in these charged times with impeachment, which he had a rouge role in.
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remember, elijah cummings history in this democratic caucus in 2009, he jumped seniority ranks in the oversight committee to be the counterbalance to darrell issa who was the chairman of the committee who had said he was going to hold literally hundreds of hearings into barack obama when republicans took the house in 2010 and when they took control in 2011. he didn't want the job. all of a sudden, one day, all his colleagues started endorsing him for the position and he saw the writing on the wall that it was his time to step up, his time to take control of this committee which he frankly had no interest in doing. we see nancy pelosi right there. a very difficult week for pelosi who lost her brother. pelosi was behind the move to put cummings on top of the oversight committee in 2009 and 2010. so a really tough week for the
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speaker. the black caucus, incredible sway in the house of representatives. elijah cummings was part of the old guard, the leaders of that group, the kind of older more senior members who were the conscience of that group, not that the rest of the group is not the conscience, but they were seen as the emanuel cleaver, elijah cummings, john lewis, the brains, the strategy, the heart behind the congressional black caucus. an especially tough moment for them as well. >> i also want to bring in someone who knew congressman cummings as well as his flag-draped coffin is brought in. michael hig en botham from the university of baltimore law school and knew congressman cummings for more than 30 years. tell us about the man you knew and what you think as you watch this ceremony unfold? >> it's good to join you, but a
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very sad day in our community and our country. we've lost a real hero. congressman cummings -- first, let me extend sincere condolences to the congressman's widow maya. he was my congressman. i lived and worked in the seventh congressional district for over 30 years. congressman cummings, he had the key attributes of leadership. i like to call them the three cs, character, commitment and courage. he had all three of those things and they were on display every day of his service to the public. particularly when we had the freddie gray incident, we had a very divided city. congressman cummings was a uniter. he brought people together and gave people hope, particularly in very difficult times. i might add one other thing about the congressman, he knew from whence he came.
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that helped to guide him, where he wanted to go and where he wanted to take his constituency. >> you mentioned one instance where he was such a significant influence. i think any of us who have covered congress know that folks who have been in congress a long time can sometimes lose track of where they came from, lose track of their constituency. of course, he was elected the first time with over 80% of the vote and then 11 more times z, never dropping below 69%. it's been said before, as people have their hands on their heart as the coffin is rolled to its position of honor, but i think it's worth saying again, and maybe you have other particular examples about the relationship he had from the beginning and never lost with the people of baltimore. >> he was a real man of and for
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the people. he had a particular bond with the community that he represented, but he also could unite and reach across lines. he was really wonderful at doing that. a lot of times people said he could communicate with kings and he could communicate with maintenance workers. he was a man of the people and for the people. there are many stories that i could tell about the things that he's done, but i think someone said earlier that he was their north star. congressman cummings said to me one time, a difficult time i was having when i first started teaching law in '97. i had been very critical of justice clarence thomas, and this was on television. a lot of the conservative media of really brutal on me.
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the congressman reached out to me and said i saw what you said, i really agree with your criticism. but he said stay true to your blins s. if you do it will be your north star and you'll never get lost. i've never forgotten that. i've tried to do that throughout my career. i appreciate the congressman for what he did in terms of his guidance for me. >> if you could stay with us, professor, i would very much appreciate it. geoff bennett, in terms of the coming hour or so, can you give us a sense of what we're expecting to see here. >> reporter: we'll hear some remarks i suspect in the house speaker. we expect a number of leaders in the house will lay a wreath, and then we're going to hear a performance by the morgan state university choir. morgan state located in baltimore, the city that congressman cummings loved. he was on the board of regents for that university for almost two decades.
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and this ceremony will give way to the funeral tomorrow morning, chris. >> some of the close friends of his, michael, that i've talked to over the last several days since his completely untimely passing, have not talked about not just his relationship with the fellow members of congress, with the people of baltimore, but the closeness with his wife maya, with his family, as someone who observed it up close, very personally. talk about the man, the personal man that you saw in elijah cummings. >> the man that i saw was one of the highest principles, the highest integrity. i think that's very important for our public officials, particularly today when sometimes we don't see that. he had the highest values, the highest ethical standards.
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you've heard about his biography, about where he came from and the education that he got over the years. i think that was something that was so important to him, helping others get what he got. he wasn't the kind of person that got somewhere and then pulled up the ladder so that others couldn't climb up. he was a kind of person that looked for other ladders to drop them down so that many more people could get what he got. he had a children's program he created to help children. he had a jobs program that he would go to every year to help people get jobs in the district. and he mentored folks. he mentored me and many other public officials as well as others, other professionals and other people trying to do something with their lives, trying to better themselves. that to me represents his legacy
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more than anything else. all the people that he's helped, all the elected leaders in our city. all the individuals who wouldn't have had an opportunity had it not been for him reaching out with one of his programs. to me that's what makes him so special of a leader. he helped others to achieve their dreams. >> i also want to bring in david jolly, the former congressman from florida who served with elijah cummings. tell us your memories, david. >> a very kind man, is probably the best way to remember elijah cummings. chris, in many ways, i think the nation needs this moment. elijah cummings is giving us a gift right now coming off the last 24 hours -- >> can i interrupt you for a second. we want to listen into this part of the ceremony, david. >> let us pray.
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to the great god almighty who dwells in the shelter of the most high, we approach you as frail and flawed kre tours and request thy enabling grace. our hearts are made heavy by the transition of our colleague, our family member, our loved one, the mahogany marylander, elijah cummings, as he is moved into the realm of the unseen. holy spirit, we are blessed to be in this spectacular and historic place and we gather in m memorium at the gathering of one of your faithful sons whose congressional and earthly assignment has been completed.
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we have now passed an appropriate review of a man who, even as the king of terrors drew ny, he continued his work to preserve our democracy. lord, as the breaches and the ranks of congress appear more often than we care to contemplate, may those of us who remain in your wondrous world recognize your voice summoning us to put on our marching boots and move our nation toward the light of justice, self-awareness, goodness and civility. may our march in the tradition of elijah and the other warriors of justice who now sleep with the elders give us the insatiable desire to think only the best, to see only the best, to say only the best, to do only the best, to legislate only the best and to model our only best.
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we acknowledge that we must do it now, oh lord, while it is day because no member of congress regardless of public adulation, religious affiliation, fund-raising demonstration or public praise over their legislation can work when the night cometh. almighty and everlasting god, as elijah is beginning his hallelujah dance with the angels, may we look at his life and work as dance lessons for our future entry into the silent halls of dead. even now, oh god, i can hear the victorious voice of yours thundering down from the hallowed halls of heaven reminding us through the words of the songwriter, please save the last dance for me, amen..
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ladies and gentlemen t honorable nancy pelosi, speaker of the united states house of representatives. >> please be seated. good morning. elijah cummings, son of shar croppers, master of the house, it is my official and personal and sad honor to welcome chairman elijah cummings and all who loved him to this celebration of his life. thank you, maya, forgiving us this honor to say goodbye to elijah in this statuary hall in the house of representatives. elijah was truly a master of the house. he respected its history and in it, he helped shape america's future. i have called him our north
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star, our guide to a better future for our children. elijah has said that our children are our living messengers to a future we will never see. for the children he wanted a future worthy of their aspirations and true to the values of america. it was in defense of the children at the border that elijah said we can do better. it was he oh oats he was also a mentor of the house. when we were deciding committee assignments, he said give me as many freshmen as you can. i love their potential and i want to help them realize it. as a mentor, he was always generous with credit, giving members the opportunity to take the lead. he was not only -- he knew it was not only important to them, but the fresh eyes, their fresh eyes were important to any decisions we made about america's future. in his chairmanship of the oversight and reform committee, he lived up to the
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responsibility to exercise the congressional power of oversight of congress. thank you, elijah, on behalf of the future of our children, on behalf of the future of america to be true to our beliefs. we say this to you as we are gathered here today in the old house chamber where lincoln served, beneath the same clock lincoln heard ticking under the gaze of employee i don't, the muse of history. employee i don't reminds the men and women of congress in these hallowed halls, that we are part of history, that our words and actions will be recorded and face the judgment of history and we're all part of a long and honorable heritage of our democracy. chairman cummings understood that. god truly blessed america with the life and legacy of elijah cummings. that's why i'm grateful to leader mcconnell, leader schumer, leader mccarthy, for
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agreeing to have elijah lie in repose on the same catapult that abraham lincoln lay in repose at his death. may elijah rest in peace. ladies and gentlemen, the honorable mitch mcconnell, majority leader of the united states senate. >> there are some people who come to washington because they're ambitious to leave their hometowns, and then there are people who want to come to washington precisely because they will never leave their hometowns behind. elijah cummings did not just represent baltimore.
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he embodied it. he celebrated its victories, sought to advocate for its needs and worked to heal its wounds. he knew there was only one reason why a son of sharecroppers, a child who literally had to bear the injuries of bigotry and segregation could graduate from law school and eventually chair a powerful committee in congress. only one reason. because principal leaders fought to give kids like him a chance. chairman cummings made it his life's work to continue that effort. he climbed the ranks here in the capital, not because he outgrew his hometown, but because he was so committed to it. i think all of us remember the time that back in 2015, his city
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roiled by unrest. by day the wong man was here in the capitol working and leading in these hallways of power, but every night he rode the train back home and walked the neighborhoods, bull horn in hand, encouraging unity and peace. here is what he said. let's go home. let's all go home. now our distinguished colleague truly has gone home, home to his father's house. and we pray that our god will now reward the service that elijah cummings gave in this life with the peace of god which surpasses all understanding in the next.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable ben cardin, united states senator from maryland. >> maya asked that i share with you a reading from second tim phony chapter 4 versus 7 and 8. i fought a good fight. i finished my course. i've kept the faith. henceforth there's laid up for me a crown of righteousness which lord, the righteous judge shall give me on that day, and not to me only, but to all them, also, that love his appearing. >> ladies and gentlemen, the
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honorable charles e. schumer, democratic leader of the united states senate. >> in his first speech in congress, elijah famously quoted maryland congressman mitchell, extolling the virtues and deficiencies of the one-minute, the 60-second limit of speaking on the house floor. this morning i feel the deficiencies of having only one minute to honor our friend, l , elijah cummings. he was strong, very strong when necessary, but also kind and caring and honorable. universally respected and admired in a divided time. his voice could shake mountains, stir the most cynical hearts, inspiring us all to be better.
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his authority came not from the office he held, nor from the timber of his voice, nor its sometimes thundering boom. it came from the moral force of his life. a sharecroppers son born and raised in baltimore, elijah cummings never forgot where he came from and never lost sight of where he wanted his country to go. that's why, no matter your politics, if you knew elijah, you went to him for guidance. i often did. i will miss those conversations dearly. i pray for his family, for the city of baltimore, and i pray for our nation, when people like elijah cummings are no longer with us. those gathered here today have lost a dear friend and our country has lost a giant.
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i want to talk with some of the people we have gathered here who knew, who worked with elijah cummings. we still have geoff bennett on capitol hill and michael higginbotham who knew the congressman for more than 30 years. former congressman david jolly who served with him. and joined by christopher davis who worked on elijah cummings' staff. beautiful reminisces, david jolly, several instances of how kind he was, also honorable. i take note of what -- one of the things that nancy pelosi said, our words and actions will be recorded and face the judgment of history. is there any doubt in your mind, as someone who worked on the other side of the aisle how
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history will remember lngs. elijah cummings? >> no. history will remember him as a very kind man, also a political warrior who fought hard for the causes he believed in and the community he represented. chris, what i was saying just before the ceremony started is elijah cummings is giving the nation one last gift today, to reflect on the goodness in politics and the contrast to what we're seeing right now, the stunts of yesterday when a class of politicians can peddle in division and hate almost. then there's elijah cummings who reminds us of the goodness of politics. i want to lean in on something that viewers may not comprehend. el lie j cummings is not laying in state in the rotunda where you often think of presidents. he's lying in repose in what was the original house chamber. the room looks smaller because the nation was smaller.
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as we know, elijah cummings was the son of sharecroppers. he tells the story of an african-american that rose to become a member of the house that used to use the term slavery and vote on matters of slavery. elijah cummings today is mere feet from the place where abraham lincoln's desk was in 1847 when lincoln sat in that house chamber and became later the president who fought to free the black man. there is a moment right now as elijah cummings is the first african-american lawmaker to lie in repose in the united states capitol that as a nation in 2019 we should pause and say thank you to elijah cummings for the gift he's given this nation. >> given the due respect of being in national statuary hall, given the respect of being on abraham lincoln's catapult, chris davis, a former staffer for elijah cummings, your
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memories on this day. >> chris, happy to be with you today, the occasion not so great. my memories of him are always of excellence as i'm hearing the words that people have to say and over the last few days i've heard from other staffers and folks from baltimore, people in washington, d.c. everyo everyone, everyone should know he wanted the purpose of his life to be excellence. he required of us, out of everyone around him, expected it to be provided to his community. today that service is in honor of that excellence. >> we're about to hear from the morgan state gospel choir. let's listen briefly.
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♪ if i can share somebody with a word or song ♪ ♪ if i can show somebody he is traveling wrong ♪ ♪ then my living shall not be in vain ♪ ♪ if i can do my duty as a
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christian heart ♪ ♪ if i can bring back beauty to a world ♪ ♪ if i could spread love's message as the master taught ♪ ♪ then my living shall not be in vain ♪ ♪ and my living shall not be in vain ♪
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♪ that my living shall not be in vain ♪ ♪ if i can help somebody as i pass along ♪ ♪ then my living shall not be in vain ♪ ♪ then my living shall not be in vain ♪ ♪ my living shall not be in vain ♪
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♪ if i can help somebody ♪ as i pass along ♪ then my living shall not be in vain ♪
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♪ then my live iing shall not be in vain ♪ >> if i can help somebody, which was famously song by mahalia jackson and by baltimore's own college choir, the morgan state gospel choir. i want to go back if i can, chris, to you, having worked
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with him. the last years of his life, he had health problems. he had aortic valve surgery. then he developed an infection. he had knee surgery. always came back. up until the in the very last end. what was it like to work for a man who was so driven, so committed and so dedicated even in the face of these health challenges? >> it was an amazing challenge, but worthwhile every second. like i said previously, his goal was for us to provide services to folks in his district and other places that were excellent. he believed in it. that was the place where he felt comfortable expressing the way that he wanted people to have the american dream.
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to your previous point about his health, i remember watching a video of biggie smalls who the congressman would laugh out loud if he heard me say that. biggie smalls was talking about the death of tupac. he said the guy always gets shot or something happens to him. he walks out of the hospital. he'll make a record about it and he'll go right back to work. unfortunately so many people like myself, we had become accustomed to the congressman having particular health problems and still calling on the phone, sending emails and wanting to get the work done. when we all woke up this time last week with the realization that he wasn't here anymore, it was unbelievable. i'm sating here small and it's still a bit hard to gather.
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the legacy of his work will live long past his years. as i said, i think days like today and tomorrow when they'll finally lay him to rest, people will honor that great service. >> i want to get one more thought from you michael higginbotham, someone who is a law professor, speaking of someone who knew the law, loved the law, also someone who had that effect that christopher just talked about, i can't tell you the number of people that morning who said they woke up and saw the news that elijah cummings was gone and they could not believe it. what has he left as his impact on the law in this country, on the people who he dealt with and worked with every day?
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we talk about this legacy of the person that he was, but specifically the things that he d did, how would you want people to think of him today? >> well, i would want people to think of him as many of the speakers alluded to. it was such an appropriate remembrance. the speakers alluded to the fact that he was a champion for civil rights. and that's what he was. when you start thinking about legacy, not only his personal story of being able to work hard, values education, but also the laws that he helped to pass, voting rights laws, employment discrimination laws. he helped criminal justice reform. he was a champion of individual rights and equality of opportunity. so when i think -- when you think about the legacy -- the
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morgan state choir's selection was so appropriate, don't live a life in vain. his life was definitely not in vain. when you look at the laws that he helped to pass, he will be remembered for many, many generations because of the laws that will help people to get equal opportunity in this country. >> michael higginbotham, thants, to youment we'll continue to honor the life of elijah cummings over the next couple days. coming up, democrats gearing up to make a big move. what did republicans accomplish when they stormed the impeachment inquiry hearing room. i'll talk to a former presidential candidate, carly fiorina and her party's impeachment strategy next.
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>> the republicans can't to talk about process which i say is like a lawyer who has near the the law nor the facts on their side, they want to pound on the table. that's what they're doing, pounding on the table. that's what yesterday was about, pounding on the table. >> there's about 122 members of the house that have access to that room to participate in the proceedings. the republicans are whining because the president is whining. and frankly, i think they did what they did yesterday because the president was whining that they weren't fighting for him hard enough. >> and "the new york times" editorial board has its own idea about why the republicans stormed the capital yesterday, arguing that they're running out of options. joining me is carly fiorina, republican candidate for president in 2016. good to see you. >> good morning, chris, nice to be with you. >> i want to read you what "the new york times" editorial board wrote and what they're saying
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we're seeing from republicans on capitol hill, accusing democrats of mishandling the process certainly fits with mr. trump's enduring sense of victimhood. the strategy also works to inflame the party's base against the opposing team while allowing republican lawmakers to avoid defending mr. trump's behavior, but mostly it's about all they've got. what do you make of how house republicans acted yesterday and how they're handling impeachment in general? >> well, fixture, i certainly can't speak for the republican party or their strategy. but what i would say is that president trump is so often a showman without a strategy. and i think what we saw yesterday from republicans was a show and not much of a strategy. i do agree that the emphasis on process is about all people can focus on right now, because the picture that has been painted so far, incomplete though it may be, is not a good one, to quote
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john thune. and i think it's just worth pausing for a moment. we just listened to this very uplifting but sad remembrance for elijah cummings, a man who was known for his decency, humility, empathy, character. and i tweeted yesterday that when we are reduced to the president of the united states and the white house attacking a public servant like bill taylor who has served his nation honorably and well, when we have been reduced to attacking that person's character, then we're going off the rails as a nation. i do hope the democrats will quickly wrap this closed-door set of proceedings up and move forward so the american people can see all there is to see here. but yesterday was a show that doesn't change the fact that the
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picture so far doesn't look very good. >> i want to ask you about this whole idea of attack, attack, attack, which you point out very rightly is in such a stark contrast to the mood that we just saw honoring that man of character, elijah cummings. president trump called ambassador taylor a never-trumper diplomat. then the white house press secretary wrote, this is a coordinated smear campaign from far left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats waging war on the constitution. is that what you see going on here, a war against the constitution? >> well, there may be people waging war on the constitution but it's not bill taylor. and it's certainly not the witnesses who have come forward so far. one of the reasons that i called that white house press statement out in a post i made yesterday is because we are so divided and
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the language coming from the white house is so bitter and so cynical and so divisive that sometimes we just have to stop and remember the things we can agree on. and maybe that's a gift that elijah cummings is giving us. what can we agree on? that empathy and character and decency matter. what can we agree on? that bill taylor, who was and is a fine public servant, a veteran, a bronze star awardee, someone who has served presidents of both parties, softwa wherever you are on the political spectrum, wherever you are on impeachment, whatever you think of this president, frankly, it is un-american to attack the character of someone like bill taylor simply because he was doing what he thought was his duty, telling the truth as he knows it and doing what he thinks is right. to quote elijah cummings, we are better than that. >> carly fiorina, it's good to
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see you, i appreciate you taking the time to talk with us and good luck with the book. >> thank you. next, republican congressman peter king of new york will join my colleague kristen welker live. that's coming up in just a bit on "andrea mitchell reports." we'll be right back. k. ok i'll admit. i didn't keep my place as clean as i would like 'cuz i'm way too busy. who's got the time to chase around down dirt, dust and hair? so now, i use heavy duty swiffer sweeper and dusters. for hard-to-reach places, duster makes it easy to clean. it captures dust in one swipe. ha! gotcha! and sweeper heavy duty cloths lock away twice as much dirt and dust. it gets stuff deep in the grooves other tools can miss. y'know what? my place... is a lot cleaner now. stop cleaning. start swiffering. mornings were made for better things than rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis. when considering another treatment, ask about xeljanz xr, a once-daily pill for adults with moderate to severe
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that's going to wrap up this hour of "msnbc live." i'm chris jansing.
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"andrea mitchell reports" starts now with kristen welker. let me publicly congratulate you, you will be one of four women on an all-woman panel who will be moderators of the next debate, my friend, i am so proud of you. >> chris, thanks so much, i am so honored to share the stage with our three other colleagues. great hour, chris jansing, great to see you. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," occuut of options. donald trump's republican allies on capitol hill try to fight the impeachment inquiry by complaining about the process but staying away from the substance. >> they've come up with a process where you do things behind closed doors. you give me 15 pages of testimony that's never been subject to cross-examine and you want me to comment on it? forget that. coming up, new york republican congressman peter king joins us live. and into the breach. as the russian military forces plant their flag in the
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