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tv   The Week With Joshua Johnson  MSNBC  November 14, 2020 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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maria teresa kumar, who is in for joshua johnson tonight on "the week." maria, hello. sxl gre >> great to see you. this is a first. nice to see you, alicia. >> so good to see you in that chair, maria. >> thank you, alicia. have a good one. good evening. great to be with you tonight from nbc news world headquarters in new york city. we have breaking news tonight. a federal judge rules the acting head of homeland security was unlawfully appointed. i'm maria teresa kumar, in for joshua johnson. welcome to "the week." it's been exactly one week since nbc news projected joe biden as the president-elect. but donald trump has yet to concede. today several thousand demonstrators gathered in washington, d.c. to protest the election results. the president drove down pennsylvania avenue, waving to his supporters, but only a
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handful were seen wearing masks despite the city's mandate. meanwhile, the coronavirus surges nationwide. the u.s. is now averaging more than 100,000 new cases a day, totaling nearly 1 million new cases in just the last seven days. across the country we see full hospitals, exhausted health care workers and new state restrictions. coming up, we'll take you to el paso, a city that has more people hospitalized from covid-19 than most states. but first a look back at the stories that made up the week. >> refusing to concede. that's how president trump is heading to this first week after the election. >> it's an embarrassments, quite frankly. i think it will not help the president's legacy. >> president trump tweeted that he has fired defense secretary mark esper. >> joe biden and kamala harris sitting down to meet virtually with public health experts and scientists about the
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coronavirus. >> joe biden has had more conversations with world leaders than he has had with senate republicans to this point. >> how do you expect to work with republicans if they won't even acknowledge you as president-elect? >> they will. they will. >> the president-elect has named ron klain, who was the ebola czar under president obama, as his chief of staff. >> the nation's top election security agency says the 12020 election was the most secure in american history. >> the drugmaker pfizer announcing that new results from its covid-19 vaccine trial suggests the vaccine is highly effective. >> covid cases surging across the country. >> several states with new restrictions. >> the united states recorded another record high for daily coronavirus cases. it marked the sixth day. >> a seventh straight day. >> the eighth consecutive day. >> this is the ninth day in a row that we have seen numbers above 100,000. look at how they are multiplying. this needs to change. we begin tonight with breaking news.
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a federal judge in new york city ruled that chad wolf was unlawfully appointed the acting chief of homeland security. that means his act to suspend daca is now invalid. this news comes as the white house seems to be undergoing a post-election purge. the "washington post" is reporting that 30-year-old john mcentee, the director of the personnel office-s firing lifelong civil servants perceived as disloyal to the president. joining me now with more on this breaking news is john hudson, a national security reporter at the "washington post." john, thank you so much for joining me. what can we make of this new order from the federal judge regarding chad wolf's appointment as unlawful? >> i mean, this goes back to what we have seen time and i'm again. the president has been only relying on the closest allies and not necessarily people who have the qualifications for jobs. so chad wolf, another person who is in an acting position, a key acting position in this
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government, he -- the judge is looking at this and saying this is inappropriate, this isn't how it's supposed to work. the president is supposed to get his top people confirmed by the senate so they can instill his policy and implement it. so that's what happens when you put in only the most trusted loyalists through back door means, through acting positions. you know, our government was set up for advise and consent by the senate. when you try to bypass the senate, it can prevent the president from doing the things that he wants to do. we all know daca, immigration, he's an immigration hard-liner. but when you only rely on their most loyal people who don't get senate confirmed, it really prevents you from implementing -- >> so john, are there any consequences for acting as head of homeland security and implementing many policies that
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impact millions of families? you mentioned daca. there's also a lot about family separation in there that disproportionately impacts these most marginalized communities. are there any consequences as a result of his unlawful appointment and the policies that he actually enacted? >> yeah. i mean, if judges rule that these policies are inadequate, then it really ties up your moves in the courts and it prevents you from having a long-time impact on our nation's policies. obviously, president-elect biden is going to come in and start to overturn tons of policies across the vast array of the federal government. and so it's to be seen, you know, how much impact these moves can have between now and january 20th. >> so talk to me a little bit about who john mcentee is. he is the person that seems to be leading the purge. we also know that about two weeks ago there was a lot of talk on how they've identified roughly 4,000 civil servant
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positions they're going to try to create as political appointees. talk a little about that process and why that should be a red flag to so many americans who have elected joe biden. >> so johnny mcentee is head of personnel for the trump administration. it's an extremely powerful position that allows to be the architect of a lot of these purges that are happening across the federal government. he worked for president trump at the trump organization. he was sort of his body man for a while. we're talking about a very young former athlete who doesn't have a lot of executive government branch experience prior to the trump administration, zero in fact. and so he -- but what he does have is he has the president's trust. sew has been behind, as we reported, along with my colleagues this week, some of the dramatic moves that are happening across the government. the ouster of the pentagon secretary. loyalty purges happening at the department of homeland security.
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the installation of climate skeptics in our environmental policy apparatus. there's huge amounts of changes going on even today because of this most trusted adviser to the president. >> so i want to talk -- i want to quote john kelly. he basically criticizes trump over the delay of the biden transition. and quote, "the president with all due respect does not have to concede. but it's about the nation. it hurts our national security because the people who should be getting up to speed, it's not a process where you go from zero to 1,000 miles per hour." so to your point, in this purge there's also a lot of individuals that have not filled into the gap of national security. john kelly's concern is the president-elect is not receiving the intelligence briefings that we need. does that expose the country to national security concerns? >> potentially. there's a huge amount of concern about the fact that mcentee is telling and trying to enforce
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across the federal government do not cooperate with the incoming biden administration, if you do your job is at risk. and so there are a vast array of things that in a normal transition would be going on right now. intelligence briefings related to the coronavirus. intelligence briefings related to the situation in afghanistan, where we're trying to end america's longest war. there are so many different things. vaccine production. u.s. aid efforts across the world that are going on that aren't having the full cooperation between the existing government right now and the incoming biden administration. >> john hudson, thank you so much for your reporting and thank you for your time tonight. >> great to be with you. last night president trump broke his ten-day silence on the coronavirus. his first public remarks since losing the election. president-elect biden called the administration's response to the surge in cases "woefully lacking." he began this week by naming his
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13 members of the coronavirus advisory board and is expected to name other key members of his administration in the coming weeks. nbc news political reporter ali vitali is standing by in wilmington, delaware. ali, thank you so much for joining me. so one of the things we are hearing -- >> reporter: absolutely. >> one of the things we are hearing is very much who is on his coronavirus task force. we're also talking about -- coming in and talking about national security. are those the two issues that are top of mind for the president-elect right now? the coronavirus and how to safeguard our country from foreign adversaries. >> reporter: certainly. and frankly, the coronavirus is a national security issue and they're treating it as such. so when you saw on the first official day of this transition that they were naming that coronavirus task force it really put all of the focus on this issue, which makes sense if you followed any part of the general election campaign because this was the only issue that joe
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biden and kamala harris both were laser focused on in their campaign for the white house. so now making good on that promise and showing that at least in terms of policy and personnel being policy they are taking it seriously and trying to get as soon as they possibly can a process under way for them to hit the ground running once they actually get in place on january 20th when he's sworn in. i would also say, though, when you talk about rumored positions we know that the cabinet positions are probably likely to come a little bit later. the thing that they are focusing on is potentially senior staffing in the west wing and what that could look like. we're expecting that to come maybe in the next few weeks, and then we'll start seeing cabinet members announced potentially after thanksgiving. but just consider one of the other rumors, and then we'll read some tea leaves as to where this puts their mindset. one of the other rumors is that michelle fluoro, a former top pentagon official-s one of the people in the running, one of the high people in the running, to potentially be head of the d.o.d., and if you put her in charge of the defense department she'd be the first woman in that
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role but it would also be notable because it would be biden making good on his promise to have a cabinet that looks like the american people. the other thing that it shows you is that he's thinking about these key position that's could have a role in disseminating a potential coronavirus vaccine or just broadly being involved in the processes of tackling this pandemic. look who he put as white house chief of staff. it makes sense. ron klain is a veteran in biden's orbit but at the same time he's also someone that has pretty niche experience dealing in real time with public health crises. he was president obama's ebola czar. so he has that experience. obviously, white house chief of staff intimately involved at the helm of these processes. but when you start looking at the positions he's looking to fill, it's clear that coronavirus is in mind with all of them. >> nbc's ali vitali, thank you so much for your reporting. this week the department of homeland security released a statement calling the 2020 election "the most secure in
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american history." yet president trump still refuses to concede and the administrator of the general services administration, a trump appointee, continues to withhold crucial funding and access for the presidential transition team. what comes next? joining me now are two members of the national election crisis task force, norman orenstein, resident scholar of the american enterprise institute and joshua gautsler, executive director for georgetown law's -- he's also the former senior director for the counterterrorism at the national security council. gentlemen, thank you so much for joining me. full disclosure, i've also been part of that task force. which is why every time we have this conversation you two come to mind. norm, i want to start with you. we are right now it seems that the president has tried to create every single lever to create doubt and sow doubt in the election system and try to call it fraudulent. but he seems to have been stumped by all legal angles. what do you make of this?
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what other avenues may he have? >> you know, he's now 1 for 20 or 1 for 21 on legal challenges. which really tells you something. and he's been forced to make rudy giuliani the voice of his administration and the legal process, which shows a sense of desperation right there. the thing about all of this that's heartened me a little bit, maria teresa, is that all the election officials, democrats and republicans, secretaries of state on down, made this a remarkably safe and secure election and they're all standing behind a reality that this was not a corrupted election and contradicting what the president is saying and doing. what i'm worried about now is not so much that we're going to have a coup attempt or a real catastrophe in terms of the electoral votes. i'm worried about all of the things that were just discussed at the top of the show, the ways in which the president and his
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cronies can take the transition and try to create a scorched earth landscape for joe biden when he takes over and make our national security more imperiled. those are more of concern to me at the moment than screwing up the election process and as we move forward to december 8th when the states have to certify the electors, december 14th when the electors meet in their respective states, and january 6th when congress ratifies it. those aren't the big concerns right now. it's what trump will do in his petulance and as he sulks more about understanding that he's lost. >> so joshua, your expertise is cybersecurity. how concerned should we be given the signals we're getting from the white house that actually -- what are your concerns possibly from foreign adversaries using this as an opportunity to create more shenanigans and mayhem? >> well, it's just an appalling
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dereliction of duty on the president's part, both in the remaining time to remove key officials at senior posts who are responsible for leading the parts of our government that keep all of us secure, and essentially to do their best to blind to serious threats an incoming team that wants to governor, that wants to utilize the instruments of national power, even if president trump relentlessly refused to govern and to utilize those as fully as he should have. now, i do take comfort in knowing that our members of our arms services, our law enforcement, all sorts of civil servants, public service, foreign service officers, they are i am sure continuing to work day in and day out at the ground level, so to speak, to keep us all safe and do what they can. so i take reassurance in that. but it also shouldn't excuse an outgoing administration from throwing up its hands, leaving us more vulnerable than we need to be, and we're still
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increasing that vulnerability into the next administration. >> so norm orenstein, one of the things that you mentioned was your concern with the purges right now in the different cabinet positions. one of our concerns obviously is that oftentimes you lose a lot of the civil service's institutional knowledge in those types of purges. what flags do you have for the biden campaign and how can we close those gaps when they take office? >> one of the things that concerns me is the president promulgated an executive order which i believe is flatly illegal but it may not matter in the short run that removes protections from career civil service people like anthony fauci and presumably can put them into a new schedule f, fire them summarily with no appeals. now, they can be reinstated in a new obama -- biden administration, excuse me. but it will take a while. and in the 2 1/2 months, especially if he does this throughout the public health sector and in the intelligence
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sector, it's going to create havoc in terms of a transition but also the policies that will take place in the interim. as we're seeing and as you noted at the beginning the coronavirus is getting dramatically worse and will for the next couple of months. now, beyond that, you know, i've called this administration from the beginning, the term that i use is kakistocracy, which is government by the worst and most unscrupulous among us. you see this with this 30-year-old personnel director who has no business being anywhere in governance. but we also know there are hundreds of key position that's have never been filled. others that are filled with incompetence or people filled on a temporary basis who shouldn't be there. and when you do a transition you want to meet with not just the career people but the political appointees who do the policy who can tell you what's been done and what's in the pipeline. and you know, there's going to be nobody there. so even when they begin this
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transition and the fact that they're holding back on making it official is a catastrophe in the making, it's going to be a very difficult one. thank goodness that biden has around him a group of really experienced people who know their agencies and know their governance. gout that it would be much worse. >> i think it's important to note that a lot of these civil servants have been career civil servants and they are oftentimes acting in non-partisan manner. the red flag is when you start putting in a whole bunch of political appointees and changing that class as you were talking, norm. one of the questions i have for you, josh, is when you are right now looking at these individuals trying to fill in these national security people what is your concern? what kind of caliber of folks do we need there to help biden usher in this new era of the biden administration? >> well, i think that the first thing, and it won't be hard because people will take their lead from joe biden himself, is a group of folks who value
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exactly what you were just talking about, who value expertise rather than resist it, who value inherited wisdom or even inherited learning from things that have not gone well. and i was there for the last transition. i was a civil servant at the white house and stayed about a month and a half into the trump administration to see through some issues i cared about. there was at least from many a distinct reluctance, resistance even, to learning from those who had worked issues before the transition, who wanted to pass along that learning. so first and foremost i think is a group that will want to learn from the civil servants. >> norm orenstein and joshua geitzler, thank you so much for joining me tonight. still to culminate, a devastating sight in el paso. the rise of mobile morgues as the county struggles to contain the coronavirus. we'll have a live report there this hour. plus the democrats won the white house but may have fallen short on the senate.
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so what's on the agenda for congressional dchemocrats? congressman roh khanna joins me next. next get fifty dollars toward your home deductible. it's a policy perk for being a farmers customer. (customer) do i have to do anything? (burke) nothing. (customer) nothing? (burke) nothing. (customer) nothing? (burke) nothing. (customer) hmm, that is really something. (burke) you get a whole lot of something with farmers policy perks. see ya. (kid) may i have a balloon, too? (burke) sure. your parents have maintained a farmers home policy for twelve consecutive months, right? ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ (burke) start with a quote at 1-800-farmers. proof i can fight moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. proof i can fight psoriatic arthritis...
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while the congressional results were disappointing for democrats, joe biden's victory was made possible at least in large part by infusion of young voters ages 18 to 29 who showed up in record numbers and backed biden by a whopping 25 points. those young skroerts are now pushing for bold progressive action but how far will the biden administration go to accommodate them? i'm joined by democratic congressman ro khanna who represents are california's 17th congressional district, which includes silicon valley. so congressman, thank you for joining me tonight and happy diwali to you. >> happy diwali. >> i want to start with you asking what is the mandate that you're getting from young voters? we are hearing a lot of a push and pull right now within the
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democratic caucus of whether to go moderate or to go audacious. what is your take? >> the voters i talk to don't care about labels. they care about us actually doing things that are going to improve their lives. they want to go forgiveness on student loans. they're there with $20,000, $30,000 of student loans. what are we going to be able to do to forgive that? they want to make sure they can go college or get vocational training for free. they want bold action on climate change, not just talk but actual investments in clean technology and renewable energy. and they want health care for everyone. they're looking to see what are we going to deliver in actually helping improve their lives. >> so is the division that we're hearing, is it more of a media narrative or is it something you're actually witnessing in congress right now? >> i think there are genuine differences about approach. some people say let's just be incremental, let's fix the problems that trump has given
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us. and others are saying that's fine but we need more, people are hurting, there is a whole new generation of folks who don't have access to the american dream and if we don't have bold policies to provide health care, education and jobs then we're going to leave a lot of people frustrated that the system isn't working. so i definitely think there's a difference in terms of those who are saying let's go bold and those who are being more incrementalist. >> so prior to the election you were one of the individuals that believed that they should have taken the $1.3 trillion deal that was being negotiated with donald trump. what should we expect right now from a stimulus package? is it going to be larger? is it going to be about the same? what do you expect? >> i expect we should make a deal around the 1.8 trillion, $2 trillion number. i'm hopeful we can still make a ze deal. it would be a travesty to go home for the holidays with businesses closing down, with people having unemployment expire by the end of the year, with people not being able to
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get enough food assistance, and facing evictions and not do anything. so i am still of the view we have to make a deal. it's going on tougher, obviously, with trump being a lame duck. >> so do you see the chances -- what's the timeline that you see on this? >> i think if we're going to do something it's got to be by the first week of december. congress convenes as you know this coming week. it should be our top priority. and we have to be willing to get something done because people are hurting. i mean, literally businesses are going under every day. and people are facing eviction almost every day. >> so one of your big concerns of waiting after the election was that so many businesses might go under in the interim. is that still a concern of yours? is it too late for the recovery? >> it's not too late. i mean, obviously certain businesses have gone under. and as we're approaching the winter months it's very hard for restaurants. you're no longer going to be
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able to have outdoor dining. you have a situation where you have 150,000, 180,000 cases a day where you're going to possibly have 2,000 deaths a day. we're headed toward an extraordinary disaster when we look at covid and the economy. so to not do anything economically would be malpractice. i mean, paul krugman has been screaming that we need a few hundred billion every month. jerome powell at the fed has been saying that. anyone who looks at the economics knows that we have a responsibility to act. >> so congressman, the way we started the conversation you were encouraging congress to be bold, to really meet the moment. what opportunity do you see, though, if the senate stays republican? are you concerned joe biden will be more middle of the road, to do incremental policy versus the big audacious that you're proposing? >> i don't think that's how he will governor should govern. i think what he will do is look
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at how he ran. he ran on a $15 minimum wage. he ran on expanding medicare to 60. i believe further but he ran on 60. he ran on investment in clean technology. he ran on making sure we would forgive student loans. he ran on having childcare and also family paid leave. we should pass each and every one of those policies out of the house in the first 100 days. everything he ran on. and we should force those votes in the senate. and let the american people clearly know we're either going to get this done or mitch mcconnell is going to stand in the way. what we shouldn't do is dpromz with ourselves and fail to pass the agenda or stand up for the agenda. >> zmt congressman roh ch khann thank you so much for joining me. >> thank you. appreciate it. attorney general bill barr changed long-standing doj policy to enable investigations of voter fraud while votes were still being counted. but how are the doj rank and file responding? that's up next. that's up next
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attorney general bill barr authorized federal prosecutors this week to investigate allegations of voter fraud before the presidential race results are certified. "the new york times" writes, "barr's memo ignored the justice department's long-standing policies intended to keep law enforcement from affecting the outcome of an election." as a result of the director of the election crimes branch of the doj stepped down in protest. and just yesterday 16 assistant u.s. attorneys who monitor the election urged barr to rescind the memo noting they saw no evidence of "substantial irregularities." joining me now is former federal prosecutors paul butler. he's currently a professor at georgetown's school of law. and he's a legal analyst for msnbc. paul, thank you so much pofor joining me. i want to start with we keep saying how unprecedented this thing trump seems to do across all agencies. but i feel like we've almost
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gotten used to how unprecedented it is. so can you break it down on how really unprecedented it is and why we should be concerned with what he's doing right now at the department of justice? >> morale at the department of justice is at an all-time low. people are just hanging on until january 20th when president-elect biden takes over. it's not a democrat or a republican thing. it's about good government and the integrity of the department of justice. over the last year federal prosecutors in the roger stone and michael flynn quit their cases after barr intervened. after the election we had federal prosecutors in seattle, boston, san diego express public concerns about bill barr. and then just yesterday, maria, as you said, 16 federal prosecutors assigned to monitor elections said there's no evidence of fraud and they asked barr to rescind that memo. this is unprecedented. >> so one of the things i want
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to share with you is you have known richard pilger, who just stepped down from his position. speak to how you knew him and if you were surprised by his stepping down. >> i met richard pilger when we were both baby prosecutors in the public integrity section of the department of justice almost 25 years ago. he's stayed there. i don't know whether he's a democrat or republican. i do know he's dedicated his entire career to fighting public corruption and won top awards with the department of justice. i also know, maria, that he's not a person who likes to rock the boat. for him to quit a job he loves is a signal that the attorney general is up to no good, he once again is representing the interests of president trump more than the interest of the united states. >> so paul, i want to dig into that because right after nixon left office congress created new safeguards.
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what we're seeing right now is the president use the department of justice for his own bidding. what recommendations do you have to the biden campaign and perhaps also to congress to better safeguard this from happening again? >> you know, the good news is that what trump and his administration and especially what barr has done is an aberration. and so all they have to do is get back to what they were doing before trump came in and disrupted norms. there was a sign from the beginning when bill barr auditioned for the job by saying to president trump that he didn't deserve to be investigated. and so we have a situation in which the president's attorney general is really his lawyer and his fixer. and so really this is more about norms than law. it's the senate that has to confirm the attorney general. at the time barr seemed qualified because he'd been the attorney general before and there hadn't been this level of
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concern. so really we just have to get back to -- there was a lot of stuff that's broken with the federal government. the department of justice wasn't one of them. it was above politics until donald trump, bill barr came along. >> so one of the things that i think really stuck out for so many americans this summer was when the president deployed federal agents to clamp down on peaceful protests. speak to how -- first of all, that was unprecedented. and again, what can we do to safeguard from that happening again? >> so again, these were not people who were trained to deal with protesters. the metropolitan police department in the district of columbia has that expertise. they were not involved, especially in what happened in lafayette square, where you literally had the president and his men deputizing prison guards, people from the drug enforcement agency, to do crowd control. and that's where they did illegal unconstitutional things
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like gassing and firing rubber bullets at those legal protesters in lafayette square. maria, one of my students had asked me before should she attend that protest. and i said as long as you follow the law and don't stay out after the curfew you'll be fine. how wrong i was. she was one of those victims of those rubber bullets and that gassing. >> and what was really striking was that so many people were willing to go and leave after curfew but they started that assault before the curfew started. and so one last question for you because i think that it's very important. the op-ed you just published in the "washington post" talks about biden and his problem that he's going to have with trumpism. you elevate the reality that the majority of people who voted for biden were people of color versus the folks that voted for trump were whites. speak to that potential of tamping down that trumpism that we're seeing escalating in our country in a country that is
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disproportionately becoming more diverse. we are 135 million of us identify as people of color. that's 45% of the population. what fault lines do you have that you see and how do we address this issue now? >> you know, maria, when i looked at the exit polls, i saw that the vast majority of white folks voted for trump. somewhere around 67%. every age group, men and women, every group from college educated where trump had about 50% of the vote, were folks who didn't graduate from college for trump vast majorities. contrast that with people of color. latinx people, majority for biden. african-americans majority for biden. asian americans. native americans. majority for biden. so we have what's not only a dichotomy in terms of partisan politics. it's looking an awful lot like race division as well. and what i ask in the "washington post" piece is when you look at how the president has performed over the last four
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years including presiding over the deaths of more than 230,000 americans, how he didn't respond to the national reckoning on race and his gross corruption, what does it mean that a majority of white people support him? it defies common sense. in this instance it's people of color stepping up to save our democracy. >> paul butler, thank you so much. coming up, we'll go to el paso, where the pandemic has so overwhelmed morgues and funeral homes that the county has brought in mobile morgues. that's next. ght in mobile morgu. that's next. ♪ limu emu & doug you know limu, after all these years it's the ones that got away that haunt me the most. [ squawks ] 'cause you're not like everybody else. that's why liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. what? oh, i said... uh, this is my floor.
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the u.s. is breaking multiple records for daily covid-19 cases. this map from the "new york times" shows just how many communities are seeing a rapid increase. the red and orange areas are seeing the worst of it right now. this week we saw an onslaught of alarming headlines out of the midwest. in north dakota covid-positive health care workers are still showing up to work in covid units because they simply don't have enough staff. and in el paso, texas mobile morgues are on the ground after a soaring number of deaths. that's where we find nbc's valerie castro tonight. she's outside of the university medical center in el paso. valerie, what are you seeing right now on the ground? >> reporter: well, maria teresa, as you mentioned, those mobile morgues have been delivered here to the hospital. we were actually here as they
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were being brought in. the county administrator says he has asked for 12 of those to be in place because he says let's face it, the reality is things are only getting worse here on the ground. today the city reported more than 31,000 active cases here in el paso. that means more than 4 1/2% of the population is now infected with covid-19 here in the city. now, as resources become strapped, more personnel is also needed. the same county administrator told me that prison inmates are being brought in to help load bodies into those mobile morgues that were delivered here today. the situation is only growing more and more dire. maria teresa? >> so valerie, you had the opportunity today to talk to a business owner. there's a lot of back and forth whether there should be a shut down in el paso. can you speak a little to that? >> right. so non-essential businesses actually just endured a two-week shutdown, and that order was set to expire this past week until the county administrator announced he was extending it until december 1st.
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he thought it wasn't safe to open businesses back up just yet. however, an appeals court rejected that order and now businesses can reopen. one of those businesses is a woman that owns a local hair salon. and she's been caught up in the middle of this. at this point she says she obeyed that two-week order but she's not sure if she should reopen, allow her customers to come back and help save her business, or if she should remain closed and keep her customers safe. here's what she had to say. >> i've been frustrated, to tell you the truth. it's been a roller coaster of emotions. the judge ordered us to shut down, had to cancel all my appointments, and i've been trying to scramble for grants and just trying to get help. and yesterday we received word that we could open again. so i'm still uneasy on reopening only because i don't know if they're going ochai it again and
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i hate having to contact all of my clients and say guess what, just kidding, we can open again. >> and ruth salazar says she's losing sleep over this, she's really not sure how she should proceed, she wants to be able to support her family and keep her business going. she only opened this business one year ago in november. of course this has been a very tough year for her. and she has lost friends to covid-19. she says she has a friend who passed away earlier this year. the death toll here in el paso now stands at more than 750 people. >> nbc's valerie castro in el paso, thank you for joining me. i have family in el paso. thank you for your reporting. stay safe. and tomorrow don't miss "on assignment with richard engel: race for the vaccine." nbc's chief foreign correspondent talked to a group of experts from around the world to talk about the rollout of the vaccine, how it could save millions of lives. that's tomorrow night at 10:00
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p.m. eastern here on msnbc. with the holidays coming up, covid fatigue is setting in across the country. but a doctor in utah says now is not the time to let your guard down.
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medical experts are concerned with the coming holidays. covid fatigue is setting in. but a doctor in utah says he is expecting to see more covid patients if we don't limit gatherings now. >> this is, i would say, the worst possible time we could be dealing with surgery right now. i mean, it snowed yesterday. people are moving indoors. we have two, big holidays that are meant for family gatherings. they're meant for thanksgiving. and here we are, in the middle of a surge and a crisis in our hospitals. and we're telling people, you can't socialize. you can't get together. that's going to be a hard sell. i worry that we're not going to meet the mark on it and we're
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going to continue to see increased cases. we're 94% capacity in the icu. we're opening up new beds and new teams. it's really uncomfortable. we're a large system. we can move patients around. we can find beds. our care givers are strong and incredible people but they are tired. they are frustrated and angry when they see people not heeding the advice of public health experts because we know that's going to lead to transmission. that's going to lead to more patients in the hospital. and more unnecessary deaths. i don't think it's necessarily unique to utah. there is a fatigue that comes along with this pandemic. we can't ignore the implications from a social standpoint and how it affects people's mental health. and that, i think, is driving a lot of actions. we understand that. most people haven't been affected by it.
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they see this, this happens to somebody else. as cases go up, i think that's going to change. >> you're hopeful, you think this will turn around? >> we have to be hopeful. we have to be optimistic. this will turn around eventually. it's a matter of how many people are going to die until that happens. kamla harris set to become the first female black, and indian-american vice president. that has people celebrating around the world today. a look at the festival of lights after this.
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wali is being celebrated across the globe. observed by hindus, sikhs, buddhists. it's usually filled with feasts and is known as the festival of lights, light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. therefore, it seems fitting here in the united states, da waiwal takes on a special meaning as kamla harris is the first vice president of indian descend. 5 million americans and their families will celebrate in a
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modest passion because of the pandemic. last night in new york city, the empire state building showed bright orange, and a variety of online events are taking place, including a lamp-lighting ceremony. and my family will be lighting candles with sweets for the kids. here's to celebrating knowledge over ignorance. it's the top of the hour. nbc headquarters in new york, and this is "the week." ♪ plenty to cover this hour, including breaking news. a federal judge rules the acting head of homeland security unlawfully appointed. and that the trump administration is putting national security at risk just to settle old scores. the president hasir

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