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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  March 4, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PST

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previous policies and tried to plot out an overhaul. let's dive right in. jacob wraps his exclusive conversation with the new secretary of homeland security. garrett haake is on capitol hill. i want to bring in jim masino. start with the interview. talk to us about what you learned from secretary mayorkas about the work to reunite the families that our government separated at the border. >> reporter: it was a wide range ing interview. what the biden administration intends to do about reuniting the families separated, tortured in the words of physicians for human rights, by the trump administration under the family
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separation program. i specifically asked secretary mayorkas about accountability for members of the trump administration. you remember president biden in the debate with kristin welker called the policy criminal. he promised a thorough investigation. this is the part of the conversation, when i asked him about that exact thing. the attorney general is a member of the task force, or when he is confirmed will be a member of the task force. will his role be to look into potential criminality of members of the trump administration? >> i think we are focused right now, jacob, on reuniting families and restoring them to the best of our abilities. this is an all of government effort. it's not just the department of homeland security and the department of justice. it's also the department of state working with our international partners, the department of health and human services to bring whatever health relief we can to the
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families. and we're going to work, as i mentioned, with international organizations. our international partners and the private sector also. this is all of america effort. >> reporter: how is it possible they can issue a report so it never happens again if there's not a holistic investigation into potential criminality of the trump administration? >> i haven't excluded anything. what i'm focused on right now is reuniting the families. in terms of not happening again, our intention also in the task force, after the reunification of the families, after restoration of the families, to the best of our abilities and as fully as the law permits, is to build institutional safeguards to make sure it does not happen again. >> reporter: that includes financial restitution, mental health services to the families? >> we are looking at all opportunities to restore these
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families, to bring stability and health to them. as i said earlier this week, we are going to look at all the options and lean forward. >> reporter: craig, happens sometimes in a breezy border location. what i think was the most important thing you heard was that secretary of department of homeland security said, i have not excluded anything. i have not excluded anything when it comes to holding the attorney general -- excuse me, holding the trump administration responsible for the potential criminality. it was a wide ranging interview. more in a little bit. that's one of the headlines just for starters. >> wide ranging interview that nearly cost you your life there, it would seem. unflappable, as always, my friend. all of this coming on the heels of your new reporting about that
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growing backlog of unaccompanied migrant children. who are the challenges for the biden administration here, jacob? >> reporter: well, in particular, capacity. the idea that children are being backed up in border patrol stations. over 600 children have been in border patrol stations for over 72 hours. we saw what happened when children were held in the facilities, sleeping on concrete floors. some sleeping outside in areas surrounded by chain-link fencing. i asked the secretary about that. what he said to me is very specifically, we will build capacity as we need or as needed. what that means, to translate for everybody is, there has been some discussion in the public about additional soft sided tent facilities. they call them soft sided springing up here along the border or hhs facilities. the secretary of homeland
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security did not rule out adding additional tent facilities in order to maintain, to process migrants coming to this country, craig. >> stand by if you can. i want to bring in garrett. garrett, in the last hour, you and our team on the hill there reported that the house is apparently not going to be voting on the comprehensive immigration plan. that was proposed by president biden. what more can you tell us? what's the holdup? >> reporter: the bottom line is the comprehensive immigration reform bill isn't quite ready for prime time. there had been hope they could vote on it the second or third week of march. democratic leaders had been whipping the bill. they decided in the judiciary company, that controls immigration issues, that they wanted to take more time to work on the broader bill. what they are going to do is break off some of the component parts they know are more popular and perhaps more likely to get bipartisan support. that's a portion that deals with dreamers, that deals with ago
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-- agricultural pieces while they work on the larger bill. that way they can keep the ball rolling on this issue. in this current configuconfigur with narrow democratic majorities, it continues to do so. >> they will do it piecemeal? >> reporter: for now. the two pieces they will try to break off and then see if he had can do a larger bill with everything else they want to accomplish further down the road. maybe in april. >> let's bring in kelly o'donnell at white house. kelly, first of all, how challenging has it been for the white house to address the previous administration's policies and try to implement its own immigration priorities? >> reporter: one of the big challenges is that there are -- there's a desire from the biden
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administration, to distinguish trump policies from biden policies. there are complicating factors that make this very challenging when it comes to the reality that they have to have facilities to care for children who come here without an adult. if people on the surface view that as somehow similar to the government holding and processing young people in some form of care, that that can look like what was going on during the trump administration even though the backdrop is different in terms of intention and policy. you add to it the issue of being much more mindful of covid precautions and needing more space in order to accomplish that. you see the addition of bed space, housing space for young people who have come to the country without supervision as a problem. what you hear from senior officials is that what they want to be able to do is to have plans in place through
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immigration legislation that garrett touched on, it's going to take a while. they are left with choices that are bad, worse and more worse to choose from. part of the thinking is that they have to put forward some of the things they believe in. the covid protections, protections of the young people and going through the due process. some of that will look like detention that is in the most 30,000 foot level reminiscent of the trump administration, very different when you drill down. it does have real challenges. the unpredictability of certainly having people on the right saying that some of the biden policies and approaches to this might be driving the migration forward and north to increase this problem. that's something the administration disagrees with. that is noise in the conversation about immigration, which has been a long-term problem. it's generational in terms of how dire it has been.
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it is affected by conditionsies under control of the biden administration. it's a big challenge and one that typically gets a lot of attention. with certain political stakeholder groups that have a different relationship with the white house than in the previous administration. craig? >> kelly, thank you. jacob, did you want to chime in here? >> reporter: yeah, i'd love to. listening to garrett and kelly talk about this, i think there's concern amongst advocates and activiss for the conditions they will be held in. while the secretary is not ruling out adding additional temporary facilities to process migrants that are coming to this country -- he did acknowledge that our reporting from peter alexander a couple days ago about 117,000 children potentially coming this year sounded like an accurate number. he did say to me when i asked
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him about the idea of detaining families in family detention centers, he said very specifically to me, jacob, a detention facility is not where a family belongs. if that's the case, if they move forward sort of with that line of thinking and eliminate what the government refers to as family residential centers -- there are three in this country -- that would be a very significant step by the department of homeland security and backing away from not only a policy of the trump administration where they were not releasing families but also the obama administration which set up the facilities. it will be all worked out in the details. i think that's a very significant admission, i guess, from the secretary of homeland security. >> jacob, i also -- to hear the secretary talk about the possibility of compensation for these families who were separated under the previous administration and access to mental health services for folks who have not been following the
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story as closely as you, explain why those two things would be so important. >> reporter: well, the restitution is important because of the trauma these families went through. but also because it was blocked by the trump administration. stephen miller literally -- they blocked an agreement that would have provided millions of dollars in mental health care to families separated by the trump administration in order to help them cope with the trauma they will have for a lifetime. it was only implemented ultimately because a judge ordered that it be implemented in a settlement agreement over the wishes of the white house. now you hear from the white house itself that they are going to be looking at issues of restitution, financial compensation, mental health care for these families, which is a very, very significant step at making amends for what the government did and what the president himself called criminal.
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>> jim, you are acutely aware of the politics surrounding immigration from your time in the white house and on the campaign trail as well. talk to me about the risks here for the biden white house if its immigration reform plans fail. >> yeah, garrett has it right. this is the issue that has bedevilled the last several administrations. it's the most partisan political issue with swing voters. there's not consensus in either party exactly how to go forward. then you just have the operational challenges that jacob was talking about. from an operational standpoint, they're not going to be able to fix what president trump spent four years breaking in just the first six weeks. they have really tough decisions they have to make just operationally which will affect the politics, as kelly points out. when you look at how to move forward here, nancy pelosi is the smartest political operative in town. i think her decision to pull this bill apart and pass pieces
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of it is really smart. it provides some political bipartisanship. you can see real bipartisanship in the ag and tech working side of this, in some of the other pieces of this that we can move forward on while we start to look at some of these things. talking to dhs officials who have been in their only about a month, they are just stunned by how broken all of this is operationally. we haven't even started talking about the politics. what we need to do is find some bipartisanship, find some consensus on some of the easier issues while we figure out a path forward on issues that have stopped several administrations from passing comprehensive immigration reform. >> garrett, beyond immigration, lawmakers on the hill dealing with a threat that has house lawmakers staying away from the capitol entirely today. i know there's work being done on the senate side. what is security like there today? how is it affecting the day?
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>> reporter: it's hard to notice much of a difference. i have seen probably more national guardsmen patrolling than i typically do. remember, since the attack on the capitol in january, we have had the eight-foot high fence. we have had 5,000 national guardsmen and a presence of police. they are visible today. perhaps more noticeable because the house is out. so many staffers told, if you don't have to be here today, go ahead and stay home. >> jacob, thank you for sharing that exclusive conversation with us with the new dhs secretary. kelly o'donnell, thank you. jim, garrett, stick around for me for a few moments. a few moments ago, house speaker nancy pelosi talked about two big votes that the house took on wednesday night. one of them a sweeping voting rights bill that in part will create automatic voter registration across the country. it will also expand early voting access as well. the speaker there just saying a
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few moments ago that it protects the right to vote and it would remove obstacles from participation. the second is a police reform bill named in honor of george floyd. both of those being passed wednesday night. garrett, take us through these two bills and what hurdles they could face in the senate. we will try to get garrett back up. jim, let me come to you for a moment. important to note that neither of these bills got a single republican vote in the house. that would suggest they face quite the uphill battle in the senate. with specific regard to the voting rights bill, jim, if they don't get 60 votes, it doesn't pass. is this the time for democrats to seriously talk about getting rid of the filibuster if they really want to pass sweeping,
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transformative legislation? >> this is the issue that's always been the most likely cause of the filibuster to be take and part here. if you look what happened, we just had the highest voter turnout in 100 years. the response to that from republicans in state capitols across the country has been to pass bills to restrict all the things that just made more people participate. early vote, vote by mail, some of the access issues. look at state legislatures across the country and they are just ripping these things apart. pelosi is doing what she should do, which is say, you want to play this game, we will pass a national bill. democrats are going to be completely united on this. the question is going to be, do you get rid of the filibuster to pass this bill? is this the bill you say to republicans, if you don't move, we are going to do this? i think it's a very tough fight in the senate to remove the
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filibuster. senator manchin has said under no circumstances would he vote for that. he reaffirmed that yesterday. this is going to be a big war inside the democratic party. i have always thought that voting rights is the most likely piece of legislation that will force this discussion and put this right on chuck schumer's lap. >> let's listen to the speaker. she's now talking about the george floyd policing act. >> those whose lives are lost. this is not without respect for those in blue who protect us. but it is that respect should not be a path to apathy in regard to those who are not honoring their profession and who are unduly doing violence to so many of our young people, especially in the black community.
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here we are, the senate has received our rescue package earlier this week, on monday. now they are acting upon it. we're very excited about the prospect at the end of this week or the beginning -- i don't know their schedule. it depends on how many bills and amendments some of the republicans want to be read. i don't know so much about the wisdom of that. however, or the value or the time of some of the people who are proposing that. nonetheless, we will, in a matter of several days, be sending back to the house and then we will send to the president the american rescue plan, the biden american rescue plan which we are very, very proud of, which as we say, puts
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vaccines in the arms of the american people, money in the pockets of the american people, children in schools safely and workers back into their jobs, among other things. we're very proud of the legislation. we wish the senate well in its deliberations. this is congress working its will. we sent our product. they will act upon it. apparently, there will be some changes. it will come back to the house. we will review it and send it to the president. do you have any questions? yes, sir. >> okay. house speaker nancy pelosi with an update on a number of pieces of legislation. garrett, let's start with the covid relief package, the speaker saying the senate is going to take it up today. they will make changes. they will send it back to the house. it sounds like this is on track to become law here in the next
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week or so. >> reporter: yeah, i think democrats have their fingers crossed that there aren't any more surprises in the way. it should continue to work its way through the senate. by the end of the weekend. right now we are waiting on a final report from the congressional budget office which will say two things. number one, the final cost of the senate's changes to the bill. tell us what that top line number is. two, it will tell us if the senate version complies with the reconciliation rules which are the reasons the minimum wage provision got stripped out, a couple of other provisions in the bill had to be removed. we will get that combination of those two things that will allow the process to start on the senate floor. then it's a matter of up to 20 hours debate. this wide open amendment process, another opportunity really for republicans to force democrats to take difficult votes, essentially. it's unlikely the bill will substantially change during that process. that could be kind of a grueling late night affair before the senate as the speaker said hands its product back to the house to
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finish the job sometime early next week. >> let's get our money's worth out of you today. that's the covid relief bill. let's talk about the other two bills here, specifically hr-1 and the george floyd justice in policing act we heard the speaker talk about. give us a bird's eye view of what's in those bills. >> reporter: two major democratic priorities that were both passed last night because of the security threat. house members wanted this passed and not be here today. in hr-1, for the people act, there's a bunch of changes, all designed to reform the voting process, reform democracy. election day a federal holiday. creates voter registration, same-day voter registration for federal elections. allows felons to be registered as soon as their terms are up. lots of changes in that bill. probably the heavier lift in the senate. tough to see that one going far without a change to the filibuster. the other bill, the george floyd
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justice in policing act, has perhaps more legs in the senate. this is a bill that bans chokeholds nationwide, it changes the rules for federal no knock warrants, bans them for drug raids. it changes qualified immunity. overhauls the process by which police officers or departments could be sued for instances of violence. this also passed in the last congress. there was a senate republican version. never did the two sides really meet to iron out their differences. it's possible that could go differently this time. there's much more of a con city -- con stit -- conuency for the republicans getting to 60 votes there. a much heaviest lift when it comes to the senate for the hr-1. >> garrett haake, impressive. jim, thank you as well.
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we will keep an eye on that and an ear on it. we will pass that along to you. could things be relatively normal again sooner than expected? the new comments from dr. fauci that are sparking new optimism, folks. getting vaccines to underserved communities, it's a big pry oort priority for the biden administration. inside a mass vaccination site to do just that. it's not just texas. folks in jackson, mississippi, going on week three without clean, usable water after that massive winter storm. community leaders say it's a crisis that was decades in the making. making
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it's the question on all of our minds as we approach one year of living in this global pandemic. when will things get back to normal? dr. fauci has an idea. here are the latest facts. fauci said if americans continue to follow cdc guidelines, we could start getting back to normal by the end of the year. he added, there's a wild card here. >> by the time we get to the fall, with the implementation of the vaccine program, you are going to see something that's
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noticeably in the direction of going back to normality and very likely get there by the end of the year. the only caveat, which you have to say, is that we have these variants, these mutational variants that are circulating. if we don't handle them well, then we might have a slowing down of that trajectory. >> dr. fauci there on the return to normality. those are some of the facts at this hour. california set to give out 40% of its vaccine doses to vulnerable areas. that news coming in from the state of california today. also announced -- fema setting up vaccination sites, trying to increase access for people most at risk of contracting and dying from covid. minorities and underserved individuals.
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more on that in a moment. nearly three weeks without safe drinking water, that's what nearly 200,000 people in jackson, mississippi, are facing right now. some say they have been forced to put buckets outside their homes just to collect rain. we will get a live update from a city in crisis next. riders, the lone wolves of the great highway. all they need is a bike and a full tank of gas. their only friend? the open road. i have friends. [ chuckles ] well, he may have friends, but he rides alone. that's jeremy, right there! we're literally riding together. he gets touchy when you talk about his lack of friends. can you help me out here? no matter why you ride, progressive has you covered
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this morning, the city of jackson, mississippi, is entering its third week of what's become a massive water crisis there. much of the attention was on texas, that massive winter storm left thousands of homes in jackson without running water. jackson still under a boil water notice with folks lining up for water distribution in a lot of places still. many community leaders say the crisis is bringing to light some long simmering issues. morgan radford is in jackson this morning. how are folks coping? >> reporter: it's hour by hour. imagine not being able to brush your teeth or wash your hands or take a shower for three weeks in your own home. this is how the city is getting
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by. donation sites like this. you can see the national guard tanker trucks filled with water at a local high school in jackson, mississippi. they have been waking up to a nightmare. every day waking up to a boil water advisory, which means that the water that's coming out of their pipes they can't trust. that's if they have any water at all. right now, nearly 200,000 residents here in jackson, mississippi, do not have drinkable water. they get by with donations, bottled water people are driving up to receive to get to the basic daily functions. listen to what some of the residents told us. how are you with this family of five getting by right now? >> we don't know what's coming out of the water. i don't feel comfortable bathing in it. i don't feel comfortable brushing our teeth and cooking or anything else like that. >> we were without running water for 15 days. >> reporter: you brought these buckets out to actually collect water from the rain?
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>> to collect water from the rain, yes, ma'am. >> reporter: what do you do with the water once the rainfall comes? >> i take the smaller buckets and fill the larger buckets. then i use a bucket to carry it in to flush the toilet. >> reporter: this is a layered issue. two things. one, the mayor said most of the people who are affected are in south and west jackson. those are predominantly black areas north of 83% of the population of those areas are black. those communities are farthest from where the water pumps are. they are being most affected by this water crisis. number two, when i spoke to the mayor, there seems to be confusion. the city saying we need more state funds. the state saying it's a municipal problem. the mayor was clear in saying he thinks his residents are being unduly affected. he can only do so much without the state or federal assistance. >> one thing is for sure, in the
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year of our lord 2021, you shouldn't have people in the united states of america going three weeks without water. that's one thing. >> reporter: not like this. >> if this was midtown manhattan, you wouldn't have folks going without water for three weeks. thank you for that in jackson. best of luck to the folks down there. while the senate is set to start debating the covid relief package, we just got another reminder of how many americans are being affected by this crisis. tens of thousands of more americans lost their jobs in the last week, which means more people will have to turn to food banks. ahead, we will go inside one food bank that has seen 1,800 cars just this week. mornings were made for better things than rheumatoid arthritis. when considering another treatment, ask about xeljanz... a pill for adults with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis when methotrexate has not helped enough.
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underserved communities. i want to bring in nbc's heidi presbola. she's in philly. i know you talked to the acting fema administrator. how is the agency getting vaccines to underserved communities? >> reporter: craig, this site in the heart of downtown philly really is a symbol of the biden administration's more muscular federal approach to the pandemic. you see these guys? these are u.s. marines. they are helping ferry people into the building. if you go in there, the vast majority of the workers are also federal workers, dod, fema. this is all part of a grander plan to open these mass vaccination sites across the country, including in places like new york state, illinois, to try to get as many people in as possible. they think there could be 6,000 a day in this site alone.
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we talked to the fema administrator about why these types of urban locations. it's to try and get more underserved people in here, as many as possible. those people who we know covid is disproportionally affecting. listen to our exclusive interview with him about this initiative. >> reached out using cdc social vulnerable data by county level to look for the most vulnerable populations to ensure that we provide vaccine to those areas. not only are we doing it in mass sites where we do 6,000 people per day, but we are also sening out mobile vaccine sites to specific areas. >> reporter: why these urban sites? because a lot of times underserved communities don't have transportation. they don't have wheels. this is accessible to septa, the subway system as well as the bus lines. they are trying to get as many options as possible to these people. we spoke earlier today, for
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instance, with a couple who said that they had been hesitant about the vaccine. but then they heard from their indonesian priest at church who had a sign up in the back of the room. look, it's okay. you should do this. take the vaccine. they came through. what we see today is a lot of that, a lot of diverse faces, older people. you can see wheelchairs behind me getting a lot of use today. this is exactly what the biden administration is trying to accomplish to get those shots into the arms of the people who we know need it the most, craig. >> so good to see that. reassuring to see that there in philly. that's what's happening here. i want to bring in ashish joshi. there's a vaccination issue in europe, specifically as i understand it with the astrazeneca vaccine. walk us through the hesitancy in several countries there.
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>> there is a real problem in europe. the vaccination program there has been criticized for being too slow. the reason for that is because many european governments, including germany, have said they don't have the right data, they're not sure if the efficacy of the astrazeneca vaccine is reliable. they were concerned that they didn't want to give it to the over 65-year-olds in germany. and in some cases the over 55-year-olds. we know covid-19 affects people as they get older. these are the most vulnerable people in our society. the older you are, the more you should be targeted by any vaccination program. there's a u-turn in germany. they looked at the data again. the independent vaccination
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committee there, which represents the government as far as vaccine efficacy is concerned, they have said it's now safe to use. they will be rolling out the astrazeneca vaccine to its population who are over 65 years old. they have said they will follow what the uk has done and increase the intervals between the first and the second jab to 12 weeks. this will really speed up the vaccination program, or so it is hoped, in germany. the idea is to get the first shots into as many arms as possible by giving yourself a longer delay by not giving the second jab so quickly, you can afford to vaccinate more people. that's what they have done in the uk. that's why here we have vaccinated 21 million people with their first dose since the beginning of december. the problem with europe right now is that they are reporting what may be the beginning of a
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third wave. they said over the last week, they have seen a 9% increase in new infections. they are quite concerned in germany, in france, in belgium, in italy where they have had to rethink what they are doing with the astrazeneca vaccine in particular. >> big thanks to both of you. democrats are clinging to a razor thin majority in the senate. they are focusing in on one key state that could help them expand in 2022. north carolina. or as we call it in south carolina, south carolina's hat. but north carolina. one of the democrats running in the primary in the tar heel state will join me next. heel state will join me next. car inse so you only pay for what you need? i mean it... uh-oh, sorry... oh... what? i'm an emu! no, buddy! only pay for what you need.
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this morning we got another new look at the economic
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name recognition and record of service in north carolina as a three-term state senator. but i also know that i am the only candidate in this race who has lived in the rural part of north carolina, gree up in the rural part of north carolina, organized in rural north carolina. and can get the job done. >> when i had your primary challenger, senator jackson on we did a quick round of yes or no questions on some of the top issues facing the u.s. i want to do the same thing with you. are you ready? >> yes.
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let's go. >> do you support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. yes or no. >> yes. >> do you support the democrats' sweeping immigration plan, the u.s. citizenship act of 2021? >> yes. absolutely. >> do you support ending the senate filibuster? >> yes. it's been used as a tool of obstruction. we need to get rid of the filibuster. >> you told politico back in february if i'm not mistaken, i believe it was february that employing the same strategy next year and expecting a different result is absolute insanity. what will you do differently this time with your campaign? >> well, we have the campaign that speaks to working north carolinians. as we have demonstrated before, as we saw in georgia, we have to go everywhere. we have to knock on doors for everybody. we have to build a brand new
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electorate. we have to get rid of that cookie cutter version of who we believe will be an electable candidate. that's the white male. what we have to understand, there is a new face for u.s. senate leadership in the south. and that leadership promotes representative democracy. it's how representative warnock was elected. we are speaking to the urban centers, the rural parts of the state, but it addresses the issues that people face that are working people across this state and across this nation. >> we are going to be following this race closely in north carolina. erika smith, i hope you'll come back as well in the next few months as we get closer to the election. >> that's going to do it for me this hour. we are out of time. andrea mitchell reports starts after a short break. after a short break.
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good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington with the senate gaveling into session but the house has canceled proceedings today because of online threats from qanon and other militants to again attack the u.s. capitol. with the conspiracy theory that donald trump will be officially inaugurated today. at this moment, hundreds of national guard troops and capitol police are on alert following intelligence warnings of potential threats to democratic lawmakers from white supremacist groups. speaker pelosi spoke with reporters in the last hour about the decision, trying to down play the decision saying they were keeping members away from the capitol grounds today. >> frankly, there are senators in, and they should be. we're at least four times more people and therefore all that that implies iner

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