tv Katy Tur Reports MSNBC January 13, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PST
good to be with you. i'm katy tur. we're following that breaking news in the criminal investigation into the january 6th insurrection. the department of justice has filed seditious conspiracy charges against a number of january 6th rioters including the head of the oath keepers, stuart rhodes, who was arrested today in texas. joining me now is nbc news justice correspondent pete williams and university of alabama law professor and former u.s. attorney joyce vance. welcome. i know we've been going through
this breaking news, pete, but we're topping out the hour and i want to go back and lay out the the bare facts here. the arrest of the head of the oath keepers and a number of other rioters with seditious conspiracy, this suggests the doj is closing in on some of the people who they say were in fact organizing what happened on january ofth and leads us to suggest it was supposed to go even farther than it did. >> right, that's the key question after reading this indictment. it's one that we may have to wait for these trials to get an answer to, which is, was there a well-developed plan before these people came to washington to actually enter the capitol and try to stop the vote by intimidating members of congress right in the capitol while they were working. but the big news, as you say, stewart rhodes, the leader of the oath keepers, has been charged with seditious conspiracy. the interesting thing about that is that there were 19 other
members of the -- accused members of the oath keepers that have been charged with conspiracy in the past, a lesser conspiracy charge. two of them have pleaded glitz. of course rhodes had long said he was trying to keep his members in line, trying to keep them from causing serious trouble, and that he never actually entered the capitol on january 6th. what the government now says in this indictment is that by looking at encrypted communication messages that stewart rhodes was sending to his members, that he was egging them on, saying he was inspired by what happened in serbia in the election of milosevic when the people stormed the parliament. he said that in advance of the january 6th capitol riot. then on the day of it, at 1:30, he talked about lexington and concord and tarring and feathering. so they say far from somebody who was trying to keep the peace or keep his members in control, he was definitely urging violent action. so it's a seditious conspiracy charge against him.
it adds to the addition of the oath keepers that are already charged. and a new name, edward vallejo from phoenix, arizona, he's now charged in these oath keeper cases. >> joyce, let's talk about seditious conspiracy, what exactly does that mean under the law? >> the key to this seditious conspiracy is the allegation in the indictment, katy, that the conspiracy here was to interfere with certifying the vote of the electoral college. so what prosecutors would have to prove if the case went to trial is that there was an agreement among these 11 people that everyone understood that their goal was to interfere with that certification and that at least one of the members of the conspiracy took an overt act, took a step towards completing the conspiracy. the doj says there are any
number of activities that took place in furtherance of that. it's interesting to note how severe some of these steps are, even going as far as the notion that there was an effort to bring firearms across the river into the district of columbia. >> joyce, there has been a lot of hand wringing over the last year about the doj not bringing charges like this against anybody, curiosity about whether they had the evidence to do so. a year later, we're finding out they were meticulously compiling that evidence to charge the leader of this group. >> i think that's right. we heard that from merrick garland last week, when he explained, sort of reiterated what we've all come to understand in the last five years, is that prosecutors pursuing a conspiracy start at the lowest level of conduct, and work their way up the chain or the ladder, in part to make sure they're understanding exactly what was going on and who the players are, and of course also in hopes of finding lower level
people who will cooperate against those who are more responsible for the events. but something that i've thought about increasingly, katy, is that january 6th is probably not one big conspiracy. there are probably a number of different conspiracies that are involved. and the question i think that we're all waiting for an answer to is does one of those conspiracies reach into the oval office. so looking at this indictment today, we don't really know where it leads. we do know we're at the top of the oath keepers. and the question is were they just acting on their own or were they communicating with other people and if so who. >> that is a good point. and my question to you, pete, in reading through this indictment and all the coverage that you've done on this, i wonder where doj is going with the indictment of the oath keeper here in question, because as joyce was just saying, there were so many people on the capitol that day, so many people who have been charged with much lesser crimes, wonder are they going to get at
the heart of them being a leader of just a small group of people or will it be larger than that, that this whole thing, the whipping up the crowd, getting them to march on the capitol, was intentional. >> yeah, i think that's an important question. and it may be a long time before we get the answer to those, until some of these cases come to trial, they get more guilty pleas, they get more information from the people who have pleaded guilty so far. remember, 19 members of the oath keepers were already charged with conspiracy, two have pleaded guilty. these are more serious conspiracy charges. it doesn't appear to be so-called hard evidence here of a plan in advance to actually enter the capitol but legally, in terms of the charge today, that doesn't matter. the charge today says there was a conspiracy to come to washington and engage in violent conduct in order to try to stop the counting of the vote. that's all the government needs to prove to have this conspiracy
ca whether there was a plan to actually enter the capitol or not, perhaps we'll have to wait for that. but in terms of the legal sufficiency of this conspiracy charge, that's all the government needs to allege to have a charge. >> i guess my question is, in looking at the images from that day, and we can put them back up on the screen, of the oath keepers and the way they were moving through the crowd, the attire they were wearing, it seemed like they were coming prepared for something. >> clearly. >> and if it wasn't to try to get into the capitol, what were they doing with all that gear? that's still an open question, pete. >> well, the allegations in the charging documents so far and the guilty pleas so far is that they came to washington, fully intending to be prepared for violence, to clash what many thought would be antifa protesters in the streets, to basically raise hell and try to get the attention of congress that way. there was a lot of discussion among the members about what kind of uniforms they should wear, what kind of tactical equipment they should bring,
whether they should bring firearms. this whole notion of having a quick reaction force across the river with boats that could bring people over at the last minute if they were needed. all of that discussion took place well in advance. we've heard that before. and, you know, to some extent, some of these groups were unaware initially, when the capitol was breached, when the first people started to get in and then they came around to it. so i think the question persists, did somebody, as joyce says, were there lots of little plans about storming the capitol and these people weren't coordinated? was it a spontaneous thing that happened, when people realized how far they could get through the police barricades, they then decided, well, let's just keep going? these are questions that will i'm sure ultimately get answered. but it's going to take some time. >> the image that sticks in my head, we haven't been able to pull it up, i know the control room is working on it, the image of the line of oath keepers in tactical gear with hands on each
other's shoulders, marching themselves up the capitol steps, joyce, looking at that, i'm a layman here, but looking at that, that seems coordinated and intentional. it doesn't seem like -- this is the image right here -- that's the kind of movement you would use if you were just planning on clashing with antifa members. that's movement to get inside of a building, it seems, from my perspective. >> the indictment references that procedure. it's called the stack. it's a military procedure. it emphasizes to some extent the involvement of people with military experience in this group. and so this formation, katy, i think you're right, this isn't something you just do randomly. it's something you do with a goal. the goal at that point looked like it was entry of the capitol. and perhaps the oath keepers and others were surprised by how easily they breached the capitol's defenses that day. as pete is pointing out, what
the government has set itself up to have to prove is not necessarily the entry as much as it is the conspiracy to interfere with the certification of the vote. so using that stacked procedure shows that there was some planning in advance. they didn't just randomly fall into that. there was conversation about tactics they would use and what they were going to do. all of this evidence, when you put it together, it becomes really powerful. you know, the problem with january 6th is all too often it's looked at, that day, just as a standalone. but we know it's not that. we know january 6th is the culmination of trump's failure to succeed in using the big lie to overturn the election. january 6th was that last effort to try to prevent joe biden's win from being certified. the question that we have here is, were trump, were people around him, communicating with groups that were actually on
site? or were the activities in the white house going on completely separate from what was breaking out all over the capitol following the rally at the ellipse? i think we've all drawn conclusions in our own minds. but the problem with that, and i would cautionpeople, is to remember that the justice department, when it brings these cases, has to have sufficient admissible evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a courtroom. >> they need documentation, they need text messages, they need testimony, they need a whole lot more than anyone's assumption or what it looks like from afar. joyce vance and pete williams, thank you so much. we'll go to another angle of this story, and that's what the january 6th committee is doing on capitol hill. they've been trying to interview a number of people within donald trump's white house. they've been pretty successful with lower level aides. some higher level aides have said no. they're also trying to interview
lawmakers who may have been involved in what went on at the capitol. one of the people they've been trying to speak to is house minority leader kevin mccarthy. but he in a very public way today said he is not going to play politics, in his words. >> reporter: you said, sure, you would be willing to testify about your conversation. >> what was the date? >> reporter: that was in may of last year. >> okay. >> reporter: and you've now said you won't agree to voluntarily cooperate. why should the public not conclude that you're trying to hide something here? >> when you asked me that question, never did i think a speaker would play such politics and then appoint a chairman who starts the committee by saying the only person out of bounds is the speaker. maybe if nancy pelosi had done what other speakers would do and not play politics with it, there could have been a different answer. >> that was nbc news capitol hill correspondent ali vitali. kevin mccarthy is saying playing
politics but this doj indictment today really flies in the face that this investigation is political. they indicted the head of the oath keepers and a number of other people with seditious conspiracy. doesn't sound political to me. how is this playing on capitol hill? >> reporter: yeah, this latest round from the department of justice clearly reverberating on capitol hill. but it's a different set of rules over here, when you talk about what the january 6th committee is trying to do in terms of at this point just requesting information and cooperation from sitting members of congress. kevin mccarthy of course the most recent and also the most high profile of the republican lawmakers who the committee has asked to cooperate with them. and now you look at the others, scott perry and jim jordan, and it becomes clear that now that "no" is going to translate into the committee having to ask itself, is it willing to move forward with actual subpoenas to get this information. here's bennie thompson who i have to note, yesterday, when the mccarthy request first went
out, sounded optimistic, said he thought that mccarthy would voluntarily comply with the committee's request. now he's disappointed. listen. >> i was like most people. i'm disappointed. he made public statements that president trump had some responsibility for what occurred. we have information that he made calls to the white house, telling him he needed to call the people off. and for whatever reason, he has decided not to come to the committee and say what many things he's said in public. >> reporter: and katy, so the committee now having to figure out if they're going to move forward on subpoenas. thompson said that's certainly something they are considering. at the same time, though, something that joyce just said to you is really resonating with me. the idea that january 6th, when we use that phrase, is not just speaking only about the specific day here.
it's speaking about the days and weeks beforehand, during which the white house and other key republicans were fomenting the idea of a big lie, potentially putting forward from different republican states other states of electors that would say trump won the election when really biden won that state. all of those things are part and parcel to what the committee is trying to get a better handle on. so when they look at someone like kevin mccarthy, yes, they want to hear about that tense phone call he had with the former president on january 6th. mccarthy says he doesn't want to cooperate because he feels he has nothing left to say about that. but they're also looking at conversations he and the other two lawmakers may have had with people in the president's inner circle including but not limited to former chief of staff mark meadows, and we know jordan was one of the people texting him, at the same time they want to hear from jordan and other republican lawmakers themselves. >> those months and weeks leading up to january 6th so important, planting the seeds to
see what grows. joining me now is nbc chief washington correspondent andrea mitchell, moderator of "meet the press" chuck todd. the indictment today is a really big one. it's serious. chuck, how much pressure does an indictment like this put on the republican party? >> look, it's sedition, right? it always depends on if stewart rhodes, how closely he ends up touching members of the republican party. does he bring this into the white house back then, does he bring this to members of congress? you know, it's that -- it's does this -- you know, i think the metaphor i used when i closed the show, this is no longer at the lower rung of the ladder. but i don't think this guy is at the highest rung of the ladder either, right? so i think a lot of it depends on whether this begets somebody above him.
>> how much access does the doj have to try and find these links, andrea? how much farther can they go, as opposed to just the january 6th committee? >> they can go a whole lot farther, because they have a grand jury. so they have a way of compelling people to testify, or plead the fifth, or work out an immunity deal. but there were reports that the oath keepers were in washington partly as security for some of the players close to the president. i'm not going to name anyone right now because we don't have that evidence. but this does bring it, as chuck suggested, potentially a step closer. and they've got a lot more power in doj than they have on that congressional committee. >> and how quickly do you expect or can we expect to see them react to this or move with these with any more indictments, any more movement that we might see out of this investigation, andrea? >> i think that's very difficult to predict.
as pete williams would be the first to tell you, they are very, very careful about not prejudging anything and not speaking about an indictment before it happens. so for instance, all the criticism that merrick garland has been enduring from a lot of people, including his former professor larry tribe, a lot of people going on television and complaining that there's been no action yet on mark meadows, on that criminal referral, for instance, and no evidence that doj is really looking into all of this. well, this is what happens, when they have a grand jury, and they are getting indictments, they take it step by step. you've seen the same kind of criticism of how slow the progression has gone on the new york investigations into donald trump or the georgia investigations. this is the legal process. and i think everyone has to hope that it's not politicized as it certainly was, the justice department politicized under donald trump. >> they're trying to keep it under wraps for as long as they can until they have the goods to reveal to the public as we saw today. chuck, we just played a moment
ago kevin mccarthy talking about why he's not going to participate in the january 6th committee, calling it playing politics. how does he look now? >> you know, look, it is all going to depend on the eye of the beholder. he made a decision, right, this is january 7th kevin mccarthy, january 6th kevin mccarthy was in one place, then he went to mar-a-lago and everything changed, right? that's adam kinzinger's take, everything changed once kevin mccarthy made this decision that, you know -- and in some ways, mitch mcconnell made the same decision, though using a different tactic, right? mcconnell decided not to convict. mccarthy decided not to ostracize. he went back down, he went a step further. but both of them in their own way believing that if they go further, they were dividing their own party, and they made the decision, party unity over perhaps what may be a seditious threat against the united states, right? so look, i think kevin
mccarthy's standing becomes more precarious if this gets closer to people who are elected republicans. that's the bottom line. >> i wonder how you run, though, in 2022, with the word "sedition" hanging over the national political conversation when it comes to what happened on january 6th. and i ask that because we got some newlnumbers, and a lot of focus has been on joe biden having -- president biden having pretty low poll numbers. but buried in that quinnipiac poll was another number i thought was really interesting in regards to what happened on january 6th, and the albatross that might be around republicans' necks. former president trump seeking a new term, only 33% of the public wants donald trump to run again in 2024. it's still a majority of republicans, but it's down from what it was just a few months ago, chuck. so how much of january -- how much is january 6th an albatross? >> look, i think it's a long term albatross, you know? in a midterm year, it may not be
that bad outside of a few races, right? it really depends. look, you've got a public, and this poll, in a weird way, shows it, if you're president biden, you're looking at that low number and you're like, oh, and people don't like trump either. it means you've really lost the middle. the middle of this electorate is who's exhausted from covid, exhausted from political division. and i think this is what makes this look, on the merits, january 6th should be an albatross, katy, i don't want to minimize anything about it, but i do think that you have a lot of incumbent politicians, you've been hearing it, saying we just can't wave the january 6th bloody shirt, voters want to hear what's going on in their lives, and they're concerned about january 6th, they're also concerned about inflation, they're concerned about the future of the democracy, they're also concerned about covid. and it is what makes this political campaign so difficult for democrats on this in front.
>> let's talk about one of those numbers you just mentioned, which is the worry about the future of the democracy. yeah, inflation, yeah, they're worried about covid, but there's a majority of americans that are worried about democracy collapsing. 58% are worried that democracy is going to collapse. that is just a shocking number, andrea. >> it's a shocking number, but the interesting piece of that is that democrats and republicans are worried about democracy collapsing for diametrically different reasons. democrats are worried about it because of all those states that are trying to deny the election and change state and local election laws. republicans are concerned about it because they think that biden is overreaching. so you don't have a common view of why they are so worried about it. and kevin mccarthy was about as transparent as one could be, i watched every minute of his news conference today. he completely ducked explaining the switch between what he said
immediately after january 6th and what he said by going to mar-a-lago on january 28th. he is embracing the hope that the majority of his caucus and of the important races that are in swing districts will rely on the trump factor. so he sees trump as his path to victory in retaking the house and in becoming speaker. and he is single minded minded in that and his explanations were laughable at that news conference. but that's not what he's focused on. he simply does not want to anger donald trump because he thinks that's the single biggest factor despite the low number of people who think trump should be elected in 2024. all he cares about right now is 2022. it's not like some of senators we're looking at, the ted cruzes who are creating havoc on the senate floor today over a completely unrelated russia issue which has nothing to do with russia but everything about ted cruz and his political
ambitions. that is a different, completely different political timetable. >> everyone in the house up for reelection every two years, unlike senators. january 6th committee, i wonder, chuck, are they -- how impactful will their findings be? and i ask this because the feeling was that the mueller investigation was going to be impactful, but because i guess we covered it so much, day in and day out, because there was so much expectation on it, ultimately when robert mueller, his report eventually came out after the misleading summary about it, of course, it didn't have as big of an impact as many were expecting it to. so i wonder, is the january 6th committee going to be in the same sort of boat? >> look, the january 6th committee is in the same boat -- >> you know what, hold on, chuck. president biden is speaking. let's listen. >> i hope we can get this done. the honest to god answer is, i
don't know whether we can get this done. is this mic on? i guess. anyway. and i'm not sure. i hope we can get this done. but i'm not sure. but one thing for certain, one thing for certain. like every other major civil rights bill that came along, if we miss the first time, we can come back and try it a second time. we miss this time, we miss this time, and the state legislative bodies continue to change the law, not as to who can vote but who gets to count the vote, count the vote, count the vote. it's about election subversion, not just whether or not people get to vote. who counts the vote. that's what this is about, that's what makes this so different than anything else we've ever done. i don't know that we can get it done.
i know one thing, as long as i have a breath in me, as long as i'm in the white house, as long as i'm engaged at all, i'm going to be fighting to change the way these legislatures are moving. thank you. >> he is there to try and convince democratic lawmakers to change the rules in the senate in order to pass voting rights legislation, rights that -- or legislation that he says will protect democracy. chuck and andrea, earlier today one of the people that he needs to convince, kyrsten sinema, stood on the senate floor and said, i agree with you on voting rights, i'm all for it, but we cannot change the rules of the senate. so he's getting angrier, he's getting more forceful, he's trying to use this bully pulpit of the presidency to drive through this legislation but he's running into a brick wall within his own party. >> if i may, kyrsten sinema did something that is extraordinary. yes, anyone who was reading her
body language, had to know where she came down on this. she made no secret of it but she wasn't openly, publicly verbal about it. but she went to the floor of the senate within an hour of president coming up there to address her caucus, knowing exactly what he was going to do, and she completely embarrassed, politically embarrassed the leader of her own party, the sitting president of the united states, and was giving absolutely no leeway. she made it absolutely clear that she will not give on this. and to say that she's in favor of voting reform when it cannot be passed without her changing on the filibuster, and when you look at the history of the filibuster, it's not sacrosanct, any number of years there have been carve-out. so she did something for a freshman senator that was pretty remarkable. it was a total embarrassment to him. >> i don't know if this was a freudian slip, but he spoke in the past tense just now, he aid "we missed this time," i think that was a bit of a nod to
reality there. then he sort of cleaned up. look, it's interesting to me what he said, because what he said is not what's in this bill. this has been the single biggest mistake from the beginning. this bill, had they first pushed hr 1, the voting rights act should have been what they led with. they finally realized that, they tried to cobble together a different version of this. when you have chuck schumer on the senate floor talking about dark money, talking about redistricting, that isn't what president biden was talking about. the problem is this bill doesn't respond directly to what's been going on in the states. and i think that this has been the sort of miscommunication, if you will, mishandling of this, i think, from the get-go. they pulled bills that they had already written off the shelf and said, hey, this will respond to what we just saw over the last two months. and they just never connected the dots well. frankly, you know, you've got to be careful how often you use the bully pulpit and you don't get results. >> we have joe manchin speaking
right now. let's listen to him. he just walked away as we went to him. he almost knew i was going to go and put him on television. >> can i say one quick thing about what chuck said? he's absolutely right, and the fact is that mitch mcconnell opened a door to perhaps republicans supporting something that would address the electoral college piece of this. but that disappoints the entire civil rights community and that's why schumer said it was a nonstarter. so you're right, the president is passionate about the counting of the vote, and it is not what's in these particular bills. >> chuck schumer is now speaking, the majority leader -- you know what, and he's left too. zero for two. >> katy, i know the feeling. >> chuck, when you're talking about the bills that are currently on the floor, passed by the house, versus what's happening in the states, what's happening in the states is that
republican allies of donald trump who are sympathetic to this big lie that the election was stolen, that there was tons of fraud, are being installed in some state legislatures or installed as election officials in some of these key states, and the concern is that they are going to take the authority from the public, the voting public, and decide what electors to send to congress, or they're going to, you know, declare fraud. and when you say that these bills don't address that, just explain that to us. >> well, look, you can -- there's an argument that the voting rights act, reupping of that, actually could give the justice department some tools to deal with the certification of elections at the state level. but certainly the other part of this voting rights doesn't. but that's the point here, is -- here's what i don't understand didn't happen, is that you bring in, say, the six republican senators who wanted a january 6th committee, and said, okay,
guys, you clearly are concerned about how all this works, voting rights act is something that we needed to renew, it hasn't been renewed. why that wasn't priority one, we could have a discussion. i think there's many democrats that regret that they didn't lead with that rather than lead with hr 1. but you could have basically brought this group together and say, okay, this is the problem, do you want to be a part of this solution, and see where it went. the point is, you needed at a minimum, show and tell manchin and sinema that you really made the real effort to reach across the aisle. i don't believe -- i don't think you can -- i don't see the evidence that they put the same work into this as they did that infrastructure bill. and that's the part of this that's very hard to defend. >> is there still room for it? after the president's speech in atlanta yesterday -- >> not anymore. >> because of that speech, there's not room for negotiation with republicans? >> i think there's always room
with a handful of people. i think if president biden called up mitt romney, the nominee for president of the united states in 2012, and said, you and me, we have to do this, mitt romney isn't going to turn down that meeting. he may not agree with everything the president says. i'm not saying that president biden has to give a speech that appeals to mitt romney all the time on voting rights. but if you lose mitt romney, you've got to ask yourself if you're doing it the right way. >> i ask you that because there are a number of republican senators who have not bought into the big lie and have publicly not bought into the big lie. we had mike rounds the other day, senator rounds, saying that joe biden won the election. there were others at the time who said very publicly. there were others that voted to impeach donald trump or to convict donald trump. those republicans, i mean, i wonder, joe biden came in with this -- andrea, with this idea that he was the great unifier, and he could reach across the
aisle, he knew everybody in the senate and had worked with them for so long. he was able to do it with some legislation, the bipartisan infrastructure bill. but considering the time that we're in right now, i mean, everything is important, but this, protecting democracy, protecting our elections? >> no, i agree. look, the bill that they're voting on is a manchin-crafted bill. so they reached out to manchin on this but not to the republicans. that's what's so mystifying. as chuck and you just mentioned, there were a number of republicans that might have found this appealing. collins, murkowski, you can name them. so maybe there is some way to revive this, i'm not sure what it would be now. but they're racing the clock now, because these legislatures are moving very, very quickly. they have figured out how donald trump lost, aside from all the other ingredients, they know which states they're targeting. >> and the american public is
worried about what's going to happen in 2024. andrea mitchell, chuck todd, i know i kept you for a lot longer than i intended. thank you guys for staying with me and fleshing out this conversation, i appreciate it. >> you got it. let's bring in nbc news national political reporter sahil kapur and nbc reporter carol lee. sahil, what are you hearing in the senate, among democrats, among republicans, about what happens now? >> it's pretty simple, katy. earlier today senator sinema took to the floor of the senate and smashed democrats' hopes of passing these two major voting and election bills, the freedom to vote act and the john lewis voting rights advancement act. she made clear she supports the two bills on the merits, if it came to an up or down vote, she would vote yes. but she opposes changing senate rules to allow for an up or down vote which means they have no path to get through the senate.
democrats need every one of their 50 senators to change the rules of the filibuster to overcome what is overwhelming republican opposition. i want to play some of what senator sinema had to say on the floor. >> while i continue to support these bills, i will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country. the debate over the senate's 60-vote threshold shines a light on our broader challenges. there's no need for me to restate my long standing support for this 60-voteeshold to pass legislation. >> sahil, carol, hold on one second, it's the 2:00 p.m. hour and there's always breaking news. pete williams has breaking news. >> the supreme court, as expected, based on how the argument went, has blocked the biden administration from enforcing the covid restrictions on anybody, any business
employing more than 100 people that said those people either had to be vaccinated or had to wear masks and get weekly tests. the supreme court here basically says the government did not have the authority to do that. but the supreme court, over the dissent of four justices, alito, thomas, gorsuch, and barrett, has agreed to let the government enforce the other covid mandate that was imposed by the biden administration that applies to 20 million health care workers that work in facilities that treat medicare or medicaid patients and get federal funding. there the court says that that is a much more focused mandate, it's not as broad as the osha one, it doesn't suffer from the same defect. now, of course the issue here in both these mandates cases was the authority of the federal government. the supreme court has declined to block a number of mandates imposed by the states. indiana university, health care
workers in several states, teachers in new york, for example. but those involved a very different issue of state power to impose these kinds of public health measures. those are all reserved to the states by the constitution. the federal government has no standalone such powers known as police powers. so the question in these two cases is whether specific federal laws that govern osha and that govern hhs allow the government to do that. and as we hear, katy, the supreme court has reached a sort of split here, saying no on the osha requirement. so they're now blocked. and yes on the hhs mandate. and the hhs mandate was in effect in about half the country. it was blocked in the other half of the states. so now the government can continue to enforce it in the entire country. but osha is now stopped in its tracks. and one other note here, these cases were not about whether these mandates or these requirements were legal or constitutional. it was simply about whether they
should be put on hold while cases challenging them worked their way through the lower courts. so that's the outcome that we have. no on the osha requirements, yes on the hhs requirements. >> so no if you are working in a business with more than 100 employees, no, you do not have to get vaccinated or go through with this testing policy unless your individual company requires it, but no federal rules on that. >> yes. >> yes if you are a health care facility that gets federal funding, medicaid and medicare. thanks, pete williams. you're having a busy day today. carol lee, and sahil, because you're playing in multiple pools today too, one question on what pete just broke here. so no on osha. is the white house planning to go back to the supreme court with a more tailored version of this request, one that might be upheld like what we're seeing
with these health care facilities that get federal funds? >> katy, we know that mandates are a critical part of the white house's covid response strategy. so you can imagine that they're going through the decision and trying to figure out what next steps are. but this is -- i mean, it's shaping up to be a pretty tough day here for the president and for this white house on top of what happened with his voting rights legislation, but now you have this decision coming down, which was largely expected, as pete laid out so eloquently. this is not really a big surprise to anyone. but it underscores the struggle that the president is having in just getting his covid response on solid footing. vaccines, he's pushed for people to get vaccinated. he's tried with these mandates when his coercion attempts and other things didn't work. and now he's been dealt a little bit of a mixed but still a setback in all of that. >> also a setback, carol, for
what the president is facing on capitol hill today, he's there to meet with democratic senators to say, hey, listen, you've got to change the rules in the senate in order to pass this legislation on voting. the senate doesn't work, we need this done, democracy is in peril. but kyrsten sinema, as sahil just played, says no, i agree with the legislation but i'm not going to change the rules because we're eventually going to be in the minority again and it's not going to go great for us, it's going to go back and forth, she says. what can the white house do now to try and find a way to pass legislation that has 60 votes in the senate? that means ten republicans on board. >> it's just hard to see how that happens. and the president seemed to concede that this was indeed over, at one point he said "if we miss the first time," and then he said "we missed this time." he's vowing to fight again and
we don't know exactly what that's going to look like. he also seemed to give a nod towards history and saying, look, history of the civil rights movement is you try once and you fail and you keep trying again. again, we just don't know exactly what that means, is he going to pick this up and push it again at some later point with this congress, is he just going to make it a campaign issue and really try to hit republicans on this issue? that all remains to be seen. but certainly it's really kind of -- you have to remember, he just gave that speech two days ago, his voting rights speech in atlanta, and here he is essentially handed a big defeat just, you know, 48 hours from that time. so we don't know exactly what he's going to do next. but clearly the president, he made clear in his remarks there where he spoke very forcefully after the meeting with the democratic caucus that this is something he intends to continue to talk about in the future, and it's very important, obviously, to his base in the democratic party. >> carol lee, sahil kapur, thank
you so much. for all the viewers out there, i know we've been going back and forth on a bunch of really big stories, thank you for following along. right after a very quick break we'll go back to that ruling, those two rulings from the supreme court, break down what it means for these employers who now no longer have to mandate vaccines, and what it means for health care facilities. and then what it means for all of us and our ability to get out of this pandemic. stay with us. y to get out ofhi ts pandemic ofhi ts pandemic stay with us versus 16 grams in ensure high protein. boost® high protein also has key nutrients for immune support. boost® high protein. i'm jonathan lawson here to tell you about life insurance boost® high protein also has key nutrients through the colonial penn program. if you're age 50 to 85, and looking to buy life insurance on a fixed budget, remember the three ps. what are the three ps? the three ps of life insurance on a fixed budget are price, price, and price.
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[upbeat acoustic music throughout] [upbeat acoustic music throughout] back on the breaking news from the supreme court on vaccine mandates. the supreme court blocking vaccine or test rules for u.s. businesses but allowing the vaccine mandate for most health care workers to remain in place. joining me now is nbc news medical contributor dr. erwin redlener, founding director of columbia university's national center for disaster preparedness. so dr. redlener, the biden administration says these mandates are necessary because
we are in a public health crisis, we need more people to get vaccinated, and these mandates will help us get to the vaccination numbers that we need to be at to move past this pandemic. it's a big setback for what the biden administration was hoping to achieve. >> yeah, katy, it's actually a big step back for our ability to get control of this pandemic, which is raging. yes, we may see a settling down in the northeast of the omicron variant. but that doesn't mean that we're not going to see big flare-ups in other parts of the country which i fully expect. even if we didn't, we still have delta running around our midst. so this inability of the president to do something entirely rational to control the pandemic spread, being struck down now by the supreme court, is really, really unfortunate. it's a big blow for the american public and for -- look, we have
hospitals, 20% of american hospitals are now overrun with covid patients, really impairing their ability to take their patients in the hospital with any kind of emergency. so this is really unfortunate. and we have a lot of work to do to get where we need to get to which is everybody being vaccinated in america, katy. >> so without the mandates, what is your message to somebody who says, hey, listen, i just don't think i need it, i think i'm healthy enough, i don't need the vaccine. >> you know, there are certain times where your opinion about certain things matters. but if you're opinion and your behaviors are affecting other people, in fact endangering them, like you can't have six drinks and get in a car and drive down the highway because your behavior could really harm someone else. you can't get on an airplane and light up a cigarette. there are a lot of rules we have to abide by, by the way including making sure that all children get the appropriate
childhood vaccinations before they can get into a classroom. so all of a sudden we see this surge of people who are -- have some misappropriate, inappropriate understanding of what their freedoms, so-called freedoms can do when it comes to vaccinations. and we cannot allow this. we're going to have to say, now we're going to have to work individually, you know, every state, every local jurisdiction, can in fact, in spite of what the supreme court ruling was, every state could impose the kind of mandates that we do need to have. workplaces, schools, restaurants, and so on. and hopefully the states will take this up and make sure the right thing happens, except i'm worried about florida and mississippi, texas and so on. >> the good news is that health care facilities that get federal funding, medicaid and medicare facilities, the requirement for those health care staffers to get vaccinated was upheld by the supreme court today. so that is some positive news for those who might be in the
care of one of those facilities, those people who don't want to get sick. erwin redlener, thank you so much for joining us, doctor. the president announced some big new covid initiatives today. an additional 500 million tests will be purchased for americans. he also hinted americans. he also hinted at a program to distribute high quality masks for free. >> i know that for some americans the mask is not always affordable or convenient to get. so, next week, we'll announce -- we'll announce how we are making high quality masks available to american people -- the american people -- for free. you know, i know we all wish that we could finally be done wearing masks. i get it. but they're a really important tool to stop the spread, especially the highly transmissible omicron variant. >> biden said the white house will deploy medical teams to six states. the teams will be posted at hospitals to ease staffing
shortages during omicron surge. one of the six medical centers receiving that help is the cleveland clinic, where our own kate snow got exclusive access to an icu. kate, what did you find? >> katie, it's really a crisis there right now. the cleveland clinic invited us because they wanted us to see. by the way, they say they're grateful for that federal team they hear is coming. they tell me they think it's going to be 20 medical personnel, which will help. the situation is they have 1,100 covid cases right now, more than they've had had, even more than last year's spike. and on top of that, 5% of their work force is out sick. take a look at what we saw. >> how does the situation right now compare to last year? >> we have more patients. our patients are sicker. our teams are tired and exhausted too. >> reporter: in a covid icu unit at the cleveland clinic's main campus, 25 patients struggled to
hang on. as soon as one recovers or dies, another moves in. >> we're seeing patients in their 20s and 30s and 40s. >> reporter: nurse tim washington came on at 7:00 a.m. >> first thing i did was kind of look in the room to see if my patients were still there. >> still alive. >> still alive, right. >> and they are today? >> they are today. >> reporter: most patients are on ventilators. 90% are unvaccinated. >> do you personally feel anger? what do you feel? >> if i say i didn't feel anger, i would be lying, because this can be prevented with vaccinations. >> reporter: in the covid unit, 73-year-old ron is vaccinated but not boosted. he has an underlying medical condition. >> i was the last one to think that i would get it. >> what would you say to people who think that omicron is mild and it's no big deal? >> i'll walk out the door and they can come sit in here and see what it's like.
>> so, katie, there is evidence that overall omicron is not as bad as the delta variant. but when you're talking about these sheer numbers of cases, that's what you're seeing in cleveland. they're be so impacted. and i can't tell you how many people said to me yesterday that they want people to get vaccinated. it's the whole reason they asked our cameras to come in. they want people to see 90% of those folks in that icu i was in were not vaccinated and just how dire the situation can get. katie? >> i found it really interesting when you were talking to that doctor, and he said, i would be lying to you if i wasn't angry. i don't know about you. i don't want to go into the hospital and have the doctor treating me be angry. it's such a risk to say, hey, i don't feel like i need this. seems -- seems silly. >> yeah. and that's how all of them feel. they understand on some level, but they just -- they've been going through this now for how long?
almost two years. and they're done. they're over it. and they even have patients getting angry at them and yelling at them almost every day. i heard some of it yesterday. so, it's a tough situation for our health care workers, kate. >> definitely. i mean, they've been working at this for yearly two years now, some of them nons.t.o.p. kate, always good to see. we have breaking news from the uk. prince andrew has been stripped of his royal and military titles by his mother, the queen of england. he is facing a civil lawsuit in new york that accuses him of sexually assaulting an underaged girl. he will be facing that lawsuit z a private citizen. andrew's efforts to get the suit dismissed were denied by a judge yesterday. he has repeatedly denied the allegations and says he does not recall meeting his accuser. joining me from london is nbc news foreign correspondent matt bradley. this was a very terse, very
direct statement from the queen. >> reporter: yeah, i mean, you could call it brutal, katie. i mean, basically the queen decided that she was going to strip the prince of -- the duke of york -- of just about all the titles he had left. you said stripped. i said she was stripping him of these titles. the statement from the palace says, with the queen's approval and agreement, the duke of york's military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the queen. the duke of york will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen. one of the scandals is he's defending as a private citizen, but the queen, his mother, is helping to finance his defense. that's one of the revelations that's come out in the last couple of years. that shouldn't be too surprising. after all the queen is his mother, so she is going to be financing that will for him. we're talking about a situation that is very embarrassing for the royal family and is likely to only get more embarrassing as
this trial continues and the proceeding is going on and on and on. we're hearing it might not be resolved until the beginning of 2023. >> he says he doesn't recall every meeting virginia giuffre. but there's the photo circulating of them around the time she was abused. >> that's one of the things that makes the bbc interview a couple years ago so difficult to understand. he says he hadn't seen her. he put up a couple of things that a lot of people found confusing. he says he's not capable of sweat. the court demanded that there was more information about whether or not he could sweat. a lot of this has turned into something of a circus and it's become a really big liability, as i said, for the royal family and a very big embarrassment for prince andrew. he has no real titles left to fall back on. it sounds like he's no longer
going to be called his royal highness. he might still be called prince. but at the end of the day he still is the natural born son of the reigning queen of england. you can't be stripped of that. >> the statement led to me like a parent saying to their child, i'm not mad, i'm just disappointed. matt. thank you so much. that's going to do it for me. hallie jackson picks up our coverage next. r me hallie jackson picks up our hallie jackson picks up our coverage next. capsule is super safe and secure. get your prescriptions hand delivered for free at capsule.com
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♪♪ whole bunch of breaking news as we're coming on the air in washington starting with the supreme court and the blow to president biden with the justices blocking his vaccine or test requirement for hundreds of millions of workers. but they did leave in place one mandate. we're about to get reaction from the white house any minute. the other big headline this afternoon, the leaders of the oath keepers under arrest. with our keep just getting more info on dramatic new details about the arrest