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Robert Reich and Barney Frank clash over Bernie Sanders’ remarks on ‘too big to fail’

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The policy dispute between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spread on Wednesday to include respective supporters ex-Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and economist Robert Reich during a joint interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.

The debate centered around Sanders’ remarks to the New York Daily News editorial board concerning the idea that the country’s biggest banks are “too big to fail,” and his goal to break them up should he be elected president. The lawmaker has since been accused of failing to provide a cohesive plan to do so.

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“If you believe the banks ought to be broken up — by the way, most of the federal officials do not believe you have to break up the banks; we think we have to control their indebtedness and that, again, is a point you seem to miss,” Frank told Reich. “Beyond that, if you tell me you think the banks are too big and have to be broken up, to what level? If the argument is that we cannot allow an institution to exists if it’s going out of business, I ask people to tell me to what level. Is it $500 billion? Is it $300 billion? All those have implications for the economy.”

“Of course they have huge implications for the country,” Reich responded.

“What’s the level?” Frank asked again.

“If they are already too big to fail and curtail and jail,” Reich said. “If there’s no way to control the big banks in this country — and there is none right now — in my view, they should be broken up right now.”

“How big is too big?” Frank asked.

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“They’re too big right now,” said Reich.

Hayes then interjected, asking whether a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act provided a “lasso” reining in financial institutions who would fit that description.

“The biggest banks right now don’t even have plans for winding themselves down in the event of a financial problem,” Reich said. “The [Federal Reserve] and all of the oversight groups who are supposed to be looking at them have failed them on the basic principle of having a winding-down plan.”

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Watch the discussion, as aired on Wednesday, below.

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After Trump: No free pass for Republicans — they own this nightmare

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With the impeachment inquiry leveling up this month as public hearings begin, and with an election that might actually be the end of Donald Trump now less than a year away, the campaign to let Trump's Republican allies — even the most villainous offenders — move on and pretend this never happened is already underway.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Sadly, the clearest articulation of the let-bygones-be-bygones mentality has come from a Democrat — unsurprisingly, former Vice President Joe Biden.Biden, who is still, somehow, the frontrunner in Democratic primary polling, spoke at a chi-chi fundraiser on Wednesday, and dropped this pearl of wisdom: "With Donald Trump out of the way, you’re going to see a number of my Republican colleagues have an epiphany."

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Elections 2016

As climate crisis-fueled fires rage, fears grow of an ‘uninhabitable’ California

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As activist Bill McKibben put it, "We've simply got to slow down the climate crisis."

With wildfires raging across California on Wednesday—and with portions of the state living under an unprecedented "Extreme Red Flag Warning" issued by the National Weather Service due to the severe conditions—some climate experts are openly wondering if this kind of harrowing "new normal" brought on by the climate crisis could make vast regions of the country entirely uninhabitable.

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Elections 2016

‘A profound emoluments clause violation’: Andrew Napolitano slams Trump’s hosting the G7 at Doral

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In the wake of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's announcement this Thursday that next year's G7 summit will be hosted at President Trump's Doral golf club, Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano pointed out that Trump would be violating the emoluments clause if he were to go through with the move.

At the outset of the segment, Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto said that the announcement is "effectively saying the president has given himself this contract."

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