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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  January 16, 2021 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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it is the top of the hour. thank you so much for being with me. i'm poppy harlow in new york and this is our continuing special live coverage ahead of the inauguration of joe biden. normally this would be a time when the united states of america, the beacon of democracy around the world, comes together and looks toward the future and exercises what so many nations can only dream of, and that is a peaceful transfer of power. that will, indeed, happen, thank goodness. but now, three days until the inauguration of joe biden, the u.s. capitol is really a virtual fortress tonight with barbed wire fences and thousands of law enforcement officers surrounding it. the pentagon says up to 25,000 national guard troops have been authorized to secure the area around the capitol to prevent a
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breach. it's not only the u.s. capitol. across all the entire country, all 50 state capitols are on high alert, they're warning of further domestic threats against the government in the leadup to the inauguration. the fbi warning of armed protests in all 50 state capitals this week. they're particularly concerned about domestic extremists who refuse to recognize joe biden's victory. despite the threats, biden plans to hit the ground running. as soon as he's inaugurated he's pledging to take immediate action to tackle a number of crises that americans are facing. arlette saenz has details from wilmington, delaware. >> reporter: president-elect joe biden is readying dozens of executive actions to sign once he takes office on january 20th. many he outlined during his presidential campaign. the first day alone he plans to sign a dozen executive actions, some of them undoing policies from the trump administration.
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one will rescind the travel ban on travelers from majority-muslim countries, something trump unveiled early on in his administration that biden plans to undo. biden plans to rejoin the paris agreement. biden will be halting foreclosures and eviction nls, something that's happening right now, as well as keeping that pause on payments for student loans and interest. the president-elect will be issuing a 100-day masking challenge, trying to get people across the country to wear m masks. these executive actions are joining biden's legislative
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priorities. he will be sending an immigration bill to congress in his first 100 days. he has also unveiled a $1.9 trillion covid stimulus relief package. he's making clear he's planning to hit the ground running on january 20th. ron brownstein, he is our senior political analyst, he joins me from los angeles. i know it's not that late but it's super late for me, i'm a morning person. >> i can't relate to seeing you at night, although i guess it's morning again. >> people keep tweeting that, they're like, i don't get it, why are you on tv? this is live special coverage, and i'm glad you're up late with us, ron, thank you for being with us. >> sure. >> if we could just start with what we're looking at here for the beginning of biden's term. you wrote recently that the 2020s could be the most difficult decade for america since the 1850s. i thought it was just going to be a rough year.
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a decade? >> no, well look. if you look at what is driving the insurgency, the insurrectionary elements of the conservative coalition, i think above all, the evidence is clear there's a fear of demographic eclipse that is eroding the commitment to democracy in the republican coalition, both among leaders and followers. all this attention to trump's speech on wednesday, for good reason, right before the riot. i thought even more his speech two nights before, he went to georgia, he said, if democrats win those two senate seats and win control of the u.s. senate, america as we thouknow it will e to exist and it will not come back. if you're telling your voters the stakes of each election are that apocalyptic, it is not shocking that some of them begin to view democracy as dispensable. the underlying causes, i
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believe, of that kind of anxiety, above all, is the way in which the face of america is literally changing. none of those demographic changes are going to slow down, they're only going to accelerate. the risk is that you have an action/reaction cycle in which the democratic party increasingly reflects and embraces and advances the increasing diversity of america, and the big portion of the republican coalition recoils and becomes radicalized by that. that's why i think the decade could be so difficult. >> what does leadership need to do? democratic leadership, namely because they're going to hold the senate and the house and the white house. it's different language, but you'll remember ahead of the georgia election, the senate races, shum said something akin to, we take georgia, we take the country. it's different, what he said, but conservatives use that a lot in terms of fueling up their base. what does democratic leadership
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need to do? >> it's interesting. i think each party has a different challenge. there's no question what joe biden's strategy is. joe biden's strategy and the one he will i think successfully impose on most of the democratic party is to try to dial back all the cultural confrontation and focus on delivering bread and butter improvements in people's lives. shots in their arms, dollars in their wallets. and that is his vision of how you kind of wean back some of the voters who have been radicalized by the way trump has given so much oxygen and kind of normalized openly racist and white supremacist arguments over the last four years. i think republicans face the challenge, very similar to what they did in the early 1960s, when they had benefited from all of the energy of the anti-communist conspiracy theory in the john birch society, but ultimately had a break from those extremists in the '60s. i think they are in the same position now. if you think -- go ahead. >> i was going to say what we
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didn't have then that we have now is all of the social media platforms. >> absolutely. >> i'm not just talking about facebook and twitter, i'm talking about four chan, parler if it gets back, there's so much, even aside from that, the dark web. i mean, you did this interesting interview with elizabeth newman, then you wrote joe biden's looming war on white supremacy, the insurrection, could lead to a federal government crackdown on white nationalist groups. you say joe biden has a long-time war on white supremacy ahead of him? >> right. i think what we saw january 6th was how much this threat has grown in the four years of trump. and the impact of him kind of mainstreaming and normalizing, allowing people to come forward and say in public these views. to her, and i think to many experts, the biggest question is not so much what the democrats do, it's what the republicans do. there's no question that trump has kind of broken down the
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walls between the traditional conservative coalition and this extremism on the far right. and there will be an element of self-interest in the republican party that will worry about what -- identifying with this kind of extremism does to their ability to hold on to previously republican-leaning white-collar voters in suburbs everywhere, the people who moved against trump the most in this past election. i've got to think there are a lot of people who voted republican for most of their life, who look at the people with zip ties and furry pelts and horns and throwing fire extinguishers at police officers and say, do i really still belong in the same coalition with people -- with those people? if, in fact, there is a self-interest argument that encourages more republicans to do what the party did in the early '60s with the john birch society and kind of isolate and separate themselves from this movement, then it will be kind of bounded and maybe easier to
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contain in the 2020s. if they keep giving it oxygen, and we saw vanishingly few republicans get and up say, you know what it's all been a lie since election day, the election wasn't stolen. if they keep doing that, as elizabeth newman said to me, it's going to be hard to prosecute your way out of this problem. >> for sure. ron brownstein, thank you so much, your most recent piece in "the atlantic" is fascinating, everyone should read it. good to have you. >> thank you. see you in the morning. >> see you in the morning. with the nation on high alert, president trump has so far spent the weekend pretty much just inside the white house, no public events. it's the vice president, mike pence, who's been busy filling that void. on saturday he delivered remarks to sailors in california. he touted the trump administration's national security platform. on sunday pence travels to new york. he will address troops at ft. drum. president-elect joe biden wasting no time planning to roll back some of the president's policies on day one.
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executive orders still to come. also ahead for us, we'll take you to california where there are more covid-19 deaths per day than even in some entire countries. and emergency medical technicians caught in the middle. >> it's got to the point where if somebody has coronavirus, we're giving them 20 minutes. if they're not viable after 20 minutes, we're making a rough decision.
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welcome back. we've learned that president-elect biden will sign dozens of executive orders on his first day in office. his incoming chief of staff says included in those, ending the travel ban on predominantly muslim countries, rejoining the paris climate accords, halting evictions and student loan payments during the covid pandemic, issuing a mask mandate on all federal property. let's talk about the priorities and how he does them in this moment. chris cotinas is with me, democratic strategist in washington. it's good to have you here. thanks for staying up late. >> thank you. >> how does he balance all of that -- okay, those are executive orders, it can only go so far. you really want to legislate big-time in your first 100 days. and so president has had to do that with a senate trial happening at the same time. >> yeah, i was -- you know, when
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you think about it, i think president-elect biden probably has more challenges than any president since fdr, who transitioned from hoover. i think that's -- i don't think that's being mellow dramatic, i think that's just the reality of the profound series of economic, social, public health, diplomatic challenges the incoming president faces. you know, i think some things, the big things have to be legislated. particularly a relief package. that's going to require, in the senate, republicans working with the president. some have said they're open to it, some seem i think more reluctant. the impeachment complicates it even further because you're going to end up spending whatever it might be, a week, two weeks, or longer, still talking about the past president, and no one in the democratic party, in fact, no one in washington, wants to be talking about president trump for the next two or three weeks. but that is just the brutal political legislative reality
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that incoming president biden faces. >> what is his mandate? obviously, when you control both chambers as a party, and the white house, there are some mandates that come with that. i think also becomes a question of the importance of unity within the party, then across the aisle. but also, you know, what do you do in gratitude to the progressives who also helped push you over the finish line? right? how do you balance those? >> it's not easy. it's not easy in the best of circumstances. i almost think -- and this is going to sound very strange saying this from washington, of all places. i think if you try to govern by political calculation, i think you end up being in the same kind of problems that we've seen past presidents face when they come in. i think given the scope and the significance of the challenges that incoming president biden is going to face, i think you have to focus on the pandemic.
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that in particular in terms of the vaccine, the rollout, trying to get that under control. he set a bar of 100 million vaccinations over the next 100 days. that's a significant bar. you've got to meet that. the relief package i think will probably get, you know, maybe not watered down, but will get changed in order to win over some republican support, potentially to keep some of the democratic support. but i think if you're trying to sit there and say, well, i've got to make this group happy, that group happy, in the middle of a pandemic when there's so many times people hurting, i think that would not be the right strategy. i don't actually see that happening. i think they're pretty laser focused on the crises at hand. >> are you at all surprised that joe biden has not been more vocal about and made very, very clear his position on the importance of convicting the
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president? he's said, i hope, basically, they can do both things at the same time. but i find it interesting that there hasn't been a more forceful message about how important it is for him to not only convict, but also disqualify the president from running again. i wonder is that because he wants unity? not to alienate those who didn't vote for him? >> i think he wants to try to figure out, how do you bring the country together at a time when probably the country is more divided than any other time, at least in modern history, as far as i know. i think he's in a tough spot if he comes out and he's very vocal. he will be seen as the one leading the impeachment. i think he wants the senate to do that. the other reality, and this is just the brutal legislative and governing reality. he's got to focus on putting together a government. bringing in his cabinet, bringing in the people that he needs to be able to govern. he can't get distracted on
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day-to-day impeachment trials. and to be honest, no one really has figured out exactly how this is going to work. i know there's been a lot of talk about, maybe we do half on, half off. half on the legislative agenda, half on impeachment. that's not clear that's actually going to happen. so in a weird way, the worst scenario is we spend the first two, three weeks, whatever it might be, talking about impeachment of the former president. that would be horrific. because i think that the american people right now want leadership, and i think that's what president biden is going to be focused on. >> he's known to have been able to work with mitch mcconnell in the past, so i guess, to your point, for his sake, he should hope that mcconnell will give him what he wants and split the day. it's going to be up to him. let me end on this. in terms of the inaugural address, i think it is at this moment buying rewritten and rewritten and rewritten in these final days. four years ago, from
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president-elect trump and his inauguration, it was american carnage, the days of american carnage are over. what is the key line you were write in this inaugural address? >> it's a great question. to me it's about building a better america. it really is an aspirational, unifying tone. if you think about it, there's not going to be almost anybody watching in person. everyone will be watching, if you will, on tv or online or whatever it might be. it's a very different type of speech. it's a more, if you will, substantive speech. but at the same time you've got to hit those aspirational and emotional notes in order to kind of inspire people that he's -- not only has he got this, but he's going to help lead us through this really dark, dysfunctional, divisive period the country is in right now. it's not an easy speech under the best of circumstances. it's a more -- more difficult
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because the fact that the city is locked down literally. but i think, to me, i think you focus on, you know, inspiring -- you don't look backwards, you look forwards. >> yeah. some folks have said, you know, maybe you lay out a moonshot, right? we need a sputnik moment, something to come together as a country around and work toward and defeating this virus is certainly a key thing for that. it's good to have you, chris cotina, thank you. the tragedy in the numbers is ever apparent. we are approaching 400,000 americans losing their lives to covid. that is the most anywhere in the world. a quick and efficient vaccine rollout is central to getting this pandemic under control but anger is building over trump administration promise to release extra vaccine doses to the states that health and human services secretary said there is
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no reserve stockpile of doses to take that from. governors are angry, to say the least. >> it is not debatable that the united states did this more poorly than any nation on earth. they were lying. they don't have any doses held back. >> let me be very clear. this is deception on a national scale. >> what we really need is a new administration. we need president biden, secretary becerra, to restore some competence and sanity to figure out what the hell is going on. and if they have extra doses, to get them out. >> meantime, the cdc is warning that more contagious variant of covid could worsen the spread and become the dominant form of the virus here by march. as people wait in long lines across the country to get their vaccines, we are now seeing a disturbing trend, and that is vaccine tourism. people flying to florida or other states from abroad to get their shot. patrick got man explains.
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>> reporter: florida has long attracted visitors from around the world for its year-round sunny weather. miles of beaches, now for its supply of coronavirus vaccines. in late december, florida began offering vaccines to people aged 65 and older. almost overnight there were long lines, jammed phone lines, and the websites that offered appointments for the vaccines crashed. since florida does not require people seeking vaccines to be u.s. citizens, or even florida residents, it's led to some visitors coming from abroad to get vaccinated. critics call it "vaccine tourism." michael bender katz, who came to florida from mexico, calls it a lifesaver. "i was planning on making a trip, but when they said they started the vaccines here, we decided to come because we are elderly, and in mexico the situation is pretty serious." some florida residents say people who actually live in the state should be given priority. that is tricky in a place where
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so many people are constantly coming through for short periods of time. from seasonal snowbird visitors that travel in from the north to spend the winter months in florida, to migrant labor workers. florida's governor, ron desantis, says floridians are meant to be getting the vaccines. >> we have people all over the country, because we put seniors first, and because people actually see shots going in arms, you have literally people all over the world and all over the country calling here to see. we're not doing that. we're not doing it for tourists. >> reporter: but visitor after visitor, some coming from abroad just to get immunized, seem to be receiving the vaccine without any problems. anna rosen felt says she comes from argentina to florida to see her daughter and grandchildren. on this trip she also got vaccinated, something they says she couldn't do yet back home in argentina. "i would like to clarify it's not because one or three argentines get vaccinated. the americans are residents,
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particularly in florida, won't have that possibility. we aren't taking that away from anyone." for years, so many latin americans who could afford to would travel to miami to shop or vacation or for medical procedures. the city became known as the gateway to the americas. for many now, florida has become the gateway to the vaccine. patrick gotman, cnn. ahead for us, intelligence officials are seeing a lot of online chatter ahead of the inauguration and after the capital insurrection just days before the inauguration. how credible are these new threats? we'll talk to someone who says they saw january 6th coming. (burke) deep-sea driving, i see... (customer) something like that... (burke) well, here's something else: with your farmer's policy perk, new car replacement, you can get a new one. (custotomer) that is something else. (burke) get a whole lot of somomething with farmers policy perks. ♪ we are farmerers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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i'm poppy harlow in new york with special live coverage. the capitol siege last week was another example of the rise of far-right extremist groups. intelligence officials now say these groups are more of a threat to the united states than jihadi terror groups and the numbers show it. chat chatter online is all over the place as communities and the u.s. increase security at state capitols ahead of the
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inauguration. some see the attack on the capitol as a success, while others grapple with the consequences and condemnation. jared holt is with us. i'm glad he is, research fellow at the atlantic council, and this is his focus. you know this inside and out. thank you very much for being with me tonight. >> a pleasure to be with you. >> i know that you have said that you started to really worry in the days before the 6th. did you see this coming from the online chatter? did you think it would be what it turned out to be, the insurrection? >> you know, extremist groups are extreme in nature, right in the rhetoric is almost always dialed up to 11. but i was still surprised to see that with the most violent and anti-democratic fantasies that these different communities had actually came to fruition. that was still a big surprise to me. >> okay. so what do you see now? because a lot of this was
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forewarned on these sites. not just facebook. on parler before it was taken down, on four chan, et cetera. what are you seeing now that has the fbi warning about credible threats of armed protests at all 50 state capitols? >> yeah, even prior to january 6th there were plans in the works to show up to state capitols, all 50 states and d.c., armed. originally the idea was to protest different firearm regulations. but since, you know -- in the week prior and since the attack on january 6th, the organizers of those events have sought to try to broaden the appeal of the protests trying to appeal to people who maybe saw the attack on the capitol as a good thing. but generally the state of extremism online is incredibly chaotic right now. you've got waves of deep pla platforming, condemnations coming from the highest levels of government, including the
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president claiming that they don't want violence, and that, you know -- that the people involved in the attack will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. and it's just very paranoid, it's very frantic, and it's shifting around very rapidly right now. >> you know, the one thing about threats like this being shared or, you know, plans being shared on a site like facebook or parler, you can track it, right? >> uh-huh. >> the concern on the other end is, if you deplatform them, where do they go? they don't go away, the threats go away, they go into the deeper, darker web. that's harder to track, is it not? >> it is. it provides its own set of challenges. deplatforming has again and again proven effective action to take against extremist online activity, because it's incredibly disruptive. these groups are organized and
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comfortable on different websites, whether it be parler or four chan or other sites like that. and taking those sites offline, even if temporarily, sends them scattering. as an extremism researcher, that poses a unique set of challenges, but it's challenges that at least at the atlantic council we are working very hard to stay in front of. >> when you look at the insurrection and the president being permanently taken off twitter, we'll see what happens with him in facebook, i wonder, jared, your 30,000-foot view of whether this moment, this president and this siege on the capitol, has actually forever changed social media? if it will forever be more limited? >> i think what the siege on the capitol showed what is extremism researchers across the field have been warning about and
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ringing alarm bells about for years, often being told we're hysterical or that we are just so anti-trump that we can't be trusted. which that is disinformation is -- oftentimes it's wacky, it is kind of hard to believe that anybody would believe something like that. but, you know, deeper at its core, bigger picture, it can lead to really dangerous situations, including national security risks. i think what the siege of the capitol did was really underscore that threat and make it undeniably serious. and i think that because of the attack on the capitol, we're going to see renewed calls and investigations and scrutiny of different tech platforms for their role in letting this kind of extremism fester on their platforms for so long. >> jared, thank you. not only for being here tonight but for the work that you and all of your colleagues do at the atlantic council on this.
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it's invaluable. >> thanks. states across the country preparing for the worst. let's hope not, though. ahead of joe biden's inauguration. when we come back, we'll go to some of those states and see how they're preparing for the possible protests. eyes of the world are on the united states, of course, this week. allies and foes alike watching to see what president-elect joe biden's steps are when they takes office on foreign policy.
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authorities across the u.s. are on high alert ahead of joe biden's presidential inauguration. the fbi says there could be armed protests in washington and in all 50 state capitols this week. they're really concerned about domestic extremists who refuse to recognize biden's victory. we have reporters from austin, texas, where the mayor blames lies about the election for the dangerous environment. from harrisburg, pennsylvania, where the capitol is closing tomorrow out of an abundance of caution. let us begin this hour in georgia, in atlanta, where authorities are preparing for armed protests. >> reporter: i'm natasha chen in atlanta. there are barriers wrapping around the georgia state capitol, and the sidewalks on
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many sides of it are closed. you can also see armored vehicles and a strong law enforcement presence. the georgia building authority says no one has requested permits to protest at this time, but that may not stop groups from still trying to gather here. the republican lieutenant governor jeff dub duncan acknowledged to cnn president trump's words have made georgia less safe. he said he cannot fathom seeing such heightened security to ward off potential threats from people in his own party. >> reporter: i'm matt rivers outside the capitol building in austin, texas, the scene for small protests saturday, a handful of protesters showed up, all was peaceful. now the attention of the public safety authorities here in austin, texas, goes to sunday. we know the department of public safety is expecting at least two potential events during the day. we still don't know exactly how big those events are expected to be. but what we do know is the capitol grounds and the state capitol building will remain closed at least through the
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inauguration. >> reporter: i'm in harrisburg, pennsylvania, where authorities say they are prepared for whatever protesters may throw at them. they're not entirely sure protesters will come, but the capitol here in harrisburg will be shut down sunday through thursday. they put up some barriers, but they haven't fenced it off like other capitols around the country. one thing they will do here is shut these streets in front of the capitol to traffic. they are concerned about people open carrying, bringing long guns and other guns to these protests. pennsylvania is an open carry state. they've had several protests throughout the last year, both against covid restrictions and then against the outcome of the election. one thing authorities are very concerned about is a counter protest erupting and mixing it up with pro-trump protesters. >> thank you to our reporters for that. president-elect biden has a big job ahead of him when he takes office, especially on the
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global stage, repairing america's relationship with our allies abroad, the policies and actions of president trump have put u.s. allies on edge. they see a shift towards populism, destabilization to say the least. they are yet to see what comes with a biden administration. let's go back to my colleague will ripley. he joins me from hong kong with the international perspective. will, good to have you here. there is so much to do because this is so different. this is going to be such a different presidency than the america-first presidency of donald trump. >> reporter: i think what world leaders, particularly u.s. allies in the g7, in the eu, what they want to know is whether president biden is a four-year reprieve from trumpism or whether trumpism will return next election cycle. what is normal now for the united states? that's really the unknown. and from the perspective of america's key allies around the world who have watched american
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democracy destabilize, they've watched the divisions only widen, and then, of course, the images of the insurrection and the militarization of washington, d.c., which was absolutely surreal, and really startling for a lot of countries around the world. because if america is no longer the shining example of democracy it once was, what does that mean for democracy around the world as a whole? >> and all those anti-democratic moves that america condemns, certainly. on china, because you're in hong kong and you were just in the united states, the -- we know president trump engaged in this long trade war with china. what is interesting to me is that it's not clear that biden's going to end it and end the tariffs. he has at least said he's not going to make any immediate moves. i wonder how president xi jinping views that in terms of the threat from, or not, from the incoming biden administration? >> reporter: from the chinese perspective, the chaos in washington has been a propaganda
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coup. china is riding high. they called the united states hypocritical for condemning the actions of protesters in its own capitol when visibly similar actions when protesters here in hong kong stormed the legislative council, for example, obviously those protesters were supporting democracy, whereas protesters in washington were essentially trying to undermine a free and fair election. but the imagery was the same and that's what china jumped on to call the u.s. a hypocrite for condemning actions here, and yet -- or condemning actions in the united states, but supporting them here. then you have president trump being banned from social media, twitter, facebook. those are private companies that made the decision to do that. they can do that under the first amendment. but china is telling its own citizens that u.s., they call it censorship, is essentially the same as chinese government censorship, where the government imposes on companies what can be done and what can't. totally different, but from the beijing perspective, it
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reinforces that. you have frankly china continuing to not only crush the democracy movement in hong kong, suppress the uighur muslims, conducting essentially brick blackmail of smaller, less-powerful countries using trade like what's happening in australia, china still is reaping the benefits of a rebounding economy post-covid, low case numbers, because they have the virus essentially contained in their country. they just signed a trade deal with the eu which gives president biden a whole lot of less leverage as he continues to try to negotiate on the issue of trade when he takes office. >> yeah, for sure. i mean, that's what -- when you say america first, then you walk away from trade agreements and trash tpp, of course china is going to fill that vacuum. north korea. you've spent so much time there reporting, will. and the president, i thought, that through flattery and meetings with kim jong-un, he could really change the game. how does the threat that north korea poses to the united states, where does that stand now versus when trump took office?
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i think we lost will ripley. we appreciate his reporting live from hong kong for us. will, thank you very, very much. ahead, since twitter has suspended the president, many people wonder about the company and what may be to come. we're going to talk about that ahead.
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♪ a reminder of our top story tonight. u.s. authorities continue to warn of further threats against the government in the days leading up to joe biden's inauguration. the fbi says there may be armed protests in washington, d.c. and at all 50 state capitols this week. they're particularly concerned about domestic extremists who refuse to recognize joe biden's election victory, and security across washington has been incredibly ramped up. the u.s. capitol is now a virtual fortress with barbed wire fences and thousands of law enforcement officers and national guard troops. twitter made the
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unprecedented move of completely removing president trump from the plate form permanently, but what about other world leaders? our scott mcclain reports. >> reporter: following the deadly u.s. capitol riot, many political opponents are cheering twitter's decision to ban the person they say encouraged the insurrection, president trump. trump's personal facebook account was also suspended indefinitely. >> it violated our policy and it was a risk we couldn't take. >> i think that big tech is doing a horrible thing for our country and to our country, and i believe it is going to be a catastrophic mistake for them. >> reporter: social media platforms consistently pointed to their own rules to explain controversial decisions, but experts says it is consistency that's been lacking. >> they're not consistent, so you also have to wonder whether some of the companies have become basically monsters that
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they cannot tame themselves anymore. >> reporter: trump's ban set off a fierce international debate around free speech and who, if anyone, ought to be policing it online. the mexican president called the ban contrary to freedom while a spokesperson for german chancellor angela merkel said it is problem attic. critics also pointed to the odd paradox of a u.s. president barred from twitter while a cast of repressive regimes and brutal dictators remain. like venezuela president nicholanicolas maduro who the united nations has accused of crimes against humanity. the company explained in 2018 that blocking a world leader would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. >> i don't think they made the wrong decision by kicking off president trump. however, i would like to see them apply that same standard to leaders around the world. >> reporter: but many of the world's most unsavory leaders
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also have some of the tamest twitter accounts. russian president vladimir putin has a verified kremlin account but off line he has been accused of silencing his critics, his agents even poisoning his political opponent alexei nav navalny. >> expecting the companies to be the speech police of our dreams, you know, only policing the bad speech and always allowing the good speech is simply unrealistic. >> reporter: this week twitter ceo jack dorsey defended the ban but said platforms should look critically of inconsistencies of our policy and enforcement. president trump used his twitter account unlike any other world leader to inflame debate, insult critics and spread outright lies, but he wasn't the only one accused of bad behavior. just last week china, which denies accusations of forced sterilizations of uyghur minorities, reportedly tweeted from the account from the
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embassy in washington that the mind of uyghur women have been emancipated. the tweet was removed by twitter but other incendiary posts are still up like the 2018 tweet from iran's ayatollah calling israel a malignant, cancerous tumor that must be eradicated. a former executive summed up the reluctance like this. >> if i threaten my neighbor, it is a crime. if the president threatens our neighbors, it is a statement of foreign policies. >> reporter: in 2018, twitter explained that we review tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them and enforce our rules accordingly. but local political context is where experts say american social media companies have a blind spot. that same year facebook conceded it didn't do enough to prevent the genocide against ro hhingya
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muslims. they say it was jenned up in part by military leaders on facebook. facebook says it has made improvements and banned 20 accounts. >> why is it only now we are kind of waking up to this? this has happened before? >> i don't think it is a secret that americans tend to look at their own society with much more attention than the rest of the world, and it is also a matter of resources. i mean how much effort have these platforms really put into understanding the societies in which they were unleashing their products? >> reporter: europe is already planning vast new legislation to rein in the power of social media platforms while both parties in washington agree something needs to change, they just can't agree on what. scott mcclain, cnn, london. >> what a fascinating and important piece, scott. thank you very much. thanks to all of you for joining me for our special live coverage ahead of the inauguration of joe biden. i'm poppy harlow in new york. i hope you have a safe, restful weekend. i will seal you back here monday morning. up next, the cnn special report,
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the capitol insurrection, the organizers, participants. join anderson cooper for "cnn
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special report, the faces of the trump insurrection," next. ♪ this is cnn, the
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the following is a cnn "special report." ♪ our country has had enough. >> taking our freedom, locking us down and turning this country into a blasted socialist republic, and that is not right! that's what i'm doing here. >> you will never take back our country with weakness. >> that's what we're doing, fighting back. >> you have to show strength and you have to be strong. >> usa! >> they are the faces of insurrection. >> i think we should have gone