tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN February 25, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
good evening. we have breaking news on two fronts tonight. a big decision on raising the minimum wage and the first known use of military force by the biden administration. we begin with that with air strikes. the target was in syria. the message appears to be aimed at iran. cnn's oren liebermann has been working sources at the pentagon, joins us now. what do we know, oren? >> reporter: anderson, a short time ago u.s. aircraft struck a site in syria that defense officials say belonged to iranian-backed militias operating in syria. the site they say was used as a weapons smuggling site by two shia militias backed by iran using iranian weapons. and that is why this site was chosen in particular in syria. it follows three rocket attacks in recent weeks against u.s. and coalition forces. one in erbil about a week and a
half ago. another in balad air base just north of baghdad. and another in the green zone in baghdad itself. pentagon spokesman john kirby released this statement just a short time ago following the strikes. he said, "this proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures including consultation with coalition partners. the operation sends an unambiguous message president biden will act to protect american and coalition personnel. at the same time we've acted in a deliberate manner that aims to deescalate the overall situation in both eastern syria and iraq." one of the other things kirby noted is that it was biden's decision, his directive, to carry out the strike. >> in the statement it talks about a deliberate manner. that references sort of the scale of the military targets in the region. how big was this? >> reporter: this wasn't a military target. it was a large site. it was a relatively small site. that seems to be a key part of the messaging here. i'll go back to the first point you made. the message was to iran but they struck syria. to target iran itself, sovereign
iran, would be an escalation pretty much no matter what you chose to target there and no matter what scale. to target syria is a deliberate message. and what the u.s. views as iranian-backed shia militias operating there that use iranian weaponry. and because it's not a large site it seems this target was picked specifically not to escalate the situation. and why is that important right now? because washington and tehran are trying to figure out how to move forwards on negotiations related to iran's nuclear program, especially as the u.s. wants to broaden that out either in nuclear program negotiations or afterwards to include some of iran's other activities in the region. that includes ballistic missiles and funding terror groups throughout what's known as the shia crescent. and this area that was struck falls into that category. the message here, you can't just willy-nilly strike u.s. and coalition forces. it's a response to that and a deterrence against future strikes, anderson. >> oren lieberman, thanks very much. this is a first for the new administration. our kaitlan collins is at the white house for us. any word from the white house on these strikes? >> reporter: no word from the white house yet though the pentagon did say this happened around 6:00 eastern.
that's about an hour after the white house called it what they say is a lid, that means no presidential appearances or statements expected yet. so we're waiting for that. but this is a first for them. the first known offensive military operation carried out by president biden. so it is a big deal we are seeing this. as oren was talking about we're told this came from the top down, the decision to target these sites specifically. that means it came from president biden himself. and so this does raise a lot of questions about where they are going to go forward since they just said they want to restart talks with iran. those are multinational talks. anderson, it was always going to be a delicate tough dance that was going to move forward there after former president trump withdrew from the iran nuclear deal. so the way this complicates that, how this factors into that still remains to be seen because it was already going to be pretty dicey. but what we do know about the decision behind this is we were told by the white house press secretary president biden was "outraged" by the rocket attacks in iraq. we know yesterday he spoke with the prime minister there and they vowed to hold those accountable. so that seems to be what they were trying to do here tonight with this.
>> it seems like there are a couple different ways of interpreting. one of them we should look at is how this reads into in terms of president biden's larger military strategy in that part of the world and also is this a show of strength to iran and perhaps even to americans here that even though he's negotiating with iran he's still looking to hold them responsible if he deems it necessary? >> reporter: and remember after they said they'd like to stake steps to move forward after those strikes you heard from a lot of republicans on capitol hill who said they were worried president biden was going to be really soft on iran. they were comparing that to how they believe former president trump acted. so this is a partial response to that too. it will be interesting to see how republicans respond to this. so far we haven't gotten any statements from lawmakers yet. and the other question is whether or not president biden was in the situation room for this. we've asked the white house where he was as these strikes were carried out. because typically he leaves the west wing around 6:45 p.m. that's about his daily schedule. so we're still waiting to see exactly where he was and how he
does envision this in his foreign policy. because yes, there are the challenges with russia and china but iran is going to be a really significant one for him. because so many people that are working for him, his secretary of state, his national security adviser, were deeply involved in the crafting of the iran nuclear deal that happened under president obama. that of course president trump was so critical of. really this is president biden charting his own path here. i'm not sure he's going to follow either of his predecessors' routes. so how that takes us and what this response factors into that is something that remains to be seen. >> kaitlan collins, appreciate it. we'll come back to you shortly on the next breaking story as well. it affects anyone working a minimum wage job who was hoping a raise would be part of the president's covid relief package. its fate was in the hands of a senate official called the parliamentarian. just moments ago we learned the decision. ryan nobles at the capitol for us. so how did the parliamentarian rule? >> reporter: we're learning tonight that elizabeth macdonough who is the senate parliamentarian who's tasked
with the responsibility of determining whether or not a piece of legislation directly impacts the budget and therefore can be passed through a process known as reconciliation which would mean it would only need 51 votes in the senate decided that the minimum wage increase as part of the covid relief package did not meet the standard. that means it is going to be impossible for senators, the democratic senators here to pass that bill through the senate because there are certainly not the 60 votes necessary to do it as part of that package. so it looks very unlikely that the minimum wage increase will be ultimately a part of this covid relief package, anderson. >> and what's the reaction been from democrats who've been pushing minimum wage increase? >> reporter: well, there's no doubt that democrats are disappointed. almost every democrat you talk to is in favor of some sort of a minimum wage increase but there is a degree of relief because having this minimum wage relief as part of this covid package makes it that much more difficult to pass. there were some moderate democratic senators, joe manchin of west virginia, kyrsten sinema of arizona who said they may not support the package with the minimum wage as a part of it. now that it is no longer a part of the package it should sail
through the senate much easier. and even progressives who there are some today saying that kamala harks the vice president should overrule the parliamentarian. and allow it to be part of the package that is unlikely. the white house has said that is not going to happen. but even those progressives have said that they will pass the covid relief package without the minimum wage bill. but one thing for sure, anderson, in it is not part of this package it's going to be very difficult to see a minimum wage increase as part of this congress in the foreseeable future. >> so this means it's definitely not going to be part of the covid relief bill? >> yeah, there's still, you know, a process that has to take place here. right? so tomorrow the house is going to vote on the covid leif package. the $15 minimum wage increase will be part of that package and it will likely pass the house. once it gets over here to the senate and it goes through this
reconciliation process where it will ultimately be stripped out before heading back to the senate. to answer your question as plainly as i can, anderson, no, the minimum wage increase will no longer be a part of the covid relief package when it is ultimately passed and then sent to president biden. >> ryan nobles, appreciate it. more on the politics of this. political analyst gloria borger joins us and kaitlan collins is back with us as well. gloria, how big a setback is this for democrats particularly someone like bernie sanders i talked to him a week or so ago and he said hadn't given up hope and he wanted to get this through. >> it is a big setback for bernie sanders. it's a big setback for lots of democrats who wanted to see this $15 minimum wage but iron will i as ryan was talking about in a way this helps the president get his covid relief bill through because there are these moderates like joe manchin, for example, of west virginia who was saying you know what, i don't want it in a budget bill and there's another moderate saying maybe we don't need $15 right away and i don't want to see it part of a budget bill, i
don't think we should do it that way. it was a process argument. so that takes it out of the equation. so as a result the president can now think that perhaps they're going to have a united democratic front on this covid bill. and this is not a surprise to the white house. i'm sure kaitlan can talk about this. they've been signaling this for weeks. i talked to a senior white house adviser last week who said to me, look, we don't know that we're going to get this through. in fact, we think it's likely the parliamentarian's going to rule against us on minimum wage. the president himself has said you know, this might not be part of the covid relief bill. but they thought they'd give it a shot. they knew there was a chance they weren't going to get it. but in the end it could help them pass the larger package and they have to fight a minimum wage another day. >> kaitlan, ultimately what they want right now is just to get the covid stimulus package passed. >> right. i mean, president biden was the first one to say this. it actually caused a lot of frustration among progressives
when he said the day of the super bowl that he didn't think it was actually going to make it in here, that this exact situation would happen where the parliamentarian says it can't included. he spent a lot of time in the senate. i think this is a big reason why you've seen the white house really reluctant to weigh in on these fights that are happening over the minimum wage, whether or not it was going to be included, how much it should be. you heard manchin propose something around $11, i believe. they just stayed out of it because i think they saw this coming. and so that does raise some questions about where it's going to go from here. biden has said he does want it to get achieved at some point. how they do that later on is still going to be a really big question for them. and we should go ahead and note here because there will be some chatter among progressives about this chance that the vice president harris could overrule the parliamentarian and actually include it in this reconciliation bill. we heard from the chief of staff last night. he said that is not something they were going to pursue, they were going to respect whatever ruling they got from the parliamentarian.
and now of course it's not going to be included. >> gloria, does this then become a major rallying cry for democrats going into the midterms? >> sure. i think it does. if they don't get something passed by the midterms. and this makes it less likely of course. joe biden's in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $15. i think democrats are. republicans are saying it's going to cost jobs. and we know the arguments on both sides. and i think it's something democrats can really rally around, particularly in this kind of economy. don't forget, donald trump was for an increase in the minimum wage, if you'll recall. so i think it will be something they'll be talking about heading into the midterms. but they're going to propose it way before then because they want to try to figure out a way to get it perhaps attached to something else. we have no idea how that's going to work itself out. but it's surely going to end up dying in the senate. but you might have a united democratic party in the senate for covid relief, which is really the sort of big issue for joe biden right now and this unfortunately has become the sacrificial lamb.
>> how worried is the white house about moderate democratic senators like joe manchin and kristen sinema? >> i don't know if i'd use the word worried but they are fully aware of the power they're going to have over biden's personnel and his policy. we saw them flexing their muscle over the last few days when it comes to his budget director pick and when it comes to this minimum wage because even before we got to where everyone was kind of on pins and needles for how the parliamentarian was going to rule manchin had already thrown his weight around by saying he didn't think it belonged in here. so had kyrsten cinema of arizona. what we're seeing this argument going into the midterms is yes democrats control the senate and the house and they have the white house but barely. and it is really affecting them. it's not an ideal situation for republicans for mitch mcconnell to not be the senate majority leader but this is probably as next to ideal as it can get being a 50-50 senate because they still have a lot of authority here, they can still have their moderate members play a really significant role in what biden's agenda is going to look like. >> kaitlan collins, gloria borger, appreciate it.
next a chilling warning about the new threat to the capitol. how the former president's election lie plays into it and a cnn exclusive interview with the leader of a group deeply implicated in the insurrection who didn't take part but says he has no regrets celebrating that lawmakers were terrorized that day. and later new covid modeling. why cases are falling faster than expected and the impact of a third vaccine now on the brink of approval. with everything else it. that's great, carl. but we need something better. that's easily adjustable has no penalties or advisory fee. and we can monitor to see that we're on track. like schwab intelligent income. schwab! introducing schwab intelligent income. a simple, modern way to pay yourself from your portfolio. oh, that's cool... i mean, we don't have that. schwab. a modern approach to wealth management.
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with everything else happening tonight there's this too. a warning about a potential second attack on the capitol, one far more destructive and deadly than the assault last month. it came during house hearings on the january insurrection in testimony from the acting chief of the capitol police. what lawmakers heard and what you're about to hear is rarely said in such specific detail in so public a setting. >> we know that members of the militia groups that were present on january 6th have stated their desires that they want to blow up the capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the state of the union, which we know that date has not been identified. so based on that information, we think that it's prudent that capitol police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward. >> this is one of the first times that law enforcement officials have publicly cited
specific threats against the president and lawmakers in connection with the president's expected address to a joint session of congress. it comes with arrests and court documents continuing to paint a troubling picture of those involved on january 6. now, in just a moment we'll hear a cnn exclusive report on the leader of the white supremacist's so-called proud boys whose members played a visible role in the insurrection. also tonight there's new reporting on the former inciter in chief who first told the proud boys to stand back and stand by before encouraging them and others that morning at the capitol. new details on his plan to re-enter politics, which begins on sunday with a speech to the conservative political action committee, or cpac, in orlando. and breaking news tonight. senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, who condemned the president after the attack then voted to acquit them then condemned him again, seems to have done another backflip, telling fox news he will support
the 2024 republican presidential nominee even if it is the former president. long before the man he's back to enabling speaks on sunday we'll be hearing from plenty of his other enablers and election lie defenders. on the cpac schedule tomorrow morning a session titled "protecting elections: why judges and media refuse to look at the evidence." reported to be among the panelists, congressman moe brooks. this guy. >> today is the day american patriots start taking down names and kicking ass! >> that was the morning of the ins rex. also on the agenda tomorrow, speeches from senators ted cruz and josh hawley, both of whom stoked the election lie, and going to what is expected to be a kind of woodstock for election liars. cnn's manu raju reports the gop's support for the election lie appears firm. after speaking with more than two dozen senate and house republicans he found a wide variety refused to debunk it. some even argued the former president had no part in fomenting insurrection. one lawmaker in florida, congressman brian mast telling
manu, here's how i know the president didn't play a role in that, because if the president would have told people to sack the capitol or attack the capitol there wouldn't have been a couple thousand, it would have been a million. which is a statement so full of bravado that in another time would be easy just to dismiss but this is now and now means that talk like that potentially has consequences. we have seen it. it means people inclined to turn incitement into violent action may be about to see a new flood of encouragement for whatever they have planned. and as you heard at the top what they could have planned would be terrible beyond words. which brings you to the leader of the so-called proud boys in his first interview with a major american network since the attack on the capitol. he spoke with cnn's sara sidner, who joins us now. sara? >> reporter: anderson, two things stood out to me in talking to proud boy chairman enrique tarrio. one is his admission to testifying at a grand jury that involved an investigation into roger stone in the past, and his reaction to the members of congress as they were being hunted down in the capitol on january 6th.
>> i'm not going to cry about a group of people that don't give a crap about their constituents. i'm not going to -- i'm not going to sympathize with them. >> reporter: the leader of the proud boys is talking about the members of congress who feared for their lives on january 6th. >> everybody stay down! >> reporter: as a mob attacked the capitol. >> they shouldn't have breached the capitol with violence. >> reporter: he says that now. >> fight for trump! >> reporter: but the day after the violent breach enrique tarrio posted, this a picture on social media of members of congress trying to hide as the attackers began their siege. you write "when the people fear the government there's tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty." doesn't that show that you are celebrating terrorizing people? >> i was celebrating, and i'll tell you i'll celebrate the moment that the government does fear the people. at that point. and again, i didn't have all the information that came in, why they were carrying or anything
like that. >> do you wish that you didn't do that, now that you know -- >> no. another thing is i'll never regret something that i said. >> reporter: they are doing the job that the people put them there to do and if they don't like it they can vote them out. they are still americans. they are still human beings who felt that their lives were in danger. how can you not feel any sympathy or any empathy toward someone like that? >> i'm not going to worry about people that their only worry in life is to be re-elected. >> we've got a whole boatload of proud boys walking through here, folks. >> reporter: tarrio was not there on january 6th. he was arrested in d.c. two days before for burning a black lives matter flag stolen from a church and having empty weapons magazines that are illegal in d.c. >> you're walking with the proud boys to the state capitol.
>> reporter: but a group of proud boys was there. the far right group is known across country for brawling with members of antifa. >> [ bleep ] antifa! >> a left-wing anti-fascist movement. they are also known for throwing their support behind donald trump whose words to them in a september presidential debate exploded their popularity. >> proud boys, stand back and stand by. >> i think we've doubled in numbers since the debate. >> reporter: tarrio has close ties with one of trump's longest-serving advisers and friends, roger stone. stone was in d.c. on january 6th as people rallied against the election results that showed trump lost. stone did not march to the capitol and wasn't charged with a crime. instead stone was seen with members of extremist groups like the oath keepers and proud boys, who have now become a central focus of law enforcement in the capitol attack investigation. tarrio had such a close relationship with roger stone he revealed this. you have access to roger stone's phone? >> for a couple times when i went to go see him i'd help him with like his social media posts and things like that. >> reporter: tarrio's access to that phone landed him in front of a federal grand jury. a detail not revealed until now.
at the time stone was facing seven charges in the russia probe including lying to congress and witness tampering. trump pardoned him after he was convicted on all seven charges. during his trial stone was accused of threatening the judge in the case with a social media post, an image of the judge and what appeared to be a target behind her head. >> i actually testified in front of the grand jury. but no, there was no -- that picture was brought up on a google search. right? so you used to be able to search -- not now obviously because -- >> reporter: wait, back up. what you said. did you just say you were on a grand jury panel? you did. >> i did. >> reporter: it's too late to take it back now. >> well, that's the story -- it's not a secret. that's the story that came out, that you know, that they wanted to see if -- who was it that
posted it at that point. the actual crosshairs, it isn't really a cross-hair. it's the logo of the organization that wrote the article. so it was just like a graphic. and then that was posted -- i have no idea who actually posted it. but i know that i had nothing to do with it. >> stop the steal! >> reporter: stone is one of the architects of the "stop the steal" rallying cry. but tarrio does not buy into the lie that the election was stolen. he says he just wants more transparency. do you believe that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from donald trump? >> no, i don't. i don't believe that the election was stolen. >> reporter: and yet he encouraged his proud boys to show up on january 6th in record numbers. >> here's all the proud boys, guys. >> reporter: a group of them did show up.
here they are marching together towards the capitol. at least eight proud boys tarrio knows have been charged in the capitol siege. this is one of them. using a police officer's shield to bust out a window in the capitol, allowing people to flood in. >> i condemn the actions. i don't think that he should have done that. i think it was completely wrong. but the other seven individuals were trespassing. i think that they got caught up with the entire -- with like the entire crowd and they made a poor decision to go in there. >> reporter: members of the proud boys didn't appear to just be getting caught up in this. some of them were leading this attack. you had people were moving barriers who were proud boys. you had someone threatening an officer, breaking the capitol window. they weren't just following in this insurrection. it appears that some of them were leading the charge. >> no, those three accusations, i do want to touch on those. the breaking of the window we've already hit. the threatening -- >> reporter: that's wrong? >> yeah. definitely. inequivocally that's wrong. the threatening of police officers, i didn't see that.
>> reporter: the feds have. they have video of william cressman yelling "you shoot and i'll take your [ bleep ] ass out." >> as of right now i can't tell you about cressman. because i can't locate who he's affiliated with. like if he's even a proud boy. >> reporter: cressman's defense attorney said he was just following trump's orders that day. but tarrio says some of thinks proud boys who did breach the capitol are unfairly being charged with conspiracy. did the proud boys have a plan to go -- >> into the capitol? >> reporter: -- into the capitol? >> absolutely not. >> reporter: tarrio puts some of the blame for what happened on january 6th on police for being unprepared to thwart the mob. >> oh, [ bleep ]. we're tearing it down. >> reporter: and he claims some of the proud boys simply walked in to record history. >> there's no one that stopped them from going in. you feel like it's something wrong that you shouldn't do. >> reporter: but are you blaming the police for telling people not to break the law? >> no, i'm not blaming the cops at all. >> reporter: so what are you saying? >> now, i can blame -- i can blame the police officers and
the feds for their inability to respond to this. so was it a mistake to even go into the capitol? >> reporter: was it? >> yes. >> reporter: do you condemn those people? can you say that right now? >> okay, i can't say that. >> reporter: why not? >> because i think condemn is a very strong word and i think it's a little bit too strong. >> reporter: he thinks the fbi is trying to make an example of the proud boys. but tarrio also has a history with the fbi after being sentenced to federal prison for fraud in 2012. were you ever an informant for the fbi? >> i was, to put it simply, i was put in a very tough situation where the federal government had wanted me to testify against my brothers. >> reporter: he said he refused and instead his defense attorney said tarrio cooperated with the fbi and other law enforcement on many cases. one involving prescription drugs. another a marijuana raid.
an illegal gambling bust and more. but tarrio would only admit to cooperating on one case. >> the only thing that i actually gave them was the human trafficking ring. and again, i'm not going to apologize for it. >> reporter: what is next for the proud boys and the country? tarrio has already made a plan. >> i think right now is a time to go ahead and overthrow the government by becoming the new government and running for office. >> joining us now along with sara sidner cnn contributor and former fbi director andrew mccabe. so he wants to run for office. so sara, one of his close allies is taking a significant step against the proud boys, right? >> yeah. enrique tarrio says himself he is considering for running for office. that he may step down from his role as chairman of the proud boys at some point to concentrate on that and helping others with like minds run for office. but he may have a public relations problem because in the
last few weeks canada has designated the proud boys as a terrorist organization. that might hurt his chances. but he says the canadian proud boys might just fight that in court. >> he might also have to wear a different costume and take out the glasses and the hat and actually make eye contact. andrew, in all your years at the fbi have you ever seen the rise of so many extremist groups at once? i mean, let alone groups that were taking their cues from someone in office. sort of the mainstreaming of these kinds of groups. >> no. absolutely not. there's no -- there's no history of this whatsoever. look, we've always had an issue with domestic violent extremists in this country, and that goes back decades, maybe a century. but we've never seen anything quite like this. the spectrum of different groups, different identities, their success in recruiting, their success in arming themselves and injecting themselves into the political
discourse is remarkable and unprecedented and you have to -- you have to conclude that a lot of that is due to the affirmation that they've received over the last few years by the president himself. >> andrew, you've been in law enforcement a long time. how often do you see folks who talk big and wear the iconography of skinheads and, you know, call themselves things like proud boys and then when they're actually facing charges themselves for something they've done or been accused of doing they quickly turn and rat out as many people as they can? and he now is lying and saying he was only doing it on sex trafficking, which is clearly a nod to like the qanon folks because that's something that they claim they're working on which they're not. but according to court records that sara showed there are other things he ratted people out for. >> you know, anderson, it's not strange at all to have people who are members of criminal
organizations or terrorist organizations to once they find themselves in trouble they begin talking to law enforcement and exposing their confederates and all of the activity they've been involved in. but that is usually the death knell for their continued involvement or participation in those organizations. many of those folks, organized crime members, terrorists who cooperated, we then have to protect for the rest of their lives. so it's going to be really interesting to see what happens to mr. tarrio here. he's been exposed as a cooperator. i think most folks would assume logically that his cooperation went far beyond what he's admitting to publicly, and that's got to really negatively impact his credibility in a group that prides itself partially on opposing the government. >> yeah, sara, he's obviously talking about while he was only exposing a child trafficking ring, a, what is he doing having knowledge of a child trafficking ring that he hadn't previously exposed? but b, clearly in documents it was more than that. he's just trying to kind of keep
in the good graces of qanon. >> absolutely. and i think -- >> it was -- >> sorry, go ahead, sara. >> oh, sorry. i just want to be clear here in talking to him what he said was a human trafficking ring about immigration, somebody bringing people into the country, not necessarily a child trafficking ring. >> at in the world of qanon -- >> we asked him is this causing a schism. >> in the world of qanon human trafficking is what the border is about. >> it is one and the same in their minds. but he's also very clear in saying there was a schism, there were a couple of proud boy organizations, chapters that said we're going to break apart, we're no longer going to take orders from you, from the head of the organization. but he says you know what? i have as much support as i've ever had. we've had these schisms sometimes. i've cleared this all up with my boys. and you know what, all things are good. that we're going forward, we're
looking forward to the future. so he doesn't seem bothered by this. what the reality is amongst the people who have followed him is yet to be told. >> sara sidner, andrew mccabe. sara, fascinating interview. thank you. enrique tarrio's remarks about celebrating the ordeal lawmakers went through during the insurrection speaks volumes in itself. should not go unanswered. joining us now is awn of the many lawmakers, staffers, police officers and capitol personnel who were terrorized that day, congresswoman sheila jackson lee of texas. congresswoman, thanks for being with us. i'm wondering what you make of what you just heard. >> first of all, anderson, thanks for having me. what i make of it is that we're at the precipice of a constitutional crisis and that is a contentious period of time between anarchists, individuals who are insurrectionists, and those who want to preserve democracy. i'm going to stand with those who want to preserve democracy. but in doing that we have to show that we have a backbone and that we are prepared. and i think the testimony that we've heard over the last 24 hours, i led a committee yesterday on the rise of domestic terrorism in america,
there was a hearing today and a hearing yesterday that indicates we were not prepared. i think that the proud boys have a right to their free speech. so do the oath takers, the boogaloo boys. just as the american civil liberties union and the naacp. but at the same time we cannot concede or cede power to them to tear down this government and the congress needs to get prepared. one, a 9/11 commission. but in the oversight that i have in particular in the house judiciary committee, we've got to be able to insist that the fbi is effectively monitoring and overseeing violent acts that may generate from speech. and in yesterday's testimony, and we've heard this over and over again, we know that in the last ten years the most murders have come from white supremacists and individuals that associate with these kinds of organizations, domestic terrorists. it has also been fueled of
course by the words of the former president of the united states. unfortunately, he'll have another occasion to fuel those words this coming sunday. so i think the responsibility of government is to protect the american people. representatives should be held accountable. we should be held accountable by our voters. and that's who makes the change, voters. but i think to accept insurrection as a tool to change government is absolutely unacceptable. >> the mainstreaming of a lot of these groups and the idea that -- i mean, he's claiming his membership has doubled since that debate. who knows if that's true or not? but they're certainly still out there even after this insurrection and the shock of that. >> they are out there and social media has been documented as a very strong element of their growth, their ways of communicating with each other. you know, we are a free nation. and in the midst of discussing domestic terrorism there was an
interest to ensure civil liberties and civil rights. my view of this is that you're going to have to walk and chew gum at the same time. i'm very disappointed in the level of intelligence communication that occurred by the fbi, both with local metro police, d.c. police and the capitol police and the lack of preparedness. we can do better. we know to do better. we did better after 9/11, understood how we should handle both the issues of attacks by international terrorists. we've got to do that really to protect the american people. put aside members of the united states congress. these assets, the white house, the various buildings here in the seat of government, the capitol, they belong to the american people. we see them coming all the time with their children and their school groups. what i have to say is we cannot tolerate, whether they build their population and growth by social media, we cannot tolerate insurrection and attacks and destruction, and what we saw the leader of the proud boys making excuses, they shouldn't have gone in, they shouldn't have
used the shield, they shouldn't have been beating law enforcement officers almost to near death and of course one of our officers lost his life, two committed suicide, so many are injured. that should not have been done. and they can never compare that to black lives matter, who simply wanted to emphasize the importance of the civility of law enforcement and good policing. we maintain that today. we cannot be compared to that. and i do believe that we as a congress will have to use our committee skills to ensure that the agencies responsible
for protecting this place and protecting the nation must stand up and do better. >> congresswoman sheila jackson lee, appreciate it. up next, what the new defense secretary is saying about the airstrikes tonight against targets in syria. and i'll talk with "new york times" foreign affairs columnist tom friedman about what the military action could mean for the united states and the region. we'll be right back. secur ity? all our techs are pros.
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breaking news from the top of the program, the biden administration has just taken its first military action, an airstrike in syria focusing on an area used by iranian-backed militia groups following rocket attacks on american forces in iraq. moments ago defense secretary lloyd austin spoke about the u.s. response. >> we're confident in the target that we went after. we know what we hit. and we're confident that that target was being used for the same shia militia that conducted
the strikes. >> joining me now, "new york times" foreign affairs columnist tom fried han who's the author of a number of best sellers including "hot flat and crowded." it's also fair to say few american journalists know the middle east better. tom, i'm wondering what your reaction is to this military action. >> anderson, the iranians have been clearly testing the biden government. there have been several attacks now on both the embassy compound in baghdad and different bases. and they announced i believe it was last week they're upping their enrichment of uranium for a potential nuclear weapon to 20% which is then just a short leap to 90% where you have the fissile material for a bomb. they're trying to pressure this administration into negotiating with them, to restoring the iran deal. and the iranians, anderson, on eye strategic principle i like to call outcrazy. they think they can always outcrazy you. it's always very important for a
new administration to demonstrate you can't outcrazy us. if you hurt our people, we will hurt you back. and this was the first part of that dance, i would say, and quite important. >> do you think part of it also sends a message to critics in the united states that, you know -- who say, look, if you're negotiating with iran it's weakness and that this is sort of a message of, well, we're also -- we're not weak? >> definitely. i mean, the biden administration, because it is resuming the negotiations to restore the iran nuclear deal that trump discarded, obviously there's a lot of people watching, are these guys going to have the spine to negotiate with them or someone so this was very, very important. it's also i would say, anderson, part of an interesting new cleavage appearing in the middle east today. the peace deal between the united arab emirates and israel. uae is probably the most successful arab state.
israel is the most successful non-arab state. has created a new axis of energy in the region. and i would call it the axis of growth. you know between october and today 130,000 israelis have gone on tourism and business trips to the uae? that's in the middle of a pandemic. 130,000. in fact, they saved the whole christmas season for the uae. >> there were a lot of people from israel having weddings in dubai. >> i think it was at one point hebrew was the third most spoken language there. it's quite amazing. and that's a real source of a new energy inside the region. around them i would say is the axis of failure. and that's what the iranians are really supervising. they basically have been creating failed states in lebanon, in syria, in iraq and in yemen. and what you're seeing here now is also a competition between those two new axes and we'll have to see how the biden administration plays into that as well.
>> i also want to ask you about the former president who's now speaking at cpac this weekend and not just him but the republicans, where they're at right now because it's just fascinating, you know, we still have the visions of the insurrection not far in our rearview mirror and the republican party has, you know, those few who did speak out were kneecapped or quickly bent their own knee to kiss the ring and even, you know, mitch mcconnell, who was on fox tonight saying he would support trump if he was the 2024 nominee. >> yeah, you know, it's pretty clear that, you know, this is trump's party just as donald jr. told us. i think what's really kind of interesting, anderson, is how much american politics is now becoming like european politics. that is, we now have a far right nationalist populist party. le pen in france. we have a center right faction within that party. we have a big center left party
under biden. and we have a farther left party. now, what's interesting is the democrats, as sort of the left and center-left coalition, can actually work together and produce legislation to address problems, whether it's coronavirus or minimum wage or infrastructure because they're all inhabiting a fact-based universe, the same fact-based universe. someone says the minimum wage should be 15, i say it should be 13 or 10 or whatever. someone says that we should have this much stimulus, someone says we should have a little less, but they're all inhabiting the same fact-based universe. what you have on the right is not that. you have trump's whole faction, the trump cult, which is not inhabiting a fact-based universe. and then you have these others like romney and mcconnell who want to but obviously don't want to lose power, so they need the energy of that trump faction. those people actually can't produce legislation to drive america forward. i mean, you have to ask, with all these stories about trump wanting to come back, to do what? to do infrastructure?
he could have done that. health care? he could have done that. what exactly are they running for other than to be in power in order to be in power, in order to be able to take the senators-only elevator. and what is just so frightening is when you see already the retelling of history, the new lies, ron johnson basically saying it was kind of antifa that actually -- i predict this, anderson. four more years of this, by the end it'll be joe biden ordered the assault on the capitol and it was led by aoc. that's where they are going, basically. >> the rewriting of history is the fact that it has happened so quickly is just -- i don't know why i think it's extraordinary. and it is so embraced. it is now kind of dogma within the republican party. >> you know, when you look at mitch mcconnell, what he did, we're not going to have impeachment, we are going to have impeachment, it's too late for impeachment, we didn't impeach him for constitutional
reasons but he was totally guilty and yes, i will support him if he's the candidate in 2024. when i hear and see that, anderson, you know what i say to myself? i don't know anyone in my life who behaves that way. maybe it's just me. i don't have any friends who are so unprincipled and so shameless that in public would condemn a guy, embrace a guy, condemn a guy and embrace him. i don't know anyone out of 50 republican senators and how many house members who behave this way. when you go home an talk to your wife and say hey, i condemned him, i uncondemned him. do you not have kids? i just don't understand what world these people are living in because i don't know anyone in my world who behaves that way. >> yeah. >> probably hard to do that when
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we are days away from fda giving emergency use authorization for third vaccine and president biden has plan to roll it out quote as quick as johnson & johnson can make it unquote. coupled with key data that tracks the virus according to the institute of evaluation of health and metrics in the university of washington, new cases and deaths are down, great news, but this report says as these variants spread the real test will come with warmer
weather, if people continue wearing masks -- and now to talk to the doctors can you talk about what stands out about the findings? >> well, the trajectory going forward, you know, we've had about five weeks of pretty impressive decline in cases and deaths per day. a little bit of evidence it's slowing during the course of this week, it's always hard to tell with the fluctuations from day-to-day. going to the future, trajectory given by seasonality imprfing, this is a very seasonal virus, it should be getting better, vaccines going up, against that with the spread of the 117 uk variant spreading and the south african and brazilian variants. that's the back drop but really what will determine whether there's a spring surge is how we behave, mask use an mobility going forward. >> sanjay today marks 50 million
vaccine doses since the president took office, if it stays at the this pace could make a big dent by the time his first 100 days are over. when you see the data what's it mean in real terms to you? >> yeah i think there's a few things, first of all, they're exceeding expectations. suppose sd to be 100 million in 100 days so 50 million in 36 if you play it out at this current pace, you say, 100 million more people could be vaccinated in the next 64 days so 150 million people in 100 days. so i think the most important thing what you're saying anderson is who are these people that have been vaccinated. we can show, this is encouraging, people over the age of 65, i believe, 50% now have been vaccinated. people over the age of 75, 60%. an then remember, long-term care facilities, anderson, about a third of deaths occurred in long-term care facilities
75% of those have been vaccinated. point being the people most vulnerable to this disease are getting vaccinated. >> and the model shows increasing infection morality rates in certain states, 70% of people in long-term care facilities have been vaccinated where we are see the large description of deaths how do you see that discrepancy. >> what we're seeing in california, alabama other states is really interesting, the surge up in death in those particular states has been larger than the surge in cases and deaths have been slower to come down than cases. you know, immediately, you have to start asking, is that the possibility that this new variant identified in california is that what's causing this change in the infection fatality
rates? we of course don't know. but that's a pretty credible possibility. >> sanjay, i know you have some questions. >> yeah, so i'm curious, everyone asks about herd immunt. seems herd immunity, as things are dependent on it people say early as third of april, you say winter '22 why the huge discrepancy, why winter 2022. >> well, i think there's two futures out there, the rosie future says three-quarter, 8 % of -- 80% of americans will be vaccinated and there won't be the spread of the variants we're worried about and we could he'd easily get to herd immunity by the end of the summer or end of fall. but if those variants spread, there isn't immunity from the
past infection from old to new variants, the vaccines are left effective against the variants, we know that, then it becomes pretty hard to get to herd immunity and we may well have a surge next winter. >> and just to be clear, even if there's more cases, to anderson's point, you could still have a far lower death rate because the vaccines do seem to be very protective against tem dieing and being against people dieing and being hospitalized. which is important. how many have been already infected, have antibodies, and may have immunity you say closer to 19% as of february 22nd. if you look at cdc and johns hopkins data it is close to 30% of the country. that's a significant difference in terms of your model of how many people have