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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  March 15, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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good evening. we begin tonight with welcome news for anyone wanting their pre-covid lives back. it comes, however, with a dark cloud. the good news according to the cdc, the country is now averaging nearly-2.4 million vaccinations, a day. in all, more than 109 million
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americans have now gotten at least one shot. sites like the one vice president harris visited today in las vegas, and more than 11% of the population is now fully vaccinated. late today, connecticut's governor said he expects to expand statewide eligibility to anyone aged 16 and up by the 5th of next month. other states taking similar steps as vaccine supply ramps up and federal help kicks in. this is happening as new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, continue to fall. and evidence grows, most notably, from a recent major study in israel, prevent the spread of infection, not just illness. >> we've always believed that they're having that effect. we didn't know the full magnitude of that benefit. but all the incremental evidence coming out suggests that the impact on the reduction and transmission could be quite strong. and if that's the case, the vaccine creates what we call dead-end hosts. meaning, people will no longer be able to transmit the infection. >> so, more people, than ever, getting shots that appear to be
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more beneficial the closer you look. the kind of breakthrough we have all been hoping for. so, why is it, then, that in a recent marist poll, 49% of republican men say they would not take the vaccine when it becomes available to them. and remember, the former president launched the effort to speed up the testing and production of it. and who recently demanded national gratitude for the speedy delivery of, what he calls, quote, that beautiful shot. he is the one, who, once upon a time, even seemed to recognize the public-health purpose of someone like him getting vaccinated or not as the situation demanded. >> if there's a vaccine and if they wanted me to be first in line, i'd be first in line or i'd be last in line or i wouldn't take it at all. whatever is best for the country. >> well, to cut to the chase, as you know, he did get vaccinate . he did it off camera, in secret. which is pretty remarkable when you consider how willing he's always been to weigh in on virtually anything. but especially, his accomplishments, which this actually is. it's a puzzlement.
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even to former members of his covid team. >> the people, who follow former president are very committed to president trump. and i think, his leadership still matters, a great deal. i think, it's very important for former-president trump, selz as well as as well as the vice president to actively encourage all the followers to get the vaccine. >> dhere is dr. anthony fauci. >> if he kcame out and said go get vaks natded, it' important for you and the health of your family and the health of the country, it seems absolutely inevitable that the vast majority of people who are his close followers would listen to him. he's such a strongly popular person, i cannot imagine that, if he comes out, that they would not get vaccinated. it would be very helpful to the effort for that to happen. >> keeping 'em honest, though, there is reason to doubt the former president's effectiveness as a spokesman for getting vaccinated. the same reason, his own supporters are now vaccine
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skeptical. the entire covid outbreak, he politicized public health. whether it was bad-mouthing mask wearing, mocking social distancing, touting crack cures, donald j. trump, in effect, vaccinated his supporters against the science. toward the end, he even said the quiet part out loud making perfectly clear, this wasn't a pandemic at all, that it was just politics. >> that's all i hear about now. that's all i -- turn on television. covid, covid! covid, covid, covid. a plane goes down, 500 people dead. they don't talk about it. covid, covid, covid, covid. by the way, on november 4th, you won't hear about it, anymore. >> not from him, at least. except, to complain, somehow, that vaccine authorization was delayed just to get him, which it wasn't. after that, he checked out, completely. now, was it because there was no longer anything in it for him? you can decide, for yourself. what's indisputable, though, is he primed tens of millions of americans to doubt the vaccine. one presumes he would never have
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stopped boasting about were he still sitting in the oval office today. but even if the former president had a complete change of heart about it and started praising vaccinations to the skies, it is an open question now, how much weight he holds over former supporters. >> should president trump help promote the vaccine, among skeptics, sir? especially, those republicans, who say that -- >> i'm hearing a lot of reports from serious reporters, like you, saying that. i discussed it with my team, and they say, the thing that has more impact than anything trump would say to the maga folks, is what the local doctor, what the local preachers, what the local people, in the community, say. so, i urge -- i urge all local docs and -- and ministers and priests to talk about why. why it's important. to get -- to get that vaccine
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and even after that, until everyone is, in fact, vaccinated, to wear this mask. >> others, he says, not the former president better influencers. and there's evidence, he may be right. republican pollster, did a focus group over the weekend with vaccine-hesitant trump voters. "washington post" detailed the results. they blamed their hesitation on doubts about the long-term effects of new vaccines and accuse politicians and government scientists of repeatedly misleading them. what is interesting, though, they blame democrats and not the former president for this. at the same time, what seemed to change their minds the most were not political endorsements of getting vaccinated but more science, more evidence. here's a woman named sue from iowa who said she went from about 50-50 on getting a shot to 75% in favor. >> i like the doctors. i like the medical situation when they give us the facts, and talk to us without any politics involved. i think that helps me see that my bias was probably with the political side of it.
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getting involved in just separating the medical side of it. if i can look just at the medical and health side of it, i'm much better off than when you mix politics in with it. >> 19 people took part in that group which included republican politicians and former-cdc director, dr. tom frieden. all 19 came out of it saying they were more likely to get the vaccine than they were going in. joining us now is dr. tom frieden. we heard her say she liked hearing the facts about the vaccines. for you, was that the big takeaway separating politics from science in order to get people to trust the vaccine? >> it was a really interesting conversation, anderson, because this is a group that is strongly pro-trump. they are -- have a lot of doubts about the vaccine. but they're not people who are totally anti-vax and that's how they were selected. and they clearly believe that the virus, the vaccine, and the response, has been politicized.
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and what they wanted was, they didn't want to hear from any politicians, not even former-president trump. they wanted to hear from doctors, their own doctors. and they had understandable, rational concerns. they wanted to know what's the evidence about the long-term health complications of the vaccine? this is a reasonable question. and they wanted to be listened to. and i think, that's the fundamental message. that, for each community, we need to listen, and figure out, both, the messages that are going to resonate most. and the messengers who are going to be most effective. and i'll tell you, some of the most effective messages were virtually every doctor who's offered this vaccine is going to get it. no corners were cut, in approving it. only red tape was cut to get it approved quickly. and it was not rushed to the market, in a year. this is a technology, that was more than a decade in the making. and the trials were not small. they were tens of thousands of people. and not a single person, as far as we know, has died from getting the vaccine.
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>> dr. fauci said it'd be helpful if former-president trump encouraged his supporters to get the vaccine. though, president biden, as we just heard, says, you know, look to community leaders, local doctors, to promote it. your focus group. did they care about the former president's opinion on taking the vaccine? >> it was actually somewhat surprising. i think, it surprised frank luntz, who organized the whole group. they didn't want to hear from any politicians, not even former-president trump. they wanted to hear from their own doctor and that's why it's so important we get shots into the offices of doctors, as soon as the supply gets a little more than it is now. and they want to hear from medical professionals. >> chris christie also spoke during the meeting, i understand. talked about his own, personal ordeal with covid-19. i'm wondering, if personal and emotional stories had an impact on changing minds? >> yes. in fact, it wasn't so much chris christie's stories or his description of getting covid at
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the white house. it was his discussion of two family members. one of them, quite healthy. who both died from covid. that, clearly, had an impact. and this is one thing that's very important. we need to give honest, accurate narratives of what covid does, of the death. of, also, the long covid and the suffering that causes. because, fundamentally, we can't give you 100% certainty that there is not going to be some rare, adverse event of this vaccine, ten years down the line. but we can tell you, with 100% certainty, that you're much-less likely to get covid if you get the vaccine. and if you do get covid, it's going to be replicating all over your body for a week. and that you do have a chance of having long-term suffering, as a result. >> that was one of the things, personally, for me, was really powerful. i did a piece on 60 minutes about, you know, so-called long haulers. people who had actually mild symptoms, when they actually were infected. and thought they'd kind of g gotten away. you know, they had -- they had
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some bad days but it wasn't -- they weren't hospitalized, many of them. and -- and yet, you know, eight months later, they are still, you know, having trouble walking. having troubles breathing. having brain fog and the like. that, for me, was really kind of a wakeup of -- of, you know, you don't even want to get it and not have any symptoms or think you have mild symptoms. we played sound, a few minutes ago, from the former-fda head, scott gottlieb, telling cbs this weekend about evidence has shown vaccines are reducing asymptomatic infection and transmission. dr. gottlieb, should point out, is on the board of pfizer. if he is right, that is a huge step toward getting the virus under control. what more do you know about that? >> well, we have better and better news about the vaccine. what you are seeing, already, in the u.s., is a dramatic decrease in nursing-home death. and that is, undoubtedly, an impact of vaccination. already, these vaccines are saving thousands of lives in this country. and that effect is going to get
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even greater, in the coming weeks, as vaccine-induced immunity kicks in for more and more people who are over the age of 65. so, this is making this virus even-less lethal. and there is growing evidence that it reduces the likelihood that you'll spread the virus to others. but we don't know that, yet. it's not certain. but i do think, that the vaccine is getting the best of the virus. now, we're not out of the woods. it ain't over, till it's over. you are seeing explosive spread in europe and parts of latin america. you are seeing variants, that can overwhelm the immunity that you get from getting the virus infection before. so, it's really a race of the vaccine, against the variants. and the more we control the virus, the more we vaccinate, the greater the likelihood that we'll get to a new normal, sooner. >> dr. tom frieden, appreciate it. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> coming up next. republican senator responds to allegations of racism over his statements about the january insurrection. also, arrests finally in
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this could get me in trouble. that's what you say, when you can't help saying something but you possess just enough self-awareness to know that you can't help saying it. tonight, republican senator and insurrection doubter, ron johnson, is answering to charges of racism in what he said friday about the attack on the capitol and the people behind it. his kind of people. >> i knew those were people that love this country. that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to -- to break a law. so, i wasn't concerned. now, had the tables been turned. joe, this could get me in trouble. had the tables been turned, and president trump won the election. and those were tens of thousands of black lives matter and antifa protestors, i might've been a little concerned. >> that was senator johnson, on friday, saying that the people who attacked the capitol loved
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law enforcement. senator johnson, late today. >> there was nothing racial about my comments. nothing, whatsoever. this isn't about race, this is about riots. it's still pretty shocking that it would take, what i consider, complete completely inokay inocculous comment. >> joining us now, bakari sellers. >> bakari, well, i'll let you just speak on this. because i -- i was just so surprised by not -- not surprised by. but just irritated by what he just said, now, to justify what he said, previously. the idea that, you know, that he sees the truth here, in his comments, and knows that there was nothing racist involved. >> and you know, when people are -- are making racist comments. the first thing they want to push back with is, simply, say,
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you know, you can't play the race card. but it's our job to call it out. i mean, i'm not surprised. but i -- and i'm not disappointed, anymore. nothing about this is new. i mean, this is as an american as american can be. but i'm troubled, because this is coming from the highest part of the land. i mean, this is coming from the united states senate. the united states congress. just last week, we heard from representative as well saying that black lives matter didn't believe in the old, traditional family. and now, you have ron johnson saying the same thing. you know, for me, i go back to car michael, anderson. and stokely once said that, if you want to lynch me, that's your problem. but if you had the power to lynch me, then that's my problem. racism in this country is a power construct. and people, like ron johnson, have the power and the ability to implement racist policies, even when they're ignorant to the fact that what they're doing is racist. this is not about somebody calling you nigger. i get called that enough in my
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twitter comments. i get called that in my messages, when i leave cnn every single day. it's not about that. it's about something more than that. it's about the systemic oppression. it's about the systemic racism. and people, like ron johnson, who play a role in it, and are so ignorant to the fact, to the role they play, that they sit there. and simply, turn their back and say, don't play the race card. we're not playing the race card, senator. we are trying to educate you on the fact that, either -- there -- there -- there's one of two things. either, you're using racism as political currency, which is cowardice. or, you simply are ignorant, and do not know that the language that you're using is racist and hurtful. it's one of those two options. >> it -- it -- you know, and then, him using the term, you know, the race card, as if it's some, sort of, game here. >> yeah. and -- and, you know, for -- for me, if i -- if i -- if i had the opportunity to sit down with senator johnson. i would -- i would go back and say, senator johnson, you know, what this is, is -- is an
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ignorance of the history and how far we've come. you know, i -- i would sit down, and tell him that the reason we got the '64 and '65 civil rights act and voting rights act is because of the edmund pettus bridge and people who were brutally beaten on national tv for the first time in this country's history. white folk, throughout the country, were able to see the water hoses, the batons, et cetera. this is about the assassinations, the medgar evers, the emmett tills, i would say, senator johnson, the way we got the fair housing act of 1968 was because dr. king got assassinated. i would say, hell, the reason that the confederate flag came down in south carolina is because nine people, including my friend, were murdered in a church. i would say, senator johnson, the only reason we're on the cusp and having these discussions about criminal-justice reform is because george floyd had a knee in his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. what i am trying to tell you is that there is a great deal of pain in black blood through the
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streets of this country so that we could have an ounce of semblance of political change. so, i think that he needs to understand the history of this country. so, when you make comments, like, it's okay for these white boys to come in here with they confederate flags and anti-semitic rhetoric and beat police officers and murder a cop. but if there is somebody black standing up for what they believe to be right and just, saying that we need to stop being killed in the street. you want the national guard called on them. see, that's the problem. and -- and it's not people, who use ignorant rhetoric. it's people, in power, who implement racist policies. that's why i have a problem with grothman and ron johnson. >> he's, also, rewriting history. i mean, he looks at the crowd who attacked the capitol. he's not scared of them, he alleges, because he knows that they are good people, who love this country. and love law enforcement. i mean, there -- there are hundreds of people who have been arrested. you know, and -- and numerous
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police officers, who have been injured. one police officer lost their life. two others have died by suicide. i mean, it's -- it's a complete rewrite of -- of -- of what happened. >> it's a rewrite of what happened but it's american history. like, just -- just think about ron johnson being more sympathetic to cop killers and anti-semitists and people carrying confederate flags than black folks protesting. imagine the ron johnson, who works at wells fargo, who is your loan officer. who looks at you as -- as less availa valuable than a white guy who comes in there. or imagine ron johnson as your professor or teacher who looks at you as less intelligence. imagine ron johnson as your police officer, that pulls you over on the side of the road, who thinks that you are more of a danger than a white boy. see, that is what we're talking about when we talk about the systemic injustice. but ron johnson creates the laws. and so, yeah, we got to call it
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out. we got to push back. and i wish that he would, instead of -- instead of doubling down, which is -- which is what trump got us. i wish he would simply try to educate himself on -- on the ignorance in the statements that he makes. i know he is retiring. but there is still time to do better. and maybe, that's my youthful naivety. i still believe that ron johnson can be a better man than he displayed last friday. >> bakari sellers, appreciate it. thank you. this comes as we learn two of those allegedly police-loving men, as senator johnson describes them, have been arrested in assaulting officer brian sicknick. so, what do we know about these two men? because this has been a long time coming. police, been looking for how he died and who killed him. >> that's right, anderson. this has been a top priority for the fbi. and this -- these two men. their names are julian khater and george tanios. they are facing nine counts, including assault on a federal officer. >> that's officer sicknick, by the way. that's the picture of officer sicknick. >> right.
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right. that's officer sicknick. they're charged now with assault on sicknick and two, additional officers. according to the fbi, the -- the affidavit from the fbi in court today. they are seen, in video, on surveillance video, as well as some other body-worn camera images that they were able to retrieve. using some kind of spray. some kind of chemical irritant. >> just for our viewers. that -- that -- where there is a red rectangle over one of them. and then, i guess, the other one is the guy there, in the hat, off to the -- to the right-hand side. >> right. and the guy in the hat appears -- appears to be tanios. he is -- he owns a sandwich shop in west virginia. helpfully, for the fbi, he wore a shirt that has the logo of -- of the sandwich shop that he runs. and so, what you see in some of these images, anderson, is the attack according to the fbi, in which they are using some kind of chemical-irritant spray.
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i'm told that is some kind of bear spray. i will read you just a part of what the fbi says, in the -- in the affidavit. that says the officers sicknick, edwards, and chapman, are -- are standing within a few feet of khater. this is one of the two men there. they all react. one by one, to something striking them in the face. the officers, immediately, retreat from the line. bring their hands to their faces, and rush to find water to wash out their eyes. this is what happened, according to the capitol hill police, anderson. officer sicknick goes back to his office, sometime thereafter. he becomes ill. he is taken to the hospital. he dies, the following day. you might be asking, why aren't these men being charged with murder? at this point, i'm told, that investigators are still waiting for the final medical-examiner's report to show cause of death. and so, we may, yet, see additional charges. >> evan perez, appreciate it. thank you. let's get perspective now from our security analyst, julia kayyem. so, you heard reporting.
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can prosecutors, later, add the murder charge, if their investigation shows the two men they arrested for assault were responsible for the officer's death? >> absolutely, and -- and it was smart of them, actually, to start with assault. and then, work their way because with these arrests, maybe, family, friends, will come forward. told them -- tell -- tell the police what they know. one piece of evidence that has come out, that's being reported that's in the affidavit is they also knew each other, before they got there. they were childhood friends, i believe. so, there's going to be, either social-media conversations or e-mails between the two of them. about what their intent was. was it just to go to the rally, with -- for donald trump? that seems hard to believe, given that they had this -- this bear spray. or was it to -- to inflict bodily harm and on whom? so, this case will unfold, quickly, and it will, also, unfold, probably, more dramatically than what we saw today. >> well, and you have the former president saying come to
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washington january 6th. it's going to be wild. they brought bear spray because it's going to be wild. >> right. >> more than 300 people have been charged in connection, so far, with the assault. the department of justice says the figure could easily pass 400. does the focus remain on those who -- who took part in the assault? or is there, also, conspiracy angle to this? >> so, the conspiracy charges continue. they're not showing themselves to be very strong. and there's so many cases, it's hard to say that there is a general theme. it seems like -- it seems like the conspiracy was essentially everyone agreed to go listen to donald trump, honestly. and then, they meet there and organize. there may be conspiracies amongst one, two, three, people. but that's the way the cases are unfolding but 300 isn't enough, in my book. i have been saying, you know, look, there is a connective tissue here from what bakari was saying to here. which is the racism, the anti-semitism that we saw with this -- this new navy guy who -- the navy-nazi guy who was rae arrested as well. >> walked around a navy base
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with a hitler mustache. >> right. exactly. he had good intentions, i'm sure. and the racism that animates from -- from this crowd, to, essentially, what johnson -- what senator johnson is saying. i -- i -- i -- i adore bakari sellers. but ron johnson knows exactly what he's doing. this is a party, now. and we know it because of all the efforts that they're doing to minimize or to -- to undermine voting rights. this is a party, now, that has aligned itself with a strategic effort to essentially deny the vote. and put into question, the votes that had already occurred. votes that they look at are not white votes, as ron johnson made clear. it's the african-american votes and the hispanic votes. so, i -- when you write something, you think about the connective tissue about what you are writing or about all these cases. the connective tissue is white supremacy and racism. and -- and -- and just, that's why every single one of these cases matters. because the goal now, is to stop
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recruitment. and the more that these folks go to jail, that they are shamed, and isolated. and that we have a president, who doesn't nurture racism but condemns it. i think that we are -- we are -- we are going to have better days. it's just a really hard time, right now. >> julia kayyem, appreciate it. thanks. just ahead. a look at the hundreds of proposed state laws across the nation that would curtail voting rights juliet just alluded to. and the public campaigns they're running to defeat republican measures. the #1 hyaluronic acid moisturizer delivers 2x the hydration for supple, bouncy skin. neutrogena®. keeping your oysters business growing has you swamped. you need to hire. i need indeed indeed you do. the moment you sponsor a job on indeed you get a shortlist of quality candidates from a resume data base claim your seventy-five-dollar credit when you post your first job at
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public pressure is ramping up on the voting rights front. two progressive groups vowed to spend tens of millions of dollars to convince senators to pass a major civil rights bill stuck in the senate, as groups in georgia are launching a campaign to persuade major corporations based there to oppose restrictions. stacey abrams called these proposals jim crow in a suit and tie. that was quote. they are some of the more than 250 bills state lawmakers have introduced nationwide, that would restrict voting rights. joining us, chief national correspondent, john king. and bakari sellers. so, john, how widespread are the proposed-voting restriction laws? >> you see the map here shaded by how those states voted in the presidential election.
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43 states. 43 states. the brennen center is right. in 43 states, more than 200 proposals. again, they are not all going to become law but some already have and some of them will. and they have a common theme. they are being pushed by republicans, and they are the legacy of the big lie. you have republicans, in state after state after state, saying the problem in america, is not that more people voted in 2020. it's that there was so much fraud. by know that's a lie. it's a legacy of the trump lie. but one way to look at it through the states. another way to look at it is the deeper the green, the more proposals in that state. so, 15 proposals or so in arizona. dozen or so in texas. so, they're everywhere in state legislatures. and again, coming back to map, a lot of them are. the consequences are enormous. in 2022, you have redrawing congressional districts. texas will regain two or three seats. arizona's going to gain a seat. governor's races in florida, georgia, texas, arizona, iowa, and beyond. this is a huge deal. >> what kind of restrictions are we talking about, john. >> >> follow the pattern here. again, they're different in
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every state. the iowa restrictions are actually law. it reduces the number of voting days, makes it harder to vote. fewer opportunities to vote. again, makes it harder to vote. also, new restrictions on absentee voting. something that was used throughout the pandemic follow the pattern. in the state of georgia. again, this is still in the legislature but narrows the eligibility for absentee voting. notice the pattern here. limits the use of mobile or drop boxes, voting locations. again, very important to democrats. you need a court order to extend polling places. new i.d. requirements. legislature has the power to block emergency powers. prohibits early voting in tents and garages. that's harris county, houston. that's reaching out into communities of color, trying to give people easier opportunities to vote. fines for local officials, if they don't purge the voter rolls. shortens the window to return mail-in ballots. seeks to limit and standardize early voting. again, everywhere you look, it's transparent, anderson. republicans are pushing proposals that would restrict voting in areas democrats do well. there is really no other way to
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look at it. >> and bakari, again, people said, look, the president lied. sure, all politicians lie. this is the big lie and these are the ripple effects of the big lie. i mean, it -- it's legislation is now being proposed in all these states, based on a lie. >> yeah. but anderson, i want to be clear, and i believe john knows this as well. these things didn't just start popping up, recently. >> of course. >> this has been an effort that goes back to 2008 after the election of barack obama. when i was in the general assembly, we were probably the second or third state to try to implement voter i.d. laws after the state of indiana which made it more difficult for individuals to actually go to the polls and cast their ballot. it's not just about having an identification card. it's about having a state-issued identification card, not allowing people to use college i.d.s or utility bills or anything else. and so, you are starting to see this -- this trend across the country. it's come to a head, and they are targeting black and brown communities. look. anderson, we should be having a discussion about how to make it easier to vote. why don't we vote on saturday? why isn't voting a national
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holiday? why don't we have 30 days of no-excuse ab sentee voting with -- with multiple drop boxes in every single county, so everybody who wants to vote, has an opportunity to vote. republicans saw what -- what is it? 160 million people come out to vote or nearly-160 million people? and they completely lost their mind. so, i think we have to do a better job of allowing as many as people as possible to participate in the democratic process, not shrink the numbers. we're not having a conversation about how to expand the electorate. we are having a conversation about how to shrink it. >> yeah, after an election that had historic turnout, which is actually a good thing. i mean, it's -- it's democracy, at work. you know, bakari, the u.s. house just passed a bill that would protect voting rights, on the national level. it entails a lot of the voting access expansions that helped president biden win in 2020. where's that stand in -- in the senate? i mean, the likelihood of it passing is, what, in the senate? >> let me -- well, the senate -- i -- i joke and say that the
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senate has bills piling up in front of its door like my wife has amazon boxes piling up in front of her door every time i come home. so they are not doing much. it's just stacking and stacking and stacking of. but the fact is if we do not pass this john lewis voting rights bill, then democrats will not win elections for the remainder of the decade. point blank, period. you know, it -- it's very clear. i mean, we know that the republican party has gutted the voting-rights act. we know that there are no protections in place, to prevent against these discriminatory bills that are being circulated throughout the country. and so, without this, there are no checks and balances. and i know that kyrsten sinema and i know that joe manchin have a fundamental problem with eliminating the filibuster. but the -- the -- this is an issue of democracy and this is an issue of justice. and that bill must pass, chuck schumer. >> john, what is the likelihood, you think? >> the prospects are bleak, today. bakari raises a key point. if more of these states pass
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this legislation, this is going to become a republican power play going into 2022 and the pressure is going to be on president biden, on vice president harris, on other democratic leaders to get to the senate. to at least, in one case, change the filibuster rules for this one piece of legislation because it is such a fundamental piece of the democratic party. and bakari's right. in the trump era, this is all put on steroids but this is historical, legacy, and this is critical. >> thank you. just ahead, another fight democrats are waging. transportation secretary, pete buttigieg, gives his perspective on the covid relief plan that received zero republican votes, as biden begins a sales blitz to americans across the country.
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days after signing into law, president biden and his administration have begun a massive publicity blitz. the goal? to emphasize the medical and financial relief, they believe the law will bring. >> over the next ten days, we will reach two goals. two giant goals. the first is 100 million shots, in people's arms, will have been completed within the next ten days. and 100 million checks, in people's pockets.
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>> as we mentioned earlier, vice president harris and her husband, as well as first lady jill biden were also out today at separate events. with the president scheduled to appear this week in pennsylvania and later in atlanta with the vice president. shortly before air, i spoke with transportation secretary, pete buttigieg, who talked about the impact they believe this recovery act will have on the lives of everyday americans. >> secretary buttigieg, the president and vice president are out there this week to really sell the stimulus plan to the public. there may be $100 million -- 100 million checks given to americans in the next ten days. there is still $1.9 trillion attached to the bill. how do you assure americans that it's worth the cost? >> well, americans already believe that it's worth the cost. that's why this is a bill that had so much bipartisan support. now, of course, it was bipartisan support, among the american people. not so much on capitol hill. but the american people don't need convincing. that this is worth doing. i do think it's appropriate for us to take some time, right now, to remind everybody of what's just been achieved.
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and what to expect. the $1,400 checks, going to families. things i care about here, in the department of transportation, like shoring up our transit agencies that are so important. not just in big cities but in smaller communities, and rural areas, too. the -- the news that flight attendants were told they can tear up their furlough notices, among the many, many jobs across america that have been saved. and, of course, what this is going to do for poverty. cutting child poverty in half. and for the middle class, by reducing health premiums. there is a lot of really good measures that were taken. and, you know, we -- we -- the president said, from day one, the biggest risk was doing too little and not doing too much. we think we have done just what it takes in order to get through this dark season america's experienced. >> as you mentioned, there is billions of dollars going into transit in this bill. you what is the future, though, in terms of transportation? people right now, not using public transportation as much as they did before the pandemic. is there longer-term solution to keeping these industries viable? or do you think they'll return to the way it was?
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>> well, i think the rescue plan has gotten us through this moment. or i should say, it will, as we implement it. another thing the president's been clear on today is we have to do a good job of getting resources out to where they need to be. but that was step one. now, we are ready to work in earnest on step two and that is that long-term vision for transportation in america. look. everybody knows that our roads, our bridges, our infrastructure, from -- from ports to, you name it, needs a lot of work. we got to fix what we have, and we've got to build for the future. and the future's not going to look like the past. >> according to tsa, more americans traveled by air in the last four days than any four-day period in the pandemic. are we ready to return to traveling like we did before the pandemic? >> well, this is still not a time to travel, just -- just because. and the cdc has encouraged people to, obviously, you should check the cdc website. think twice before traveling, if you don't have to. but, we're also taking measures to make sure that travel is
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safe. the president's executive order clarified what needed to be done, in terms of mask mandates. and by the way, really think it's very important for passengers, whether you are on an aircraft or, for that matter, a bus across town. to pay attention to and respect that mask mandate. and not put flight attendants or bus operators or others in the position of having to tell you or -- or -- or require you to do what everybody ought to be doing, which is to keep yourself and others safe. >> do you want to see the cdc updating their travel guidance, soon? because they've said that -- that -- that they, likely, will. >> yeah. we -- we want to be traveling, more, as soon as it's safe. now, the cdc is in charge of making a science-based determination, based on the medical facts. about when that will come. but i'm among the many americans, who feels that impatience, that urge, you know, to get out. to travel. to -- to see people that we care about. to be able to travel for work, more and more. and -- and yet, we know that -- that we should do that, only when it's responsible.
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>> the -- the -- the white house, today, said that they'd welcome the support of the former president promoting the vaccine. how far do you think that message would go? especially, among some republicans. obviously, he and his wife have been vaccinated but they didn't mention, didn't publicize it, at all. >> well, i mean, it can't hurt. i mean, the more people. maybe, more conservative. you know, wouldn't do something just because they felt like one party or one president was asking them to do it. talk to your doctor. talk to people in your life who are knowledgeable about medicine. and they'll tell you what people without regard to politics who are working on this virus are saying, which is this vaccine is safe. and it's the best way to protect yourself, your family, and those you love. >> and just lastly, i wanted to
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ask about the allegations about new york governor, andrew cuomo. president biden, on sunday, called them quote troubling and, quote, hard to read. obviously, as you know, number of democrats, senator chuck schumer, called on governor cuomo to >> the allegations are really disturbing. they are serious and need to be ngted as they are. in the investigation is under way. >> i appreciate your time. thank you. is the biden administration object on the way to being boxed in? the democratic congressman who represents one of the key districts there. because yout settle for ordinary. same goes for your equipment. versatile, powerful, durable kubota equipment. more goes into it. so you get more out of it.
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the administration tonight is facing pressure from both sides, and in a moment, i will talk to texas democratic congressman who is calling the situation crisis.
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the white house doesn't yous use that word. there is no question the number of migrants is way up. cnn has learned more than 4,000 children are in border patrol custody, and a memo obtained by cnn, the administration plans to use a convention center in dallas to hold 2,000 teenagers, joining us from texas. congressman, thanks for being with us. you follow the policies of the obama and trump administrations closely. do you attribute the surge in biden? >> no, i don't. i called the white house a week of inauguration, and i said, this is what we see on the ground. if you look at the numbers, they started coming up in august of 2020, and of course, october and november, december, january were high numbers. those are all under trump. and of course february was bigger, over 100,000. you have to remember that march, april, may and june are the peak months so we will see big numbers.
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>> in terms of the messaging we have seen from biden so far, he hasn't spoken at length on the issue. the white house stayed away from calling it a crisis. instead of calling it a challenge, do you this i that biden needs to be clear in telling migrants the border is not open? >> well, look, with all due respect, the message has to be clearer in central america. there are three messages, one from the president saying don't come. the other is the family friends network. they get over here and tell friends and family, i was able to come through. and the other one is the aggressive marketing that the criminal organizations do. this friday, i was there and i talked to some of the people that had come across. there were about 20 of them. i asked which message they heard? they never heard from the president. they heard from friends and neighbors, and they were getting recruited by people to come over across.
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so it has to be a strong message because with all due respect, the administration's message is not coming through. that is the reality of it. >> the house republican leader kevin mccarthy and others visited el paso today. i want to play it. >> it's more than a crisis. this is a human thing. the sad part about it, it didn't have to happen. all because the policies of president changed and told them something different. told them to risk their lives, and broke families apart. >> what did you make of what you heard from kevin mccarthy? >> it was expected. because they focus only on the pull factor and not the push factor. what happens in central america. in january of this, 8% of the encounters we had were
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unaccompanied kids. unaccompanied kids. when you look at the family units, maybe it's 10%. the rest are single adults. and the single adults, they are returned on title 42, a 1944 law that trump started using again. go back to may, may, may of 2019, we had a crisis where 61% of the people coming across were family units. now, that was a crisis. the only thing, which makes it difficult is just the fact we're in the middle of the the pandemic. but if you look at the reality, the real numbers, this doesn't compare to what happened in may of 2019, which is of course around president trump. those are the numbers. i don't care what people say. those are the numbers. and the reality. >> congressman, i appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you so much. >> coming up, the trial of the
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minneapolis police officer in the death of george floyd moves ahead, they ask for a delay in the proceedings. we'll explain ahead. ntist here. does my aveeno® daily moisturizer really make my dry skin healthier in one day? it's true jen. this prebiotic oat formula moisturizes to help prevent dry skin. impressive! aveeno® healthy. it's our nature.™ try the body wash, too.
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