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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  April 30, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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tune into state of the union sunday. we'll have susan collins and cindy mccain. you can tweet the show @the leadcnn. our coverage continues with wolf blitzer. he's right next door in "the situation room." ♪ welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, rudy giuliani defiant as the criminal investigation of the former president's long time personal lawyer intensifies. just a short while ago giuliani railed on the radio about the fbi's search of his home and office in connection with his activities in ukra ukraine.
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he appeared to accuse federal prosecutors of corruption. also peril for congressman matt gaetz. gaetz's associate wrote that gaetz paid for sex with multiple women, including a 17-year-old. a spokesman denied that. the biden administration set to travel most travel from india starting tuesday amid fears the explosion of cases over there could spread here. let's start our coverage with our justice correspondent jessica schneider. you're tracking all the late breaking news on rudy giuliani. >> reporter: rudy giuliani is not staying quiet. he is speaking out on tv, on his radio show and railing against the raid that agents conducted on his home and office. the feds are zeroing in on
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giuliani's role ousting ambassador marie yovanovitch. new deetails into the investigation of rudy giuliani. the "new york times" now reports at least one of the search warrants served wednesday sought information related to the former ambassador to you crane marie yovanovitch. the same marie yovanovitch former president trump fired in 2019 and who testified as a witness in his first impeachment trial. >> our ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an american ambassador who does not give them what they want. >> reporter: investigators want to determine if giuliani worked to get yovanovitch ousted from her position to benefit trump. it's all part of a long-running
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criminal investigation into giuliani and an inquiry into whether he worked as an unregistered foreign agent for ukraine. >> about 6:00 in the morning there was a bang, bang, bang on the door. outside were seven fbi agents with a warrant for electronics. >> reporter: giuliani insists he has never acted as a foreign agent. >> i don't believe these people would think i would do something like this. obviously the assistant u.s. attorneys hate me and they hate trump, which is probably the whole thing. i mean, to believe that i'm some kind of russian agent? >> reporter: giuliani's lawyer is also denying a report from the "washington post" that the fbi warned giuliani and other republican officials in 2019 that the russians were feeding them falsehoods, specifically
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that a russian influence operation was intent on sending out disinformation damaging to then presidential candidate joe biden. cnn has not confirmed the report. he never received any such briefing, giuliani's attorney told cnn. giuliani was a prominent figure on the 2020 campaign trail for trump and repeatedly floated false information about the bidens' ties to ukrain. >> joe biden was the guy who did the bribe. >> reporter: rudy giuliani was also repeatedly asked last night if this criminal probe could be about more than just a possible violation of the foreign agents registration act. giuliani saying he has not been told anything about the investigation by the feds. this probe could be broad. we know warrants have been
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executed against giuliani's assistant and his fellow lawyer victoria tensing who also had dealings with the ukrainians. >> joining us congressman jim heinz. jugiuliani is denying he even g a briefing. how concerning is it that, according to the "washington post," giuliani ignored the fbi warnings that he was the target of a russian disinformation campaign? >> well, if the reporting is true, wolf, that a number of people got defensive briefings, senator ron johnson has acknowledged that he did, giuliani apparently is denying that he did. you know, to me, that's not the critical thing in the story here. the critical thing in the story here is that rudy giuliani for the last several years, whether he was witting or unwitting has served the purpose of the russians by out of thin air
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making allegations and you just ransom of them, joe biden took a bribe, he paid a bribe. there's not a shred of evidence for any of that. even that pales in comparison to the coup rudy giuliani was trying to lead against our democracy. nobody other than trump himself was as aggressive in promoting the bald faced lie that the election was stolen than giuliani. he might be charged with a violation, i guess, of the foreign agents -- maybe he'll be charged with that, but justice will never be delivered to you because you're not going to get charged of being one of the ring leaders of the insurrection. >> this follows the raid on giuliani's home and office. in a separate investigation, which the "new york times" is
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reporting, is looking into the role that he played in ousting allegedly the u.s. ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch. if giuliani was unwittingly doing the bidding of foreign agents in that regard, what national security questions does that raise? >> if he was doing the bidding of the ukrainian oligarchs who he was all wrapped up with in trying to oust yovanovitch because she was serious about addressing ukrainian corruption, that is quite likely a violation of the law. then you ask the next question, which is what else did he do, what else did he promise. this was a guy who had daily access to the president of the united states. we know that the president of the united states, because he was impeached for it, was p perfectly willing to use a public resource, united states foreign aid, to try to extort the ukrainians into providing
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fanciful dirt on the biden family. it does pose the question of what else were these guys willing to do. i get it. jugiuliani is running the trump playbook here. when you get attacked, you say it's only because these people hate donald trump. remember sydney powell, his partner standing there at four seasons total landscaping when she was sued in a civil court for propagating this lie that president trump had the election stolen from him. what was her defense? her defense was, no reasonable person would believe that was true. jugiuliani knew exactly what he was doing and he was willing to put at risk american democracy for his owne advancement. >> how likely is it in your view that this investigation into
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giuliani eventually leads to legal ramifications for trump? >> it's very hard to know, wolf. it's an interesting question of whether giuliani, if he's in real trouble -- and he could be, we don't know. the fbi doesn't talk about the nature of investigations while they're underway. if he's in real trouble, i have to assume that one of his get out of jail free cards would be to tell what he knows about donald trump. that's a possibility, but it's a pretty speculative possibility. as a guy who was in the chamber on january 6th, here's what's sad about that. donald trump, rudy giuliani, any number of people including some of my colleagues who perpetuated this lie that the election has been stolen, they're not going to face justice legally speak ing for a treasonous act. the people that took them up on
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their offer, believing the lie, they're now being indicted. they're not going to be represented by alan dershowitz. they're not going to be the ones to suffer accountability. >> more than 400 people have already been charged in connection with the insurrection on january 6th. congressman jim hines, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> preet bharara is joining us. giuliani is accusing the southern district of new york -- he was once the u.s. attorney of the southern district of new york. he's accusing the sdny of
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corruption, saying the assistant u.s. attorneys, in his words, hate me. what's your reaction to that as someone who led the sdny? >> the whole situation is sad. it's sad that there was evidence that the prosecutors in that office believed was sufficient to get a search warrant. it's sad that it may be the case based on what we've seen so far that rudy giuliani may be getting charged criminally by the office he used to lead. it continues to be even sadder that he's adopting the tactics that he knows so well when he was a prosecutor. the number of times rudy giuliani was accused of leaking or stunts or bringing cases because he was trying to pave his path toward the mayor's office in new york city are legendary. he knows what the screening process is for hiring people. he knows the training they have and he knows the ethical compass the folks in that office have and have had for decades.
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he'll make a case out of hate. he'll manufacture probable cause out of hate. you need to have actually proof. it goes through multiple layers to get a search warrant of this nature and at the department of justice and a federal judge. at the end of the day, you discount what people who are targets say. what he says out of court doesn't really matter that much. he may or may not have an opportunity, depending on whether charges are brought, to make his arguments in court. the prosecutors have a legal document that has passed muster and scrutiny in multiple layers. i think he's doing what he has to do to try to deflect. i don't think it's very effective. >> the "washington post" is reporting that the fbi actually warned giuliani he was being specifically targeted by the russians. you're a former fbi agent. what would that briefing look like?
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does it make giuliani's actions after that warning even more concerning? >> yes, wolf. so they are one of the few criminal investigations investigated by the counter intelligence division. that's because they are foreign intelligence operations. it's not unusual for people in positions of power to be targeted. intelligence services are trying to use them to further their own interests. so when the fbi gives a warning, they're trying to do two things. first they're trying to neutralize any covert operations that the foreign government might be trying to do or by bringing it to light by making the relationship transparent. the second goal is to watch what the person does after, because if they continue that relationship, then they are doing that knowingly.
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that's really important for the violation. you can't investigate somebody or prosecute them if they were unwitting. you have to show they were willfully acting at the direction and control of a foreign principal. so his continuation of his activities would indicate that and they would not be at a point where they're doing a search warrant if they weren't sure of that fact. >> the "new york times" also reporting that the giuliani raid was looking for actual evidence of his campaign to push out the u.s. ambassador to ukraine. the question is whether giuliani was working for trump or for foreign interests. could former president trump be implicated here? >> that's hard to say. i think we're getting a little ahead of ourselves now by thinking about what the president did or did not know. we need to see what evidence there was of what rudy giuliani was doing, whether his interests
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were in favor of the president or foreign interests, or maybe those interests overlapped. there was a lot of discussion about how the president and others felt about that ambassador. the next question will be, depending on what rudy giuliani is accused of, what he's prepared to do to give information with respect to what the president knew and did and directed. i don't know yet. i think until we know more, we reserve judgment. >> we'll stay on top of this story, obviously. just ahead, new trouble right now for republican congressman matt gaetz of florida. we're going to have details of an incriminating letter adding new fuel to his sex scandal.
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welcome change. there are new developments tonight in the ongoing investigation into florida republican congressman matt gaetz. the daily beast says it has obtained a letter from a central figure in the probe who wrote that he and gaetz paid for sex with multiple women, including a minor who was 17 years old at the time. our ryan nobles is working the
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story for us. the problems seem to be mounting for gaetz. what more are we learning tonight? >> reporter: it's the drip, drip, drip in this scandal surrounding the congressman. this letter comes from joel greenberg, a close associate of gaetz. cnn has not been able to independently corroborate the contents of this letter but it is pretty damning. it is remarkable that greenberg would put all of these admissions of criminal conduct into a letter. this is what he says at one point. this letter sent to roger stone, the former trump associate asking for stone's help in soliciting a pardon for greenberg. he wrote, quote, my lawyers that i fired know the whole story about mg's involvement. mg being matt gaetz. they know he paid me to pay the girls and that he and i both had sex with the girl, who is underage. roger stone told our chris cuomo
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that he knew nothing about this letter, that he never solicited a pardon on behalf of greenberg or gaetz and he doesn't know what greenberg is talking about. gaetz himself is also pushing back on these allegations. he said, quote, congressman gaetz has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with a 17-year-old as an adult. politico has reported that mr. greenberg's threats to make false accusations against others and while the daily beast story contains a lot of confessions from mr. greenberg, it does not add anything of substance and no evidence for the wild and false claims about representative gaetz. the story goes some way to show how representative gaetz was long out of touch with mr. greenberg and had no interest in involving himself in mr. greenberg's affairs. wolf, this letter is a part of this investigation into gaetz and it shows how these legal troubles for the florida congressman continue. >> between the alleged letter,
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the alleged venmo transactions, it would appear there's a lot there for federal prosecutors to work with. as far as we know, is greenberg still cooperating? >> reporter: greenberg's attorneys chose not to comment about this story. we do know there are ongoing negotiations with greenberg's lawyers and federal prosecutors to come up with a cooperation agreement. as far as we know, that cooperation is expected to happen and that is part of the reason there was so much trouble for congressman gaetz. >> let's discuss with the state attorney for palm beach county in florida, dave aaronberg. what do you make of this? >> we prosecutors love it when criminals are stupid.
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joel greenberg is a poster child for that. he wrote out a full confession and sent it to roger stone, the self-described dirty trickster. he took a picture of it and saved into his phone where the feds surely got it. this confession can be used against greenberg in court, which raises the stakes to get a plea deal with federal prosecutors. it cannot be used to prove child sex trafficking against matt gaetz. it would be inadmissible hearsay. i think the significance of this is it shows how badly greenberg wants to flip on matt gaetz. i think he may have released this into the public as a way to pressure prosecutors to cut him a better deal, because the best way for prosecutors to prove a child sex trafficking case against gaetz is to use greenberg as their star witness. secondly, this whole thing does hurt matt gaetz in the court of public opinion. the most salacious detail in it
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is that he says they stopped communicating with the 17-year-old girl when they realized she was underaged. but shortly after she turned 18, they went back to proposition her again. gross. >> what do you make of the fact that roger stone is now involved in this whole thing? >> roger stone, the self-described dirty trickster, the master of the dark arts. this is who you go to when you can't go through the proper channels, especially on the far right. he reminds me of the wolf from the movie pulp fiction, not the good wolf from "the situation room." he knows that you do not need a confession to get a pardon, especially not under the trump administration. yet he demanded one from greenberg. i think the reason why he did was that stone goes in and out of trouble a lot, and this is maybe some leverage he could use in the future, just something he would have handy in case the biden justice department decided
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to investigate and prosecute stone for something. he could say, look, i've got information on a sitting member of congress. a bigger question is why greenberg would send it to stone. i guess he wanted to pressure stone, trump and gaetz to give him a pardon, because he thought gaetz was their buddy. >> thank you for joining us. coming up, as crematoriums overflow in india right now, the biden administration is about to crack down on travel to the united states from the world's worst covid-19 hot spot. when we started carvana, they told us that selling cars 100% online wouldn't work. but we went to work. building an experience that lets you shop over 17,000 cars from home. creating a coast to coast network to deliver your car as soon as tomorrow. recruiting an army of customer advocates to make your experience incredible. and putting you in control of the whole thing with powerful technology. that's why we've become the nation's fastest growing retailer.
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the biden administration is taking dramatic new action aimed at protecting the united states from the devastating explosion of covid-19 cases in india. let's go to our chief white house correspondent kaitlan collins. what are you learning about this decision? >> reporter: this isn't going to go into effect until tuesday, but the white house has announced today that, yes, they are going to be restricting travel from india. they say it's because of that spike in covid cases that you just referenced, but also because what's happening in india is there are multiple variants. that is of concern to the white house. they are figuring out do certain variants have less protection when it comes to the vaccines? what does that look like? how does it spread? those are still questions they want answered. president biden said in a formal proclamation tonight that they feel it's best to restrict travel from india at this time.
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there are a few important things to note in addition to the fact that it doesn't go into effect until tuesday, that this is not applying to u.s. citizens, this is for non-citizens who have been in india for the last 14 days, similar to other travel measures. it also doesn't apply to humanitarian workers as well. that has been a big concern, as you've seen the hospitals there are overwhelmed. they still have to follow international testing protocols where you have to have a negative covid test before you get on the plane. you have to quarantine if you haven't had a vaccine yet. you also have to have another negative covid test after that quarantine happens. clearly this is ramping up, because you had heard several public health experts calling for travel restrictions from india given they are responsible for over a third of the daily
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cases. how long do these travel restrictions stay in place as the white house is trying to work with them to get the pandemic in their country under control. >> let's go to india where cnn is on the ground documenting the horrors of the country's record-shattering covid crisis. you've been seeing bodies piling up as critical supplies run out. >> reporter: yes. sadly, we have, wolf. i think one of the key issues here is that the official death toll in the city of new delhi stands at about 375, but we know from our own very traumatic visits t o crematoria.
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there's a catastrophic shortage of oxygen in particular, the very stuff of life for human beings. this is what it looks like now on the outskirts of delhi. a sensor reveals dangerously low levels of oxygen, stifled by covid-19, this canister of gas buys this patient time. all of these patients arrived barely able to breathe. this isn't a medical clinic. it's a tent on the outskirts of india's capital run by volunteers. without the initiative being shown by these volunteers who are providing oxygen on the street on the outskirts of delhi, they say perhaps over 100 patients would be in deep trouble medically now. they already had one death over
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there earlier on today. they've treated over 100 people who have come in desperate for oxygen, unable to breathe. it's all about this, the supply of these oxygen cylinders. it's a 300-mile drive each way to get one of these filled and brought back to delhi. they cost about $25 when filled. how easy has it been to find oxygen? >> oh my god, this has been the toughest thing. >> reporter: with covid-19 infections and deaths breaking records daily in india, many patients in delhi have given up on hospital treatment. this man was turned away by three hospitals. he took off his oxygen mask demanding to be heard. >> they are just refusing tall. i cannot tell whom i can blame.
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it is both the government and the hospitals also. >> reporter: bottled oxygen is mostly produced outside delhi. neighboring states are already prioritizing their own needs. so the city gasps. many die unrecorded in their homes. this man collects the bodies of patient whs who die at home. he'll pick up three in this one-hour run. many are afraid to take their dying loved ones to hospital. the family decided to keep his grandmother at home. >> we were scared seeing the condition around. so we got scared if we took her to hospital, who is going to be in touch with her, who is going to give us the information,
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exactly the information what is going on within the hospital? >> reporter: india's government has promised a vaccination campaign with renewed vigor. but with around only 2% of the nation inoculated so far, that's cold comfort here. now, wolf, there is supposed to be a restart of the vaccination campaign for people aged 18 and over, but at least in four states, possibly many more, the leadership is saying they don't have anything like enough vaccines. here in new delhi, the chief minister is saying please don't come into the vaccination centers, there will be no jabs for you. >> only about 2% of the people of india have been vaccinated. it's an awful situation. stay safe over there, sam. just ahead, new fractures appearing in the gop exposed as liz cheney lands in hot water
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the very simple act of greeting president biden when he arrived for a speech to a joint session of congress this week has landed a top house republican in some trouble with some members of her own party. let's discuss with our chief political analyst gloria borger and former ohio governor john kasich. governor, what does it say about the republican party right now that congresswoman cheney, a member of the leadership, has to explain herself because she greeted the president of the
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united states? >> wolf, before i respond to that, i just want to tell you sitting here in the studio listening to the anguish and the cries of the people in india, you know, it's so terrible. we all live in this world together. i just hope there's something we can do to help them, as i know you do and i know gloria does. in regard to liz cheney, i was invited to the white house when obama was president, getting ready to leave to talk about the trans pacific partnership agreement. they called my office when i was governor and they said, would it be okay if you sat next to the president? i'm like what kind of a question is that? that's how things have deteriorated in that town, that republicans don't even want to be seen with the president. liz cheney, instinctively recognizing the president of the united states makes all the sense in the world. here you've got republicans fighting with one another when you have joe biden beginning to
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launch the most massive movement toward big government and sky high taxes and they don't even have time to talk about that because they're fighting amongst themselves. they keep this up, they're going to jeopardize their ability to win the house in 2022. >> two republican lawmakers have told cnn that congresswoman cheney's words this week were no helpful in any way, shape or form. >> i don't know if she's on an island, but she may be digging a moat around herself. i talked to a republican today who said it's not helpful because every time she's asked about trump, she answers how she honestly feels. they believe in the house caucus that either you're with them or you're not. and if you're not with them in your attitude towards donald trump, then you ought not to be leading the caucus.
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i think liz cheney is thinking about bigger things. perhaps she's thinking about a run for the presidency. she's not shy about how she feels about donald trump. internally now, republicans in the house have a problem. do they keep her as a leader or not? >> what do you think, governor kasich? >> well, if they throw her out, that would be the dumbest thing in the world. look, she has a right to have an opinion about donald trump. the guy cost them the senate, the house. he couldn't win those seats down in georgia. what the heck are we talking about here? i think she's very rational. i think she is not shy about expressing herself. frankly, at the end of the day it's about being honest with yourself and looking at yourself in the mirror and feeling good about it. that's what i think this is all about. good luck to her. i'd love to go and campaign for her. i'd either campaign for or against her, whatever would help her to win. >> gloria, you have new
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reporting on the former vice president mike pence. >> mike pence is somebody out there who is in a way while embracing donald trump, he's also pulling back from donald trump. i spoke with a source familiar with how he is feeling. it's clear from my reporting that that relationship will never be back the way it was what happen you're going to hear from mike pence more and more again, because he does want to run for the presidency, is this source said mike used to talk about what trump did. now he talks about what we did. so separating himself a bit, understanding that he needs donald trump if he's going to be successful. >> thank you very much. coming up, a disaster strikes a huge religious festival in israel, leaving at least 45 people dead, including americans. we have new details.
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we are learning more of a crush in a religious festival in israel that killed 45 people. the tate department says multiple u.s. citizens are among those killed in the stampede over night. tell us what happened. >> wolf, behind me is the entry way to the hill. at the top is the tomb of the ancient rabis. every year orthodox came here to celebrate. last night it turned tragic. there was a passive people, a
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crush of people, people falling one over another and tangled of bodies leading to 45 dead. as you know the u.s. state department is confirming that u.s. citizens were among those killed. an official is telling cnn they expect about five of the 45 dead will be named as u.s. citizens. absolutely tragic event here and the shock today is turning into anger. people are questioning how did it happen and why? every year this event takes place of tens of thousands of people crowding in essentially a small space. looking at the video and images last night gives you an idea how crowded it was last night. the head of the regional council here was telling israeli media he was waiting for an event like this to happen. when something did not happen, he breathes a sigh of relief. the writing was on the wall and nothing had been done to prevent it from happening.
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the attorney general launched an investigation into this. there are still a lot of questions to be answered as to how so many people allowed up in this mountain and where were police control of the crowd control. benjamin netanyahu is calling sunday a national day of warning here. >> thank you, awful situation. thank you and stay with us, more news right after this. we started with computers. we didn't stop at computers. we didn't stop at storage or cloud.
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the new cnn's original story, the story of late night this sunday. it looks at late night tv not only how it keeps laughing but how it shapes around the world. how it evolves over the year. >> reporter: before letterman and leno and colbert and kimmel. there was johnny carson.
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>> describe the sound made when a sheep explode. >> johnny created the system where he took each joke and put it on the board that went across the lincoln studio. so that way he could edit while he was performing. >> reporter: johnny carson was not black or white or asian or nothing. he was funny. >> he was just part of culture. johnny carson came from the tv set. >> when he stepped down -- >> reporter: a rush to take over the tonight show was its own "game of thrones." joans river thought she had it. >> letter was the genius. >> reporter: the shake up were seismic were changing the game. everyone was coming to play.
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>> we deserve better than tyranny and corruption. >> yes, you do. >> reporter: political comedy got serious just as politics got absurd. >> reporter: the voice of sanity and reason. the daily show put him in the role of straight man. >> reporter: the evolution never stopped. >> konan will have good ideas and he can be the producer. >> if they have their way, frivolous lawsuits will be a thing of the past. >> reporter: i didn't stand up and do a monologue. i didn't wear a tie. late night arose in the 1950s a little more than a throw away for the tv business. now, almost 70 years later, it is still getting the last laugh.
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tom foreman, cnn, washington. >> thank you very much. by the way, my most memorable moment of late night tv was back 30 years ago, march 1991, when i was cnn's pentagon correspondent and johnny carson invited me on "the tonight show." >> my own next guest was a real respected journalist with a a lot of expertise and like a lot of journalists and reporters, he was known by his peers. he was thrust in the spotlight all over the world. would you welcome mr. wolf blitzer. [ applause ] >> brings back a lot of memories. >> the story of late night premiers sunday night at
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9:00 p.m. eastern, only here on cnn. really looking for wward to wat it. you can follow me on twitter and instagram @wolfblitzer. remember our new time at 6:00 p.m. eastern, monday through friday. e erin burnett "outfront" starts now. the federal investigation into rudy giuliani intensifying. rudy giuliani railing against the probe that led to an fbi raid to his home in office and could lead to big trouble for donald trump. the daily obtains a letter from the "daily beast" of gaetz. only one republican in the crowded field standing up to trump. is his message going anywhere? let'

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