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tv   Cuomo Prime Time  CNN  July 5, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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uroctor about austedo... it's time to treat td. td is not ok. visit they literally met the day she was born and this wednesday, they will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary in the small town they, still, call home. plains, georgia. former-president jimmy carter and his wife, rosalynn, are the longest married presidential couple in u.s. history. his sister played matchmaker, setting them up on their first date when he was a midshipman at the naval academy. they married in 1946. over the years through some sometimes-turbulent political campaigns, their relationship never faltered. the former president told "the new york times" the couple is, quote, just grown closer and closer together. jimmy carter is 96. his bride is 93. we wish them a wonderful, wonderful anniversary. the news continues. let's hand it over to michael
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smerconish, in for chris on "cuomo prime time." >> thank you, john berman. i am michael smerconish, in for chris cuomo. welcome to a special-holiday edition of prime time. hope you had a great independence day weekend. now, tonight, we have a central figure on the other end of that apparent-pressure campaign by team trump to change the outcome of the 2020 election in the key-battleground state of arizona. i emphasize arizona, because similar pressure was, also, applied on election officials in georgia in the run up to january 6th. this just came to light on friday night. and we played you the voicemails that surfaced from a freedom of information request made by the arizona republic. these were calls left by arizona's gop chair and rudy giuliani, on behalf of donald trump, to those overseeing election results in the state's most populous county, maricopa. a county that president biden won, by about 45,000 votes. i want you to hear it, again. by the way, the music underneath. that was part of the arizona
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republic's online post. >> it's rudy giuliani. i was very happy to see that there's going to be forensic audit of the machines and i really wanted to talk to you about it a bit. the president wanted me to give you a call. all right? thank you. give me a call back. i would really appreciate it. thank you. >> hey, clint. it' it's kelly ward. i just talked to president trump and he's -- he would like me to talk to you. and also, see if he needs to give you a call to discuss what's happening on the ground in maricopa. give me a call back, when you can. thanks. bye. >> so, who is clint? clint hickman, at the time, was the chair of the board of supervisors in maricopa county. a republican. he says he never returned those calls, or ones from the white house switchboard operator, with requests to call back former-president trump. and i want to give you the timeframe of when these calls were made, in relation to that call that the then-president made to georgia's secretary of
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state, brad raffensperger, the infamous find-me-votes call. that was january 2nd. the voicemail we just played you from arizona's kelli ward to hickman was made way back on november 13. so, this pressure campaign, on state-election officials, it began very soon after the vote. the giuliani call was made to hickman on december 4 and the white house switchboard calls, one on new year's eve. another, on january 3rd. and why is january 3rd especially significant? it's because the news broke of trump's call to raffensperger, worldwide, that day. and that very same night, the white house was trying to get to hickman. get him on the line for the president. a president, desperate to stay in power. pretty brazen stuff, right? so, what exactly went through hickman's mind when he listened to those voicemails? ir i shall ask him. clint hickman joins me, now. and, clint, i should begin by playing for you and reading for
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you what the trump team's response was to this developing story. this was the statement that they gave to us. quote, it's no surprise maricopa county election officials had no desire to look into significant irregularities during the election. they have refused to be open and honest about the presidential election. stonewalling a forensic audit for months, and are still hiding voting equipment and routers from auditors to this day. what do they have to hide? why don't we begin with you responding to that response? >> well, i would say, thank you, michael, for inviting me tonight. i would say, all of my colleagues have done our best to -- to be upfront about the maricopa county election even while it was going through. i will take it back a little bit. we had three major elections during a pandemic year. i became chairman of -- last january, before this. so a year and a half ago. and we were going to run three
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elections. and when i had my chairman's address, i did not once say pandemic. that was in january. in march, the pandemic hit and we still had a presidential preference election. we learned quite a faew things but we had to change different processes that every single time, we stayed within the statutory guidelines what's offered either in the secretary of state's election manual or the statutes, themselves. and um, i guess, i could say i -- i couldn't be prouder of how the county pulled off an election of over 2 million people. voting during a pandemic. so, ever since, um, we've -- we've been talking. and we've been doing the best we can to -- to calm the fears of voters, on both sides of the aisle. and continually, finding that this election was run in a fair, bipartisan, and american way. >> the background is really
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significant, i think. according to the arizona republic, you were not a trump antagonist. to the contrary. you supported him. met him on an airport tarmac. even got a shout-out during one of those campaign rallies. so what was the breakpoint? >> oh, i was very proud of all that. i -- i endorsed president trump all the way through. i'm -- been a lifelong republican. my first presidential vote was for ronald reagan, so many years ago. and i did the best i could. and -- and worked like every republican did, for the top of their ticket. and -- but the central fact is i became an election authority this -- this year. and along with my colleagues. and um, yeah. it was nerve-racking, a little bit. but -- but then, you know, it -- this -- i call this the election that never ends. and we continue to talk about it so much, almost every day.
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so -- >> when news of the raffensperger call broke, what ran through your mind? >> well, i was -- i've said it in the -- i've said it in the arizona republic. i was -- i was horrified. i listened to the phone call. i read the transcript. and -- and i thought this is -- this is not what i am used to. and i, you know, a month before that i told people that were close to the trump campaign, with all this litigation that was going on. i said, hey, just -- hey, just do me a favor. i can't talk to anyone while this is being litigated. and um, it -- and that stayed true, all the way up till that -- that new year's weekend. i got a phone call from the white house switchboard. i have to say all of these people that -- that called me. it wasn't stonewalling. we weren't in litigation at all these points. it was getting hard to keep track of. i believe, at one point, there
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were eight cases being litigated and maricopa county was finding themselves in the courtroom. just at -- you know, at all times. so, i wanted to make sure that i was not having conversations outside of that. what ever needed to be said, needed to be said in a courtroom, in front of a judge or a jury. but -- but we needed to -- we needed to get down to the bottom of it. and this was -- this was while the same time maricopa county was taking a look at our own people that worked the election. and we had to ask some really tough questions of those people. all the way through. and they -- they've been -- they've been there, the whole time. came in talked to us and told us everything. >> quick, final question. i guess, there was an alternative and the alternative would be to do what georgia did, loosely described. and that is, have the conversation and tape it. did you ever give thought to that? >> well, look. you know, people tell their grandchildren this is -- this is
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the most powerful office and the most powerful man in the land and it would have been great to have a conversation of a different type. but after seeing what was going on in georgia, as i said clearly, if i'm not willing to tape a president, i'm not willing to talk to a president. i am -- i was a chairman of a board that, all of us, had to make decisions on. and i did not want any of my colleagues thinking i was having ex parte communications at all to frame a vote. so that's why i avoided it and, um, here we are. >> clint hickman, thank you so much for being here and telling your story. >> thank you, michael. appreciate the opportunity. tomorrow marks six months since the attack on our capitol. in that time, the department of justice has arrested at least 500 people. yet, house minority leader kevin mccarthy, still, not sure the five members that he'll put on the house select committee to investigate. that might be because one of the members of his caucus,
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congressman mo brooks, is spending his time in part in court from the role the white house had in planning to members of congress meeting directly with rudy giuliani. a judge, today, just denied brooks's request tos toss out a lawsuit by my next guest, representative eric swalwell. the new paper back version of his book called "end game inside the impeachments of donald trump." congressman, let me begin with this. react to what you just heard from the arizona official. >> good evening, michael. clint hickman and people like him are the unsung heroes of our democracy. our democracy nearly died, after the last election. and people like mr. hickman showed integrity, regardless of their political party, to just do their job. to look for every-legal vote. to count every-legal vote and to certify the election and they did. and -- and thank god, they did because donald trump tested all of them. >> i mean, worthy of
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underscoring a trump supporter cast his ballot, received the nod on the tarmac and so forth. and yet, when the call came from the white house switchboard, wouldn't take it. >> and, michael, this just shows donald trump is only loyal to you, as long as that helps donald trump. and it reminds me, also, of the police, right? he held himself up as this person who honored the police in america. but as soon as it was the police that stood in the way of the mob that attacked the capitol, you can't find donald trump or any republicans, frankly, other than liz cheney and adam kinzinger to honor the police. and so, they are really showing their true colors here that it's really just about one person, one cult personality, and his lust to stay in power. >> i read the lawsuit that you filed against donald trump and others, including a colleague of yours, mo brooks. and i read congressman brooks' response. what is the goal of that litigation?
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>> accountability. and i don't think we can hold donald trump and his enablers accountable enough. and when history looks at what we did during the trump years and after, i think we will only be judged harshly, if we don't press further to find the truth. and so, donald trump and mo brooks and don jr. and rudy, they sought to impede the congress from counting the electoral college votes. they traumatized myself and my colleagues. they unleashed a mob on the police, who defended the capitol that day. and so, michael, it's really an effort to make sure that even post-impeachment and regardless of what happens in the criminal trials. that those actors are held accountable. >> do you think that you can satisfy the causation requirement? i mean, very famously, mo brooks talked about kicking ass and taking names. that language, you have cited in your complaint. when he responded, he said, well, there was context. in fact, i can put it up on the screen, in terms of what his response was to that part of the
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litigation. let's be clear. regardless of today's outcome, the 2022 and 2024 elections are right around the corner. this is his quote from that speech, january 6th. an america does not need and cannot stand, cannot tolerate any more weakling, cowering, wimpy republican congressmen and senators who covet the power and the prestige. flip that screen, for me. there we go. the swamp has to offer. while groveling at the feet and the knees of their special-interest group masters. as such, today is important in another way. today is the day american patriots start taking down names and kicking ass. he says you put it together. he is talking about 2022 and 2024. in other words, we take down the names today. we kick their ass, electorally speaking, in the next election. >> yeah. i don't accept that. he's standing before a violent mob. donald trump and his team had spent $50 million, in the 17 days before that event inviting
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people to come. donald trump said that that day was going to be wild. and he said, if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country, anymore. and so, mo brooks knew who he was talking to. aimed that mob with donald trump and others, right at the capitol. and again, i will leave it to the courts to, you know, litigate this. or the lawyers and the courts to decide. but i -- i do believe it's worthy of accountability. >> okay. is your lawsuit plan b, meaning that if the official investigation, the house investigation, never gets off the ground. or doesn't bear fruit. that you'll be out there, as a private litigant, hoping that you can take depositions and you can subpoena documents and so on and so forth? and maybe, you'll uncover what, all, went on, on january 6th. >> i am filing my suit, regardless of what anyone else does but you're right. i mean, it may or may not turn out that way. actually, after being an impeachment manager, i was all the more convinced that donald
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trump needed to be held accountable after reviewing hours of evidence, in that case, michael. so, again, this is about accountability and, yes, if we survive the motion to dismiss, there will be depositions and what's called discovery. the ability to get information from the other side. but in the book, i also laid out that as we are living in real time, this often feels surprising. but in many ways, it was predictable. and in the book, i told the story of the day before we started the trial. an i.t. help desk set up a side room for us, right next to the senate. and they gave us printers, copy machines. i asked for the wi-fi password and they told us, you know, it was under the name managers. and i asked one of the assistants afterward, i said, i was so surprised that you guys were able to get this all set up. we just paeimpeached donald trua cup cup couple weeks ago and he looked at me and said, sir, we were the same team that did the last impeachment and to be honest, we just left the
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infrastructure up because we figured y'all would be back. so to them, this was never surprising. >> congressman swalwell, thank you. the book, by the way, "end game: inside the impeachments of donald trump." the new edition available now in pa paperback. straight ahead. another very tough chapter in surfside for victims' families and survivors. the rest of the destroyed building was brought down to keep rescue workers safe. now, they're battling against severe weather likely to set back this search, again. we have a live update. that's next. liberty mutual customizes car insurance so you only pay for what you need. how much money can liberty mutual save you? one! two! three! four! five! 72,807!
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ hey google, turn up the heat. ♪ ♪ ♪ rescue crews in surfside, florida, facing the added complications of severe weather, tonight. gusty winds, ahead of tropical storm elsa have moved in. and that's not even the worst of the storm. it hit cuba, this afternoon, with sustained winds of 60 miles per hour. tom sater's in the weather center tracking elsa for us. tom. >> well, michael, the good news is we have got a couple things
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in our favor. one is the calendar month of the year, right now. you know, it's early july. typically, we -- it's rare to have a major hurricane. they are usually smaller in size, and that's good news. when this was, first, named elsa, the earliest we have ever had a fifth-named storm. that sounds familiar because we did it over and over, last year. but when it was first named, the forecast track has been pretty good. it was a hurricane, at one time, through the caribbean. i don't think that's going to happen, anymore. so that's good. but the video tells the story what's happening in west central cuba. it made landfall at 2:00 p.m. there. right before that, the winds were at 65 miles per hour. it's down to 50. that's the interaction with the land. so that's in our favor, too. but soon, it's going to be in the warmer waters of the florida straits. and it will get back up to that 65 miles per hour. but going forward, as it lifts northward, the environment is not conducive for this to become a hurricane. it -- could -- there is always a chance but i think winds are going to sheer at this system, somewhat. keep it as a tropical storm. now, the concern has always been
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miami-dade. the miami area and surfside. and for good reason, because this cone of uncertainty did include that, early on. it's been shifting westward. also, in blue, the tropical storm warnings, we do not have a hurricane news so that's good news. heavy rainfall in areas of red. along with that, going hand in hand, the storm surge has been increased now up to 5 feet. now, kind of concerned about tampa, st. pete, clearwater area. for those that live in this area, want some sort of a reference. last november, tropical storm ada moved in. almost the same intensity, same landfall spot which i will show you. now, winds right now, michael. they are concentrated. the tropical storm force winds, well some distance away. but the risk is not over with, with the crews that are onsite right now because the feeder bands, outside of that realm of where they're sustained. the gusts can go farther out. most of the wind activity offshore. it's going to brush the
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entire-gulf coast area. but surfside still has a 7% probability and it showed itself this afternoon. in about an hour, the center's going to be offshore and get into those warm waters. but earlier this afternoon, around 3:30, the band moved through and we are getting closer and we'll back this up about-six hours. you will see what's moving in now. they had a severe-thunderstorm warning and a tornado warning. that's all it takes. these feeder bands are going to be moving in tomorrow morning and when they move into this area, right where surfside and the crews are working. they could easily have a tornado spin up or a water spout move onshore. so verifies the demolition of the building that they had last night. as this system moves further, they are going to get a break. the worst of it for the crews there, i think, will be tomorrow morning through around, maybe, 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. but it's not only florida. it's not only the carolinas. you see this rain band? this is going to go on for a while. even as this tropical storm, all the states up the east coast to maine. the canadian maritime area. so, it's a long-duration storm. the good news, it's not a hurricane. but the risk is not over with
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for the crews there, at surfside. they will be watching it closely and so will we. >> tom sater, thank you for that report. the storm heading west seems to be a rare bit of good news for the people of surfside, florida. but when it comes to answers, a big piece of the puzzle was just brought down intentionally. the mayor of miami-dade county tells cnn the demolition helped rescue crews get to areas of the rubble, where they recovered three bodies today. this as new documents obtained by cnn shed new light on how urgent the need for repairs were in the building. from a design flaw that caused columns to be, quote, overstressed since the day the building went up, to the garage being exposed to water intrusion for 40 years. plenty to dive into with rick de la guardia, a forensic engineer, who is familiar with the building and who specializes in building-component failures. rick, obviously, i lack your expertise. but when i look at the powerpoint presentation that was
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made in the fall and winter of 2020 to building residents. in fact, i am going to put up on the screen something that i just quoted so that everybody can take a moment and -- and have a peek at it. this was under the headline, why we have to do all this now. and the part that jumped out at me was the slabs under the landscaping in front. the area over the storage units have been overstressed, since the day the building went up. design or construction flaw. of what significance do you see in that? >> well, first of all, i'd like to caution that it's way too early to start speculating about potential design or construction flaw. having said that, depending on who consulted on that report to the individual who -- who made a presentation. i think it's very alarming when -- when -- the concrete elements are not designed to be overstressed. they're designed so that they don't get overstressed. so if we're talking about a potential design or construction
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flaw, that makes an issue that's -- that could be very critical for the sister building that, potentially, has the same contractor and the same develop ever. developer. so i would urge, if a design professional did write that statement and can verify that, that he immediately speak to the surfside officials and bring it to their attention, regarding the other building. >> okay. one more, if i may. again, from a powerpoint presentation made to residents of the building in the fall and winter of 2020. we will put this up on the screen, and i'll read. this was under the headline of, why is this so complicated and expensive? quote, there is no waterproofing layer over the garage in the driveway or any area except the pool deck and planters. this has exposed the garage to water intrusion for 40 years. your thoughts? >> again, very concerning. so i'd like to explain a little bit about how the building is supported. slabs are supported on beams. beams are supported on columns.
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columns are, ultimately, the -- the elements that support a building. certainly, a failure in the waterproofing could cause damage of the slabs, which do support beams and columns. so if -- if that, in fact, was the case, then -- then it would be an area of concern. and certainly, it should have been addressed, in my opinion, back in 2018. certainly, the 2020 report, it had three years of -- of even the engineer said that if this is not taken care of, this is going to get worse, exponentially. >> a final-subject area. you referenced columns. here are photographs or a photograph that the "new york times" published. that accentuate an issue, potentially, with rebar. you know the issue. give me the lay explanation of what i am looking at. >> well, you're looking at there is -- is a -- the slab that failed or -- or fell off that potentially was supporting that
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column. now, again, i want to caution against speculation or assigning design flaws or construction flaws. it's way too early to determine that. but i believe, in the report, it also recommended to have pile -- support piles added to those columns. so again, if that engineer felt that strongly, i think we -- we merit further investigation for the design constraints. >> you know that there's -- there's a question being raised as to whether the amount of rebar, that's in that photograph, comports with the ori original-design drawings. i guess, though, the original-design drawings are not as telling as the final-design drawings. what would you most want to see? >> absolutely. i mean, this is on an old billing and i -- i have reviewed the plans and -- but the plans are old, as well. and we don't know if there was a revision to those plans. we don't know if there was a structural-plan review that caught some error and -- and,
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presumably, changed the design. so we can't speak, until we know what the final construction set is. another question is if there was a design flaw or construction flaw, my question would be, why wasn't that caught during the plans-review process? or furthermore, the lack of reinforcement. why wasn't that caught? inspectors do a steel framing inspection of the columns in the area in question. that would be my question if in fact found to be a design or construction flaw. >> i get all the provisos. rick, thank you so much. >> you're welcome. a miami-based company has just been hit by a massive ransomware attack. and this one may be affecting hundreds of businesses, worldwide. this is a major national-security concern. what the president is saying about it. what can be done about it? that's next.
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70 million in bitcoin. that's how much the cybercriminal gang, known as r evil, has demanded to restore data they are holding for ransom. hundreds of companies worldwide were compromised over the weekend after hackers targeted a software vendor widely used by i.t. management companies.
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experts say you might not feel the impact yet because of holiday weekend but if sweden is any indication, this could be big. one of sweden's largest grocery chains had to close 800 of its stores because of a cyberattack. a swedish railway and pharmacy chain, also, suffered disruption. so how will this play out here? and what can be done about it? my next guest, co-founder of the crowdstrike cybersecurity firm calls this the most destructive ransomware cam tanpaign, that w seen so far. dimitri, why is this potentially the worst? >> well, the number of victims that we are seeing here, michael, is truly unprecedented. there are probably over a thousand victims that have used this software and were hacked by this ransomware group that we believe is based in russia and these are small businesses. these are dentists, car dealers, real estate agents. the type of organizations that have suffered throughout this pandemic, and can ill afford to pay the ransom or hire security firms to help recover their data.
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>> on saturday, president biden was asked about this, right at the outset of reports. i want you to see what he said. and then, we'll talk about it. roll it. >> if it is, either, with the knowledge of, and/or consequence of, russia, then i told putin, we will respond. we're not certain. the initial thinking was it was not the russian government. but we're not sure, yet. >> interesting, at least to me, he said we're not sure if it was the russian government. you know, the issue here, as i see it, is whether you can hold putin accountable if the actors were in russia, even if you don't know if he had knowledge. will you speak to that issue? >> absolutely. well, president biden made it very clear to vladimir putin, back in geneva last month that even when the russian government is not orchestrating these attacks and we don't believe they are. if they are harboring these criminals, if they are allowing them to operate freely, we will hold them responsible. and clearly, putin did not get
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the message or is, at best, dragging his feet and that is unacceptable. >> okay. but that presupposes that putin could know, or does know, who these actors are. how comfortable are you in making that assertion? >> quite comfortable. over the last-20 years, the fbi and other law-enforcement agencies from around the world have provided extensive information on cybercriminals to russian law enforcement and only to see the russian law enforcement completely ignore that data. never really go after these criminals, and -- and arresting them. so, we know that they know where these people are because, in some cases, we provided them information on them. but they have not acted on it because they feel like they're benefitting, right now, by watching these criminals attack america. >> dimitri, if that's true, that's quite a thumb in the eye by president putin toward president biden that will demand some type of a response. what might that response be? >> i think the time has come for biden to deliver a private
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ultimatum. you will either immediately put a stop to these attacks by apprehending and prosecuting some of these criminals. or the u.s. will start enforcing very severe sanctions on your energy sector. and that energy sector, michael, is responsible for about 40% of their federal budget in russia. so, we cannot tolerate these -- >> okay. i -- i think he already gave 'em that warning. i mean, it's like they're already on double-secret probation. now, it would seem, something needs to be done. >> i think the time may come at which point we have to start enforcing the sanctions, absolutely. >> dimitri, thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. old glory. i saw a lot of our beautiful, american flag, this independence day weekend. it represents the best about us. what unites us. but one "new york times" reporter, also, notes that it's become a divisive symbol of sorts. and she is here to explain, next. what's on the horizon? the answers lie beyond the roads we know.
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question. can we discern a person's political leaning by whether they are displaying an american flag?
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the stars and stripes represent unity, the blood and sacrifice that went into making this great nation. but it's growing to become a symbol of division for some. a "new york times" article documents how many americans are worried others are co-opting the flag as a political symbol. this story reads as follows. today, flying the american flag from the back of a pick-up truck or over a lawn is increasingly seen as a clue. albeit, an imperfect one, to a person's political affiliation in a deeply divided nation. the journalist behind the story, who wrote it, staff reporter for "the times," sarah, joins me now. sarah, thank you so much for being here. i know that, in some quarters, this has taken on a how dare you even raise this observation or impugn someone's reputation by noting this? for what it's worth, a week ago on my radio program, i was asking the same question. what accounts for the blowback? >> well, it's fascinating, right? there is a conflation with the
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journalist, who is really a conduit for public sentiment and public experience. to be the person, whose idea it is, who is telling the story, who made this up. and that's a falsification of what the journalist's job is. this is something that's happening across the country. a sentiment that many, many people share. and "the new york times" is merely sharing that, because that's our job. >> so, what -- for those who have not, yet, read your piece, what's the thesis? >> the thesis is that, given the recent events of, you know, the last four years. the incredible cleaving to the flag that's happened in the right. you look at a trump rally. it's a sea of american flags, from baseball hats to t-shirts to waving them. to protests against what the flag stands for, by people like colin kaepernick who took a knee because he didn't feel the flag represented him. that, somehow, this symbol that, at its heart, is of unity,
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right? there are 50 stars on it representing all-50 states. has become, to many, a symbol of division. and that's the question "the new york times" sought to explore. >> so there is some interesting polling data. we will put it up on the screen. it's from cbs. and it talks about going into this weekend, how likely, based on party, were you to be flying an american flag? 80% of republicans, will you fly an american flag july 4th, said yes. 58% of democrats said yes. you can see or, perhaps, you don't have a monitor. but over time, there has been a difference between rs and ds as to whether they fly the flag. your reaction? >> well, it's absolutely a distinction. but it also goes deeper than that. there are differences, polling data shows, based on your race, how likely you are to fly or feel proud of that flag. i think it's something, like, 80% of white-americans say they feel proud of the flag. while, closer to 60-something percent of black americans feel
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proud of that flag and that speaks to how differently our life and races lived in america. and that that symbol of this country can mean different things, based on who you are, party affiliation or personal-cultural experience. >> you know, it's funny how some of these pay triotic symbols ge appropriated by one side or another. i happen to love lee greenwood's god bless the usa. that -- it will cause me to stop in my tracks, and get goose bumps. and yet, that song is so affiliated with republicans and -- and not democrats. i don't know what the -- the democratic song is to, you know, to -- to match against lee greenwood. >> well, isn't it fascinating that the american flag can mean so many different things? it was burned during the vietnam war, in protest of -- of that war. ribboned between the twin towers. it symbolizes a moment of unity, of september 11th, of us all coming together against threats against this country. um, but then, you saw it during
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the capitol riots used quite literally as a weapon. that american flag, on a pole, was used to beat police officers by people trying to make an incursion into the capitol. and so, that flag has shifted, depending on who is wielding it, both metaphorically and quite literally. >> yeah. well, it's just sad. i mean, it seems like everything has -- has broken along partisan ranks, these days. maybe, even displaying the american flag. how about this? we should all put up the american flag. too late for this year. but if we all do it for next july 4th, i think it would be a positive step. i appreciated your piece. so thank you for being here, sarah. >> thank you. i will do one better. let's use the american flag, every day. we're all americans. >> yeah. amen to that. thank you. we heard from a newly-free bill cosby, this independence day weekend. speaking out in defense of his former-cosby show co-star, who is facing fire for defending him. that controversy is next. vehice is almost at the finish line
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just days after the pennsylvania supreme court overturned bill cosby's sexual-assault conviction, the disgraced tv father speaking out. cosby is slamming howard university for reprimanding his former-tv wife, felicia rashad, who celebrated his release. the actor once seen as america's dad will be a topic of conversation in this sunday's new cnn original series "the history of the sitcom." here is a clip that was filmed before cosby's conviction was overturned. >> that great thursday-night lineup. cosby, family ties, cheers, night court. >> nbc really created this idea of must-see tv. you are talking about 20 and 30 and 40 million people tuning in. >> people say you were one of america's most successful fathers. i said, no, it was bill cosby. cosby was number one. >> with respect to what's happened of late, it's like hugely disappointing to all of us.
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but he set the standard for what a family sitcom was. >> i need to note that bill cosby maintains his innocence against all sexual-assault allegations. our next guest, a former "new york times" media reporter, has interviewed cosby many times over the years. cnn media analyst, bill carter, joins us now to discuss the latest with cosby, and this sunday's premiere of the "history of the sitcom" on cnn. you know, bill, i'm a product of the era you too when we all watched the same shows. today, someone recommends a tv show to me, and even though i watch a lot of television. chances are, i've never seen heard of it. half the country used to watch this show, right? >> absolutely. it's -- i think -- i believe it's the last show ever, last regular show ever, to get a 50 share. meaning, at the time it was on, 50% of the people watching tv were watching the cosby show. it was almost super bowl like in its popularity.
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>> what was the legacy of this show, before all his troubles? >> before his troubles, it was, maybe, the classic-modern family show that, also, broke barriers. because obviously, we hadn't seen a -- you know, an african-american family presented, in this way. and everybody watched the show. and -- and it brought people together, in an incredible way. and families watched it together. i watched it with my little children, at the time. and it brought us together. we -- we looked forward to it, every week. it was -- it was an iconic show. a truly-iconic show and, obviously, it is not that, anymore. >> what can you tell us about those many interviews that you conducted with him over the years? what was he like, in your interactions? >> well, he was very receptive to me. and we had a very good relationship. i always found him a little inscrutable, i guess is the word.
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hard to figure he was coming from. you know, he always was sort of -- but obviously, he was such an enormous star. he was incredibly welcoming to me. he invited me and my wife to the taping of the finale. so we had a very good relationship. i wouldn't say we were friends but we had a good-professional interaction. and, of course, i never imagined any of this was going on. and i have to say, the people that i know involved in the show, the producers, they didn't know about this. this was an extraordinary thing that was going on. but it certainly undid all of this not -- i shouldn't say it undid all of this great work because it's still a great show. what's sad, michael. what's really sad is is that people don't come together, as a family, and watch the show, again, in the way they will sit down and watch "lucy" or "seinfeld" or friends that are these iconic shows that go on and on. and it should be that way. cosby show was that way for families. >> yeah. you remind me of the seinfeld signoff. for me, that is the last i
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recall where it seems like the whole country gathered around a television to see how it was going to end. question. is there a precedent for someone who has fallen from grace and was the star of a tv show, sitcom or otherwise? and -- and what, then, happens to the legacy of that program, thereafter? >> well, i -- i can't -- this is, obviously, one of a kind, in terms of the just heinousness of the accusations. as you said, we have to say he -- he has proclaimed his innocence. but the heinousness of these accusations. i mean, you do have, you know, i guess, you could cite hogan's heroes and bob crane, who, of course, wound up being murdered. and his, you know, very checkered sexual life. but that's not an iconic show, like this. this show, because the family -- the family aspect of it and the fact that cosby was looked on as america's dad. i mean, it's an extraordinary thing that happened. and in the series, we have malcolm jamal warner, who obviously played his son on the show and he talks about this
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very sincerely. it's not like they are running away from it. they know the damage that is he happened. this was a great piece of art. a great piece of art that's been tainted by the great artist, who made it. >> yeah. a funny, funny show. bill carter, thank you for that. we appreciate it. >> thanks, michael. be sure to tune in. the all new cnn original series "the history of the sitcom" premieres with back-to-back episodes sunday, 9:00 p.m. eastern, and pacific, only on cnn. we'll be right back. hi guys! check out this side right here. what'd you do? - tell me know you did it. - yeah. get a little closer. that's insane. that's a different car. -that's the same car. - no! yeah, that's before, that's after. oh, that's awesome. make it nu with nu finish.
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that's it for us. "don lemon tonight" with my sirius xm colleague, laura coates, starts right now. >> thanks, michael. nice to see you, as always. and this is a special-holiday edition of "don lemon tonight." i'm laura coates, in for don. and think about where we are, tonight. as we wind down a holiday weekend celebrating independence day, you know, just six months ago, tomorrow, violent insurrectionists tried to take over the united states capitol.


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