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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 3, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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repulsive and unlawful behavior by the governor. john berman in for anderson. those harsh words aimed at new york governor andrew cuomo. they don't come from a political rival. they don't come from an unfriendly newspaper columnist or even one of the 11 women accusing him of sexual harassment. no. those words are from kathy hochul, his lieutenant governor. and they are not even the most damaging and problematic for cuomo tonight. not by a long shot. those could be found in the new york attorney general's damning 165-page report released today detailing a pattern of sexual harassment and intimidation by governor cuomo. new york's two senators kirsten gillibrand and majority leader chuck schumer called on cuomo to resign. so have the democratic members of new york's house delegation. so have key members of the new york assembly and state senate who have the power to remove him from office. so has the current new york city mayor and the man likely to be
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the next new york city mayor. so have, just moments ago, the democratic governors of rhode island, new jersey, pennsylvania and connecticut. so has house speaker nancy pelosi. and finally, late today, so did president biden. a long-time political ally and friend of the new york governor. >> back in march you said that if the investigation confirmed the allegations against governor cuomo, then he should resign. so will you now call on him to resign given the investigators said the 11 women were credible? >> i stand by that statement. >> are you now calling on him to resign? >> yes. >> more on the white house reaction shortly. remember, it wasn't so long ago that governor cuomo was being touted as a potential pick for attorney general. now he is facing the possibility of criminal charges. cnn's erica hill begins our coverage. >> reporter: governor andrew cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated
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federal and state law. a damning report detailing a pattern of unwelcome, inappropriate behavior by the governor and a hostile work environment. >> it was a culture where you could not say no to the governor. >> reporter: 11 women describing their encounters as disturbing, humiliating and uncomfortable. >> we found all 11 women to be credible. there was corroboration to varying degrees. charlotte bennett talked to people and texted people contemporaneously. some of her texts were practically in real time. >> reporter: charlotte bennett, a former aide and health policy adviser to the governor first told her story to the "new york times" in february. investigators shared one of her texts when announcing the report's findings. >> quote, the verbal abuse, intimidation, and living in constant fear were all horribly toxic, dehumanizing and traumatizing. >> reporter: on tuesday, she called on the governor to resign. he later addressed her in a
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taped statement. >> i have heard charlotte and her lawyer and i understand what they are saying, but they read into comments that i made and draw inferences that i never meant. simply put, they heard things that i just didn't say. >> reporter: bennett's attorney telling cnn in an email, quote, the governor has a serious problem with the truth. among the other encounters laid out in the a.g.'s 165-page report, two involved a new york state trooper who was part of cuomo's security detail. >> he took his open hand and ran it across her stomach from her belly button to the hip where she keeps her gun. she told us that she felt completely violated to have the governor touch her as she put it between her chest and her privates. >> reporter: and a woman known as executive assistant number one outlining several other unwanted encounters. >> the governor hugged executive
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assistant number one and reached under her blouse to grab her breast. there were also several occasions on which the governor grabbed her butt. >> reporter: the governor denied the sexual harassment allegations. >> i never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances. >> reporter: while also claiming the report was politically motivated. allegations the a.g. strongly denied. >> there were attacks on me as well as members of the team, which i find offensive. what this investigation revealed was a disturbing pattern of conduct by the governor of the great state of new york. i believe women and i believe these 11 women. >> reporter: meantime, calls for the governor to step down growing louder. >> for the sake of the state, the governor resigns, he should resign. >> and erica hill joins me now. what do we know about how many people investigators spoke with and why? >> reporter: nearly 200.
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179 people were a part of this investigation, including the governor's brother, chris, our colleague here at cnn. p speaking with a number of members the governor's inner circle. this was all part of putting together this investigation, some 79,000 different pieces of evidence. what we know in terms of charges, too, john, a lot of questions about what could come in terms of criminal charges. the a.g. making it clear this was a civil investigation. she actually doesn't have the authority to bring criminal charges. but we can tell you that the district attorney in albany county has said he has now requested materials from the a.g.'s investigation and also has reached out to any other potential victims asking them to come forward. >> says he has an obligation to follow up. erica hill, thank you so much for your reporting. more now on what president biden had to say about his long-time friend governor andrew cuomo. here is more of cnn's kaitlan collins asking the president directly about it late today. >> are you now calling on him to
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resign? >> yes. >> and if he doesn't resign, do you believe he should be impeached and removed from office? >> let's take one thing at a time here. i think he should resign. i understand that the state legislature may decide to impeach. i don't know that for a fact. i have not read all that data. >> he is using a photo of you embracing him in his self-defense to say that these are commonplace kind of embraces that he made and the allegations against him. do you condone that? >> look, i'm not going to fly speck this. i'm sure there are some embraces that were totally innocent. but apparently, the attorney general decided there were things that weren't. >> and kaitlan collins joins us now. kaitlan, always direct and to the point with your questioning there. and the answer oh, so interesting. the president telling you governor cuomo should resign. that's a huge break, a huge
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break between two long-standing political allies. behind the scenes what does the white house think will actually happen? >> i think the question is, is governor cuomo someone who going to resign? because john, you saw his statement after the attorney general laid out in detail with those investigators these allegations against him which they say they confirmed, allegations of the 11 women and found them to be credible based on their interviews with dozens of people, 170 people i believe it was. so i don't think it was really an open question for the white house whether or not president biden was going to stand by what he said in march. there wasn't a lot of ambiguity of what this investigation found. and that is what he said, that if this investigation found these claims were confirmed he would call on him to resign. and so i think it was an option here where he had to follow through on that. so i do think a big question is, beyond just calling on him to resign, what does he think should happen going forward because he did say it's really not for him to determine whether or not he should be removed from office. he also didn't say whether or not he should be prosecuted.
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that's a question raised by several factors given that attorney general said that he broke federal and state laws with his actions, referring to governor cuomo. so i think the white house is watching this, but it is significant. >> this is a huge break because this is a pretty strong political alliance that president biden and governor cuomo had formed six years ago. so it is notable given that it has gotten to this point where today he had to say yes, it's time for him to step down. >> it's notable that president biden unprompted by the way way back in that george stephanopoulos interview, he raised the possibility of criminal charges then. but today he danced around it. what are aides saying about that behind closed doors? >> reporter: president biden said he hadn't read the report. it's not clear he heard all of the allegations, some of the new claims come out, the new ones the investigators confirmed, especially the one about the state trooper. that is something that i don't think the white house was expecting to come today. so you heard the press secretary jen psaki saying she thinks
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everyone probably found those allegations in those reports from this investigation abhorrent. and so president biden said he hasn't read it yet. he also has not spoken to governor cuomo today, john, which i think is notable. it's not likely i guess going forward that they will speak given today he said that it is time for him to step down. and it was just one step in seeing several of these high-profile allies of governor cuomo previously say that yeah, the time has come for him to leave office. >> kaitlan collins at the white house, thank you very much. perspective now from cnn political analyst and "new york times" washington correspondent maggie haberman, who's covered new york politics for years. also cnn senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor elie hoenig. maggie, you noted as this was happening today that the allegations more damning than i think albany reporters and democratic politicians were expecting. and now the spate of calls for resignations i think louder and quicker than i think people were expecting, including the governors from these neighboring states that governor cuomo works so closely with on a daily basis.
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what do you think happens next? >> it's the $64 million question, john. look, andrew cuomo is not known for going down without a fight. even in 2002 when he quit his first race for governor he dropped out of a primary a couple of days before it was happening. that was at the last minute when he still had alliances but he fought as long as he could and as hard as he could. i expect him to keep doing that here but he is facing a bad set of options. he is facing a really, really, as you noted, i said earlier, very damning report. a lot of people, not just in the state but around andrew cuomo, were very surprised by the specifics of that state trooper allegation. they specifically pointed to that in conversations with me as to twhae were really surprised by and what they thought was the starkest incident he was facing of impropriety, of bringing in this trooper who was not qualified to be on his detail just by her years of service and requesting that she be there. and so all of these facts i think add up to what you're seeing now, which is an impeachment investigation that is going to move quickly from
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what we understand from albany democrats. it could happen by october, a senate trial in new york state. i don't think andrew cuomo wants to go down in history as an impeached governor. so i think he's going to have to decide whether things will be better for him if he resigned. but there is so little in his dna that is going to want to do that. so there's a lot to watch right now. but he is basically isolated in a way that we've just never seen before. >> i mean, how small is the political island that andrew cuomo is on tonight? >> it's pretty small. look, there are a very small number of prominent democrats who we haven't heard from yet. it's probably on one hand who we haven't heard from. that's it. it's them and him and eventually they will probably say something and at a certain point it's not clear that he can do the basic function of government and governing in this state. >> elie, legally speaking, what are some of the possible consequences here? >> yeah, john, there's a lot of threads out there but really this boils down to three
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possible paths legally and it could go down all, some, or none of them. first of all, potential criminal charges. really the one piece of this that could be criminal is the allegation that the governor reached up a woman's blouse. that is now being looked at we know by the albany d.a. there is a new york state misdemeanor for forcible touching. so the d.a.'s going to have to do a full investigation there, come to a decision. second of all, we will in all likelihood see civil lawsuits. any or all of these 11 accusers who've come forward can sue andrew cuomo, can sue the state of new york for monetary damages. and then third there's the political but also legal process of impeachment. and it's interesting to hear maggie say that that could be very much on the table and could happen quickly. those are the three battlegrounds that governor cuomo's dealing with right now. >> there are some differences, elie, if you can highlight them. key differences actually between impeachment in new york state and a federal impeachment. what are they? >> yeah, so it's similar but not identical with the federal impeachment process which we've all become sort of too familiar
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with because we've had two recent ones. first of all, it starts in the new york state assembly, which is essentially the equivalent of the house of representatives. that vote has to be by a majority. but if it happens, the governor loses his power temporarily. it goes right over to the lieutenant governor, kathy hochul, who made a very strong statement today, in contrast to the federal system of course when donald trump was impeached power did not go over to mike peps. t pence. when you get to the trial in the new york state senate it's the senate plus the seven judges on new york state's highest court, the court of appeals. that body then has to vote by 2/3 to convict and remove. so it's a similar process but there are important differences there. >> and of course they don't have the u.s. constitution which lays out high crimes and misdemeanors. it doesn't say that exactly in new york. it's more vague and i guess subjective to a sense in new york. so maggie, impeachment. you say october. that actually -- that's two months from now. or 2 1/2 months from now. that's a fairly long time. and there are people looking for
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something more quickly here. so explain exactly what's happening with the assembly now because the assembly speaker, while condemning andrew cuomo and hoping i think andrew cuomo resigns, did say i'm going to hold an impeachment vote tomorrow. >> he said a couple of things. carl hasty, the assembly speaker, who has been an ally of andrew cuomo and who was accused of slow-walking this investigation by a number of people. suddenly it's moving quite quickly. impeachment vote very quickly. he met with his conference today and he clearly was taking their temperature as to whether people would be in favor of this. i think it's 76 democrats who are needed in order to move ahead with this. i believe if he's calling a vote he thinks that he has it. it is technically a long time but i think there are a number of procedural measures that have to take place. i do think that hasty and others are hoping that cuomo will resign before they have to move ahead with this. this is incredibly distracting for them. they don't want to be engaged in this. any members of the state legislature don't want to have to go ahead with this but they will if they have to. so this is now triggering a process.
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even if there's a vote tomorrow there are a lot of other pieces that have to fall into place. >> just to put a fine point on it, maggie, no whispers you're picking up one way or the other that andrew cuomo is going anywhere tonight or anytime soon. >> i don't think he's going anywhere tonight. i don't know what people's definition of soon is. i certainly would not rule out the possibility that he will step down because at the end of the day if he decides that is what is best for him, that is what he is going to do. but i expect it will be a defiant pose for as long as he can maintain one. >> maggie haberman, elie honig, thank you both very much. next we're going to hear from one of the accusers documented in today's report and mentioned by name by the governor today. we'll also get perspective from two well-known players on the new york political scene. and later breaking news on covid and the prospect of being evictevict ed from their homes and the prospect too many americans are facing. and also a new mandate in new york, get vaccinated or forget that night on the town. sorry?
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on new york governor andrew cuomo. tonight charlotte bennett, one of the 11 accusers deemed credible in the report mentioned by the governor, spoke with norah o'donnell of cbs news. >> do you think he is gaslighting you? >> absolutely. he is trying to justify himself by making me out to be someone who can't tell the difference between sexual harassment and mentorship. we have a report. we have the facts. the governor broke federal and state law when he sexually harassed me and current and former staffers. >> ms. bennett said she feels validated and vindicated today. joining us now, former new york mayoral candidate maya wiley and christine quinn former new york city council speaker. christine, you know andrew cuomo. you supported him in the past. today, though, you tweeted "governor cuomo should resign. the investigation was independent. the p findings are incredulous. and i'm deeply saddened and disgusted by the findings." so do you think he will design? what do you think's going to
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happen here? >> i mean, knowing governor cuomo, he'll fight to the end. he'll fight too long and too hard. so i don't know that he will resign quickly, which would be the best thing for the state, quite frankly. if he doesn't resign, i am confident that speaker hasty and leader cousins will impeach and remove him. you know, it's a very sad day, john, for the state to have someone who many of us, you know, really believed in. you know, having it shown that he did these horrible things. i thought he was a great ally to women. i feel completely misled by this man. and he needs to get out of the governor's mansion so we can move on as a state, and he needs to face whatever the consequences will be. >> maya wiley, i'm hard pressed to think of a democrat who hasn't come out and said that
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governor cuomo should resign as of this evening. but what did democrats in new york in your mind, what should they be doing tonight? >> well, i think chris has already said some of it, which is acknowledging just how sad and disgusting these allegations are and how serious. you know, the most important thing i think for democrats, but also for every new yorker because it's not a partisan issue, is to say that abuse of power by anyone in power can't be tolerated because at the end of the day these are allegations that the governor has used his positions in this particular case against 11 women, including a state trooper who he had -- he hand-picked, did not meet the requirements for the job on his security detail, had them change them in order to put her on the detail. then he, according to her, sexually harassed her. that is abuse of power.
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and as christine said, this is a serious time for the state because of covid, because of the delta variant. it is a time when we need to be focused on what keeps our people safe, and all our lawmakers need to focus on that, and that's another reason why governor cuomo should step aside. he is a distraction and he abuses power. >> christine quinn, what about there are some democrats who will occasionally say, well, republicans don't do this to their scandalized office holders, why is it that we democrats, they say, are holding our office holders to a separate standard? >> shame on those republicans. when people in power, when people who are superiors in the workplace, when they harass or abuse subordinates, when they target women who have been victims of sexual assault and
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then harass them, when people do that, i don't care if they're a democrat or a republican or independent, they need to be called out. we have an epidemic of sexism in this country. an epidemic of sexual assault and rape and harassment. and if we don't call it out, whether it's our friends or those who are not our friends, it will never come to an end. part of the reason i am a democrat is because we stand up for women and girls. we stand against abuse. >> so, maya what happens for this movement. how could this be turned into a positive for women? >> well, look, it's a positive for women and, frankly, for every resident if people in power who violate civil rights, because that's what we're talking about right now, violate
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the rule of law and violate their oath of office do it with impunity and then blame the victims, we all benefit when we stop that because, remember, if a head of a corporation did what governor cuomo did and got away with it, that would be a huge problem. it should never happen. but if the people in power responsible for ensuring that the laws are being faithfully executed do it, we have very little hope of protecting anyone. and it is important for everyone. i just want to make one thing very clear. sexual harassment and sexual assault also happens against men. it happens -- any sexual identity or any sexual orientation, and we should remember that it is important to protect every single person. and i also want to say abuse of power, because governor cuomo has some other issues around abuse of power, including sexual harassment, which is investigations on whether he cooked the books on deaths in nursing homes.
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>> that ongoing, this finding, this report today on the sexual harassment allegations. maya wiley, christine quinn, i thank you both for being with me tonight. appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, there is news tonight that a fourth police officer, a fourth law enforcement officer who responded to the january 6th capitol attack has died by suicide. details next. ited states postale is changing with it. with e-commerce that runs at the speed of now. next day and two-day shipping nationwide, and returns right from the doorstep. it's a whole new world out there. let's not keep it waiting. oh no... i thought i just ordered tacos. nope!... ramen... burgers... milk from the store, and... ...cookies? wha, me hungry! here, i'll call some friends to help us eat. yeah, that good idea. get more from your neighborhood. hey yo, grover! doordash. ♪ ♪
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news tonight of another police officer who was on duty at the january 6th riots on capitol hill taking his own life. according to the d.c. metropolitan police, officer kyle defryetag died by suicide on july 10th. his death means four officers have now died by suicide, all of whom served during the insurrection. the others are d.c. officer gunter hashida, u.s. capitol police officer howard liebengood, and d.c. officer jeffrey smith. i'm joined by colorado democratic congressman jason crow, who of course witnessed all of the rioting and the violence firsthand. i appreciate you joining us. congressman, look, we don't know the specifics of these officers' suicides, but we know based on testimony from other members of law enforcement who were there about the brutality and the trauma of the insurrection. as someone who lived through that day, someone who served the country as an army ranger, what are your thoughts on this moment and your messages tonight to the
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families of those officers? >> yeah. thanks, john, for having me on. first, it's just terribly heartbreaking for these officers and their families that are now dealing with the loss of a loved one. and what this shows is that people can't move on from this type of trauma. you know, you just can't sweep this under the rug. you can't expect people to move on like some of my colleagues want to try to do. this sticks with people. when you are in a situation like this and as dark of a day as this was and as brutal as the insurrection was, as we have seen very vividly in video and testimony in the select committee in the last couple of weeks, it has a weight that carries a weight on you as an officer. so we have to make sure we are getting these officers help, we are not sweeping this under the rug, that we continue to try to find truth and accountability to make sure that this doesn't happen again and we do right by them. that's exactly what we are doing with the select committee and exactly what we will continue to
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do overall whenever my gop colleagues try to turn their backs on this. >> in some cases more than even turning backs, right? there is something insidious that is happening at least in right-wing media, which is that after officer michael fanone and others gave emotional testimony they were openly mocked and ridiculed by these television entertainers. listen to this. >> i am having a real hard time believing a lot of what i'm hearing because the video doesn't back up nearly all of it. one officer said he thought it was going to be the moment he died. well, there were no guns at this place. >> watch fanone cite the psychological trauma he endured as an excuse for ditching our bill of rights. >> i have been left with the psychological trauma and the emotional anxiety of having survived such a horrific event. >> ha, ha. >> the award for best use of an exaggeration in a supporting role, the winners aquilino gonell.
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and for best performance in an action role the winner is michael fanone. >> their very reality is being denied and mocked. my morning co-anchor brianna keilar, who is in a military family, noted to me this morning that when engagements in the military but i think law enforcement is the same thing, become political it it only increases post-traumatic stress. i wonder if you can speak to that. >> well, it does. it's blaming of the victim. we have a real problem with stigma in mental health in america. writ large, not just with respect to officers post january 6th. we don't deal with this well as a society. it's one of the reasons why we have over 20 veterans a day take their lives because there is this mentality that somehow coming to get help is a sign of weakness when, in reality, getting help for something that is beyond the normal human experience is actually a sign of strength. it means you can be healthy.
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it means you can take care of your family, do your job, you can complete your mission. that's something we have been trying to work on in the military as a member of the armed services committee and a veterans advocate. but it also applies to officers and first responders in a lot of different contexts including this one. so people blaming the victim actually just exacerbates that. it helps contribute to the problem we are trying to combat to save lives. but even more so, some of those clips were bad, but there is a much deeper, darker, and sinister element to this. let's not forget that donald trump in his full depravity has encouraged violence, has let loose an extremist movement in america. it is a very dangerous time to be a member of congress. michael fanone and others are getting death threats. you know, some officers were shot at. one was killed not too long ago outside of the capitol. there is an extremist and very
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sinister element to this beyond just the sweeping it under the rug where or the blaming of the victim that we have to pay attention to as well. >> congressman jason crow, we always appreciate your time. thank you so much for being with us tonight. >> thanks, john. next, breaking news in what will be a welcome relief for many, but not all americans facing covid-related eviction. we'll also take you to a church in maine where the answer to this latest covid surge and the delta variant is to be unmasked and unvaccinated and defiantly unprotected. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ summer is a state of mind, you can visit anytime. savor your summer with lincoln.
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when asthma symptoms strike, airways narrow. and there's less breathing room. primatene mist opens airways quickly. get the #1 fda approved over-the-counter asthma inhaler. more breaking news tonight. vital news to millions of americans facing potential covid-related homelessness. the cdc today announced a new 60-day freeze on certain residential evictions. it comes after the biden administration allowed a previous moratorium to expire. details now from cnn's phil mattingly at the white house. phil, what exactly will this new eviction moratorium include and who benefits from it? >> reporter: it's more short term. it's not the moratorium that we've seen over the course of the better part of the coronavirus pandemic. this one will be over the course of 60 days and directed primarily, almost entirely, to counties with higher substantial community transmission.
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now, here's the interesting piece of that. because of the surge in delta cases throughout the country, officials believe that will hit about 90% of the population. so we'll have some pretty wide rain ng. but it's tailored and more short term for a reason. administration officials hope, john, this will give it more sound legal footing as they move forward in the process. >> why didn't this happen sooner, phil? because as you know the biden administration has been criticized by progressive democrats for basically letting this situation happen. >> yeah, let me frame it the way a house democratic aide put it to me earlier. the last several days have been an absolute mess. i don't think there's any way anyone could say otherwise. look, the white house allowed this to lapse because they didn't believe they had the legal authority to extend it. they've made that abundantly clear multiple times publicly and privately over the course of the last several days. house democrats couldn't do anything about it because john, they didn't have the votes, not just between democrats and republicans. within the house democratic caucus. my understanding is it's not necessarily true that either of those things are changed.
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what changed was the pressure. immense pressure on the administration from speaker pelosi on down, including private phone calls making clear to the administration there was not a legislative option here. they had to do something unilaterally through the executive branch despite the fact that most of their lawyers had made pretty clear they did not have legal options. they are pushing forward on this order to do a couple of things. one, to try to -- as one person put it, release the pressure they are hearing from capitol hill. but two, give themselves some time. john, it was pretty remarkable. president biden himself made clear he wasn't sure this would pass legal muster earlier today. he also made clear and acknowledged even if it does not it will give them time to get more than $46 billion in federal aid that's out there disbursed to try to help renters, to try to help homeowners. so to some degree even if this fails it gives the administration some breathing room. but the fact the administration was trying to move forward on something they made very clear they did not believe they had the legal ability to do just 24 hours ago was quite a turn of events. >> phil mattingly, joe biden
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sort of reading the stage directions there. i've never heard anything quite like that where the president said i'm not sure the courts will let this through but it bides us time even if they strike it down eventually. thanks, phil. nor covid news. "the new york times" quoting several sources that say the fda aims for full approval of pfizer's covid vaccine by labor day. also new york city's mayor announced the city will soon require proof of at least one dose of a covid vaccine for indoor dining, indoor entertainment and gyms. in san francisco public health officials say people vaccinated with the one-shot johnson & johnson vaccine will now be able to get a supplemental dose of the pfizer or moderna mrna vaccine. also "the new york times" tonight quotes several sources as saying the fda aims for full approval of pfizer's vaccine by labor day, as i just mentioned. and in maine a different kind of response to covid and the delta surge. only unlike the two measures we just told you about, what the folks at one church in maine are doing will not do a single thing
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to slow the spread of the virus. our gary tuchman reports. >> reporter: at this church just outside of bangor, maine there's a prevailing feeling that the extent of the covid-19 pandemic is exaggerated and that politicians have no business restricting what takes place in this evangelical non-denominational christian congregation. ken graves is the pastor of the calvary chapel of central maine. >> we don't need the governor to manage our risk for us. we can do that ourself. >> reporter: so his church asked, turns out unsuccessfully, for the u.s. supreme court to block the state of maine from reinstating and enforcing any future covid restrictions. graves claims his in-person church outreach to those who are suicidal, addicted to drugs or just average sunday attendees is essential and limitations are unconstitutional. >> you know how most of us are going to die? heart disease is going to take out most of us. should the government be in charge of your diet? >> if i have heart disease, i'm
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sitting here next to you and i breathe on you i'm not going to give you heart disease. >> right. >> if i'm infected with covid-19, i can. and you could die from it. >> right. >> isn't there a big difference? a false comparison. >> i don't think there's a big difference -- in fact, the difference is between those two is that heart disease kills way many more people. the risk is -- >> but if you have it you can't give it to me by sitting next to me. if you have covid-19 and here we are both without masks you could give it to me. >> right. >> you don't think that's different? >> no, i don't think that's different. >> in the beginning of the covid outbreak this church did follow some of the state restrictions but ultimately decided to no longer do so. there are now no restrictions here. maine has done better than almost all states in fighting the virus. but it could all change because of the delta variant. the congregants we talked to want no changes. >> i feel safer being here where i know my eternity is in heaven no matter when my death happens or how it happens. >> i don't think by any means the state should ever have a role in curtailing religion.
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>> can i ask you, have you been vaccinated? >> i have not. >> do you have any plans to? >> no. >> have you gotten covid? >> i'm pretty sure pif i have. i've never been tested. >> have you been vaccinated? >> no. i have more confidence in my immune system than this experimental protocol. >> how do you know you're not going to spread it to someone else and they're going to die from it? >> that's true of the so-called vaccine. that's the word now is -- >> with all due respect, it's not a so-called vaccine. this is an amazing vaccine. this is basically stopped the pandemic in its tracks. now we're getting a surge because so many people with all due respect like yourself haven't gotten vaccinated. >> yeah. >> so you have this delta variant that's now spreading again. and here we are almost back in the same situation. it's a shame. just get the shot. that's not how you feel? >> no, i really do not have confidence in the shot. >> the pastor does say that any congregant who's been diagnosed with the coronavirus is requested not to come to church. but if they do show up, they won't be kicked out. he also says he is not planning
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to close his church doors again, even with this denial from the u.s. supreme court. there's no part of you that doubts what you're saying? >> none. >> so gary, you were at church on sunday. as you mentioned, the supreme court refused to take up the case yesterday. so what does the pastor have to say about it today? >> he's not happy, john. but the pastor also tells us he's not shocked. and that's because he's aware that many people here in the state of maine think right now this is a moot point because there are no restrictions, no covid restrictions in most of the state of maine including here in penabscot county. but that could soon change. and if it does the pastor believes the supreme court might take up the case and he might get a victory. that being said we've already established that if he doesn't get that victory he plans to keep the church open, let as many people come in as want to come in, and he says he is prepared for the possibility of going to jail if he does just that. >> gary tuchman, eye-opening. thank you very much. up next, more breaking news. polls closed in two high-stakes special congressional primary races. the latest when we continue. liberty mutual customizes car insurance
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polls are now closed in two special congressional primary races in ohio that are taking the political spotlight.
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in one race, congress and the democratic race are battling it out, and in the other, conservatives want to see if a candidate of the former president will perform in his race, something that did not happen in texas last week. in a special election. jeff zeleny joins us with what we know tonight. always great to see you. let's start with this special election primary where former president donald trump did make an endorsement. what's that about? >> this is in the columbus area of ohio, and this is steve stivers. a member of congress who resigned to lead the ohio chamber of commerce. president trump's reputation is on the line in this race. someone not well known in this district is now in the early stage of counting the votes this evening and is narrowly leading some local establishment stalwarts here. this, again, is a test of how
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president trump is going to fare in primaries across the country. is his base going to come out just because he says so? in this race there are several candidates, almost 12 or 15 candidates or so. it's clear at least in this early stage republicans are splitting the vote, and president trump's favorite is getting a slightly larger share, but still early this evening, the polls closed just about an hour and 20 minutes or so ago, so we'll keep an eye on that. again, president trump's prestige on the line here. is it going to be a sign of things to come in primaries as this year and next year continues. >> he wants this one badly because last week he laid it on the line for a candidate who lost in the race, so this would be a change, proof that he is not dead yet as it were in republican politics, proof he desperately wants, i think. the democratic race, talk to me about the stakes for the candidates there. >> this is a fascinating race. this is in cleveland, the 11th district of ohio. i talked to candidates on both
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sides and sandberg and clyburn were representing the wings. the establishment wing, clyburn was representing ms. shontel brown. she is running to fulfill president biden's agenda. she talks about president biden again and again. nina turner, a progressive leader, a big supporter in surrogate for bernie sanders who is also campaigning there over the weekend, she is more of a -- certainly a progressive leader, wants to question the biden agenda. she said she would help president biden but wants to push the white house. so basically the bottom line of that is party leaders do not want the squad to grow by any numbers at all and certainly nina turner would fit in that category. so in the early stages of that race this evening with early voting coming in, actually, shontel brown, the establishment candidate, is leading nina turner. we should point out early stages.
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lx day -- election day this vote will be so important in the city of cleveland as well as akron south of cleveland. this is going to test whether progressives are going to have a shot at some of these other primaries. they've fallen short in the new york office. >> the biden wing of the democratic party has been largely successful, which is leading people to believe, well, maybe it's not the -- the democrats aren't as progressive as people thought they were headed. it's not the twitter democratic party, it's something else going on. that is being tested tonight. >> it is being tested. this is one snapshot of this. this won't answer the question, but if nina turner were to win tonight, it would certainly give progressives hope in other primaries that would potentially be challenging other sitting members of congress. if shontel brown wins as the other candidate -- and john, the
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whole leadership of the caucus over the weekend was supporting her in full force in cleveland, so there really is a sense here of establishment versus the progressive wing. john, it's clear that the 2016 campaign with bernie sanders and hillary clinton, even hillary clinton weighing in supporting shontel brown. that race is still a defining moment here between these wings of the party. >> ironically, though, bernie sanders has been working very closely with joe biden throughout this whole time. i'm sure nina turner will do the same thing if she prevails, but we'll see. jeff zeleny, thank you very much. up next, gymnast simone biles back competing in the tokyo games. as your business changes, the united states postal service is changing with it. with e-commerce that runs at the speed of now. next day and two-day shipping nationwide, and returns right from the doorstep. it's a whole new world out there. let's not keep it waiting. (“lovely day” instrumental) my heart failure diagnosis changed my priorities. i want time for the people i love. my heart doesn't pump enough blood so my doctor gave me farxiga.
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american gymnast simone biles returned to olympic competition today, taking part in the individual balance beam final. this comes after she took herself out of several competitions to focus on her mental health. the 24-year-old won the bronze medal, her seventh career olympic medal, tieing with --
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the most medals for an american gymnast. she said she will cherish the medal for a long time. we will all cherish her. let's head over to chris for "cuomo prime time." >> the beam is the one event she did not get gold in in the last olympics, so it was special for her. but for her to come back with everything she's dealing with and all the pressure and medal in the olympics, she's amazing. thank you for the coverage. i'm chris cuomo. welcome to "prime time." we're focused on covid here, at least until we get the delta variant under control. it's getting worse. there is an increasing response from leaders and citizens. the president today went after specific state leaders to change course. >> some governors aren't willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic. i say to these governors, please help. if you aren't going to h