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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 12, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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the pressure on the white house are escalating this hour. also tonight the fda is on the brink of authorizing covid-19 booster shots for people with weakened immune systems. and after a long, bitter battle, britney spears father says he intends to step down as the pop stars' conservator. does it mean brittney will be free at last? welcome to our viewers. i'm jim acosta. and you're in "the situation room." wolf blitzer is off tonight. this is cnn breaking news. >> we are covering the crisis in afghanistan from every angle in the capital of kabal and here in the u.s. we begin with barbara star. barbara, what are you learning about this new deployment of about 3,000 troops? obviously a lot to explain over there at the pentagon. >> good evening, jim.
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this is exactly what president biden did not want to have to do, but he is sending u.s. troops back into afghanistan even as he's still trying to withdraw the troops that were there. now about 3,000 u.s. troops, army, marines, some air force will go into afghanistan to help secure the capital of kabal to help withdraw u.s. diplomats from the embassy. they're trying to get the number of americans down to the bare minimum there because of the unfolding violence, the deteriorating security situation as the taliban continue on the march. many of these troops already in locations in kuwait and saudi arabia. also, there will be an elite unit from the 82nd airborne here in the united states that will go to the region on standby. some 3,000 additional forces on standby in the region if the security situation deteriorates even further. we asked the pentagon press secretary today if all of this amounts to now u.s. troops being
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back in combat. he sidestepped the question. but listen to what he had to say. >> this is a temporary mission with a narrow focus. as with all deployments of our troops into harm's way, our commanders have the right of self-defense and any attack on them can and will be met with a forceful and an appropriate response. >> so they may not want to call it combat, but they are in a combat environment as are the u.s. pilots flying missions overhead even right now. why all this concern? there were meetings across washington over the course of the day to put all of this into place. the taliban are on the march. there is no question about it. the security situation deteriorating. and one intelligence analysis says the taliban could be capable now of potentially isolating the capital of kabal in the next 30 to 60 days. that alone makes the u.s. obviously quite concerned for the fate and security of the
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americans who are there. jim? >> yes. their moving with such speed across afghanistan, it is shocking to see. so it raises the question: can we see this order balloon to be much larger than 3,000 troops? >> well, at the moment, the pentagon says no, that they really hope to get all of this done by the end of the month, in another two weeks. but, look, they didn't expect to be putting 3,000 troops back into afghanistan, did they? so it's going to be something everybody is going to be watching very carefully, jim. >> absolutely. we know you will. barbara star, let's go live to afghanistan. our chief correspondent is in kabal. describe what you are seeing on the ground there. i'm sure a lot of concern. >> reporter: jim, i'm having a little bit of technical difficulties here, so bear with me. but i just want to bring you up to speed of what we're hearing on the situation on the ground.
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it is not good. 12 provincial capitals have now fallen to the taliban. that's roughly a third of the country's total provincial capitals. among them some really important strategic cities. harrat, the country's third largest city, has now fallen to the taliban. this was bitter battles going on for well over a week. the hope was that the government might be able to stem the tide, but now that city has fallen. also in kandahar, street to street combat. gangs of 12 to 15 taliban fighters who penetrated the front line and they are causing chaos and havoc in that city. if kandahar falls and from everyone we are talking to on the ground, the sense is that is immeant or may have indeed will have happened. keep in mind it is the middle of the night here in afghanistan. if and when that happens, this will be a real game changer
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moment and certainly people in the capital feel like that would be the death of afghan forces, for the afghan government. a lot of concern, dread, even panic, jim, as people here try to recalibrate their thinking and work out what on earth they're going to do as this massive taliban offensive continues to gather steam. jim? >> a lot of fear spreading quickly. thank you so much for that perspective. we're getting new reporting on the thinking inside the white house as the situation in afghanistan deteriorates rapidly. phil, what are you learning? >> obviously, it was a dramatic shift in posture from an administration and a president that have been clear they believe this is the right move and they didn't plan on shifting course. but the reality is the facts on the ground, the deterioration on the battlefield left the administration with very little other options. last night the president convened a meeting. he was presented with a briefing on where things stood and the
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details of a potential plan to draw down u.s. personnel at the embassy. this morning his principals met to go over the final details of that proposal, present it to president biden and the president signed off to put the plan into place. jim, over the course of the next several hours, it is really a diplomatic sprint. anthony blinken and austin on the phone with the calf began president talking to allies in the region. those with a diplomatic presence as well. interestingly enough, jim, senior u.s. officials, two taliban officials what they were doing but also making clear if there was any threat to u.s. troops there would be a response. what this all boils down to is the reality on the ground. u.s. officials knew the taliban had capability and knew they would likely make advances against the afghan national security forces. they did not expect it to happen this quickly and it is certainly happening at a rapid clip, jim. >> phil, has this situation
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caused the president or his team to reevaluate this decision to pull out of afghanistan so soon? >> nothing i'm hearing would give any idea that that's possible at this point. jim, we heard from the president a couple days ago, made very clear even as this was happening he has no regrets. he made clear it is time for the afghans to fight for themselves, to fight for their country. u.s. officials say this validates what the president decided to do in the sense that keeping u.s. troops there for 2, 5, 10 more years after 20 years and more than $1 trillion in the afghan national security force still unable to defend the country wasn't going to change the dynamics on the ground. but there is no question when you look on the ground with the way the forces are being defeated at this time and most importantly afghans who helped u.s. personnel over the course of the last two decades who are trying to get out of the country thrks is a dangerous time and concerning inside the administration. >> yeah. conditions are changing on the ground, to say the least.
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phil, thanks so much for that. joining me now is general leslie clark, a cnn military analyst. also with us, cnn national security analyst who knows that part of the world so well. he has a new book on the rise and fall of osama bin laden. he conducted the first tv interview with the al-qaeda leader back in 1997. general clark, let me start with you. i want you to watch what president biden had to say about this withdraw just a month ago. let's watch. >> the jury is still out. but the likelihood there is going to be a tall ban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely. >> how could the biden administration and the president get caught by surprise like this? it appears they have been caught by surprise. >> you know, i couldn't explain it because once it's always been clear that everyone that once you actually committed to withdrawal, set the date the troops come out, that you will have super charged the taliban. they will have a sense of
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momentum, of belief that their faith in ultimate victory is about to be realized and afghanistan people changed very, very quickly. we saw this in 2001 when we went in there and how quickly the taliban regime collapsed. but the truth is what's happening today is a consequence of 20 years of american misjudgments, of poor prioritizations and failed policies. and for the biden administration, i think they have reached the end of the road. it was clear that they weren't going to be able to create or help create an afghanistan government that supported its people. without that government support, its military did not have the support of the people. and this is the consequence of it. it's painful. it's tragic. >> its sounds like the taliban has been lying in wait for this. let me ask you. what does it say that president biden is deployin ing 3,000 tro
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to stabilize things so they can withdraw troops? >> it is a debacle and on unforced error. the fact as reported they may take khandahar as we speak. the other thing i'm looking at, jim, is they seized ghazi that sits on the crucial highway. you are cutting off the capital, and you are cutting off the second most important city. and barbara referred to this estimate that she reported on about 30 to 60 days for kabal to fall. i would revise that estimate. this could happen in days, and i think these actions of the biden administration speak for themselves. you don't send 3,000 people in. you know, that's a minor evacuation force. so, you know, we unfortunately -- this could all
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play nut where we see a complete and total collapse. >> that would be a highly dangerous situation. our correspondent on the ground there in cabal says there is sheer terror among civilians. what message does this send to the afghan people? >> that's right. all over afghanistan there are people no doubt calculating what should they do? can they make a deal and survive under the taliban? are they marked for execution? is there a way out? will the americans help them? so you can be sure there are hundreds of thousands of afghans who are in panic mode because of this. it is a predictable outcome and once it started to unfurl like this there was only one way to stop it, and that was with a pull back and a way to reinforce the commitment by the political leaders that they're going to work together and stay there and fight it out. and it didn't happen.
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maybe it was impossible. once an army like this starts to lose after all these years and all that money put into it, the moral clpss extremely quickly. for the united states, we have to protect our own people. we have to do what we can to salvage what's left of this mission, if there is any mission left of that government that's in kabal and there will be some really tense days. peter is right. this will happen much, much faster than what you are seeing in the initial predictions. >> that will be extraordinary to watch. i can see the steam coming out of the people's ears as they're watching this in the white house. what do you make of that argument, that perhaps some of this was inevitable? >> well, keeping 2,500 troops in iraq and we just labeled them non-combat troops exactly at the same time we made the decision to pull out u.s. troops from
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afghanistan. so it is kind of incoherent. it was unnecessary, and all we had to say was our commitment to afghanistan is long-standing. everything we have seen over the last several weeks wouldn't have happened. >> general clark, do you think that the president should reconsider what he's doing here? is it time to reconsider? >> i think the president's first responsibility is the security and safety of the american s citizens that are there and the other members of the international community. that's what he has to be focussed on now. can he salvage anything in this mission? i'm not sure that it's possible at this point because so much has unravelled. but i will say this to what peter said. actually, this process started a long time ago. even when we had the 8,000 to 10,000 americans there, there were reports of the taliban building strength, taking towns, holding towns, afghan units not able to withstand the pressure or people changing sides.
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so this wasn't just something that snapped when president biden made the decision. this was something that had been coming apart for a long time. one of the key trigger points is when president trump decided he would try to do negotiations. and you simply are not -- it is just not possible to do negotiations the way they were being proposed. we are also pulling out and losing your leverage. the only remaining leverage we had was you guys are nice and let us leave quietly, maybe we'll give you some assistance later on. but that's not their concern. the taliban concern, they want the momentum. they want to take this right now. so i think that, you know, this has to play its way out. then we've got to figure out the next moves on this. this was a long time and coming. and i know, you know, it is going to be very easy politically to blame the biden administration for this. but when they came in and took a
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look at it, it had many alternatives. this was not iraq. this was not a government that had the ability to withstand the support and, so, maybe we will go back in. but i think that's a separate entirely different conversation. >> thank you so much. we appreciate it. just ahead, the first fda authorization of covid booster shots is expected very soon for a limited number of americans. when will all of us be eligible? you're in "the situation room." "the situation room" with wolf blitzer brought to you by the all new kia. its only purpose is all purpose.
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tonight as the delta variant rages across the u.s., the fda is on the brink of authorizing the first covid-19 booster shots for some people with compromised immune systems. nick watt has our pandemic report. >> reporter: this is franklin, tennessee. >> we know who you are. we will find you, and we know who you are. >> reporter: after a school board vote for a mask mandate, members, doctors, nurses harassed. the president saw this video. >> our health care workers are heroes. to the mayors, school superintendents, educators, local leaders, we're standing up to the governors politicizing mask protection for our kids, thank you. thank you as well. thank god that we have heroes like you. and i stand with you all. >> reporter: thousands of kids largely in the south already sent home back to virtual school. why? exposure and/or high case counts
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where they live. >> masking is, i think, a lot of us would say is something pretty small that we can do in order to prevent all these negative consequences. >> nearly 99% of the u.s. population lives in counties where people should be wearing masks indoors, according to new cdc guidance. the fda expected very soon to green light an additional vaccine shot for the immunocompromised. >> that actually encompasses a relatively small proportion of the population. around 3% or so. >> reporter: so what about boosters for the rest of us? >> we believe sooner or later you will need a booster for durability of protection. we are preparing for the e venn chu wallty of doing that. >> reporter: meantime, more than 75,000 people are in the hospital fighting the virus. look at that line climb over the past month. that's the problem. >> florida and texas alone have accounted for nearly 40% of new
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hospitalizations across the country. >> reporter: a triage tent just went up again in houston, texas. >> things are terrible. my hospitals are full. >> reporter: and filling fast in mississippi. >> if we continue that trajectory, within the next 5 to 7 to 10 days, i think we're going to see failure of the hospital system in mississippi. >> reporter: anger in alabama that the virus is surging. >> until we get enough people vaccinated, we're just going to continue to see this revamp its ugly face. >> reporter: now today san francisco became the first major city in america to say that if you want to work at or go into a bar, restaurant, gym or theater, you have to prove full vaccination. and down here in los angeles, the city attorney right now is preparing a very similar
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ordinance. jim? >> those are huge movements indeed. nick watt, thank you so much for that report. let's bring in dr. richard beser. thanks so much as always. the fda, as you know, is expected to see a coronavirus booster shot. who do you think should be in line first for this? and how quickly should this happen? >> yeah. you know, this is a relatively small group of people as dr. fauci was saying. people who have a problem with their immune system where rather than thinking about it as a booster, it is really part of their primary series. they didn't get the full protection that most people got from just two shots. i expect that over time there will be a recommendation for boosters for others. but the good news, jim, is that these vaccines are holding up very well in terms of preventing severe disease and hospitalizations and deaths. there are break-through cases.
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and there is where the recommendations around masks and other steps become so important. >> and dr. fauci says everyone can need a booster shot based on what we know about long immunity from these vaccines, when do you think widespread booster shots might become a reality? what do you think? >> yeah. you know, there is a challenge here. while we are seeing a slight decline in immunity in terms of mild infections, most of the world hasn't received vaccine to prevent severe disease, hospitalization and death. and in terms of vaccine equity, you really want to see these vaccines spread across the globe. it also provides protection here because while there is widespread transmission of this virus around the globe, new variants are going to emerge. and so far the variants that have emerged are also covered by the vaccine. but there is no guarantee that the next variant that we see isn't one that our vaccines don't work for. so there is a tradeoff.
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i expect we'll see a recommendation for boosters in this country before the end of the winter for sure. but we want to make sure we're doing a lot more than we currently are to provide vaccines to other countries. >> yeah. almost half of this country is not fully vaccinated yet sochlt a lot of work to be done on that front. as mask wearing continues to be politicized, as you know 400 students are guaranteed in palm beach, florida, after two days of school. is this the result of a dangerous policy in action down there in florida? >> well, you know, i think this is going to be a very challenging school year. and the reason for that is the delta variant is so contagious. last year we were able to get away with cohorting children. so if a case arised in one clas classroom, the chances it would go to another classroom weren't great. with this strain, we won't be so lucky. i think we will see a lot of
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schools shutting down. we can reduce the risk by encouraging people to wear masks. a parent should say, i want my child to be as safe as possible. i want to protect the teachers and the staff. i'm going to send my child to school with a mask. >> you don't have to wait for a mask mandate in. if you are a parent, you can have your kid go off to school with a mask. thanks so much as always for the great insights. coming up, house speaker nancy pelosi calls out attacks on capital police as former president trump wields the fire as always. yeah, it's kind of our thing. huh, that's a great deal... what if i'm new to at&t? cam, can you...? hey... but what about for existing customers? same deal. it's the same deal. is he ok? it's not complicated.
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there is increasing concern about the safety of u.s. lawmakers as former president trump and his allies spread lies about the capital insurrection using inflammatory language. brian todd is working the story for us. trump and his supporters are attacking the very officers who attack the capital. >> they're not only inaccurate with these remarks, they're dangerous. and house speaker nancy pelosi has had enough. security concerns ramped up tonight on capitol hill. nancy pelosi furious with republicans who she says have attacked u.s. capital police officers who fought rioters on january 6th. pelosi's office issued a statement today characterizing remarks from former president donald trump as, quote, vile. trump said in a statement he had spoken to the mother and husband of ashley babbot, the rioter shot and killed by a u.s. capital police officer as she
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tried to crawl through a broken window near the speaker's lobby on january 6th. trump said she had been murdered, even though the officers was cleared of any wrongdoing. trump said of the unnamed officer, quote, we know who he is. there must be justice. >> i do believe that officer is at risk, could be at risk, his family could be at risk if his name gets out in the way the president is suggesting. >> speaker pelosi called the republican attacks on officers, quote, disgusting, said it's time for house minority leader kevin mccarthy to, quote, get off his hands and stand up to republicans. no response yet from mccarthy. pelosi is especially upset with krcharacterizations like this o. >> director, do you know who executed ashley babbot? >> this comes as we get disturbing information on threats to members of congress, which new capital police chief tells wolf have increased dramatically in recent months. >> we typically, just a couple
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years ago, had around six or seven thousand. this year i think we'll be up close to 10,000 threats that we're investigating. >> major says his department is working with local police departments across the u.s. to investigate threats and coordinate protection for members of congress. a former secret service agent says that's a massive undertaking since the capital police and their partners have to spread out all over the country to protect members while they're in their home districts. >> they have to look at telephone records. they have to look at ip addresses. they have to understand where these threats are coming from, identify that potential hostile actor. interview friends and families and associates of that individual to fully assess does this person have the tendency or the ability to engage in violent acts against this particular political leader? >> now, what worries the security experts we spoke to is the possibility that the threats to members of congress will only escalate from here.
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as jonathan says, so many potential attackers including violent extremists are hiding in plain sight and could be incited to act by a statement like the one former president trump just made about that one capital police officer. jim? >> all right. brian todd, thanks so much for that report. let's speak with analyst andrew mccabe, the author of "the threat: how the fbi protects america in the age of terror and trump." when the former president calls for justice against the officer who shot and killed ashley babbot who was climbing through a window that day as we all saw, how dangerous is that when you see the former president engaging in this rhetoric saying we know who you are and so on? >> it is incredibly dangerous, jim. we know this for a fact. it is not something we are theorizing about. we have seen before the impact that the president's words have on his most die hard and emotional supporters. we have seen -- we have seen an attempted bombing plot, right,
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by a domestic extremist who was arrested some years ago who said he was following the directions of president trump. we all saw the insurrectionists on january 6th acting what many of them had said they thought they were following his direction. and let's face it. when he says we know who you are, that's a threat. that's the same sort of language that a mob boss or a drug kingpin would use to threaten a subordinate. >> even though he could try to hide behind the language and they sa -- >> absolutely. you have the former president of the united states threatening members of law enforcement. just outrageous. >> it is outrageous. this comes as the police chief says they're seeing heightened threats against lawmakers. when trump does this, does that add fuel to the fire and potentially lead to situations where you could see threats in other parts of the countries? >> that's absolutely right. you know, we know that august
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has been a period of particular sensitivity for these sorts of threats across the domestic extremist community. dhs reminded us of this really concerning threat last week with the warning that they put out. so we are in a period of great sensitivity. it is also the month that the members go home for -- for vacation and campaigning and all the things that they do. so you have got a dispersed group of potential targets. you have got a heavily taxed police force, the capital police, that are responsible for protecting those members wherever they are. it is a very, very tenuous situation. >> do you think kevin mccarthy needs to tell the president to cut it out when it comes to this sort of rhetoric? >> he should. he's the leader. when you are the leader and your troops, your members, whoever those folks might be, are acting irresponsibly, are creating situations of greater threat to your own membership and to
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others, it is time for that leader to step up. >> thanks so much for those insights. >> thanks, jim. in georgia, secretary of state responds to chilling revelations about the resignation of a u.s. attorney who was pressured to embrace then president trump's election lie. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ summer is a state of mind, you can visit anytime. savor your summer with lincoln. retirement income is complicated.
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insurance you may qualify to sell your policy. don't cancel or let your policy lapse without finding out what it's worth. visit conventrydirect.com to find out if you policy qualifies. or call the number on your screen. coventry direct, redefining insurance. a former u.s. attorney in atlanta has given senate investigators a new window into president trump's efforts to undermine his election laws in georgia. he decided to quit his post after he learned trump was considering firing him because he refused to embrace the president's big lie. let's get the reaction from the georgia secretary of state. thanks so much for your time. what goes through your mind hearing former president trump planned to fire this u.s. attorney in georgia, bj pack for refusing to overturn the election results in your state. what did you make of that story when you saw that? >> in some respects i wasn't
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surprised. but i served in the house that bj pack. the man has integrity. he's a very sharp lawyer. and he was looking, and he didn't see any fraud there. nothing that would ever overturn the election. he's a person of integrity, and he should have been believed. >> and you faced similar pressure from then president trump in a january 2nd phone call that we have all heard. the former president referred to bj as a never trumper during that portion of the call. let's play that moment for our viewers because it is one of those moments i don't think a lot of people remember. >> i mean, look, that's -- you'd have to be a child to think anything other than that. just a child. i mean, you have your never trumpers attorney in there. >> mr. secretary, isn't this more evidence that trump was pressuring other officials besides yourself, that he was leaning on yourself and other officials around the country, former vice president and so on,
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to try to overturn these election results? >> well, time has proven that you're right, that pressure was put in many different states, many different officials, elected officials and otherwise. but at the end of the day, after bj resigned, bobby christine came up from the southern district, the u.s. attorney there, he was on my absentee ballot fraud task force. as soon as he got here, he did his own research and he said there is nothing here. >> and let me ask you. have you been contacted by the january 6th select committee that is looking into what happened at the insurrection on the capital, at the capital, and have they requested your testimony? >> no, they haven't reached out to me. >> and if they were to reach out to you, would you -- would you speak with that committee? >> absolutely. i follow the law. i follow the process. and if i was requested to testify, i would do so. >> and what's the status of the
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investigation in georgia right now. is your office going to be cooperating, for example? i know it has been with the fulton county prosecutor's office that is looking into that phone call that you had with former president trump? and how far along is your office in looking into all that? where is that investigation going? >> we cooperate with every single law enforcement agency. we believe in the rule of law and we believe in following the constitution laws of the state of georgia. we will work with any law enforcement agency, be that the fulton county district attorney or the federal investigations. >> and what is your message to other members of the republican party that continue to peddle this lie that trump won this election, that he was cheated out of a second term in office. you haven't found any voter fraud.
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you are the secretary of state. why can't some members of your party get that right? >> well, we've gotten the message out. we have checked every single piece of disinformation, misinformation. at the end of the day there was never enough to overturn the results of the election. in michigan, the state senator, republican, put out a committee report. there was three republicans, one democrat and talking about the michigan results. i know arizona is right now under review. but at the end of the day, people have to just understand the results of the elections in georgia are what were reported. and president trump did not carry the state of georgia in 2020. >> and do you think his behavior or his activity around the election, your phone call included, pressure that he put on bj pack, do those actions, do you think, amount to solicitation of election fraud? was the former president soliciting election fraud? >> well, i'm a structural engineer. and so i will leave that up to
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the lawyers to decide what this is. but at the end of the day, my job is to follow the law, do the process and make sure we have fair elections in georgia. and that's what we're doing. >> but you think at the end of the day what he did was wrong? >> oh, yes. i believe that character counts. i believe that integrity counts. i believe that -- there is a book out that i'm reading right now "when character was king." and i think that's what we need to get back into this country, is have character up and down the line and follow our elected officials, and that's what i strive for every single day. >> so much to talk about. we could have gone all night with you, but there is a lot of breaking news tonight. we will have to let you go, but we will have you back soon. thanks so much for your time. we appreciate it. >> you're welcome. thank you, jim. coming up, what's next for britney spears now that her father intends to step down as her conservator. k you. that was fast! one call to usaa got her a tow, her claim paid...
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emergency planning for kids. we can't predict when an emergency will happen. so that's why it's important to make a plan with your parents. here are a few tips to stay safe. know how to get in touch with your family. write down phone numbers for your parents, siblings and neighbors. pick a place to meet your family if you are not together and can't go home. remind your parents to pack an emergency supply kit. making a plan might feel like homework, but it will help you and your family stay safe during an emergency.
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breaking news tonight in the legal battle over britney spears' conservatorship. her father says he sbhenld inte step down from that role. paul, this sounds like a big deal. how big a deal is this if her father does, in fact, step down? >> well, in the world of conservatorships, it's a very big deal. jamie spears has controlled her financial life for over a decade in this rather strange conservatorship, where incompetent to run her own financial life, but appear in
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vegas and other venues and make a lot of money. usually when people have conservators like this, and the court ordered somebody to take over their life, they're not out in public holding concerts and functioning independently. so she's kind of been caught between both worlds, and it's a strange conservatorship. i think it's a big deal, though, he's getting off it. because that would be a big courtroom fight if he wished to assert his right to stay and it would extend the court battle for many months, i'm sure. >> britney's attorney is call thing vindication. you just mentioned the potential legal fight if her father stayed on. where does it go from here? it sounds as though it may tyke time to unwind this. >> yeah, jim, it does have a long way to go, because britney was critical by the way of her prior attorney, two has since been replaced with another attorney, because he didn't seek to end the conservatorship
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completely in his last appearances in court. the judge hasn't considered that aspect of it at all. the only thing being decided is should somebody else being running her financial life other than her father and she has a personal executor to handle personal aspects of her life and mental health. so all of that has to be resolved going down the road, if that's where britney wants to go with this. now, of course, behind the scenes, we don't know what kind of mental problems that she has that would have induced the court to put her in a conserve t conservetancy in the first place, and i'm not sure we'll ever know the details of why it's gone on so long. >> all right, paul, a very big development. a lot of her fans i'm sure are happy about this. more breaking news next. details of a move by amy coney barrett with major implications
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breaking news tonight. a move by new supreme court justice amy coney barrett with major implications for covid vaccine mandates across the u.s. cnn supreme court reporter is working the story for us. what are you learning? this is interesting. >> reporter: this is the first time that justices have been asked to consider a vaccine mandate. this particular challenge came from students at indiana university. they were objecting to that school's vaccine mandate that is set to take effect next term, and they came to the courts on an emergency basis, trying to
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stop it. they lost in the district court, they lost in the federal appeals court. and that opinion was interesting, because the federal appeals court said it thought the vaccine mandate was okay, particularly it had accommodations built in for people who things like religious objection. but that didn't stop the students. after they lost there, they went to the supreme court and sent their application to justice amy coney barrett, because she has jurisdiction over that lower court. now barrett, she could have referred this issue to her colleagues onldz asked indiana university for its response. she didn't do either thing. she ruled swiftly against the students here, allowing this mandate to continue to remain in effect, pending legal appeals down the road. and why this is interesting, because this is just having to do with indiana university's mandate. but it sends a strong signal for all of these other mandates that we're seeing popping up across the country, that they too,
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might down the road pass legal muster. the supreme court didn't have oral arguments, it was an emergency motion, but it sends a strong signal for these vaccine mandates going forward. >> very interesting and very interesting for those college students heading off to college very soon. thanks so much. i'm jim acosta. thank you very much for watching tonight. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, the cdc warning that 90% of the counties in america now meet the standard for masking indoors. as more vaccine mandates go into effect tonight, can the united states slow down the rapid spread in the surgeon general is my guest tonight. plus, the u.s. now sending thousands more troops to afghanistan to help evacuate americans, as the security situation deteriorates by the hour. top pentagon official is "outfront," and he's a little known congressman from pennsylvania, but he played a

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