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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  October 14, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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good evening. there is breaking news tonight about the right of a great harm. andrew mccabe who was fired cruelly to the glee of the former president just hours before his retirement has been totally vindicated. he'll speak about it for the first time in just a few moments. we begin though tonight in a similar vein with a picture of contempt in many forms. contempt for congress and the responsibility we grant it to investigate matters of national importance. contempt for the law and contempt for democracy, which took a blow when the building you see there was attacked. we got another reminder of it late today. newly revealed video of the br brutal assault on michael fanone, d.c. police officer who you'll see highlighted. he's dragged out of the building by the mob and the usual warnings apply that some might want to look away for a few moments.
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mob of people attacking a police officer. officer fanone and about 140 other members of law enforcement were hurt. several later died by suicide. the people they were protecting of both parties were threatened, some with death, as they carried out their duty to withhold results of a free and fair election. contempt for that, for congress, all of it is personified by steve bannon, one-time chief strategist for the former president. when last we heard, he was being pardoned by that same president while facing charges of swindling donors who thought their money was funding the border wall. prosecutors say a lot of it, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth, was siphoned off by bannon himself and used to cover personal expenses. the former president pardoned him even though he was accused
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of conning the very same president's supporters, which tells you a little something about what he thinks about his own supporters. it came as no surprise today that instead of sitting for a deposition, he defied the committee's subpoena. they vowed to move forward with criminal contempt proceedings. it also postponed depositions for three other senior allies of the former president and said it would take up the bannon matter next tuesday. their next step would be to build a criminal contempt referral, which if approved by the house would been sent to federal prosecutors. cnn's kaitlan collins asked about it at the white house today. >> is it the president's position that those who defy congressional subpoenas should prosecution from the justice department? >> i know that has been raised as an issue, of course, by what we've seen happen in congress. it's the purview of the department of justice to determine if there would be criminal referral, any criminal
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decisions, so they handle exclusively those decisions. so i'd point you to them. >> well, as legal analysts have told us on the program, what the justice department decides to do is anybody's guess. it is however, a different institution than it was when steve bannon and others could run rough shod over lawmakers knowing that the former president would keep what he liked to call his justice department and his attorney general out of it. in the case of william barr trust the attorney general to spin and distort the truth on his behalf as barr did with the mueller report. in case you're wondering what bannon was doing last night, he was headlining a rally for glenn youngkin. republican candidate for governor of virginia. the former president phoned in to endorse him and spread lies about the 2020 election of course at the same time. even more telling and obscene especially given on the sixth, was the pledge of allegiance to this particular flag. >> i also want to invite kim from chesapeake.
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she's carrying an american flag that was carried at the peaceful rally with donald j. trump on january 6th. >> youngkin, who was happy to accept the former president's endorsement, made sure to stay away from last night's rally. he said this about the flag's connection to january 6th, quote, i wasn't involved, so i don't know, but if that is the case, we shouldn't pledge allegiance to that flag. as for what it symbolizes to bannon and the former president's followers, we can't say. it's not like that was some zenned out moment. it was incitement and lies about the election. >> this the most corrupt election in the history of the world. >> and all we are demanding of vice president pence is this afternoon at 1:00, he let the legislatures of the state look into this so we get to the bottom of it. >> and we fight. we fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell, you're
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not going to have a country anymore. >> let's have trial by combat. >> today is the day american patriots start taking down names and kicking ass. >> so we're going to, we're going to walk down pennsylvania avenue, i love pennsylvania avenue. and we're going to the capitol. we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. because you'll never take back our country with weakness. >> so it began. we know what happened next. but just in case you're wondering whether the organizers had an inkling of where this might lead, you not only need to listen to bannon's podcast the day before. >> all hell is going to break loose tomorrow. just understand this. all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.
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>> so is it any wonder the select committee wants to talk to him and is it any wonder the man who couldn't stop talking about what would happen if next day no longer wants to talk about it? we're joined by adam kinzinger, one of just two republicans on the committee, by the party's own choice, it should be said. appreciate you being with us. your colleague, chairman vinnie thompson, has not ruled out a subpoena for former president trump. i mean, is that really realistic, potentially a subpoena for him or even for vice president pence? >> yeah, i'm sure, you know, it is realistic. i mean, we're not going to jump to doing that immediately because obviously that's big. there's a lot of people that know a lot. but i'm going to tell you, i know the members of this committee. we've been meeting a lot. we're talking about these issues. we are determined to get to the bottom of what happened. i think what you're seeing with the potential criminal referral by steve, of steve bannon by the committee, hopefully if people
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misinterpret anything else, interpret this. we're serious about this. and anybody that is either being subpoenaed now or will be in the future, think twice before you reject a lawful order from congress. >> so -- but in terms of moving forward to hold bannon in criminal contempt, the committee is going to hold a business meeting tuesday. what happens there and what are the next steps after that? because couldn't this just get tied up in courts for, you know, and run out the clock on this committee? >> yeah, it certainly could. here's what happens. so we have a business meeting. we refer it out of the committee. it goes to the floor for a vote. we expect it would pass the floor and that then is the referral to the department of justice. we expect that the department of justice will do their job and refer this to a grand jury. and we certainly hope they will. but that will be in the doj's hands. now, keep in mind, really from a historical perspective, a
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subpoena from congress is seen in essence as a subpoena from a court. and we know a lot of times there are people that ignore subpoenas from court and they are held in criminal contempt for doing that. that's what we're doing here. what we're, you know, a criminal contempt referral is nothing frankly crazy. doesn't happen as much with congress, but it is in essence within our power and it is the right thing to do. and again, anybody that gets subpoena in the future, look, all we want is the answer. if you're running from something, i mean, i think that in and of itself says something. but the american people deserve to know the truth. and even if they don't want to know the truth today, some folks want to put their head in the sand, what matters, i think more than anything, in ten years, what is the truth, what is understood? i think that's why the work we're doing is so important. >> the committee agreed to short postponements of cash patel and
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mark meadows' appearance, as they continue to engage. the committee's postponed dan scavino. can you say why their depositions were delayed and how much more time they'll be given? >> well let me just say generally what i can say, which is as it's been reported, dan ska vie know was served just fairly recently, so you have to then go into a good faith effort with his attorney. some of the others that we're engaging with have seemed to try to put up a good faith effort. now that could be a delay tactic. in fact, it quite very well may be a delay tactic, but it is important for us, i think, to engage in good will. but i'm going to tell you, our patience is not infinite and in fact, if we start to sniff that this is in fact a delay tactic, i think you can expect in essence more of what you're going to see with steve bannon. >> the committee subpoenaed jeffrey clark, the official who was integral in helping president trump in his effort to overturn the election, how
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important is he to your investigation and do you expect him to cooperate? he was an official of the justice department. you would hope you would. >> yeah. i certainly hope so as well. again, those are conversations ongoing. he can provide a piece to the overall picture which may lead to further pieces. but i think looking at, yes, that's going to be important. there's going to be more people that will be brought before this committee. we have people coming in and speaking to us voluntarily and so we're getting a lot of information and we're going to continue to turn over every stone, get every answer we can so that we can put before the american people a true and honest picture of january 6th so that we can, whether somebody wants to believe it or not, prove once and for all that it was not peaceful and frankly that this was not anybody but really a trump-inspired insurrection. >> from mar-a-lago, the former president puts out these statements every day to his supporters, which are riddled with lies. we normally actually don't even report on them. today, he specifically
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referenced the -- your committee and kind of referenced you. i want to give you a chance to respond, if you want. he said -- it's so ludicrous -- the january 6th unselect committee composed of radical left democrats is looking to hold people in criminal contempt for things relative to the protest when in fact they should hold themselves in criminal contempt for cheating in the election. it's -- >> so powerful. >> yeah. it's incredible that this is the statement of a former president of the united states. it's amazing to me. >> it's funny, because when he started putting these things out a few months ago, i literally thought they were parody. it's incredible.e parody. it says a lot. i didn't know that statement was even out until you just told me. that's a former president of the united states basically, without naming me, attacking me and i didn't even know it happened. it's like, you know, just raging from mar-a-lago. look, here's the reality.
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congress, you know, is empowered by the people. congress decided to have a select committee. kevin mccarthy decided he wanted to pull all his people and there were a couple of republicans that said this was important to get to the bottom of. we have the power basically equivalent to get these answers and we are dang determined to do that. >> just lastly, someone who is investigating what happened on january 6th, and i think it's really important of what you said about regardless of what happens in the short-term, ten years from now, just for the public record and for history, that does matter, because what the republican party, so many of your, you know, fellow republicans, sadly, are doing right now is -- you know, is a shame and it is a stain on the republican party and it will be seen that ten years from now if even among those who probably don't see it today. >> you are 100% right. we're not talking in 100 years when we're all dead and gone. we're talking when we're not
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that much older. and, you know, that's what's so sad to me is, there are so many people that think, well, somebody's going to come and change it, somebody's coming. look, here's the reality. no one is coming except us. and when you have, you know, the ten of us, for instance, that voted for impeachment, one decides he's not going to run again, anthony gonzalez, and people try to put on his shoulders that he wasn't fighting to defeat donald trump -- no, he did his tour in vietnam, he doesn't have to go back for a second tour. there are 109 other members of congress that need to do a tour in vietnam to save this party and if they don't, i'll keep fighting. but they need to. >> yeah, congressman kinzinger, thank you. next perspective, as well as insight into what happens next, especially in the committee decides to subpoena the former president. and later, andrew mccabe. his first television interview since being completely vindicated, which happened just a few hours ago, and what it's like to have his life and reputation back.
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i spoke with a member of the house select committee now pursuing a contempt referral against steve bannon. the fact that something so important is going to wait until next tuesday certainly raises questions. so does the next step, a decision on charges from the justice department. so do a lot of things, the fact that only two house republican members have been brave enough to join the committee or that bravery is a necessity when it comes to doing the right thing. joining us now, bob woodward and john dean. bob, i want to start with the january 6th select committee. we know several trump allies are quote, engaging, as the congressman said, but their hearings have been postponed. i'm wondering what you make of
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where things stand right now? >> well, obviously, we don't know, but a key element in this, it's really important to find out, as the congressman was saying. you know, bannon refused to testify. he must be hiding something. that in itself tells you something, but it doesn't tell you what he's hiding. and you need to find out and it's really important. a committee of congress has some leverage, but the nixon tapes case, as john dean knows so well, did not give congressional committees a real strong hand in subpoenaing evidence. they actually -- the senate watergate committee lost the case. it is the prosecutor that won the case to get the nixon tapes. so, the big question is, do they
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have the personnel to really inves investigate? have they got a systematic process of isolating what they call the satellite witnesses, people who might have known or worked with some of the key figures and get them in and, you know, we should be hopeful about that, but it's got to be aggressive and systematic. >> yeah, i mean, john, you and i have talked about this before, the house select committee says they'll move swift to hold bannon in criminal contempt, but has that ever worked before? >> it doesn't work well. first of all, it's a very old statute they're relying on, written back in 1857. the language for contempt, or the action is a willful default, makes a willful default. it isn't even clear what that means. and particularly in bannon's situation, he's acting on the
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advice of counsel. i think this stuff they'll have to debate in the house and committee as to whether this raises to the level of contempt, but i think that's clearly what they want to do. i don't know that it will stick in the department of justice, which has clearly the option as to whether they'll take it to a grand jury or not. so they'll opine on that before they take further action. >> i mean, john, in your mind, is there anything that could compel bannon to cooperate at this point? >> there sure is. as we talked about before. i don't understand where the house of representatives has not gotten its own rules in order, which they can do by their own resolution and made it a contentious action and give fines or other sanctions that they have the power to impose. and they could do that very easily. i think, in fact, the january 6th committee ought to recommend it, that they do both criminal contempt and the house change its rules and enforce its own fine on this behavior.
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>> bob, how serious do you think this is compared to what the country went through in watergate? how does it stack up in history? >> well, we know some of it, there was a national security crisis that robert costa and i discovered in our reporting for our book, "peril." that possible war with china, use of nuclear weapons by the president all alone. general milley taking action to stop these. actually calling in the members of the watch team in the pentagon war room to make sure that trump wouldn't order things that circumvented the procedure that involved the chairman of the joint chiefs. we got the whole response of
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what trump did last year with covid-19 and you know, that is a story that's killed 700,000 people in this country. so, there's a lot of work to do on trump. i think the broad look is essential. i think what this committee is doing is important and should not get caught up in the technicalities and forge ahead, find cooperating witnesses, do it in a very systematic way. not worry about the daily drama on television, oh, there's this subpoena or that. something like this takes months to get to the bottom of and hopefully the united states congress in some form is going to do that. >> yeah. john, i think it was something that congressman kinzinger said,
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about it being important ten years from now, to figure out exactly what happened. not day-to-day right now, echoing what bob just said, but that history needs to know what happened and then they need to get it right now so that in the future, we know exactly what went on. >> that's absolutely true. you know, to this day, the shadow of watergate influences the presidency and not in a positive way, but rather keeping people hopefully out of those areas in the gray areas. i think the same here. trump's incompetence is so stunning as president and i think a lot of that is why we're in the trouble we're in. it's why january 6th appears to have been much more plotted, we don't know how close it got to the president or how deeply involved in the plot he was involved. and we need to know that. and sooner rather than later. i don't want to wait ten years. i might not hear that answer. >> bob, just finally -- >> trump is -- >> go ahead, bob.
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>> but trump is running right now for president in 2024, saying that the election was stolen. that is his rationale for his candidacy and this isn't for history. this is for our political moment today. and we've done a lot of work, many have done work. there's no evidence that the election was stolen. in fact, the election, the evidence goes the other way and we need to keep at it. look at the whole trump experience. i disagree with john dean. this is not about incompetence. this is about a man dedicated to do and execute his impulses in his own interest, in failing to do what he told me once recently
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was the job of the president to protect the people he failed. >> bob woodward, john dean, appreciate it. breaking news we mentioned at the top of the broadcast. former fbi deputy director andrew mccabe joins us for his first interview after reaching a settlement with the justice department that will let him get his pension and other benefits back. details on the deal and what he has to say about the, quote, public vendetta, unquote, against him by the former president, next.
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more on your breaking news from the top of the hour. former fbi deputy director andrew mccabe, who was fired in 2018 by jeff sessions, has settled a lawsuit with the justice department getting his job back, his pension, back pay, so he can retire with all those benefits. the settlement resolves a civil lawsuit filed by mccabe who argued his ouster was the result of a public vendetta driven by the former president who targeted him. you may recall that mccabe was fired more than three years ago,
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just hours before a planned retirement at the justice department's inspector general said he lied regarding a leak about hillary clinton's use of a private email server. the case was referred to federal prosecutors who decided not to pursue charges and ever since, the former president has continued to attack him. here's one of those moments in 2019. >> i think andrew mccabe has made a fool out of himself over the last couple of days and he really looks to me like sort of a poor man's j. edgar hoover. i think he's a disaster and what he was trying to do was terrible and he was caught. i'm very proud to say we caught him. so, we'll see what happens. but he is a disgraced man. he was terminated, not by me. he was terminated by others. the ig report was a disaster. a disaster from his standpoint. anybody reading the ig report would say, how could a man like this be involved with the fbi? and the fbi has some of the
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greatest people. some of the finest people you'll ever meet. but this man is a complete disaster. >> the irony of course is that the former president is now the disaster and the disgraced person. andrew mccabe joins us, cnn's senior law enforcement analyst. his first interview since the settlement was reached. andrew, first of all, what does this mean for you and your family? >> oh, my gosh. anderson, i -- i can't tell you what this has been like, going through, what this whole vindictive campaign has put my wife through, my children, my parents. so to have a settlement of this lawsuit and one that so clearly indicates this should never have happened, it is both an incredible relief, it's satisfying, but it's also, you know, it's also kind of sad, i mean, like, this should never have happened. my family should never have had to go through this.
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>> i hadn't realized, i think it was on a friday night, you had a meal with your family, retirement celebration with your family, because you were retiring the next day and they fired you right before that, consciously, you know, vindictively. what was it like to have the former president, who doesn't know you, i mean, he has no idea anything about you, just pick you out of, you know, obscurity, essentially, in terms of his knowledge of you, and just focus on you? and attack you? >> it was so bizarre, anderson. you know, on december 23rd of 2017, he tweeted out to the world that he was racing me to my retirement. i mean, to know that you essentially have a target on your back from the most powerful person in the world, the person that you work for as a member of the executive branch, i mean, it was just a -- it was like upside down world. like you can't even -- i can't
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even describe how terrifying and annoying and humiliating that is. but you know, that's -- that's what he subjected people through for four years. >> it's also after a life of public service. there's, i'm sure a lot of people in your position could have long ago gone to a law firm or gone to do other work that would have been far more, you know, financially rewarding. you were serving the public. does your settlement with the justice department admit any kind of political influence on their part of your firing? because it was obviously jeff sessions under pressure putting doj under pressure, sort of the ripple effects of that. >> absolutely. this was clearly an act of political -- vindication against a perceived political enemy, which wasn't even true, but nevertheless, that's what they did. the president demanded this and jeff sessions complied. and the rest of the department of justice complied, as well. the inspector general delivered
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a truncated, rushed, unfair report that left out material evidence. the fbi, knowing their process wouldn't conclude before i retired, rushed it, sped up the clock to get done what the attorney general and the president were demanding. i mean, it's -- that's why this settlement, i mean, it's a great thing for my family, but i think it's a message to government employees, to civil servants everywhere, this is the current department of justice standing up for fairness and standing up for the rule of law. in the settlement agreement itself, they agree that members of the executive branch should not interfere in internal political -- internal personnel matters, because it creates the appearance of political influence. well, that's exactly what happened here. >> the justification was that a department of justice inspector general report said you had lied at a media leak to
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investigators. i know you've talked about this before. can you briefly explain to people not familiar with the case what that was about? >> sure. i was asked in two different interviews about what i knew about a release of information to a journalist of a story in october of 2016. and in both cases, i misspoke and then immediately after corrected the record, reached out to the folks that i had spoken to and pointed them in the right direction. told them exactly what happened. never at any time did i mislead anyone intentionally about anything. and i think that's what today's result finally, after all these years of saying this again and again and again, i think that's what this result makes clear. >> in february of 2020, nearly two years after the investigation was open, prosecutors declined to bring any charges. that's 20 months to the day of this settlement. did you expect it to take that long? >> of course not. you know, the inspector general refers reports to prosecutors all the time.
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they're typically turned around in days or weeks. this went on for 20 months. i personally believe that it was necessary. it was necessary for the department of justice to pursue this vindictive, criminal prosecution to validate what they had done with my firing. it was an effort to keep the story straight. to keep perpetuating this myth. incredibly damning. >> the day it was announced no charges would be filed against you, you said i don't think i'll ever be free of this president and this maniacal rage he's directed at me and my wife. do you feel free today? >> i mean, i feel better, but i don't feel free. i don't kid myself to think that the president is going to put aside his horrific judgment, his constant lying and his tormenting of me and my family. i'm sure this will just add another log to the fire. he'll probably be saying all kinds of things about it tomorrow. but you know what, i'm just to
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the point where i don't care. i don't care what that guy has to say. >> yeah. andrew mccabe, i appreciate it. >> thanks, anderson. >> thank you for your service. up next, senator bernie sanders joins us on the breaking news coming out of washington and the battle in congress over democratic priorities. you could fret about that email you just sent. ...with a typo. aaaand most of the info is totally outdated. orrrr... you could use slack. and edit your message after it's sent. [sigh of relief.] slack. where the future works.
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we're covering several breaking stories out of washington tonight. you just heard from andrew mccabe, the former fbi deputy director who was fired by the former president, vindicated tonight. also the committee investigating the january 6th capitol attack is moving to hold steve bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena. and if that wasn't enough, of course, the disagreements and fighting continues in congress over the massive spending packages that have yet to be passed. joining us right now, bernie sanders. senator sanders, thank you for being with us. i'm wondering what you make of what you heard from andrew mccabe. did you see his firing at the time politically motivated? is this righting a wrong? >> i honestly don't know much about it. what i've been focusing on is the need to pass the most consequential piece of legislation in the modern history of this country and
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demand that the wealthiest people in this country start paying their fair share of taxes so we can address the long neglected needs of working families. one of the concerns i have is that this legislation is enormously popular. enormously popular. over 80% of the american people want to lower the cost of prescription drugs. 84% of the american people want to expand medicare to cover dental, hearing aids, eyeglasses, but you know what, one of the problems we have is that millions of americans don't know what's in the bill. congress has not done a good job and i don't think the president has done a good job and the media has done a pretty bad job in talking about what is in this legislation. people can agree with it, disagree, but we've got to know what is in this consequential piece of legislation. >> the status of where congress is on this and where democrats
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are on this, it does seem like -- i talked to congresswoman jayapal recently, who talked about progressives need to go back through their -- the list of things that they want and figure out, what are the priorities. for you, what priorities stand out? >> the congresswoman has done an extraordinary job, as has the whole progressive caucus, but the issue we're facing here in the senate is little different that in the house. we have 48 out of 50 members who want a $3.5 trillion bill that, as i mentioned, will substantially lower the cost of prescription drugs. overwhelmingly supported by the american people. expand medicare. build the affordable housing that we desperately need, end the embarrassment of the only country on earth not to have paid family medical leave. in an aging society, finally
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providing home health care for people who'd rather stay home with their loved ones rather than end up in nursing homes. and then on top of all of that, what we must do and inted to do in this bill is spend hundreds of billions of dollars transforming our energy system so that we can save this planet for our kids and future generations. that's what we are trying to do. and the dilemma that we have right now is despite the overwhelming support of the american people and the president in congress, we have two members who are not yet onboard. and i have also have to tell you what is not being discussed very much in the media is that we're sitting -- you know how much money that the pharmaceutical industry has spent against us in this effort, because they want to make sure that we continue paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs? do you have any idea? >> no, how much? >> they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars. $200 million on lobbying alone.
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they have 1,500 lobbyists in congress for 535 members. they will probably spend half a billion alone. >> do you think that's impacting senator sinema and senator manchin? because those are the two democrats that are holding things up for you. >> well, it's not just them. you've got people in the house. do i think when the ruling elite of this country spends many, many hundreds of millions of dollars, often lying in their ads and when they buy, you know, lobbyists from the former democratic and republican leaders, does it have an impact? of course it has an impact. but i think at the end of the day, when you have so many people, overwhelming majority of the american people saying, you know what? we got to demand that the wealthiest people and the largest corporations who in a given year don't pay a nickel in federal taxes, large corporations don't pay a nickel in federal taxes, people like bezos and elon musk, two of the
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richest people in the world, in a given year don't pay a nickel in taxes. if you're a democrat, a republican, independent, they're saying, you know what, they've got to start paying their fair share of taxes so we can address the needs of working families. that's what this whole thing is about. >> where do you see this moving, though? i mean, again, it comes down right now to sinema and manchin. they seem to have a lower number, certainly, if it gets down to just, you know, what is the number, priorities do you have to be, i mean, there have to be some priorities. >> well, again, i'm not going to negotiate on tv. >> i didn't expect you to. >> but i think there is -- but there is going to have to be some give and take but let's be clear. i mean, we started this process in the -- in the senate budget committee, which i chair, at a $6 trillion amount, which, by the way, is the least of what we need. if we are, in fact, going to
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transform our energy system and deal with the existential threat of climate. okay. we came down from $6 trillion to $3.5 trillion. that is a huge, huge compromise. so, i think at the very least, in my view, we have got to be at $3.5 trillion. here's the problem that we're facing. i don't begrudge the senators their views. they are more than entitled to their views. everybody has a different point of view and that's fine. but what i do think is simply unfair is that two members of the senate think that they have a right to obstruct what the overwhelming majority of the american people want, what the president wants and what 48 out of 50 members, 96% of the u.s. senate, about an equal number in the house. that's just not right. i could go forward to senator schumer, any member of the senate, say, chuck, if you don't put this thing in there, i'm out, i'm not going to vote for it. but that's not right. what we have to do is work together. i'm chairman of the committee.
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i've heard from zillions of members. we're trying to work this out. i hope and expect that we will. >> senator sanders, appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you. up next, republican senator chuck grassley standing by the former president's side as he repeats lies about the election and january 6th. why the flip-flop? our gary tuchman went to iowa to on your six, limu. they need customized car insurance from liberty mutual so they only pay for what they need. what do you say we see what this bird can do? woooooooooooooo... we are not getting you a helicopter. looks like we're walking, kid. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ this... is the planning effect. this is how it feels to have a dedicated fidelity advisor looking at your full financial picture.
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we've been trying for days to get questions to long time republican chuck grassley because of the 180 he did with regards to the former president. in the days following the insurrection, senator grassley was slamming the former president. apparently all forgotten this past weekend. at a rally senator grassley stood side by side with the one-time president and basked in his compliments. what changed? in a word, politics. senator grassley said so himself.
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>> i was born at night but not last night. so if i didn't accept the endorsement of a person that's got 91% of the republican voters in iowa, i wouldn't be too smart. i'm smart enough to accept that endorsement. >> he said the real insurrection happened on election night, and he declined. gary tuchman spoke to the senator at one of his events. what did he say? >> reporter: the 88-year-old senator had a lot going on in iowa today. he chaired a drug abuse hearing. he talked to employees at the united parcel service. he talked to constituents. he talked a bit with me and i asked him about donald trump. >> this is your chance to answer that question. do you think the real insurrection, what he said, was in november? >> i don't think your question's
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even appropriate from this standpoint. i was given a chance to speak five minutes at this event. >> with trump. >> no. no, i was asked to speak two hours before he came, to 23,000 iowans. i took advantage of that to say about what the biden administration is doing on inflation, nothing. what they're doing at the border, nothing. how they left americans in afghan, nothing. and the tax and spending spree that we have. and i had a chance to -- to say about the last four years, how i've worked to get strict constructionists on the supreme court. how i've worked to get tax cuts. and how we worked in conjunction with ethanol, with a president that's very appropriately has said how he and i have worked
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together to benefit iowans. he said i love iowans. so i had an opportunity before 23,000 iowans, and i wouldn't have that opportunity if he hadn't brought that crowd together. >> so sir, was the real insurrection november, or was the insurrection on january 6th? >> i'll take you back to my -- >> it's your chance to answer the question. >> yeah, i'm answering. i'll take you back, i'll stand by the statement i made on january the 7th, and i'll stand by the statement i made on december the 13th, that trump -- or that biden was elected president. >> that was like a minute -- that was longer than -- he spoke for longer than a minute, and it was just bull. i mean, he didn't say, as you well know -- i mean, he was just kind of grandstanding and hoping you wouldn't follow up with a question. he has no interest in speaking about january 6th, clearly. >> well, anderson, first of all,
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i'm sorry i interrupted you. >> i'm sorry i interrupted you. >> let me answer your question. we're both sorry, that's a good thing. i will start by telling you senator grassley said a number of things critical about donald trump the day after the insurrection. january 7th that initial statement, i want to read it to you. he said that donald trump, quote, displayed poor leadership in his words and actions, and he must take responsibility. he did say that, he made that clear. however, when we were talking about the real insurrection comments in that interview right now, you noticed he did not denounce that. he did not say anything about it. what he did say was reiterated he does believe joe biden won the presidential election. it is a low bar, anderson. but these are very different times. >> yeah. remarkable. gary tuchman, i appreciate it. joining us, someone who knows about campaigning in iowa, former senior advisor to president obama, david axelrod. senator grassley just now at an
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age where he just wants to stay in power and doesn't care about his reputation or any kind of spine? >> yeah, i think you have to conclude that, anderson. because he was very clear, not just about the insurrection, but about trump's behavior after the election. and i'll read a little of it. he said he belittled and harassed election officials across the country to get his way, he encouraged his own loyal vice president, mike pence, to take extraordinary and unconstitutional actions during the electoral college count. maybe we're looking at this the wrong way. maybe we should give him credit. he told the truth then about trump's responsibility for the insurrection and his behavior after the election, and he's telling the truth now when he stands in front of a crowd saying, if i didn't accept the endorsement of a person that got 91% of the republican voters, i wouldn't be too smart. i mean, both of those things can be true. what's also true is that the only thing he has to vender inning to that is his integrity. at age 88, you have to ask
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yourself, is a few more years in the united states senate really worth that? >> i mean, that's the question. you know, dear god. 88. what is the point of leaving your career like this at this stage? life? he's earned the right to be a truth-teller, he's earned the right to say what he said after the insurrection. for him jumping when donald trump calls him, toadying up to him, giving that ridiculous answer to gary tuchman, it's just sad. >> it is sad. it's really sad. and it says something about him, of course. you know, this is -- he's not
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alone in this. sometimes i've said the united states senate appears to be the world's most -- the most gilded assisted living center because nobody wants to leave, they feel if they leave that's the end of their lives, they want to stay. he desperately wants to stay. it also says something about trump's control of this party right now. and there is a reign of terror in the republican party, and people who want to get re-elected, the table stakes is to at least have some sort of passing acknowledgement that maybe there was something wrong with the last election. and remember, 78% of republicans in the cnn poll recently said, yeah, we think there was something wrong with the last election. so, you know, this big lie, this conspiracy theory, has spread and these politicians are cowering. >> he's been a public servant for a long time. he's going to run again and maybe be re-elected. but he's no longer a public servant, he's serving himself at this point. let's hand it over to chris for "cuomo prime time," chris? cnn breaking news. >> i'm chris cuomo, welcome to prime time. we have breaking news on former president clinton. we just learned he was