tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN October 16, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT
we're following multiple breaking stories tonight. the president weighing in on the january 6th investigations and anybody who refuses a subpoena should be prosecuted by the justice department. plus sources telling cnn that the clean energy program will likely be cut from the democrats' budget bill after pushback from joe manchin. this coming as the president tells reporters he's about to deliver a message to senators manchin and sinema. he needs them to salvage his domestic agenda. so what's he going to say? and the doj responding to biden's comments on the select committee. here's exactly what he said. >> i hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable. >> should they be prosecuted by
the justice department? >> i do, yes. >> let's bring in cnn congressional correspondent ryan nobles. ryan, good evening to you. how is the justice department responding to the comments from president biden on this january 6th investigation? >> reporter: well, don, they're making it clear that the president's comments from their perspective don't have anything to do with their decision-making process in terms as to how they will respond to this criminal contempt referral if and when it comes from the united states congress. and justice department spokesman anthony coley putting out a statement saying the department of justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law, period and full stop. and this is not a surprise because the biden white house has made very clear that they were going to try and do things differently than the trump white house did when it came to the relationship between the white house and the department of justice and that the department of justice was an independent
agency. of course, don, this also dovetails after the chairman of the select committee, bennie thompson, saying that the committee has had no contact with the department of justice for that same exact reason. they want these decisions to be made independently. still it gives us some insight into the president's thinking about this process and also coincides with the fact that he has allowed the fact that so many of these documents he's allowed to go through and not be protected by executive privilege despite the fact that the former president would like them to do so. >> so the select committee is weighing in, ryan? >> reporter: that's right. jamie raskin, who is a member of the select committee, talked about the president's remarks earlier today, and this is what he said. >> the first thing he said was that the committee should aggressively enforce our right to get people's testimony and to get the documents we've subpoenaed, and there's no problem with that. i also don't have a problem with him, as a citizen like me, saying he hopes the department of justice will aggressively enforce the law so people don't get away with committing crimes
like this. >> reporter: and congressman raskin may be oversimplifying this just a little bit. the president of the united states is more than just a citizen weighing in on the conduct of the department of justice. and president biden probably will get a level of criticism for making these remarks. but what everyone's trying to do today is saying that this was just him offering an opinion and that he's not telling the department of justice what to do. >> but is he oversimplifying? i think he was weighing in on a question about those who were flouting these subpoenas, and i think anyone in this country would think that if someone is subpoenaed, that they should abide by that. are we making too big a deal out of this? >> reporter: well, if you watch the exchange between the president and our kaitlan collins, kaitlan first asks him about the subpoena request, and he said, yes, he hopes that everyone complies. and then she presses him. do you think the department of justice should prosecute, and he does answer yes. and, you know, merrick garland and the attorney general does have a decision to make once
this referral is brought to the department of justice as to exactly how they plan to prosecute it. do they take him into a court of law? do they arrest steve bannon? could he face jail time at some point? this isn't just a cut and dried, black and white issue, so there is some decision-making that has to take place on behalf of the department of justice. and critics -- this is not me saying it, don. critics could say perhaps the president is putting his thumb on the scale in terms of the decision-making process of the department of justice. he clearly wants to see the subpoena answered. it's just a matter of how they go about forcing that compliance. >> so what is ahead, then, this week for the select committee's investigation? should we expect more subpoenas? >> reporter: so subpoenas are always on the table. the select committee has said they're interested in people getting information from certain individuals, and they feel like they're not getting compliance, they will issue subpoenas. we don't know of any specific that are planned next week. the big thing we're waiting for next week is tuesday. that's when the select committee
meets in a business meeting to officially issue and send to the full house that referral for criminal contempt to the department of justice. they do have some depositions planned next week with some of the organizers of the stop the steal rally. we'll have to see if that ends up becoming a thing. then of course we're still waiting to see what happens with mark meadows, dan scavino, and kash patel. those are those other individuals close to the former president who were asked to come and speak before the select committee. they didn't do that. the committee says they're still engaging with them. so we'll have to see if those depositions are planned anytime soon. >> then there's also, you know, the incident about this capitol police officer facing charges in a case tied to the january s6th insurrection? what do you know about that? >> reporter: this was a pretty startling revelation that came out today, don. this capitol police officer was apparently in communication with someone who was here at the capitol on january 6th and had all over his social media had posted pictures of him storming
the capitol, kind of boasting about it frankly. and this capitol police officer, according to the indictment by the department of justice, reached out to this individual through a private facebook message and warned him that there were going to be people charged who were inside the capitol on january 6th and that he should take down his social media posts as soon as possible. well, the fbi, federal government views that as this capitol police officer getting in the way of their attempts to arrest and prosecute the people who were responsible for what happened on january 6th. as a result, this police officer has been put on administrative leave. he is receiving some support from his union, who has said that he is innocent until proven guilty. but the evidence right now is pretty damning, don, and it shows that the federal government is looking at all aspects of what happened here on january 6th to get to the bottom of what happened and prevent it from ever happening again. >> ryan nobles in a very quiet
capitol. i mean the echo is just unbelievable. you're probably the only one there. thank you, ryan. >> no problem, don. thank you. >> now i want to bring in former federal prosecutor renato mariotti. good to see you. >> good to see you. >> what is your reaction to the president's comments? are you concerned that it may look like he is trying to pressure the doj? >> i don't know. i do think it's always a concern when the president of the united states is suggesting that the department of justice prosecute someone. i think that's better left to the doj. you don't want to create legal arguments. i imagine when bannon does get a competent attorney, that that attorney is going to try to make something out of that and file some motions on that and potentially argue that issue. so it's cleaner for -- you know, from the doj's perspective to have them make the decision. but, you know, i think a lot of people are frustrated that subpoenas aren't being complied with. >> the january 6th select committee is moving ahead with
holding steve bannon in criminal contempt, which means that attorney general merrick garland is going to have to weigh in. what do you think he's going to do? >> i think they're going to go forward with a criminal contempt charge. that's what i expect to happen. but i suspect some things are going to happen in between, don. first of all, bannon might try to say that he's taking the fifth as a way to try to get out of this. he may have an attorney who ends up charting a different course. he actually ultimately may comply. i mean i think that for a lot of folks, just the mere fact that they may get indicted is a very good inducement to testify. so i think there's definitely some chapters yet to go in this story. >> look, timing is very important here. you know, how long is this going to take because we know the strategy in trump world is to delay at all costs, right, and to use the legal system to do it. litigation and so forth. >> yeah. i think it's going to take time. first of all, once the committee
votes, the full house has to vote. then it goes to the u.s. attorney's office in d.c. they're going to consider carefully whether to indict. let's say that they do, convene a grand jury. he's indicted. i will tell you i have clients where there's a backlog of years before they're able to get to trial. so that's definitely a concern. >> this is what democratic congressman elaine luria, a member of the select committee, said on cnn about their move to hold bannon in criminal contempt. here it is. >> our goal is to have him testify. i think this will send a strong message that there are consequences for not testifying. >> what if the trump loyalist like bannon doesn't care about congressional consequences? then what? >> wow. well, i have to say that mr. bannon is going to have a lot of legal bills and legal fight out of him potentially. i think mr. bannon created this situation for himself by taking a real, you know, middle finger essentially to this question.
you know, there are other trump associates, kash patel and others who have tried to at least negotiate with the committee, tried to raise some issues and put themselves in a more sophisticated -- have a more sophisticated position. bannon has essentially given the committee the middle finger, and i think he's put himself in a difficult situation. >> renato, good to see you. appreciate you appearing. thank you very much. >> i want to bring in cnn political analyst david gergen and political commentator paul b begala. david gergen, i'm going to start with you. the president telling reporters tonight he's about to deliver a message to senators manchin and sinema about his domestic spending package. his agenda is on the line here. so what do you think that message should be? >> i think the message should be he's got to toughen up. the administration is in serious danger of losing momentum and losing some public support for this program, its economic and
social program, which is just crucial to what he wants to do with the economy and put his legacy as president. this has gone on week after week after week. the democrats look increasingly weak and chaotic. they need to get this under control, and you may have to do some tough, tough things that will not be very popular among some moderates in the party. but at some point you've got to fish or cut bait. >> yeah. let's talk about what's in the bill, paul, which may be taken out as a matter of fact. but three congressional sources are telling cnn that the clean energy program will likely be dropped from the final deal after pushback from joe manchin. how do you expect the rest of the party to respond? >> not well. not well. one little quibble with what gergen said. joe biden's not asking anybody in the democratic party to take a tough vote. he's asking to vote for very easy, popular stuff. like when gergen and i were working for clinton, we asked people to vote for gun control, for equal rights for gays and lesbians in the military, for a
gas tax that hit the middle class. back then, those were tough votes for democrats to take. biden is asking people to vote for -- and i looked it up in the poll. this is a cbs poll. universal pre-k is 61% support. free community college is 67% support. family medical leave, 73% support. 88% support for medicare prescription drug reductions, cost reductions. this is overwhelmingly popular. there's nothing in there that you can't run on in any state in america. so i think that's what biden ought to say to him is holy smokes, i'm asking you guys to vote for popular stuff, free stuff for voters. that's an easy vote for a politician to take. you can tell i'm getting angry at some of these folks who somehow don't want to do it. >> i think it was an easy vote about three, four, five weeks ago. but i think it's gotten increasingly hard, paul. i may be wrong about this, but there's a great deal of public support, as you say, for each individual item in the package. but when you put the package
together, there is gathering fear about the cost, about inflation, and about where we're going with all of this. gallup just came out with a poll that said the number of people who wanted the government to do more in the country a year ago stood at 54%. today it's at 42%. it's dropped. 54 to 42 about the people who want more government. >> yeah. >> that's right. when people are speaking in generalities like that, they'll take that. but when you ask them specifically -- >> but it's always about don't tax me. tax the fella behind the tree. you got to pay for this stuff. it's going to be painful decisions. the tax question isn't posed very often. that doesn't mean with a lot of public favor. >> it's not right, brother. 67% in the cbs poll. when you ask them -- by the way, jeff bezos is flying around in
some spaceship and my mama pays more tax than he does. cbs poll, 67% said, yes, we should tax rich people and corporations. >> have you seen a poll that says we want to increase the a of spending by $3.5 trillion? have you seen that? we want the government to do a lot more -- >> let me jump in here because you say all of that and we talk about all that money, but that is over, what, ten years? >> right. >> it's over ten years so, you know, it's not like all that money is going to be coming out of people's pockets within one year. listen, it is a lot of money. i'm sure they could pare it back. but when you think about the main things that are in there, we need roads. we need bridges. we also need decent broadband. we need all of those things in order to compete with other countries. so i think, listen, i understand you're right about the taxes, david. but you're also right, paul, about the administration and the democrats not doing a very good job of selling something that is
popular for all the american people. let me just get this point and i'll let you guys continue to talk. this is a new poll. only a quarter of americans will say their family will be better off if congress passes both the spending and infrastructure bill. 43% say they would be about the same. again, this is a messaging problem. go. >> i believe there is a messaging problem. paul, go ahead. i'll come in behind you. go ahead. >> i think this is where gergen and i completely agree. if you only talk about the price tag, holy smokes, that's a crushing amount of money. by the way -- anyway, it could get to $5 trillion very quickly if you add the recovery act that already passed and the infrastructure bill that will pass. $5 trillion, by the way, brother gergen, is the size of the entire american economy in 1987 when ronald reagan was president, who you served. so it's a ton of money. but when you disaggregate it down and say to people, do you think your mama on medicare should pay less for her medicine, they say yeah.
do you think your dad on medicare ought to be able to get his vision, dental, and hearing? come on, when you get old, you can't see, you can't eat, you can't hear. you need that help. >> you and i are in firm agreement on the fact that the messaging here has not worked. the president is still not making it. who is it who's now calling for less than $3.5 trillion? the president of the united states is now calling for that. he understands he's got to get this number down. >> what i would say to the moderates is this is positive. this is really popular stuff that will help you. what i'd say to the liberals is something gergen taught me 20 years ago, 25 years ago in the white house. don't ever oppose a bill for what's not in it. >> yeah. >> right? ask yourself, is it better than the current system? is there good stuff in there? >> i want to get this done. >> you taught me that, gergen. >> the virginia governor's race. i want to get your take on this. two of the latest polls showing
very tight. one is within the margin of error. how worried should democrats be tonight? >> they should be very worried. again, i think terry mcauliffe would frankly be a good governor. he did a good job before. i think he's gotten lost in a lot of other things going on right now and the weaknesses in washington and on foreign policy and the like. but i think it's worth remembering -- paul would remember this -- in statewide races, the democrats have won the last 13 in a row of statewide races in the state of virginia. so you go in -- mcauliffe goes in as the favorite. now that it's tightening up, it's going to be widely read in the midst of all the hits the administration is taking, it's going to be widely read that 2022 is going to be very tough. everybody knows that already, but this is really going to emphasize it to the public. >> paul? >> right. if you want to know what i think virginia might turn on, come to where i am right now. i'm sitting in texas, in austin. greatest city in the world where
tomorrow the long horns will smoke oklahoma state cowboys. but in texas, roe v. wade is no longer the law of the land. it's repealed in the state of texas. and terry mcauliffe needs to tell people that if his pro-trump republican opponent glenn youngkin wins, roe v. wade will be repealed in virginia as well. youngkin said that, and he was secretly taped. i he said, yeah, i want to really go on offense to oppose abortion but i can't talk about it during the election because i need my independence. that's the most cynical thing i've ever heard. i think mcauliffe has a huge issue there. if he will go to the people in virginia and say, do you want to be like texas where roe v. wade is illegal, it's gone -- >> i got to run. thank you. sorry. david, make that point. go ahead. >> i just wanted to say i'm glad to see another point on which paul and i agree. >> i love you, gergen. i love you. >> oh, my god. it's a love fest on a friday. thank you, gentlemen. i'll see you soon.
if you got the johnson & johnson vaccine, listen up. advisers to the fda voting today to recommend a booster dose. we're going to tell you what you need to know. >> i think anybody who has gotten one dose of the johnson & johnson vaccine can benefit from a second dose of a johnson & johnson vaccine.
an insurance professional and manager here at colonial penn life insurance company. sometimes, people put off calling about life insurance. before you know it, another year has passed. and when they do call, they say, "i wish i'd called sooner." call right now for free information on the $9.95 plan. are you between age 50 and 85? you can get whole life insurance with options starting at just $9.95 a month. do i have to answer health questions to get it? there are no health questions. you cannot be turned down for any health reason, past or present. how long does this policy last? our $9.95 plan is permanent protection. can my rate increase later? never. once you're insured, your rate is locked in for life. you can get whole life insurance with options starting at just $9.95 a month. have you thought about life insurance but put it off? don't regret what you didn't do yesterday. call now and feel great about saying yes today. (announcer) call now and you'll also get this free beneficiary planner.
the fda's vaccine advisers are recommending booster doses of moderna's covid vaccine six months after their last shot for those 65 and older and the at risk population. they also voted today to recommend booster doses of the johnson & johnson covid vaccine to everyone over the age of 18 who got a dose at least two months ago. so it's now up to the fda to make a decision on what they will recommend for boosters for moderna and j&j vaccines. after their recommendation, the cdc will then meet to discuss on october 21st. that as president bill clinton remains hospitalized for an
infection and is receiving iv antibiotics. so joining me now, cnn medical analyst, dr. jonathan reiner, the director of the cardiac catheterization program at george washington university hospital. doctor, good evening. thanks for joining. so we spoke just last night about the former president bill clinton being hospitalized after that infection that spread from a uti. his doctors are saying he is trending in the right direction, but he's going to stay hospitalized to finish his course of iv antibiotics. how long do you think that's going to be? >> well, it's hard to know. but, you know, he was hospitalized, i think it was three days ago, and remains hospitalized now, so he was sick, and they want to give him a full course of antibiotics whether that's intravenous antibiotics, whether that's for a total of seven days or a total of ten days has yet to be seen. as we said last night, you know, sepsis kills about a quarter of a million people every year in the united states.
you can die from this. a 75-year-old man can die from this, and they are taking their time. you know, what we're really not sure about is how sick he was when he was admitted to the hospital. we often get kind of a rosy story, you know, from the publicity folks when they try and paint the picture, but we don't really know how sick he was. but it sounds like his medical team wants to give him the full course of iv antibiotics, and i think it's best not to cut any corners. sounds like a prudent plan. >> i want to talk about covid and the vaccines. the news about johnson & johnson, that a booster at two to six months can bring the effectiveness of the j&j vaccine to 94%. that's a big deal. should people be thinking of the j&j as a two-dose vaccine now? >> yeah, and, again, you know, many folks thought this should have been a two-dose vaccine
from the beginning. remember, the j&j vaccine uses an adenovirus vector to deliver the material for the vaccine, and it's similar to the astrazeneca vaccine first used in the united kingdom, which is a two-dose vaccine. so many people felt that the j&j vaccine really probably should have been a two-dose vaccine. but remember from sort of a marketing and a positioning standpoint, the pharmaceutical company johnson & johnson had a real interest in trying to have a unique vaccine that was one and done. unfortunately it just doesn't seem to work optimally in that dosing schedule. so, yeah, everyone who has received a johnson & johnson vaccine should get a second dose more than two months after the administration. the question is, however, when will we know from cdc and fda whether perhaps giving an mrna as a second dose to the j&j folks is a better strategy
because there is data from the mix and match trial that suggests that you can really massively boost the ability of the j&j vaccine by adding either the pfizer or moderna as the second shot. that's probably weeks away from us hearing about that. >> so there's still no conclusion on whether that is okay to do so. >> right. >> so we'll hear from them soon. the cdc is saying today that you have an 11 times greater chance of dying from covid if you are unvaccinated and a six times higher risk of testing positive. how much more evidence do we need to show that these vaccines are necessary to lift us out of this pandemic? >> i don't know. i'm running out of ways to explain this to people. the best i can say is i was talking to one of our icu docs today at lunch, and we were talking about the folks who are still in the hospital. everyone who is in the hospital, at least in the intensive care units, is unvaccinated. and if you go from hospital to hospital in the united states,
everyone really sick with covid in the icus with a few exceptions is unvaccinated. if you want to live and you don't want to die from this virus, there's a simple solution. it's two shots of any of these vaccines. i don't care what you get. you don't have to die from this. no one wants to be the last person to die. and almost every death in this country in the last few months has occurred in a patient who was unvaccinated who could have been vaccinated. you know, this isn't 2020 when no one could be vaccinated and we did the best we could and we struggled and hospitals struggled to pull these folks through. we have a simple solution that will keep you out of the hospital so you can move on with your lives and you can look forward to good things. we need to get more people to just understand that. these are safe and incredibly effective. >> thank you, doctor. i appreciate you joining. >> have a good night, don. >> you as well. chicago and its police union suing each other over vaccines.
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city's mayor. here's cnn's ryan young. ♪ >> this is horrible. this did not have to happen. >> reporter: michael weiss cough was a beloved officer with the st. petersburg police force for 18 years. >> he was so strong. he was so healthy. >> reporter: his wife said she pleaded with him to get the vaccine but he remained skeptical. >> i felt like mike did not get vaccinated because he didn't have all the facts. there was a lot of information just kind of moving around, moving parts, you know? and when that happens, you can see rumors, miscommunication. science leaves the picture. it just becomes chatter. it attacked his lungs and made them look like baby swiss cheese. >> reporter: over 1,000 miles away in massachusetts, jessica also lost her husband, stephen, in january, about a month after he contracted covid-19 on the job with the norton police
department. she says stephen wanted to be the first in line to get the vaccine but never had the chance. >> this is absolutely sad as you would imagine to be raising two small girls without their dad. and if he'd had the choice to give himself that extra protection so he could continue to serve the public and still come home to his family, he absolutely would have done it. >> reporter: jessica shared the final heartbreaking text messages that the couple exchanged on facebook, hoping to plead with police officers to get the shots. >> if you are serious about your commitment to protect the public and if you are serious about your personal commitments to your family, then that should be enough. >> reporter: covid-19 is the number one killer of american law enforcement officers over the last two years, taking over
470 lives a. since the start of the pandemic, more than four times as many officers have died from covid-19 as from gunfire. that memorial page says. this despite being among the first groups to have access to the vaccine. >> it's a right to obviously get vaccinated. it's an individual right, and i firmly still believe in that. but i would certainly encourage people to do that. >> reporter: across the u.s., some officers remain hesitant to get vaccinated. in miami, officers are resisting a potential vaccine mandate. in san francisco, at least 120 officers will be off the street after failing to comply with the city's order that high-risk employees be vaccinated. the san francisco police association said the national police union is encouraging vaccinations but is not in favor of a mandate. >> we're going to keep fighting this mandate and this dictatorship. you would think there's no crime in this city to worry about. you would think that there's no murder, no robberies, no guns being fired. >> reporter: up to half of chicago's police officers could be placed on unpaid leave after
this weekend if they don't disclose their vaccine status. the police union is telling officers to ignore the deadline and mayor lori lightfoot is accusing the union president of trying to induce an insurrection. as karen watches the battles raging across the country, she hopes her husband's death is a lesson to his fellow officers. >> to this day, i still -- i get letters. i get calls. i'll get copies of people's vaccination cards in the mailbox that i don't know. >> ryan young is here with me now. good evening to you. that woman in florida tells you her husband's death actually led other officers to get vaccinated. does she think vaccines should be mandated for officers? >> reporter: that was sort of interesting from her standpoint. she does not want it to be a mandate, don, but she does want to see more education being
directly given to officers on a day to day basis. she thinks the discourse that's happening in this country has just gotten too cantankerous. she wants to see conversations brought into the police department. here every single day almost, someone from this police department reaches out to her. people actually send their vaccination cards to her to show they decided to get the shot after her husband died. if you look behind me, you see those two police units behind me. those are actually two of the squad units from his actual patrol unit. these officers really care about what happened here, but at the same time, it doesn't seem like anyone wants to be forced to take the shot. that's happening across the country. >> ryan, can you tell us anything about this dispute over vaccine mandates in the chicago police force? >> reporter: yeah. when you think about this, don, you're seeing this robust response all across the country. we see officers in miami and san francisco talking about not wanting to take the shot. well, we know in chicago that union has no problem voicing
their opinions. a lot of times they go directly against the mayor. well, that has happened again, and you had the union chief actually get told by a judge to stop talking to the media. and that happened just tonight. so you see moving forward there are some officers there who might not show up this weekend because obviously there's a mandate in the city. when you think about the rising crime and especially the crime challenges in that city, they need every officer to have all hands on deck, especially with the amount of homicides that happen in the city of chicago. but we know for a fact the union, every chance it gets, sort of goes directly at the mayor. the mayor is standing up and basically saying she wants to see these employees prove that they've been vaccinated. but it seems like a lot of officers are choosing not to go along with it. they've asked for some of these dates to be pushed back. as you know before, don, because you've worked in the city of chicago before, these unions are very strong. once someone decides no the to
go the way the city wants to go, it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. they had a union meeting the other night and it was standing room only with these officers who basically were saying they wanted to defy what the city wanted to do moving forward. >> all right. we'll follow. thank you, ryan young. appreciate it. >> reporter: thank you. they're worried about a full-scale war. we're live in taiwan where u.s./china relations could mean massive military threats. stay with us.
i would've called yesterday. but... i could've called yesterday. but... i should've called yesterday, but... would've, could've, should've. we hear that a lot. hi. i'm jonathan, an insurance professional and manager here at colonial penn life insurance company. sometimes, people put off calling about life insurance. before you know it, another year has passed. and when they do call, they say, "i wish i'd called sooner." call right now for free information on the $9.95 plan. are you between age 50 and 85?
you can get whole life insurance with options starting at just $9.95 a month. do i have to answer health questions to get it? there are no health questions. you cannot be turned down for any health reason, past or present. how long does this policy last? our $9.95 plan is permanent protection. can my rate increase later? never. once you're insured, your rate is locked in for life. you can get whole life insurance with options starting at just $9.95 a month. have you thought about life insurance but put it off? don't regret what you didn't do yesterday. call now and feel great about saying yes today. (announcer) call now and you'll also get this free beneficiary planner.
multiple officials telling cnn the biden administration has discussed fast-tracking dozens of american f-16 fighter jets ordered by taiwan in 2019. the discussion taking on new importance as china is taking a more aggressive stance. now the administration is walking a tightrope, trying to strengthen ties with taiwan without provoking china. cnn's will ripley has the very latest. >> reporter: for an island living under the constant threat of a chinese invasion, life in taipei feels surprisingly normal. these grandmas get together at the park every week. they have a lot of things to talk about. war with china is not one of them. >> translator: we don't worry about it at all. the threat has always been there, and there's nothing to worry about. if it was going to happen, it would have happened a long time ago. >> reporter: taiwan's senior citizens lived through decades
of hostility with no travel, trade, or communication between taiwan and china. in the 1990s, cross strait tensions got better. now they're getting worse. as the u.s. and taiwan grow closer, china is growing more agitated. beijing released video of a training exercise targeting taiwan independence and interference by external forces like the u.s. a warning for president joe biden and other u.s. allies. >> when biden first came to power, no doubt there has been concerns whether there may be a reverse on foreign policy in regards to taiwan, our people locally. but i think our people here actually sees that biden might have a harder stance against china. >> reporter: u.s./taiwan arms sales skyrocketed during the trump years, but some worry washington's closer ties to taipei may be provoking beijing, pushing taiwan and the u.s. into dangerous territory if a military conflict breaks out.
as taiwan and the u.s. deepen economic and military cooperation, taiwan is spending billions of dollars on new weapons. taiwan's defense minister says china could launch a full-scale war on taiwan by 2025. he says military tensions are the worst in more than 40 years. the mainland's massive army poses a growing threat to the world's only chinese-speaking democracy. a threat you don't feel on the ground. when china was flying warplanes in record numbers near taiwan this month, the story was barely mentioned in the taiwanese media. >> i think one thing is that the taiwanese has been very used to incursions day out. i think we need to have more attention on taiwan, and there is something that has not been seen previously, more attention
that might keep taiwan safer. >> reporter: many here say they already feel safe. no matter what may be coming across the taiwan strait. >> cnn's will ripley joins me now. will, thank you so much for doing this. how do people in taiwan view the united states and its role? >> reporter: i think, you know, certainly what happened in afghanistan was an eye opener for some people here because just a couple of days after the fall of afghanistan, china was conducting live-fire military exercises, you know, in the taiwan strait. and there was talk, okay, is the united states going to come to taiwan's aid after it just got out of another war if something were to happen with china? in some ways, people feel that china has been somewhat embo emboldened, and china is posing this direct challenge to u.s. military power in this region for the first time ever.
it's the most powerful chinese military ever. they are stepping up, expanding into the south china sea. i guess the concern is an emboldened xi jinping, who has always said that taiwan is going to be reclaimed, might try to make a move banking on the fact that the u.s. would not step in. but, you know, you have now the aukus partnership where the u.s. is going to help give nuclear powered subs to australia. so the u.s. and its allies are sending signals that they would come to taiwan's defense. one person here told me he thinks there's a 50-50 chance the u.s. would help. >> we appreciate your reporting. thank you, will. and we'll be right back.
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