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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  December 2, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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just a drop-in replacement, jake. >> pete muntean, thank you so much. you can follow me on facebook, instagram and tik tiktok @jaketapper. if you ever miss an episode of our show, listen to "the lead" wherever you get your podcasts. our coverage continues with one mr. wolf blitzer next door in the situation room. thank you for watching. happening now, president biden warns the nation needs to be ready for a winter resurgence of covid-19 as the omicron variant is now confirmed in the united states. i'll speak live with the surgeon general of the united states about the president's new strategy at yet another critical moment in this pandemic. also tonight, new cnn reporting on the role played by the former white house chief of staff, mark meadows, in pushing trump's big election lie inside the federal government. i'll get reaction from a key
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member of the january 6th select committee, representative elaine luria. and in the deadly michigan school shooting, the prosecutor now says potential charges against the teenage suspect's parents could be announced within 24 hours. we'll get a live update from the local sheriff on the chilling details in this case. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. up first this hour, president biden's new plan for trying to beat back a spike in covid cases this winter around the uncertainty with the omicron variant. let's go straight to phil mattingly. phil, the president says the u.s. has the tools to deal with this new variant. what steps is he specifically taking? >> reporter: wolf, those are tools that the united states did not have last year at this time heading into the winter months and obviously with new concerns about those variants.
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the president laying out a series of new initiatives the white house believes can keep the pandemic under control, contain it and even beat it if the u.s. political system allows. >> my plan i'm announcing today pulls no punches in the fight against covid-19. it's a plan that i think should unite us. >> reporter: tonight president biden calling for national unity in the battle against a ppd that for the country has driven anything but for months. >> now as we move into the winter and face new challenges of this new variant, this is a moment we can do what we haven't been able to do enough of through this whole pandemic. >> reporter: for biden, a hint of hope paired with a robust new covid action plan as the country faces a potentially perilous moment. the worrisome new variant now inside the u.s. >> we are going to fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion. >> reporter: but as public health officials urgently search
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for new details about what the omicron variant may bring, the nation entering the winter months still grappling with mounting infections and deaths from the delta variant. biden's plan designed to increase vaccinations and boosters and impose more strip stringent testing requirements on international travelers while ramping up at-home testing availability. >> the bottom line, this winter you'll be able to test for free in the comfort of your home and have some peace of mind. >> reporter: it's the latest evolution of the expansive federal effort advisers have said remains the number one effort. it has put the country in a much different spot than one year ago. >> we enter this winter in a position of strength compared to where we were last winter. >> reporter: the fight defined on one side by soaring accomplishments. >> logistical effort to get all communities and all areas vaccinated was a gigantic logistical undertaking that
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would make any military proud of being able to do it. but because of the incredible talent, including our military, we got that done. >> reporter: and on the other, by frustrating and often paralyzing politically driven setbacks. >> i know covid-19 has been very divisive in this country. it's become a political issue, which is a sad, sad commentary. it shouldn't be, but it has been. >> reporter: but the white house now facing compounding problems not just from the unvaccinated, but from those who haven't yet gotten boosters. with just 22.8% of adults receiving a boost to this point. >> we're expanding our national booster campaign to provide booster shots to all eligible adults. our docs and the scientists believe that people who get a booster shot are more protected than ever from covid-19. >> reporter: wolf, the president made a point that the idea of mandates or vaccine requirements which have been such a hot button political issue was not included in this plan. those are still playing out in
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courts. if you want a window into the political situation as it currently stands, congress currently has about 24 to 36 hours before the government shuts down. one of the issues that's holding things up, an effort by conservative republicans to defund the president's efforts on vaccine requirements. at this point in time president biden earlier today say he doesn't believe there will be a government shutdown. >> they have 24 hours or so to do that in the u.s. senate. the house has already passed it. phil mattingly, thank you very much. phil mattingly at the white house. let's discuss with the surgeon general of the united states. dr. murthy, thanks for joining us. good to have you physically here in the situation room. welcome. >> thank you so much, wolf. good to be with you today as well. >> let's go beyond what we heard from the president and phil was reporting. as he noted, the president said no shutdowns, no lockdowns. instead he wants to focus on vaccination and boosters right now. in your view, and you're an expert in this area, what is the key to making sure we have as mild a covid pandemic-related
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winter here in the united states as possible? >> well, wolf, the good news is that we are in such a different place now than we were one year ago because we've learned a lot more, because we have vaccines available, we have far more tests available. what we've got to do to get through this winter is to make sure that we're doubling down on our vaccination strategy. why? because everything we've learned over the last year has taught us that with every variant that has come our way, the vaccinated do much better, especially in terms of protection against hospitalization and death than the unvaccinated. we've also got to make sure people have tests available to them. that's why the president's announcements today were incredibly helpful. part of what he announced is that we will be reaching out to all 63 million medicare beneficiaries to remind them that getting a booster is something they can and should do right away. we're working with pharmacies to open up more opportunities for appointments. we're making sure that 50 million rapid antigen tests get sent to community centers and private insurance companies cover those tests as well for individuals. so that and many of the other
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measures he talked about today will help us to better prepare for the winter. >> as far as getting those at-home tests, which are so, so important right now, why not get rid of the red tape and forget about the insurance companies? why not just have the federal government distribute those at-home tests so they can test themselves and make sure they're okay? >> well, it's a good point and actually that is part of the plan is to take 50 million of those rapid and tigen tests so people can get those tests and utilize them. we just came off of thanksgiving. thanksgiving last year was very different than thanksgiving this year. that's because they had layers an tools that they could use to protect themselves. my family, for example, got together for thanksgiving. in addition to making sure everyone is vaccinated and boosted, we also used a rapid test when folks walked in the door to make sure they weren't carrying the virus before they all got together. we can use these tools to make our lives better. that is the key. i want to emphasize how important this is with omicron.
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the news around this new variant has understandably worried a couple of people. i get it, it's been a long couple of years. but we have tools to protect ourselves. we have to double down on using them. but we should also remember that there are unanswered questions about the variant. we've got to be careful about taking the anecdote or the small bit of data that will pop up. we've got t wait for all of it to come together. >> how worried should we be about this omicron variant? >> we should be concerned enough to pull out all the stops in answering three critical questions. number one, is it more transmissable than delta? we don't know yet. number two, is it more severe in terms of the illness it causes. we don't know that either. and third, are vaccine efficacy impacted by this variant. and that also we don't have a clear answer to. but one thing we do know is that we're doing everything necessary to get those answers. we're working closely with our south african colleagues, with the researchers in the private sector, in academia and around the world to make sure we can get the answers but it will take
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several weeks to be able to clearly provide answers. >> do we know whether the rapid test and pcr more reliable test will work to determine this new variant? >> i'm glad you asked because that's an area we've been doing a lot of work. we feel more and more confident that the testing we have available can be used for the variant. but again, we're going to keep digging into this. we want to be 100% sure about these questions before we get answers to them. >> bottom line, there's a lot we don't really know right now that we've got to know in order to deal with this. potentially this is a big problem. >> there's a lot we don't know but there's a lot we do know. this variant like other variants, we can protect ourselves against it with masks, with hand hygiene, with distancing. the same tools that worked last year will continue to work. we feel very confident that there will be some protection people get from the vaccines but it's especially important that you get boosted. when you get boosted you lift those antibody levels to a high enough level that you can overcome even some immune escape. >> we're just learning now that pfizer is asking the fda to
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authorize to approve emergency use authorization for the booster of the pfizer booster doses for 16 and 17-year-olds as well. good idea? >> yeah, so i'm so glad that they have submitted that data. the fda's number one priority are vaccines for covid-19. they have said that privately and publicly. they will look at this data quickly. if they seem it is safe for 16 and 17-year-olds, it will be incredibly to get those to them as quickly as possible. >> these booster shots, will they work against the new omicron variant? >> that's one of the questions that we're looking to answer overall is how vaccine efficacy is impacted by the variant. we do feel confident that there will be some protection that you get from the vaccine and that protection will be even greater for those who are boosted. >> we're now learning that the second confirmed case of this new variant in minneapolis, the first one out in california. that this individual who did get confirmed with this omicron variant was not only doubly
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vaccinated but also boosted as well. what does that say to you? >> well, if you look at that case actually what's interesting -- >> the one in minnesota. >> the one in minnesota, you find that the person had a mild infection and is doing quite well right now. this is what we've seen time and time again. when you boost your protection with vaccination and with that booster shot, generally your risk of getting infected goes dramatically down. even if you do get infected, it tends to be a breakthrough infection rather, it tends to be mild in nature. so that's why we see that these vaccines have been really powerful and effective at keeping you out of the hospital and saving your life. that's what we've seen with these two cases so far. >> that's great, if they're asymptomatic or mild. but even if they're asymptomatic or mild, they could easily pass it on to older people, to young people. they could easily transmit it, right? >> well, that's a really good point and that's why we're saying it's still important at this point even if you're vaccinated to take certain precautions, like wearing a mask in indoor spaces.
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recognizing you might be fine yourself but you don't want to pass the virus on to people who are vulnerable. >> i know you've got to run but what worries me is almost 1,000 americans are still dying from covid every day. every single day. are those mostly unvaccinated people, or are some of them vaccinated? >> well, it is heartbreaking, wolf, because these aren't just numbers on a page, these are family members, neighbors, friends. many of us, myself included, have lost family members to covid-19 and every life loss is a tragedy. but the vast majority of those whose lives have been lost and continue to be lost are unvaccinated. what is heartbreaking about that is we have tools to prevent those deaths. we have the vaccine. people have that available now. that's why we need to get people first shots and get them boosted if they have gotten vaccinated. >> you make that point because it's so important to get vaccinated and to not only save your life but other people's lives as well.
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dr. murthy, thank you for everything you're doing. we're grateful for you. just ahead, as mark meadows is now cooperating with the january 6 select committee, we have new reporting coming in on how the white house former chief of staff push ed bogus election claims in the federal government. we'll discuss that with a key member of the committee. we'll be right back. new and existing customers on the magenta max plan can trade up to the new iphone 13 pro and t-mobile will pay for it. customers can also get a free year of apple tv plus. i know you love ted lasso, george. guilty as charged. t-mobile is bringing it all together for the holidays. upgrade to the iphone 13 pro on us. plus get a free year of apple tv plus. only at t-mobile. we've been waiting all year to come together. it worked! happy holidays from lexus. get 1.9% apr financing on the 2022 es 350. ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ move to a sofi personal loan. earn $10 just for viewing your rate — and get your money right. ♪ tonight new revelations about the central role played by the former white house chief of staff, mark meadows, in pushing trump's big lie. multiple sources now telling cnn that meadows tried to enlist top government officials to pursue baseless election conspiracy theories. we're joined by a key member of the select committee,
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representative delane luria. thank you for joining us. we've learned that he pushed these claims with the defense department, the office of the director of national intelligence. has your committee been able to st substantiate of his outreach to these critically important government agencies? >> wolf, as maybe known recently mr. meadows has agreed to cooperate with the adcommittee d we are looking forward to having him answer these questions in the very near future. as these reporting does come about, it is more questions for the committee to ask and understand the connections for the people closest to the president leading up to january 6th, during the events of january 6th and their interaction with other agencies in the government. >> even though he says he's going to be cooperating with your committee, he also says
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he'll be honoring, his word, honoring president trump's executive privilege in his deposition with your committee next week. are you expecting a fight over what information, important information, is actually privileged? >> i certainly expect due to his close role with the president and the close communications that he held with the president as well as chief of staff that there probably will be instances where he does try to use privilege to choose whether he will or will not answer questions. but as we get to that point of that interview and have the opportunity to address each of those claims individually, i think the committee will address them based on their merits. unlike others who have tried to claim blanket executive privilege, and mr. bannon, for example, who was held in contempt of congress for refusing to appear before the committee, we also have mr. clark, who we anticipate will appear before the committee this weekend. we will address each case
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individually. >> as you point out, the select committee actually voted last night on a criminal contempt referral for this former high-ranking justice department official, jeffrey clark. but he has one last opportunity, right, to cooperate at a saturday deposition that's now scheduled. clark plans supposedly to plead the fifth. so what would you need to see from him saturday to stand down on the contempt process? >> well, mr. clark would need to come before the committee and in good faith attempt to answer our questions. you know, if someone pleads the fifth, in order to prevent self-incrimination. so we're not quite sure what that claim of self-incrimination is relative to. what criminal acts is he trying to protect himself from. but we'll have an opportunity to tease that out during the deposition to understand what questions he will and won't answer and how he chooses to approach each individual issue. because in claiming the fifth, it's not just a blanket. somebody can't say i claim the
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fifth and refuse to speak. we'll be going through a series of question. for each question we'll have to understand for what reason he thinks he should be able to claim the fifth relative to that particular information. >> one committee witness, bernie carrick, says he won't appear at his scheduled deposition tomorrow because he wants a public hearing, not one behind closed doors. how will the committee respond to that? >> we are working with his lawyers. we have postponed at his lawyer's request, which is not unusual. we've done that with other witnesses so they can prepare with their lawyers. we've postponed his appearance before the committee and we will be standing by for a future date when he can appear before us and really don't have anything further to add at this point. we're not interested in creating sort of a public spectacle, we are interested in gathering evidence. >> representative elaine luria, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, new information on that deadly michigan high school shooting, including
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so you can control your network from anywhere, anytime. it's network management redefined. every day in business is a big day. we'll keep you ready for what's next. comcast business powering possibilities. tonight new developments in that deadly michigan high school shooting, including new information about potential red flags and possible charges against the suspect's parents. cnn's alexandra field has our report from oxford, michigan. >> we have an active shooter incident. so far we have confirmed jiers. >> reporter: new revelations about what happened inside oxford high school just hours before a shooting rampage tuesday afternoon. >> medical emergency, oxford high school. the scene is secure.
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>> reporter: investigators now saying two different teachers flagged the suspected shooter's behavior. >> on the day prior to the tragedy, a teacher in a classroom where he was a student saw and heard something that she felt was disturbing in terms of his behavior. the day of the shooting, a different teacher in a different classroom saw some behavior that they felt was concerning. >> reporter: despite those concerns, the 15-year-old sophomore was allowed to go back to class, a decision now under investigation. >> there's an additional piece of evidence that hasn't been released yet, but i can assure you it was troubling, it was disturbing, and unfortunately he was allowed to go back to class. >> reporter: investigators say he was plotting the attack before it happened. their evidence, a journal in which they say he talks about shooting up the school and two cell phone videos recorded the day before. >> horrendously disturbing.
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obviously talks about what he intends to do and the kinds of things he's thinking about. it's just chilling. >> reporter: the focus also now on the suspect's parents. officials say his father bought the semiautomatic handgun four days before the attack. an announcement on potential charges against the suspect's parents could come within 24 hours, the d.a. says. >> the shooter will be held accountable. and the people who bought and improperly stored and weren't responsible with that weapon have to be held accountable. >> reporter: cnn has pressed the d.a. for more on whether evidence was recovered to support those potential charges and what charges are being considered, but she declined to go into detail. four students lost their lives in the attack. their friends now bearing the burden of grief. >> justin was just a great guy to be around. he always made you laugh, no matter what. >> reporter: michigan's
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governor, gretchen whitmer, arriving at oxford high school to pay respects at the empty building. more than 60 schools in the county are also closed because of copycat threats. >> if you're making threats, we're going to find you. >> reporter: wolf, there's so many questions being raised tonight about the behavior that the suspect was demonstrating in the hours and in the day before this attack on tuesday afternoon. we're learning from law enforcement officials that the school is saying that they did not have any history related to this student for concerning behavior, but certainly it was reported in the hours before the attack and in the day before the attack. the key question now, why this information wasn't relayed to law enforcement or the school resource officer who is assigned to this high school. wolf. >> alexandra field reporting from oxford. thank you very much. let's discuss with the oakland county michigan sheriff, michael bouchard. thank you for joining us.
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i know you say these two different teachers reported the student's disturbing behavior. what specifically raised their concerns? >> well, i can't articulate the exact nature of it because it's now part of our evidentiary process and we don't want to prejudice the process or trial. but i can tell you that two different teachers, one in the morning the day before saw a behavior they thought was troubling. school officials brought him down to the office and had a conversation. the day of the shooting -- and by the way, they left a message for the parents as well, both electronically and voice mail on that evening. the next day, a different teacher in a different classroom saw behavior that they found troubling and brought the individual down to the office and ultimately school officials talked with he and his parents the day of the shooting, but at no time were we looped into any of that. >> yeah, that's disturbing. are you learning anything more about what was actually said in
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that school meeting with the shooter's parents? did they inform the school that there was a weapon at home he could potentially access? >> they -- we have some of the details of that meeting. in terms of that specificity, we don't have that. obviously that's a huge concern on a number of levels and that's part of our investigation. >> based on the information you have so far, sheriff, do you believe charges for the parents would be appropriate? you heard what the prosecutor said. >> right. well, actually our detectives haven't finished the packet on that. the key obviously in an abstract, for example, if in michigan someone gives someone a firearm and they cannot legally possess it, that's a crime in our state. this person could not carry or possess a handgun so that would be a crime if they gave it to them. and obviously if he takes it into the school, that's another
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crime and they participated in that. so that's what our detectives are looking for, is there criminality if it can be found in this chain and if we can overturn it or uncover it if you will because neither the parents nor the suspect are talking. >> the prosecutor also says that this shooting was absolutely premeditated well before the incident and that's a quote. do you have a sense of how far back these warning signs actually went? >> well, i don't have a specific day, but premeditation is clear both in terms of the digital evidence we've uncovered and our detectives are going through written writings as well to determine some of the timelines on that. without question it was something that was planned and was anticipated and is chilling in the way it's articulated about it to happen. >> you also say the shooter recorded videos detailing his plans. you describe those videos as
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chilling. your word. were those videos posted anywhere? were there any social media posts with that level of detail? >> no, there were not. that was uncovered as digital evidence by our investigators and our cyber folks that were able to retrieve that. we have seized digital evidence as part of this whole process. >> sheriff michael bouchard, thank you for joining us. thanks for all you're doing. please pass along our deepest, deepest condolences to the families there in your community. a heartbreaking story indeed. thanks for joining us. >> much appreciated. thank you. just ahead, we have an exclusive interview with senator kyrsten sinema on her outsized influence over president biden's agenda and whether she'll be a yes, a yes on critical votes that are coming up. if you just hold it like this. yeah. ♪ i love finding out things that other people don't want me to know.
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the federal government through february 18th. it now heads to the senate where some republicans are actually threatening a shutdown the government over president biden's vaccine mandate. more on that coming up. let's turn to a cnn exclusive interview with a senate democrat who wields enormous power over president biden's agenda. we're talking about senator kyrsten sinema of arizona. she sat down with our congressional correspondent, lauren fox. lauren is joining us now. lauren, you spoke with senator sinema at a really critical moment for her party and squeed t indeed the country. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. chuck schumer has made it clear that he wants to vote on the build back better plan before the christmas break. so i asked her very pointedly, is she ready to vote yes? she wouldn't commit to being ready just yet. >> you have met directly with the president. perhaps more than any other senator in the democratic party,
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maybe aside from joe manchin. what lessons have you learned? what kind of negotiator is the president? and is it hard for you to tell the president, no, i can't do that. >> president biden served in the senate for a long time so he knows how negotiations work. he also during this process called me repeatedly and asked me to continue working with senator rob portman and others in the g-10 to find this bipartisan agreement and showed a real commitment to wanting this bipartisan achievement, which we've accomplished. and i think the big challenge in front of us is for us to all work together in an accountable and transparent way to implement this law. >> schumer has said he wants to vote on build back better before christmas break. are you prepared to vote yes when that comes to the floor? >> well, i don't set the schedule for the senate floor and i'm always prepared to vote, and to vote for what's right for the interests of arizona. i personally believe that the best way to create legislation
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is to be thoughtful and careful so that we're crafting legislation that truly represents the interests that we want to achieve and that creates a benefit and helps people all across arizona and the country. so that's what i'm working on right now. >> so it doesn't sound like you're quite a yes yet on the version that just passed the house of representatives. what changes do you want to make? >> well, folks know i don't negotiate in the press. i'm not going to do that with you. >> i know one of the things that you made clear very early in the negotiation with the president and your majority leader was that you were not going to support raising the corporate tax rate a single point. did you feel like at any point they weren't taking your comment seriously given the fact that they were promising for a long time that this was going to be part of the bill? >> you know, i don't really spend much time thinking about what other people are saying publicly. people back home in arizona know that i am committed to ensuring that any legislation we pass retains america's competitiveness, so i won't
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support any legislation that increases burdens on arizona or american businesses and reduces our ability to compete either domestically or globally. you know, that's one of the reasons said i wasn't able to support a $3.5 trillion bill which i said earlier this summer because inflation is a real problem in our country right now. when i'm home in arizona, i hear, number one, about the price of gas and, number two, about the price of food. people are very concerned about the amount they're spending just to survive every day, so i want to make sure that if we are crafting legislation, we're doing it in a lean and efficient way that's fiscally responsible and doesn't impact things like inflation or make our businesses less competitive. >> so you've been criticized from progressives who say you're standing in the way of what we've been campaigning on for years, whether that's repealing the 2017 tax cuts, whether that is changing voting rights laws. what do you say to progressives
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back home who are disappointed in the job that you're doing here? >> well, i'm serving in the exact way that i've campaigned on over the last near decade that i've served in washington, d.c. and when i ran for the united states senate in 2018, i told the folks of arizona what i would do, that i would come to the senate, try to find bipartisan solutions, be an independent voice for arizona, and always put everyday people in arizona first. i would say that's exactly what i'm doing. >> there was that moment when protesters followed you into a bathroom when you were teaching a class. i'm really curious what you think that means about the state of u.s. politics right now, given the fact that they crossed a boundary by following you into the restroom? >> well, first let me just say that in arizona we are strong supporters of the first amendment. and i encourage arizonans to continue to tell me what they think. whether they come with criticism or praise, there is a line, however. and when individuals choose to engage in illegal activity and
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most importantly in this instance violate the privacy rights of the students that i'm working with at arizona state university, that's not appropriate. my students are working hard to earn their degrees so they can serve their community in arizona. they did not sign up to be harassed in a restroom or have their privacy violated on the internet. and that's what i think is inappropriate. so i voiced that concern and appropriate authorities are taking action. >> one of the ways that you negotiate in talking with your colleagues is that you're pretty forthcoming about where you stand on something. we talked about the corporate tax rate. why do you think it is that your leadership sometimes overpromises? do you think that's a problem for voters and for the democratic party? >> i can only speak for myself. but what i can say is this. i would never promise something to the american people that i can't deliver. and i think it's not responsible for elected leaders to do that. the concern i have is that,
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first, it's not very honest, so you should just be honest. that's something my parents taught me when i was very young and it stuck. >> do you want paid family leave to stay in this legislation? would that be your preference? >> i have long said that i support paid family leave because it allows both moms and dads throughout arizona and the country to have the opportunity to take care of a new baby or to take care of a loved one who is sick and not lose their jobs. i also understand that we're in the middle of a negotiation so i'm not going to spend a lot of time talking with you about the nuances of that negotiation because i would like to get to a result. but folks know my position on this issue. >> some of your colleagues, some of them progressives, think that you're kind of an enigma, they're not sure where you stand on any one issue while you're in the middle of a negotiation. do you think that that's a fair criticism of you? >> i think i'm very direct and i am very upfront when i talk to folks about what i believe in, what i can support and what i can't support.
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so i think there are some people who just don't like what they're hearing and maybe they use other terms to describe it. but folks in arizona know that i've always been a straight shooter and always will be. >> would you be willing to vote with democrats to hold up the president's mandates? >> i'm not going to tell you those things. what i will do, though, is make sure that i'm voting in the interest of arizonans. now, folks back in arizona know that i'm a strong supporter of this vaccine. i encourage all arizonans to also get vaccinated so that we can return to the lifes that we love and share those important moments of both joy and sorrow with our family members. >> reporter: wolf, it's clear there that kyrsten sinema is not someone that cares that much about what the democratic party thinks of her positions, what they think of how she's going to vote on something. she is very much someone who is not going to be bullied, is not going to be coerced into changing her position. we also talked about her very clear position that she was not going to increase the corporate tax rate a single point.
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that really was going against so many of the democrats' arguments for why they wanted to take back the senate this last election. she made it clear, though, that she is thinking and negotiating about the president's build back better plan but it's still an open question if she's going to be there if schumer brings this to the floor before the christmas holiday. >> in a 50-50 senate, she can make or break the president's plan. lauren, excellent, excellent work. thank you so much. coming up, courtroom drama in the trial of the actor jesse smollett accused of faking a hate crime. why the defense is calling for a mistrial. it's the most wonderful time of the year. it is all about t-mobile with their great deals for everyone every day including customers on sprint. tell us more dianne. new and existing customers on the magenta max plan can trade up to the new iphone 13 pro and t-mobile will pay for it.
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there's breaking news in the trial of the actor jesse smollett, accused of falsely reporting a hate crime. omar jimenez is covering the trial for us. omar, what's the latest? >> reporter: wolf, the prosecution just rested a few minutes ago, but not after what was basically a show of fireworks towards the tail part of the day that included some crying, accusations of the judge physically intimidating an attorney, and a call for a mistrial. this began during the cross-examination of o ola osendaro and the defense was trying to question him around homophobia, especially around texts where he described someone as a fruit. when the defense attorney asked if he'd use that to describe a woman, the judge called that collateral. the jury was sent out of the room after the defense asked for a sidebar. they came back and requested a mistrial because they said the
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judge was demeaning a line of questioning and would not allow them to continue in a line of questioning they believed was critical to their case. at points that attorney was sobbing as they were pacing around the table making this argument to the judge. this same attorney also accused the judge of physically lunging at her during a sidebar. the judge denied not only that request for a mistrial but also that accusation. afterward, a separate defense attorney stood up and said she wanted to go on the record saying there were facial expressions coming from the judge every time the defense made an objection, to which the judge shot back you're great at facial expressions as he denied making them on his own. one of the more significant of the testimony was when he said jesse smollett had this crazy idea of having two maga supporters attack him and he
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wanted to put that on social media. that is the crux of what prosecutors are trying to prove as again, wolf, they have just rested their case. >> we'll see what happens. omar jimenez on the scene for us. thank you very much. coming up, the mystery surrounding the chinese tennis star, peng shuai. are officials being played by the chinese government? and if they don't like it, they give 'em their money back. wait, they take the car back? that's crazy! what if it was driven by like a zookeeper? or a mud wrestler? or a guy who's on the outs with the missus and he just needs a place to sleep for seven days? yeah. (vo) buy your car online. love it or return it. with carvana. step up. prep up. to help keep you free from the risk of hiv. descovy for prep. a once-daily prescription medicine... ...that helps lower the chances of getting hiv through sex. it's not for everyone. descovy for prep has not been studied in people
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tonight international olympic and women's tennis officials are at odds over the safety of chinese tennis star peng shuai who has accused a
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chinese government official of sexual coercion. brian todd has the latest. >> reporter: concerns about the safety of tennis star peng shuai are ramping up, despite a second call she had with the international olympic committee. the ioc said after its call that peng reconfirmed that she was safe and well, but the ioc didn't provide any audio or visual images of the call. the women's tennis association chairman told cnn he believes the ioc is allowing itself to get played by the chinese government. >> we just feel very strongly that this is certainly being orchestrated. >> reporter: the wta has taken the strongest stance yet in standing up to china over its treatment of peng. the organization suspending all of its tournaments in china, potentially costing it hundreds of millions of dollars. >> the ioc is now being given a master class frankly by the wta on how to punch a bully in the nose. >> reporter: the world's number
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one ranked men's player is backing the wta's move. >> i think it's a very bold, very courageous stance from wta. >> reporter: in a since deleted social media post in early november, peng publicly accused a top chinese party official, former vice premier, of coercing her into sex at his home three years ago. she was censored by the chinese regime, disappeared from public view more than two weeks. after an international outcry, chinese state media released proof of life videos and photos of peng but people are concerned about her condition. >> if you don't think she's under a great deal of psychological pressure from the ccp, from the authorities, given that she has very embarrassing charges against a senior chinese official, you're crazy. i think it is safe to say she is under very tightly controlled circumstances, that she does not have the ability to communicate freely with the outside world.
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>> reporter: experts say one potential nightmare scenario for beijing has to do with the winter olympics it's hosting in a couple of months. >> i think this will increase the pressure to at least not have diplomatic presence at the winter olympics. beijing is unhappy about that. >> reporter: chinese authorities have not acknowledged peng shuai's accusations against the former vice premier and are pushing back against the wta for that boycott, wolf. >> thank you very much. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. outfront next, the race to stop a winter surge. president biden kicking off a new plan to prevent a surge in covid cases that includes booster shots, free at-home testing. is it enough? plus a chilling picture emerging at this hour of the suspected high school shooter accused of killing four classmates. the sheriff is revealing tonight about the suspect's behavior leading up to the very moments of the shooting. and trump's wealth. it may have taken a hit while he was president, but a

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