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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  December 14, 2021 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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things he tells cnn that bring him peace. >> he says he wanted to play this piano for what might be the last time because there was so much water damage to it. but he's thankful because his experience could have been so much worse. when his sister did that, you see him playing without a roof and without walls, that's just remarkable. >> we're watching all that's happening on capitol hill. any moment, debate will start. "the lead" with jake tapper comes up right now. even fox hosts were begging then-president trump to stop the trump supporters from attacking the capitol. "the lead" starts right now. any moment the house of representatives expected to vote on holding trump's white house chief of staff in kecontempt of congress as they reveal the panic, danger and hypocrisy going on that day. potential life saver. very promising final data on a pill to treat coronavirus as a new variant takes hold around
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the globe. plus, a critical flaw. the biden administration and major tech companies racing with cybercriminals with hundreds of millions of the key devices we all rely on every day at risk. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we start with breaking news. at any moment the house of representatives will begin debating whether or not they should hold mark meadows in criminal contempt of congress. later tonight that vote is expected to pass, largely along party lines, leaving trump's former white house chief of staff in a former congressman himself facing the very real possibility of jailtime for refusing to testify in front of the committee investigating the deadly capitol riot. this debate and vote comes just hours after committee leaders revealed new text messages sent to meadows by republican lawmakers and fox hosts and even a member of the trump family. as that maga mob descended upon the capitol. all of these trump allies plead
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with meadows to get then-president trump to tell his rioting supporters to stand down. >> donald trump jr. texted, again and again, urging action by the president. quote, we need an oval office address. he has to lead now. it has gone too far and gotten out of hand. >> those messages come from records that meadows had previously voluntarily turned over to the committee before he stopped cooperating. and now as cnn's ryan nobles reports, the select committee investigating believes they have a strong case against the former white house chief of staff. >> reporter: a dramatic day on capitol hill as the house prepares to vote on holding a former white house chief of staff in contempt. >> he refused to come in and answer questions about the nonprivileged material. he has no basis to refuse to
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cooperate on those matters. that alone is sufficient to advance the referral. >> reporter: they are expected to refer mark meadows for criminal contempt of congress. the january 6th select committee pointing out meadows won't answer questions about text messages showing calls from republicans pleading to have donald trump act to stop the chaos. >> we know that for 187 minutes, president trump refused to act. and he refused to act when his action was required. >> reporter: meadows refused to sit for a deposition with the committee but only after submitting 6,000 documents, amounting to 9,000 pages, many that include messages meadows received as the capitol was under siege. some coming from fox news personalities. sean hannity asked, can he make a statement? ask people to leave the capitol? brian begged, please, get him on tv. destroying everything you have accomplished. laura ingraham warned, the
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president needs to tell people in the capitol to go home. this is hurting all of us. he is destroying his legacy. even trump's son, don junior, told meadows quote, he's got to condemn this shit, asap. >> they tried to weaponize text message slisktly leagued them to put out a narrative that quite frankly the president didn't act and i can tell you this is -- the president did act. >> reporter: the department of justice has the final say on whether meadows will face charges. and his case is not as straight forward as steve bannon's who the department moved quickly to indict. but they believe they've built a strong case. >> the supreme court has made very clear that executive privilege is not execute and that's exactly what mr. meadows is claiming. the fact he sent all these documents shows he understands that he doesn't enjoy absolute privilege. >> reporter: behind the cameras today, the committee pressed on.
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interviewing several witnesses, including dustin stockton, a key rally organizer and keith kellogg, former vice president mike pence's national security adviser. kellogg was in the oval office on january 6th and the committee believes he has direct knowledge of trump's conduct on that day. could take several weeks before the department of justice acts on this criminal contempt referral once they receive it. but it's pretty clear the committee has moved on from getting the information that they're seeking from mark meadows. the committee chairman bennie thompson pointing out it's been only three individuals that have outright rejected their efforts to get information from them. they believe they can get the information they're looking for from not only the 300 witnesses they've interviewed but that big tranche of documents from the national archives on which they've won two court cases and they believe will ultimately be successful and in their possession very shortly. >> ryan nobles, thanks. here to discuss, alyssa farrah griffin, now a cnn
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political commentator. also former assistant u.s. attorney kim wayley and abc news jonathan karl who interviewed mr. trump for his book "betrayal: the final act of the trump show" and broke a lot of news in that book. you left your white house job a few weeks before the insurrection but you did text meadows january 6th saying, quote, you guys have to say something. even if the president is not willing to put out a statement you should go to the cameras and say we condemn this. please stand down. if you don't, people are going to die. and sadly, you were correct about that prediction. you have known meadows for years. you worked with him in congress, in the white house. why did he not listen? >> i will never know why he didn't listen, but i'll never stop believing that anyone who had a platform that day had an obligation to use it. so even if meadows had hundreds of twitter followers his voice would have rang very important to people on capitol hill mean was in touch with kevin mccarthy. he could have gotten a message to folks storming the capitol to say please stand down.
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the election wasn't stolen. ashli babbitt may not have been killed and officer sick nick may not have lost his life if that hadn't happened. >> you write in great detail in your book about what was going on behind the scenes as all of these people were begging trump to tell the rioters to go home. a lot of these people now, obviously, have been fueling the lie and acting as though january 6th wasn't a big deal. were you surprised by the text that liz cheney revealed last night and again today? >> i spent a lot of time in "betrayal" trying to reconstruct the hours inside the west wing. what trump was up to. who was reaching out. how he was acting and everything i have been told is that he enjoyed what he was seeing. he saw people finally going to bat and fighting for him as they stormed the capitol. and i had heard, you know, of many people who had called and reached out to him, including people on the ground who tried to get in to see him at the oval office to plead with him to get out and do something. so, no, i wasn't surprised by
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the text messages, but there was one that really stands out. it's the one you have mentioned from his own son, from his namesake, donald trump jr. basically begging meadows to go in and talk to his father. first of all it shows you that for whatever reason donald trump jr. couldn't get his own father on the line apparently or he wasn't being listened to by his own father. but seeing those pleadings from his own son, that truly is shocking. >> kim, congresswoman cheney used very specific language last night. take a listen. >> these nonprivileged texts are further evidence that president trump's supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes and mr. meadows' testimony will bear on another key question before this committee. did donald trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to
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obstruct or impede congress' official proceedings to count electoral votes? >> that's the same language for a federal felony law. >> sure. obstruction of congress? that's right out of the book. she mentioned dereliction of duty, that comes from the military code. there's not a separate federal felony there, but absolutely this is a message that they are potentially seeing criminal action down the road against some of these organizers within government. we've seen people on the ground be held accountable, but no one behind the scenes. very important. >> not just organizers. did donald trump do this. >> sure, donald trump and mark meadows is the closest person to him. and i like to think of this whole narrative in three phases. one is planning the insurrection. one is getting out this message of voter fraud and trying to overturn the results and last is the absence of a serious law enforcement response when all this was happening. mark meadows was in the center
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of each stage of that story. >> and i want to touch on what jonathan karl brought up, alyssa. texting between donald trump jr. and mark meadows as the capitol siege was under way. donald trump jr. says he's got to condemn this shit asap. the capitol police tweet is not enough. meadows respond, i'm pushing it hard. i agree. don jr. texted meadows again. we need an oval office address. he has to lead now. it's gone too far and gotten out of hand. that language and the similar language we heard from fox hosts behind the scenes pleading for the same thing while going on tv and blaming it on antifa, very different. >> they knew how damaging it was that day and you'll remember the coverage for a couple of weeks after fox, they took it very seriously. they continued to cover the fallout and republicans speaking out. now they're just pretending that it didn't happen and shifted right back to, he's the de facto leader of the republican party so we just have to pretend this wasn't as significant as it was.
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one thing i want to know because the fox texts are getting a lot of attention. the most damning thing that came out was this email sent by the former chief of staff saying the national guard will be there to protect trump supporters. that is horrifying. you and i both know the military has no role in getting involved on behalf of one political party over the other. no one, including the commander in chief has the authority to deploy the national guard to protect their supporters. that is where you're getting into the language of an actual coup attempt. and it's terrifying. >> and jon carl, retired general kellogg sat for a deposition with the committee mean was vice president pence's national security adviser at the time but actually at the white house during the insurrection. what kind of insight might he have, if he cooperates with the committee? >> there were very few people in the west wing on january 6th. i mean, it's really -- the number of top advisers to the president that were literally out of the country, starting with jared kushner on his way back from saudi arabia.
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so kellogg is very important because he was one of the few that was actually there. actually had at least some interactions with donald trump on that day. and i think that seeing him go before the committee is a reminder, jake, that there are a lot of people talking to this committee. there are a lot of people cooperating with this committee. not just in terms of depositions and going in to be interrogated, but also turning over their emails and their text messages. we only know a fraction of what this committee has uncovered. we're seeing the meadows emails for a very -- and texts for a very specific reason and that's because they're holding him in contempt. but there's a lot more. and kellogg is one of those that has actual realtime knowledge of what happened hojanuary 6th at the white house. >> jon karl, kim, aliss athank you. any moment the house of representatives will begin official debate over whether to refer mark meadows for criminal contempt of congress to the justice department. while we wait for that, she is
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taking names and sharing text messages. a look inside liz cheney's strategy for the january 6th committee. then, the death toll climbing in kentucky as we learn more heartbreaking stories of strangers trying to save lives just moments after the tornadoes touched down. stay with us. (dad vo) is the turkey done yet?! (mom vo) here's your turkey! (vo) visible. switch and get up to $200. find your rhythm. your happy place. find your breaking point. then break it. every emergen-c gives you a potent blend of nutrients so you can emerge your best with emergen-c. 1, 2, 3... yay! ♪ “i got you babe” by etta james ♪ ♪ wait hold up, here it comes! alright, everybody stand up straight. okay now let me flip it. ♪ ♪
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we're back with breaking news coverage. you see there on the house floor moments ago the house started debating whether or not they should vote to refer to the justice department contempt of congress charges against mark meadows. that move comes less than 24 hours after republican liz cheney, the vice chair of the select january 6th committee read out these frantic text messages from people like donald trump jr. and various fox anchors to mark meadows on january 6th urging meadows to get then-president trump to please do something to stop the maga mob destroying the capitol. today cheney read from even more texts sent to meadows.
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this time they were from some of her republican colleagues. >> quote, it is really bad up here on the hill. another one, the president needs to stop this asap. another one, fix this now! >> jamie gangel is with us. last night liz cheney read from texts. she named names, who they were from. today reading from texts from her colleagues she did not name names. >> yesterday really the only name she named were those fox hosts and don junior. let me talk about that for a minute. i think she identified those people specifically yesterday because fox news, she is very concerned about disinformation. donald trump jr., it's the president's son. he gets what's happening. but his father is sitting there. so i think it was very specific that she identified those.
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i think the committee, by the time their work is done, we will know all of these members, who they are. and we're going to hear more and more. but right now, investigators who are familiar with things like this tell me that it's very important to let people know you have their texts, but maybe give them a chance to cooperate. maybe they will show you more. and i think that kind of cooperation may be happening. >> what's interesting is these are texts showing election liars, people who have been lying about january 6th, actually knew what was going on. they were privately decent and honest. >> correct. and i think what we're also going to see more from these same people so you're going to see trump loyalists who are saying -- pleading for help and then coming on tv, going on social media and lying about it. >> weeks before.
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>> heather cox richardson wrote, what cheney did tonight, the reading the text messages, was courageous. she put herself on the line in the struggle to hold trump and his loyalists accountable as other lawmakers claim to be afraid to stand up to trump. she has made herself a key target of the trump loyalists in order to defend our democracy. so how far is congresswoman cheney willing to go to take this position? she's already put -- she lost lost her leadership role in the house republican caucus. she's being challenged for her congressional seat. could this lead her to run for president, theoretically? >> she hasn't announced yet. i'm not in a position to announce for her, but, look, i don't know what you call it after someone quadruples down. but that's what liz cheney is doing. she is absolutely fearless on this. and i think in a town where we're not used to seeing this, she really has put politics
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aside. she is a one issue politician right now. this is about democracy. >> she's speaking right now. let's take a listen. >> -- understanding the serious nature of the situation. madam speaker, we wish we had another alternative. we wish that we did not have to meet today to urge our colleagues to put vote -- vote criminal contempt for one of our former colleagues and the former chief of staff to president trump. we don't take this step lightly. as my colleagues have noted and will no doubt say again today, for weeks the committee has worked with mr. meadows, with his counsel, to reach an agreement on cooperation. to reach an agreement on accommodation. now the reality, madam speaker, is the accommodations process is a process that takes place between the legislative branch and the executive branch. mr. meadows is a member of neither. and yet the committee has taken the extra step of working to try to make sure that we do
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everything we can to secure mr. meadows' testimony. he is improperly asserting executive and other privileges. but the vote on contempt today relates principally to his refusal to testify about messages and other communications that he admits are not privileged. he has not claimed and he does not have privilege to refuse entirely to testify regarding these topics. there are just three examples i will give you this afternoon of issues which we need to talk to mr. meadows about and on which his testimony is required and compelled by our subpoena. first is president trump's failure to stop the violence when this chamber and indeed the entire capitol building was attacked and invaded. the mob that attacked this chamber was summoned to washington by president trump. and as many of those involved
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have admitted on videotape and social media and in federal district court, they were provoked to violence by president trump's false claims that the election was stolen. as the violence unfolded that afternoon, nearly one year ago, it was evident to all, not only to those of us who were in the chamber at that time. it was covered in realtime by almost every news channel, but for 187 minutes, president trump refused to act. let's let that sink in, madam speaker. he refused to act. when action by our president was required, it was essential, and it was compelled by his oath to our constitution. mr. meadows received numerous text messages which he has produced without any privilege
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claim, imploring that mr. trump take the specific action we all know his duty required. indeed, some of those text messages madam speaker came from members in the chamber right now. members who understood that a violent assault was under way at the capitol. members who pleaded with the chief of staff to get the president to take action. dozens of texts, including from trump administration officials and members of congress urged that the president take immediate action. i read a number of these last night at our hearing. i won't read them all today, but i will read a few of them. mark, one member said, he needs to stop this now. in all caps. tell them to go home. potus has to come out firmly and tell the protesters to dissipate. someone is going to get killed. indeed, a number of members of the press, a number of members
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of this body, a member of the president's own family all urged the president take action because they understood that the president of the united states had a responsibility to call off the mob. hours passed, despite this, without any action by the president. all of these texts are nonprivileged. they are texts that mr. meadows has turned over. and they are evidence of president trump's supreme dereliction of duty for 187 minutes. and mr. meadows' testimony will bear on another fundamental question before this committee. and that is whether donald j. trump, through action or inaction, corruptly sought to obstruct or impede congress' official proceeding to count electoral votes.
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this committee is entitled to mr. meadows' testimony and it will inform our legislative judgments. but mr. meadows has refused to give any testimony at all. even regarding nonprivileged to topics. he is in contempt of congress. second, mr. meadows has knowledge regarding president trump's efforts to persuade state officials to alter official election results. in georgia, for instance, mr. meadows participated in a phone call between president trump and the georgia secretary of state. mr. meadows was actually on the phone when president trump asked the secretary of state to, quote, find 11,780 votes to change the results of the presidential election in georgia. that's the president of the united states telling a state official to, quote, find 11,780 votes. while this was happening, mr. meadows appears to have been
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texting with another participant on this call. mr. meadows has no conceivable privilege basis to refuse to testify on this topic. he is in contempt of congress. third, in the weeks before january 6th, president trump's appointees at the justice department informed him repeatedly that the president's claims of election fraud were not supported by the evidence. and that the election was not, in fact, stolen. president trump intended to appoint jeffrey clark as attorney general. in part so that mr. clark could alter the department of justice's conclusions regarding the election. mr. clark has now informed this committee that he anticipates potential criminal prosecution related to these matters and, therefore, intends in upcoming testimony to invoke his fifth amendment privilege against
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self-incrimination. as mr. meadows' nonprivileged texts reveal, mr. meadows communicated multiple times with another member of this body who was working with mr. clark. mr. meadows has no basis to refuse to testify regarding those communications. he is in contempt. january 6th was without precedent. there has been no stronger case in our nation's history for a congressional investigation into the actions of a former president. this body must investigate the facts in detail, and we are entitled to ask mr. meadows about the nonprivileged materials he has produced to us. madam speaker, i am sure you will hear my colleagues this afternoon say that there are privileged issues here that must be resolved before we can move forward. any argument that the courts need to resolve, privilege issues first, is a pretext. we will question mr. meadows
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about emails and texts he gave us without any privilege claim. mr. meadows' role in the raffensperger call cannot be privileged, nor can his dealings with a member of this body regarding jeff clark. this committee must get to the objective truth and ensure that january 6th never happens again. mr. meadows is in contempt. he must testify, and i urge my colleagues to vote yes on this resolution. and i reserve the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from indiana is recognized. >> i yield myself as much time. >> thank you, madam speaker. here we go again. for the first time in history, democrats have complete control over a select committee. i hope the american people are paying close attention. i hope they see what happens when democrats get total power. they abuse it. they intimidate. they threaten and they harass.
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>> so that was republican congresswoman liz cheney, the vice chair of the house select committee, republican from wyoming. the committee investigating the capitol insurrection. you heard a republican congressman just there claiming that this was a partisan democrat committee. it is not. it is a bipartisan committee, liz cheney and adam kinzinger, two conservative republicans are on the committee. before we broke away to cover that, we were talk with jamie gangel about a lot of the investigation going on and one thing i want to make sure that we talk about is the fact that keith kellogg who was vice president pence's national security adviser at the time that pence was on capitol hill overseeing the counting of the electoral votes and being rushed out because his life was in danger, the maga mob chanting hang mike pence, keith kellogg, not with pence that day. he was with trump in the oval office and he testified today. what do we know about that and how significant is it?
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>> keith kellogg is a critical witness, and what we've learned today, his lawyer stopped in the middle. they took a break. spoke to our cnn team and told them john cole is his lawyer. he said he's testifying on what happened. he is cooperating. when asked whether kellogg was providing the committee with documents pertaining to that day, cole said they are all logged in at the national archives, that he didn't have any personal emails or texts. they've been handed over. frankly, the way mark meadows should have handed them over. but here's the key point. cole told our team that there was nothing being withheld over privilege issues. this whole business has hardly anything to do with national security problems or anything that he was doing as national security adviser. this is the first firsthand witness, keith kellogg was in
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the oval office, in the personal dining room with donald trump while the riot was going on. it sounds as if he's cooperating. completely. he's not claiming any privilege. that means the committee is hearing firsthand what trump was doing and what he was not doing while the riot was going on for those hours before he came out and said anything, when everyone was pleading for him. this is a key, key witness today. >> it's interesting because liz cheney again just now on the floor of the house, using the same language that noted over there at the panel earlier today, earlier in the show, very specific felony language. >> right. >> about whether or not trump obstructed congress from acting. whether willfully or through -- whether through action or inaction. very specific. very pointed language that she's
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using. it's from the criminal code. >> it's no accident. she is a lawyer. that those words did not just accidentally appear. whether or not that happens is up to the justice department. but there's no question that that is being put out there to keep pressure up on the justice department. and also to let donald trump and his loyalists know that they're not playing. they are looking at every fact. and if it goes there, they want them to know that that's the kind of charge that they could be facing. >> jamie gangel, stick with us. we'll stay on top of this breaking news coverage on capitol hill. the house of representatives right now debating whether or not to hold trump's former white house chief of staff in contempt of congress. coming up, we'll talk to a member of the january 6th committee. stay with us.
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- san francisco can have criminal justice reform and public safety. but district attorney chesa boudin is failing on both. - the safety of san francisco is dependent upon chesa being recalled as soon as possible. - i didn't support the newsom recall but this is different. - chesa takes a very radical perspective and approach to criminal justice reform, which is having a negative impact on communities of color. - i never in a million years thought that my son, let alone any six-year-old, would be gunned down in the streets of san francisco and not get any justice. - chesa's failure has resulted in increase in crime against asian americans. - the da's office is in complete turmoil at this point. - for chesa boudin to intervene in so many cases is both bad management and dangerous for the city of san francisco. - we are for criminal justice reform. chesa's not it. recall chesa boudin now.
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then break it. every emergen-c gives you a potent blend of nutrients so you can emerge your best with emergen-c. more on the breaking news in our politics lead. the house of representatives right now debating before voting tonight on whether or not to refer former trump white house chief of staff mark meadows to the justice department on criminal contempt of congress charges for refusing to testify to the january 6th house select committee. joining us now live, congressman pete aguilar, a democrat from california. he sits on the january 6th committee. thanks for joining us today. mike pence's former national
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security adviser, keith kellogg, testified before your committee. he was at the white house in the oval office with trump during the attack. what did he tell you? >> well, i'm not going to get into the specifics of what any witness tells us within their depositions, but what i can tell you is that we're going to continue to ask these questions of anyone who had interaction with the former president on the lead up to january 5th and january 6th. it's important to tell that full narrative and understanding fully, especially as my colleague vice chair liz cheney talks about. the 187 minutes of unaccounted for time of the former president. the time when he could have asked folks to leave the capitol, but he didn't. so we need to understand that, and that includes talking to individuals who were within his orbit that time and that afternoon. >> trump's former communications director alyssa farah just told us earlier in the show that if he had done something, maybe brian sicknick would be alive, ashli babbitt would be alive.
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but he did not do that. we've been seeing these text messages from your republican colleagues, anonymously and from fox hosts and others. donald trump jr. reaching out to meadows saying please get my dad. please tell trump to get this group to stand down. does that mesh with your understanding of what trump was told in the oval office while the insurrection was going on? in other words, were those messages to meadows conveyed to trump? >> those are great questions. and those are the types of questions that we would ask mr. meadows if he showed up before the january 6th committee. those are all important threads that we need to continue to pull, and i would just underscore those text messages, we don't have much context. while mr. meadows provided the text messages, he did not exercise the second part of the request of the subpoena which was to come before us and so absent that, that's why we're going to have this contempt vote later this evening because
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providing documentation, while it was robust, does not meet the threshold alone. and so we do have conversations. we do have conversations we want to start with him on those documents that must be nonprivileged because he sp supplied them to us himself from his personal devices. clearly those are questions we have but clearly people within the president's orbit should be bounds. >> how do you respond to the people from maga media, fox and elsewhere who say, look, there couldn't have been a conspiracy to overturn the election. look at laura ingraham and don junior and all these people reaching out to meadows trying to get the insurrection quelled. isn't this proof that there wasn't some grand conspiracy? what would you say to that? >> those text messages clearly show that they were concerned about the president's legacy, too. they weren't concerned about the safety of lawmakers or legislators. they were concerned about the president's legacy. and so that's just deeply disturbing given the loss of
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life for that afternoon. so we're going to continue our work. it's important that we do that. but clearly those folks in the president's friendly media circles were concerned and reaching out. it's interesting we have not heard mr. meadows talk about any of these, nor to my knowledge was it included in his book. but some of the conversations he had with the former president, even on january 6th, are in his book. but he doesn't want to come talk with us. so it's tough to claim privilege and then list it in a book that you're trying to sell for $25. >> one of meadows' attorneys says he is still cooperate with the committee in some ways, even as you and the house of representatives writ large move to hold him in criminal contempt of congress. is that true? is he cooperating in some ways? >> there have been letters that have gone back and forth. the chairman entered those into the record last evening. since our meeting last night i understand the former chief of staff mark meadows' attorney did
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send something over to the committee in the morning. i'm not aware of anything more than that. but what i can tell you is it's an important two-part step in order to comply with what the committee is asking. one is document production and the other is sit down and talk with us. so clearly while he did attempt one, he did not attempt the other. and so the committee is not going to give him a pass. nobody is above the law. even someone who served in this dome. so it's important that we hold him accountable. >> so retired general keith kellogg, his lawyer john cole told our reporters that kellogg is cooperating. he is not invoking executive privilege. he is providing information and answering all your questions. i know you don't want to get into the details of what he told you, but is that true? is he fully cooperating? >> i didn't sit for the entire interview. but my knowledge, based on what i heard and the public reporting as you indicated, indicates as
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such. and we'd anticipate anyone who receives a lawful subpoena. you or i would do the same thing if we had information as important as this. we're talking about protecting democracy here. and so we appreciate when folks come forward. many have come forward willingly and come before us willingly. that's why you may see a lot of news about subpoenas, but there have been over 300 individuals that we've talked to. so for every one uncooperative individual, there are many dozens more who have been willing to talk with the committee and it's important to our legislative work. >> after today's vote, the justice department, i think the u.s. attorney, will decide whether or not they'll pursue a criminal case against mark meadows as they did and are pursuing against steve bannon. what is your message to the leaders of the justice department, whether it's attorney general merrick garland or u.s. attorney about the meadows case? >> well, the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia who
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would receive this report. once we pass it presumably and signed. it would be sent over. and the law says that individual has a duty to compet the grand jury to come hear this evidence. that's our expectation, just like before. but we'll let the department of justice exercise their independent discretion there. we respect the independent nature of what they're trying to do. we also have a job to do. and our job is to investigate what happened. we're doing that. when someone doesn't comply, they have to be held accountable. that's exactly what congress is going to do this evening. >> pete aguilar, thank you so much for your time. appreciate it. we're going to keep following the breaking news on capitol hill. the house of representatives right now debating whether or not to hold trump white house chief of staff mark meadows in criminal contempt of congress. plus, the new covid treatment that made dr. anthony fauci say this -- >> the pill is potentially a life saver for everyone. >> what you need to know about the newest tool to fight covid. that's next.
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right now the house of representatives is debating whether to move forward with criminal contempt of congress charges against former trump white house chief of staff mark meadows. for refusing to testify before the january 6th committee and cooperate and tell everybody what he knew about that day. he'll -- we will continue to keep a close eye on that. for the moment let's turn to our health lead because dr. anthony fauci is touting a potential, quote, life saver after new data revealed pfizer's new antiviral drug cuts the risk
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of hospitalization or death by 89%, if taken within a few days of the onset of symptoms. now as cnn's alexandra field reports, dr. fauci hopes the fda will approve this drug's widespread use as soon as possible. >> it is going to be dominant in the united states given its doubling time. >> reporter: dr. fauci confident the omicron variant will be dominant. today a rapid surge in cases forcing cornell university to shut down their campus with a significant number showing signs of the omicron variant. a new study out of south africa shows the pfizer vaccine is only about 33% effective against infection with the omicron variant but infections do appear less severe. >> the vaccines that we use, the regular two-dose mrna, don't do very well against infection itself. but with hospitalization, particularly if you get the boost, it's pretty good.
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>> reporter: a year to the day after the u.s. saw some of the first shots in arms, pfizer announcing another leap forward in the fight against covid. >> with this pill, we expect out of ten people going to hospital, only one will go and actually no one is dying. >> reporter: it's still pending authorization but pfizer said it could be available in the u.s. later this month. and that it appears to be effective in treating omicron infections which account for just 3% of cases sequenced in the u.s. today, according to the cdc and more immediately treating delta, which is still ravaging parts of the country. >> still delta. more than 1,000 deaths daily and more than 100,000 cases. that's where we've got to put the brunt of the focus in how to get unvaccinated folks vaccinated and how to get those who are vaccinated boosted. >> reporter: nearly a quarter of eligible americans still haven't gotten a shot. new covid cases are up nearly 50% from a month ago. hospitalizations are up more
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than 40% in the same time. >> my beloved uncle john, he was -- he died yesterday. he was a really great person. our last conversation we had, one of the last ones we were playing cards, and i was telling him that when i have seen in my er right now is so horrible and tragic and to believe me and to get the vaccine -- >> reporter: he never did. michigan's hospitalizations are at their highest since the pandemic started. health care workers in minnesota are pleading with the public to get vaccinated. in a newspaper ad saying we are heartbroken. we're overwhelmed. some professional sports teams are also getting hit by the spike in cases. that's despite near total vaccination among flairs some leagues. still the nba and nhl have announced they're having to postpone some games. the nfl announcing they'll
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require booster shots for tier 1 and tier 2 staff. jake? >> alexandra field, thank you. we're following the breaking news on capitol hill. a contentious debate on the house floor focused on criminal contempt of congress proceedings against trump's former chief of staff. that's ahead. stay with us. ♪ just shine your light for everyone to see ♪ ♪ and if you try a little kindness ♪
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welcome to "the lead." this hour we'll go live to kentucky where survivors of
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those devastating tornadoes are telling their stories and 100 people are still missing. the congressman who represents hard-hit western kentucky will join us. plus, the holiday rush is back. air travel could triple last year's numbers, but will there be more massive cancellations? leading this hour, breaking news from capitol hill. the u.s. house of representatives right now debating whether to hold former trump chief of staff mark meadows in criminal contempt of congress for failing to cooperate with the january 6th committee and testify. we expect a vote after the debate ends in the next hour or so. this all comes after the committee released some text messages sent frantically to meadows during the riot. the texts from republican lawmakers and fox hosts and one of trump's kids. begged meadows to get then-president trump to call off his rioting supporters and stop the violence at the capitol. as cnn's paula reid reports, meadows' text messages further prove that trump's white house and its allies knew exactly how dangerous the capitol riot was,
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while it was going on, even though so many of them are lying about it now. >> reporter: tonight, history on the house floor. lawmakers debate referring former trump chief of staff mark meadows to the justice department for criminal contempt of congress. >> if you are making excuses to avoid cooperating with our investigation, you are making excuses to hide the truth from the american people about what happened on january 6th. >> reporter: meadows turned over 9,000 pages of records to the house select committee investigating january 6th before he suddenly stopped cooperating and refused to comply with a subpoena to testify. >> when the records raised questions as these most certainly do, you have to come in and answer those questions. >> reporter: the committee publicly released text messages from meadows' phone that revealed just how much the white house knew about what was happening at the capitol in realtime. >> these nonprivileged texts are

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