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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  January 26, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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new study shows moderna's booster shot still offers protection against the variant after six months. we want to welcome our viewers around the united states and the world. i'm wolf blitzer, and you're in "the situation room." let's get right to the breaking news, justice stephen breyer deciding to retire from the u.s. supreme court giving president biden a chance to nominate his successor while democrats still control the u.s. senate. m.j. lee is joining us right now. this is a very significant development for the supreme court and for the biden administration. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. a supreme court vacancy is a huge moment for any sitting presidency and one of president biden's big campaign promises was to put a black woman on the supreme court if the opportunity
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arose. with justice breyer expected to announce his retirement, president biden might just get that opportunity. tonight president biden confronting a major decision about the supreme court. justice stephen breyer expected to retire, paving the way for the president to nominate his replacement. >> there has been no announcement from justice breyer. let him make whatever statement he's going to make. i'll be happy to talk about it later. >> reporter: biden now getting the opportunity to fulfill this 2020 campaign promise. >> i'm looking forward to making sure there's a black woman on the supreme court to make sure -- >> i committed that if i'm elected president, have an opportunity to appoint someone to the courts, i'll appoint the first black woman to the courts. >> we are putting together a list of a group of african american women who are qualified and have the experience to be in the court.
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>> reporter: the white house reiterating today biden's position on this front remains unchanged. >> the president has stated and reiterated his commitment to nominating a black woman to the supreme court and certainly stands by that. >> reporter: the upcoming nomination and confirmation fight expected to dominate washington and the white house for weeks. senate majority leader chuck schumer looking to move quickly following a similar timeline that republicans used to confirm conservative justice amy coney barrett in 2020. the political calendar and the upcoming midterm elections looming large over democrats. the president's party currently has the slimmest of majorities in the senate with vice president kamala harris as the tie-breaking vote. this adding urgency for biden to act quickly before the senate potentially changes hands. >> mitch mcconnell said if republicans were to take back the senate in 2022, he did not see a way you could get a supreme court justice confirmed. do you have a response to that? >> mitch has been nothing but no
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for a long time, and i'm sure he means exactly what he says. but we'll see. >> reporter: appointed to the court in 1994 by president bill clinton, breyer, a consistent liberal justice on the bench. he has been a defender of abortion rights and affirmative action as well as a first opponent of capital punishment. breyer also writing the opinion rejecting the challenge to the affordable care act last june. more recently breyer coming under intense pressure to retire. the 83-year-old justice saying the confirmation process should have nothing to do with politics. >> if the public sees judges as politicians in robes it's confidence in the rule of law can only diminish. >> reporter: several names in circulation as possible replacements, among them. judge ketanji brown jackson, a former supreme court clerk for breyer. >> when you become a judge, you
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take an oath to look only at the law in deciding your cases, that you set aside your personal views about the circumstances, the defendants or anything else. >> reporter: and california supreme court justice leandra kruger. >> we tend to forget that conversations about these very difficult cases are confined to a small number of people. >> reporter: all through out the day, the white house has been asked repeatedly about this news. everyone from the president on down saying on message, essentially saying they are not going to comment on the specifics until justice breyer himself has announced that he is, in fact, retiring. >> i'm told he's going to do that wat the white house togethr with president biden tomorrow afternoon. breyer will be sharing the news with his colleagues on the u.s. supreme court. m.j., thank you very much. let's get to more on the
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breaking news, joined by cnn legal analyst, supreme court biography joan biskupic. you recently interviewed justice breyer. let me play the clip. here is what he said to you. >> the truth i think is, you can always hope for your more mature self, which is there sometimes. this is a country in which every day i see this, in this document. number one it's called freedom of speech. >> so you think let them say what they want? >> i do believe that. >> but you must be irked somehow, this must drive you nuts a little bit, right? >> if you can -- i mean, please. >> i didn't mean to slip into an informal way of asking you a question, justice breyer. >> i was thinking of harry truman, if it's too hot, get out -- >> to given breyer's hedging at
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that point, what do you make of his decision to retire now? >> i think he's just given president joe biden a real hand here. he's aware of the politics of the situation. wolf, you and i both know what his background is, having served in the senate, served on the senate judiciary committee, he understands the politics. he knows the senate hangs by just a one-vote majority for the democratic party. he was put on this court by a democratic president. he wants to leave with a democratic president. and, wolf, he also remembers what happened in 2020 with ruth bader ginsburg who did not leave when she was earlier pressure by fellow democrats to step down while president obama was in office and had a democratic senate, and in the fall of 2020, her death and the succession of amy coney barrett made all the difference in the world to this court. so that's kind of the backdrop of it. he's done two things here that are very important, wolf, that people should be aware of, he's
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giving notice at a time that is earlier than any point in modern history, in january of a calendar year. the most recent time before this was 1993 when justice byron white passed word to president clinton in march of 1993 and gave clinton several months to put someone on the court. that was ruth bader ginsburg, as a matter of fact. so he's given president biden plenty of time to get a successor through the process and he's done one other important thing. he said he will not leave until his successor is confirmed, and justices in recent years have not done that at all. the last time that caveat was in there was in 2005 with sandra day o'connor. >> there will be nine justices, not eight. joan biskupic, thank you very much. we're covering all these major angles with our legal and political experts. jeffrey toobin you've written an excellent book on the inner workings of the supreme court. given all you know about his
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work and justice breyer, put this into context for us. >> there's only 120 supreme court justices in all of history. any time one leaves, it's a big deal. all 120 -- not one has been a black woman. so we know that there will be historic replacement. stephen breyer was a liberal, but a particular kind of liberal. he was a problem solver. he loved to use the word workable. he was the father of the federal sentencing guidelines which tried to make sentencing more rational and consistent. he came out of working in the senate at a time of great collaboration between the parties, bipartisanship. and that's the kind of court he wanted to be on. i think one of the real stories of his tenure was that he wasn't on that kind of court, and it was a very polarized court on most hot-button issues.
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i think that was a source of frustration to him. he's leaving a court that is really not the kind of court he ever wanted to serve on. >> laura, the president -- president biden has committed to nominating a black woman to serve on the high court. the short list of contenders that's emerging features truly highly qualified potential nominees. tell us about them. >> many of whom, by the way, could have been nominated at different points in their career as well. i want to reiterate it's not just that the president is committing to choose a black woman. these are phenomenally capable, talented, intellectual revered advocates of the court with extensive experience. that can never be lost. there's almost an embarrassment of riches in the bevy of choices that are available and frankly were available all along. it's always been a disservice, when people think about a black woman during a supreme court hearing, they think about the
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treatment of anita hill, they don't think about a person in the position to be nominated. it's important to think about how these women will be compared to those most recently seated. i'm hearing chatter about the idea, well, do any of the named people have enough appellate experience or judicial experience in this way. there's no qualification a supreme court justice even needs to be a lawyer, number one. these are phenomenal ones at that. think about amy coney barrett and her relative little experience in the appellate world. justice elena kagan, never having been a judge. i can go on. i'm cautioned looking at people who are thinking about this notion and saying i hope this women will get a farrakhan fir! hearing, that they are intellectual prowess will be on full display and politics and hypocrisy won't play a big role, particularly given the fact that, wolf, several of them have
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already received bipartisan support at the so-called lower courts, albeit high ones. i hope nothing changes between that and the supreme court as well. >> gloria, what are you learning about how quickly breyer's successor could be named and confirmed? >> as fast as they can. it's very clear they want to take a page from the mcconnell book which was -- the latest was amy coney barrett. it took 30 days from nomination to getting approved. i think that from chuck schumer and down, the democrats see absolutely no need to delay. this really in many ways was not a surprise to the white house. we know justice breyer had been deciding that. they said we want to name a black woman to the court and they probably had their list ready. it's one way for joe biden to turn the page, to say to black
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leaders, look, we really didn't get what we wanted on voting rights, but i am going to do this and i'm not going to stand down. i was talking to someone today who has been involved in the past in such confirmations who said they want to have these hearings as quickly as you humanly possible. >> maggie, president biden has been looking for a reset, as they say. how badly did the white house need this moment? >> they needed it, wolf. they clearly have had a significant slippage in the polls. they've been struggling legislatively, and democrats are feeling disillusioned. this is the kind of thing that comes along in a term that changes potentially anyway the way the sitting president's party is feeling about the party, about how the white house is doing. this is a galvanizing moment. there are a couple of moments that can be galvanizing at a moment when negative
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partisanship is so intense. one being that president trump could run again. i think this is significant for them. i also think it's significant that, if the current president goes ahead with his promise to appoint the first black woman, there are a lot of black voters who are feeling disillusioned with this white house right now. i think the white house sees this as a reset there as well. >> maggie, how contentious do you think the senate confirmation process could be? >> it could be very contentious, wolf. i certainly think among republicans it's going to be contentious. you're seeing signals from lindsey graham and other republicans that they're going to not support whoever the pick is. i think the big question is going to be, obviously, for chuck schumer, keeping all democrats on board, i think this is frankly easy depending on who the choice is. i think this is an easy moment
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for joe manchin and kyrsten sinema to play to the party's base when they're seeing a lot of blowbacks. >> laura, what would it mean to finally see a black woman on the u.s. supreme court? >> what it would mean to me personally, i can't tell you what it would be like to see myself in the women who are being chosen. the idea of knowing just how often and how many times black women in this country have been told to wait our turn, as if we're not on equal dpooting or we're told by virtue of any woman being there, you, too, should be satisfied. we know about the distinction between the feminist and the womanist movement and the black girl magic when it comes to covet the vote and backs being turned when it's ultimately time to show up and show that you understand the power of our vote, the power of our minds and the power of what it means to
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have a representative bench in the united states of america. the idea that we have had this notion of who is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land and not until now do we have somebody who is considering black women at the rate that joe biden, the president of the united states is talking about, that's a travesty. it's also a time that's critical right now. for all the young girls and young women and older women and people who have looked at this as a potential exercise in futility, i'm so thrilled that this will no longer be a fool's errand and they will actually, actually hopefully comply with what should have happened a long time ago. >> well said indeed. gloria, how is this going to play out in the senate? >> well, as maggie was saying, it's hard to say, i think everybody understands that this is an historic moment in american political history and that you have not had a black woman on the supreme court, and
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i think every member of the united states senate is probably going to think about that. joe biden needs 51 votes. this is not going to be f filibustered thanks to the new rules. if i had to guess, i would guess that democrats are very excited to go along with it. make no mistake about it, this is a polarized and divided political atmosphere and something somewhere is going to pop up. once the dust settles, if biden gets his nominee, you will look back on this and say this is an important moment in american history. >> you might get a few republicans, like susan collins to vote in favor as well. >> exactly. >> guys, stand by. thank you very much. just ahead, right now we're getting new reaction from ukraine to the united states response to the kremlin's demand
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as the threat of a russian invasion looms. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." ♪
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tonight the united states is waiting for vladimir putin's next move after delivering a high-stakes response to russia's demands on ukraine. we're getting information. our chief international correspondent clarissa ward is joining us from ukraine. chief national security correspondent jim sciutto also worki working. what is the message? >> in essence the message is here is what we're willing to discuss and what we're not willing to discuss. first, what they're not willing to discuss, one is russia's demand that nato swear off
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ukraine's potential membership in the alliance, the u.s. making clear it maintains what they call an open door policy, any nation, if interested, can be considered. it would require all members to agree to it. they want to make that clear. they also want to make it clear that ukraine's border is not negotiable. they consider it a sovereign country and won't tolerate russia's further incursion. what they are willing to discuss the possibility of arms control, also more broadly a diplomatic path to end this standoff. the trouble is, wolf, as the u.s. and nato watch russia during these talks, they've seen escalation of russia's military buildup, not deescalation. they want to see that change. >> you have new reporting, jim, also, that the u.s. is preparing to send more troops to eastern europe inn advance of a russian invasion of ukraine.
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>> what's notable is that the u.s. and some of its nato allies considering moving troops prior to any additional russian aggression in ukraine. the discussion here is to send groups, new deployments of about 1,000 personnel each to nato allies on the eastern flank under consideration. the countries romania, hungary, bulgaria, important because the eastern european allies are most nervous about russian aggression. another important point is there does not appear agreement across the alliance for this. so this would be something of a coalition of the willing, half a dozen nato members also to support this as well as eastern european nato countries willing to accept these forces and again before any russian military action. >> jim sciutto reporting for us. let's go live to ukraine right now. our chief international correspondent collarissa ward i on the scene. there's new reaction from ukraine to the biden
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administration's written response to russia. what are you hearing? >> reporter: so cnn has spoken to a presidential adviser here in kyiv, wolf. essentially they're pleased with the written demands. this adviser said they thought the u.s. was using the right strategy. he described the written statement as comprehensive, well thought out. this was also echoed by the foreign minister who also saw the documents, essentially leadership here in ukraine trying to present this almost as if they were part of the process, their needs, their concerns have also been reflected in this written document. of course, the question now remains how on earth does president vladimir putin respond to the document. nobody here knows about that yet. it's no secret, wolf, there's been some daylight between the u.s. and ukraine in the last week, primarily over issues of messaging, ukraine officials here have privately been
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frustrated at the u.s.'s messaging. we did see an inkling of that today with the foreign minister reiterating that they do not believe at this stage, with the current number of russian trooms massed on that border well over 100,000, but they do not believe that russia has enough troops currently to launch an all-out invasion. they are very keen to emphasize that point. they do not see the risk here of an all-out invasion at this point in time, wolf. >> very interesting. clarissa ward in ukraine, thank you. coming up, more breaking news we're following, this time from moderna. the company now says its current covid booster shot provides durable protection against the omicron variant for at least six months.
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a new study shows the moderna booster shot is effective against the omicron variant for at least six months, but the antibodies do wane over time prompting the company to advance its omicron-specific booster to the next phase of clinical trials. let's discuss with the former cdc director dr. tom frieden. dr. frieden, what do you make of these results on its current booster shot? are you reassured? >> well, let's take the big picture here. it's really important -- sorry -- i'm getting feedback on this. i don't know if you're hearing me okay. >> we're hearing you fine. >> the vaccines are working remarkably well as preventing severe disease and death.
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it's crucially important that people who haven't yet started vaccinations, 60 million people in the u.s., get vaccinated. if you haven't gotten your booster, get your booster. get up to date with your vaccinations. bottom line, it's great that pharmaceutical companies are making new vaccines, but it's up to scientists and other doctors outside of the pharmaceutical industry to tell us whether we need them, when and how often. >> when do you think, dr. frieden, americans will start getting omicron-specific boosters? moderna is advancing that vaccine in the next phase in these clinical trials. >> i don't know if this will ever be approved for americans. really, i'm disappointed that a company like moderna might be doing something like this and trying to adjust their market valuation by saying that many people may get this vaccine. maybe yes, maybe no.
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we're going to have to see what happens with omicron, with the next variant. we're going to have to understand more fully what happens with immunity for the average person, for people who are older, for people who have immune suppression. it's good we're seeing more choices, but bottom line, get vaccinated today if you're not up to date with your vaccinations. >> so important. let me get your thoughts, dr. freet preed den, on a potential universal vaccine which dr. fauci said could be years away. what kind of impact would that have? >> it's really important. if we could have a coronavirus vaccine that would handle any future variant, that would be enormously important and essentially taking this off the table in terms of a future devastating wave from a future variant. remember we've been trying to make a universal vaccine for several decades and an hiv vaccine for several decades, and
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we're just now seeing progress with malaria. i wouldn't hold your breath for a universal vaccine. it's certainly a goal worth trying for. >> cases are heading down at least in some parts of the country. what activities should vaccinated and boosted americans feel comfortable doing, returning now to some sort of normal life? what do you think? >> wolf, i am more optimistic about the pandemic today than i have been since it was declared a pandemic nearly two years ago. in another few weeks, the omicron variant flash flood -- not a wave, but a flash flood, will have largely passed. at that point we don't know if there will be another wave, but we do know we've got much stronger defenses than we've ever had. we've got better testing capacity, masking capacity, vaccination capacity, treatment capacity than we've ever had. we're in much better shape than we've ever been, but we do need
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to hang on for a few more weeks until the omicron flood recedes so we don't overwhelm the hospitals which are already so stressed out. >> so important. dr. frieden, thank you for your expertise. thank you for joining us. just ahead, it's one of russia's strongest weapons. it's not a tank, not a missile. now u.s. officials are worried russia will use it on the united states as retaliation. is the country prepared? we're going to break down this new threat. cnn's fareed zakaria is standing by. because once you experience thinkorswim® by td ameritrade ♪ there's no going back.
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it's not just troops, guns and fighter jets that have ukraine and the west bracing itself. even before an invasion, russia is expected to deploy one of their most formidable weapons, cyberattacks. not just against ukraine but against the u.s. as well since it backs ukraine. >> i think this is probably the most escalated situation we've ever been in between the united states and russia. i think they're more likely to use this capability now than in many of the other conditions we've been in before. >> reporter: the department of homeland security warned this week in an intelligence bulletin obtained by cnn that if russia feels its national security is threatened it, it could strike the u.s., something the white house said today it is prepared for. >> there's no information we have at this point about any imminent threat against the u.s. homeland. we're always prepared for cyber threats from a range of sources, and we have a range of tools at our disposal to use in reaction.
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>> reporter: already ukraine has seen malicious attacks in recent days. the home pages of government ministries were hacked, replaced with a message, be afraid and expect the worst. microsoft then put out an alert that destructive malware, capable of wiping data had been find on dozens of ukrainian networks including government agencies. it's unclear if russia was responsible. as they were just a few years ago when power was knocked out in ukraine and their financial system was attacked. russian hackers have long been accused of targetsing american water, power and nuclear sectors. last summer president joe biden said he told president vladimir putin that attacking critical american infrastructure was a red line. >> i talked about the proposition that certain critical infrastructures should be off limits to attack, period by cyber or any other means. >> now, that could be on the table. >> they have surprised us again and again with their ability to cross what we thought were red lines. they've shown us some of the most important improvements in
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the space we've ever seen. they've carried out the most expensive attacks. they're the first ones to turn out the lights that we know of. >> reporter: president biden has warned that the u.s. would respond to russian cyberattacks with its own. we've seen in the past year how damaging those attacks on critical infrastructure could be, like the ones on the east coast that targeted the colonial pipeline which is why the administration has been offering briefings to companies and sounding the alarm about what may be coming. >> the u.s. is very vulnerable in this area. let's get perspective from cnn's fareed zakaria, the host of fareed zakaria g pfrmtss. if this were to escalate, how much damage could putin inflict on u.s. citizens if he decides to target critical infrastructure here at home? >> i think he could do substantial damage. i think our critical
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infrastructure is fairly vulnerable. ted ckoppel wrote a very good book about this many years ago that's largely still true. it's worth pointing out that would be a very significant escalation. the russians have not in any way indicated that that is the path that they're on. they have, in fact, downplayed the agree to which they'll be any kind of actual military intervention. if anything, they've been more careful about not escalating. the biden administration has i think very appropriately and very shrewdly publicized all the range of possible things that russians can do. so a we're not surprised by them, b, it puts the russians on alert that we know what they're capable of, where these things could go. false flag attacks in ukraine, cyberattacks in ukraine,
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cyberattacks in the u.s. i think cyberattacks in the u.s. would be at the very far end of what russians are likely to do. >> ukraine is now praising the u.s. response at least today and i'm quoting now, it's the right strategy. there are also some positive signs from talks today between russia, ukraine, germany and france. do you see an off-ramp right now for putin at least potentially? >> well, the ukrainian government is right, and i'm glad they have come to this after a little bit of tweeting back and forth. the biden administration is handling this pretty well. it's a very complicated situation. what you have to try to do is a mixture of deterrence and diplomacy. you have to put up enough muscle so that you show the russians that there are real costs, so you outline ought the costs, and they have to be credible costs. we're not going to be able to stop a russian land invasion of
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ukraine. the russian army is the largest in europe. you try to make sure the europeans are on board. at the same time, you hold out the prospect of diplomacy. i think they've gotten the balance pretty well. if you notice, they're being attacked by the far right and the far left which may mean they've gotten that balance right. at the end of the day, this is putin's initiative, his move, his escalation. ultimately we can't tell -- success would be if putin decides, i guess i can't get all the concessions i want, but at least i can get some diplomatic overtures and some diplomatic process going and he backs down. the ball is in his court in that sense. >> yes, it is. fareed zakaria, thank you very, very much. coming up, the u.s. justice department confirms it's looking into former president trump's plot to install fake electors to a key member of the january 6th
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tonight there's mounting evidence ability efforts to submit a false set of electors for the 2020 presidential election wrongly declaring trump had won. our congressional correspondent ryan nobles joins us with details. there's growing concerns about these fake electors and what laws were broken. what's the latest? >> reporter: wolf, initially when this report came out, many viewed it as a stunt by people that were the supporters of the former president in some of these swing states. there's been a growing concern from officials not only at the federal level but at the state
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level as well that this could actually be a much bigger problem, one that could even be a violation of the law. jocelyn benson, the secretary of state in michigan, sent a letter today to the january 6th committee that he has additional evidence about the everyday and attempt to file them in a way that would somehow allow donald trump to become the next president even though he did not win the election. now, wolf, this is something that we learned this week has become of interest to the department of justice. listen to what one of the deputy attorney generals told our evan perez earlier this week. >> well, first, john, the issue you raised in terms of fraudulent elector certifications has been reported. we've received those referrals, are prosecutors are looking at those, and i can't say anything more on ongoing investigations. >> reporter: so it is significant that the federal government believes that there could be something here that could lead to a criminal
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violation so much so that the department of justice would look into it. now they have this additional information coming from michigan, and other states. it shows, wolf, that this is of great interest to the many people that are looking at the situation that was involved in peddling the big lie across the country if it was actually a crime. wolf. >> ryan nobles reporting. thank you. let's discuss with a key member of the january 6th select committee. congressman pete aguilar. let me begin with your reaction to this news that the justice is now looking into these fake electoral college certifications. how significant, congressman, is that? >> well, we think it's very significant, and we support the department of justice in their review of this. we'll stand by and let them do their work. but i think this is significant because it really shows the lengths to which the former president and people around him were going to go to continue to perpetuate the big lie, which led to the insurrection on
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january 6th. >> cnn has also learned, congressman, that a top aide to former white house chief of staff mark meadows, a man named ben williamson met with your committee yesterday. what kind of information do you believe he might have? >> well, i'm not going to talk about the specifics of individuals who the committee has met with, as we've shared before over 450 witness interviews that we have conducted to date. the national archives lawsuit that we won in the supreme court in which the former president challenged us, we were successful, delivered 700 more pages of documents that we will continue to go through. but what we will say is that individuals like mr. williamson, and like mr. meadows are important. people who knew what was going on in the white house at the time leading up to january 6th, their story is important to share. the details are important to our work, and we're going to continue to do everything that we can to ensure that we can tell that full and complete
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story to the american public. >> as you know, meadows is facing possible criminal contempt of congress charges. have there been any further discussions with him about potential cooperation? >> not to my knowledge. right now, we have sent that material over. obviously the department of justice, we will wait and see what the result is from the congressional contempt citation, by virtue of not showing up, he is in contempt of congress. we passed that on the house floor and await the department of justice acting on it. >> quickly, when should we expect to begin to see public hearings from your committee? >> well, i'll let the chairman talk a little bit more about that in the future, but i do think that later this spring, it's going to be important that we share the details of our work, and we continue to find important details that we want to share with the american public. we want to tell that story. we want to make sure we protect
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democracy, and i think later this spring, we'll have an opportunity to do that. >> we'll look forward to those hearings. congressman, pete aguilar, thank you so much for joining us. we'll have more news right after this. thanks to the cartridge-free epson ecotank printer. a ridiculous amount of ink! do i look like a money tree? the epson ecotank. just fill & chill. hi, i'm steve and i live in austin, texas. i work as a personal assistant to the owner of a large manufacturing firm. i've got anywhere from 10 to 50 projects going at any given time. i absolutely have to be sharp. let me tell ya, i was struggling with my memory. it was going downhill. my friend recommended that i try prevagen and over time, it made a very significant difference in my memory and in my cognitive ability. i started to feel a much better sense of well-being. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. liz, you nerd, cough if you're in here! shh! i took mucinex dm for my phlegmy cough. what about rob's dry cough? works on that too, and lasts 12 hours.
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back to the breaking news, justice stephen breyer's decision to retire from the supreme court. i was fortunate to interview justice breyer in 2004 not long after the high court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage, look at this. >> you think this is not settled law, and eventually this question of whether same-sex marriage should be authorized all over the country is once
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again going to come before the justices of the supreme court. >> what is settled law is what we wrote and how these issues play out on the margin is something i don't yet know. i think there's a chance it might come out in various ways. >> some of the republican presidential candidates are making a major issue out of this right now, and the republican presidential debate that is about to take place, when they go ahead and say, you know, what, these are just five lawyers who are making this decision, and they can't write laws, they can't make laws, they're going beyond the constitution. when you hear that kind of talk, what do you say? >> every judge knows that many of the decisions that we make will be unpopular. we also know absolutely that since we are only human, they will often, perhaps not too often, we hope, but they may be wrong. if they're 5-4, somebody may be wrong, but eventually, a country, whether it's the united states or some other country
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decides, well, the benefits of a rule of law are worth it. >> indeed they are. we're going to hear much more about justice breyer's legacy tomorrow. he will appear with president biden tomorrow afternoon to formally announce his retirement. looking forward to that event. to our viewers, thanks for watching. erin burnett "out front" starts right now. it's putin's call, the u.s. responds to the russian president's security demands regarding ukraine. is it enough for putin to back down. supreme court justice stephen breyer is retiring, paving the way to name his successor, who's on the short list. and could having any role in january 6th disqualify some from becoming president. that's the legal challenge. let's go out front. good evening, i'm erin burnett. awaiting

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