tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 26, 2020 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
european countries have to overcome major hurdles. the only authorized vaccine so far from pfizer/biontech must be transported to europe at minus 70 degrees celsius. and trust is another hurdle. many europeans are not sure they want to be inoculated and have concerns about the vaccine. we'll see if those attitudes soften. also, governments are still worried about the here and now. a new, more contagious variant of the virus first detected in the uk, has surfaced in several european countries, along with the very real risk of a third wave of the coronavirus after the holiday season. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> here in the cnn newsroom, i'm dana bash in washington. new details tonight in the
urgent investigation in the nashville explosion that caused injuries and damage. investigators are now saying that the explosion of an rv early yesterday morning injured three people was likely a suicide bombing. that's according to two law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the investigation. and this new video obtained by cnn on peers to show that same rv at a home in antioch, tennessee, before yesterday's explosion. and that's why we find cnn's natasha chen. natasha? >> reporter: dana, investigators left the scene just before 6:00 p.m. eastern time. we saw them work here for several hours this afternoon. the neighbors tell us they've been here all day. the fbi said they were executing court authorized activity. what we understand is first a bomb technician team cleared this property so it would be safe to enter, and an evidence team came in, and we saw them going in and out of the house, documenting and photographing everything inside, as they were, and bringing out bags of
evidence. behind me is a fence here with a yard where they did go in through a side door. we saw them come in and out that way for several hours. neighbors did tell us they saw an rv parked here over the last few months. even in recent weeks, but did not know the person who lived at this property. dana? >> natasha, thank you for that. now to cnn crime and justice correspondent. shimon, how did investigators arrive at this latest theory you have been reporting on? >> reporter: right. so we don't know exactly how they have come to this theory. the reason is they're not telling us a lot of what they have learned. we know that they have found human remains here at the scene, at the blast site, leading them to believe it is the bomber. for whatever reason. right now, that is the presumptive theory that that is the bomber. but it would appear that they have other evidence and information that they're not
sharing connected to this person and they are now thinking that this was likely a suicide bombing. but in terms of specifically what it is that has led them to this conclusion, we don't know. one of the biggest things for investigators here is trying to figure out motivation, what caused this person to decide on christmas day, christmas morning, when no one was around, people were home, streets were empty, this is around 6:00 a.m., decide to ignite this bomb, damaging 40 buildings, and investigators saying likely killing themselves. so that is the big question now, the motivation. that is where investigators are now, trying to figure out exactly what motivated this person. they're bringing in analysts and psychologists, the fbi's behavioral unit is looking at this. they're trying to build out a profile. when you sauw natasha today, it
was a tip that came out to investigators. they put out a photo of the rv. someone called it in and just like we did, they did a google street search and found the rv there. so they've been working non-stop for now what is ultimately almost two days on this investigation, learning a lot of information, gathering a lot of information. and they're still here on scene, sifting through the debris and trying to piece together the blast site, piece together some of the remnants of perhaps the bomb and what material was used in this bomb, dana. >> shimon, on the scene in nashville. appreciate it. joining me now to discuss this more is a cnn national security analyst, former assistant secretary at the homeland security department. and is at harvard, as well. so juliette, what do you make of
what you just heard from shimon and natasha on the scene? >> we'll have a name soon and a motivation, probably not far after that. what the fbi wants to do now is begin to exclude potential motives. so you want to start with the worst scenario, which would be this is domestic terrorism. so they'll ask is there is a manifesto, what is online, who was he talking to. if they can exclude that to a certain extent, they'll look at the personal motivations. this is where language is important, but it becomes -- you have to be exact here. this is a suicide bombing. we do not know if it's suicide terrorism yet. and the difference goes to his intent. so that seems to be the singular focus right now. i will say one thing, the fbi did seem quite certain that the threat was contained, and that
they were not concerned about other suspects. so that may be good news, but it also may go to whether they think this was a group effort or an individual effort. so we'll wait as we always do, to determine what motivated him. >> what do you mean by what you said that -- whether it is called a suicide bombing or suicide terrorism depends on intent. if you intend to blow something on, what is the difference between a bombing and terrorism? >> yeah. so that's a great question, and look, lots of things elicit terror, a bombing, shooting, but not everything is terrorism. we want to be careful in a democracy, because you don't want to throw that word around. terrorism goes to intent and political motivation. was he -- was he trying to make a political point or influence something political or
idealogical? that matters for a variety of reasons. one is political terrorism is different in terms of prosecution. it likely means he was involved with others, was there a network, and it may mean there are other threats out there. if there is a personal motivation for terror, people blow themselves up, they commit suicide in dramatic means as happened before, not often, but happened before, then your investigation goes to that individual motivation. i know -- i'm getting a lot on twitter, i know that seems like splitting hairs, but it is important we understand what the motivation is when it comes to ideology, because it has an impact on our democracy, on our politics, on how did he get radicalized. so we'll be careful to know, this will get settled relatively soon. if there's a manifesto in his house, you know, saying something politically driven, if he's part of a political group, we'll know relatively soon.
>> you explained it very well, it is an important distinction and the way you just laid it out. it is really critical. you said if we get a manifesto, we don't know. it's possible. that would be a handy road map for investigators to have. but there might not be one. so walk us through what is happening. you talked about some of it, but what else is happening inside the fbi and of course, homeland right now to figure that out? >> so the most important thing, is there another potential threat. the fbi seemed to close that down relatively soon. but the department of homeland security will be working with its state and local partners to assess whether there are other threats, whether there was a group behind this, so that's key. because the most important thing is we don't have threats out there on a saturday night during a long weekend. the other -- what they'll be looking for in his home is what the motivation may be in terms
of whether it was personal. because that could get subtle relatively soon. was there a divorce, is it covid, people are under a lot of stress, was it employment, and how did he acquire the materials, did he acquire them alone? there's going to be a whole bunch of different lanes that the fbi takes. then when you come to a conclusion about what the motivation is, then you determine whether there's other people to be arrested, how did he get the materials, or was this not -- it's not common, but we've seen it before, a very dramatic suicide for personal reasons. and those are still all on the table. >> yeah. and if you look at the pictures, it's really a miracle that more damage wasn't done, and that somebody didn't lose their life. i mean, it takes -- talk about what it takes to cause this kind of damage that we're seeing in nashville.
>> yeah, this is what has been, you know, i don't want to use the word interesting because it makes it seem like it's not violent, but this is what is so odd about what's happened in the last 24 hours, because it has remnants of all sorts of different attacks and bombings that we have seen in the past. you know, it -- the explosive materials were significant enough that this was not like the boston marathon bombing or time square. this was serious damage. we don't know what the content is, but this is maybe more atki to oklahoma city than the ieds in the boston marathon bombing. so that makes this very unique. someone planned it, he bought it, he has the rv, and he's sufficiently aware that he does not want to cause a mass casualty event, unlike oklahoma city or the boston bombing, that he tries to get people out of the way. that also is unique. we saw that with the ira many
decades ago in irish terrorism. but had not really seen that very often in the united states. so we're -- there's no model here, and that's why we'll be careful about what the evidence is showing us. but he did not want a mass casualty event like what we saw with oklahoma city or any of the other individual terrorist attacks we have seen in the past. >> i always learn so much talking to you. juliette, thank you so much. i think odd is the perfect word to explain and describe what we're seeing. thank you. when we come back, the clock is ticking until the government could shut down. and the president is demanding something his own party doesn't seem to want. i'll speak to a senator about this crisis and whether there is any solution that democrats and republicans can agree on at this moment.
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on this saturday, the day after christmas, the terrible new coronavirus milestone. 1 in 1,000 americans have now died from covid. and for 12 million americans tonight, a dangerous reality is only hours away. the loss of unemployment benefits and eviction protection and the likelihood they're about to miss out on a $600 stimulus relief payment despite months of negotiations in washington. all as president trump is in florida. congress is trying to figure out, just like much of the nation is, what happened, why did the president decide that he is, for now, not going to sign this bill that his people in his administration, his fellow republicans on capitol hill, worked out and passed right before christmas? i want to get straight to jeremy diamond, our white house
correspondent who is traveling with the president in west palm beach. so jeremy, what are you hearing at this our from your sources about the president's head space on this? >> reporter: well, dana, it's remarkable. it's been four days since the president made that threat to torpedo this $900 billion coronavirus relief bill. and yet in those four days, dana, what we have seen is the president is appearing to dig in his heels further. today, he took to twitter and said i simply want to get our great people $2,000 rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill. he also says, also stop the billions in pork referring to the spending that is in this omnibus spending bill attached to the coronavirus relief bill. what is also remarkable is the fact that in those four days, the president hasn't been on the phone with congressional leadership. he hasn't been trying to salvage this desperately needed relief for millions of americans. instead, the two previous days, we saw him on the golf course.
yesterday he was golfing as well. he doesn't appear to be making the kinds of strides you would think a president who is saying we need this relief for americans, but he's not taking the steps you would expect him to. the president is making these complaints only after this legislation passed in both houses of congress. in fact, veto proof majorities. so we still don't have a sign from the white house as to whether the president will ultimately relent and sign this legislation, veto this legislation, or perhaps the third alternative, just not sign it all together and allow it to become law. if he does that, he will be delaying this much-needed relief for americans. we're at a time when 20 million americans are unemployed during this holiday season, and about 12 million americans will be losing unemployment benefits this weekend if the president doesn't sign this legislation into law tonight. so time is ticking here tonight. and the president has the power
to give this relief to americans with one stroke of his pen, and he's not doing so. there's other deadlines coming up as you can see on the screen. government funding runs out on tuesday. so a government shutdown would happen if the president doesn't sign this legislation. at the end of the month, at the end of the year, that eviction moratorium also expires. so a lot of key dates here. again, this is all in the president's hands. while he suggests that what he's trying to do here is get more relief for americans, that's just not what is happening. it appears that the president's desire is to lash out at those congressional leaders and create havoc here. >> real quick, we are hearing from joe biden on this battle. what has he said? >> reporter: yeah, that's right. joe biden warning of the dire consequences for small businesses, for families. he put out a statement today, i'll read you a part of it. he says this abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences. this bill is critical. in november, the american people spoke clearly that now is the
time for bipartisan action and compromise. and he encourages the president of the united states, the current president, to get in that bipartisan spirit and sign this legislation. >> jeremy, thank you for that reporting. i appreciate it. with me now is senator chris coons of delaware. thank you so much for joining me, especially on this holiday weekend, senator. you and your colleagues, democrats, republicans, you spent many weeks, months really behind closed doors trying to work out a deal. there is this -- not just a deal, legislation that has passed congress. it was very hard to do. i don't need to tell you right before christmas. and now the president is saying, i don't want to sign it. so what is your reaction? >> well, this is what happens when we elect a reality tv star as president. he understands how to leave us with a cliffhanger ending. he doesn't understand how to actually solve real people's problems.
what is donald trump doing right now? as you mentioned, he's down at his golf resort in mar-a-lago golfing and tweeteding. is he being a great role model to help us deal with the covid pandemic raging in our country? no, he hasn't been vaccinated, he's not wearing a mask. he's, in fact, traveling during the holiday period, which we're not supposed to do. is he helping protect our country from the russian cyber attack which is one of the broadest and most aggressive in our history? no. he just vetoed the defense bill that would make our cyber defenses stronger and contained a pay increase for the troops. and is he helping get relief to the tens of millions of americans whose unemployment is running out or facing eviction know he's threatened to veto that bill after congress left town. so frankly, fixing this in the next two to three days is going to be very difficult. i hope and pray that president trump, after having gotten all of our attention with his threat
this weekend, will reverse himself, sign the bill and deliver badly needed relief to tens of millions of americans. >> i know that you are one of those democrats who talks to republicans a lot more do than people realize, but you really do. what are you hearing from your republican colleagues about why this happened, how this happened, what is going on here? this is more than just a temper tantrum. there's something else happening, and what is it that your republican friends think it is? >> well, frankly, president trump himself shows us today what he is primarily fixated on, which is conspiracy theorys as to how he can possibly claim to have won the election from six weeks ago. he is obsessed with trying to somehow punish those republicans who are now recognizing that joe biden is the president-elect, and trying to throw things into
utter chaos. in georgia, where there's an urgent election in ten days, and frankly, i'll remind you, although senator purdue and senator loeffler have 100% record of supporting president trump, they haven't come out yet whether or not they'll support this latest gambit by president trump to demand higher individual relief and to put at risk the urgently needed unemployment relief, support for schools, support for child care, support for vaccine distribution. >> speaker pelosi and chuck schumer, the democratic leader in the senate, they jumped on this and said okay, mr. president, you want $2,000 payment, so do we. so they're going to at least start through the house on monday to have a vote on just that. but you did see, and you heard jeremy diamond report, that joe
biden, who you're a very close ally of, said the president should sign the bill he has in front of him before time runs out. so which is it, should the democrats push for the $2,000 which is what the president wants, or sign the bill with $600 in relief? >> the house, controlled by democrats back in may passed a $3 trillion act, which included additional payments for frontline and essential workers. democrats have always been providing more and greater relief to the american people. but we were held up for months and months negotiating over republican opposition to more unemployment insurance, to more aid, to state and local governments. and a concern about liability relief for employers. frankly, that's why we finally conceded after months of back and forth that we would be
willing to move forward with the $900 billion that's already been passed by congress. frankly, the easiest thing to do, in order to get badly needed relief to the american people, is for president trump to sign the $900 billion covid package tonight, and then ask us to do something to supplement it in the remaining days this year. but i'll remind you, as you said in the opening, he's not working the republican caucus. he's not saying to the two senators currently representing georgia, i demand that you come out and support my call for a $2,000 stimulus payment. he hasn't gotten the support of mitch mcconnell or the republican caucus for what he's trying to do. >> not publicly any way. i want to ask about something that you mentioned earlier. it's so important. we put it up, and that is a big fight over the defense bill. the president stunned many by vetoing it this week, and we have on the screen what it is,
$740 billion. it includes, as you mentioned, a pay raise for u.s. troops, equipment, modernizations, it sets basic defense policy. for people who are not steeped in this, this is something that has passed for decades with an overwhelming bipartisan majority. this did pass this time around with a veto proof majority in the house and the senate. do you feel comfortable and confident that the congress will override the president's veto? >> we should. this is a will that is the result of months of bipartisan work to strengthen our defenses against china and against russia, and for the president to veto it, and that veto to lead to the demise of this bill, the failure of this bill, would only embolden and strengthen our adversaries around the world. my concern is that more than 120 house republicans have joined president trump's desperate last-ditch efforts to try and
somehow undermine the results of the election. and when he tests them or pushes them on their votes on this bill and whether they're willing to override his veto, they may crumble and fall in line with president trump. if they follow with their previous votes, we should have a veto proof majority in the house and senate. we'll find out this monday and tuesday. >> senator, thank you so much. merry christmas to you and your family. appreciate you coming on trying to explain everything, maybe explain the inexplicable. thanks, senator. >> it's prettyinexplicable. air travel is breaking records and adding to fears that another pandemic spike is just ahead. we're live with that. when heas fight back fast... ...with tums chewy bites...
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the numbers you see on the screen, you're going to see in a moment telling the cases of coronavirus in the united states. it's just hard to wrap your mind around, the number of people who have died. as of today, the u.s. has surpassed 331,000 deaths from covid. that means the pandemic has now killed one man, one woman or child for every 1,000 people in the united states. at the rate that it's going, new cases are not slowing down at all. in fact, it's rising faster. joining me know to talk about this is a former cdc disease detective. and dr. jeremy faust, an
emergency room physician at brigham and women's hospital in boston. thank you so much to both of you for joining me. how much of this rapid spike in covid infections can you attribute to people's behavior around the holidays, like thanksgiving travel and what does that tell you about where we're headed? >> well, we did see way too many people traveling at that time, and also intermingling, maybe even staying at home and having too many folks over from different households. sometimes it's hard to trace an outcome back to one single thing. i think here it's a multitude of factors. we did have folks traveling. now we're four weeks out from thanksgiving. but also we've had people with covid fatigue and feeling fed up. we talk about these numbers every day. i think for some, there's some element of being numb to the numbers that they're almost too big to comprehend at this point. i really worry that hospitals are overwhelmed. i'm talking to you from northern
california. we have 20,000 people with covid and hospital beds. 4,000 in icus getting maxed out. but the modelers looking at what could happen over christmas are telling us that january could be even more grim. some are saying by the end of january, 2021 we could be seeing upwards of 400,000 new cases a day. and in some of the worst case models, maybe even a million infections every single day. so we have to do everything we can now to prevent that had of an outcome. >> dr. faust, it doesn't seem like that ago, but it was over the summer, when there was a measurable slowdown in infection rates and in deaths. then came labor day, halloween, thanksgiving, and all of the rates have accelerated. do you think that it is because of those gatherings, do you think it is because something about the virus being more easily transmissible? is it that teagufatigue?
is it all of the above? >> it was all of those things. the summer was a very big missed opportunity. people said the virus will disappear. no one seriously thought that, but it was an opportunity to make it better for the fall. but instead of consolidating any gains we had from shutdowns, we really didn't set up a massive testing kind of rube riric that should have. there's pandemic fatigue, and we need to pick our battles. so closing parks doesn't always make sense. and on the other hand, we have to give people a sense that there are better days ahead. and i do fear that we keep on failing the marshmallow experiment, when you say to a 5-year-old, here's a marshmallow. don't eat it, because we have as many as you want if you can just hold ut. we keep failing that. as a result, people are dying. i think in the coming weeks and months, we'll see the downsides
oh of that. up until now, i think every prediction has come true. when you look at the cdc forecast, even the ones on the lower end really give me pause. so i say what's the best case scenario. that is not looking good. >> quickly, i want to ask about how are you feeling about the rollout so far of the vaccines? >> i think it's too slow. we have only had 2 million people vaccinated. we told there would be 20 million vaccinated by the end of december. i don't think we'll quite meet that target. but the biggest message here is that vaccines and safely achieving herd immunity is going to be our way out of this pandemic. but that's not quite happening right now. so we'll have to hunker down over the holidays and be really patient, try to pass the marshmallow test. because it will take us into 2021 until we get enough people
vaccinated. in the meantime, wear a mask, please don't travel and keep doing social distancing. that cannot end just that. >> my 9-year-old did his marshmallow experiment as a science experiment. so if they can do it, we can do it. tune in tomorrow morning for my interview with dr. anthony fauci. that is airing at 9:00 a.m. on "state of the union" right here on cnn. and most americans would agree, our troops deserve a raise. but that raise was blocked when the president vetoed the national defense authorization act. coming up, i'll speak to president trump's former national security adviser, john bolton, about that veto and what recent cyber attacks could mean for joe biden when he takes office. you're live in the cnn newsroom. . (harold) and real snow all the way from switzerland. (betsy) hmmhm... gonna be tough to top.
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that we've met. suzanne: thank you so much. want to sell the best burger add an employee.ode? or ten... then easily and automatically pay your team and file payroll taxes. that means... world domination! or just the west side. run payroll in less than five minutes with intuit quickbooks. we're following breaking news out of nashville. investigators there now believe the christmas morning rv explosion that injured three and caused extensive damage was likely a suicide bombing. that's according to two law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the investigation. earlier today, authorities were at home -- at a home in antioch, tennessee, conducting what they're calling a court authorized activity. officials say that a tip about the rv, that was involved in yesterday's explosion, led law
enforcement to the site. an rv seen at the home before this year via street view on google maps appears to match the rv in yesterday's blast. and a developing drama in russia involving an activist with close ties to alex i navalny. fred, this started with a raid yesterday. what's happening today? >> reporter: alexei navalny remains in detention after being ordered, taken into custody for questioning on friday morning. what the russian authorities are saying is they say they are investigating her for what they call trespassing, using force, or the threat of force. her apartment was raided after she went to the home of an fsb agent who was allegedly involved in the operation to poison al e alexei navalny using novichok.
this is the same agent was actually contacted by phone, by alexei navalny himself and then duped into admitting large part os of that plot. the kremlin nevertheless continues to say russian authorities were not behind the poisoning. as far as she is concerned, if convicted, she faces up to two years in prison. alexei navalny tweeted out a picture of her being put into a police van. i want to read part of the caption, saying this is how the system protects the privacy of those who commit terrorist acts on putin's orders. dana? >> fred pleitgen, thank you so much. russia and the putin regime are under scrutiny over a massive cyber attack. a russian foreign ministry spokesman said the blame may be the trump administration's
attempt to damage a relationship with joe biden. joining me to discuss that and more is former national security adviser in trump white house john bolton, and former u.s. ambassador at the u.n. and author of "in the room where it happened, a white house memoir." thank you so much. we have to start with russia, what you just heard from fred, what i just mentioned with the hacking that has gone on. maybe even is still going on as we speak. what do you make of what russia is doing right now? >> well, i think for some time putin has been increasing the authoritarian nature of the russian government in the political sphere, the economic sphere, and this is just continuing, suppressing dissent, and i think the security of his position being increasingly clear, he's gotten more adventurous overseas. i think this very extensive
russian hacking of u.s. government agencies that is still being investigated, we're trying to understand the full extend, shows just how brazen he's gotten. people can get hung up saying is this an act of war or espionage, it's not like there's bright red lines about that, but this is a huge event, in terms of exposing our risk to cyber attack, and another huge step back in u.s./russian relations, just as the biden administration comes in. >> yeah. and i'm guessing that the comment that you heard from the russian foreign ministry about the fact that it was the russians behind it is just an attempt to sour putin's relationship with joe biden. i'm guessing you think that is laughable. but on the whole notion of these attacks, yes, they have been more brazen, and these -- because there has been so much
going on, perhaps they haven't gotten the attention that they deserve, but people who have i talked to say they can't believe what they are seeing, the potential danger that american -- the government is in, and american businesses are in. >> yeah. look, this shows how exposed we are. i think we had been hopeful, we were making progress both in our defensive capabilities and frankly in our offensive capabilities, which we need to establish deterrence in cyberspace. i think this gives us considerable grounds for pessimism, not just for attacks from the russians, but from the chinese and others. this is their asymmetrical warfare. they can't challenge us in more conventional fields or in nuclear weapons perhaps. but they can try and disrupt us through these sorts of cyber attacks. and i don't think anybody should be under any illusions here, when the russians deny it,
typically what they like to say is the russian state did not do this. maybe it didn't, maybe it was just a non-governmental organization near moscow somewhere. look, this is part of a concerted russian effort. there's no doubt about it. >> and the -- there's a former world chess champion, i'm sure you know gary casperov, chair of the new democracy initiative. we wrote an article for cnn saying it is time to treat russia like the rogue regime it is. do you agree with that? >> i think it means understanding that russia is a strategic adversary of the united states. we had the bad fortune as we enter the new year, we've got two strategic adversaries. china is bigger, to be sure, but russia remains very threatening. we're burdened in a sense with european allies who still don't
understand how big both of these threats are. putin has had a very poor hand that he's played very well in europe, in the middle east, and elsewhere. and i think you have to take states like russia and china, not by their words but by their actions. the russian actions here could not be clearer. >> and i've got to ask you about the president's veto of the national defense authorization act. veto proof majority in the house and the senate. but what does it say to you about the president and the fact that he decided to veto it over a couple of issues, including renaming confederate bases? >> yeah. and over his desire to repeal any protection in the communications act for social media, which i would repeal too, but just not in this defense bill. i think the president's childish
reaction here is another piece of evidence of why he's not fit for the presidency. i would say it's bad for the country for a lot of reasons. it's something that democrats and republicans have gotten together on for 59 straight years. i don't think there's anything else in washington that compares to that. so i think as everybody looks at what to do when the house takes the veto override decision this week, the senate a few days after that, this really is, if you want to put america first rather than putting president trump first, if you want to put america first, vote to override his veto for our national defense. >> and before i let you go, i want to ask about the limbo that this country is in, because the president has a $900 billion stimulus bill on his desk, or in his room or apartment or wherever he is in mar-a-lago, and he's threatening to veto it. as you know, you're a former
colleague in the trump administration steve mnuchin and other members of the trump administration were very involved in negotiating this very difficult to find bipartisan deal. what is your take on what happened, why the president had this 11th hour change of heart? >> well, this is a betrayal by president trump pretty much of everybody in congress, but particularly a betrayal of must bes in the house and senate who don't like a lot of aspects of this bill, who treat it as shoveling money out of the back hatch of cargo planes as a form of stimulus. but steve mnuchin was deeply involved in the negotiations. i know mnuchin's style. i think he told president trump everything of any importance, got his express signoff for each major provision in it. so people say now mnuchin has been embarrassed, but trump has
embarrassed himself. this is another piece of evidence that he doesn't understand what it means to be president. he doesn't have the national interest at heart. here he is trump's interest. this is part of this -- this is still part of his campaign to stay as president. >> former ambassador, former trump national security adviser john bolton, thank you for joining me. i appreciate it. >> glad to be with you. and as the president mulls whether or not to sign that coronavirus relief bill we were just talking about, the republican party is mulling over how not signing it could impact the georgia runoff race that will determine the balance of power in the u.s. senate. we'll talk about that coming up. you're live in the cnn newsroom. so that's what we give you. introducing career services for life. learn more at phoenix.edu and through the woods this holiday season. remember, safe drivers save 40% with allstate.
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with just hours left before at least 12 million americans lose covid financial relief, lawmakers in both parties try to give them this past week, president trump remains in mar-a-lago and if this covid bill falls apart, the backlash may be felt through the halls of congress. with me now, amy stod dardard. abey, thank you for joining me. it's event after event. i feel like we shouldn't be surprised anymore and i wasn't surprised to hear the president said, oh, never mind even though he hasn't vetoed it yet but this one is kind of tough to swallow if you are a republican. for mitch mcconnell on down, never mind the two republicans running in georgia, right?
>> right, dana. it is so easy to get caught up in the fact that we're in the middle of the holidays and people are sort of distracted and enjoying themselves and trying to, in a pandemic season. to understand how many programs are sunsetting tonight and the next few days and what kind of a state we put the economy in and all these americans, millions of americans who are struggling so badly this year as a result of the pandemic, so this seems especially more cruel than the fact that the president shut the government down at the end of december into january of '19, in a 35 day standoff. it's not that republicans, senate leaders or the two incumbent senate candidates in georgia are shocked by the fact that there's been a dramatic display by the president of peak
but there's so much at stake for all these people that are hurting and then it does put their majority in peril. it seems to be, but watching this all these years, i think we both know that the president has never seen protecting the senate majority as any kind of interest he's been invested in but now he seems to be in nothing left to lose mode. taunting senate leaders on twitter, threatening them. on mitch mcconnell again today, it's almost like he is happy to really torpedo the republicans' chances in a runoff on january 5 and it's very difficult place for the senate republican incumbent candidates. if they say today, we have to agree with senate, president trump and there has to be $2,000 checks in a new bill, in a new compromise, and then he just quickly signs it at mar-a-lago at the current level, having changed his mind, they're in a terrible spot. so it's really hard to take in
how much is at stake and just how really nuts this is. >> we should really underscore for people who may have understandably been not paying attention to what's going on here. what the president is saying he doesn't support this bipartisan bill because it doesn't go far enough, it doesn't give enough money to people who are in need which democrats said, okay, we agree with you. where were you when your fellow republicans on capitol hill wanted us to compromise at the lower level which this bill has $600 for individuals weekly federal enhancements and so that's the important thing to know here is that what he did, what the president is doing is undermining not the democrats but his fellow republicans who demanded this part of the compromise. >> right, and most of all, the senate republicans who are hoping to keep a 52-48 majority after the january 5 runoffs in georgia and putting those
candidates in such a box. the president did, as we know, make some noise about the fact that the payments should be higher. long before this compromise was arrived at, but he's not been a part of the negotiations and he has been briefed by his secretary of the treasury who has been his chief negotiator with congressional leaders all along and he knew what was in it and so even though in the past with an opinion about the checks being higher, he wasn't invested in these negotiations. he allowed them to continue, all the numbers that everyone had arrived at in order to come up with a compromise. house and senate, democrat and republican, both the government spending bill which is separate and covid relief. and the idea of him blowing it up at the last minute throws everybody under the bus but particularly his own party and own treasury secretary and it's hard to see how he comes back. it's hard to see, dana, tomorrow, if he just signs it
because the government could shut down on tuesday and i think from the two of us to everyone else who's hurting out there to mitch mcconnell, no one really knows where this is going. >> and you said, he's throwing everybody under the bus. most specifically, people who could use that extra $600, never mind unemployment and eviction protection and everything else in this very big bill. a.b. stoddard, we appreciate it. and we'll be right back. every ? add an employee. or ten... then easily and automatically pay your team and file payroll taxes. that means... world domination! or just the west side. run payroll in less than five minutes with intuit quickbooks. where something takes us to a place where we need to ask for help; and that's what food banks are here for. i asked dale if walmart would partner with us and he said, "absolutely, let's figure out how to get this done." when you start working in an area and you're out in the stores, and in the community, you see the need. it was just the right thing to do. ♪