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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  March 4, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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tonight, federal investigators looking into whether members of congress may have helped the pro-trump mob
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attack the capital on january 6th, either knowingly or unknowingly. they're digging into their communications records. in the senate tonight a gop political opportunity to slow down passage of the relief package, forcing clerks to read all 628 pages out loud and it's taking about 20 hours. one of the women accusing andrew cuomo of sexual harassment speaking out if her first tv interview. we'll hear what she is saying. joining me now, evan perez and julia kayyem. good evening to both of you. evan, what are fellow investigators doing determine if lawmakers aid in the this attack knowingly or not? >> one of the things they have, don, are the devices of some of the alleged rioters that are facing charges and what they can do is from look about those devices they're able to see some had some connection, some contacts with members of congress in the days before and the day of the insurrection.
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and in some cases you have rioters talking amongst each other discussing that they had some kind of association with members of congress. in addition, we have that some of these rioters claim that they were acting as security guards for some of these lawmakers that were speaking at events around january 6th. so again, there's a lot of smoke here, as one official i talked to said, and now the fbi and prosecutors have to dig in to figure out what this is. we don't know of any indication that members of congress are actively under investigation, but this is something that they have to examine. >> do you think officials will be able to get search warrants to see the content of these communications? >> they have to be able to get to the probable cause to be able to see exactly what was being said in those communications. again, at this point we don't know that they've crossed that bridge. but that's where they're trying to figure out they can get to.
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>> juliette, multiple members of congress asked the fbi director wrist per wray this wean about collecting all this communication. that raised some eyebrow s. what do you think they were so concerned about? >> it's hard to tell if they were concerned about communications happening between those indicted and members of congress. look, conversations do happen. the content of those conversations will be relevant to determine whether there's any criminal liability for a member of congress. they may have been talking on the 3rd, 4rd, or 5th because there was a rally. it's hard to believe any member would or should have been talking to anyone on the afternoon of the 6th. that to me would be where i want to target my focus. by then you knew the crowd was violent. but beyond the legal aspects and the content of what is in those conversations, this is just consistent with the very nature
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that there was conversations between members of congress and members of the proud boys, members of white supremacy groups, members of racist groups over the course of january just suggests the extent of the symbiotic relationship between the gop and the violent insurrection. it is a relationship that, you know, has been nurtured for years but is clearly part of january 6th. >> democratic congressman jason crow was on anderson's show. here's what he said. >> i actually wouldn't be surprised if members of congress were involved and complicit in the riots. >> you really wouldn't. >> i wouldn't be. i wouldn't be. which is a sad testament to the state of affairs in congress right now, to be honest with you and the state of faffairs in politics. some depraved people serve in that chamber to this day that
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spread conspiracy theories and show zero remorse for what happened an january 6th. this is not normal. thos not the way our congress should run. we can't be okay with it. >> he's right, this is not normal, but you predict that we're going learn this attack was even worse than we thought. >> i think so. the pieces that we already have are of course that members of trump's campaign were getting the permits for january 6th. we know as you and i have talked over the course of december and january, that donald trump was focused on it. we know the relationship between a small group of members of the gop and congress with these white supremacy organizations. and there is just simply a lot of visuals that show that parts of the mob clearly had coordinated in a way that may show evidence of some form of collusion. look, i'm just going to follow what fbi director wray has done.
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they filed conspiracy charges against a large chunk of the people they're going after. he said the other day that is because they believe that people helped them who may not have been there on that day. are those members of congress? certainly the reporting today shows there's at least some conversation. so i'm well beyond the jaw-dropping phase about january 6th, between what the military testified to yesterday to trump's involvement. you know, it just -- as i always say about donald trump, it only gets worse. it only gets worse. >> and you have been right. so, evan -- >> it's easy! >> evan, you said, listen, there's no indication that any members of congress are actively being investigated right now, but when you report whether investigators -- lawmakers helped rioters unknowingly, what form would that take? how would they unknowingly help? >> there have been accusations by some democratic members that
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they know that members -- republican members gave tours, for instance, in the days before and the weeks before the insurrection, as juliette just pointed out, we have seen some videos. you can see in the videos we've aired in the last few weeks that there are people in that crowd who knew where things were. you have been in that building. you know how -- it's very difficult to get around there. i still get lost there and i go there all the time. so the question is, right, were those tours used to sort of get people sort of aware of the surroundings that they may use later on? and did members know that was going to happen? that could be unwitting participation in this. this is something the fbi is going to have to figure out. it's going take months to do that. >> thank you both. i appreciate it. i want to show you live pictures now. this is of senate clerks reading
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out all 628 pages of the covid relief bill. there you go. reading. this has been going on since this afternoon thanks to ron johnson's political stunt. let's bring in amanda carpenter and bakari sellers. bakari, it's been a minute! >> this is past my bedtime. >> wake up, we need you. then you can go right become to bed. thank you both so much. amanda, why are republican lawmakers -- they're forcing clerks to read this bill outloud and slow down this process. they can't even show up. what is the point of senator johnson's stunt? >> to slow it down and resist it. listen, i'm going to give the democrats some tough love -- i'm a never trumper republican that wants to see joe biden be successful. so my question is, what is taking the democrats so dang long to just get the checks out? it's because they junked up this
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bill with all kinds of other stuff. i mean, why are we having a minimum wage debate and talking about abolishing the filibuster for covid relief? this should have been done last month. all they had to do was just push the money button that donald trump did, get the checks out to people who need it, okay, give small businesses the help they need to stay open until the population is vaccinated, and make sure schools are open in the fall. but instead, like the democrats always do, they want to attach all this other stuff and blame the republicans. i'm sorry, the democrats needed to do a skinny fast bill. they didn't do it, and this is what happens. >> bakari, democrat, you want to respond to that? >> i mean, she's not totally wrong. i do think minimum wage is a larger issue than you want to give it credit for.
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it did outpace donald trump and joe biden in florida and the fact is we haven't raised the minimum wage in two decades. $15 minimum wage is where we need to be. but the democrats do the -- job of messaging. i think we have a majority, and people didn't come out and vote for joe biden in november to pass something that's palatable to joe manchin and kirsten sinema. what we're seeing now is the republican party in tampa, and while i want to democratic party to be better manessengers and g big, nobody can argue the republican party is not in shambles. you have a party who's out here debating neanderthals and the merits of dr. seuss while we're having a robust policy debate on --
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>> i'm going to ask amanda. let's see if they can fix your audio. amanda, you mentioned the whole dr. seuss thing, bakari did, this fake outrage about the term neanderthal. we're any way pandemic. this is what they're focusing on? it's clear they're trying to have another basket of deplorables, right? >> it's silly, which makes me think the democrats should be able to roll all the much easier. i understand the progressives want to have this big fight over the minimum wage, and this has been on the shelf for quite a long time, but the fact is it just didn't belong in a covid relief bill. joe biden campaigned on being the guy who would come in and start fixing things fast, and i think there is a concern if he doesn't start doing it -- he's doing a great job getting the vaccines out. his prom toys say we are going get all teachers vaccinated by the end of this month is
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tremendous. but it's almost looking like the teachers are going get vaccinated before the checks even get out. it's almost like a self-own at this point. >> bakari, i understand we have to live with the audio, so i'm going to ask you -- and for those of you for for young people, there used to be a dial on the radio. you couldn't just click it. on your phone or -- do people have ipods anymore? i have to ask you about governor abbott blaming immigrants for spreading covid while he himself is lifting the mask mandate in texas, one of the key ways to stop the disease. is he deflecting here? what's going on? >> i'm going to be try to be on the right station here. but this is just like politics. this is what we're seeing. the republican party has been reduced to -- politics and governor abbott is blaming a
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group in pitting people against each other, which is the same thing donald trump did for four years. this party has been reduced to grievance politics sbnl that's why you're having debates on other cable news stations, debate amongst gop "intellectuals," elected officials about dr. seuss and engulf else, because that's all they have. which is no longer solid debate about policy. they've given up debates about the deficit. this is debate about white grievance politics. >> amanda, the former president is out with a new statement pushing the big lie and the attack that "the wall street journal" that brian kemp and mitch mcconnell have both come crawling back to, right? trump recently saying they'd support him in -- sorry, they're saying they support trump in 2024. when are republicans going to learn, there is no redemption, he's not going to take them
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back? >> they're in a vise. we are so stuck in this tribal form of politics that mitch mcconnell will say on one day that donald trump is morally and practically responsible for the insurrection, and then turn around and next day and say, if these nominee in 2024, i will support him. this is like the brain rot that i am so frustrated with and that has to change. because there has to be something more to the republican party than dr. seuss, mr. potato head, and donald trump. those are like the three wise men of the republican party right now, and i'm not here for it. >> amanda, thank you. bakari, thank you. as well. i'll see you soon. we'll get your audio fixed. thank you. you look good, but you don't sound great tonight. >> thank you.
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>> thanks very much. are senate democrats getting outmaneuvered by the gop, and should they be asking, what would mitch mcconnell do? >> we all know this will delay the inevitable. they'll accomplish little more than a few sore throat for the senate clerks who work very hard day in, day out to help the senate if he thinks.
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democratic lawmakers have been checkmate bid mitch mcconnell's maneuvers and his ability to keep republicans in line. now at democrats want to pass covid relief, voting reforms and increase the minimum wage. mcconnell and republicans have never had a problem holding democrats hostage on a bill or jamming through things on the conservative agenda so now some democrats are calling for an end to the filibuster in the senate to keep the gop from slamming on the breaks. over and over again this is what
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they have been doing. is it time to pull out all the stops. my next guest thinks so. brian fowler is my next guest, the former press secretary for hillary clinton's 2016 campaign and the former aid to the current majority leader chuck schumer. that's quite a resume. thank you, sir, for joining. appreciate it. democrats taking aggressive action on a number of their priorities. you say there's no time to waste. brian, explain the stakes here. >> well, don, after the 2016 election, mitch mcconnell came out and said quite simply, in his words, winners make policy, losers go home. then he proceeded to take his top two priorities, which is confirming supreme court justices and passing massive tax cuts for the wealthy and biggest corporations in this country and doing it on a 51-vote basis, just like the situation in the senate now for the democrats. mitch mcconnell did not have 60
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votes in his pockets. he had 51 but kmanged the rules ins senate to allow him to approve donald trump's appointees. and then passed a tax plan for the rich people with the same rules that democrats are using for covid relief. what's good for the goose should be good for the gander. democrats are staring down the possibility of seeing massive voter suppression laws. there have been 250 bills introduced since the election in 40 plus states seeking to curtail early voting, eliminate no excuse absentee balloting, particularly pointed at voters of color. democrats i think need to have their courage of convictions, being willing to get rid of the filibuster, pass democracy measures like hr 1, which just passed the house yesterday. >> you were the spokesman to senator schumer. can you speak to his approach
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versus mitch mcconnell's approach? >> well, i actually am quite optimistic, don, that the senate democrats are headed on a trajectory to get rid of the filibuster. they're not saying that right now, but if you had told me two years ago this is where we'd be two months into 2021 i would be shocked. if you think back to the democratic presidential primary, elizabeth warren was calling for the elimination of the filibuster, but bernie sanders was resisting that call. you had the most progressive senator who was not on board at that time. now at this point not only is bernie there, but you have moderate senators like chris coons, tim kaine, amy klobuchar yesterday putting this on the table. this is warp speed by democrats. it's not coming to a head yet, because the bill on the floor the covid relief package is one
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they have to pass with 51 votes. when they get to these bills that chuck schumer is going to be bringing up, hr 1, the election reform bill, the john lewis voting act, a court reform bill. chuck schumer is going to bring them up. the republicans are going to block them using the filibuster. chuck schumer will bring them up again and again and build a narrative that i think will cause democrats to unite in sensing to need to get rid of the filibuster. >> you're arguing that democrats should kill the filibuster, but what about the argument they're going to regret it later when they find themselves in the minority again? >> that's the situation we're already in. i think we're already living in the worse-case scenario. mitch mcconnell and the republicans are already able to pass their biggest priorities on a 51-vote basis. judges, tax cuts, spending cuts to the social safety net. all those things are allowed to
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be passed an anne 51-vote basis. it's the things democrats are trying to do like increasing the minimum wage, common sense gun safety reform, making it easier for people to vote are all stuck. there's nothing sacrosanct about the rule. there's been a lot of history misreported. it's not a defining -- of the senate. that was about two senators per state as opposed to population based in the house. it was not the filibuster. the filibuster did not exist until 1915 and it was mostly used in the 1950s by civil rights -- it would be poet if i can it was end in the 2021 to pass a measure like the john lewis voting rights act. >> if they don't get voting rights act and allow access for more people to vote, they may
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remain permanently in the minority. >> this next two-year window will be a colossal failure if democrats fail to pass the john lewis voting rights act. we'll only have ourselves to blame. but like i said, i'm on the -- we're on the trajectory to get there. what joe manchin says now -- joe biden is not engaged on this. chuck schumer is not whipping this vote on getting rid of the fili filibuster. barack obama, who as you'll recall, spoke at the john lewis funeral and called on democrats to get rid of filibuster, he has not started barnstorming the country. that will happen soon, whaand w it does, that issue ripens, democrats will rally around this. >> i asked you about chuck schumer's approach versus mitch mcconnell's. but i mean, really, this depends on people like -- doesn't it
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depend on people like joe manchin and kirsten sinema in order to get this done? >> yeah, but like i said, i think the narrative -- there's at least three reasons why i think at the end of the day joe manchin and kirsten sinema are gettable. this issue is not ripened yet. all these bills chuck schumer is going to bring them up, he's going bring up hr 1, the voting rights act, d.c. statehood, and we're going to see republicans doing what they did this week, ron johnson forcing the covid relief bill to be read in full. they're going block this stuff mindlessly, and that's going to bring it to a head. chuck schumer and joe biden they're not whipping the filibuster on the john lewis act yet. they're whipping to get the covid relief bill passed. but at some point soon in the next few months the priority will turn to the bills nancy pelosi is passing in the house, and when that happens i really highly doubt the democrats will
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fail to muster the energy to pass this because two of their own people defect in the persons of sinema and manchin. the last thing, don, is there's all kinds of ways to get rid of the filibuster. joe manchin is saying he doesn't want to get rid of the filibuster. there's ways of doing things -- the talking filibuster. when people think of filibuster they think of mr. smith goes washington, talking for hours on then on end. that's not what happens. mitch mcconnell can phone in an objection and force the democrats to have 60 votes to pass anything. i think you'll see the democrats -- physically hold the floor and speak buck as soon as they relent in speaking then we're going to be able to hold a majority vote. that's the talking filibuster proposal. it would allow somebody like manchin a the say, i'm preserving some ability for the minority to objection, but
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ultimately i'm going allow an up and down vote on some of these proposals. >> brian fallen just took us ahead in the textbook. thanks. >> thanks. happy belated birthday. >> thank you. one of the women accusing andrew cuomo of sexual harassment speak out. that's next. >> do you believe he was propositioning you? >> yes. >> for what? >> sex. the harry's razor is not the same our razors have 5 german-engineered blades designed to stay sharp so you can enjoy lasting comfort and we never upcharge you for high quality harry's. available in store and at
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charlotte bennett is a 25-year-old former executive assistant and health policy advise to have cuomo. she says he asked her deeply personal questions and thought he was trying to sleep with her. joining me now, bryn gingras. this is the first interview. tell us about it. >> reporter: she was deliberate in her words, emotional at times and described in great detail one-on-one interactions that she had with the gocvernor when she worked with him during the height of the pandemic. she said, as you mentioned, that the governor wanted to sleep with her and was fixated on the fact that she suffered trauma in a sexual assault in the past. i want to you listen. >> he's lonely, he's tired. >> you've just finished dictation, and the governor is tells you he's lonely and looking for a relationship.
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>> yes. he asked if i had trouble enjoying being with someone. because of my trauma. >> this seems highly inappropriate. >> yeah. the governor asked me if i was -- sensitive to intimacy. >> in his office? >> yes. during the workday. >> you have been quoted assaying that he also asked you about if you had ever been with an older man. >> yeah, he asked me if age difference mattered. he also explained that he was fine with anyone over 22. >> and how old are you? >> 25. >> what were you thinking as he's asking you these questions? >> i thought, he's trying to sleep with me. the governor's trying to sleep with me. and i'm deeply uncomfortable.
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and i have to get an enough room as soon as possible. >> and to be clear, what made you think he was trying to sleep with you. >> without explicittyly saying , he implied i was old enough for him and he was lonely. >> bennett went on to talk about the shame she felt when she was answering the questions by the governor knowing he was her boss and knowing she had to get out of there but couldn't. she's going to be part of the attorney general investigation that's going on and they're hoping more people come forward. cbs reached out to the governor for a response and directed cbs to the time he went in front of all the cameras saying he was embarrassed by the allegations, he didn't know he was making people feel uncomfortable, but bennett says that doesn't go far
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enough. >> thanks. i want to bring in dana bash. dana, hello to you. she said a lot there. what's your reaction to this new information? >> it was hard to watch. and, you know, hard to watch for so many reasons. and obviously i'm sure for so many people, the fact she is just 25 years old. so, you know, to come forward with these allegations can't be easy on any level at all, right, don? but the fact that she gave such detail about asking to turn the recorder off when he was giving dictation. clearly all the signals she got based on what he said was he wanted to be intimate with her, he wanted to sleep with her in her words, . and also the layer on top of
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that, the detail about he was asking whether or not she felt comfortable being intimate given that she is a rape victim. it's a lot. and this is not information that would be hard for -- i mean, yes, apparently it was just the two of them in the room, but she had the contemporaneous text momentums right afterwards with her friend and then apparently she went to the governor's chief of staff, so all that will be in the attorney general's investigation. >> we have seen other stories like this, dana, like what happened with al franken, and that was handled totally differently than this one. >> he was begging for an investigation when the members of his caucus in the united states senate were pushing him out, pretty aggressively, led by the new york senator kirsten gill gillibrand. she was one of the first if not
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the first to say al franken must resign. and this is about some photos and other allegations, but some photos that were taken when he was still a comedian, before he was a member of the u.s. senate. it just shows the arc of where we are right now with the "me too" movement. that was in the height of it, and democrats were intensely critical of republicans, and they felt that they needed to be on a level playing field, and now franken -- that happened right at the same time. now we're in a place where you have, you know, kind of -- not a different perspective, but you have kind of the trump era, frankly, where you have seen politicians just kind of ride out storms. it's not the same in any way, shape, or form, but in terms of a potential lesson that every politician learned is maybe don't jump to resign even though you feel shame or you feel -- or
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perhaps in this case you got -- you have an allegation that may turn out to be true. we'll see. >> i wanted to ask you -- you mention, you said the arc of these things it just shows you. he apologized. he said he's not resigning. we're waiting on this investigation. but i wonder if we're approaching these things now in a post-trump era. >> mm-hmm. it is. it's quite different in terms of the post trump era and also the fact that we are in a situation where even frankly democrats and republicans -- and you know, just even separate from politics, the -- the -- i don't want to call it knee jerk, but the intense desire in the heat of when everything was crumbling for the harvey weinsteins and
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others like him, that has kind of cooled a little bit. having said that, the fact that these allegations are coming after the "me too" era at a time when, if true, the governor certainly should have known better. everybody in the workplace knows better now. >> wasn't even a year ago. >> it was last summer. that is very telling, and it should be a very real dynamic in detail in the overall picture here. >> dana, i'm glad we have you here to discuss this. thanks. we'll see where this goes. >> thanks, don. >> certainly that was difficult to watch. really was. thank you very much. i appreciate it. more states lifting their mask mandates, and dr. fauci is concerned. >> there are so many reasons why you don't want to pull back just now.
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today alabama joining texas, mississippi, and a handful of other stating deciding to lift mask mandates or coronavirus restrictions on businesses. when you look at this map, you can see new cases are holding steady or getting worse in five out of these seven states.
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reaction from the scientific and medical community? unanimous -- this is a bad idea. >> now is not the time to pull back. >> i really just see this as sabotage. >> this is not the time to do it, not with the uk variant starting to accelerate, which we know is more transmissible. >> joining me now, dr. jonathan reiner. good evening, good to see you. some of the states where restrictions are being lifted are in a bad spot. texas is adding about 7,000 new cases a day. th what's the impact of this decision going to be? >> potentially more cases, and it's coming at a really bad time because things are going well in the united states. compared to last week, cases are down 5%. hospitalization is down 15%, deaths are down 10% some things are really moving in the right way. so why would you do this? i get the economic imperative to try to get businesses open. i understand that. but what's the imperative to
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drop masking? we're doing really well now, in large part to the fact that -- due to the fact that i think never before have more americans been wearing masks. so why would you drop it? let's look at some of the states that are dropping universal masking. texas. as you said, they have about 10% of all of the cases in the united states came out of texas. they have a test positivity rate of 10%. >> let's put up this map while you're talking about it, because there are 15 states that have no mask mandate and the number will jump to 17 when texas and alabama are lifted in the coming days. let's talk about the spread. i wanted to put it up to give people a visual. >> alabama has a test positivity rate of 15%. mississippi has a test positivity rate of almost 19%. so, you know, compare that to a state like west virginia, where
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the republican governor is in no hurry to release the mask mandate. west virginia has a test positivity rate of 3%. less than the national average. those other states have many multiples of the national average of positive covid testing. so why the rush in those other states? it's purely political, and frankly it's selfish. >> yeah. listen, you mentioned west virginia. the governor, jim justice said this earlier about states deciding to re-open. here it is. >> i'm not going let this become a political football. i mean, i really -- i don't want to be critical, but so many people want to just move because it's the most politically correct thing that they can do. you know, it becomes almost a macho thing and everything. we have been cautious and everything. i'm not going throw mud at
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either side and everything and i'm not going dance around like a politician, because i'm not that. but at the end of the day we're going to do the smart thing in west virginia, we're not going to do the thing that's politically correct. >> i have had governor justice on. he's been entirely levelheaded throughout this. and as you said, some of the lows rates. do you think he's right, are the governors bowing to political pressure with these decisions? is that any way to lead, doctor? >> no, it's no way to lead. and when we had all of this confusion and ambiguity about masks in the spring -- we had, you know, the massive surge in the summer, and now that we finally got the pandemic under control and we're really on the verge of breaking its back work see this nonsense. it's really nonsense. we have to wear masks for the next few months because the variants are more contagious, and until we can get the
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we can get the population of the united states to the level of herd immunity, worry at risk of igniting. so let's wear masks for the next few months, we'll put this away and have a fabulous summer. >> ah, thank you, sir. we have had our nightly house call with dr. reiner, because he has the best bedside manner. thank you, sir. we appreciate it. we'll see you soon. i want you to take a look at this as well. this is the senate floor where clerks are still reading out biden's coronavirus relief bill. they started at 3:30 and they're still going. more on the gop stunt, next.
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so it's just before midnight eastern, and senate republicans are using a big political stunt to stall passage of president biden's covid relief bill. senator ron johnson of wisconsin forcing senate clerks to read the entire bill out loud, all 628 pages. it started this afternoon around 3:30 eastern. the full reading expected to take about ten hours total. they still have a ways to go. tomorrow, floor debate begin, although republicans are expected to do whatever they can to slow down the process. but majority leader chuck schumer vows the senate will stay in session until a final vote is taken. democrats trying to pass the relief package before pandemic unemployment benefits run out for millions of americans this
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month. stay tuned. thanks for watching. our coverage continues.
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good evening. we begin tonight with breaking news. cnn has learned that the investigation into january's attack on the capitol has uncovered signs of a contact between lawmakers and january 6th insurrectionists. now, the precise nature of that contact is not fully known at this point. the investigation is ongoing. the mere possibility of contacts only compounds what was already such deep trauma for the institution for the people who were there, those who protect them and everyone who watched the seat of democracy on earth


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