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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  November 19, 2021 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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they are waiting for the cdc director to sign off on that. she's expected to do so and that means that everyone over 18 can begin getting their boosters. have a wonderful weekend, everyone. thanks so much for joining me. "the lead" starts right now. kyle rittenhouse is now a free man. "the lead" starts right now. tensions high across the country after kyle rittenhouse who was facing life in prison was found not guilty on all charges. but his legal fights may not be over. also breaking, you get a booster and you get a booster and you get a booster. the cdc goes full oprah, recommending the jab for every adult. dr. sanjay gupta is here with what it means for you. plus, the tennis star who vanished after accusing a former communist leader of sexual assault.
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today china claims to show proof that she's okay. welcome to "the lead." i'm pamela brown in for jake tapper. breaking news in our national lead. the jury finding kyle rittenhouse not guilty on all charges. rittenhouse wept and hugged his attorney as the verdicts were read. the 18-year-old faced charges of reckless homicide and reckless endanger unaniment in the shootf three people who died during black lives matter protests in wisconsin. president biden reacted to the verdict. >> i stand by what the jury has concluded. the jury system works, and we have to abide by it. >> and he isn't the only one reacting. cnn's sara sidner starts us off from kenosha, wisconsin. >> not guilty. >> reporter: kyle rittenhouse now a free man. >> not guilty. >> reporter: overcome as the jury acquitted him on all five
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counts in his homicide trial. >> is there anyone who does not agree with the verdicts as read? >> reporter: the defense attorney marc richards saying the wait for a verdict has been torture but his client is relieved. >> he wants to get on with his life. he has a huge sense of relief for what the jury did to him today. he wishes none of this would have ever happened. but as he said when he testified, he did not start this. >> reporter: the prosecutor responding, while we are disappointed with the verdict, it must be respected. the family of one of the victims, anthony huber, saying we are heart broken and angry. >> they all have blood on their hands for the mishandling of that whole entire night. >> reporter: the governor has called for calm as a small crowd in kenosha continues to react to the news. the unanimous decision did not come swiftly.
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weighing a life sentence for 18-year-old rittenhouse, the jury deliberated for almost four full days before delivering the verdict. >> members of the jury, it is for you to determine whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of each of the offenses. >> reporter: the jury ultimately had to answer one question. did rittenhouse kill two men and maim another as a form of vigilante justice or self-defense? the defense seized on the testimony of gaige grosskreutz. video shows rittenhouse shot and destroyed grosskreutz's bicep yet he gave the most compelling argument that rittenhouse was acting in self-defense. >> when you were standing three to five feet from him with your arms up in the air, he never fired, right? >> correct. >> it wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him, that your gun -- now your hand is down pointed at him. and he fired, right? >> correct. >> reporter: we are now getting
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a statement from grosskreutz's attorney about this case and how they feel about this case. and they said that kim motley, his attorney, grieved for the families of those slain by rittenhouse, that no one deserved to die that night or be injured. and she called grosskreutz and anthony huber, both who were after -- running after kyle rittenhouse, called them heroes. that they acted heroically in this but she asked that everyone remain nonviolent in their protests and she felt that justice had not been done today. pam? >> sara, we've seen a small crowd outside the courthouse all afternoon. what's the scene like now? >> you know, it's gotten very quiet. in fact, it is more quiet now than it has been throughout this entire 2 1/2-week trial. we know that there are folks that are gathering outside the boys and girls club to protest, but things have become more calm now than they have been
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throughout this entire trial. i will mention this that there has been really no major violence at all during this case. there has just been a lot of protesting, chanting and yelling, but there has really been calm outside of this court for the most part, pam. >> let's hope it stays that way. sara sidner, thank you. and let's bring in our legal experts now. why do you think the prosecution wasn't able to prove its case. >> good to be with you, pamela. yeah, the prosecution was not able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt which is really the highest standard in our criminal judicial system. because the prosecution was, number one, not able to poke the holes in kyle rittenhouse's testimony. that's really what the defense turned on. and also they weren't able to show that his response to each of these men, to each of these sets of threats was unreasonable. in other words, when the jury came back a couple of days ago and watched the videos, i think
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half a dozen videos frame by frame, they were looking to see whether kyle did something to provoke the threat and whether his response to that threat was reasonable in terms of using deadly force. and they agreed with the defense that it was. in other words, the evidence was very clear that each time kyle rittenhouse shot at each of these men, that he was facing imminent danger of great bodily harm or death and that he had not provoked that threat. so i think this is absolutely the just result. i've been doing this for almost 20 years doing trial -- criminal trials, and not based on politics and emotions but just based on the law and the facts, this was 100% warranted, pam. >> charles coleman, do you agree? you're a former state prosecutor. >> well, i wouldn't say that it was a just result, but i would agree with sara, that if you watched the trial from beginning to end and saw how things unfolded, it's very difficult to disagree with the actual verdict that the jurors came to. i think there are a lot of
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emotions. the reaction to the verdict represents a huge divide in terms of where we are. but in terms of the jury and the people who watched that trial unfold, there's very little argument that can be made. what this came down to is ultimately, did you believe the prosecution's narrative around provocation in as much as rittenhouse was the one who started it and should not be able to claim self-defense and that his actions were not reasonable, or do you believe the narrative that the defense put forward, which was essentially kyle rittenhouse was there to help and his intention was honorable, up and until he felt like his life was threatened by a situation that he was in and he had no other recourse but to actually pull the trigger in defense of his own life. ultimately what it appears is that the jury decided that they believed that the self-defense narrative, much more than they believed the provocation, and that's why kyle rittenhouse right now is a free man, despite however many may feel about it.
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>> rittenhouse testified in his own defense, which was considered something of a surprise. how important did that turn out to be? >> it was the entire case, pa pamela. we rarely put our clients on the stand because, for instance, looking at the arbery trial, we saw what happened with mcmichaels. it's very dangerous. but with the defense of self-defense, you almost always have to let the client tell the story. they are the ones who can best say they were in fear for their life. why they used the force they used. what exactly happened that led up to the shooting or killing, whatever the issue is. it's almost always necessary, and i think that in this case, it was the entire defense. and to charles' point, it was very interesting that this jury viewed provocation very narrowly. in other words, it wasn't enough that this 17-year-old kid came to kenosha with a gun strapped to him and bad intentions. they were looking for specific
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acts by him that then brought about the threat he responded to. so again, i think this was kyle's testimony was necessary. it is what the entire defense turned on. >> i am wondering, charles, you point out his age, sara, 17-year-old, now 18. do you think his age played any role in the verdict? the fact he was so young? >> well, pamela, i don't necessarily think that it's just his age. we have to be very clear about what that means. i think that what we have seen throughout the course of this trial, be it from the judge, from right wing media, from the public in many cases, we've seen a consistent infantalization of rittenhouse in front of the public. part of that was strategic by the defense. the way he presented on the stand. presented in court. to remind the jury that he was young. but in terms of his age, i want to be very clear about something. we've seen many instances where people who were not like kyle rittenhouse, and i am referring to race in this instance, took the stand, i'm referring to the exonerated five in new york, also known as the central park
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five, where they were not treated with the same delicacy and shielded by their age. and so there's a certain level of privilege that we have to acknowledge when you talk about how age played a role. i do believe that age was a factor. however, i think that it was amplified by the fact that he enjoyed the privilege of being infantalized and i think that also may have resonated with the jury as well. >> charles coleman, sara azar, thanks for your time. and the cdc just one step away from allowing every adult to get a booster shot. we'll discuss with dr. sanjay gupta, up next. plus, former president trump irritated by a republican governor, not for his policies, but for his growing popularity. new cnn reporting ahead.
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it's the season of smiling. and at aspen dental, we make it easy to gift yourself the smile you deserve. new patients, start today with a full exam and x-rays, with no obligation. if you don't have insurance, it's free. plus everyone saves 20% on their treatment plan with flexible payment solutions for every budget. we're here making smiles shine bright so you can start the new year feelin' alright. call 1-800-aspendental or book today at breaking news in our health lead. moments ago a key cdc panel voting to recommend covid
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booster shots for all adults. it would be either the pfizer or moderna vaccine and now the final decision rests in the hands of cdc director dr. rochelle walensky. i want to bring in dr. sanjay gupta. great to see you as always, sanjay. so assuming dr. walensky signs off on the recommendation, as we expect, how soon could all adults be eligible to get their shots? >> right away. that's the thing. at the beginning of this vaccine rollout there was often supply issues. there's enough supply in most places so people who qualify, which is -- we'll see what dr. walensky says, but really should be all adults. they should be able to get the boosters right away. it's six months after you finished your second shot. and, you know, people always ask, what if i'm three months or four months out. there's benefit to waiting six months because they think that the -- you want some time between your prime shots, those first two shots and the boost
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shot. that should give you longer durability. but this was data that's been out there for some time. let me show you what drove this decision today. if you looked at vaccinated and unvaccinated, for most of the time what we've been seeing if people were to get sick they were far more likely to be unvaccinated. that's the red line. the green line is the vaccinated people that ended up in the hospital, small. but that was to the end of august. the question has been what happened after that? and that's where they started to look at some of the data out of israel. what they found was a really important story here. if you look at this. who are the people in the hospital with covid? predominantly unvaccinated but look at what else you saw there. about 9.6 out of 100,000 were people who had been vaccinated with two shots. but if those people got boosted, it dropped the number down significantly to 1.8 per 100,000. so that graph there, that tells a story. the problem is still primarily unvaccinated. but you can see why boosters
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would make a difference based on that graph. >> so how long then after you get a booster shot do you receive the protection from it, the full protection? >> usually a couple of weeks. kind of like after the second shot. so it takes a couple of weeks for your body to respond and make those antibodies. >> all right. the united states is now reporting 94,943 new coronavirus cases per day. the highest seven-day average since early october. what do you think about that? when you look at this chart, what do you blame for it? could it be the beginning of a winter surge? >> yeah, i think so. that's the concern. hopefully it's not going to be a surge like we've seen in the past, but i think with the cooler and drier weather, we know the virus is spread more easily. people are more likely to be indoors. spreads more easily. we still have a significant percentage of the country that's unvaccinated and this is a really contagious virus. and then on top of all of that
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you add this component of the fact that there's -- seems to be some waning of the protection of the vaccines as well. so that's, i think, what probably will drive the surge. now we don't know how many people out there have immunity. we know that there's about 60% of the country that's been vaccinated. there's a lot of people who had covid as well and they're going to have some infection acquired immunity for a while. hard to know what that number is. that may stem the surge. but quickly, the problem always is that what is this going to do to the hospitals. if you start to see significant numbers if you get to a situation, for example, icus, if they become 75% full, that could potentially lead to down the road 12,000 excess deaths over the next couple of weeks. they get to 100% full. 80,000 excess deaths. those aren't necessarily covid deaths, pamela. those are people who are not able to as easily get care because the hospitals are so full. heart attacks, strokes, car
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accidents, gunshot wounds, things like that. hospital goes on diversion and that makes it difficult for society overall which is why stemming this surge is so important. >> that's really alarming to look at that and it shows you the ripple effect, right, of what happens if you get covid and you end up in the hospital and primarily, predominantly those are unvaccinated people as you point out. i want to ask you about something that happened today. president biden getting his first physical of his presidency. you were in the white house briefing room after former president trump's physical in 2018 where you questioned then white house physician dr. ronnie jackson over trump's results. so what are you looking for in president biden's physical results? >> well, he is 79 years old tomorrow. we know -- we have some idea of his past medical history, and we're going to look for specifics about, you know, his overall health but also addressing some of these things in his history overall. i can show you some of those things quickly. he has a history of atrial
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fibri fibrillation, an irregular heartrate. he takes a pill for high cholesterol. he had brain surgery for cerebral aneurysms. he's been monitored for that. shouldn't expect anything new there. but want to hear if there's any updates. obviously he had his colonoscopy today. i want to see if there's any results from that, any concerns based on that. so those are the big things. but they hopefully will provide a briefing, tell us about all the lab results and imaging tests they've gotten, and we'll see what they all show. >> all right, dr. sanjay gupta, thanks so much. >> thank you. a massive step forward with biden's legislative agenda as it passes the u.s. house. up next, why it could take a step backward in the senate.
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in our politics lead, a giant yet partial win for the biden administration. today house democrats passed the president's sweeping $1.9 trillion economic and climate agenda after months of negotiations. and this bill, money for child care, paid family leave, universal pre-k, electricity tax credits, home health care, obamacare subsidies and more. but as cnn's arlett saenz reports, some of those items may
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not survive the senate, leaving majority leader chuck schumer once again in the middle of two key senators, bernie sanders and joe manchin. >> reporter: a major breakthrough for president biden's agenda. after months of negotiations. >> the yeas are 220, the nays are 213. the build back better bill is passed. >> reporter: the house passing the president's $1.9 trillion social safety spending package with a vote along party lines. only one democrat, jerod golden of maine, voting no. >> this bill is monumental. it's historic. it's transformative. it's bigger than anything we've ever done. >> reporter: the president now one step closer to securing key campaign promises like universal pre-k, climate initiatives and health care subsidies. republicans blasting the bill as house minority leader kevin mccarthy stalled the vote with
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an 8 1/2-hour speech overnight. >> this is the single most reckless and irresponsible spending bill in our nation's history. >> reporter: but the bill isn't a done deal yet with a steep climb in the senate with holdouts joe manchin and kyrsten sinema remain. >> the president is committed to getting this through the senate. signing it into law and ensuring these impacts, these cost-cutting measures are put in place into law as soon as possible. >> reporter: the bill is expected to undergo major changes in the senate to get all 50 senators on board. paid family leave, a top white house priority, likely on the chopping block. >> i will sign it, period. >> reporter: while the house moved his economic agenda forward, president biden was at walter reed medical center for his first physical as commander in chief. and a routine colonoscopy. while under anesthesia, the president transferred power to vice president kamala harris, making her the first woman with
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presidential power for an hour and 25 minutes. >> sir, what is the state of your health today? >> good. i feel great. nothing has changed. we're in great shape. and so i'm looking forward to celebrating my 58th birthday. >> the president was joking there. he is actually turning 79 years old tomorrow. he'll spend the weekend with his family up in wilmington, delaware, celebrating. and the white house says they will release a summary of his physical results at some points today so we are still waiting to get that exactly. but this will be the first glimpse at what the president's health is like in two years. he last had a physical in 2019 when running for president. pamela? >> arlette saenz, thank you. before next year's campaigning even begins, we'll show you how some politicians are giving an advantage by redrawing some lines. ♪ superpowers from a spider bite? i could use some help showing the world how liberty mutual customizes their car insurance
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topping our politics lead, republicans and democrats alike are crafting their strategies for the 2022 midterms. but it's possible that republicans could gain the house majority through partisan gerrymandering alone. tom foreman reports drawing a redistricting map is a fierce fight and one party is landing more punches than the other. >> reporter: in the wisconsin state assembly, republicans are fighting for their new election plan. >> our proposal is a fair map. >> reporter: but it's already been vetoed by the democratic governor who is pushing his own plan. >> the gerrymandered maps republicans passed a decade ago
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have enabled legislators to safely ignore the people who elected them. and these maps here, more of the same. >> reporter: and some minority groups are furious at both the gop and the governor. >> these maps are illegal. and a perversion of justice that cannot stand. >> reporter: across the country, the fierce fight over drawing new election maps in the wake of the census favors republicans who control more legislatures and governorships and political analysts say the new maps alone could help them pick up the five seats they need to take back the majority in congress. for example, explosive growth in the latino population has given texas two new congressional seats. but while republican lawmakers say -- >> the maps were drawn blind to race. >> reporter: -- their new maps have white voters in the majority in three times as many districts as latinos. >> if we don't pay attention to
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this and we don't demand that latinos are represented, we will find ourselves with no representation. >> reporter: in ohio, the republican party won almost 55% of the vote a year ago, but the new map could hand them 12 congressional seats, the democrats 3. >> the red wave is coming at you like a freight train. >> reporter: north carolina is about evenly split but a new map would give republicans such an edge, long-serving congressman g.k. butterfield will not seek re-election in his once reliably blue district. >> it's racially gerrymandered. it will disadvantage african-american communities all across the first congressional district. >> reporter: and in georgia where democratic incumbents hold just 6 of 14 seats in the house of representatives, the new map pits two of the dems against each other. democrats have certainly gerrymandered election maps over the years and just having an
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advantage does not guarantee a victory. all that is granted, but there is so much unrest over what is happening right now. lawsuits are being launched all over the place, and the courts will almost certainly have the final say. pam? >> tom foreman, thanks for that report. let's discuss with our panel. i want to start with you, alice. tom foreman just laid out there, the situation in ohio and the ohio state senate president told "the washington post" that republicans did not consider race when they crafted this new map. do you believe that? >> i do because they are looking at the population and the growth of the population. and they were very specific. i talked with people that were involved with that process just like in north carolina. they look at where the population centers are growing and where the people are moving. they were very transparent in the process. they had public meetings. they showed maps to people across the state. and they made sure there was public input throughout the process. and this is not about race. it is not about partisan politics. this is more about following the
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population based on the recent census. they try and make an effort not to split up cities and voting precincts, and they also try to make an effort to make sure that this is not done along partisan lines. and that is the -- i've been involved in the reapportionment process in the past and that's the goal and that's generally why they have public meetings to get input before the lines are drawn. >> jamal? >> it's just amazing it just happens to turn out that black voters get disenfranchised in ohio or latino voters get disenfranchised in texas. so what we have here, not just in restricting because democrats do it, too, and people gerrymander, but redistricting, the voting rights law changes in texas in georgia. it's like the republicans are afraid of facing the voters. so when you couple what's happening in texas and georgia and the redistricting maps with what happened in congress with gosar, where they are afraid to stand up against extremism, it's like the republican party is having this culture of cowardice that's starting to appear in
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their party but they refuse to stand up and defend themselves, stand up for themselves, stand up against the former president, stand up against their base. these cowardly lions that would love to have a spine. >> real quickly, not play what-about-ism. we've talked about many states that are republican led. let's look at the illinois map, run by democrats in that state. there's a very strangely drawn are gorymandered district in illinois. no one is talking about that. but the point is the focus needs to be on following the population and making sure that the -- we're not splitting up cities and voting precincts. >> it's not just redistricting. it's the entire republican approach to voting. which is to keep voters from having their say. it's a culture of cowardice we're seeing emerge in the republican party. it's a problem. >> okay. i want to go back to that with you, alice. first, i want to take a deeper dive into ohio. i want to show the maps that we have here. let's take a look here. republicans won 55% of ohio in the 2020 presidential race. look at the current map on the
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left. it's mostly red. but there are some solid blue areas on the right as you see the proposed map. a lot more dark red and those solidly blue areas, they get carved up into much safer districts for republicans. experts say that map on the right gives republicans a huge advantage, up to 12 of the 15 congressional seats. that is a huge imbalance between the presidential and congressional race, isn't it? >> right. look, to be fair, ohio has definitely trended more red in previous presidential cycles. it's not as much of a swing state as it used to be, such as pennsylvania, which is definitely a swing state in the last several elections. but 12 seats out of the entire 15 and, you know, as little as three democratic-held seats. that's not perhaps as matching as what the presidential votes would allow. but it's really fascinating how redistricting, not only just personal considerations or political considerations are driving democratic politicians'
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decision to retire this year. and i thought in north carolina with gk butterfield citing redistricting. his feeling that the line drawing process was unfair, that he would not win in this election. i think you may hear more of that in the coming months. >> you're seeing that with other politicians as well. they said they'll not run again because of the redistricting that's happened. i want to switch gears and talk about the build back better. today the house passed the president's build back better bill. it heads to the senate now. is the white house anxious about what the senate might do with it, carving it up? of course you have to bridge the gap between bernie sanders and manchin. >> i think they've been anxious for a while. they've been trying to play this -- walk this sort of delicate balance between what the progressives want and what the moderates want, and i think what the house did today is, obviously, a big achievement for the white house in proving they can get both sides to agree on something but i think some of
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these pieces like paid family leave that are in this house proposal that now go to the senate, things like that, that we know some centrists don't want in the package. those things will be debated now, and i think the president has made clear he basically wants this passed and signed into law. so he was asked today if he still wants paid family leave in the bill and he said he would sign it. he wants to move on. he wants his agenda done. so i think the timing of this package, what considerations like rising inflation do to the thinking of people like kyrsten sinema and joe manchin. those are all factors the white house has to work through. >> you profiled the senator sinema. how does she view this political moment. >> so right now, what i thought was telling about her perspective on the current build back better debate is that when we asked her about the imminent passage of the -- in the house of that part of the plan she said, well, let's keep in mind that's actually not the initial
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framework that president biden had put out. she's correct. the house made some revisions, added paid leave back in, and changed some provisions on the revenue side. so to us, that's a signal that, yes, it's going to have to go through some changes once it hits the senate. but going back to what tarini was talking about, the white house, president biden and his senior aides have made it clear they just want to sign something. and jen psaki was asked earlier today, where are his red lines when it comes to this package in the senate? and her immediate response was that president biden is willing to compromise. he does not believe compromise is a dirty word. so you see how much -- how willing he is to scale back his own ambitions, his party's ambitions to get something signed into law. >> we have seen him scale back the price tag. >> even the speeger said that today. most of this deal has been talked to, the house, the senate. there's a few things they disagree with. those will get negotiated and figured out. i think it's a smart thing to do. pass the bill that you want as the politicians. send it to the senate.
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let them do whatever they want to. no reason for the members of the house to be the hatchet men and women for sinema and manchin. >> pelosi says there are 90% everyone is on the same page with 90% of that. that's not true. i read your piece today. sinema said a lot of this is not the framework they've all agreed to. while pelosi had all of the democrats in line on this, it's an important first step. it's not going to -- no version of this is going to pass in the senate because you have sinema and manchin who have said on the record many times, this is too much spending in the middle of inflation and this country simply cannot afford it. and they've been on record many times saying they're not going to support these proposals. >> thank you so much to you all. alice, i'm going to have you back. we didn't have time to go back to that. next time. chinese state media says these photos prove that missing tennis player is okay. are they legit? that's next.
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in our world lead, china tried to show proof today that missing tennis superstar peng shuai is alive and well. posting three photos of peng which they claim are from her social media profile alongside the caption, happy weekend. china came under immense pressure from international
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tennis association legends like serena williams and even the u.n. after peng vanished following a social media post accusing a powerful chinese official of sexual assault. cnn's will ripley joins us live. will, is there any way to know if these new photos are legit? >> there really isn't, pamela. this is all raising a lot of questions. in many ways it's making people more concerned about the safety and the whereabouts of peng shuai because you have these photos with no time stamp. we don't know who is taking one of the photos. she's there in front of hefr stuffed animals and what appears to be her house by herself with a caption that says happy weekend. despite the fact that there is a global firestorm over her post accusing a former chinese premier of forcing her to have sex three years ago at his house, which was deleted in 30 minutes. she's been erased from chinese social media. her media profiles, you can't find them if you search for them
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in chinese and then she says happy weekend and sends an email saying everything is fine. i'm great and resting at home. it wreaks of somebody who is being held against their will and not able to communicate and express her views. >> and what are the financial implications of the wta potentially pulling out of china? >> it's massive. they have the regional headquarters in beijing. they have a ten-year highly lucrative deal reportedly worthed a billion dollars. the wta is taking a huge financial risk by demanding china give them answers or saying they pull their business out. it's a step that other sporting organizations that do business in china have never been willing to take before. >> and the winter olympics, of course, are just a couple of months away in beijing. how big of a pr issue is this for china? >> it is a huge pr issue. the fact that we are heading into the beijing winter olympics and you have this really cloud of controversy that is enveloping the games over the
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treatment of women. we know that china's mostly male, mostly older male leaders have suppressed the me too movement in that country for decades but peng shuai by the timing of this post, by creating this discussion right now, this puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the olympics. and the international olympic committee kind of, the opposite of the women's tennis association, in terms of their response. i'm going to read you a portion of the statement they ioc put out. experience shows that quiet diplomacy offers the best opportunity to find a solution. quiet diplomacy means not standing up to china, not speaking out, which is what most organizations that are so hungry for the massive chinese market and the billions of dollars there trillions of dollars that are available. they're not speaking out. but this is different. and will this lead to change? that's the big question. but the most pressing question, where is peng shuai, is she okay? >> will ripley in taipei, thank you. coming up -- we end the week
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drum sticks, please. it's peanut butter, jelly time and two lucky turkeys by those names have officially been pardoned by the president of the united states. with a gravy train of jokes to boot. >> instead of getting basted, they're getting boosted.
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turkey is infrastructure. peanut butter and jelly will help build back the butterball as we move along. >> sources say the turkeys were afraid they'd be gobbled up when they heard they'd be retiring at purdue university. but there will be no coop because there is no connection between the university and the purdue poultry processing company. in case you were wondering. and in our out of this world lead, there could be someone else out there. well, nasa is about to launch a new telescope that it hopes will answer questions about life on other planets. as kristen fisher reports, the new cnn film wt the hunt for planet b" takes a look at this historic mission. >> the hubble space telescope has been beaming back images transforming our understanding of the universe for more than 30 years. now its successor, a telescope 100 times more powerful, is just weeks away from launch. the james webb space telescope is designed to answer humanity's
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most existential questions. are we alone in the universe? and where did that first light in the cosmos come from? >> i think its greatest discoveries are going to be answers to questions that we have yet to ask or imagine. >> reporter: webb's deputy project manager was hired by nasa 30 years ago to help fix hubble. >> it was the mechanical version of eye surgery. "endeavour's" mission in space was to install corrective mirrors of the near sighted at nearly $2 billion hubble space telescope can do what it's supposed to do, see. >> reporter: once in space, webb can't be repaired by astronauts. it will be too far away. orbiting the sun at a distance four times further away from earth than the moon. the telescope is also so big, about the size of a tennis court, that it can't fit on top of a rocket fully intact. >> we had to design it so it could be folded up and then unfold in space. it's the origami observe tory.
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>> reporter: with more than 300 single points of failure and each one could prove to be fatal to the mission's success. >> we wouldn't have built a telescope this big unless we needed to. you have to if you want to look at the dimmest galaxies in the universe. >> reporter: webb will be launching on a european rocket from french guyana. a nod to the french partners. but getting here has cost nearly $9 billion more than initially projected and it's about a decade overdue. was there ever a moment where you thought, man, i just don't know if this is going to happen. >> there were numerous existential crises both technical and programmatic through the life of the mission. but i guess we're all eternal optimists. and we persevered and made it happen. >> reporter: kristen fisher, cnn, washington. the cnn film "the hunt for
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planet b" premieres tomorrow on cnn. on sunday, tune in to "state of the union." among the guests, dr. anthony fauci, virginia's next lieutenant governor, winsome sears, governor chris su nunu and beto o'rourke. that's at 9:00 and noon eastern. i'm pamela brown in for jake tapper. our coverage continues now. happening now, breaking news. kyle rittenhouse is found not guilty of all charges after claiming he fatally shot two racial justice protesters and wounded another in self-defense. we're getting new reaction to this polarizing verdict. another major story we're following, president biden's landmark spending bill is approved by the house of representatives after months of delay. the nearly $2 trillion centerpiece of the president's agenda now faces serious hurdles in the u.s. senate. and cdc vaccine advisers just endorse