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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  December 7, 2021 6:00am-7:01am PST

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sorry. >> that's kind of sadistic with that line of questioning there, berman. >> he's a sadistic guy. >> i figured i had to. >> harry, you're a bills fan, you're a bit of a masochist. what do we do here? >> i don't know. have a stiff drink, that's what i say. >> all right. cnn's coverage continues right now. very good and busy tuesday morning to you. i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm erica hill. just one hour from now, president biden set to hold a secure video call with russian president vladimir putin. this is a call, of course, that comes as the u.s. intel community warns russia is preparing to invade ukraine as soon as next month. recent satellite imagery reveals a massive buildup of approximately 100,000 russian forces along the border. and the kremlin has signaled today's call could be a lengthy discussion, but warns not to
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expect any breakthroughs. u.s. concern is genuine. this marks the third time biden and putin have spoken since the summer. the two last took part in a summit in geneva last june. the last publicly known call was in july. today's meeting, however, comes with amplified tensions. in recent days u.s. officials weighed whether to issue wide ranging sanctions on russia to deter it from launching a full scale invasion of ukraine. let's begin with cnn chief national affairs correspondent jeff zeleny. he's outside the white house this morning. jeff, i wonder what the white house hopes to accomplish with this call and particularly in terms of warning about sanctions. >> reporter: jim, when you boil it down, it is simply to suggest to vladimir putin that the cost of invading ukraine would be tremendously high. they are certainly directly going after financial sanctions, talking directly about financial
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sanctions, very tough sanctions here. this say united front. president biden spent yesterday on the phone in the afternoon with european leaders presenting a united coordinated message here that if vladimir putin invades ukraine, which the u.s. does not believe he's made a decision yet to do so, but if he would do that, the cost would be incredibly high. but, look, the white house is under no illusions here that president biden can go in and tell vladimir putin what to do. they're simply trying to use diplomatic tools here to suggest he would be isolated if he would do that and they're trying to use diplomacy to step away from the brink of what is a critically dangerous situation here, but interestingly this morning, president biden starting his morning here in washington on the 80th anniversary of the pearl harbor attack by paying an unusual visit to the world war ii memorial. you can see the images here, saluting the memorial with his wife first lady jill biden, so
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some -- a bit of poetry perhaps as he's going to have that meeting in the next hour with vladimir putin, certainly trying to hold off what would be essentially another world war, potentially if there was an invasion there. so president biden mindful of the consequences at risk here, that meeting begins at 10:00 a.m. in washington in the situation room at least on president biden's end. jim and erica? >> jeff zeleny with the latest for us laying all that out. jeff, appreciate it, thank you. matthew chance is in odessa, ukraine, right now. >> he had a chance to sit down with the ukraine defense minister to discuss their fears of a russian invasion. and, matthew, it strikes me that ukrainian officials have not been -- have not been shy about expressing their concerns. here is what matthew found. >> this is empty. >> yes. >> i hope that they will empty forever. >> these are the guys that
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already lost their lives? this could soon be filled. >> reporter: this is the real threat. ukraine now faces. more soldiers dieing in battles with russia, something the country's new defense minister appointed just a month ago tells me he's struggling with. >> in russia, they will have also the same faces. russians will die. for what? >> reporter: across the border, the kremlin calls these its regular winter drills. ukraine says there are now about 95,000 russian troops within striking distance. u.s. intel indicates that will rise to 175,000. but even that, the defense minister tells me, is an underestimate. >> 175 is not enough to go to ukraine. >> you think russia will need more? >> yes, sure. >> reporter: how much more is
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unclear. but these latest satellite images from russia suggest moscow is now engaged in an unprecedented buildup near the ukrainian frontier. enough to mount an overwhelming invasion, alarming the u.s. and nato, though ukrainian officials seem calm at what looks like an imminent threat. >> i would say the different means we are not in fear more. >> reporter: hyou're not fearfu of a russian invasion. is that because you don't believe the russian intelligence? >> no, we believe our intel. we believe to all effects that was fixed by the united states intel and et cetera. but this is not the last decision. >> reporter: do you believe russia will invade? >> i am not believe that -- i will not believe that russia will have a victory in ukraine. it is a different. it will be a really bloody
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massacre and russian guys also will come back in coffins, yes. >> reporter: there is also a belief in ukraine that russia, which denies plans to invade, can with the help of the united states and its allies still be deterred. this is the defense minister inducting two new coastal patrol boats from the u.s. into the ukrainian navy. part of a much broader military modernization program ukraine is trying to carry out, with support from the west, angering moscow. ukraine's growing ties with nato and kremlin demands for nato expansion to be curbed is sure to be in the video call with vladimir putin of russia, a crucial online meeting that could determine ukraine's fate. the u.s. president, the defense minister tells me, should double
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down on support for ukraine. >> if i can advise president biden, i would like to ask him to very understandable articulate to mr. putin that no red lines from kremlin side could be here. red line is here, in ukraine, and civilized world will react without any hesitation. we don't need american or canadian soldiers here to fighting for ukraine. we will fight by ourselves. but we need modernization of weaponry, we have -- we need electronic warfare, and et cetera. >> reporter: the problem with america and nato and stepping up to help, their assistance for ukraine, is that it could potentially provoke the kremlin even further, it could be poking the bear and force them to invade. is that a concern for you? do you think that's realistic?
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>> the idea won't work because georgia, salisbury, crimea. >> reporter: you think confrontation is the only way to stop their malign activity around the world? >> it could be not only confrontation, it would be very -- it should be strong position. we are partners of ukraine. we will help them in all kind of ways. >> reporter: and the kremlin will hear that and understand that and it will stop? >> i am sure. >> reporter: it is a high stakes gamble. with no guarantees such a hard-line from the white house to the kremlin will do anything to force russia back. the kremlin are saying they do not expect to breakthrough during this video conference call. they're expected to set out, vladimir putin, his demands, namely that nato, the western military alliance, stops
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expanding eastward towards its border. they want the west and the u.s. in particular to pull back on providing military support to ukraine, which, of course, is bordered up against russia. the response to that by president biden may decide whether the military tensions in this region ratchet up even further or de-escalate. jim, erica, back to you. joining me now, mike quigley of illinois, he sits on the house intelligence committee. congressman, thank you for taking the time this morning. >> good morning, jim. >> as you know, the president, other u.s. officials have already publicly warned russia not to invade ukraine as have u.s. allies. what different does biden need to communicate on this call to putin to deter an invasion? >> look, i think he needs to be clear there is a unified front this will be extraordinarily costly if they invade and i think they need to say, look, if you want russian banks to be
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involved in the international system, if you don't want crippling sanctions against your oligarchs, and other financial harm to the -- to russia, you can't move forward on this. and i think what you're going to see is a give and take, because putin has intentions of either invading or getting massive concessions to what he sees as threats to russia. >> as you know since russia invaded ukraine already in 2014 and still controls territory there, crimea, parts of eastern ukraine, it has been under economic sanctions. the administration is talking about stepping up those sanctions, for instance denying access to the bond markets for u.s. energy -- for russian energy companies or taking them out of what is known as the swift international banking system. are those -- would those new sanctions impose costs in your view sufficient enough to deter russia or do you believe russia has said or decided those are costs we can bear? >> i don't think that they have.
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i think that the fact that they haven't invaded so far, at least tells us something that they're concerned about. what concerns me on the other side is, you know, how unified is nato. how unified particularly is western europe. the russians have always been opportunistic since suez crisis and they see leadership changes in western europe, they know that winter is coming, literally, even from a political sense, and they know that europe depends so much on their energy source. they're not afraid to use that. and the whole pentagon kremlin playbook is in play right now. disinformation, cyberattacks, use of energy as a coercive force, those are all in play. i think they recognize that if there is opportunity for weakness, it comes because of the need for energy. >> does putin judge the u.s. in particular to be weak now? biden to be weak?
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do you think it is a mistake for the biden administration not to sanction the nord stream 2 energy pipeline as a signal to russia of that weakness? >> look, i mean, there is a fine balance that the biden administration is trying to strike. i think they have done very well so far. you don't want to be the appeaser. you don't want to be that which provokes putin to further action, including the invasion here. so i think you keep all those cards in play. and, look, congress plays a role too. in the coming days we will vote on the national defense authorization act. and included in that are amendments dealing with this pipeline, so important to russia. so, you know, as i mentioned before, germany, for example, has said don't sanction that pipeline, because they need it, at the same time their foreign minister said that russia will face extreme sanctions if they
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act. so they have to be unified. this has to all be in place, congress and biden have to -- the president have to work together with our allies. it is a very difficult balance at this point. >> as your position on the intelligence committee, you were briefed regularly on u.s. intelligence regarding the preparations and plans. based on what you have seen, do you believe it is likely that russia will invade ukraine and if it does crucially will it be a swift invasion? >> i think that they're prepared for an extraordinarily swift invasion. if the spring bringing up of troops to the borders was a dress rehearsal, they're prepared for the final event here. they put everything they possibly can in place. it is an extremely dangerous situation. they're surrounding ukraine on three borders. again, the kremlin playbook is
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in full play. they have done everything they possibly can in my mind to prepare as if they're going to invade. giving themselves that option, if, again, the massive concessions i think they're going to want those that will be wildly unrealistic are not agreed to. >> there is, of course, another military buildup around a sovereign country and that is china, around taiwan. do you fear a possible double shot here, right, that russia chooses to invade ukraine and china perhaps at the same time or soon after, makes a similar judgment and invades taiwan? is that something that concerns you? >> yeah. obviously it -- i think it should concern all americans. it certainly concerns me. the second and third largest military in the world acting in the same time, they both have the advantage of what we call the home court advantage. they're there. our armies and our allies aren't
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near there, would take some time. when i reference to what putin would do is something of a modern day blitzkrieg, it is concerning that china would do the same sort of thing and, again, opportunistically act as a duo because what would we be able to do? what would our allies be able to do? it is the nightmare scenario. >> a modern day blitzkrieg on today's anniversary, world war ii notable, notable description. >> and the 30th anniversary of ukraine's independence from soviet union. >> exactly. which is something that as you know the former soviet union signed on to at the time. congressman mike quigley, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> mike pence's former chief of staff agrees to cooperate with the january 6th investigation. what he knows about the former vice president's communications on that day. plus, a california republican in line to take over a powerful
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leadership position decides instead he's leaving. done with congress. details on devin nunes' new role with team trump. and suing texas over the new congressional maps. we're going to break down why critics say they were drawn to take voting power away from the state's growing latino population. is struggling to manage your type 2 diabetes knocking you out of your zone? lowering your a1c with once-weekly ozempic® can help you get back in it. oh, oh, oh, ozempic®! my zone... lowering my a1c, cv risk, and losing some weight... now, back to the game! ozempic® is proven to lower a1c. most people who took ozempic® reached an a1c under 7 and maintained it. and you may lose weight. adults lost on average up to 12 pounds. in adults also with known heart disease,
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of those ready for the next challenge. today, we are translating decades of experience into strategies for the road ahead. we are morgan stanley. major developments in the january 6th investigation into the january 6th insurrection.
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cnn learned that marc short, the former chief of staff to vice president mike pence, is cooperating with investigators. >> cnn political correspondent sara murray here with more. sara, cooperating not engaging, right? you have some witnesses engaging it seems to avoid criminal contempt charges. is it our understanding he's exchanging information on testimony. >> i think only time tells the extent of the cooperation. that is the indication that my colleagues are getting so far. he did receive a subpoena. he's not fighting that subpoena as we have seen from others. and he does appear to be cooperating. this is, of course, important because he was mike pence's former chief of staff, he's very close to the former vice president, he could provide potentially insights about what was going on with pence in the capitol on january 6th. he could provide more insight on all of the pressure that donald trump brought on mike pence, not to certify the results of the election. and it does signify where the pence world is differing from the donald trump world on this. a source told my colleagues that the committee is getting significant cooperation from
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team pence and that's so important because of the role that the vice president played on january 6th in the events leading up to it. >> the threat he faced during that time on january 6th. >> yeah, absolutely. so we know too that former trump associate steve bannon in the other camp, not in the cooperation camp, but set to take part in a conference, that could set a trial date for his contempt of congress charge. what are we expecting to hear from him out of all that? >> yeah. steve bannon is very much in the digging his heels in and not cooperating camp, why he's facing this contempt issue. and he really wants to slow walk these proceedings. lawyers made that very clear, they made it clear in a filing last night. they're suggesting, you know, perhaps we should go to trial in october of next year. the government is saying, wait, wait, we think we can go to trial much sooner than that, potentially before april of next year. the timing on this is going to be really important if the committee wants to make any headway with these reluctant witnesses like steve bannon. they're also holding him out as an example. this is what happens to you if
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you decide to defy us entirely. we'll see if that inspires more people to cooperate, it inspires some to plead the fifth. >> i like the word inspired rather than pressure. out of their goodness of their heart. sara murray, thanks so much. joining us to discuss, cnn legal analyst elliott williams, former federal prosecutor, great to have you with us. as sara laid out, the potential knowledge that marc short has here is extensive based on not only how close he was to the vice president, but how long he was in that orbit there. how do you read this cooperation? how forth coming do you anticipate marc short will be? >> big picture, erica, whenever you're doing an investigation, you're never going to get the big fish or every single witness you want. and there is very little that mike pence could provide in testimony that marc short cannot. as the chief of staff, he would have been either in the room or heard about who was in the room
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for virtually every conversation that mike pence had over the entire four years. he can go back all the way to june 2020 when the president first started talking about election irregularities through january 6th. it is an invaluable bit of testimony, subject to all the privileged conversations we have been having, like what he thinks he can't provide. >> to your point, they won't get everyone. a lot of folks are stone walling and refusing. at short's level and proximity here, right, to pence throughout the conversations, but particularly on the day, january 6th, is that enough, right? could that kind of testimony be enough given his role? >> enough is a weird way to frame it. not to put -- not to criticize, but -- >> i guess i'm saying enough to compensate for the others who are not cooperating. >> maybe necessary but not sufficient is a good way to put it. >> yeah. >> he can -- in a criminal trial, let's put it this way in a criminal trial you can't testify as to things you didn't see yourself or hear about.
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congressional rules are looser than that. and someone like marc short can testify to things he even heard about, what did mike pence tell you he saw, what do you know about what conversation steve bannon had, what do you know about what went on on january 5th at the willard hotel, what did you hear about the january 4th meeting in the oval office in which the president leaned on the vice president to not certify the election results? there is a tremendous amount he can put in, even if nothing else for the narrative that will go into the report that the committee will write about what happened on that day. and it will be valuable, evocative powerful testimony. it will be a lot, yeah. >> real quickly before we let you go, on steve bannon, which you were talking about with sara as well, in terms of there could be this conference to set a trial date. the reality is he is still enjoying this, i would say, a fair amount and running this as long as he can. that's concerning, i know, for prosecutors. they don't want him talking about this much out there in the public as he's doing. still has his show.
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how much can they control that? >> they can and what the filing that we saw yesterday was called a joint status report, both parties came together and laid out for the court how long they think the whole thing will take and so on. at the end of the day, the court will hear arguments from the parties and decide when the trial should come. this is a really short sort of almost rinky-dink misdemeanor trial that will be argued on the basis of documents. whatever steve bannon wants to make of it is fine. at the end of the day, you have to prove, number one, there was a subpoena, and number two, there was a guy that chose to flout it and you can do that with one or two witnesses. it is not a long drawnout event no matter what steve bannon or his allies might want to do. i would think the court would recognize that, put this on a relatively short timeline because even setting aside whatever anybody might think about who is right or who is wrong, just look at the things he's been charged with and it is really quite straightforward, not a complex financial crime or lobbying crime or something like that. >> elliott williams, thank you.
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>> thank you, erica. take care, jim. still ahead, he was poised for a leadership role if republicans took back the house in the next election. so why then would congressman devin nunes instead choose to leave congress? what his resignation tells us about the power struggle in the gop. and we're moments away from the opening bell on wall street. dow futures surging this morning after a strong rebound in the markets on monday. investors seem to be recovering from a downturn after the omicron variant of covid-19 was identified. worries have tempered since then. inflation still a worry. wall street will get a fresh read on consumer price inflation data on friday. power e*trade gives you an award-winning mobile app with powerful, easy-to-use tools, and interactive charts to give you an edge,
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representative devin nunes is stepping down from congress and stepping up for former president trump. he's announcing his plans to leave the u.s. house. why? he's going to become ceo of the former president's new social media venture. >> lauren fox joins us now from capitol hill. he was in line for arguably the most significant committee chairmanship on the hill, ways and means. why this move now? and i'm curious is redistricting part of the calculation? >> reporter: well, this is why this was such a surprising announcement yesterday when devin nunes said he was going to
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be leaving congress at the end of the year to take over the former president's media company. now, one of the questions is whether or not he would have faced problems in redistricting. and early maps started to show that perhaps his district would be redrawn to favor president joe biden winning in 2020 rather than the fact that trump handily won that district in 2020. now, there is always a possibility he could move to a more favorable district and there was a lot of speculation that that is in fact what he would have done if his district was redrawn. but there is also an impact here on what this means about the republican party. here you had a congressman who was in line, like you said, to take one of the most powerful committee chairmanships if republicans took back the house in 2022, which right now it looks like they're poised to do. the house ways and means gavel, the tax writing committee is one of the most powerful on capitol hill, one of the most impactful when you think about what republicans may want to do if
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they take control of the house of representatives and he still chose to leave to go work for the former president. what does that say, really, about the center of gravity of the republican party right now? i think it says a lot about the fact that people would rather be with former president donald trump than in congress where laws are actually written. so a significant move by nunes. the fact that his district might be changing and swinging more democratic may have been a factor here. but i think the fact that it was an opportunity to go work for the former president was another huge factor for the congressman. >> lauren fox with latest for us. thank you. the department of justice is now suing the state of texas claiming the state's newly drawn legislative maps discriminate against latino and black voters. the doj claims those maps approved by the state's republican-controlled legislature were drawn with discriminatory intent and that
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they violate the voting rights act. >> white voters count for less than 40% of the state's population. but make up the majority in 23 districts, latino voters make up under 40% of the population, in just 7 districts. joining us to discuss, alexa yuy yura, a reporter for "the texas tribune." this is particularly marked here when you look at the numbers, 23 skewing white, seven latino, the population numbers are nearly equivalent here. what justification do republicans give for this district drawing and how do democrats counter? >> i think when you look at a state like texas that is increasingly diverse and a state in which latinos are equally the size of the white population, what republicans are looking at is a map that becomes increasingly difficult for them. so what they did in redistricting is that they
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bolstered many of the seats that had grown competitive over the last ten years. and in doing so drew lines that essentially gave white voters more control of the map. and of the districts. and for democrats, you -- they focused on what this would do to voters of color and how this could diminish their influence on these elections, the response from republicans is that not only were these -- they were focused if anything on partisanship and not race, which is a familiar argument when it comes to redistricting here in texas. >> this isn't the only challenge there are a number of other legal challenges, not just the one from the doj. based on your reporting, folks you've spoken with in the wake of those lawsuits, is there a sense of the impact here, right, because part of the doj is asking for is that texas essentially not use these maps right now, specifically in talking about upcoming march primaries. the chances that, you know, these will be put on hold and
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what are you hearing about where those other lawsuits stand in terms of legal chances. >> you know, we're on a truncated timeline because of the delays in this. our overseas mail-in ballots are set to go out in the middle of january. the timeline to address possible changes to this -- these maps is definitely much shorter than before. i think the reaction that we saw from some of the parties that have sued the state before the doj stepped in, they welcomed doj throwing the weight behind the legal challenges. they're hopeful. the legal landscape and the courts have changed significantly in the last few years that there are still, you know, some pretty big concerns about whether these maps will be corrected or revised, even temporarily in time for the march primary. >> what are the lawyers saying about that? as you know, the supreme court has gradually watered down voting rights acts protections
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against this sort of thing, going back to the 2013 shelby case. do lawyers for the doj say they have a path given the current supreme court and the current standards established, weaker standards established by the supreme court? >> you know, i think what we saw yesterday from the doj was an acknowledgement that had the supreme court not weakened voting rights act that this lawsuit wouldn't have been necessary because the maps that texas drew wouldn't have passed legal muster under what used to be section five and preclearance of the voting rights act. this challenge is coming at a time that will really sort of test what's left of the voting rights act, and the courts' willingness to apply what is left of the voting rights act and some of these lines, if you talk to some of these lawyers are egregious in their opinion and i think the -- the burden is now on them to prove that. instead of the state proving these maps are actually legal and that will be -- that's sort
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of an unprecedented challenge that they have in front of them at least in terms of recent voting rights history. >> no question. consequential decisions to come. alexa, thanks so much. still to come this hour, as the country waits to see the real impact of the omicron variant with some encouraging news though out there about treatment, if you're diagnosed. we'll have that coming up.
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breaking news in to cnn. former president trump's chief of staff mark meadows no longer planning to meet the january 6th committee over the insurrection. >> the timing here is interesting to me. he puts out this book, which trump is not happy with, giving details of how sick he was. are those events connected at all? is this purely a legal development? >> it is difficult to say. but what we know is that for the last several days we have seen more and more details coming out of this mark meadows book, some of -- which he's discussed on the air, and it is information that the former president probably wouldn't like. but here in this letter we just obtained, this is breaking news, i'm going through it now, with you live, there is a key line here, a few of them actually. jim and erica, his attorney for mark meadows says we agreed to provide thousands of pages of responsive documents and mr. meadows was willing to appear voluntarily for a deposition to answer questions about
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nonprivileged matters. however, this letter also says that now basically they're changing their mind. in short we have now every indication from the information supplied to us last friday, quoting from this letter, upon which mr. meadows could expect to be questioned that the select committee has no intention of respecting boundaries concerning executive privilege. here's another key line. in addition, we learned over the weekend that the select committee had without even the basic courtesy of notice to us issued wide ranging subpoenas for information from third party communications provider without regard to either the broad breadth of the information sought, which would include intensely personal communications of no moment to any legitimate matters of interest to the select committee nor to the potentially privileged status of the information demanded. there is a couple of themes here important to explore there are several people who have been subpoenaed who are basically saying, look, these communications i had with president -- then president trump fall under executive privilege.
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that is the key debate here because steve bannon tried to say that too and it was something the select committee did not accept, why he's now going through this criminal process being held in -- attempted to be in at least being charged with criminal contempt of congress. so now mark meadows still basically using this line that he -- these communications are covered by executive privilege, he was the chief of staff, there is much more legitimacy to that argument than steve bannon who is not an employee at the white house at this time. these are the key things that continue to be debated. we're seeing this about face when last week our understanding was that mr. meadows had planned to cooperate. so now, you know, this throws the timeline up in the air. it is a new hurdle for the house select committee. so we'll see if they accept this or if he's going to join a growing list of people for whom this select committee would like to charge with contempt of congress. criminal contempt of congress. >> we'll be watching to see what comes out of that. appreciate you getting that to us right away. also with us now, cnn legal
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analyst elliott williams who is back. you're digesting that in real time as we are. let's make that our caveat here. one thing i think that was always interesting for folks is the fact that mark meadows had intimated -- he was going to work with the committee at least in some respect, in certain areas. the fact we're now back to this question of executive privilege just broadly based on what we know here, is there anything you can imagine that would involve communications with mark meadows that would not fall under executive privilege, that would be easier perhaps for the committee to talk to him about? >> sure, if he had conversations with other people who were not white house personnel and it seems inconceivable he did not. again, as we talked about on this very program, the white house chief of staff is going to be in a different position than most of the other witnesses on account of the fact he would have been face to face with the president for many conversations and a lot of those are going to be protected, even ones butting up against the planning of january 6th, it is goin ining t
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depend on each individual conversation. if mark meadows were having o outside conversations and this question of this cell phone that may exist, what was he doing with it and to whom was he texting, it is hard to come up with any basis for thinking that those conversations or communications would not -- would be protected under executive privilege. >> so he writes a book about it, he's just described the president's health condition, right, which the former president is not happy with, but he's not going to testify before the committee. he can help our viewers understand who are not lawyers like yourself how that's possible? >> delusion is one hell of a drug. look, number one, that book is itself going to be testimony. number two, while it is hard to -- harder to charge him with a crime than other people, this helps build a case for contempt. again, i want to caution everybody here that this is just a harder individual to challenge just based on the nature of his
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relationship. but, again, as we talked about before, the devil was always going to be in the details of someone's communications -- how someone would ultimately come in to testify. they might say someone might say they're coming in to testify, but the moment the first question comes, the moment a lawyer confronts them, everything falls apart. so i hesitate -- i'm just not shocked at all by this development here. >> it is interesting. i believe to you, erica, they said last week, wait a second, i'm not sure he's cooperating. so prescient words. elliott williams, thanks so much. >> you're right, jim. still ahead, an encouraging sight at the gas pump. what is behind the latest drop in gas prices coming up. ♪ ♪ get help managing your money for the life -- and years -- ahead.
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promising news on energy prices, including gas prices. after several weeks of increases, they're going down. >> this is the positive news we wanted. we talked about high gas prices at the pump, heating costs this winter. is that changing? >> sky-rocketing energy prices has been at the heart of this biggest bout of inflation that the united states has seen in decades. but, yes, there's finally some good news there. first, let's start with prices at the pump. now, recently they were at a seven-year high, but we've seen them tick lower, you see $3.5 a gallon nationally for regular gas. it's down five or six cent in the last month to the lowest level we've seen since october. this is not all for necessarily good reasons. it's because oil prices have collapsed. they took a big hit with the
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entry into energy markets. biden releasing from the strategic preserve. but oil price have come down because of omicron fears. part of the drop is reflecting the health crisis. we've also seen oil prices tick back up, so there's questions about how long gas prices will stay down. the other element here is natural gas. there's been a lot of concerns about natural gas prices spiking and what that would mean to home heating costs. as you can see, prices have really come down from natural gas. t down 10% yesterday afternoon. it's down about 40% from the recent peak because of warmer temperatures and it's al because some of these concerns about the united states running out of natural gas were really overblown. that was never realistic. the u.s. is the largest producer of natural gas in the world. the concerns of what we saw in europe, what happened here, that was exaggerated, and we've seen that unwind here.
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so, listen, the good news is, yes, we've seen energy prices come down, and that could eventually take some pressure off of inflation, and we know that energy prices hit low-income families the hardest. again, that is welcome news. we'll have to wait and see how long this lasts. >> much better headline, especially talking about the holidays at the same time. matt, appreciate the reporting. thank you. any moment now, president biden set to speak with russian president vladimir putin. they're having a virtual sitdown, a video conference call. we'll bring you the latest next.
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- san francisco can have criminal justice reform and public safety. but district attorney chesa boudin is failing on both. - the safety of san francisco is dependent upon chesa being recalled as soon as possible. - i didn't support the newsom recall but this is different. - chesa takes a very radical perspective and approach to criminal justice reform, which is having a negative impact on communities of color. - i never in a million years thought that my son, let alone any six-year-old, would be gunned down in the streets of san francisco and not get any justice. - chesa's failure has resulted in increase in crime against asian americans. - the da's office is in complete turmoil at this point. - for chesa boudin to intervene in so many cases is both bad management and dangerous for the city of san francisco. - we are for criminal justice reform. chesa's not it.
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recall chesa boudin now. good tuesday morning. i'm erica hill. >> i'm jim sciutto. a consequential meeting with potential international ramifications. any minute now, president biden will hold a video call with russian president vladimir putin as u.s. intelligence officials warn that russia poised to invade, at least prepared to, in the coming weeks if it chooses to do so. the kremlin is already tempering expectations for the biden-bu tin call. it does not anticipate, it says, any breakthroughs, calling today's meeting, quote, a working conversation in a very difficult period. >> this will mark at least the third time they've spoke en in
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the last six months. in recent days, however, u.s. officials have weighed whether to issue wide-reaching sanctions on russia to deter it from launching an invasion into ukraine. >> our team following all of the latest developments from washington and ukraine, lit's begin, though, with white house reporter natasha bertrand. you and i have been talking to sources about preparations for this that show the seriousness of how the u.s. views russia's buildup there, including now making at least contingency plans to evacuate americans in ukraine. >> yeah. to be clear, this is purely precautionary. this is so they don't get caught flat footed in the event that russia does invade and a security situation does deteriorate significantly. this is prudent planning that's being led by the pentagon at this point. of course it comes after what we saw in afghanistan, right. they don't want to be left in a similar situation. of course that was a very unique
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situation. all americans were evacuated or almost americans were attempted to be eingvacuated from afghanistan. the pentagon is preparing for all possible scenarios ranging from the evacuation of some u.s. government employees to a broader swath of american citizens. the bottom line is it shows how seriously they are taking the russian threat. >> that's the piece. it is natural to have contingency plans for a whole host of outcomes. the fact that the pentagon is doing this now, post-afghanistan, but also in the midst of all we're seeing along the ukraine border, shows that these are at least serious plans if they need to put them into place. >> exactly right. i think, you know, again, they don't want to be caught off forward. they don't want to be in a situation where russia does invade, which the administration has said repeatedly could be done on short notice and have u.s. governmental employees and american citizens stuck with no
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