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tv   Don Lemon Tonight  CNN  December 7, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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tonight a cnn exclusive. the january 6th committee issuing subpoenas that for phone records including officials like chief of staff mark meadows. the white house saying president biden was direct and straight forward with vladimir putin on a conference call on the possibility that russia might invade ukraine and biten threatening strong economic sanctions and south africa reporting the om kraicron partl evades the vaccine from pfizer so joining me is mr. evidence v evan perez. thank you for joining us, sir. what are we learning about the new sayubpoenas that tonight? is the committee getting the records we're asking for? >> they are. one of the first things this
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committee does was sent letters to phone carriers asking them to preserve these records and now we know that they have gone ahead and requested and gotten the records of more than 100 people and some of these people include people inside trump's inner circle and obviously some of these people are people invest gated by the justice department but what's significant is it includes people connected to trump associates, peepople connected trump's inner circle including the former chief of staff mark meadows. >> but these records don't include what was said on the calls or texts so what are they actually getting here and hope to learn? >> right, these are called detailed records, don and they don't include content as you pointed out. they include who called whom when, how long those calls or
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texts took place and when those texts were exchanged and for the committee, what they're doing is they're trying to put together a picture of what was happening inside the white house among those trump associates in the days leading up to january 6th and during the event of the capitol riot. for them, this is actually very, very important and so they can get details from some of the people already are cooperating and we know there are a number of these people that are cooperating and filling in those blanks that the records that they have don't provide. >> i mean, mark meadows i fwusz you could say have done that in part because he's turned over key communication records to the committee members telling cnn some of the records are from his personal device so what does
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that tell you? >> one of the things you heard from meadows and his attorney is he's very angry about this because he only learned about it in recent days that he says these are extremely very, very personal records and he is siting this as one of the reasons why meadows is pulling back from cooperation with the committee. you and i know, don, there was always doubt about what exactly that cooperation would entail and as you and dana laid out in the last hour, there is a lot of other things going on here between meadows and this new book and ways he wants to make up with the former president so there could be a bigger story here why meadows isn't cooperating. it including person records and again, this is information in
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addition to the stuff he's turned over that could be constructive to the committee. >> evan perez, thank you. see you soon. i want to bring in kim, a former federal prosecutor and the author of "how to read the constitution and why." i highly recommend the book. and ron brownstein. the committee has messages they sent and received as the insurrection went on. what can they learn from those communications? >> it's important i think to break this story into three pieces. the first is the plan for the actual terrorist attack on the capitol and we know there are people in the criminal justice system that said trump sent us there. the second is the plot to overturn the actual election results and that's where someone like mark meadows, jeffrey
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clark, others that were close to the president and took steps to potentially overturn the election results bekcome relevat and in the january 6th commission stated officially that they -- that it has reason to believe members of congress were part of that plot. the third piece is the lack of security response. any of us who live in washington watching this on television jaw dropping where is the police force and how much was this plot? let's be clear. there was a plan to subvert an election and how much affected the lack of security response. these records are giving names. they're drawing connections between the protesters, the organizers, potentially members of congress, people in the white house. i think really don the challenge for this committee right now isn't getting information, it's
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processing it in time to do something with it prior to the elections if the house goes by jerry gerrymandering, the probe will stop. they are running against the clock to tie this together. >> i see you ron brownstein wanting to get in shaking your head. if meadows doesn't show tomorrow, he'll be the third person held in contempt. on the other hand, you have mark short who is cooperating and jamie gangel is reporting he might be able to share texts that he exchanged with other white house officials. where does this lead in your investigation? >> i think the trump strategy is the same as it often is. it's to delay in the hope of -- delay equal defeat for the other side and to outweigh the investigators and this committee is being thorough and simatic
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and aggressive but faces the limitations of the clock and the trial for steve bannon's contempt by a trump judge, the date was not set until july so certainly someone like mark meadows think they can out weight this. you look at this and say i mean, i think the conclusion has to be that whatever the committee can do, where is the criminal invest investigation? in the watergate 1974 the supreme court, i'm not the lawyer but the supreme court clearly indicated executive privilege is not an absolute defense in a criminal investigation there is no time clock on that and certainly this administration will be here until 2024. as the months go on no matter what the committee achieves as adam schiff and others pointed the finger, where is the justice department? where is the justice system in looking at this beyond the foot
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soldiers who actually invaded the capitol. >> kim, after learning the committee is getting information from communications companies, meadows says that he is done playing ball. why do you think his mind changed? i wonder who it could be. >> i agree with ron that with what is happening with ban fan in violation of the subpoenas that didn't do one thing in compliance. meadows is in a different posture. close to the president i agree the claims of executive privilege are not going to hold after what happened with nixon in which the supreme court said listen, they need to investigate wrongdoing out weighs executive privilege but doesn't mean this won't be slowed down. number two, is his lawyer has compiled in part so their argument will be it's going to -- it would be hard to prove willful contempt so he has a number of things in his favor.
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he has this book going out and trump angry with him and knows that the republicans could have a lockdown on government a year from now so i'm sure there are a lot of pieces not just the legal element motivating his behavior. i agree what is happening in the justice department. there is no grand jury i'm impanelled to investigate this. merritt -- merrick garland is busy suing texas. with this obvious wrongdoing, dead people, people climbing over the capitol and playblatan attempt to overturn the election, all of this stuff that we normalized that there are sor serious crimes in there and we have to hope the justice department under joe biden if the congress shifts, the justice department will still pursue for the american people potential
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criminal charges here because otherwise america is in dire straights moving forward. >> ron, final word from you because look a lot of this is coming from a book just released by meadows and i'm sure, i said this to dana and others. the president has to be furious about the information that is being released of the book and that's partly why he is cutting off his cooperation, meaning meadows. >> look, i guess i always thought meadows was likely to only go so far in releasing damaging information about trump but if you go back to 1974, it would seem that the claims can be morefectmore effectively cha in a criminal proceeding than congressional. you see the same question on this as voting and abortion
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rights. right now is the biden administration going to use the leverage it has whether executive action or press s pre for congressional action to try to respond to various offenses that are unfolding around them. i mean, this committee is doing important work and will likely tell us a lot about what happened but you kind of look at the cards that are being laid out and particularly the contempt just dish action and it suggestions they're not going to give us the complete action, the complete story. that would be a question whether the justice department is willing to step in if and when republicans take over the house in 2022 as midterms usually go. >> ron, kim, thank you so much. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you. next, a man who says january 6th was a rehearsal for a much more serious coup attempt next time. is he right? the experts at safelite autoglass came right to me... with service i could trust. right, girl? >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪
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investigators on capitol hill racing to get to the bottom of what happened january 6th but as they work alarm bells are going off the former supporters are working to subvert the next presidential election. i'm joined by a staff writer at "the atlantic" titled "trump's next croup already begun." thank you for joining us. serious conversation. this is sobering, a sobering cover story out in the atlantic that you have. you're warning january 6th was a rehearsal for a coup attempt next time. what is keeping you, you know, at night looking towards 2024?
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>> it's two things really, the first is the development really a mass political movement that has prepared to support violence for political ends. and that was not a one time chancing event but the expression of the violent impulses of tens of millions of people that believe based on national polling data both that the election was stolen and biden was therefore an ill illegitimate president and responding to the theft of the election. 21 million people. >> i was having conversations with the producers i'm working with now listening to the show in my ear or taking to me in my ear. we talked about how violence is acceptable now if you don't get
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what you want. this is what you write. part of what you write. you said if the plot succeeds, the ballots cast by american voters will not decide the presidency in 2024. thousands of votes will be thrown away or millions to produce the required effect. the winner will be declared the loser, the loser will be certified president elect. this is pretty frightening. this is the nightmare scenario for the collapse of democracy where votes don't matter, just who gets to count the votes? >> the threat that's going on right now which is that more organized republican operative are infiltrating and taking over apparatus of election administration at the state and the county and even at the precinct level around the country and focussing in particular on swing states so they are studying what went
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wrong with trump's effort to over throw the last election. how was he stopped? and they're going to each of those points of failure and they're repairing them and trying to take them over and so for example, the secretary of state of the state of georgia whose job was to oversee the election count certified the election. trump famously tried on the telephone to persuade him to find 12,000 votes that would change the outcome of the state and raffensperger declined to do that. what have they done? the state legislature protrump has removed the secretary of state raffensperger from the state board of elections that
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oversees the count -- >> let me talk about this and i'll put up the quote and let you finish. trump failed to reverse the results of the 2020 but supporters in key states learned from that and this is what you quote. you're talking about this now. you said some of them have rewritten statutes for decisions about which ballots to count and which to discard and richards certify which to reject. they are driving out or stripping power from election officials that refuse to go along with the plot aiming to replace them with exponents of the big lie. go on. what needs to happen to stop this attempted coup of democracy? >> that's a hard question. because what they're doing is giving themselves the color of law and they're appointing themselves and allies to be in
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charge of the decision which counts vote and which votes are thrown away and if they succeed 2 in that and continue to succeed in that the official count will be up to them. it's one thing to subject yourself to the will of the voters but choose the voters that want to vote for you. that's what gerrymandering does and voter suppression. if you want to fix an election, it's to be in charge of the count and all of this is in service of an idea that if the democrats win an election in the state, if they win enough votes to seize to win the electoral votes, the state legislature will over ride the voter's choice and send electors for the republican instead. >> so where is the sense of
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urgency? why isn't protecting voting rights a top priority for democrats? >> it is a top priority in the rhetoric sometimes. but it is not been in practice. the president has many priorities. there are important ones. there is covid. there is the economy. there is social spending, there is climate and he has not set those aside to put voting rights first. and so there is an emergency here. there is a credible risk we lose our democracy in the next presidential election and it's got to be made top priority or it won't be addressed. the president gave a speech in july and said voter subversion of the kind we're talking about now is the great est test acros the civil war and since that time he's done substantially
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nothing about it. >> won't that be on the ballot in 2024? this next election will be different, right? >> right, that's exactly the problem. >> yeah. thank you. hope people will read this. it is out in "the atlantic" you warn january 6th was only a rehearsal for a much more serious coup attempt next time. thank you. appreciate it. >> thank you. president biden speaking with vladimir putin for two hours today. we'll take you inside the most consequential video chat of the pandemic so far. plus, new data released on just howfecteffective the new covid vaccine is against the new omicron variant. ♪ i'm so defensive, i got bongos thumping in my chest ♪ ♪ and something tells me they don't beat for me ♪ ♪ i love romance, but i got eggshells around me ♪ ♪ don't step on 'em, don't step on 'em ♪ ♪ don't step on 'em, don't step on me ♪
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president biden trying to put the pressure on president biden. biden telling putin he is prepared to launch economic measures against russia if it makes a move. u.s. intelligence showing that russia could be up to $170,000 troops along ukraine's border. max is a here a senior fellow of foreign relations and cnn's white house correspondent mr. john harharwood here, as well. president biden is warning putin of economic measure ifs if he
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invades ukraine but thin on the details. does the white house think it got through to the russian strong men you think? >> i don't think they're saying anything about that, don. because they still don't know what vladimir putin has decided. they went into the meeting saying that while putin was putting himself in position to launch an invasion of ukraine, they did not we leave he made the decision to do so. they came out of the meeting saying the same thing joe biden said it's his goal and told putin this directly on the two-hour video call to raise the cost to vladimir putin if he chooses to take that step perhaps unplugging russia and its energy companies from the international financial system that would of course impose big hardships on russia and impose hardships on people that do business with russia. the one thing that we're especially thin on details, though, don is what is the diplomatic off ramp they ma have
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did discussed in the immemeeting? are there steps the united states and western allies can take to somehow calm the fears of russia that they are being encroached upon or threatened by nato via ukraine so without promising, say, ukraine would never be part of nato, are there ways they can talk about the relationship between ukraine and nato right now where military assets are positioned and what kind of military exercises are performed? are there ways to calm that situation and give vladimir putin a way out of it and give the quite a way out of it because of course, one thing the united states doesn't want to do is commit military troops but trying to figure out what other troops they can use to avoid a conflict. >> here is the thing, max. not like russia hasn't been hit with economic sanctions before
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but the u.s. has no appetite to get involved military. does vladimir putin know that? is it going to make any difference to him? has he decided to do what he's going to do? >> i don't think we know, don, what putin decided to do. it not clear putin knows what he's decided to do. he may be leaving options open. he understands there is an imbalance of power and interest here. russia has more than 100,000 troops poised on ukraine's borders and they've already invaded ukraine as you eluded in 2014 and seized crimea and know we know that russia is willing to fight for ukraine and putin certainly knows the united states is not going to fight for ukraine. we're not going to send our troops to battle the russians to protect ukraine. there is still a lot we can do, a lot of which was communicated today but president biden even though we won't fight ourselves for ukraine we'll enable ukraine to fight back and provide them
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with even more weaponry to impose coast on the russians especially with gorilla war fair. we can ratchet it up to another level. som something like kicking them out of the swift system of transfers is kind of the death penalty of economic sanctions. that's going to delink the russian economy from the western financial system. we can also impose massive sanctions on the pipeline to germany and of course, we can go after the gains that putin and his oligarchs have hidden in the west. there are ways certainly to impose cost on them but ultimately, there is no way we can just say you can't invade ultimately it's going to be up to putin to make that decision based on his calculus of risk and reward. >> max just mentioned crimea as
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you know and you've said we've been here before with the president who was the vice president under barack obama, president barack obama when russia and ex crimea in 2014 as max referenced. how is that weighing on his thinking? >> well, i think he's seen the inability of previous presidents to deter vladimir putin, which weighs into his thinking about how high to take the most easure would impose. he was in the united states senate when russia invaded georgia. george w. bush wasn't able to prevent that from happening. he was vice president in 2014. russia seized crimea and then vice president biden put out a statement saying russia is naked in front of the entire world. the entire world is against this. guess what? the naked guy still has crimea. so president obama and his allies tossed russia out of the
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g 8. that didn't do anything. and so i think when you talk about as jake sullivan did at the white house today, we're prepared to do things we were not prepared to do in 2014. that reflects the impact of president -- now president biden having lived through that experience and seeing how feckless the efforts turned out to be. >> biden is dealing with another rival in china. do you think biden's handling of russia and ukraine will influence how china moves forward with its own ambitions? >> there is definitely some relationship there. it not very close but there is some relationship because there are some analogies between those two situations where you have china threatening to invade taijuan, a democracy in east asia and of course, you have russia threatens to invade ukraine. they're taking the read and measure of president biden and certainly if president biden lets russia get away with an
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invasion of ukraine, i think that may very well embolden china to act more provocatively with regard to taijuan and vice versa is biden is able to draw a red line on ukraine, that may dissuade china from aggression against taijuan. >> max, good to see you in person back in the studio and john, get to new york or get to d.c. and we'll see you in person, as well. thank you so much both of you. >> we'll do it. >> the omicron variant detected in 21 u.s. states and the first study of the variant in vaccinated people could be a warning sign. (calls dog) buttercup... (whines) ♪ ♪ ohh ohh ♪ - [narrator] every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft condition. without surgery, some will die. those who do survive face extreme challenges. operation smile works to heal children
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a new study out of south africa giving some of the first insight into how the omicron variant affects vaccinated people. so far omicron is detected in 20 states and more than 50 countries. i want to bring in dr. peter hotez. thank you for joining us. >> thanks for having me, don. >> break this down for us, let start with what this study shows for people who have gotten the pfizer vaccine, two shots. what can you tell us? what does it tell you? >> well, the first point to make
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is this is not a true vaccine effectiveness study. this is a laboratory experiment where what you do is take blood from individuals who have been vaccinated and you confirm that it neutralizes the virus that it was intended for in the laboratory and you compare those virus neutralizing antibodies to the omicron variant, and what it shows is not surprising that it confirms that people who have gotten two doses of the pfizer vaccine indeed neutralized the original but there a special drop in the neutralizing antibodies 40 fold. that may seem like an extraordinary amount but in virology, we deal in log values so the partial good news is that the antibodies didn't disappear entirely or a 1,000 fold decrease so theres
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some fectiveness. with two doses of the vaccine, in many cases it's below the level we would feel comfortable saying it will protect against omicron. the first lesson is almost certainly everyone that got two doses will need a third dose and we should think about the covid vaccine now as a three-dose vaccine and we do not have the data yet on the individuals who have gotten three doses but what we do have is individuals that have been infected before and then got vaccinated and seem to do better than the two doses. so let's stop there and see what questions you got. >> so someone that had the covid virus before and two shots, what about someone like me that never had covid and had the booster? >> so, that's the big question everybody wants to know. so in this study, this south african scientist did not measure antibodies with people who have gotten three doses.
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so the potential good news is that we've seen a substantial rise in virus neutralizing antibody titleers, some tenfold some 30 to 40 fold. so if you're getting a 40 fold drop, there is a likelihood individuals that got three doses will be protected. but we have to confirm those experiments and all of those including those groups that make vaccines including our group, the pfizer moderna people are all now looking at individuals who have gotten those three doses. >> so doctor, cases are rising among children again even though kids 5 to 11 are eligible for the vaccine. kids' vaccines have smaller doses so what do parents need to know there? >> well, the kids even though they have gotten smaller doses, they can respond very robustly to the virus and to the vaccine. so the point is kids who have gotten two doses of the vaccine
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may be protected against the omicron variant so all of those studies are pending, as well. another key message is individuals that have gotten infected and recovered, they should certainly consider getting the vaccine on top of it because what we're seeing now are a lot of omicron reinfections in south africa so if you've only gotten infected and recovered, you've not gotten vaccinated now is the time and the new studies out of south africa show those who get vaccinated could do well against this virus. >> real quickly because i have a short amount of time left but if you got the other vaccines, moderna or j&j, what does this mean? >> we don't have the data but i would think with moderna, the results will be similar pfizer and possibly j&j. this is the first early study. you're going to see a lot of other laboratories confirm the
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results or refute the results and look at both the omicron variant and the suto virus we're getting into our labs to look at. >> thank you. appreciate it. >> thank you. jussie smollett taking the stand again to defend himself and things got tense. we've got the details after this. ♪ and my clothes smell so much fresher than before ♪ ♪ yeah, yeah ♪ ♪ i'm a ganiac, ganiac, check my drawers ♪ ♪ it's a freshness like i've never smelled before ♪ one sniff of gain flings and you'll be a gainiac too! the only detergent with oxiboost and febreze.
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jussie smollett, the former actor from the show "empire" accused of staging a phony racist, and anti-gay hate crime and claiming he was the victim. before his defense rested today, smollett took the stand for a second day, insisting the attack was real. here to discuss is joey jackson, criminal defense attorney. thanks for joining. >> of course, don. >> things got tense between smollett and the prosecutor, the cross examining him today. do you think it was a good idea for him to even take the stand? >> you know, don, in some respects he needed to because he has to explain his narrative and the story. at the same time that you do, you expose yourself to so much. like what? like the essence of the story. you're going to have to explain it, and he did when he tried to testify about look, i have come through so much in my life. i'm a musician, and i think part of that is to humanize him. and that's great. but when you get into the
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details, it gets murky. number one, you ore an actor. as a result of that, you're going to be compelling. but you're going to remind the jury not to get lost in that. what about the fact that there's $3500 that you have to account for that you gave the brothers, how do you explain that? what about the fact that the police asked you for dna to assist you in the case and you say no, because you don't do you have to explain that. what about the fact that the police just wanted your phone but you don't want to give it, you have to explain that. what about the fact that you visited the scene on the preceding days so that you can stage this, and you have to kind of explain, well, wasn't that you there? what about the fact that it's 2:00 a.m. and people know where you are. don, i could go on. so when you have to explain, explain, explain, this is way too much explaining to me to the point that the narrative is inconsistent, it does. make sense, and did you really do this. so look, i get why he took the stand. at the end of the day, actor, talented or not, it's too much
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to overcome with respect to facts that are compellingly against him. >> and that's also dan webb, as well. a very talented prosecutor. so the brothers are the only other witnesses to have testified. they're the two men who say jussie smollett paid them to carry out the attack to get media attention. the jury has heard both stories. is this going to end up about who the jury finds most credible, not just, you know, the humanization part of jussie smollett, but who is most credible, the brothers or smollett? >> yeah. so it comes down, of course, trials come down to credibility with respect to who's reliable, who's telling the truth, who's believable, et cetera. but it also comes down to what factual scenario would make sense to you? when you examine the scenario, the $3500 that you have a transaction from, was that for transitional supplements or because you paid it off?
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a text message that says i want to meet with you brothers, is that about something or this incident? footage of you at that event, in that particular location where this occurred, is that because you were planning it, or just simply a coincidence? the fact that you didn't want to cooperate with the police, again, i could continue. but what i'm saying to you, yes, it comes down to credibility. but it comes down to what all of us attorneys preach to jurors. we know what stories are like, we know what makes sense and about good judgment. we know all about that. at the end of the day, if you put the two things together, which narrative is more compelling to you, ladies and gentlemen. so it comes down to, a, credibility. and to a narrative, which is consistent with reality. and if that narrative sin consistent with reality, as i have to objectively say, i think mr. smollett's narrative, is i think the jury then, you know, renders a different conclusion. >> having said that, closing is tomorrow. the jury is set to deliberate. what do you expect to hear,
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joey? says expect to hear the prosecutor say, ladies and gentlemen, look at all the facts and surrounding circumstances. i would submit to you, you will see this is an individual who faked a hate crime. this is an individual who had a noose around his neck when the police came, but he put it back on. this was an individual who planned this whole hoax and he was involved with these two brothers. this is not about the narrative that mr. smollett would have you believe, about i didn't want to cooperate with the police because they're in bed with trump, and i don't do, and these people hate me. of course, if you're the defense, you're going to argue mr. smollett is the victim here, make no mistake about it. the fact is that he was preyed upon by these brothers, these brothers don't make sense, the $3500 is explainable as a result of it being a payment for something other than this isnef he engaged in, and why wouldn't my client mistrust the police?
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because he didn't believe they believed his story. so those are the things you'll hear. we know the jurors will make the ultimate conclusion. i just think that the facts here are pretty much on the prosecutor's side. but we'll see what the jury has to say, because they're the ones that matter. >> not to mention where two maga guys that supposedly did this. thank you, joey. thanks for watching, everyone. our coverage continues. to relieve occasional nerve aches, weakness and discomfort. try nervivenerve relief. what if you could have the perspective to see more? at morgan stanley, a global collective of thought leaders offers investors a broader view. ♪ we see companies protecting the bottom line by putting people first. we see a bright future, still hungry for the ingenuity of those ready for the next challenge.
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good evening. a lot to report tonight on the january 6th investigation. three big stories, all speaking to how busy the house select committee has been but also how much work still lies a


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