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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  January 20, 2022 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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and good evening from washington. as the biden administration tries to hit reset after a significant but bruising year heading into what could be a punishing mid-term election. last night's senate defeat of voting rights legislation underscores the position president biden finds himself in a year into office, on the delta and omicron surges which left americans unsure of the future, short on consumer goods, angry at school officials and sour on the president and his party. starting off this hour "the new york times" opinion columnist brett stevens. i appreciate you joining us. i really enjoyed your article. just in general how do you perceive president biden's next year in office based on what you've heard from him just in the past 36 hours? do you think he gets what's gone wrong in the first year?
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>> well, my hope is that the press conference, anderson, was a piece of bravado so as not to appear weak but he gets the message if he doesn't change his administration not just tonally or in terms of communication but in terms of substance, the democratic party is going to be in great trouble. it's going to be very difficult to see him winning a re-election or anyone in the democratic party winning a re-election. and so i think there has to be some real sobriety on his part about the failures of his first year in office because they're quite serious. >> you know, often we hear from white houses where people say when they run into trouble it's a communication issue. we need to tell our story better, we need to get out there and promote what we've been doing. it's often much deeper than that. in your column you lay out a 5 point plan essentially for the administration to try to turn
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things around starting with a change of staff around the president. who do you think needs to go? >> well, one of the striking factors for me, anderson, has just been the political incompetence of the administration. you have a president who's spent close to 50 years in washington making really basic mistakes, and ultimately the responsibility lies with the president himself. he's not going to go. but there should be a chief of staff who makes sure that some of these unforced errors never happen again. and i think the president has, frankly, been ill served by his chief of staff, ron klain. he's by all accounts a very loyal assistant. just as george h.w. bush had jim baker and ronald reagan had howard baker, i think the president needs someone who's a peer figure. i suggested tom dashal, the former senate majority leader.
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but there are other senior democrats who come to mind. i remember when clinton was in trouble he got people like leon panetta to come to his rescue and that was an effective step. so he needs to surround himself with staffers who are willing to stand up to him when they think he's wrong. >> how does somebody who has spent dozens of years on capitol hill and in washington make unforced errors given that experience? >> well, that's one of the -- one of the mysteries of this administration. i mean, i -- i wrote this column as someone who voted for biden and wishes the president well. people know i'm a senate right never trump columnist and i want this presidency to succeed. and one of the reasons i think many americans were hopeful about the biden administration is he seemed like a return to business as usual, a return to a safe pair of hands who understood not just the
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mechanisms of governance and the art of politics but also had an ability to get along with the other -- with the party not in power, which his predecessor obviously lacked. and that just hasn't been here. so someone has to find -- go and look for the real joe biden and bring him out of whatever white house room he's been hiding. >> it's interesting because during his press conference yesterday of almost some two hours, you know, he talked about mitch mcconnell and how mitch mcconnell is just focused on opposing everything he does as if it would be some sort of a surprise. i mean, mitch mcconnell famously had said that about president obama and president biden had a front row seat to that. >> well, right. and it's usually the task of the party and the opposition in particular this republican party to oppose the president. but one of the things i think the president has misjudged early on for a variety of reasons is he misjudged his mandate. he thought he had a mandate to
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be a transformational president. lbj could be a transformational president when he had an overwhelming majority in both houses of congress. president obama had a moment to be transformational during his first two years in office when he also had a broad majority in the senate. president biden doesn't have that transformational opportunity. so he misunderstood it and he went too far. there are areas and i think bill clinton is a good model. there are actually areas where the president could reach agreement with the republicans. the infrastructure bill was a bipartisan bill i think of regulating big tech and maybe going big on immigration reform, trade and border security for citizenship for dreamers and a path to citizenship rather. at least that gives him some -- some political breeze and an advantage, which he doesn't have by doubling down on build back better. >> one of the things you wrote, though, that surprised me you
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think biden should announce now he's not going to run for re-election. if he does that, doesn't that make him kind of a lame duck? doesn't that suck out a lot of his power? >> well, i mean, this is a column i actually wrote back in -- back in december. the president, i think, already is a lame duck. i think there's a presumption in washington that the president is not going to or is unlikely to run for re-election at 82 years of age. it's a taxing job. i remember when i was young people had questions about ronald reagan's stamina when he was much, much younger than biden is now. so i think the president in a sense already is seen as a lame duck. the presidency itself has a great deal of power, and he can rise above the politics and at the same time allow the democratic party and some of the more interesting people in his own administration to start looking at their own presidential prospects. i think somebody like pete buttigieg or mitch landrieu, all of them locked up in the cabinet who ought to be exciting the
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democratic base. otherwise i think the democrats are in an even deeper political hole. >> you think he will not run again? >> i think i'm not the only one who thinks that. and there's just a question about when it's advisable to announce the fact. >> brett stevens, i really appreciate your time tonight. thank you. >> thanks, anderson. >> for more perspective now joining us gloria borger and evan osnos. and we should note everyone appearing on the set tonight has tested negative for covid in the last 24 hours, which i'm very happy unt. >> me, too. >> what did you make of what brett stevens was saying. >> i think joe biden could run again if donald trump runs and they'd both be two old guys. >> could he get rid of some of his staff? >> well, i think he's not going
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to, and i think he may do a lot of retooling. but it's interesting what brett was talking about he thought of himself as transformational and overwrite his mandate. i think that's all true. when he first started talking about his candidacy he was talking about being a transitional president. remember i'm just going to be the bridge to the next generation. in talking to people at the white house i think what changed all of that was covid. and he thought there was such a crisis in the country that they had to do more than he could have ever imagined. and so you have the american rescue plan and build back better, which was too big. and he became a captive of that because of the state the country was in -- >> is he a captive of that or a captive of the left wing of it party? >> that's right. i think the irony is that instead of being the middle of the road uniter he became a captive of the left wing because he wanted to do so much and so did they.
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and so instead of looking like he was leading, he look like he was following. >> evan, you've written a book about biden and you've studied everything he's ever said. where's he at now? >> i think to gloria's point he got elected across a party that was deceptively unified. it really wasn't unified. he was elected on the basis of the fact let's be blunt, he was not donald trump. and i think that gave everybody a bit of a false sense of how much momentum he had going in. now here we are a year later and the most important words in some ways yesterday out of that press conference were the words frustration and fatigue which is what he acknowledged at the outset. that's what people really need to hear from him now about how they're feeling. and in a sense that's the joe biden that was elected, the guy that can hear that. >> i think he's frustrated and tired, too. >> no question. aren't we all? >> right. but he could say look at what i've done for you, unemployment is so low, i've created 6.4 million jobs and nobody is giving me any credit for it.
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>> we've heard so many administrations they begin to struggle and they start saying we're not selling our message well enough, we've got to get out there and sell it. is that really what they should be doing? >> you have to sell it, but also you have to do more. and you have to say to people i hear you, we're worried about the pandemic, too, here's what we're dog -- doing for you. and when, you know, less than a third of the country believes you're on the right track, you are doing something wrong. it is not just the message. it is that the people want to see, okay, inflation is really hurting me and what are you going to do about that and how are you going to talk about that? i mean, the irony here is this a president who's supposed to have empathy as a super power, and he hasn't been showing it. >> he's talked about being if the white house recently as a gilded cage. he really is feeling penned up in washington. it's the mid-term year. he's going to be going around and talking to people.
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>> i think it was brett making the point that the whole idea of his administration was competence, that he's been in washington, he knows these people, he's done deals on capitol hill, he's been in those rooms. >> i think in some ways joe biden bet on a senate that no longer exists. this is a place he loves, he counted on it and we saw it yesterday even democrats within his own party weren't there in the moments he needed them. but he does have an opportunity. brett hit on a key point. there are people in this administration with a rising cohort who do represent something beyond just joe biden's america. it's the oldest cohort we've ever had. it's a chance to actually in this next year give some voice to people who might have a chance to reflect the next generation of democratic politics. >> but i think what we also heard yesterday was the sort of cry of the mid-terms which biden had at the press conference which was talking to republicans and saying what are you for. and that signals maybe he's not
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going to be able to cut those deals because he's going to go out and try to make sure democrats don't have an avalanche of losses. >> what is the logistics or how his staff works? a lot of those people have been with him for a long time. it's benefitting that they know him well. they also then are beholden to him and are people speaking truth to power? >> i think that's brett's point and i think it's a very good one. these people are loyal to joe biden to a fault, and they've been with him for decades and decades as evan knows. and i'm sure they say, mr. president, maybe you ought to adjust this or adjust that. but he doesn't have any anybody to say to him that's just not going to work who's a peer. and that's because he's 79 years old. and maybe it's an old peer -- he suggested tom dashal, maybe it's
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someone from the senate who he knew. but these are people he does trust, who do know him, but i think he's the leader. and i don't think they say no to him very often. >> yeah, i wouldn't expect him to start chucking people overboard. he's a loyal guy. >> appreciate it. thanks so much. more now on the question of the president's chief of staff ron klain, no doubt he's played an essential role in the administration's first year and that means being part of the victories and defeats. more now from cnn's correspondent jeremy diamond. >> reporter: from big wins to tough setbacks, the story of president biden's first year in office can't be told without ron klain, the powerful white house chief of staff who's been central to biden's presidency. >> i think we've had a year of historic accomplishment. >> reporter: a powerful gate coper and top adviser, his finger prints are all over biden's first year in office.
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he talks daily with democratic leaders, and he's been a liaison to key progressives. like congresswoman jayapal, as well as senator joe manchin. >> ron is always responsive when you call him. >> reporter: that hands on approach earned him credit but also shared blame as biden's legislative agenda has stalled. >> i think he would say when you're the chief of staff you get some of the credit, maybe way too much at times, you get all of them and that's part of the deal. >> reporter: the blame game intensified last month after manchin said he couldn't back the president's build back better plan, pinning the blow up on the staff clairn -- klain runs. >> it's not the president, it's the staff. they drove some things and put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable. >> why was he so personally insulted by what happened before christmas break? >> well, you'll have to ask senator manchin that. we worked very well with senator manchin. i really enjoyed getting to know him this year. >> reporter: as sinking poll numbers drive finger pointing, klain has found himself in the cross hairs. one prominent democrat who
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speaks regularly with biden telling cnn if i was down this much in my ratings, i'd have a new chief of staff. he's also become a favorite target of republicans, who paint him as a boogeyman driving biden further left. >> ron klain has an army of twitter trolls he's decided our reality and decided to have president biden become something completely different than the person who ran for office last year or served decades in the united states senate. >> reporter: some republicans even labeling him prime minister klain. >> i don't think he's being told what to do or directed what to do by anybody. the suggestion that things like universal pre-k or investment in addressing the climate crisis are only the agenda of the progressive wing of the party, that's just not accurate. >> reporter: klain has been at biden's side for decades from the senate to the vice-presidency. >> how does that long-standing relationship translate to the
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white house and his work as chief of staff? >> sometimes in meetings when we need a translation what the president needs or wants or asking for, ron knows exactly what he's thinking. >> reporter: chris whipple, an expert on white house chiefs of staff gives klain high marks. >> he's been a really effective white house chief. i think if you asked all the former living white house chiefs of staff, and i have, about ron klain, they will tell you no one has ever been more qualified for the position. >> reporter: and for now biden isn't eyeing a staff shakeup. >> are you satisfied with your team at the white house, sir? >> i'm satisfied with the team. >> reporter: so there's no staff shake-up on the horizon but there is a change in some strategies the white house is employing, specifically passing the build back better plan the president has talked about breaking that up into chunks. and ron klain himself is talking about a change in strategy, talking less publicly about individual meetings, that was a lesson learned from some issues that happened with senator joe
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manchin. and president biden himself says he'll be involved less directly in those negotiations. raising the stakes for ron klain in the coming year. >> appreciate it. coming up next new reporting what the house select committee wants to ask the former president's daughter. and later, after voting legislation was blocked in the senate, we'll talk about a new proposal which could get some bipartisan support into heading off another attempt at stealing an election.
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committee. new york's attorney general suggesting she identified significant evidence of possible fraud at the trump organization. so what exactly does the committee want? >> so ivanka trump is not just his daughter, she's a senior advisor. she's a first-hand fact witness. what was he saying? what was he doing? what wasn't he doing? we all know that from past reporting that staffers were asking her to come in during the riot on january 6th to try to get him to call off the riot. what did he say to her? what was going on? number two, the committee has some intriguing new information that they have put in this letter. and that is that we know for the first time that ivanka trump was in the oval office the morning of january 6th when former president trump is pressuring
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mike pence on the phone trying to get him to overturn the election. she is a witness to his trying to get pence to overthrow the election. finally, this is -- this letter is really worth reading. it's 8 pages. it's highly footnoted. and there's a lot of new testimony from trump loyalists and new text messages. and i want to read one exchange. this is from outside the white house. quote, is someone getting to potus? he has to tell protesters to dissipate. someone is going to get killed. response from white house staff
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member, i've been trying for the last 30 minutes, literally stormed an outer oval to get him to put out the first one. it's completely insane. and i'm told by sources familiar with the investigation what we're seeing in this letter is the tip of the iceberg. >> there's a lot more like this. >> there is a lot more. >> what reason does the committee have to believe she would voluntarily cooperate? >> no reason. look, i think the chances are slim to none. we discussed this about kevin mccarthy, rudy giuliani, but they have to go on the record and ask these people. i think it'll be interesting to see if they subpoena her down the road. but this letter lays out -- it gives you a glimpse behind the curtain of how much they know. >> we're also seeing in this letter new text messages or previously unseen text messages from sean hannity and another member of the trump white house. >> so i think what's critical here is i am told these are not from mark meadows, these text messages. >> okay. >> this is press secretary kayleigh mcenany who went in to
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testify and is cooperating. it is apparent from this exchange that they have her text messages. and let me read you part of this exchange. it's interesting because here is sean hannity once again giving advice to the white house. >> not just advice but a point by point -- >> 5-point plan what they need to do. this is january 7, the day after january 6. he says, quote, no more stolen election talk. that's point number 1. point number 2, yes, impeachment and 25th amendment are real and many people will quit. these are going to be critical points. in response kayleigh mcenany replies, quote, love that, thank you, that is the play book, i will help reinforce. i want to add one more. there's another exchange where hannity says key now, no more crazy people. and kayleigh mcenany says, yes,
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100%. i think it's fair to say the crazy people have stuck around since january 7th. >> and also for sean hannity to be saying no more stolen election talk, wow, that's -- >> his advice hasn't worked. >> nor has it been part of programming of a number of these other networks. it's fascinating. i want to bring in cnn legal analyst and former impeachment counsel norm eisen. and joining us as well elliott williams, former deputy attorney general during the obama administration. ambassador eisen, what do you make of what the committee is asking of ivanka trump? >> anderson, this issue of the 187 minutes when president trump failed to make a statement, when you made an oath to defend your country and your nation is under attack inaction legally, morally is the same as
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action. the committee is honing in on that. second, the additional details -- this is an appetizer. this is a land yap. >> what's a land yap? >> new orleans for appetizer. >> okay. i didn't know that. >> you should. i'm very surprised, anderson. all our years together. >> i'm not a foodie. >> it's an amuse bouche. they are setting the table for the rampup to the bigger confrontations to come. we went through this impeachment that trump come and testify. of course, he didn't do that in impeachment. and then the additional information going to come out and we now have these about 750 documents from the national archives that are very likely going to have startling new revelations. and then the third thing that really stands out to me about
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this letter is the extent of the interviews that they've had, kayleigh mcenany, keith kellogg, the people from mike pence's circle. they have a treasure trove of information. and these hearings have been very important in american history, if you think back to watergate. this is bigger scandal because we've never had a president countenance and incite an attack on his own government before. >> elie, what stood out for you from this letter? >> the keith kellogg national security adviser. the fact that they have the transcript of the conversation that took place, they're just using ivanka trump to fill in the gaps there. whether she comes in or not they still have a record of the conversation from the white house, number one. number two, 2:24 p.m. the president sends a tweet going after mike pence and attacking him and saying mike pence doesn't have the courage to do what he needed to do. and they know a number of rioters read that tweet, the
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president is telling us these are the actions we need to take, he's speaking to us. they could speak to ivanka trump to fill in the gaps about what happened before and leading up to that tweet to 2:24 p.m., what was the president thinking, saying, doing? what were other people advising him? was he aware, for instance, the white house council's office had expressed concerns about whether the president's actions were illegal and so on. so you can use that testimony to fill in some very important gaps. and again, as norman said this is an excruciating detail here what they already have. >> we know the january 6th committee has already begun to receive documents from the national archives. how much more are we talking about? and also i talked to a guy who worked the national archives a long time ago who said there's no one forcing people to hand over documents or taking documents. it's voluntary. but it's actually --
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>> it's a felony. >> it's a felony if they don't. >> and the committee actually included at the end of today's letter a three-page memo from then white house council don mcgahn telling everybody who works at the white house you have to hand this over. this is a reminder to ivanka trump, if you did any business on your personal cellphone and you did not hand that over, you better. it's a felony. i want to add one thing on the national archives. we know about four traunches of documents, about 750 pages. i am told there is a fifth and sixth tranche that is likely to be as many more documents. >> wow. >> so all together that's 1,500 pages at the national archives. it is going through the pipeline. will trump try to fight that? the supreme court has ruled if he fights it i'm told he's not going to win.
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but it looks like they're going to have 1,500 pages of documents from the national archives. >> i mean, the fact that if they have this text exchange about the person saying it's insane, there's no telling what anybody else -- it just sounds like there's going to be a lot of text messages they already have. >> correct. to your point they have had people from trump's inner circle who have voluntarily handed over text messages. they do not -- national archives is icing on the cake. they already have an incredible amount from the inner circle top white house advisers. donald trump cannot be happy. >> elliott, in georgia we've been reporting about the grand jury plan. how difficult -- why would they impanel a grand jury -- is it just to be able to force -- >> right, a few things. she probably tried to get the
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testimony out of some witnesses that just didn't comply. this is far more aggressive way of getting information out of them. number one, you can compel testimony. number two, compel documents. the bigger thing is that grand juries usually expire after a certain point whether it's a couple weeks or a couple months. this can extend a very long time and is only focused on one subject as opposed to lots of little different cases at the same time. so it's focused, targeted and aggressive. >> thank you. coming up we are hearing from president biden tonight on the voting rights battle after his party's loss. are republicans ready to offer an olive branch by changing a pretty obscure law? democratic congresswoman lisa blunt of rochester joins me here in washington next.
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a short time ago on this night marking his first year in office looking ahead, president biden addressed fellow democrats about the defeat on voting rights in the senate. >> it's going to be a fight. i know we're disappointed by last night's vote. kamala and i are deeply disappointed, but we're not deterred. we're going to keep pushing. we're not going to give up. >> while the president and his party regroup, there's growing bipartisan support for changes in how the government oversees elections. at stake, the electoral count act. that would mean limiting congress' ability to throw out
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certified electoral votes. the senate's top republican, mitch mcconnell, is open to the idea so is the white house. axios reports some democrats are concerned it could reduce the urgency of passing voting rights legislation. with me now is lisa blunt rochester of delaware. do you share those concerns? it's a law from like 1887 i think. >> first of all, anderson, thank you for having me. this is a really big day, it being the one-year anniversary of this president. and i can say how proud i am to have been there day one. as you ask the question about the voting rights and where we go from here, i think all things are on the table. but why those bills yesterday were so important and why we can't give up on those bills are because the one that we're talking about, the electoral vote piece, that's after people have stood in line -- >> that's just focusing on certain -- >> exactly. and while that's important and something we should pursue,
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we've got to keep all our pressure on the john lewis voting le rights act as well as the freedom to vote act. >> given the make-up in congress and given what happened yesterday, how can you be optimistic? >> well, let me just say this. i actually went to the senate floor and i sat there for hours with members of the congressional black caucus, such as our chairwoman, joyce batie and others, members of the delegation, even john sarbanes, the person who co-authored the for the people act. we sat there, we took turns. and, you know, while it was a day that was a day of disappointment, it was also a day that was important for us for people to do something, to be on the record, to vote for something so that we can continue to press on. so there was disappointment, frustration. but for me that means we've got to redouble our efforts. and i was so much reminded of
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john lewis. i mean, i looked around that room. i looked across the aisle. i listened and i thought about the fact that a lot of people don't realize that this precious right as he called it is so sacred to so many of us because we know our power lies in that vote. and it's the equalizer for us. >> you're a big supporter of president biden from delaware. are you concerned that, you know, we have brett stevens on earlier talking about some ideas for a reset, some ways that the president could perhaps pivot to kind of regain some momentum? do you think there needs to be changes of staff to the white house? what do you think needs to happen? >> you know, i think, first of all, we all need to take a step back and recognize that this whole country is in the midst of a pandemic.
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and i think a lot of times, you know, we have this expectation somebody's popularity is going to be why when people are really going through things. i know when i decided to run it was after the unexpected passing of my husband. and for that whole year until i decided to run i was sad, i was mad. i don't care if the sun was shining, if my neighbor was happy. so we've got to first recognize people are still going through. secondly, we can't forget the incredible accomplishments that did happen. this president came in with dual crises happening, an economic crisis as well as a health crisis. and to me i thought about it. it was three things. we had to recover financially and health wise. he had to help us and all of us rebuild, and then we have to restore our faith and confidence in each other, restore our standing in the world. so there was a lot to accomplish. he passed the american rescue plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. and i don't want people to forget we have a long way to go,
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but we've come so far in such a short amount of time, historic wins for this president. >> congresswoman, thank you so much. ahead, new controversy for retired pope benedict xvi. what a new report shows him failing to deal with child sexual abuse by priests long before he led the catholic church worldwide and how he is responding tonight. next. well, would you look at th? jerry, you gotta see this. seen it. trust me, after 15 walks... gets a little old. i really should be retired by now. wish i'd invested when i had the chance... to the moon! ugh. unbelievable.
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retired pope benedict xvi is expressing his, quote, pain and shame. a new report finds the pope emeritus ignored child sex abuse decades agent. benedict can be accused of misconduct in four cases. some of the abusers remained active in pastoral care. he's denied claims he covered up
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abuse. we're joined tonight from rome. talk to me about this report and what it actually found. >> so, anderson, this report is 1,800 pages. it spans 75-year period in the archdioceses of munich. it was looking specifically at sexual abuse from that period of 1945 to 2019 commissioned by the archdioceses of munich, so the catholic church in munich but conducted by an independent law firm. the principal findings according to investigators today as you mentioned are four cases of mismanagement on the part of the pope emeritus when he was archbishop in munich. in two of those cases, anderson, they say that the perpetrators were punished by civil courts in germany but not subsequently by the archdioceses. just to give you an idea of the scale of this report in just one of those cases runs 370 pages including the testimony of the
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pope emeritus, which obviously he participated in and gave his written testimony about what he knew about the cases and maintaining that he did not mishandle anything. but clearly there is a lot of detail that still needs to be combed through. another important finding has to do with the current archbishop of munich, cardinal marx. he is a good friend and advisor to pope francis. he's the man who commissioned the report in the first place. he has also been found to have mishandled two cases during his tenure. anderson? >> is pope benedict pushing back at all about what came out in this report? and how's the vatican reacting? >> reporter: well, we had a statement from pope benedict today by his personal secretary expressing as you mentioned his pain and shame with regard to sexual abuse on the part of priests. and in particular with regard to this report he said that he will be reading it with due attention in the coming days.
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they just received the report this afternoon. a similar statement from the vatican today saying that they will also be giving attention to the report and reading through it. so we are expecting, obviously, a more detailed response. it's important to keep in mind that this report was commissioned by them. so in other words they accepted to put their record out there. and so can't be too surprised that now they'll have to respond to the findings of the investigation. >> yeah. thank you so much from rome tonight. i appreciate it. up next president biden isn't the only one marking one year in the white house. the first lady on what she hopes to accomplish next. ed. it senses your movements and automatically adjusts to relieve pressure points. and it's temperature balancing so you both sleep just right. save $1,000 on the sleep number 360 special edition smart bed, queen now $1,999. plus, 0% interest for 24 months. looking to get back in your type 2 diabetes zone? once-weekly ozempic® can help.
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jill biden according to a source in the coming weeks she's going to announce a heightened campaign to fight cancer and also help to some degree with the mid-term elections. more on the first lady now with our correspondent kate bennett. >> reporter: jill biden marking one year as first lady in a familiar place, on the road. thursday it was new jersey to talk about education. and after a lengthy and at times controversial press conference from the president the day before, supporting her husband. >> but i want you to know this because i feel this so strongly, you were right to put your faith in my husband joe one year ago. because when he goes to bed at night and when he wakes up every single morning he thinks about how he can help american families. >> reporter: being messenger for the president and his policies has been a big part of biden's busy year.
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putting her literally and figuratively all over the map, appearing at more than 150 events, talking up everything from schools and cancer research to military families, free community college, the american rescue plan, and the importance of getting vaccinated. biden has put more domestic miles on her plane than even the president and vice president. going to a whopping 35 states this year to the president's 28. >> of course you can. the boss is going to say something to you. >> reporter: when the president isn't on the road, jill often is. >> first lady is not a role that we necessarily choose, and i know what it's like to have a husband who has ten ideas for how to change the world before you've even had that first cup of coffee. >> reporter: she has been joe biden's hype woman. >> i think he's so prepared. he's been studying for weeks. joe loves foreign policy.
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this is his forte. >> reporter: going to states that did not vote for her husband like kentucky where the first lady on friday visited residents dealing with the aftermath of last month's deadly tornados. >> it will take time to make this beautiful place whole again, but what we've seen, what we've all seen today is there is faith here, too. >> reporter: she's crisscrossed america urging people to get the vaccine. >> we're going to fight for everyone, so i'm asking all of you who are listening right now to choose to get vaccinated. >> reporter: she's used her easy approachability, her call me jill attitude to try to bring together a divided nation in a year that even this season a political spouse has found challenging in an october speech revealing the job has not been easy. quote, there are times when the
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role of first lady pushes you to show up even when it's uncomfortable. we aren't elected. we have to define this role for ourselves, and we are thrust into a national spotlight in a way none of us could have anticipated. at 70 biden is the oldest sitting first lady in modern history, not that has slowed her down. there are more events, more trips and more messages to deliver. >> now, i know that we still have a long way to go, and we knew this would be difficult. we knew we wouldn't be able to rebuild overnight. >> reporter: kate bennett, cnn, washington. >> we'll be right back.
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growing up, bilal was obsessed, obsessed with superman! not because he could fly, but because superman stood up for people. maybe it's because of our family's own immigrant story, or he's just that nerdy. throughout his career in the obama administration and the private sector, bilal has never stopped helping others. we don't need a superhero to solve san francisco's biggest problems like crime and homelessness, just the innovation and courage to lead. join me. thanks for joining us for this special two-hour edition of 360. from washington the news continues. let's turn things over to don and don lemon tonight. don?