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tv   CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell  CNN  January 26, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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hello, everyone. welcome to newsroom. >> it's good to be with you. we are beginning with the breaking news that will have legal and political ramifications in this country for decades. a source tells cnn that supreme court justice briar plans to retire and that means president biden will have a chance to make his first nomination to the bench. >> he reportedly plans to announce his retirement tomorrow
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at the white house. he plans to stay on until the end of the term in june and until a replacement is confirmed. he is 83 years old and the oldest and most senior liberal justice. he was nominated in 1994 by president clinton. with us now is jessica schneider. tell us what more we know about his decision. >> we know he understands the political realities of this moment for democrats. he is someone who previously worked for the senate judiciary committee before becoming a judge and has said in the past he would consider two things when deciding to leave. his health and the court. so with no known health issues, it's clear the court's -- is his main focus. he's been facing unrelenting political pressure over the past year from progressives. they have been demanding he step down to leave plenty of time for
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president biden to name a successor, but at the same time, he has been really outspoken about the perils of viewing the supreme court politically. he published a book in september where he did express that concern that if the public viewed the court as overtly political that it would ultimately erode faith in the supreme court. as the oldest justice on the court and as someone who has felt this pressure for the past year, he's saying yes, he will retire. he's going to stay through the end of the term, which ends in june and until a successor is confirmed. there's ultimately a lot of work left for this court to do in the next five months. huge eissues are pending. abortion, gun rights. those were his cases heard late last year. they're still awaiting a decision which he'll obviously weigh in on, play a part in, especially after we've seen in the past few weeks, he joined really in some fiery dissents with his two fellow liberals. those were on issues of the
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vaccine mandate, the texas abortion law. so a lot of work left for him on the bench and now of course a lot of work for the white house as they prepare to decide on a nominee and go through that process. >> so president biden was just asked about the news. here's what he said. >> an opportunity to decide what he or she is going to go and announce it on their own. there has been no announcement from justice briar. let him make whatever statement he's going to make and i'll be happy to talk about it later. thank you so much. >> so the big question is who will the president nominate to replace the justice. cnn chief white house correspondent kaitlyn collins is here. >> that's going to be the major question facing president biden because of course, every candidate who runs for office who runs for the presidency and becomes president always has a list and idea in the back of
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their mind of who they would nominate if they get this opportunity and with this news that justice briar will be retiring, this is a huge opportunity for president biden to make his first nominee since he has taken office a year ago so that's going to be the major decision facing president biden and there he declined to really go into detail. that's because we're told they are waiting for a formal announcement, which is expected to happen here at the white house tomorrow with justice briar. that's typically how you've seen justices announce these. h he knows the timing is going to be everything given the midterms. so that is going to be the big question facing president biden though he has given an idea of who he would like to see on the supreme court. >> if i'm elected president have
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an opportunity to appoint someone to the courts, i'll appoint the first black woman to the courts. it's long overdue. putting together a list of group of african american who are qualified and have the experience to be in the court. i am not going to release that until we go further down the line. >> it is one the where he still stands by the commitment to put the first black woman on the supreme court. so the question of who the nominee is going to be is the big one. he is going to go to capitol hill to get that person confirmed. they would have to get all 50 democrats to vote yes in favor of president biden's nominee and it's going to put president biden in an interesting position. he has been the chairman of the senate judiciary committee for so many of these hearings in the past including justice breyer.
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now it will be up to president biden to make the pick of who could potentially replace him. >> thank you so much. let's bring in joan, laura, and cnn chief political correspondent, dana bash. joan, let me start with you. i just went back and watched your interview with justice breyer in october and you asked him the question, does it irk him when people bring up this retirement talk? i want to play that then we'll talk about his response. >> the truth is you can always hope for your mature self and this is a country in which every day i see this in the document, but number one, it's called freedom of speech. >> so you think let them say what they want. >> oh, i do believe that. >> but you must be irked somehow. this must drive you nuts a little bit, right?
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>> please. >> i didn't mean to slip into an informal way of asking a question, justice breyer. >> i was thinking of harry truman. if it's too hot, get out of the kitchen. >> a little laugh there by justice breyer. i wonder when you saw the alert he was going to retire, was there any sign of that in that discussion? >> i knew he had been struggling with this. i knew it was time. and it was just a matter of when he would tell the president and i think that the way he is doing this really shows the kinds of concerns he has about the process. to tell the president of the united states in january before he'll be actually leaving in june, is giving the president lots of time to name a successor and to avoid getting caught up in the partisan hostilities that i know justice breyer has been concerned about. he resisted the pressure last term to leave because everybody
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was thinking about what happened ruth bader ginsburg who resisted pressure when a democrat was in the white house and president obama had a democratic senate then she died and her successor, amy coney barrett, has transformed this court. so justice breyer didn't want that to happen although he really likes his job and wanted to stay as long as he could. by choosing january to reveal this, he's giving the white house plenty of time and the over thing you should know is he's conditioning it on the replacement of a successor because he doesn't want the court to be left with eight justices. so i know he has been weighing this for a long time. it was just a matter of when he was going to just accept the fact that he's had a long, important tenure. 28 years on the supreme court. he's 83. he doesn't want to leave anything more to chance. especially since the senate hangs by one vote for a democratic majority.
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>> so, laura, tell us the c significance of this for the court because it won't change the balance, but of course, it will change the chemistry of the court. so what should we be looking for? >> well, it will change everything if in fact president biden makes good on his promise that he made on the campaign trial and beyond to put in place a black woman on the supreme court. the idea that he has frankly a wide number of choices of qualified black women with extraordinary experience in the legal field. the names have been fielded and already put to the plate are people who are extraordinary. they are revered for their intellect, their impartiality. they are not someone who doesn't have any experience in the practice of law. one in particular, judge wright in minnesota where i'm from. served at the state appellate level and now a district judge. that's one of the people being talked about.
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not a dearth of actual experience or integrity. the idea of why this is so important is because listen, i know we talk about this being an apolitical group of nine and they should be and they should be impartial, but they've got to bring their entire selves with them and the diversity of experience, of what their lived or legal experience is always very important in the evaluation of some of the most important cases of not only my lifetime, but my parents and my childrens lifetime. look at what's before the court right now. the idea of a ban on a woman's right to choose. the idea in mississippi where it's an overwhelmingly disproportionate impact on black and brown communities. i want to have a black woman on the bench to really evaluate that. how about affirmative action, it's important to have somebody who could render an opinion based on the law and value of precedent. that all requires there not just
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to be continued inertia of having white men who are chosen in these positions, it has to be representative of the entire community and one of the last entities to be tapped for some reason in america continues to be black women. i want to see a black woman on the bench and there are more than enough qualified ones to choose from. >> steve reminds us that of the 115 justices who served on the bench, 108 white men, two black women of those four white women and one latino, just so we know the demographics of the court. dana, one week ago at this very hour, we were standing by for a news conference from president biden and there was talk of a white house in need of a domestic reset. no movement on build back better. the voting rights bill was stuck in the mud. what does this mean for this
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president? >> it's an opportunity to deliver. it's an opportunity to deliver an a, the promise he made. at a cnn debate. i believe i was the one who asked the question and i was surprised that then candidate biden didn't just say a woman, but a black woman. he was very, very clear. and now he has the chance to show voters across the country, but i'm really interested in the voters of georgia. because the voters of georgia are the ones who are making it possible for the events that we're seeing over the last few hours because you can bet that justice breyer wouldn't have said in january that he is going to retire at the end of the term if he didn't feel confident that he, that president biden will get a replacement through a democratic-led senate. there's only a democratic-led
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senate because senator warnock was elected from georgia in a special election. who elected them? a lot of people of color, especially black women. so this is all connected on a political level. and we cannot say that enough. that so much of this is fate, but what breyer tried to do, there's so much gold in joan's interview this past fall with justice breyer. one of those little bits of gold was when he said i don't live on pluto. well, this is proof. he doesn't. he's very much here on planet earth steeped in the reality of the politics which is why he did what he did when he did it. >> it is, joan, really helpful to see your interview. just to even see who he is as a person. we see these sort of robed justices on high and we don't often, i was just fascinated watching him smile and laugh at
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some of your questions. it will change the chemistry regardless of what happens, of the court. so what role did justice breyer play that was specific and unique to him? >> he did have a specific role. he came from the legislative side. he was an aide to teddy kennedy back in the '70s on the senate judiciary committee. something he talks about all the time. you can hardly have a conversation with him without him referring to his years are senator kennedy. he talked about the importance of building consensus and he has told me he doesn't like dissents because they're a failure so he was trying to work more with chief justice john roberts and with the justices on the right wing and that, he, his absence will change some of the negotiations behind the scenes and the politicking behind the scenes because he at least kept trying to reach across the court aisle so to speak.
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and what this will leave is essentially, justice sotomayor will be the senior liberal on the left wing now and she, she is much more committed to liberal outcomes and i expect to hear her voice more even though she's already so pronounced, but you know, justice breyer had tried to do something the center of the court, mainly working with justice kagan in a way that separated themselves from sotomayor and ginsburg. the court will also miss someone who really believes that government can work. he was always deep into the nitty-gritty of statutes, legislative history. he liked, he sort of believed in congress. he believed in washington. and when you think of the new trump appointees, the three individuals that former president trump was able to seat, they all are very much against the regulatory power.
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we saw that obviously about ten days ago in the big osha ruling against vaccine requirements. justice breyer believes regulations help america. not that they impinged on america. that kind of voice will be away from the court, also. there's something that everybody quotes at this time. all the time. it's an adage of the late justice white who used to say you change one justice, you change the whole court and i think we'd have to be mindful of that. not only will there likely be more diversity on this bench, everyone will be reordered in a way that is affected by whoever that new individual is. >> that is such interesting context. joan, laura, dana, stand by. you've only raised more questions for us so we'll be back in a second and we're also following this breaking news. supreme court justice breyer
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plans to retire so we'll take a closer look at some of the possible replacements. >> and we're goening to look at the political fallout from this. that's next. stay with us. be kinder to yourself and tougher on your cold sores.
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ensure max protein. with thirty grams of protein, one gram of sugar, and nutrients to support immune health. more now on the breaking news. justice breyer's plans retirement. nominating a judge to the supreme court is one of the most consequential appointments the president can make. >> paula, what do we know about president biden's potential picks to replace justice breyer? >> well, on the campaign trial, biden vowed to nominate a black woman and we have seen the pressure breyer has been under for a while now to step down while democrats still hold the
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majority in congress. a list of well qualified, potential nominees has really crystallized during this breyer retirement watch. let's take a look at who made the short list. a coveted seat on the highest court in the land will soon come open as justice stephen breyer has announced his plan to retire. the question now, who will president biden pick to replace him? >> my first choice will make history as the first african american woman justice. >> a supreme court pick can be the president's most lasting legacy. justices can serve for decades. their decisions last for generations. former president trump solidified a conservative majority with his three court picks. >> i have long been told that the most important decision a president can make is the appointment of a supreme court justice. >> for breyer's spot, judge
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brown jackson is seen as the front-runner. a former supreme court clerk for breyer, she was vetted recently by biden and his team and confirmed to the d.c. circuit court of appeals to fill the seat left by garland. the move was meant to groom her for a justice position if a vacancy comes open. >> when you become a judge, you take an oath to look only at the law in deciding your cases, that you set aside your personal views about the circumstances, t the defendants or anything else. >> a close second choice is leandra krueger. she argued a dozen cases before the high court. while she has not been thoroughly vetted by the administration, she once clerked for the late justice, john paul stevens. >> i think we tend to forget
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that really conversations about these very difficult cases are confined to a very small number of people. >> other names circulating, minnesota court judge mimi wright. outstanding, president cherilyn ide ifle. lee. candace jackson and jade michelle childs. a south carolina judge who's been pushed by house majority whip, james clyburn. >> i have a high regard and sin veer appreciation for our legal system, which is the form of order in our court, our democracy. >> during the 2020 campaign, clyburn gave him the endorsement he needed after biden promised to appoint a black woman. >> this country is an an inflection point. it is time for us to restore this country's dignity. >> the eventual nominee will likely face a daunting
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confirmation process. breyer told several people who nudged him to retire that the confirmation process shouldn't be political. >> if the public sees judges as politicians in robes, its confidence in the courts and rule of law itself can only diminish. >> some democrats were worried breyer would remain on the bench and with the midterms looming, senate republicans have already raised the stakes around his retirement with five gop lawmakers telling cnn in december they would likely oppose any nominee out of this white house if they take the majority in november. it usually takes two to three months for a president to see a nominee confirmed, but the most recent nominee was confirmed in just a month and a half after senate republicans pushed to get her approved before the 2020 election. >> thank you for that. let's bring back laura coates
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and cnn chief legal correspondent, dana bash. also joining the conversation, eric. great to have all of you. laura, has paula laid out, it's an embarrassment of riches in terms of who president biden can pick given he wants to pick a black woman. are there any here from what you know that would be more problematic? that have any sort of flags that would make it harder for them to make it through a confirmation process? >> i know of none, but doesn't mean that some won't be tried to impute. and have met several times, judge wright. she is somebody who unlike anyone else in the history of minnesota served at every level of the courts. the appellate level. state supreme court court, now
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district court. i could go through every one of those women who have been named as potential nominees and sing their praises based on their intellects, reputation and impartiality alone. but again, we're talking about a system that's inherently political. here's why that's important. for the same reasons that many of the people who have been talked about have been recently confirmed, i am waiting to see to what extent somebody will bring up for example, judge brown. whether they will mention her relative infancy when it comes to being an appellate judge in d.c. circuit and comparing that to how the relative infancy was when it came to justice amy coney barrett. there was bipartisan support for several of these women in recent types. i'm wondering if there will be hypocrisy going forward about when suddenly it comes to the highest court in the land, their ability and credibility will be challenged. it will be very interesting to see how they do this, but as dana mentioned, it's so important to think about the
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timing of this. i think it was justice breyer's nod giving ample amount of time to consider this. but the democratic party i'm sure has been wondering what is t going to be that will galvanize voters that will have the same type of turnout as a presidential election. i'm wondering now if this, the idea of the prospects of all that is ahead on a supreme court docket, will this be the catalyst voters need to return? voting rights on the chopping block. issues around the second amendment, issues around separation of powers and checks and balances let alone other issues of extraordinary importance. will this be the change? i think it might be. >> let's put the contenders back up on the screen. those seven women. we've never seen this in this country. where every name, every face of a potential nominee to the supreme court is a black woman. and isaac, you've got reporting on how we got to this moment and
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tell us about it. >> well, yeah, in the book i had that came out last year called battle for the soul, i report about what happened here. you've got to remember where biden's campaign was after the early primaries. he followed up on fourth in iowa, fifth in new hampshire. his campaign seemed like it was over. he went to south carolina hoping for some kind of comeback. goes to jim clyburn and clyburn says listen, i'm ready to endorse you, but you've got to do a couple of things. first, tighten up your answers and make sure you promise to nominate a black woman to the supreme court. biden says okay. the night of the debate, the cnn debate in cnn, about an hour goes by in the debate and he hasn't set it. clyburn's going crazy and during one of the breaks, he runs backstage and says to biden, you have to remember to say that and if you look at the transcript, he was asked a question about what's your personal motto and
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he starts talking about it then shoves in at the end of the answer, i think it's time to nominate a black woman to the supreme court. he knew he had to remember to -- which was key in obviously we saw what happened after the south carolina primary. >> that is such a fascinating story. i don't know if president biden has also listened to the first part of that advice either from clyburn of changing his answers. >> two-hour press conference last week. >> but this brings me to the politics of this and that is senator mitch mcconnell was on the record, i believe it was in may, saying he is 100% committed to stopping the biden administration. is there anything that senator mcconnell could do to obstruct this choice? >> no. and i'm so glad you asked that because i wanted to make this point because we're putting all of these names on the screen and i just want to make clear that you know, we've been having so many discussions about the
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filibuster. that is about the legislative filibuster. that's about bills and whether or not the minority, in this case, republicans, can block in. it's not about nominees. whether it's administration nominees or nominees for the court. that was changed by harry reid when he was just passed away when he was majority leader. it was unclear for a time whether it applied to the supreme court, but it does. that's why when i was talking in the last segment about the president thanking and democrats thanking the people of georgia, it's because that is what gave democrats the gavel. not only the votes, even though they don't even have one to spare, but the gavel. so what mitch mcconnell did during the obama administration in saying that garland wasn't going to get a hearing, he can't do that now because the democrats control the schedule. that is one of the most
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important things to keep in mind. they can get whomever the nominee is a hearing and they can get it on the floor and get the votes because you don't need a super majority. one other thing i want to point out here is that in the slew of statements that we've been getting about the reaction to justice breyer's retirement, one of the most interesting i thought was from senator graham. a long time member republican, obviously member of the judiciary committee. he effectively said i want this person to have a fair hearing and elections have consequences. that was very noteworthy for several reasons. not the least of which, it shouldn't have to be said, but he's effectively saying, oh, and joe biden won the election, which you know, put a highlight on that sentence, but also about the fact, there you go. you see elections have consequences and that is the most evident when it comes to fulfilling vacancies on the
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supreme court. one of the people on the list that we have shown, brown jackson, when she was approved for the appellate court, he voted for her and as did two other republicans. so it's not a sure thing this is going to be a totally partisan vote. >> voted to confirm both kagan and sotomayor and said the same thing then, that elections had consequences during the obama administration. the federal reserve will keep interest rates where they are, but maybe not for long. we've got new details. you gotta hustle. you gotta go the extra mile. make a name for yourself. have a firm grip. always dress for success. and you gotta show 'em who's boss. thanks for coming in. we'll get back to you. hustle, sure, but for what matters. when you do, it leads to amazing.
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now to the big economic news of the day. the federal reserve announced it will not raise interest rates right now, but signalled changes could be coming soon. >> matt, what does this mean for consumers, for americans as a whole? >> the fed just confirmed it's preparing for liftoff. the mission is to get inflation under control. the fed says it will likely be appropriate to raise rates off zero soon. that's code for probably the next meeting in march. this is a really big deal. not just because this would be
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the first rate hike in more than three years, but because it's really the most powerful way that anyone this government can push back against this really high inflation that's causing anxiety for millions of americans. in march 2020, as you can see on that chart, the fed dropped rates to zero. it went into emergency mode for the first time since the great recession. pumped trillions of dollars into the economy to try to save the economy from covid and it worked, but now, unemployment is very low and inflation is very high. the economy doesn't really need all that support from the fed. the fact that rates have been at zero and they've been buying so many bonds every month, that's arguably making inflation worse so they're trying to pull off this really dramatic reversal in policy. two big things that came out of the statement. one, the fed says their going to wrap up the bond buying program in march and that will set the stage for them to raise interest rates soon. again, likely in march. so what does that mean for main street? every day americans.
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well, it means the cost of borrowing is going to go up. it will still be cheap to take out a mortgage or use a credit card, auto loans, student loans, but just not as cheap as it's been. and good news for savers because it means interest rates on money in the bank will no longer be earning nothing. it will go up a bit and hopefully, hopefully, that this fit the fed's reversal here in policy is going to cool off inflation, which remains very high. >> all right. matt, thank you. so moments ago, secretary of state blinken announce that had the u.s. has given the kremlin its written responses aimed at preventing a russian invasion of ukraine. blinken's message to american citizens in ukraine, next. first, here are some other events we are watching today.
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this afternoon, secretary of state blinken encouraged americans in ukraine to lead amid concerns of an invasion. blinken confirmed that the u.s. just submitted written responses to the security demands russia made last week. cnn is also learning new details about western troops possibly deploying to the region. >> officials say the u.s. and western allies are discussing possibly directing troops to at least three nato countries in eastern europe before a potential russian invasion of ukraine. the sources say the move would be a show of support against putin. >> what did the u.s. say to russia in those written responses? do we know? >> well, the way secretary of state blinken described it was laying down a serious diplomatic path forward should russia choose it. what is new and different here isn't the content of what the united states is saying to russia. as we understand it, this
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proposal, these written responses to russia from the biden administration lay out areas that the united states has repeatedly pointed to in recent weeks where they think the united states and russia can work together. so those are things such as the placement of missiles in europe. arms control. things to reduce the capability for a situation to escalate. there are areas like those where they think the u.s. and russia can work together. but what was also in this document with the core principles that the united states isn't going to stray from. one of those being nato's open door policy, which essentially means that some day, ukraine could join nato and that is one thing that russia has repeatedly said they don't want to see but blinken made it very clear that that is not up for debate. listen to what he said. >> what we said publicly for many weeks and in a sense, for many years.
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that we will uphold the principle of nato's open door. nato's door is open. remains open. and that is our commitment. >> now, secretary blinken said that president biden has been intimately involved in the process that led up to this proposal that the united states gave russia saying that the president even gave some of his own edits, demonstrating just how involved president biden is in pursuing this path of diplomacy. this comes of course though as russia continues to build up its military presence along ukraine's borders and secretary blinken was very clear in saying the united states is working to evoke incredibly high costs on russia should they go forth with any such invasion. >> really interesting reporting. thank you. so today, russia brought in a number of fighter jets to belarus, which borders ukraine.
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this is according to the russian ministry of defense, which posted this video to youtube. >> nic robertson is in moscow. russia's top diplomat talked about the west, what he calls their latest aggressive lines. where else did he we hear from foreign minister? >> he was speaking to the state, the parliament here, and he was very clear in what he was saying that at that moment, he was still waiting for these written responses to arrive from the united states and nato and he laid down very clear lines and that if this isn't an area where he feels the united states and nato are being constructive, then there are going to be consequences. this is how he framed it. >> translator: if there won't be any constructive response, then the west will continue its aggressive line, then as the president has said multiple times, moscow will take appropriate response measures. in any case, everyone should proceed from the understanding
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that russia's safety and its citizens is an absolute priority and security will be provided in any circumstance. >> so probably what you didn't quite hear there, there was actually a round of applause from the doomer when he gave that speech. he didn't specifically say it was going to be a military response. we've heard that before from others who say if one of the other interesting details the look at the broad picture today just a little bit here, those other nations that might take supplement u.s. and nape toe troops that we talk about in eastern europe. just five days ago, the russian foreign ministry said all foreign troops should be pulled out of romania and bulgaria. they are getting the written proposal of how they might be areas to cooperate but are
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getting a very clear message from nato and the united states that russia's demands about where nato should deploy they are just not going to change. >> it's a very clear message with deployment to those countries if that happens. thank you so much. cnn has an exclees i interview with lisa monoco. hear what she says about the justice department investigation into the fake electoral college certification and the concern over violent crime. that's coming up. ing. a triple-lift serum with pure collagen. 92% saw visibly firmer skin in just 4 weeks. neutrogena® for people with skin. we're carvana, the company who invented car vending machines and buying a car 100% online. now we've created a brand-new way for you to sell your car. whether it's a year old or a few years old. we wanna buy your car. so go to carvana and enter your license plate answer a few questions. and our techno wizardry
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we have a cnn exclusive on the investigation into the plot to over turn the 2020 election. the justice department confirms its investigating the fake electoral college investigations that attempted to declare donald trump the winner seven states he lost. >> the sercertificates were sig by trump supporters. cnn evan broke this story for us. how far into the investigation do the fake election certificates are they? >> we don't have clarify into how far they are going. we know some of the former president's top ally, including rudy giuliani were deeply
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involved in orchestrating this effort to send these fake certifications to the national archives to declare donald trump a winner of these seven states that he had lost. the fact it's a significant thing that the justice department is saying they are looking into the certifications which have raised concerns from those states. here is the deputy attorney general talking about this. >> first, the issue you raised in terms of fraudulent electorate certification have been received. i can't say anything more on ongoing investigations. more broadly, the attorney general has been very, very clear. we're going to follow the facts and the law and any level that's part of our assault on
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democracy. >> we know several of these states made referrals to the justice department. >> this is big issue now for this administration. we know tlths a number of cities around the country that are reporting murder rates like they've never seen before and so the department is now pushing out officers around the country. this is an issue that is very close to her heart and here is what she had to say.
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the guns were recovered at crime scenes haven't origin nalted in those u cities, in those communities where recovering the guns. they are coming in from elsewhere. >> she mentioned with rising crime, now is not the time to defund police which is one of the criticisms you hear from the left on in reaction to the death of george floyd. that's one of things this administration is trying to push back against. >> really interesting interview. thank you. top of a brand new hour now. it's good to be with you. i'm victor blackwell. >> let's get to our breaking news.
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a source tells cnn that supreme court justice stephen breyer plans to retire. >> white house press secretary reiterated the president's come pain promise that in the event of a vacancy, he would not nate the first black woman to the court. >> president has stated and reiterated his commitment to nominating black woman to supreme court and certainly stands by that. >> justice breyer plans to stay on until june and until a replacement is confirmed. what more is the white house saying? >> certainly this big news out of the supreme court is consuming the day here at the white house. as you heard white house press secretary jen psaki, as soon as she took the podium getting a lot of questions about this news.


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