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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  January 27, 2022 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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coastal flooding, all in store. and there's still the big question about where exactly the storm is headed. it's been so wide ranging because it will form, right, will, future, off the coast of georgia. but it's going to happen and then rapidly strengthen. it's a particular storm system called a bombogenesis so, boom, it forms and then it moves. they expect boston to get 20 to 30 inches of snow. thanks so much for watching. anderson is next. good evening, we begin tonight with a warning about the state of democracy. it comes from retiring supreme court justice stephen breyer. though he spoke today at the white house with the warmth and gentle humor for which he's known, his message was unm unmis unmistakable. american democracy cannot be taken for granted. it is not self-sustaining. >> i'll tell you what lincoln thought, what washington thought, and what people today still think. it's an experiment.
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it's an experiment. that's what they said. and we have each of our grandchildren a certain amount of money to memorize the gettysburg address. what i want them to pick up there and four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought -- created upon this -- here a new country, a country that was dedicated to liberty and the proposition that all men are created equal. conceived in liberty, those are his words, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. and we are now engaged in a great civil war to determine whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. see, those are the words i want
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to see, an experiment. and that's what he thought, it's an experiment. >> justice breyer did not offer an assessment of how well the experiment is going. his choice of topic seems assessment enough as did the question that he asked at the end of his remarks after calling on americans to work harder to nurture democracy. >> i say i want you to pick justice up. it's an experiment that's still going on. and i'll tell you something. you know who will see whether that experiment works? it's you, my friend. it's you, mr. high school student, it's you, mr. college student, it's you, mr. law school student, it's us, but it's you. it's that next generation and the one after that. my grandchildren and their children, they'll determine whether the experiment still works, and of course i'm an optimist and i'm pretty sure it will. does it surprise you that that's the thought that comes into my
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mind today? thank you. >> optimist or not, it's hard to imagine he doesn't know the answer to that. link up gave his gettysburg address on the battlefield where more than 50,000 americans had fallen. whether intended or not, invoking that moment with memories still fresh of the attack by americans on americans since the civil war certainly seems to convey where we are as a country. to borrow from lincoln's first inaugural, the better angels of our nature were as hard to find in the crowds on january 6th as they must have been in washington when lincoln spoke the words just a month before the civil war began. nor it seems is a substantial portion of americans today ready to strive as lincoln said in his second inaugural to bind up the nation's wounds. many it seems denied the existence of them. some, including the former president and standard bearer of lincoln's party seek other deeper, longer standing wounds.
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>> if you're white you don't get the vaccine or if you're white you don't get therapeutics. it's unbelievable to think this. in fact in new york state if you're white, you have to go to the back of the line to get medical help. think of it. if you're white, you go right to the back of the line. >> the president said it's unbelievable to think this and that's really the only thing that he said that's true. it is unbelievable that he thinks this. a former president of the united states flat out lying to stoke racism and divide americans. his followers have embraced this division and demonization. they have won elections on it. others have learned that embracing extreme rhetoric and behavior works, even if it poisons the dialogue and even though they may know better. a smaller example perhaps but mitch mcconnell who always knows better and was probably born knowing better had this to say about naming justice breyer's successor nearly at the same time he was speaking today. he said the president must not
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outsource this important decision to the radical left. again, it's a minor thing, but as with justice breyer's words, it speaks to where we are. joining us is federal district judge vince cabrio and cnn commentator, david axlerod and laura coates, author of "just pursuit, a black prosecutor's fight for fairness." laura, i wonder what your reaction is to the president to nominate the first female black justice to the court and what you made of minority leader mcconnell's statement? >> you know, i think it's to be very well regarded the president of the united states has this impairment of riches of qualified, extraordinarily qualified black women who have long been a part of the bar, who have extraordinary resumes, that nobody could comment on as somewhat unqualified or they don't have integrity. they are women who are revered for their intellect, their
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ability to synthesize information and their impartiality. it's stunning in this nation that nobody would believe that it would be odd to say you need to have a woman on the bench. but somehow the idea of a black woman on the bench is something that is decades, if not centuries delayed. and that simply can't be the case. every one of the people who has been presented at least so far are people who really could run circles, frankly, around most of the lawyers in this nation and for good reason. they had extraordinary experience and expertise. and any suggestion that by virtue of saying that he wants to put and nominate a black woman on the bench, if that somehow met with some sort of coded language to suggest that, well, it might be a foregone conclusion if it's a black woman they'll rule a certain way, all you need is to hear from justice breyer who talked about the benefit of having a variety of experiences. and why would we not want a bench as high as the supreme court of the united states to be able to at least offer the
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perspective of black women in this country. and that they're overqualified for the position, well, that's just the cherry on top. >> david, cnn's manu raju is reporting that gop senators and senate candidates already concluding that the unnamed nominee is certain to be far left. is that the line of attack you think that -- are they just kind of throwing that up now to see how that line of attack works or do you think that's what they'll use in this process? >> yeah, i don't know whether they have concluded that the candidate will be far left. i think that they have concluded they will depict the candidate as far left because it fits their narrative, as does the narrative that biden is being led around by the left, mcconnell's words. you know, i think this is their political narrative. i think they know that they probably can't stop this confirmation, but they want to weaponize it in the fall and they want to stir their constituents and their base. this is the language that
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they're going to use. >> judge, you were justice breyer's law clerk during the 2001 to 2002 term. i want to just ask you about him, about his legacy, and i'm wondering what you made of his speech today invoking the gettysburg address, basically saying dem kraels is an experiment, not a guarantee? >> thank you for having me and i really appreciate, it's very interesting to hear all the speculation about who the next nominee will be. but i appreciate your desire to at least dedicate part of the discussion to the giant shoes that that nominee will fill. so thank you for having me on. i think with respect to his speech today, anybody who didn't watch it, i urge you to go watch it if you want to get to know justicebreyer. that is the justice breyer who his law clerks and colleagues get to see every day. you saw the professor who is citing that were written be people a long time ago and
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explaining why they are still relevant today. you saw the pragmatist who's concerned about the relationship between the law and our democracy. you saw transparency, always happy to let us know exactly what's going on inside his head. and of course you saw the passionate public serve anant a relentless optimist who closed his speech by saying he was optimistic about the experiment continuing. in response, anderson, to your comments, i guess i understand why you interpreted it the way you did. i had a different interpretation. i didn't necessarily think that it was so much a warning as a reminder that our democracy has always been fragile. i remember having a conversation with justice breyer a few years ago and we were talking about the state of democracy. i said are we going to be okay? and he said we're absolutely going to be okay. we have had far worse times in this country that we have
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bounced pback from. think about the '60s and '70s with bombs going off to the streets, for example. so i think that his point is that democracy is always fragile and that it depends on meaningful engagement and participation by the public. >> and that's certainly what he reminded students of and people in college. laura, conservative attorney jonathan turley argued in a "wall street journal" op-ed that president biden should not have pledged to nominate a black woman. he wrote mr. biden's use of such threshold exclusions is neither unlawful nor judicially reviewable, yet it's also unnecessary. he could have selected a black woman for the court while maintaining his university's due that he would consider all possible candidates on the totality of their records, unquote. james clyburn was on the program last night, majority whip, who
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said, you know, that it came about because he went up to biden during a debate in a break in a debate and said you haven't said that you would nominate a black woman to the court and that's really important and that he made that promise during the debate and continued to use it on the campaign trail. >> well, i think it was a good promise that he made and one that fulfills not only what i think is long overdue as he has said, but remember i'm really irritated by the notion that of all the presidential nominees we've seen over the course of history, for some reason the idea of now talking about a black woman somehow means that a presidential pick is somehow not impartial or guided by the right principles. how often have we seen, anderson, a president in recent times say i'm going to put someone on the supreme court who's going to overturn roe v. wade. if that's not a greater indication of somebody's lack of impartiality, i don't know what is. but being a black woman is something that's not impartial? i don't buy it.
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i think it's an excuse and a pretext. i'm glad to see a black woman nominee. >> judge, it's interesting, i've heard you speak about justice breyer's -- the emphasis he put on the importance of diversity. in his hiring of staff, of clerks, that was always something he wanted, a diverse background of people in his orbit. it seems especially fitting, whoever fills the seat, that it might be filled by a black woman. >> yeah, i agree. he always wanted to hire a diverse group of people. and obviously i was a beneficiary of that, but i think more importantly to him, he wanted people from different backgrounds coming through chambers and participating in the decision-making process because he understood that that made a positive difference for the institution and the outcome of the cases. you can't -- if you have a
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country full of people from all different backgrounds, our democracy is not going to work, our institutions are not going to work unless you have people from different backgrounds operating at the highest levels. and so i think that will be a very important legacy for justice breyer, is that a number of the people who he hired, he helped elevate to the highest echelons of the profession, and they will go on to contribute long after he steps down from the bench. >> david, you know firsthand the process of what it's like trying to get someone onto the court, for a president to make that decision. senator hawley has already said words to the effect that the democrats aren't going to be able to ram-rod this thing through the nomination process. senator schumer had referenced the quick nomination process of judge amy coney barrett. how do you think it's going to play out now? will they -- what can the
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republicans do to slow this down? >> well, they kind of set the rules. it was mitch mcconnell who chamber o changed the rules and eliminated the filibuster for supreme court nominations. so as long as democrats stick together, i think this nomination will come up quickly. the president said he'll nominate by the end of february. i think you'll see hearings very quickly. i think you'll see confirmation quickly. but, you know, hawley and others, as i said, they're trying to weaponize this nomination for their own political purposes. i just -- hearing your quote of professor turley reminds me of the fact that ronald reagan promised to put a woman on the bench. i didn't hear these kinds of complaints. and honestly barack obama said on the campaign trail i think we should have a diverse court. i'd like to see a hispanic member of the court and he did appoint justice sotomayor.
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the final point on this, i worked on that nomination. justice sotomayor, i remember sitting with her and i asked her, what worries you about this process? and she said i worry about measuring up. and it wasn't that she didn't feel she was qualified, but she felt that there was an added burden on her because she was a barrier breaker. you know, i think the same will be true of this next nominee, and that's too bad. that's really too bad, because she's a splendid member of the court and i'm sure whoever the president appoints will be highly qualified and will add something. >> david axlerod and laura coates, i appreciate it. judge, it was really a pleasure to have you on. what an experience to clerk for justice breyer and see him up close like that. i'm sure you have taken that into account into how you have your office and how you do your job so i really appreciate you speaking with us tonight. >> that's very true. thank you very much. we have more breaking news. what we're just now learning
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about today's phone call between president biden and the president of ukraine about the russian buildup on the nation's border. later my conversation with dr. fauci including a fourth shot for those already boosted against covid. cough cough sneeze sneeze... [ sneezing ] needs, plop plop fizz fizz. alka seltzer plus cold relief. dissolves quickly. instantly ready to start working. so you can bounce back fast with alka-seltzer plus. now available for fast sinus relief. my family's been devastated by covid-19. and we're not alone.
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zelensky, what do you know? >> reporter: there's some disagreement over how the call went. one thing both sides agree on is that it was long, anderson, and a very serious call given the fact that there are over 100,000 russian troops on the ukrainian border. the pentagon said today, it's only getting higher. that number is only getting bigger. i am told by a national security official that the call between president biden and ukraine president zelensky lasted about an hour and 20 minutes, highlighting the depth of the extensive issues that the two leaders have to discuss. while one senior ukrainian official is telling our colleague, matt chance, tonight that it didn't go well, saying president biden disagreed with the ukrainian leader about whether an invasion is imminent, i am told that president biden didn't say it was definitely going to happen, he said that u.s. intelligence has assessed if it does happen, it could very likely be in february. we've talked a lot about how the conditions, the weather conditions could contribute to when putin decides to move. but of course really ultimately officials have been pretty clear
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here at the white house, no one knows what exactly the russian leader is going to do or what's inside his head. and so they don't even believe his top aides know exactly how he wants to move here. and so of course this is a very serious consideration for the ukrainians. they want to know what the u.s. side knows and what their reassurances are going to be when it comes to military assistance and whatnot. so i think a big discussion, still up for discussion, is whether or not putin is going to move, the russian leader is going to actually move. that is still something very serious. the white house said this call tonight was more of a check-in. they didn't expect there to be any breakthroughs or deliverables from the u.s. side to the ukrainians but they wanted the two leaders to talk over the phone about what is of course a serious discussion. they still don't know exactly what it is the russians are going to do. >> kaitlin collins, appreciate it, thank you. whatever happens next, russian state-controlled media will take every opportunity to push the kremlin line and make the case
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for invading a sovereign nation. for anyone who still remembers russian interference in american democracy, let alone the entire cold war, is how eagerly some on the right are defending vladimir putin. russian state tv is echoing some of it back. here's a frame from one program. there's a screen shot from a recent tucker carlson program. the banner reading none of this benefits america. that's from carlson. to be clear, unlike russia, this is a free country. everyone is entitled to their opinion and there are those on the right and the left who oppose any american involvement in this crisis. that said, it is striking how neatly kremlin propaganda seems to dovetail with carlson's talking points. so much so that a russian independent news channel this week said this about him. sometimes it seems that he attends advanced training courses at the russian foreign ministry. >> ukraine is a pretty small country really. it's in eastern europe. it's 5,000 miles from washington. it's got a population about the
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size of the state of california. so hugely significant? not really. and yet we never seem to stop talking about ukraine. >> one reason that maybe we have never seemed to stop talking about ukraine, and we have talked about ukraine a lot over the years, is because the former president attempted to pressure ukraine to dig up or invent dirt on joe biden, so that was pretty significant. yeah, i guess a lot of people talked about ukraine then. another reason of course is that russia invaded eastern ukraine against international law. that's also a reason it's been talked about for a while. they have already fought a war and 14,000 ukrainians have been killed over the last several years. carlson has been on this jag for weeks and it appears to be motivating the republican right. in a tweet yesterday seasoned with a hint of his trademark zen phobia, congressman paul gosar said what if we skip the part 5 to 10,000 u.s. troops die and instead just import 2 million
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ukrainians. that point of view also featured on carlson's segments in which he says biden is focusing on the ukraine border and not our border with mexico. marjorie taylor greene tweeted about herself naturally in the third person. with biden threatening war with nuclear russia, it's time for the committee to take up congresswoman green's first set of articles of impeachment. joe biden is compromised because of hunter biden's business dealings in ukraine. that too is part of tucker carlson's litany. if they were just merely back benchers as they would have been years ago this wouldn't be as consequential. these days, however, they're not back benchers. mike turner did go on fox and remind carlson of the stakes, reminding him that, quote, ukraine is a democracy. russia is an authoritarian regime seeking to impose its
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will on a democracy and we're on the side of democracy. whether it's defending putin or attack the u.s. intelligence community or putting the squeeze on ukraine, the tone is being set by certain elements in right-wing media. and of course the man at the top of the party who could not stop from taking putin's side on russian interference in the 2016 election. >> people came to me, dan coats came to me and some others, they said they think it's russia. i have president putin, he just said it's not russia. i have great confidence in my intelligence people. but i will tell you that president putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. >> more on this and the breaking news. charlie denti and dana bash, co-anchor of "state of the union." dana, i wonder what your read is on the battle in the republican party on this issue.
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there's plenty of people both on the left and the right who just don't believe the u.s. should be involved in these kind of, you know, on the international stage in this way if it's not perhaps directly affecting the united states. >> you're exactly right. and that schism within each party, particularly with the republican party, isn't new, but it has been much more profound since former president trump was the head of the party because that's what he ran on. he ran on america first. he ran on protectionism. he ran on -- against the last before him republican president, george w. bush, and the iraq war and sending u.s. troops into battle and into arenas all over the world. what is very different is the kind of thing that you just showed, that people like tucker carlson and what used to be the fringe of the gop in the house in particular used to say, which
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is what difference does it make. what's the difference between russia and ukraine, and the answer that mike turner gave was, oh, the difference is ukraine is a democracy and russia is authoritarian and that's what america is supposed to stand up for. that is where this divide within the republican party has gone in a completely different and somewhat dangerous direction. >> congressman dent, i don't know, is this a generational break among republicans kind of being seen on ukraine, those who were lawmakers during the cold war, just after on one side and maybe younger, so-called freedom caucus members, more trump-aligned members on the other? is it those who are tired of forever wars in afghanistan and the war in iraq and just don't want -- are now having more of an isolationist foreign policy? >> yes, certainly there is a generational divide within the
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gop. those members who have been around for a while who believe in strong american leadership and global engagement i think are a diminishing voice compared to those who are newer members and have taken on this more trumpian, isolationist, nativist approach to american leadership. i think it's really to me, it's so sad that so many of my former colleagues would stand up and more or less embrace vladimir putin's view. and putin, he simply wants to undermine american power and influence anywhere in the world. he wants to break up nato. he wants to unravel the european union. he wants to divide the u.s. from europe. i always point out what the united states did after the second world war is the crowning diplomatic achievement of this country, bringing about a peaceful, stable europe. this was difficult, and it was something that we should celebrate. to throw it all away, to throw it all away as some have, as tucker carlson -- it was k
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kruschev who used the term useful idiots. is not the time for americans to behave like that. our leadership has made a difference in europe, it's peaceful and stable. we shouldn't just assume it's always going to be this way. putin is trying to disrupt it. >> the biden administration is trying to get nato countries and other european allies to be unified, be tough with sanctions on russia if they invade. those countries have gone through four years of the former president bad mouthing nato and now hearing this latest dialogue in u.s. politics. does it hurt u.s. credibility? >> it certainly didn't make it easy. there's a reason why the first very important meeting that president biden had with nato allies, with all of the alliances was to explicitly say in public and in private america is back, america has nato's
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back, an we will fulfill our obligations. the bigger issue when it comes to nato is -- and the eu countries in particular, like germany and others, is, i think, less about america having its back and more about their concern about their own economic interests, namely oil and gas from russia, and that being disrupted and their countries being hurt. and that is really one of the main reasons, if not the main reason for the divide right now on the russia issue. >> dana bash, charlie denti, thank you. my conversation with dr. anthony fauci, next.
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tonight health officials are keeping an eye on a new subvariant dubbed ba.2. this is as covid cases are down in 33 states from last week but at least eight states are seeing a spike, including montana, where new cases are up more than 50% from a week ago. earlier i spoke with dr. fauci. dr. fauci, i know you laid out a best and worst case scenario for the coming weeks and months. the best case being infection levels come to a place where daily life isn't disrupted anymore, the worst case being
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another variant that does disrupt life. for people who have done the right things, are vaccinated, boosted and frankly exhausted, what's your advice and message to them tonight? >> you know, anderson, my message would be just hang in there because things look like at least for what's going on now with omicron that things are turning around. if you look at the northeast corridor, particularly, for example, new york city and the upper midwest, chicago, it's peaked and turned around and the cases are coming down rather substantially. a little bit more of a lag in the southern states and the western states. but in general, it looks very much like it's going in the right direction. we've got to hang in there and really prevent it from going back to a surge. the way we do that, anderson, is to just continue to follow the kinds of guidelines that we've been talking about for so long. and i refer obviously to people who have not been vaccinated to get vaccinated. but for those who have been vaccinated, if you are eligible to get boosted, please get
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boosted, because the data are really strikingly clear that boosting brings back up your level of protection, even against omicron, to a very, very high level, particularly when you're talking about serious disease that might lead to hospitalization. so in general, i'm cautiously optimistic that things are going in the right direction. we've seen that happen in south africa, in the uk, and we're seeing it now in several cities in the united states. >> how long is the booster good for, do you think? because at this point there's people who were boosted months ago. >> you know, we don't know the answer to that, anderson. i mean the laboratory data will clearly show that after a while the antibody levels go down. that's natural. but what we are hoping for is that third shot of an mrna or the second shot of a j&j will induce a durable immunity that's much more so than after the
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second dose of a two-dose mrna. we don't know that now definitively, but we're following it both from a laboratory standpoint and from a clinical standpoint. that's the reason why i said before we start talking about a fourth boost, let's make sure we understand what the durability of the third shot is. and that's what we're doing right now. hopefully as more data come in, we'll have a better understanding of that. >> according to johns hopkins, the u.s. is averaging more than 2,300 deaths a day from covid and the cdc predicts more than 62,000 additional deaths over the next four weeks, which is startling. why are there so many people dying from covid again? i assume these are mostly if not all, nearly all unvaccinated people. are these deaths because of the omicron variant, not delta? >> i don't think there's any evidence that the omicron variant is any more severe. in fact there's suggestive evidence that the omicron variant is somewhat less severe
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than delta. but if you look at the data, it's painful to show and to realize that if you look at deaths and hospitalizations and compare vaccinated people with unvaccinated people, overwhelmingly it's heavily weighted towards the unvaccinated people, which is why we continue to stress if you've not been vaccinated, even though on an individual basis if you're young and healthy, the chances are you're not going to get into trouble, we're seeing a lot of people getting hospitalized. you yourself just said we've had over 2,200 deaths just yesterday and the day before and the day before. that means that there are vulnerable people out there. and for the most part, the vulnerable people are heavily weighted towards the unvaccinated. >> the subvariant of omicron has been labeled by some as stealth omicron. can you set the record straight, what is known about that, what isn't known, and what is it your team is watching for?
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>> okay. i'll tell you what's known and what's not known. it's called b.1 versus b.2. the b.2 is a newer 1 that's a sublineage of the original omicron, which is the b. 1a. so we know one thing, that it doesn't appear to be substantially different with regard to transmissability. likely a bit more of a transmission advantage. the reason you come to that conclusion, anderson, is when you look at denmark, denmark is being overtaken a bit by this new variant of sublineage of omicron in the sense that it was fundamentally all omicron, the b.1, but now it's seeing much more, about 40 to 50 or more percent is the b.2. so that's something that tells you that there's an advantage of
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transmission. but if you look at severity of cases and you look at the data from denmark, it doesn't appear that the cases that are with the new variant, the sublineage of omicron, are any more severe. the uk is having an increase in percentage. they started off with just a couple of percent, it's going up right now. it's very, very low percentage in the united states. bottom line, we're keeping a very close eye on it. it looks a bit more transmissable, but not necessarily more severe. >> dr. fauci, i really appreciate your time tonight. thank you so much. >> my pleasure. good to be with you, anderson. well, the culture wars are on full display in virginia. the new republican governor set up a tip line for parents to report schools that teach critical race theory, even though he had no problem with his own children learning about it. we'll have more on that controversy, next. nchlines, he takes robitussin naturals powered by 100% drug-free ingredients.
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virginia, new republican governor, glenn youngkin, is getting pushback after he created a tip line for parents to report schools what he calls divisive subs like critical race theory. this is after he banned both with an executive order. the president of the virginia education association accuses him of trying to pit educators against parents for political
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gain. glenn youngkin didn't mind if some kids got an anti-racist education, his own. but milbank writes do you know which schools do teach something like that? the private d.c. schools youngkin had his children attend. you know who was on the board of governors of one of those schools while it was beefing up its anti-racism policies? glenn youngkin. dana milbank joins me now. appreciate you being with us. you write not only is virginia's new republican governor banning the fictional menace of critical race theory from public schools but also turning the commonwealth into a little stazi state. what do you think is motivating all of this? is he just playing to the far right? >> well, it is. this is the new trumpist element of the party. so there's unfortunately a very hefty dollop of race baiting going on here. the idea is that people have
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intruded on the curriculum, that they were taught for a while about, you know, essentially lost cause philosophy of the south. so this has been a natural occurrence over time. so i think this is a backlash against that. but what it's doing is it's intimidating teachers. so the idea is any parent can complain about anything now. so if you're a teacher in a public school in virginia, and you know you're going to get in trouble for anything divisive, i think the logical thing would be not to mention slavery, not to mention jim crow, not to mention white supremacy. so that's clearly what's going on behind us and that's what this man is doing as governor and is very different from what he did as a parent. >> you're alleging he's being hypocritical on a personal level because of where his kids went to school and his involvement there. what is your argument on that point? how egregious do you think it
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is? >> well, look, he's not the first politician to be accused of hypocrisy. the real danger here is it's not just about anti-racism or critical race theory. he's saying anything divisive should be kept out of school. well, that's not what an education is about. you're supposed to deal with divisive subjects. you're supposed to deal with different point of views and have discussions and arguments. glenn youngkin chose not to send his kids to the virginia public school, sent them to elite private schools, excellent schools here in the district of columbia where they do teach you to discuss and argue about divisive subjects, because that's how you learn. so unfortunately he's depriving virginia public school students of the same benefits that he gave to his own children. they are getting an education where they're not going to be taught to challenge ideas and to have a free exchange of ideas. so that's really the problem beyond whether you're talking about the anti-racism curriculum or critical race theory, which is really much more of a
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high-level college and graduate school thing anyway. >> i want to talk about school mask mandates. governor youngkin ran on a platform in which he would leave it up to localities whether to impose them or not. it seems in part to have changed due to a policy of overriding school districts' decisions. is this all a piece in your view? >> i think it is. you've heard a lot from fox news and the trump republican right about a war on parents. the ideas that parents are supposed to be able to make decisions for their children. but guess what, a lot of school districts in virginia, the parents are saying we want our kids to wear masks. we don't want our kids to get sick. he is overruling that. so, look, you can see how this is a way for glenn youngkin to appeal to the trump base of the party without appealing directly to trump. but i think what's important to recognize is he's playing really from the same playbook here.
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the idea that there's a strong undercurrent of race baiting going on. it's very much what donald trump was doing. it's just trumpism without trump. >> virginia governors can serve only one term an can't run for immediate re-election. do you think glenn youngkin has found a winning playbook by which candidates in central right swing states like virginia can win without fully embracing the former president but embracing certain flash points, you know, it's part of the -- flash points that appeal to the base? >> right. i think you see him doing that. i think you see desantis doing that. and that's what this notion of trumpism without trump. of course trump was really just -- he was just reacting to the direction that the republican party was going in generally. so i think you're seeing sort of a backlash to more of a multi-cultural america. these guys are taking that in the same direction trump was, just without the brand of trump. >> dana milbank, i appreciate
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it. thank you very much. >> thanks, anderson. breaking news on text messages sent between two white house staff members while the capitol was under attack.
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trying for the last 30 minutes, literally stormed in outer oval to get him to put out the first one. it's completely insane. joining us now with the latest is senior legal affairs correspondent paula reed. this potentially significant. i'm wondering what you're learning about his interview with the committee. >> it's incredibly significant, anderson. and let's talk about what who ben williamson is. he is a top staffer to former chief of staff mark meadows. i can tell you from my time covering the trump white house that he was a constant presence in the west wing. if you ever saw mark meadows, ben was usually just a few steps behind. when it comes to the house select committee's investigation into january 6th, ben is significant because he was in the west wing. and that text message you just read, that was cited in the house select committee's letter to ivanka trump seeking her voluntary cooperation with their
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investigation. and they signed that text message from ben, calling the situation insane, as one of the reasons they want to talk to her about exactly what was going on in the west wing. we have learn frd our sources, williamson was interviewed for six to seven hours, and he fielded questions from congressional investigators covering everything from that video message the former president recorded hours after the first reports of violence, to meadows conversations with the former president and members of congress. >> how significant is his interview considering he didn't plead the fifth, and his boss, mark meadows, has been held in contempt for defying congress. he could potentially know almost as much as mark meadows knows. >> absolutely. this is his right hand man. his value to investigators is in proximity to these key figures, former president trump and marng
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meadows. you also know williamson didn't invoke the fifth. in the context of this investigation, several top trump allies have invoked the fifth amendment. now, he really is a significant witness for the committee, not only for his own experience, not only for his efforts to try to get trump to do something, but mostly for what he knows about what mark meadows was up to during this time because meadows has been an elusive witness for this committee. he has stonewalled their efforts so far. they have of course referred him to the department of justice for potential contempt of congress. no charges have been filed. but for now williamson is likely the committee's best insight into exactly what the white house chief of staff was up to, as the capitol was under attack. >> thank you. we'll be right back. but my body was telling a different story. i felt all people saw were my uncontrolled movements. some mental health meds can cause
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-- captions by vitac -- reminder, don't miss "full circle," our digital news show that gives us a chance to dig into important topics. you can catch it streaming live at 6:00 p.m. eastern on mondays, wednesdays, and fridays. watch it on the cnn app or at any time on demand. news continues with "democracy in peril." >> thank you very much. i'm jim acosta, and this is "democracy in peril." tonight we are going on offense against the lies. and when you think about the poisonous lies undermining our democracy, trump probably first comes to mind, or social media outlets like facebook or twitter. and of course the manure spreaders like fox, news max or o arcn. you're going to hear tonight from a former fo