tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 27, 2022 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
good evening. we begin tonight with a warning about the state of democracy. it comes from retiring supreme court justice stephen breyer. and though he spoke today at the white house with the warmth and gentle humor for which he is known, his message was unmistakable. american democracy cannot be taken for granted. it is not self-sustaining. >> i will tell you what lincoln thought, what washington thought, and what people today still think. it's an experiment. it's an experiment. that's what they said.
each of our grandchildren a certain amount of money to memorize the gettysburg address. the reason -- the reason that -- that -- that we want them to pick up there and what i want those students to pick up if i can remember the first two lines is 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 to s see. an experiment. and that's what he thought.
it's an experiment. >> justice breyer did not offer successment of how well the experiment is going. his choice of topic, though, seems assessment enough. as does the question he asked at the end of his remarks after calling on americans to work harder to nurture our 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 students. 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 am an optimist and i'm pretty sure it will. does it surprise you that that's the thought that comes into my mind today?
i don't know but think. >> optimist or not, it's hard to imagine he doesn't know the answer to that. lincoln gave his gettysburg address at the dedication of the military cemetery on the battlefield where more than 50,000 americans had fallen. whether intended or not, with memories still fresh of the attack of americans on americans certainly seems to convey where we are as a country because 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. seems 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 have denied the existence of them. some, including the former president, current standard bearer of lincoln's party, seek other, deeper, longer-standing wounds to tear at. >> if you are 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 he said in that statement that is true. it is unbelievable, that he thinks this. a former president of the united states, flat-out lying to stoke racism, to divide americans. and sadly, many of his most ardent followers have embraced this kind of division and demonization. they have won elections on it. others have learned embracing extreme rhetoric and behavior works, even if it further poisons the dialogue and even though they may know better. small example, perhaps but senate minority leader mitch mcconnell who always knows better and was probably born knowing better, had this to say about naming justice breyer's successor, nearly the exact same time justice breyer was speaking today. quoting now from mckoj, he said the president must not outsource this important decision to the radical left.
again, it is a minor thing but as with justice breyer's words, it speaks to where we are. joining us now, federal district judge who clerked for justice breyer. also, cnn political commentator and former senior adviser to president obama, david axelrod. and cnn senior legal an list, laura coates. author of fascinating new book just pursuit, a black prosecutor's fight for fairness. laura, i am wondering what your reaction is to the president reaffirming his commitment to nominate the first black female justice to the court and what you made of leader mcconnell -- minority leader mcconnell's statement? >> you know, i think it's to be very well regarded, the president of the united states has this embarrassment 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 somehow unqualified or they don't have integrity, they are women who are revered for their intellect, their ability to synthesize information and their
impartiality. and i think it's stunning in this nation that nobody would believe that it'd be odd to say you need to have a woman on the bench. but somehow, the idea of a black woman on the bench would be 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 have 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's somehow met with some sort of coded language, anderson, to suggest that, well, it might be a foregone conclusion if it's a black woman, they will 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 supreme court of the united states to be able to at least offer the perspective of black
women in this count ry? and that they're overqualified, frankly, for the position, well that is just the cherry on top. >> david, cnn's manu raju is reporting tonight that gop senators and some senate candidates already concluding that the unnamed nominee is certain to be far left. i mean, is that the line of attack? i mean, are they just throwing that out now to see if that works or do you think that is what they will use in this process? >> yeah. i don't know whether they have concluded that the candidate will be far left. i think they have concluded they will depict the candidate as far left because it fits their narrative and 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 they probably can't stop this confirmation. but they want to weaponize it in the fall, and -- and they want to stir their constituents and their -- their base. and this is the language that they're going to use. >> judge, you were justice
breyer's law clerk during the 2001-2002 term. i want to just ask you about -- about him, about his leg -- legacy. and i am wondering what you made of his speech today invoking the gettysburg address basically saying democracy is an experiment, not a guarantee? >> well, 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. um, i think with respect to his speech today, i mean, anybody who didn't watch it, i urge you to go watch it if you want to get to know justice breyer. that is the justice breyer who has law clerks and his colleagues get to see every day. you saw the professor, who is citing things that were written by people a long time ago and explaining to us why they are still relevant today. you saw the pragmatist, who is 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 -- the passionate public servant and the relentless optimist, um, who closed his speech by saying that he was optimistic about the experiment continuing. now, 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. um, i remember having a -- a -- a conversation with justice breyer a few years ago, and we were talking about this state of democracy. and i said are we gonna be okay? and he said we're absolutely going to be okay. we have had far worse times in this country that we've bounced back from. think about the '60s and '70s
with bombs going off in the streets, for example. so, i think that, you know, his point is that democracy's 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. invoking past controversies over use of race as a college admissions factor. exclusions is either unlawful, nor judicially reviewable, yet it is also unnecessary. mr. biden could have selected a black woman for the court while maintaining as universities do that he would consider all possible candidates on the totality of their records. end quote. this came about -- i mean -- minority -- james clyburn was on the program last night. majority whip. who said, you know, that it -- it -- it came about because he went up to biden during a debate
and -- in a break at a debate and said, you know, you haven't said that you would nominate a black woman to the court, and that's really important. and -- and that he made that promise during a debate, and then continued to use that on the campaign trail. >> well, i think it was a good promise to have 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 have 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 is going to overturn roe v. wade? well, if that is not a greater indication of somebody's lack of impartiality, i don't know what is. but somehow, being a black woman dictates and is synonymous with being not impartial? i don't c i don't buy it, i think it is an excuse and pretext. i am grad to see a black woman
nominee. >> judge, it's interesting. i have heard you speak about justice breyer's -- the emphasis he put on the importance of diversity. and that, in his hiring of staff of, you know, clerks, that was always something he wanted. a diverse background of -- of people in -- in his orbit. it seems especially fitting, whoever fills the -- the seat that it might be filled by a -- a black woman. >> yeah, i agree. he always wanted to hire a diverse group of people, and, um, obviously, i was a beneficiary of that. um, but i think more importantly to him, um, he wanted people from different backgrounds coming through chambers, and participating in the decision-making process because -- because he understood that that made a positive difference for the institution and the outcome of the cases. um, you can't -- if you have a -- a country full of people from all different backgrounds,
um, our dmemocracy 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 in the profession. and they will go on to contribute long after he steps down from the bench. >> david, you know firsthand the -- the process of what it's like trying to get someone onto the court for -- for a president to make that decision. uh, senator hawley has already said that -- that -- words to the effect of that biden's not going to be able -- or the democrats aren't going to be able to -- to, you know, ramrod 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? are -- are -- will they -- what can they -- republicans -- do to slow this down? >> well, they kind of set the
rules. it was mitch mcconnell who changed the rules, and eliminated the filibuster for supreme court nominations. so, as long as democrats stick together, uh, i think this nomination will come up quickly. the president said he'll nominate by the end of february. i think you will see hearings very quickly, and i think you'll see confirmation quick hi. quickly. but, you know, hawley and others, as i said, they are trying to weaponize this nomination for their own political purposes. i -- 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 -- a -- a hispanic member of the court, and he did appoint justice sotomayor. but, you know, if -- and 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 -- 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. and, you know, i -- i think the same will be true of this next nominee, and that's too bad and that's really too bad because she is a splendid member of the court. and i'm sure whoever the president appoints will be highly qualified, and will add something. >> yeah. david axelrod, laura coates, appreciate it. judge, it was really a pleasure to have you on and what an extraordinary experience to have clerked for justice breyer, and to have seen him up close like that. and i'm sure you have taken that into account in how you have your office, and how you approach your job. so i really appreciate you speaking with us tonight. thank you. >> that is very stru, true and thank you very much. >> we have more breaking news. what we are just now learning about today's phone call between president biden and the president of ukraine with the
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more breaking news ton. president biden spoke late today with ukraine's president and according to one side of the call, it did not go well. with 100,000 russian troops almost entirely surround ug crane and this country scrambling to keep the european allies unifid, words did not go well, which is certainly concerning, as we said that is just one view. cnn's kaitlan collins joins us from the white house. >> this is some disagreement over how the call went. one thing both sides seem to
definitely agree on is that it was long, anderson. and a very serious call, of course, given the fact that there are over 100,000 russian troops on the ukrainian border. and 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 the ukrainian president zelensky lasted about an hour and 20 minutes. just highlighting the depth of the extent of issues that the two leaders have to discuss. and while one senior ukrainian official is telling our colleague matt chance tonight that it didn't go well saying president biden disagreed with a characterization by the ukrainian leader about whether or not an invasion by russia is imminent. i am told by a national security official 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 have 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 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. and so, i think a big discussion still -- up for discussion, frankly, tonight is whether or not putin -- putin is going to move. the russian leader is going to actually move. and so, that is still something very serious. the white house said this call tonight was more of a check-in, anderson. they didn't expect there to be any big breakthroughs or deliverables in the u.s. side to the ukrainians but essentially wanted the two leaders to talk over the phone. an hour and 20 minutes about, of course, what is a serious, serious discussion and they still don't know exactly what it is the russians are going to do. >> kaitlan collins, appreciate it. thank you. whatever happens next, one thing appears certain. russia's state-controlled media will be taking every opportunity to push the kremlin line and make the case for invading a sovereign nation, which happens to be a fledgling democracy.
that much can be expected. let alone the entire cold war is how eagerly some of the right in this country are now defending vladimir putin. in fact, to the point that russian state tv is now echoing some of it back. here is a frame from a screenshot from a recent tucker carlson program on fox. the banner reading -- beneath reading none of this benefits america. that is 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, a russian independent channel said this about him quoting now, sometimes it seems he attends advanced training courses at the russian foreign ministry. >> ukraine's a pretty small country really. it's in eastern europe. 5,000 miles from washington, it's got a population about the size of california.
so hugely significant? not really. and yet, we never seem to stop talking about ukraine. >> no wonder he's -- that maybe we never seemed to stop talking about ukraine. we have talked about ukraine a lot otver 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. and yeah, i guess a lot of people talked about ukraine then. another reason, of course, is that russia invaded eastern ukraine against international law. it's -- that's also a reason it's been talked about for a while. they've 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 appears to be motivating the republican right. in a tweet yesterday, seasoned with a hint of trademark xenophobia, paul gosar wrote what if we skip the part where troops die, we spend $2 trillion we don't have and leave defeated, instead just import 2 million ukrainians? that point of view, also features in carlson's segment on
ukraine, in which he accuses the biden administration of focusing on ukraine's border with russia, not on our own border with mexico. congresswoman marjorie taylor greene of course also weighed in this week, tweeting about herself naturally in the third person. with biden threatening war with nuclear russia, it is time for the judiciary to take up congresswoman greene's impeachment. that, too, of course, is part of tucker carl -- carlson's litany. and if the gosars and greenes, lauren boeberts, and thomas massies of the world were nearly back-benchers as they would have been some years ago, this wouldn't be, you know, consequential. these days, however, they are not back-benchers. last month, ohio mike turner who serves on the house intel jents committee did go on fox, and remind carlson quote ukraine is a democracy. russia is an authoritarian regime seeking to impose its will upon a validly elected democracy in ukraine, and we are on the side of democracy. but whether it's defending putin, casting doubt on or even
attacking the u.s. intelligence community or putting the squeeze on ukraine, the tone is being set by certain elements of right-wing media. cadre of far-right lawmakers 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. >> my 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 uh, i will tell you that president putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. >> more on this in the breaking news. joining us cnn political commentator, charlie dent. former republican congressman of pennsylvania. and dana bash, co-anchor of state of the union. dana, i am wondering what your read is on the battle within the republican party on this issue? because i mean, there -- there is -- you know, there is 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 are 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 -- into battle and into arenas all over -- 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 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 -- that is where this divide within the republican party has gone in a completely different and somewhat dangerous direction. >> congressman dent, how much is this a generational break among republicans, you know, kind of being seen on ukraine -- those who were lawmakers during the cold war, just after on one side. maybe, younger, you know, so-called freedom caucus members, more trump-aligned members on the other. is it, you know, those who are tired of, you know, forever wars and afghanistan and, you know, the war in iraq? and just don't want, you know, or are now having more of an isolationist foreign policy? >> yeah, certainly, anderson, there is a generational divide within the gop. those who -- those members who have been around for a while, who believe in strong-american leadership and global
engagement, i think, are diminishing voice compared to those who are -- are newer members and have taken on this more trumpian isolationist, protectionist, nativist approach to american leadership. and i think it's -- it's really, to me, it's so sad that so many of my former colleagues would stand up, and -- and, more or less, embrace vladimir putin's view. and -- and putin -- he simply wants to undermine american power and influence anywhere in the world. he wants to break up nato. emt e he wants to unravel the european union. emts to divide the u.s. from europe. what the united states did after second world war is the crowning diplomatic achievement of this country. bringing about a peaceful stable europe. this was -- this was difficult and it was something we should celebrate. and to throw it all away -- to throw it all away as tucker carlson -- i mean, you know, it was who talked about americans who spoke against their country
and advocated for the soviet union. he used a term called useful idiots. this is not a time for americans to behave like that. we have an obligation. it's peaceful and stable and we shouldn't just assume it is always going to be this way. putin is trying to disrupt it. >> dana, the biden administration right now is trying to get nato countries and other european allies to -- to, you know, be unified, be tough with sanctions on russia if they invade. those countries have gone through four years of the former president bad mouthing they t nato. they are now hearing this, does it hurt u.s. credibility? >> it certainly didn't make it easy. it -- there is a reason why the first very important meeting that president biden had with nato allies, with the -- all of the -- the alliances -- was to explicitly say in public and in private america is back. america has nato's back, and we will fulfill our obligations.
um, 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 they are concerned 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, congressman char hi dent. appreciate it. thank you. will a fourth shot be needed to fight covid? my conversation with dr. anthony fauci, next. (burke) you get a whole lot of something with farmers policy perks. [echoing] get a quote today. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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tonight, health officials are keeping an eye on a new omicron subvariant dubbed va .2. it's been found in 40 country, including the u.s. as new covid cases from the last omicron surge from 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 president biden's chief medical adviser, dr. anthony fauci, who is also director of the institute of allergy and infectious diseases. dr. fauci, i know you laid out a best and worst-case scenario for the coming weeks and months. best case being infection levels get to a place where daily life isn't disrupt anymore. the worst case being another variant that does disrupt life. for people who have done the right things, vaccinated and are
boosted and are frankly exhausted, what is 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 with chicago, it's peaked in turnaround and the cases are coming down rather substantially. a little bit more of a lag in the southern states and in the western states. but in general, it looks very much like it's going in the right direction. we have got to hang in there, and really prevent it from going back to a surge. and the way we do that, anderson, is to just continue to follow the kinds of guidelines that we have 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 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 are talking about serious disease that might lead to hospitalization. so, in general, i -- i'm cautiously optimistic that things are going in the right direction. we have seen that happen in south africa, in the uk, and we are seeing it now in several cities in the united states. >> how long are the -- is the booster good for, do you think? i mean, 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 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. and that's the reason why i've 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 are doing right now. and hopefully, as more data come in, we will 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 -- i mean -- startling. why are there so many people dying from covid, again? and i mean, i assume these are mostly, if not all, nearly all, unvaccinated people. are are these deaths because of the omicron variant? not delta? >> i don't think there is any evidence that the omicron variant is any more severe. in fact, there's even some suggestive evidence, anderson, that the omicron variant is somewhat less severe than delta. but if you look at the data, it's painful to -- 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 the reason why we continue to stress if you have not been vaccinated, even though on an individual basis if you are young and healthy, the chances are you're not gonna get into trouble. we are seeing a lot of people getting hospitalized. and you, yourself, just said we have 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 -- the subvariant of omicron has been labeled by some as stealth omicron. i mean, can you set the record straight? what is known about that? what isn't known? and what is it your team is watching for? >> okay. i will tell you what's known, and what's not known. it's -- it's -- it's called a b
2a. it's b 1 versus b 2, excuse me. the b2a is the newer one that is a sublineage of the original omicron, which is the b1a. so, we know one thing -- that it doesn't appear to be substantially different with regard to transmissibility. likely, a bit more of a transmission advantage and the reason you come to that conclusion, anderson, is that 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 b1 -- but now, it's seeing much more -- about 40 to 50 or more percent is the b2. so that's something that tells you there is an advantage of 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 are keeping a very choslose eye on it. looks a bit more transmissible 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. the culture wars are on full display in virginia. the new republican governor set up a tip lien for parents to report schools that teach critical-race theory even though it seems he had no problem with his own children learning about it. we will have more on that controversy, next. new investors can open an account and get $50 to split across the top five stocks in the s&p 500®. you can also unlock short videos, step-by-step guides, and other easy-to-use tools
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virj's new republican governor glenn youngkin is facing push back after his office created an e-mail tip line for parents to complain about mask mandates and report schools that teach what he calls divisive subjects, like critical-race theory. this comes after he banned both with an executive order when taking office.
president of virginia education association accuses youngkin of trying to hit educators against parents for political gain. my next guest, dana millbank, is taking youngkin in a w"washingt post" op-ed. millbank writes, but do you know which schools do teach divisive concepts including something resembling critical-race theory? private d.c. schools youngkin had his children attend. and know who was on the board of governors of one of those schools while it was beefing up its anti-racism policies? glenn youngkin. "washington post" op-ed columnist dana millbank joins me now. you write in your piece not only is virginia's new republican governor banning critical-race theory from public schools but he is also turning the commonwealth into a little stazi state. what do you think is motivating all this? i mean, is it just playing to the far right? >> well, it is. i mean, this is the new trumpest
element of the party. so, there's unfortunately a very hefty dallop of race-baiting going on. the idea is that people have intruded on the curriculum, that they were taught for a while about -- and, you know, essentially lost-cause philosophy of the south. so, this has been a natural occurrence over time. so i think this is that 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 are a teacher in a public school in virginia, and you're know you are going to get in trouble for anything divisive, well i think the logical thing to do 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 this, and that's, you know, what this man is doing as governor is very different from what he did as a parent. >> yeah. i mean, you are alleging the governor is being hypocritical on a personal level because of where his kids went to school
and his -- his involvement there. what is your argument on that point? i mean -- how egregious do you think it is? >> well i mean, look, he is 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 is saying anything divisive should be kept out of school. well, that's not what an education is about. you are supposed to deal with divisive subjects, you are supposed to deal with different point of views. you are supposed to have discussions and arguments. glenn youngkin chose not to send his kids to the virginia public school, send 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 are not going to be taught to challenge ideas, and to have a free exchange of
ideas. so, that is really the problem beyond whether you are talking about the anti-racism curriculum or critical-race theory which is really much more of a high-level college and graduate school thing, anyway. >> i want to talk about school mask mandates. governor youngkin obviously ran on a platform he would leave it up to localities whether to impose them or not. seems in part to have changed. is this all peace in your view? >> i think it is. there is whole idea you heard a lot from fox news and the -- 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, you know, this is a way for glenn youngkin to appeal to the trump base of the party without appealing directly to trump.
but but i think what is important to recognize is he is playing really from the same playbook, the idea that there is a strong undercurrent of race-baiting going on. and it's very much what donald trump was doing. it's just trumpism without trump. >> virginia governors can serve only one term. they can't run for immediate reelection. do you think glenn youngkin has found a winning playbook by which candidates in central rights swing states can win without fully embracing the former president, but embracing certain flash points, 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. because 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 multicultural america, and these guys are taking that in the same direction trump was, just without the brand of trump. >> david milbank, thank you. i appreciate it. >> thanks, anderson. text messages sent between two former white house members while the capitol was under attack. some of my best memories growing up, were cooking with mom. she always said, “food is love.” so when she moved in with us, a new kitchen became part of our financial plan. ♪ i want to make the most of every meal we have together.
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we have breaking news on a text message exchange between former white house staffers during the january 6 capitol attack. according to former white house communications director, as the capitol was under attack, she texted ben williamson who was a top aide to then white house chief of staff mark meadows, asking, quote, is someone getting to potus? he has to have protesters someone is going to get killed. potus is president of the united states. then he responded, i've been trying for the last 30 minutes, literally stormed in outer oval to get him to put out the first
one. it's completely insane. so there is that, and new reporting about williamson's interview with the january 6 committee. 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. and what he might actually know or have seen. >> it's incredibly significant, anderson. and let's talk about what who ben williamson is. he is a top staffer to former white house 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 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 learned from 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 could be tempt of congress for defying the committee. 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 mark meadows. now you also noted that williamson did not invoke the fifth. usually that wouldn't be notable, but this the context of this investigation, several other top trump allies have
invoked their fifth amendment, including alex jones, roger stone, conservative lawyer john eastman. 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. people everywhere living with type 2 diabetes are waking up to what's possible...
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