tv Inside Politics With John King CNN February 2, 2022 9:00am-10:00am PST
close to the family. just remember, this is a human being. >> and that's one thing i want to make sure is not forgeten as we continue to cover her story, her death and this investigation. snu all so much for being here. i really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you for all for being here. "inside politics with john king" starts now. hello and welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king in washington. thank you for sharing your day with us. more u.s. troops to eastern europe. president biden today authorizes new deployments as tough talk from the kremlin dims hope for diplomatic end. donald trump says the insurrectionists deserve pardons. and reporting on chuck schumer's struggle to navigate a 50/50
democratic senate as a health scare leaves democrats one vote short for the next few weeks. to begin the hour, though, a major escalation. president biden now sending thousands of american troops to vladimir putin's doorstep. the administration says it is a necessary step because russia is increasing its buildup along the ukraine border and because did i mr diplomacy so far has produced nothing. cnn is following all of this morning's breaking news. our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. it's a big deal. >> reporter: it is a very big deal, john. i think you characterized it right. right to putin's doorstep but not crossing the threshold. approximately 1,000 u.s. troops already in germany will move further east to romania, another 2,000 troops in the united states who regularly operate on very short notice, they are going to go to europe, poland
and germany. they will be ready to work their mission, to reassure the nato allies, to make them feel they are capable of resisting any russian aggression. so the key question if they're not going into ukraine to fight the russians, which they are not, they might be used to help evacuate americans but not to fight the russians and are not going to russia directly but are staying in eastern europe. does the u.s. feel putin could make a further move east? could he step over that line into a nato country? is that what we're talking about in terms of russian aggression beyond ukraine? here is what the pentagon spokesman john kirby had to say this morning. >> we're not ruling anything in or out with this announcement. this isn't an intel assessment about what mr. putin will or
won't do. as i said in my opening statement we still don't believe he's made a decision to further invade ukraine. and if he does further invade ukraine, there will be consequences for that. he has many options and capabilities available to how he might do that. and we simply don't know. >> reporter: so what's perhaps most disconcerting the u.s. doesn't know what putin is going to do, doesn't know how far he will go, if he will make that move into ukraine. these u.s. troops and troops from the other allies are making their move into europe to try to bolster and reassure those eastern european allies who right now are very nervous. john? >> very nervous. a big step. barbara starr, i appreciate you kicking us off with this announcement. perspective from our white house correspondent jeremy diamond. why now? >> reporter: listen, john, the president has been mulling this
move for nearly two weeks now. we know he already put those 8,500 troops on heightened alert and is making this decision to send 3,000 troops to europe. this move is something the president signed off on yesterday morning following a meeting with lloyd austin, the defense secretary, and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff mark milley, and it comes as the president has been facing increasing pressure to do more before a potential russian invasion. a severe package of sanctions he would level against russia if they were to invade. there has been pressure for the president to do more ahead of time, and this is certainly a part of this. nato allies have been seeking reassurance so that accomplishes both of those things. it gives the president an opportunity to put another piece of leverage on the chessboard. we heard the pentagon press secretary john kirby making very clear these are not permanent moves. they could be scaled up or
scaled back, giving the president an opportunity to add another piece of leverage here as he looks to get vladimir putin to stand down from a potential invasion of ukraine. john? >> jeremy diamond, i appreciate the live perspective. for some inside perspective the former commanding general, great to see you. just help me right now, if you were still holding that title, u.s. commander army europe, what are you thinking at this moment when you hear the commander in chief is moving 3,000 u.s. troops into the area? >> i think it's a very prudent move, john. i think what we're talking about, and barbara mentioned it, it is not only deterrence, and it bolsters the courage of some of those countries -- romania and poland, which i can talk a little bit more about because they are concerned about russia even when they don't have 120,000 troops in belarus on the ukrainian border, but it also allows for contingency planning.
we don't know what putin is going to do, as you just said. he could potentially not only expand his operations into ukraine, he could also go elsewhere. and when you take a look at the map of that area of the world where he has his forces, there are several nato countries and poland is one and romania is another one. they have been stalwart nato allies. if i were the commander in europe i would be saying this is a good move in addition to the 8,500 soldiers that are still on deploy orders. >> one of the things you do in the military are the so-called table top exercises where you work out hypotheticals. you heard jeremy diamond use the chessboard analogy. the question here and part of the danger here is the other guy, the guy on the other side of the table is the
unpredictable vladimir putin. his view of the west. >> translator: we were given promises not to push the infrastructure of the nato bloc to the east one inch. everyone knows this well. today we see where nato is located, poland, the baltic countries, they said one thing. they did another. as people say, they screwed us over. >> tough language and that was before the u.s. president sends 3,000 more u.s. troops onto putin's doorsteps. one of the risks, i guess, is a miscalculation or putin takes this and says, aha, i told you so, and uses it to further provoke. is that a risk at the moment? >> well, first of all, i want to address the comments. there was never any promises made about the expansion of nato. secondly, the countries who joined nato joined because they are concerned about russian
expansionism. president putin, as he often does, is lying to get a message across. will it cause further tension? there are a lot of people who do not see mr. putin as a very good strategist. what i would say they see him as an authoritarian opportunist. he has not been stops in the past. i think the current administration is doing some things that tell him, no more. these countries are foreign nations, they don't want you inside of their territory, and, by the way, it's not the west and it's not nato who has put together 120,000 troops and inside the sovereign territory of ukraine for the last eight years. so these are the kinds of things that i think the media needs to push back on and not take putin at any value for what he's saying. critically important, yes, will this create additional angst on
mr. putin's part? absolutely. is it required angst? i believe it is. the sovereign nations of europe deserve to be free and to pro sis their own national security. >> general hertling, thank you for your time and perspective. we will stay in touch as this plays out. thank you, sir. coming up for us new chilling evidence of the way donald trump sees january 6th as he plots his comeback. rizers that help rebuild your skin. dove men+care. smoother, healthier skin with every shower. real cowboys get customized car insurance with liberty mutual, so we only pay for what we need. -hey tex, -wooo. can someone else get a turn?
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where the republican national committee opens its winter meeting today. high on the agenda, a resolution rebuking the two republicans who serve on that house panel. liz cheney and adam kinzinger are pursuing the truth about the insurrection including the former president's role and that, of course, is what trump allies want punished. trump holds on the rnc is worth watching as he plots his comeback. we get more evidence of the dangerous way he sees things. listen as trump defends the insurrectionists and his plan to pardon them if he gets power back. >> gives them a pardon if things don't work out fairly. many of these people are not guilty. what they've done to these, and in many cases patriots, they're soldiers, they're policemen, what they've done to them compared to what they've done to the other side, you know, you have to have equal justice. and this isn't equal. >> with us to share reporting
cnn's abby phillips. julie hirschfeld-davis, that is a snapshot of how donald trump sees the world. can you help me? what is the other side on january 6th? his supporters stormed the capitol. who is the other side that he wants punished? the police officers who were railroaded, beaten, hurt, a couple killed? is it mike pence? is it mike pence? they screamed hang mike pence. is it nancy pelosi? they were looking for her. how does donald trump see the other side in the insurrection? >> i think we're looking for logic in what he is saying here. it's a fool's errand. i think what he's trying to convey is he feels that he is on the side of the people who breached the capitol and the people who rioted and the people who stormed that building and sent lawmakers and the vice president running for their lives. i suppose if you were to have an extended conversation with him and asked him to explain he might be talking about antifa or
he might be talking about people who attended racial stigs protests the summer before that turned violent in some cases. there's no equivalent between that and what happened and what he is trying to do is just to show he is supporting what he did. he liked what they did and he feels they didn't do anything wrong. and that is a sentiment that, you know, clearly some republicans in congress have also articulated and called them martyrs and people who have been persecuted for their political beliefs when they're being prosecuted for crimes for assaulting police officers and breaching the capitol of the united states. >> crimes, one of the few republicans speaks plainly about this, mitch mcconnell yesterday said it was to help prevent the transfer of power. that is a fact. donald trump, you can see the anger there.
allies of donald trump will try at this meeting to pass a resolution rebuking the two republicans who agree to serve on the committee who have been trying to get the truth to build the history of that horrible day. that is a test. will this party ever stand up to donald trump and his way of seeing things? >> absolutely. that's been the test from the very beginning. what this brings us is republicans, including mcconnell, by the way, largely oppose the creation of this january 6th commission because they were concerned it would become a sort of, you know, in their words, witch-hunt against trump. and mao what trump is doing is, in fact, making january 6th about him. he's making it impossible for republicans to try to be on both sides of this issue saying you're either with me or against me and that is making what liz cheney did and what she has said all the more important.
she was very clear. she beliefs there was no way to be on both sides of the issue. you had to pick a side for trump or against trump or you are de facto in trump's camp because he wants no one to dissent on whether january 6th was acceptable or not, whether or not the election was stolen or not. he wants no dissent. >> and sung mini, is the term that comes up, will they ever learn, including senator lindsey graham, who back in the 2016 primaries called him a horror and he became a trump sycophant. now lindsey graham says he does not believe any future president, whether it's donald j. trump or anyone else, should pardon those convicted in the insurrection. for that lindsey graham gets this from donald trump. >> lindsey graham is wrong.
he's a nice guy but he's wrong. he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about if he says that because you have to have equal justice. it's very, very unfair what's happened to this group of people. >> again, back to the equal justice, i defy anybody out there with logic, eyes and video to tell me who else was to blame on january 6th. but back to the lindsey graham point, will they ever learn? >> it's hard to see that, and what's so interesting, he has continued to be a trump ally since the president -- since the former president left office and moved on to florida. he continues to talk with him, visits him. he is still known as a trump ally and his conduit back to the broader republican party. to say, no, pardons are not a good idea for those involved in the january 6th insurrection got him on the outs with trump just like that in one snap. that just shows you how much
donald trump just commands loyalty when all the facts point otherwise and as he continues to gain control and remain popular in the party and as we get closer to 2024 how many continue to stay with him. >> a lot of reporting the last 24 hours, 48 hours in evidence collection by the january 6th committee. word from the archives. now some of mike pence's records will be turned over. listen to a member of the committee who says when trump is out there dangling pardons, that crosses the line. >> is trump tampering with witnesses when he's talking about pardons, dangling them in front of 1/6 defendants? >> absolutely. the question is more for my
colleagues on the other side of the aisle, where are they? do they support this? he's tangling pardons if he gets back in office for individuals, will that be enough or will there be more collective amnesia? >> let's talk about the substance of the investigation, looking more closely at trump's personal involvement. the committee has surprised people with the thoroughness, the meticulousness and how high up the trump command it is going. >> if he wanted to dangle pardons to discourage people from co-operating he should hav done it several weeks ago. at this point the committee has talked to hundreds of witnesses and now we know they include marc short, the former vice president's chief of staff, one of his top lawyers, chief kellogg, all of these people were vord in the runup to
january 6 in trying to pressure mike pence in trying to overturn the session and they do have a lot of documents and got that dump from donald trump himself the sorts the things the president was considering doing. and now the possibility they will get to see records of mike pence's, there is a lot of back story they are able to fill in to what we saw play out in public and heard the former president talking about he wanted to do. now the committee is getting a lot of information about the steps that were being put in place to accomplish that. they have a lot of holes to fill but headway in terms of figuring out what the president was thinking and doing in the run-up to the riot. >> that headway, i suspect, is one of the major sources of the anger we see. our reporters will stand by. more to discuss ahead.
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senator schumer says he has no regrets. here is one piece of the interview. quote, joe biden set the agenda, and i am working to pursue that agenda, okay, and i agree with it. isaac, let me start with you first. joe biden set the agenda and i'm working to pursue that agenda, okay? that sounds like a don't blame me, it's the president's fault, this thing was too big and we couldn't pass it. >> with voting rights, there was criticism that everyone came under for not being able to move forward. is that chuck schumer's fault that they couldn't get voting rights through? he said, listen, joe biden is setting the agenda not me. with build back better, the various ways the agenda has gone through fits and starts here. we got the extra back story. there was a document that came out in the fall that chuck
schumer had signed his name to over the summer with joe manchin and we knew he hadn't told nancy pelosi about it saying he was putting a cam on the amount of spending manchin would agree to. he also didn't tell the white house about it and so both the white house and the speaker's office were pursuing what turned out to be a ghost of trying to get this massive spending bill through even though schumer aparentsly knew that manchin would never agree to it. he said it wasn't an agreement. i was trying to work joe manchin through. how in this 50/50 senate everything is up in the air. schumer's critics, not saying no to anybody, he says trying to get anybody to say yes. >> one of the issues here is what happens next? there's a lot of animosity. they blame kyrsten sinema and manchin. they say they are not good democrats.
in your interview chuck schumer did not take a stand on that. he said i'm focused on 2022, getting things done and winning the election. i'm not focused on 2024 and neither should anyone else be. if you're thinking too far ahead you have trouble but isn't that the reality? some democrats are still mad. >> it's remarkable to hear a senate leader not exactly say whether or not he would support one of his own senators running for re-election. typically that's expected. any senator could expect the leadership will fall behind them, i suspect schumer will but it speaks to the tension that has grown because of the strategy that he along with joe biden have pushed over voting rights, what they focused on at the beginning of the congress this year and they knew there was no chance of changing joe manchin and kiyrsten sinema's
minds and that sparked animosity to the left where there are calls almost every day. but schumer wants to stay away from that and says he has no regrets in pushing for for the votes saying they came to vote and we should vote. >> one of the conversations for the past year has been if chuck schumer knew joe manchin wasn't going to budge, if he knew sinema was not going to budge, why didn't he get to the president early on and say these things are too big, they're not going to pass and we need to. here is what was said in an interview. when it comes to re-election, i work really hard for new york and it works out fine. i'm always looking forward not over my shoulder. >> i started out covering new york politics. chuck schumer takes running around new york state very
seriously. he's always paranoid about what is going to happen. it's not a question he's been extra concerned watching ocasio-cortez come up, beat an incumbent in a primary and have to see whether he would have to worry about that himself. he's been making moves to protect himself against that. >> maybe, manu, chuck schumer thought not telling the white house and nancy pelosi about the conversations, maybe he thought that would work last year. what are the lessons as we look forward? have these democrats and schumer figured out how to work in the new year, or are they still in what you'd have to say has been so far difficult but dysfunction? >> well, that's been the problem for them is because they have promised so much. they can get so much done without recognizing or at least publicly dealing with the reality here, they have a 50/50 senate and three votes they could lose in the house and any one defection could scuttle their entire efforts. in a lot of ways they have not.
even if chuck schumer back in the sum emer agreed to what joe manchin put forward on that larger build back better plan, they almost certainly would have caused a revolt in the house and perhaps would have blown up in schumer's face if they had done just that. it speaks to the real challenge to get so much through. they promised a lot. they got stuff through, infrastructure done, covid relief done, they've confirmed more than 40 judges in their first year and could confirm a supreme court justice as well. a lot unhappy they couldn't do more. >> take a look and get the perspective. chuck schumer has one of the most difficult jobs in washington. it's a fascinating piece. thank you very much. coming up for us a senator's health scare highlights the fragility of the democrats' 50/50 hold in the united states senate. tremfya® is approved to help reduce joint symptoms in adults with active psoriatic arthritis. some patients even felt less fatigued.
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we'll bring you some breaking news on what could be a very important witness for the january 6th investigation committee, a video of jeffrey clark. he worked in the trump justice department. he at one point recommended donald trump fire the acting attorney general and put him in charge and he promised trump he would look into baseless allegations of voting fraud. now the committee had held mr. clark in contempt. they were trying to get his testimony. our reporters will stay on top of this and try to figure out the significance. jeffrey clark being there to
meet with the committee is important in its own right. a health scare in the united states senate now serving as a reminder democrats have literally no votes to spare. new mexico democratic senator ben ray lujan is in a hospital today. the 49-year-old democrat, quote, began experiencing dizziness and fatigue. according to his chief of staff. the senator was found to have suffered a stroke in the cerebellum. he underwent decompressive surgery to ease the swelling. senator lujan is resting comfortably and expected to make a full recovery. the statement, did not say when he might return to washington. our reporters are back with us. it gets to the point, number one, we wish the senator well, number two, his colleagues do seem to say early indications are he will make a recovery and shoulding back in a matter of a few weeks. the president is trying to get his agenda back.
this one sends a little shiver through them. >> it's a stark reminder of the fragility of the 50/50 senate and the democratic majority. i asked senator dick durbin about this earlier this week because senator durbin has been fond of saying all year, that we are one heartbeat away from losing the majority and with the supreme court nomination on the table they are for the past year senior senators, the leadership, the staff have been working trying to push their agenda as quickly as possible as if there's no tomorrow. there's a lot of obvious concern about senator lujan, his health. when he can make a return to the senate and just what this means for their agenda. they're plowing through lower level nominations. what about a supreme court justice? how does that go into president biden's calculation? all very key questions we'll be watching for. >> senator chris coons telling
our capitol hill team this is a reminder senator lujan's setback, any unforeseen or difficult developments can make that harder. the wish list, you heard a conversation about senator chuck schumer trying to navigate this 50/50 senate. they want to pass a russia bill. they hope to get a few republicans. build back better act, can they revive it? voting rights bill can they revive it? there's a lot of anger why can't they get these things done? senator lujan's stroke is a reminder 50/50 is incredibly hard. >> it's really difficult and for all of those enditems it was going to be hard anyway. the real anxiety, a fraction of this timetable that is right in president biden's hands. he has to decide who the nominee is and twhakd of timetable he's on makes a difference.
the senate has a process and some of that can't be short-circuited in a certain way. on this thing where we have control over half of the process we should get a name on the table as quickly as possible so we don't leave anything to chance. >> and, julie this is your wheelhouse, this comes -- and we wish the senator the best -- it comes at a time you see the raw emotions. senator manchin just this week saying build back better, the social safety net plan, he says it's dead. his four letter word for it, dead, to which bernie sanders says if manchin sides with corporate america on this issue, that's his business, for me and i think millions of americans we have to fight for the needs of working families. you have this raw moment in a caucus 50/50 nervous about one of its members. >> well, right, and you had the reminder of the fragility of the majority statement the reminder
the effect of that is any one senator, like joe manchin, has effective veto power over anything they do. joe manchin's unwillingness to go forward with the build back better bill is the reason that it is dead or on life support or completely collapsed, depending on who you ask. he has been holding out along with senator sinema, of course. but a lot of rage on the left for him and resentment in the caucus he's been standing in the way of what they want to do. i think abby is completely right on the supreme court, it is a matter of time. the lujan situation reminds them of that. and he is a relatively young man by the standards of the senate where nearly half of the senate is 65 or older. and they have the majority now, by a very, very thin margin, and there are a lot of democrats who feel like they need to go
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florida democrats don't pick a candidate for governor until the primary in august. but instead of waiting republican incumbent ron desantis has hand-picked a stand-in, an 81-year-old doctor born in brooklyn. steve, this is a rather famous 81-year-old doctor born in brooklyn. >> yeah, surprise, john, it's dr. fauci. the governor has intensified his attacks on the country's top infectious disease expert, talking about fauci far more than he mentions any of his potential democratic opponents. he is selling flip-flops that say fauci can't pound sand. he last year sold beer cozies that said don't fauci my florida at a time florida was becoming the country's coronavirus hot spot and in a fund-raising pitch escalating the attacks on fauci suggesting fauci should be in prison.
this comes at a time when fauci's approval rating among republicans is falling but for desantis this is seemingly broader than throwing read mred meat at his base in florida, supplying his merchandise store online, these items sell really coast to coast. so, you know, john, these flip-flops could be on the feet of a future republican primary voter in 2024. desantis may have his eye on that. >> looking not only to this november but beyond. the latest covid numbers and news. the committee will meet on february 15 to discuss pfizer's request to authorize its two-dose covid-19 vaccine for children as young as 6 months. approval would make 18 million more children, 18 million children, eligible for vaccination. let's get some perspective from dr. jonathan reiner at george washington university.
grateful for your presence. we already novak seens are authorized for those 5 to 11 and there has been significant vaccine hesitancy among parents of those aged 5 to 11. what is your take as pfizer moves forward here with some questions about their own data about efficacy? >> pfizer announced in december that in their trial of children 6 months to five years of age, the young hes a really good immun immunogenic response to the mrna. the older kids between 2 years and 5 years of age did not. and it was an unsatisfactory response causing them to have to
refigure how to dose the kids and they decided to make it a three-dose trial and add a third dose, data that will not be ready until march. what pfizer is going to ask parents to do is believe eventually when all the data comes in that if you treat a 3 or 4-year-old with the two-dose vaccine that it will be safe and that if you add eventually a third dose to them it will be effective. not good enough. when we tell parents to vaccinate their kids, we need to tell them with complete clarity that the vaccine is both safe and effective and we will not have the data to prove that it's effective. we already have parents doubting whether to give their kids the vaccine. i've spoken to physicians now who have told me they will not give their kids a vaccine where there is not efficacy data, and
i don't blame them. >> it will be fascinate to go watch the advisory committee to see if there's pushback. the vaccines have gone forward pretty quickly. this one has a hiccup. the state of play where we are at the moment and you do see 803,000 cases a day was our high. we are 46% down from the january peak. a lot of people are saying, good, take off your masks, go back to normal. we were at 71,000 cases in late september, at 17,000 a case as day if i went back to the summertime. this is great progress, the trend lines are in the right direction. yes, hospitalizations are coming down but still you think it's smart to plan but premature to celebrate, that fair? >> 100%. no one wants to spike the ball on the 20 yard line and that's
where we are now. we can see the goal line but our hospitals are still packed. i spoke about a patient of mine who spent the night in the e.r. because our hospitals are filled with patients with covid and there are no beds. when we see in communities hospitals to longer overwhelmed, where there is plenty of capacity, when case rates drop lower than now we should ratchet back these effects. there's still too much virus to simply say nothing to see, stop wearing masks, let's go about our business. we will get there. i think if we have this discussion a month from now there will be plenty of places in the united states you should start cutting back on mitigation methods. >> doctor, grateful for your perspectives and insights.
one more story, the omicron surge taking its toll on the economy. america lost 301,000 private sector jobs. 301,000. last month in january, that according to the latest adp employment report. those numbers came as a surprise to most economist who is were expecting a modest increase. small businesses hit the hardest. the report comes just two days before the labor department's monthly jobs report. i appreciate your time today. we hope to see you back here tomorrow. you can listen to our podcast wherever you get your podcasts. ana cabrera picks up our coverage after a quick break. have a good afternoon.
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hello. i'm ana cabrera. thank you so much for joining us. we begin with an explosive lawsuit sending shock waves through the nfl. the miami dolphins recently fired head coach brian flores, alleges the nfl is rife with racism. he makes claims against the league and three teams. he likens the nfl to a plantation. flores claims he was used for sham interviews because he is black and teams had to meet a certain quota. he spoke with cnn this morning. >> this is bigger than me. this is bigger than football. many have come before and ne