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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  February 7, 2022 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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may be about to follow four other democratic states that said they are lifting school mask requirements. they are new jersey, delaware, connecticut, and oregon. one of the states that is still silent on mask mandates for kids in schools, though, is the one with the largest school district -- new york. thanks for joining us. "ac 360" starts now. good evening. as increased numbers of russian troops gather near the ukrainian border and key world leaders met today to ward off a possible i invasion, president biden and germany' chancellor stood before reporters to try to put an end to reports of a divide. they pronounced themselves unified in their country's opposition to russian aggression and both they and the leaders of france and russia meeting in moscow agreed on the need to find a peaceful conclusion, which means today could be a turning point or just the calm before the storm. i'm john berman, in for anderson. at the white house, with
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germany's olaf scholz, president biden said the two countries were unified and that they were working in lockstep. the german leader at one point actually switched from speaking german to speaking english to em a fa size, quote, we will be united, we will act together. but the effort at chumminess could need hide the fact they do not appear to be totally in lockstep. and what happens to a multibillion dollar pipeline that travels between germany and russia, known as nord stream 2, if russia invades. the president was unequivocal. quoting him now, quote, we will bring an end to it. the german chancellor -- well, he won't even mention the pipeline by name. and he avoided a direct response both during the news couldn't conference and later in an interview with my colleague jake tapper. at the news conference, instead, quote, we are acting together, we are absolutely unified. and while there is a lot of hope for a diplomatic resolution, russia's vladimir putin, after meeting with the french president today, again blamed
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ukraine for the conflict. he, again, alleged mistreatment of its russian-speaking citizens, which is something many believe is just using as a pretext for war. the pentagon today said there are now more than 100,000 russian troops in the area, with more arriving every day and more is exactly what ukraine is preparing for tonight. as cnn's melissa bell who is in ukr ukraine will document for us in our next hour. here is a preview of what they want the world to see. >> suddenly, the apparent calm left behind by the 1986 soviet era accident is broken. ukrainian forces run drills in what remains a radiation-exclusion zone, free of any inhabitants. they are practicing urban combat. of course, this is also an information and propaganda war. everyone waits for russian president vladimir putin to decide. >> reminder of what is at stake.
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let's start at the white house, and cnn mj lee. mj, the president ask german chancellor were clearly hoping to put on a united front today but seemed to disagree on the critical nord stream 2 pipeline, which would allow russia to export natural gas to germany by passing ukraine. president biden was forceful saying the pipeline would not go forward in the event of a russian invasion but the u.s. does not oversee the project. so, how exactly would that work? >> yeah, john, it is very clear after today that this pipeline is going to remain a major sticking point as you said when president biden was asked about this, he specifically said if russia were to invade ukraine, that this pipeline would be no more. i should note, though, that when he was pressed, well, how can the u.s. do that? he didn't get into specifics. he just said, well, i promise you that this is possible. and then, in real contrast, the german chancellor when he was asked will you commit to doing away with this pipeline, not letting it go forward if an invasion were to occur, he didn't make that commitment.
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he talked about in broader terms, saying, you know, our front is going to be united. we are going to be on the same page. but that lack of a commitment is going to continue raising questions about how united that front is. and also, just how feasible is it to put a stop to this project if germany is not actually onboard. >> yeah, chancellor schultz clearly was trying to avoid that question repeatedly, both at the white house and from our jake tapper. mj, what level of support does the white house think it has from germany and other key allies in the event of a russian invasion? >> well, you know, publicly, the administration is clearly trying to say that the u.s. and germany are on the same page. you don't get more categorical language than some of the language we heard from the president today. he said things like germany is completely, totally, and thoroughly reliable. he also said that there is complete trust between the u.s. and germany. but the reason that president biden and other u.s. officials
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have been so emphatic in trying to stress this point is because germany has been a little bit reluctant in talking about some of the things that they would do if russia were to invade. so, we're talking about questions about sanctions. we are talking about the issue of sending weapons to ukraine. and also, of course, the nord stream 2 pipeline, which as this press conference showed, the u.s. and germany may not exactly be on the same page. and the added complication that i think is worth mentioning, too, is this is a new chancellor, new leader of germany biden was meeting with today, right? he doesn't have the same relationship with this chancellor that he did with the former-german chancellor, angela merkel. so, he made clear that one big mission that he had in having this bilat meeting today was simply to get to know his counterpart better. >> we will see what the results are in the coming days. mj lee, at the white house, following developments there. now, to moscow and our international diplomatic editor, nic robertson.
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nic, what is the latest from moscow and what they are saying about the diplomatic efforts? >> you know, i think you get a clue, john, the way both leaders decided to characterize the meetings. putin said that they were businesslike, that they were interesting, that they were useful. whereas, macron described them as lively and substantial. substantial, they were. they lasted more than five hours. but really, in the press conference afterwards, it seemed to be president putin who was landing most the criticism and president macron, who was not pushing back so hard. putin criticized the leaders in ukraine for not following through on the minsk agreements to bring a cease-fire to the -- to the region, the pro-russian-backed separatists in the east of the country. you know, if you listen to secretary of state antony blinken, today he said look it is the ukrainian authorities who are doing pretty much everything they are supposed to do over the minsk agreement, and it is
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russia that is doing pretty much nothing of what it is supposed to do over that agreement. so, you know, there was a point where macron could have pushed back against president putin. he didn't. president putin criticized nato. said that nato was the aggressor, russia wasn't the aggressor. macron didn't push back on that. um, part of what putin was doing was putting pressure on macron, because he is going to kyiv tomorrow to speak with ukrainian leadership. and both leaders said, look, we have got some points of convergence. there are places where we agree. we can take more steps forward. but putin framed it this way, which was a lot more of pressure on macron than macron putting pressure on putin. putin said let's see how macron gets on in kyiv tomorrow, what progress he makes on the points that i'm making to see how much more progress we can make going forward. macron was the one stressing the point it's really important to keep the dialogue going. we owe it to find a peaceful solution. let's keep the talking going.
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um, it came out feeling somewhat unbalanced, john. >> any sign that macron, if his goal was to get putin to deescalate, that he immediate any headway at all? >> you know, no. it was hard to sort of come away wa that kind of read. they used the hang here rather than reducing tensions, the language that -- that macron and putin are using is sort of bing -- bring a broad security guarantee or new security dispensation to europe. this is something that gives russia what it wants, and europe gets what it wants. um, but on that key point of russia deescalating, which is something putin said he rather -- macron said he was going to come to moscow to do. that didn't seem to hand. look, the talks they had were in private. lasted over five hours. he may have said it behind closed doors but in front of the cameras, he did not want to appear to be derailing everything. he wanted to appear as if there
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was reason to be optimism, reason to keep the process going rather than -- rather than, you know, put putin in a corner which he didn't do, john. >> significant. nic robertson, thank you very much for that. perspective from two experts on the situation in eastern europe, a foreigner cnn moscow bureau chief and now a adjunct professor at georgetown. and wesley clark, form remember nato supreme allied commander. general clark, u.s. intelligence estimates say putin has about 70% of the military personnel and weapons on ukraine's border he would need for a full-scale invasion. but u.s. intelligence also indicates that russian officials have doubts about whether or not a full-scale invasion would work. where do you see things standing at this moment? >> i see president putin looking at this as an operation in three phases. the first phase is to build up forces and extract as much discord and as many concessions
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from nato and ukraine as possible. second phase is, depending on how the first phase works, going big. use that great-armed forces he has built. he's got incredible weaponry now. he's got things we don't have in our arsenal. we could not stop this if we deployed the u.s. military there the way it's organized. he has got electronic warfare, he's got a nuclear weapons capability standing by. he's got -- supremacy over ukraine. so, this could be really ugly. and that is what the u.s. military, that's what lloyd austin was trying to say. and the third thing is that after he does it, if he does it, he then is prepared to absorb the punches. he has got 650-or-so billion in foreign exchange. he is pretty sure that he could use gas to leverage the europeans. so, you know, he's riding high. as far as our european allies are concerned, of course they are going to go and talk to him because first of all, president
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macron ees in an election campaign. he is going to do the best he can. he knows all this talk from putin about a threat from nato is malarkey. but -- but nobody wants to see ukraine as the beaten zone for a russian military action. we don't want to see it. ukrainians don't want to see it. and if it happens, it will be a challenge to pull the sanctions together and make them lasting, and make them very painful because we are dependent on russian energy so going to be tough. >> jill, as the general noted, there is a whole hot of talking, right? president biden meeting with german chancellor, french president macron with vladimir putin. going to kyiv, now. what do you think will come of all of this? do you think that putin might want some kind of off ramp here? >> you know, i think right now if you look at the conversation
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that took place with president macron, i think it's president putin saying keep 'em guessing. keep 'em guessing. look very carefully at the comments he made and they were really noncommittal. you know, these proposals could be the basis/foundation for something but quote it's too early to begin talking about this. or about the details. so i think president putin now, as usual, has set up the situation. he has -- i think general clark described it quite well. but now, he is watching and he is allowing the europeans to run all over europe, come to moscow, go to kyiv. but really, the real game for putin is not the europeans. it's the united states. and so, i think, if he has -- if he can allow this kind of show of diplomacy -- and there is a chance that he is still interested in that to go. then -- but, the big game is the united states and what the united states will do. >> one of the things you do,
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jill, that is so useful is you monitor russian media and russian television. what are they saying about this? how are they framing this? >> you know, tonight -- and every night is a little different -- i think that the thing that worries me is that there is -- there's a really strong feeling that enough is enough. time for negotiations is over. we have been dealing with this -- there are a lot of really strong comments. this is -- i should set the scene -- it's a big discussion group with a lot of people yelling at each other. but essentially, they are talking about politics and several of them were very critical of the united states. the united states, you know, didn't do anything for us at the end of the soviet union, and they are greedy and now it's time, no more talking, we can do what we want. and -- and also, i think rhetorically setting the scene as president putin said, they are violating the rights of the russian speakers.
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that could be a justification for russia to go in. there are many ways they could do this. >> general clark, about 30 seconds left. nato supreme ally commander -- or nato secretary general, i should say, said that nato is considering a longer-term military posture in eastern europe to strengthen deterrence. how would that work? >> well, i think what you are seeing is a great number of forces deployed. i think the united states would have to relook at its commitments worldwide. might need to put another division back into germany with deployments into poland or romania or elsewhere. but the important thing is that it -- from this point on, the world is different. the fact that putin has massed these forces is offering these threats to the world, you can't go back. even if he deescalates, this is a marked change in the way
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russia relates to the world. and nato has to acknowledge it, and take the proper kactions. can't have this happening again. >> general wesley clark, jill dougherty, appreciate you both being with us. thank you. up next, we do have breaking news. several states among the first to impose strict covid restrictions made some surprise announcements today they would soon start relaxing them. which states made the moves, and why? and later, why some voters in florida are claiming they were duped into changing their party affiliation for democrat to republican, our randi kaye has that for us tonight on "360."
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some very significant developments in the pandemic fight tonight. some of the earliest states to impose mask mandates in schools
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and elsewhere to stop the spread are now, one by one, announcing dates when those mandates will come to an end. these are all states head by democrats, and they seem to be decisions driven by science, not politics. new jersey is ending its mandate for schools and child-care settings are march 7th. connecticut, rolling back its rules in schools on february 28th. delaware's school mask mandates will expire on march 31st. and the state's universal indoor mask mandate will end on february 11th. oregon will also be dropping its indoor mask mandate no later than march 31 he, that includes schools. and california governor gavin newsom has also announced tonight that his statewide indoor mask requirement will expire next tuesday, citing a 65% drop in cases since the peak of omicron. so, is it a sign that the pandemic's end is near? or just the new normal? we'll -- that we will be able to live with covid for the long haul. let's bring in cnn senior medical correspondent, elizabeth cohen. elizabeth, what do you make of how fast this all happened today? and what do you think is behind
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it? >> so, john, i think a couple things are behind it. first of all, we are seeing omicron rates really dropping in many parts of the country. you know, where it was so high just weeks ago, they are getting much lower. i think the other thing that is happening is that as one state sees another state start to put -- start to take -- get rid of these mandates, sort of gives them permission to do the same thing. it sort of seems less can scary to do the same thing. i will note, however, that the cdc says that there should be indoor mask mandates for areas of, quote, high transmission. virtually, the entire country is an in area of high transmission. white house spokesperson jen psaki talked about this today, that this is the cdc's requirement. it appears these states, even democratic-led states, are saying we don't really care. we're going to be getting rid of them, anyhow. >> jt states that are dropping mask mandates in school, how many children ages 5 to 11 have been vaccinated. >> >> this is the interesting thing is that if there were higher rates of vaccination, you
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might feel better about taking away mask mandates for schools. so let's take a look. these are children ages 5 to 11. and what -- what -- what you see when you look at that is, for example, in connecticut, 34% of children ages 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated. delaware, 23% that's about the national average. oregon, 30%. so, you are taking masks off in classrooms, where not a big percentage of children are vaccinated. now, it's higher for the older children. that's just 5 to 11. but it's -- you are telling children and teachers to take off masks when most children this age are not vaccinated. >> interesting. elizabeth cohen, thank you very much. want to take now to another health authority, cnn medical analyst, dr. leana wen has been all for relaxing restrictions at the right time. is that time now? when is the author of "lifelines, a doctor's journey in the fight for public health" and joins us now. we teased you there. dr. wen, nice to see you. do you agree with the move? >> i do.
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there was and is a time and place for pandemic restrictions. but when they were put in, it was always with the understanding that they would be removed as soon as we can. and in this case, circumstances have changed. case counts are declining. also, the science has changed. we know that vaccines protect very well against omicron, which is the dominant variant. everyone 5 and older have widespread access to vaccines and we also know about one-way masking. the idea that even if other people around you are not wearing masks, if you wear a high-quality mask, that also protects you, the wearer, too. and so, in this case, i am not saying i don't think anyone really is saying no one should ever wear masks, but rather that the responsibility should shift from a government mandate imposed from the state or local district of the school, rather it should shift to an individual responsibility by the family who can still decide that their child can wear a mask if needed. >> um, you know, take new jersey, the case in new jersey, for instance. their new case average is just
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over 4,000. um, is that an acceptable number to do this? or -- or are they projecting out to march 7th at this point? >> i don't think we should be looking at case counts at all at this point, especial ly when we are dealing with a milder variant, and when so many people were exposed to omicron and, therefore, have at least some level of protection, either through vaccination or immunity. the key number we should be looking at is hospitalizations. if our icus and hospitals in that particular region are not overwhelmed, if they are not over capacity, we can set a number. for example, 75% or 80% full. then, we should be able to relax all restrictions and i actually believe that we should be starting to, with the first restriction removed, should actually be the restriction on children. because while for adults, you could say well what's the harm of adults masking when they go into a grocery store? there actually is a harm that we should be discussing of children continuing to mask. that doesn't mean that masking
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doesn't have its place for children. when there are very high rates of hospitalization, if we get a new variant in the future that children are particularly susceptible to, we may want to bring masks back. but we should also be honest and say that masking has had a cost, especially for the youngest learners in people with english as a second language, children with learning disabilities. there has been a cost to them. so the risk-benefit calculation has really changed. >> i think it's important what you just said there. that you don't think case counts are the right metric to use here. we have to reframe, you say, how we think about this going forward i also want to ask what about the administration? because the white house was asked about this today. the decision being made and largely democratic-led states now to do this. and the white house continued to say, well, the cdc still recommends masking in schools. is it time for the white house, at the federal level, to push for a change in recommendations? >> yes, it is, because while we are seeing states and locales take matters into their own hands, that means that the federal government is becoming
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less and less relevant. if the cdc guidance they are putting out is now not being followed by virtually anyone, that makes the cdc and our federal public health authorities have less credibility. and so, i really believe that they need to be changing their guidance. and look, they don't have to do it overnight. they could say here is an off ramp to masking. you meet these criteria, and this is how you can begin to remove masks or remove other restrictions. but we need to hear their leadership here. the cdc has already lost a loft trust and credibility. this is their time to rebuild and remove restrictions as quickly as they were put in. >> i don't want to drag you into politics here, dr. wen. but is this a statement that things have come to a different place now? that, starting now, things need to change going forward? or is this an admission that some of the decisions that have been made over the last two years may not have been the right ones? >> yeah, it's an important question, john. i'm glad you asked it this way because it's definitely the former.
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as in, i don't want anyone listening to think that, oh, well, now that things are changing, it means that we never should have had mask policies, in the first place. actually, at the beginning of the pandemic, masking was one of the few things that we had. we didn't have vaccines. we didn't have testing. we didn't have other treatments. we had masking, and so masking was really necessary at that time. even last month, masking was necessary because we were seeing omicron overwhelm our hospitals. our hospitals were at the brink of collapse. we needed it. but just as there was a need then, things have changed. and we have to have an honest, nuanced conversation that's based in science but that's also thoughtful. i think the two sides, if you will, have both become more extreme, more polarized. and the nuanced conversation based on thoughtful positions. that's what we have to have at this time. >> well, we certainly appreciate your willingness to have that discussion. dr. leana wen, thanks so much for being with us tonight. >> thank you. >> up next, how the quest for some white house records is running up against the former
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president's preferred method of document destruction. and why some documents were found at what was once dubbed his winter white house. the details, when we return. why have over two million people welcomed bath fitter into their homes? it just fits. call now or visit to book your free consultation. inner voice (kombucha brewer): as a new small business owner, i find it useful to dramatically stare out of the window... that no one knows i'm secretly terrified inside. inner voice (sneaker shop owner): i'm using hand gestures and pointing... no one can tell i'm unsure about my business finances. inner voice (furniture maker): i'm constantly nodding... ...because i know everything about furniture... ...but with the business side... ...i'm feeling a little lost. quickbooks can help. an easy way to get paid, pay your staff and know where your business stands. new business? no problem. yeah. success starts with intuit quickbooks.
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getting white house documents and other information from the former president and his allies has been a particularly difficult task for the january 6th committee. perhaps, more so, with new reports by "the washington post"
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and cnn that the former president had a habit of ripping up dockulates, even taking documents of information that belonged to the national archives to mar-a-lago. i am joined now by "the washington post's" josh dawsey, who helped lead the coverage on this story for his paper. particularly, his documents that ended up in mar-a-lago, josh, what do we know about these records that the archives got back from mar-a-lago? what types are there? how much material is there? >> so, what we know, john, is that the national archives went to mar-a-lago, the former president's beachfront resort last month to get 15 boxes of documents that were not turned over to them at the end of the presidency, as they should have been. among the items were love letters, in the former president's words, with kim jong un. the letter that barack obama wrote him when he took over his presidency and all sorts of other mementos, gifts, and things that were -- should have been turned over to the national archives. "new york times" reported tonight as well that there was
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also the famous hurricane sharpie map in those items. so, what we know about those items is they were a collection of things the president obviously deemed -- the former president deemed personal but should have been turned over, according to the national archives, when he left the white house. >> i did note in your reporting, you had experts telling you that was much more than usual. that this was an unusually high level of documents that had not been turned over and the archives, in a statement, said that the trump dhadministration officials are continuing to search for additional records. what do we know about what might still be missing? >> well, we don't know a lot. i mean, for many months, national archives didn't know these documents were even missing. what they've started to do was looking for certain documents that were in the public domain or people told them about and realized, hey, we don't have these documents, we need to go go et them. there were two things we learned. one, the number of materials that went to the -- went to mar-a-lago with the former president, instead of going to the national our archives.
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and two, the number that was turned over to the national archives, that were ripped up, some put back together, some of them not put back together. but they have really had a painstaking task with this president -- or this former president -- trying to both retrieve documents and try and put documents together that were already turned in or because they were rip. >> hold that thought, josh, i want to bring in norm eisen, former counsel to house democrats during the former president's first peacimpeachme. he is also a cnn heel analyst. ambassador, you just heard josh talk about these records. what stands out to you? >> well, not that we need another example, john, but it is another example of the illegality of former-president trump's conduct on a grand scale. the presidential records act -- something i was responsible for helping enforce when i was working in the white house counsel's office -- requires that these documents be
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preserved. they have got to be left in the custody of the national archives. and for goodness sakes, the ripped up documents, some of which you haven't been able to put back together -- that's a wholesale violation of the act, too. to me, it raises the question of whether there are criminal penalties for the destruction of government documents, and it does raise the question of whether one of the possible criminal referrals that the committee may be looking at is conduct in and around these documents. >> so, josh, to the best of your knowledge, has there been any attempt by the former president or member of his team to impede the handover of documents like these to the national archives? >> i am not aware of any sort of effort to impede. obviously, the former president took them improperly, according to the nation archives. his team says this was not nefarious, that, you know, he did not view as things that had to go to the national archives. obviously, the national a
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archives feels differently. but still have a lot of reporting to do on this, john. some facts have come out but there is still a lot more to know. >> ambassador, because, yes, there is the national records law here but it is not like the archives has an archives police force here and it is not as if that these laws are typically enforced. josh's article, which is terrific, notes that basically it is an agreement. i mean, it's a handshake agreement from each white house to abide by the letter of the law. and get their wrist slapped and then try to comply later on. but what would cross the line, do you think, in this case that -- that would prove -- you know, that would bring some kind of charges here? would it be you needed to have an actual intent to destroy, to hide things? >> um, you would need that criminal or wrongful intent, john. but we know that probably these boxes at mar-a-lago are -- are -- are just a violation of
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the law. i mean, how incredible it is to say that -- those words -- about an ex-president. but when it comes to the documents that were ripped up and destroy the, that may be more serious because obstruction of justice prevents a president -- any american -- from destroying records that they think may incriminate them in a possible investigation. and we know that some of these materials, according to reporting, that have been turned over to congress were torn up. some, they have not even been able to put back together again. so, that is wraehere the intent questions become more serious. imagine what it is going to be like when there is a hearing and this is some incriminating document. they put it up on the screen, and it's been torn and taped back together. that speaks volumes. so, we're not jumping to any conclusions but i think that some hard looks will be had with respect to some of those
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documents about january 6th. >> it is notable, josh's reporting and also cnn reporting, the president knew that you weren't supposed to destroy the documents. this became an issue inside the oval office. chiefs of staff knew, the president knew, yet he continued to do it. josh dawsey, terrific reporting. norm eisen, fantastic analysis. thank you both for being with us tonight. so florida democrats raising concerns after some voters claim they were duped into changing their party affiliation from democrat to republican. our randi kaye investigates, next. ♪ahhh!♪ wooo! vaporize sore throat pain with migraine attacks? qulipta™ can help prevent migraine attacks. it can't prevent triggers, like stress or changes in weather. you can't prevent what's going on outside, that's why qulipta™ helps what's going on inside. qulipta™ is a pill. gets right to work to prevent migraine attacks and keeps them away over time. qulipta™ blocks cgrp
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florida daems kratic party is demanding an investigation into reports of possible voter registration irregularities after some people claim they were duped into changing their party affiliation. the party's chair sent a letter to florida's secretary of state, expressing concern over reports that senior citizens in a miami-dade public housing complex, unknowing hi, had their party changed after updating their voter registration with people ended up working on behalf of the florida republican party. the controversy is highlighting these comments from florida governor ron desantis back in november. >> today, for the first time in the history of florida, we have now overtaken democrats. there are more registered republicans in florida than democrats. [ applause ] 360's randi kaye has the
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story. >> reporter: 77-year-old juan sal czar is a democrat, or at least he used to be. in december, salazar, says someone wearing a red baseball cap approached him and switched his party affiliation, without his consent. you were a lifelong democrat? >> from 1978. >> reporter: and now, all the sudden, you are a republican? >> now, a republican. >> you don't want to be a republican? >> i don't want to be. >> reporter: he says it all happened at his housing complex in miami, florida. it is home to elderly, low-income residents who speak little english. he says he now believes it was a republican who told him he needed to update his registration. but keep in mind, in florida, once you register to vote, there is no reason to update that registration, unless you want to make a change, hike your party affiliation. that was not the case with any of the people we spoke with. >> this is the old card. >> that is the old card. >> and it says, right here, democratic party. >> yeah. >> and the new card says republican party of florida.
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and that's not what you want? >> no. i want to be democrat. >> juan isn't the only one who may have been targeted. miami resident ernesto told us a lady in a red hat came to his door to try and register him as a republican even though he's a democrat. >> now, i asked to her, are you republican? and she told me, yes. >> ernesto refused to sign the form but he says his sister and brother-in-law, both democrats who live elsewhere in miami-dade county, had their registrations changed after being fooled. >> it doesn't seem like a one-off kind of mistake. it is a concerted effort. >> reporter: senator annette is the vice chair of the ethics and election committee in florida ees senate. after receiving at least a dozen calls from concerned democratic voters, she sent this letter to florida secretary of state, a republican, requesting an investigation. >> about ten minutes from where juan lives, we found another woman who says her voter registration was changed from democrat to republican. she lives here. she didn't want to go on camera,
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but told us a woman had knocked on her door and told her that she needed to update her voter registration because it had expired. that woman's daughter sent us these pictures her mother took of the woman she says recently changed her voter registration. look closely at her i.d. it says rpof. that stands for republican party of florida. the woman's daughter says her mother signed the form but says after that, someone checked the box republican party under party affiliation. and her daughter says there is no way her mother could have checked that box on her own, since it's in english and her mother doesn't speak or read english. >> it is not legal to fill out the form for people. >> reporter: yet, the woman's voter registration was still changed. that's her old card on the left. it reads democratic party. her new card, on the right, shows she's now registered with the republican party of florida. all of this could have real consequences. florida is a closed-primary state. so in a primary election, you
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can only vote for a candidate that is aligned with the party you're registered with. >> it seems like they're filling out the form for them because they not knowingly, again, h lifelong democrats, would never have checked republican party of florida. it does raise some very big-red flags. >> so randi kaye with me now. randi, what does the state republican party have to say about this? >> well, john, we reached out to the republican party of florida and the executive director told me that the party conducts voter registration in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. she also said that they will review any report of concern and that election integrity is important, and continues to be a priority for the republican party of florida. but, john, i could tell you that there are hundreds of these third-party voter registration organizations throughout the state, and it is legal for them to reach out to voters. when it becomes a problem is if they didn't register with the state or if they are filling out these forms for the voters, instead of having the voters do
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it themselves. or if they are changing party affiliation without the voter's consent, then it becomes illegal and that's what they are investigating. but i should also note all the voters we spoke with already reached out to the board of elections. they are asking their party affiliation be changed back to the democratic party. they are eagerly awaiting their new voter registration cards, hoping they will come in the mail real soon. they haven't received them yet but they are looking forward to becoming a member of the democratic party here in florida once again, john. >> quite a story. thanks so much, randi kaye. so virginia's new republican governor is now under fire for a tweet on his campaign's official account, mocking a high school teenager. he now says he regrets it but that 17-year-old is with us tonight, and says he is still seeking an apology directly from glenn youngkin. why he wants one? will he get it? next. thpaste, we can help actively repair enamel in its weakened state. it's innovative. my go to toothpaste is going to be pronamel repair.
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no shortage of controversy with virginia's new governor, glenn youngkin, between setting up a tip line for parents to tattle on teachers, now the republican is facing heat for a tweet that went out on his campaign's official account saturday. here it is. it attacks a high school student named ethan lynn, a 17-year-old senior in high school. why? for retweeting a report over the weekend from a richmond public news station about youngkin failing -- lynn took a few months ago with former virginia governor ralph northam who once had a racist picture surface from his yearbook. here's a picture of ethan with a man that had a black face kkk member in his yearbook. ethan is 17 years old. it ignited a storm of criticism from democrats for attacks on a minor. the governor tried to do damage
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control earlier posting this, quote, on saturday night an unauthorized tweet came from a campaign account. i regret this happened and it shouldn't have. we must work to bring virginians together. there is so much more that unites us than divides us. that wasn't a direct apology to ethan lynn and ethan is not satisfied. we've reached out to youngkin's team for comment and have not heard back. in the meantime, we got ethan's parents' permission to interview ethan and he joins me now. what went through your mind when you saw the governor's campaign put out a tweet that went after you? >> well, john, i was surprised. i could not believe this was real. i never thought we would get to the place where a governor is attacking his constituents online. that's something donald trump would do. he promised he would be different than trump and take out and our politics have become too toxic. not only do i hope he
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apologizes, i hope he condemns what happens in a stronger way. >> let me read again what he put out. this is more than 24 hours after the original tweet. on saturday night an unauthorized tweet came from my campaign account. i regret this happened and it shouldn't have. i have addressed it with my team. we must continue to work to bring virginians together. there is so much more that unites us than divides us, unquote. what do you make of that statement? >> i thought it was a non-apology. he was just sorry that the whole situation happened. he's not actually sorry for what was said. he didn't even take credit that it was his campaign team account. he said it was a campaign account and did not, you know, strongly condemn the situation in any way, shape, or form. >> do you expect to hear from the governor personally? >> i don't know what to -- my expectations are on the floor, so i don't know. i have heard nothing from him or his staff since what happened saturday night. so, likely fnot. >> do you want to hear from him?
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>> yeah, of course i would like an apology to me and my family. but the only way to stop this is by publicly condemning this type of bullying and rhetoric and politics. the governor should be setting a better example for students like me because he is our state figure that we have to look up to. >> so "the washington post" reports there may be confusion by young kin's campaign staff about your age and whether you work for the democratic party. you're 17 years old, which they would have seen on your twitter account. >> right, exactly. first off, in my bio, it literally says high school senior. regardless of how old i was, you shouldn't be going afl anyone in high school. i am a public school student and i am 17. if you just don't look at my bio. but i've been active in politics from a young age. but whether i'm a democrat or not, active or not, governor youngkin should not be attacking
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or cyberbullying his constituents online. he promised he would be different as governor, and unfortunately he's been proven wrong by this. >> what age do you think is fair game to go after someone for a politician? >> well, i -- i honestly don't think it should happen that much, especially from an official account of someone, you know, who is a state -- a state-wide official. but certainly, you should never go after a minor. i know that that's the -- that has always been the golden unwritten rule in politics. >> do you think people should save up if they have gripes with what you've been putting online, they should save up until your birthday and tweet about you then. >> they can. i think that would be a waste of time because it's not like i'm going to just disappear. i'm going to continue to call out the governor and be a voice for students. >> this is an asymmetrical relationship right now where you can say whatever you want about the governor but his campaign can't say anything about you for now. >> right.
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i think it goes to the point where, you know, you never attack minors on twitter. and also i had just simply shared a public radio report about what happened. that should not have prompted that response of them posting me with the former governor. and mind you, besides him attacking me, a minor, it is completely unprecedented for a governor to attack their immediate predecessor, especially after youngkin had, you know, explained about how good friends he was with governor northam. >> ethan lynn, i wish you a wonderful rest of your school year. >> thank you so much, john. >> thanks for being with us. still to come, a live report from the white house. we'll get the latest from cnn's kaitlan collins on the showdown over ukraine, the diplomatic moves made just today, and the big question, will it help avoid a russian invasion or bring the region closer to conflict?
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