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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  February 10, 2023 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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happening now, breaking news. u.s. fighter jets shoot down an unidentified object flying at high altitude over alaska. president biden giving the order
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hours ago. just days after the downing of the chinese spy balloon. another classified document is found in the possession of former vice president mike pence. the fbi removing the material from pence's indepeiana home. the hunt for survivors in the earthquake soon zone with a rescuer on the ground. we are getting accounts of people found alive. the death poll toll rises higher and higher. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. the us military shooting down a high altitude object a little while ago after tracking it over alaska for 24 hours.
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we have a team of correspondents and experts stand big as we break down what we know and what we don't know about this object and how it compares to the chinese spy balloon shot down nearly a week ago. first, jim sciutto. what are your sources telling you about this object that was shot down over alaska? >> the details we know right now, it was unmanned, flying at 40,000 feet, lower than the 60,000, 70,000 feet the chinese surveillance balloon was flying at. closer to commercial air traffic. not maneuverable, unlike the first balloon last week. smaller, the size of a car, the pentagon says, as opposed to two to three buses. this is key, the u.s. is not identifying a country as the owner/operator of this particular object. here is what white house national security spokesman john ker kirby had to say.
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>> the president was involved in this decision. he ordered it at the recommendation of pentagon leaders. wa he wanted it taken down. they did it using fighter aircraft. we are calling this an object, because that's the best description we have right now. we do not know who owns it. whether it's state owned or corporate ownsed or privately owned. we don't know. >> the president made that decision. they went with a similar weapon, identical package, an f-22 firing a sidewinder missile and taking it down. it's the second time in a week the president has made a decision to take down an object over the u.s. that he and the p pentagon decided was a threat. >> what are you learning about the area this object was flying over over when it was shot down? >> bordering on the arctic ocean in alaska. it's not clear what the particular target was.
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i have been up there myself. this is an area near dead horse, alaska, where the u.s. flies out to meet submarines operating in the arctic. we went there in 2018 for u.s. submarines in the exercises. you can see one of them there. as we saw with the chinese surveillance balloon, attention focused on why might have an object be in that area. we don't know. we do know there are military facilities up there. u.s. assets operating up there as well. similar to what we saw whether we saw what the chinese surveillance balloon flying over montana with icbm sites. we are waiting for them to identify a country. the president knew it was a threat to act. >> he did. jim sciutto, thank you very much. let's go to phil mattingly and kylie atwood.
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what led to the president's decision to shoot this down? >> the time line is important. it's very different than the time line that we had with the chinese spy balloon. two different octobers, according to u.s. officials. two different officials in terms of the speed with which the president gave the order on the pentagon's recommendation to shoot down the object. the president was briefed on the object's existence on thursday evening according to white house off officials. on friday morning, after fighter jets had gone up to get a sense of what the object was, the president was briefed again and the president was given the recommendation by the pentagon to shoot down the object. the president took that recommendation, gave the order to shoot down the object. it was shot down a little before 2:00 p.m. today. i think what you hear from officials that's most critical was the height of which the object was flying. as jim noted, it was 25,000 feet lower than the chinese spy balloon. that was a driving force behind
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the decision. a faster move toward shooting the object down. it's a lot of very unanswered questions going forward about what this object was and why this process played out the way it did. >> what happened next in this investigation? what are you hearing? >> what the white house and the biden administration are focused on is the recovery here. as you have been talking about, they really don't know a lot about what this actually was, this mysterious object, and where it came from. so recovery is critical to answering those questions. the recovery of this mysterious object is going to look different than the recovery of the chinese spy balloon that came down off the coast of south carolina over the weekend, because that came down on territorial waters of the united states. this is coming down over ice. it's freezing in these alaskan
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sees. of it shot down around 1:45 p.m. today. we are expecting to learn more as the recovery efforts get under way. was it a nation state or a private entity that sent this into the air? the other thing that's different between the chinese spy balloon and this is that the united states knew it was a chinese spy balloon before they shot it down. we are told by sources that there was actually a method developed by u.s. officials just in the last year, according to my colleagues who said that there was a method that enabled them to track the chinese spy balloon fleet around the world. it appears that this object was not being tracked as part of that effort. >> thank you very much. let's discuss this with the former director of national
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intelligence, james clapper. a retired u.s. air force lieutenant general. he is a cnn national security analyst as well. thanks for joining us. the pentagon says they have no details yet on this object'sing or ---ing or begins. how do you narrow down who was behind this? >> i think the first suspect on the list of suspects would be china. it's possible it could be russian, for example. maybe it was a weather package. again, we don't know that. i think the obvious foreign suspects would be china and russia. >> the administration says the object was about the size of a small car and couldn't mon yo maneuver on its own.
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what does that tell you about the capabilities of this object? >> well, i suspect it's less than the balloon sensor suite. i'm speculating here. i would think it sounds as though it was less sophisticated. a smaller payload. didn't have the guidance. whoever the owner of this object is, had not made the investment in resources and technology that it appears was made in the case of the chinese balloon. >> when you look, general, at the vastly different handling of this object versus the chinese balloon, do you believe political pressure played a role in the administration's decision to shoot this object down so quickly? >> possibly. don' i don't know. i think this is an evolving thing. what would be helpful is if we
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developed a protocol, the administration, some rules of enga engagement, if you will. get that blessed or explained first to the congress and then to the public. again, i'm not being critical here. this is kind of a new airrea fo us to manage. i think at some point, there needs to be a commonly understood pro tocol on how thee will be handled and responded to. in this particular case, it sounds like this was a potential hazard to navigation. although, i'm not sure how many airplane flying in that region. i can only speksculate the d
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domestic situation played. >> china and other adversaries carry out surveillance. how does this fit into the bigger picture? >> the chinese have a full service intelligence and security apparatus. i think it's not likely that the chinese senior tier of leadership to include president xi knew all about this and knew about the balloon. it does show the extent to which china will extend itself to collect information, whether it's thievery of intellectual property, buying property in the united states that's near sensitive facilities, balloons, satellites, human spies, you name it. they have a very robust and large intelligence enterprise.
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you kind of have to hand it to them with respect to the balloons. they picked a regime that's not well observed by most countries. >> i suspect the u.s. intelligence community will learn a lot once the u.s. collects all the debris that fell down on the ice over alaska and they get that debris and they find out where it was made and what it was doing. james clapper, thank you for joining us. what the fbi found in a search of former vice president's mike to pence's home. our dell technologies advisors can provide you with the tools anand expertise you need to bring out the innovator in you. my name is joshua florence, and one thing i learned being a firefighter is plan ahead. you don't know what you're getting into, but at the end of the day, you know you have a team bind you that can help you.
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the u.s. justice department retrieved classified material from mike pence. paula reed has the latest on the search of pence's home as well as the new subpoena he is facing. >> reporter: fbi agents arrived at the indiana home of former vice president mike pence friday to search for classified documents. in a statement released after the search, pence's team revealed investigators removed one document with classified markings and six additional pages without such markings that
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were not discovered in the initial review by the vice president's counsel. >> those classified documents should not have been in my personal residence. mistakes were made. i take full responsibility. >> reporter: the justice department is reviewing how it ended up there. pence concepsenting to allow th fbi in his home after they found classified documents in the residence last month. >> there would be no reason to have classified documents. >> reporter: a member of his legal team was present as agents scoured the home while pepsnce s on the west coast after the arrival of two grandchildren. his team touting their cooperation in contrast to another matter as pence faces a
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super from special counsel jack spinel in his criminal investigation. pence's lawyers have been in negotiation for maonths as he ws a witness to what was happening in the capitol attack. and to trump's pressure campaign to overturn the election. >> mike pence will have to come through. >> reporter: and the wrath he endured when he refused. mike pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done, trump tweeted, as the capitol was under siege. >> when i saw those images and when i read a tweet that president trump issued, saying that i lacked courage in that moment, it angered me greatly. >> reporter: pence could try to
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asser as assert prifsh privilege. >> i referred to my role on january 6. i said, i'm never going to stop praying for you. >> reporter: they will search pence's office for classified documents. they will decide whether to appoint a special counsel. there's a desire by the pence team to move this along as he tips to contemplate a presidential rate. >> thanks very much, paula, for that report. joining us now karrie cordaro and adam kinzinger and maggie haverman. what does this mean for pence
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and for the overall investigation? >> the fbi's first objective is to recover classified information that's located in places that it shouldn't be. that's the number one objective is to protect national security, protect this information. they accomplished that task. the second thing that's important to keep in mind is that this was a consensual search. this is not like the search that the fbi executed at mar-a-lago. this is the former vice president giving consent. the next steps are, they will have to continue their investigation to determine how these documents got to where they were. whether there was exposure. did people who weren't supposed to see them see them? how did this happen? they will get to the mount as to whether there's anything criminal in nature about this? was there intent? was this on purpose?
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was this an accident? >> this comes as pence is facing a subpoena right now in the special counsel's january 6 investigation. does there give pence political cover to share at least some of what he knows? >> yeah. i think being subpoenaed is certainly preferable for mike pe pence and coming in voluntarily. through those negotiations this was a requirement of the pence team. it is important. i think this shows that we are probably getting closer to figuring out whether there will be an indictment based on january 6. coming to the vice president is not something i would imagine you do early on. listening to mike pence talking about the document and taking full responsibility and ownership and saying the buck stops with him, i gotta tell you, as i heard that, it's been a long time since we have had a leader take responsibility like that, even if it wasn't his
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fault. i think that goes a long way. >> maggie, the fact that pence is likely to run against the president he served, talking about trump, is one thing. but to now be subpoenaed by the special counsel investigating trump takes that tension to a new level. >> we are in a very unusual situation as was noted before. pence's team had been talking to the justice department. the justice department had reached out to pence seeking to speak to him. that was never likely to happen without a subpoena. it's not clear that pence is jumping at this opportunity. he talked about a number of these events in his book. there are many more detailed questions the justice department would like to ask. i think we are going to get into a lengthy. he he cann iveexecutive privile.
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>> will pence claim executive privilege when asked about his conversations with trump, especially after he writes about those conversations in the book that came out a few months ago? >> when he is eventually taken before the grand jury and interviewed in the course of the investigation under oath, i think it really will depend on the specific questions. it's going to be very lawyerly the way this plays out in terms of specific statements that will have to be parsed between what was in his book, what he has spoken about publically, what he has said in any other interviews or communications and then if there's a remainder of pieces of information that he wants to assert privilege or the former president wants to assert privilege of, those would have to be determined by the judge. >> thank you very much. just ahead, live to the
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earthquake disaster zone as rescuers in turkey and syria race to find survivors before it's too late. stay with. us in "the situation room." so people think they're open. surprise. [ laughs ] [ horn honks, muffled talking ] -can't hear you, jerry. -sorry. uh, yeah, can we get a system where when someone's bike is in the shop, then we could borrow someone else's? -no! -no! or you can get a quote with america's number-one motorcycle insurer and maybe save some money while you're at it. all in favor of that. [ horn honking ] there's a lot of buttons and knobs in here. one prilosec otc each morning blocks heartburn all day and all night. prilosec otc ruces excess acid for 24 hours, blocki heartburn before it starts. one pill a day. 24 hours. zero heartburn.
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for wherever business takes you. comcast business. powering possibilities. let's get an update on t hu disaster in turkey and syria. 23,000 men, women and children killed. nick paton walsh is near the quake's epicenter in southern turkey. >> reporter: over 100 hours
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after the worst quake in 100 years and there are lights that won't go out. naked feet, a reminder, this happened in everyone's sleep. this new dawn so welcome. no better way to show you are alive than this smile. the crowds at each site larger, louder in suck hcess. this woman's husband was pulled out moments before her. they don't have to go far to be reminded how so many searches end. the preciousness of each moment of hope is acute here. military helplyicopters form a stream, because so many here are crippled. we see a 3-year-old girl
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their mother is. nobody here does. they try to take off. another ambulance arrives with another injured person who requires treatment. the old are rushed on. but also two so tiny they share a stretcher. on board must be carried in their arms. they fly without their parents. about 15 patients in total this morning. remember this is how most stories are ending here. graves in a cemetery dug by hand. even this, a relative luxury in a time of nothing. two families of four who died in the same building.
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across this city, the task of burying so many urgent. back at the same rubble site, another search has begun. this resident explains the interior. the hope is for the brother, mother and father. a nurse, she's been here since tuesday. >> translator: i've been struggling. everyone lost hope and is sending condolences. officials told me they would only find a corpse. now two people have come out alive. we need professional rescuers. the fire brigade quit on us. we found those two now with construction workers. i brought three body bags. maybe i need them and a graveyard. >> reporter: into dusk, the dig
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inches carefully forward with no time limit or guarantee it will find anything. the city center swamped in defedust and the longer that the longer in struggle, the less likely to be rewarded. eventually, the hundred for survivors will end. the grim focus of the town will switch to trying to get those trapped in the rubble out alive to keeping them those living around the rubble now alive. we got a sense in the last hours of how that fabric can deteriorate. a false rumor started that a dam burst. caused panic. everyone tried to flee. it seems that rumor was incorrect. some angry locals here began to hunt down people they thought were trying to steal from abandoned properties. a sense of desperation.
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that's bound to increase in the weeks ahead. >> yes. nick paton ton walsh, thank youy much. what's the latest, salma? >> there's a huge humanitarian crisis in turkey but south to syria the situation is more dire. there are fears that aid is being politicize. access is limited by the syrian government. the impact is devastating on the ground. this is what funerals look like in the quake zone. burials en masse. there are too many bodies. baby clothes are all that remain of nassir's little girl. she died in her mother's arms. her mom is dead, too. this is a little note written by his daughter, also killed in the
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earthquake. you are my heart, it reads. and now his heart is broken. six of his children and his wife killed in an instant. his home lies in ruins. we are used to air strikes, but this, an act of god, he says, i kept calling out my children's nape names, no one answered. this a rebel-held area syria ravaged by war. residents are all too familiar with death. they can endure no more. in government-controlled areas, there is relatively more assistance. as the crisis entered its fifth day, president assad toured the area, drawing criticism for his delayed visit. aid is coming in from iran and pakistan and russia. the u.s. is authorizing aid that
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bo otherwise be prohibited by sanctions to flow through here for a period of 180 days. hope is limited. anguish is everywhere. public spaces have been turned into shelters for the hundreds of thousands made homeless. i wish we could feel safe, that our children can feel normal, she says. no one cares about us. a nation long neglected, struck by catastrophe without any means to withstand it. you might be wondering why i'm coming to you life. this ferriey is turned into a shelter for the displaced. they are trying to house people. what i'm walking you into is a field hospital. they are setting up 15 beds they can house.
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i will show you the dormitory they are building. you can see there are fresh mattresses laid. they want to create a flow floating community so they can help even just a tiny fraction of the many, many displaced. >> thank you very much. for more on the recovery right, i want to bring in steven allen. he is joining us from southern turkey. he is the lead for usaid disaster response team. thanks for joining us. thanks for the important work you and your teams are doing. now it's more than 100 since the quake hit. how critical are your search dogs and specialized listening devices to find anyone still alive in this horrible rubble? >> thanks for having me. we are in a stage where a lot of the people who have been recovered have been recovered
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because they are easier to reach. people who are left are those who are deeper in the rubble, buried there hard to reach areas. they require specialized equipment. our teams have that equipment. we have teams out from virginia and from los angeles. specialized teams that bring equipment with them. they have dogs, listening devices. that can detect cases that might be alive and help find them this late into the situation. >> do you fear the window to find survivors is closing rapidly now? >> i think the important thing for the teams is to continue working as long as they feel like it's viable. we have teams out in the field right now working on sites where they believe there are survivors. there are other teams surveying sites to see if there might be survivors there. they work around the clock until
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a decision is made that really it's time to stop. until that point, they well be out there working as hard as they can. >> how do you support organizations on the syrian side of this disaster, considering the complications there after more than a decade of civil war? >> it's a great question. on the syrian side of the border, i want to emphasize, ea earthquakes don't respect this. in syria, usaid has been supporting ngos and humanitarian workers for ten years during the civil war. luckily, we have those partners in place. they were able to pivot their activities to focus on earthquake response. we provided funding and support to those agencies to continue that good work. we are looking at a way to
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support those partners in syria. >> thanks for all you are doing, you and your men and women on the teams with you. thank you so much. >> thanks a lot. an important note to our viewers right now. you can help the earthquake survivors in turkey and syria by going to you can impact your world. just ahead, more on president biden's order to shoot down an unidentified object over alaska a few hours ago. christiane amanpour is standing by. we will discuss that as well as her new interview with the president of brazil. ld. the world is full of financial noise. you are right on trarack to hit your goals. our easy to use investing app and local advisors cacan help you stay on track. j.p. morgan wealth management. you can't always avoid migraine triggers like your next period. qulipta® can help prevent migraines. you can't always prevent what's going on outside...
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let's get on the u.s. downing of an unidentified object over alaska within the
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last several hours. we are joined by christiane amanpour. i will get to your interview with the president of brazil in a moment. what do you make of this development, the u.s. shooting down this object? >> i was struck by the two very lengthy briefings from the white house and the pentagon within an hour of this having been shot down. with so little information. we know that because they say it has come down over frozen waters. we will know what it. sooner than they could get debris from the balloon. it's difficult to know. they are being cagey. they are not attributing it to any state, any government, any individual. they are not saying it's a surveillance thing like the last one. i think it was unmanned. it was operating under its own steam. >> very interesting. you had a chance to sit down with the president of brazil,
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who is here in washington right now. president biden will be going to poland later this month on the one-year anniversary of the russian invasion, the war against the ukrainian people right now. i know you had a chance to discuss this with the president of brazil. let me play a clip. >> translator: of course it has the right to defend itself. of course. of course it has that right. the invasion was a mistake on the part of russia. russia couldn't have done that. after all, it was part of the u.n. security council. this was not discussed. what i want to say is the following. would would have been mistaken, it's done. now we have to find people to fix the mistake, to fix the error made. i know that brazil doesn't have that international political to promote that. but i can say that i will
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dedicate a lot of my time to find a way for someone to start talking about peace. i was with the german chancellor a week ago. >> he asked you to send leopards to ukraine. you said no. >> translator: no. it's not tanks. it was ammunition. >> ammunition. >> translator: i didn't want to send. if i send ammunition, i will join the war. if i send ammunition, the ammunition you are asking for -- >> you agreed it was defense. >> translator: this will take us to war. i want to end the war. this is the dilemma. this is my commitment. >> seems like ukraine became a big subject. >> yes. they have so much in common. shoring up democracy, the two suffered their own capital insurrections. fake news, conspiracy theories about the legitimate is of elections. the one thing that they have the differences over is ukraine. he is saying he wants to be a
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peacemaker. right now, the americans say there is no option, no peace settlement on any table that russia would want to take up or that anybody would be prepared for. i think it's really important to note that he represents the global south and half the world does not have the same narrative about this war that the united states and its western and nato and democratic allies. that's a challenge. >> thanks for coming in. >> thank you. >> good to have you back here in washington. breaking news, more classified documents found at mar-a-lago. stand by. house whisperer! this house says use the app to see three different estimates. also, don't takeke advice from people who don't know what they're talking aboutut. to each their home.
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turned over additional documents with classified markings as well as a laptop belonging to a trump aide that turned those over to federal investigators. we've learned they've also turned over an empty folder that is marked classified evening briefing. these previously undisclosed handovers, it just reminds us of how much time it has taken the justice department to try and get back all of the classified documents they're in the possession of the former president. now, we learned that trump attorneys first discovered this additional classified material back in december as they were going through some boxes. they discovered these additional documents with classified markings. they also subsequently learned that many of those documents had been copied, scanned onto a laptop and a thumb drive, which is why those electronic devices were also handed over to investigators. now, of course special counsel jack smith has been carrying out an investigation looking into whether the former president may have mishandled classified documents and looking at whether he's trying to obstruct this
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ongoing federal investigation. and that's just one of his investigations into the former president. the other is his efforts to try to subvert the 2020 election. and, look, wolf, the former president's lawyers would like to tell you that these investigations are pretty much over. but our reporting has shown in the past few days that these are very active and ongoing. we're seeing in addition to this new evidence they are gathering they are out sending out fresh subpoenas to top trump officials including robert o'brien. he was subpoenaed in both investigations and of course, as we reported yesterday and today, vice president mike pence also subpoenaed in the january 6th probe. >> paula reid, thank you very, very much. just ahead, new revelations on george santos' very murky past, including a previous charge of theft for deceiving dog greeters in amish county. lincoln's witnessed a good bit of history. even made some themsmselves.
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george santos' shadowy past. cnn's brian todd has the details. >> reporter: the latest controversy surrounding embattled congressman george santos involves another allegation of malfeasance regarding dogs. new information that santos was charged with theft in pennsylvania in 2017 when several bad checks in his name, checks obtained by cnn, totaling over $15,000 for, quote, puppies went to dog breeders in amish country. that's according to a lawyer who helped santos navigate the case. >> when they went to go cash the checks, they learned that there was no money behind the checks, all the checks bounced. >> reporter: santos faced charges of theft by deception. both that lawyer and pennsylvania prosecutors told cnn those charges against santos were later dismissed. but she has turned on her former friend. >> he's definitely not qualified to be where he is in congress, and he should really be in jail.
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>> reporter: cnn has reached out to santos for comment on the latest information. we haven't heard back. the fbi is already investigating separate allegations that santos took off with money he raised through his pet charity to care for a dying dog belonging to a military veteran. in an interview with the conservative talk channel newsmax, santos denied allegations that he had lied about previously working for go goldman sachs and citigroup. he was once again evasive on the source of the $700,000 he says he loaned his campaign. >> i can attest that the total of the money was all legitimate money obtained through my legal practices with my company, and i distributed my dividends to myself and loaned it to the campaign. >> reporter: and he spoke of all the negative media coverage he's faced. >> it's really easy to pile on, on me. i'm the new favorite punching me in america. sure, you can come for me. i understand, i can handle the heat. >> reporter: the heat's coming from almost every direction. the federal election commission
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is now asking santos to declare whether or not he plans to run for re-election next year because he's crossed a fundraising threshold which requires him to make a formal declaration. then there's the pressure santos is getting from fellow republicans. some gop representatives want him to resign. and republican senator mitt romney confronted santos at the state of the union address, saying santos shouldn't have been as visible there. still -- >> i still think the chances are very low that he'll be kicked out because it takes a two-thirds vote of the house to dispel a member, and it looks like most republicans don't want to take that step, mainly because their majority is thin. >> reporter: george santos has generally denied or tried to explain away the various allegations of fabricating his background or being dishonest. in that interview with newsmax, he continued to defend himself, saying that while the media fanfare around him continues to spiral, he's doing the work that his constituents elected him to do. wolf? >> brian todd reporting, brian


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