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tv   This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  December 12, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PST

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>> announcer: "this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. tornado disaster. >> the level of devastation is unlike anything i've ever seen. >> the worst in kentucky's history. scores dead, hundreds of thousands without power across six states. emergencies declared. >> we need your prayers. we need your help. >> the latest this morning from our team on the ground. plus, fema administrator, deanne criswell. winter surge. >> i'm actually quite concerned. i'm not surprised that we're seeing an increase in the cases. >> boosters approved for 16 and 17-year-olds. as delta overwhelms hospitals, and omicron spreads to over 25 states. >> we are yet again in a serious situation. >> dr. anthony fauci joins us live.
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on the brink. >> we're now 50 yards away from russia's positions. >> as russian troops mass at the ukraine border, president biden sends a warning to vladimir putin. >> if, in fact, he invades ukraine, there will be severe consequences. >> what does putin want? will he invade? is there anything biden can do to stop him? plus, all of this week's politics on our powerhouse round table. good morning, and welcome to "this week." as we come on the air this morning, communities across the south and midwest are digging out from a swarm of deadly tornadoes. more than 40 reported across six states leaving scores dead. some areas completely flattened. kentucky's governor andy brashear called it the most deadly tornado event in the history of the state. president biden approved an emergency declaration, promising
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the federal government will do everything possible to help with rescue and recovery. those efforts continuing around the clock, and our team is in the region. the hardest hit site, a candle factory where dozens of people were killed. 40 people still missing. we begin in mayfield with live anchor linsey davis. good morning, linsey. >> reporter: good morning to you, george. you know, i'm seeing it firsthand, and still i'm having a difficult time really getting my mind around the magnitude of the devastation here in mayfield, kentucky. since it is sunday morning, it feels appropriate to start with church. after all, this is a community that is in need of, and asking for prayer. take a look from our drone. all this rubble here less than 48 hours ago, there was a church right behind me. in this two-block area alone, three churches have been destroyed, perhaps when they're needed most. a prayer service is planned to take place here this morning in chiaur omayfield. last sunday they welcomed
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worshippers, this morning it is splintered lives, and remnants of what used to be. one of the tornadoes stayed on the ground for 227 miles. the winds reaching 155 miles per hour which is faster than most passenger trains. you've heard the headlines, at least 70 dead, that this is kentucky's most deadly, most devastating tornado in the state's history, but the scenes and the stories here on the ground, that's what really puts things in perspective. just think about what has preoccupied your own thoughts in the past 24 hours. then think about people like angie describing her and her mother being picked up and sucked out of their house. her mom went to the hospital. their house is destroyed. they have lost everything. just one story of so many, and an estimated 60,000 customers are now without power here in kentucky, but in some ways they're the fortunate ones.
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they have a household. power can of course, be restored. some of the places of worship here are able to remain open, and they've moved services to 3:00 to allow them to use the morning for the long road ahead of recovery. >> we heard the same thing from the governor, and from president biden yesterday. this recovery effort could take weeks, months. >> reporter: for sure. i mean, the places that are still standing, the schools, the hotels, the churches, many of them are working as shelters at this point. many of them are at staging areas and asking people to bring whatever they can, whether that's water or diapers, or whether it's a pack and play, because often people talk about picking up the pieces, george. in this case for so many people, they're starting from scratch. they've just lost it all. >> linsey davis, thank you. of course, it's not just kentucky. as we said, six states hit by this swarm of tornadoes. we want to go to rob marciano, our senior meteorologist, he's at the amazon warehouse
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destroyed in edwardsville. such a wide path of destruction, rob. >> reporter: yeah, george. nine confirmed tornadoes so far, but several more reported, and we still have to have strong survey teams go out and analyze the situation especially in mayfield. that one on the ground for across four states for over 200 miles. this one here in edwardsville is an ef-3 tornado with 155-mile-per-hour winds cutting through this amazon facility. this is a new facility behind me, exactly what it looks like now. this has a hole about a football field wide, and four stories tall. pretty stunning before and after photographs. there were six fatalities here. over 40 employees scrambling for safety when the tornado warnings went off, but when you see what happened to this building, which is less than five years old with concrete walls 11 inches thick, there was no place to hide.
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same for a nursing home in arkansas, and the building across kentucky. safety will be a question asked today, george, not just at this facility, but of course, the one in mayfield, when the buildings were just completely flattened, there's nowhere to hide. >> it's unusual to see tornadoes like this in december. >> reporter: it is. as a matter of fact, ef-3 tornadoes in kentucky never happened. we have had ef-2 tornadoes in december. this will go down as an unprecedented event as far as the strength is concerned. we have had record heat in advance of it, and that probably fueled these springlike storms. an unusual event. very rare indeed, george. >> we expect more inclement weather across the region this week? >> reporter: we're going to see a seesaw in temperatures, that's for sure. the problem with having tornadoes come through in cold, winter months, thousands of people without power, potentially without heat. temperatures this morning below freezing, and then again tomorrow morning.
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not just recovery, but the survival of people who don't have a home to go back to for shelter may not have heat. it's a tough go for a lot of people, george. >> president biden explained and talked about the connection with climate change yesterday. explain more about that. >> reporter: you know, climate change, we know for sure it impacts floods and wildfires, certainly drought and heat waves, and in some cases, hurricanes, but we're just not sure about severe weather and tornadoes, but what we are seeing is that having this happen in the month of december this far north, that is unprecedented. maybe not affecting the strength of tornadoes, but where and when they happen. that seems to be directly linked to climate change, george. >> rob marciano, thanks very much. let's bring in deanne criswell now, the fema administrator for the federal government. thank you for joining us this morning. we know you're heading to kentucky after this interview, and you have been consulting with kentucky's governor as
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well. what's the latest on the emergency effort? >> good morning, george. you know, first, i just want to say that my prayers go out to everybody, all of those families that have been impacted in the communities. this is a devastating event, you know, as you've heard, record-breaking, right? record-breaking tragedy that has left so many families displaced. what we are hearing is we are still in the life-saving and life-sustaining mode, right? we're still in search and rescue, and we're sending additional resources in to help locate anybody who still may be trapped. >> and what's the greatest need going forward? >> i think right now, again, we want to focus the next -- today and the next day on life-saving. we really want to make sure we find anybody who still might be trapped in the rubble across all of these states, but then it's going to be a long recovery. we really need to focus on how we're going to help these communities with their immediate needs, their immediate sheltering needs, and be able to help these communities and families rebuild.
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>> what is the scope of the emergency effort across these six states right now? how much personnel do you have on the ground, and how much is this going to cost? >> right now, kentucky is the only state that has asked for and received an emergency declaration. we are in contact through my regional administrators with all of the states that have been impacted, they're working on additional requests so we can start the flow of federal resources into those areas. in kentucky right now, i would say that we have approximately 100 personnel on the ground. we've sent our urban search and rescue teams and our national incident management assistant teams to help coordinate all the federal resources coming in, additional staging teams as we bring in generators and commodities. we have additional personnel staged and ready to go as we work with the state to identify what their requirements are going to be. >> shelter the biggest issue? >> shelter is a huge issue right now.
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those areas without power, but what we're seeing mostly, and what i've seen as an emergency manager is that many people will stay with friends and family, but we know that not everybody has a place to go. i spoke with the president of the red cross last night about the efforts that they're doing to support the states and the commonwealth with their sheltering needs and they're going to continue to work with the state and the commonwealth. any gaps that they may have for the interim or their long-term sheltering and housing requirements. >> and those without power extending even beyond these six states. that's a special problem in a month like december, right? >> oh, absolutely, george. this is beginning to be a cold time of year, and so when we have events like this, and severe weather that happens in these cold months, it just makes the impacts of that even seem so much greater, and so again, working on providing safe and secure sheltering for individuals so we can keep them out of the elements is going to be a priority.
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>> we're seeing a lot more of the severe weather events and as rob said, we're seeing them at times we haven't seen them before. is there anything more that can be done to mitigate the devastation from these natural disasters ahead of time? >> i think that there's a lot that we need to do as a nation, you know, there's going to be a lot to learn from this event and the events that we saw through the summer. we're seeing more intense storms, severe weather, whether it's hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and one of the focuses my agency is going to have is, how do we start to reduce the impacts of these events as we start to grow? we have a concerted effort going forward, and we're going to understand what their unique risks are. the type of mitigation projects that are out there, that can help protect community-wide, and start incremental communities and help communities become more resilient to the severe weather events that continue to happen.
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>> president biden heading to the region? >> i don't know if he's going to go. i'm on my way down there right now with secretary mayorkas. i am providing the president regular updates on what i'm hearing. i'll give him an update again on what we see when we're down there, and then he'll make that decision. >> deanne criswell, thanks very much for your time and your information this morning. >> thank you, george. let's get the latest now on the pandemic. over half of the u.s. states have now confirmed cases of in new omicron variant. president biden's chief medical adviser anthony fauci joins us now. thanks for joining us again. your last time on just after thanksgiving and omicron was in one state then, at least 25 right now. what have we learned about the variant in the last two weeks? >> well, we've learned a lot, and we're continuing to learn it on a daily basis, george. first of all, it clearly has a transmission advantage in the sense of communities like south africa, and now the uk, where you have it competing with the delta variant in the sense of
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ability to transmit. it looks like it has a high degree of transmissibility, and that's the reason why you're seeing literally every day more and more countries and in the united states, more and more states. the thing that's important is that it appears to be able to evade some of the immune protection of things like monoclonal antibodies and plasma, and the antibodies that are reduced by vaccines. that's the sobering news. the somewhat encouraging news is that preliminary data showed that when you get a booster, for example, the third shot of an mrna, it raises the level of protection high enough that it then does well against the omicron which is again, another reason to encourage people who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated, but particularly those who are vaccinated to get boosted because that protection seems to go way back up again. that's the importance of getting that best and optimal protection you can.
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the other thing that's important is -- >> go ahead. >> go ahead. i was saying that the other thing that's been getting anecdotal information from, not necessarily confirmed yet, at the level of severity appears to be a bit less than in the delta, but there are confounding issues there, george. it may be due to the underlying protection in the community due to prior infections, but these are just preliminary data that we're going to have to just follow carefully to get them confirmed. >> you talked about the advantages of the booster. should we be thinking three shots now as the standard of care? >> well, i certainly think, george, it's the optimal care. i mean, for official requirements, it's still two shots of the mrna and one shot of the j&j. for the official determination of what's required or not, but i think if you are looking at the data, the more and more it becomes clear that if you want to be optimally protected, you
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really should get a booster and i think we'll be continuing to evaluate what the official designation is, but for now, if you want to be optimally protected, absolutely get a booster if you have already had your primary vaccination. >> projecting forward, should we be expecting yearly boosters? >> you know, george, it's tough to tell because the third shot of an mrna could not only do what we absolutely know it does, is dramatically increase the level of protection, but it could very well increase the durability of protection by things that you can't readily measure by the level of antibodies, but you might have a maturation of the immune system that would prolong the durability. you don't know that, george, until you just follow it over a period of months. if it becomes necessary to get yet another boost, then we'll just have to deal with it when that occurs, but i'm hoping from an immunological standpoint that
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that third shot of an mrna and the second shot of a j&j will give a much greater durability of protection than just the six months or so that we're seeing right now. >> so boosters seem to help, but the world health organization is warning that pushing boosters will worsen the global inequity. of vaccine distribution. how do you respond to that concern? >> you know, george, that's an understandable concern, but it's not valid if you do both. we can do both. we're right now vaccinating our own country. we're going to be boosting as many people as we possibly can, but you can also simultaneously make doses available to the developing world, and the united states quite frankly has done more than all of the other countries combined. we've given over 300 million doses to over 100 countries, and we will either have given or pledging 1.1 billion doses and an expansion of even more. we're very well aware of the issue with equity, and we're very firmly in the corner of equity. so you can do both, george.
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you can take care of your own country and provide doses to the low and middle income countries. >> fewer than one in five eligible children have received the vaccine so far. what's your message to parents? >> well, my message to parents is, if your child is 5 years of age and older, please get them vaccinated. we need to protect the children. this idea that children are not vulnerable at all is not so, george. i mean, certainly statistically children do not get as severe disease as the adults, particularly the elderly, but if you look at the number of cases of children now, well over 2 million children from 5 to 11 have been infected. there have been over 8,000 to 9,000 hospitalizations and well over a hundred deaths. it's not only good for the health of the child, but also to prevent the spread in the community. so we have a very safe and highly effective vaccine for everyone including children 5 to 11.
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that's the reason why we encourage parents to get their children vaccinated. >> finally, there's so much covid fatigue out there. you know that. you must be exhausted yourself. what signs of hope can you point to in this holiday season? >> well, george, we have the tools to protect ourselves, and that's the thing we keep saying over and over again. we have 60 million people in this country who are not yet vaccinated who are eligible to be vaccinated. those who luckily did get vaccinated now we have about 100 million of them who are eligible for boosters. on that framework alone, just vaccination, we can go a long way to getting us through this cold winter season, which clearly is always associated with a spike in respiratory illnesses, but the other things we can do is to be prudent. mainly follow the cdc guidelines, that when you are in an indoor congregate setting,
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you know, wear a mask. masking is not going to be forever, but it can get us out of the very difficult situation we're in now. so just the tension to public health measures that are pretty clear can get us through this, and as we get through the winter and into the spring, hopefully we'll have a much better control over things. >> dr. fauci, thanks as always for your time and your information. >> thank you. up next, is russia poised to invade ukraine, can president biden do anything to stop them? ian pannell reports from ukraine with analysis from martha raddatz and the former ambassador to ukraine, william taylor. stay with us. about the future, she'll say she's got goals. and since she's got goals, she might need help reaching them, and so she'll get some help from fidelity, and at fidelity, someone will help her create a plan for all her goals,
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♪ ♪ here's the deal. i have made it absolutely clear to president putin -- this is the last thing i'll say -- that if he moves on ukraine, the economic consequences for his economy will be devastating, devastating. >> president biden with a stark warning to vladimir putin yesterday. as russia mass troops are on the border to ukraine. the question now, is there anything to west can do to prevent putin from moving on and martha raddatz and william taylor are standing by to analyze after this report from senior foreign correspondent ian pannell on the front lines of the conflict. >> reporter: scenes of devastation. this is the front line, at least
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in ukraine. at the heart of what risks becoming the most explosive crisis in europe since the cold war. this is where ukrainian forces have been fighting against russian-backed separatists for almost eight years now. we have to keep our voices down here because this is the area where the russian-backed separatist forces and their troops, and they can hear us, the risk is they'll fire. hard to imagine this was once a bustling factory. today it's a monument to the ferocity of battles fought here. >> literally 50 yards, maybe less, they're on the side there. >> reporter: the lines here have barely moved since 2015 when a ceasefire ended large-scale fighting, but this has been a piece, and the conflict today is
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still burning. every few minutes, another gunshot there. we hear the sound of rapid, automatic gunfire there. let's go. ukraine is trapped by geography and history. this key former soviet state is caught between east and west, between europe and russia. today some fear vladimir putin, fearing diminishing influence, is preparing once again to reignite this conflict. for weeks, russia's been immersing troops along ukraine's eastern border. u.s. intelligence officials reportedly say as many as vaatg than the last one, p a cr and have effects well beyond europe. some experts saying it could even embolden china to seize taiwan. president biden this week used his secure video call with putin to warn him against sending troops over the border.
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>> if he invades ukraine, there will be severe consequences. severe consequences. economic consequences like none he's ever seen. >> reporter: after tuesday's call, both leaders agreed to continue discussions, but gave few clues whether things will de-escalate. russia repeated it isn't preparing to attack while talking about redlines and engaging in high-stakes to force forces out of ukraine. javelin anti-tank missiles. it's rare to see these weapons deployed to the front line in the east. this is the kind of aid putin sees as evidence as american meddling in russia's backyard, and ukraine, on an unacceptable trajectory. no one knows what putin is planning. is is this all aboutes
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he really plan to use force? the ukrainians living near the front lines, the threat of invasion looms large. but after eight years, it's also become part of daily life. few told us they feared an invasion is imminent. do people talk about the russians being on the border? are people concerned? >> i would say -- i would say no. >> reporter: since biden's call with putin, russia's kept the pressure up. on friday, ukraine accusing russia of a de facto blockade of some ukrainian ports, comparing what he sees as war on the russian in the east, putin comparing it to genocide. whatever putin decides, ukraine said the only thing they can really do is be ready. ready to fight? >> ready to fight, yeah. >> ready to die? >> yeah. >> really? >> yeah. >> why? >> it's our country. >> thanks to ian pannell for that report. i'm joined now by my colleague, martha raddatz, and william taylor, the former
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u.s. ambassador to ukraine. let's talk about that phone call between president biden and president putin. what do you know about what went on behind the scenes? >> i think you heard the administration and heard biden say how tough he was in that call and minced no words, but vladimir putin i'm told by u.s. officials was equally tough. he did not back down. he played the victim. he said he was the aggrieved person and stop with all this democracy. so he was very, very tough. that's the way this was described. >> ambassador taylor, is there any real mystery about putin's intentions with russia? he wrote a 6,000-word essay over the summer talking about that, heading toward almost 200,000 troops on the border, we saw those ukrainians say they're not too worried. are they complacent? >> i don't think they're complacent. you heard the troops say they're ready to die. they're ready to defend their land, and they are. they will fight fiercely. they have fought fiercely for 7.5 years. they will continue to do that, but no one knows what's in
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president putin's mind. no one has figured that out. he might be bluffing. he might be just moving these troops up for purposes of getting -- trying to intimidate president zelensky or president biden or nato, or he might be serious about -- about taking over ukraine. >> why wouldn't he invade? >> why wouldn't he? because it would be -- rationally, it would be very, very costly. not just the economic sanctions that president biden is talking about. the number of russian troops that would die would be very large, and ukrainians as well. he would also lose for example, that pipeline that is so important to him from russia to germany, the nord stream 2 pipeline. that would be costly, and that's why he wouldn't. >> on the military front, martha, what do we know about the capacity to respond? >> as the ambassador said, the ukrainians have a lot of combat experience. they do, but they would be crushed.
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they truly would. russia's ability at this point and 175,000 troops, think of that. when we were in iraq, we were nowhere near 175,000 troops. also remember back to 2014, and this point about russian troops. there were reports that putin set up mobile crematoriums because he was burning the bodies of those who were killed so the russians would not see caskets coming back. he has to be thinking about that, but they could move in swiftly. look, what the administration and officials are telling me, they are not faking it. putin is not faking it. but on the other hand, he may be really good at not faking it. he is moving in those troops. after that call with president biden, they added more troops. they added at least 10,000 more troops. if he's bluffing, it's a very, very good bluff. >> one of the other things we heard from ian pannell is that the ramifications of this extend far beyond ukraine.
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he mentioned china feeling emboldened to move on taiwan. >> this is an important connection. president xi in china is clearly looking to see what president putin gets away with, and what president biden resists. if president biden is tough as he's been, and if he's ready to impose serious sanctions and serious costs on president putin, president xi will notice, and will hesitate. >> we know president biden has ruled out military involvement. how far is he willing to go on the sanctions? >> i think with the sanctions, he can certainly try to hit the pipeline and bring something on that, but he says it's very, very tough economic sanctions. you know, george, i think of the rest of the world looking at america right now, what happened in afghanistan, that chaotic and deadly evacuation from afghanistan. we look at iraq. have we won two wars? absolutely not. i think putin calculates that as well in the rest of the world, and they also look at january 6th and they think, what's up with america?
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>> finally, do you believe in the end putin will invade? >> i think not. i think it's 55/45, but 45% chance that there's a major war in europe. you have to take it seriously. you have to be prepared. you have to be ready, and these actions that we're talking about are designed to avoid that 45% and deter the war. >> william taylor, martha raddatz, thanks very much. we'll be right back. north pole, alaska. - i'm a retired school counselor. [lea] i'm a retired art teacher. [steve] we met online about 10 years ago. as i got older, my hearing was not so good so i got hearing aids. my vision was not as good as it used to be, got a change in prescription. but the thing missing was my memory. i saw a prevagen commercial and i thought, "that makes sense." i just didn't have to work so hard to remember things. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. ♪ say it's all right ♪ i just didn't have to work so hard to remember things. ♪ say it's all right, it's all right ♪
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to pay tribute to senator bob dole is to honor someone who redefined and elevated what it means to serve country. >> bob was the last of greatest generation to run for president, but he was never stuck in the past. >> i found bob to be a man of principle, pragmatism, and enormous integrity. he understood that we were apart of something much bigger than ourselves. rare bipartisan agreement in the tributes to bob dole, at his funeral at the national cathedral on friday. we're joined by chris christie, donna brazile, justin amash, and margaret hoover, a cnn contributor. we can talk about bob dole later, chris christie, but i want to begin with president biden and his political situation right now. we saw those inflation numbers come out on friday, the worst inflation numbers in 40 years. truly depressing president biden's popularity right now. is this the biggest problem he faces? >> yeah. it is the biggest problem he
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faces because it cuts across all demographics. it doesn't matter who you are in this country, what your income level is, where you live, inflation affects everyone, and it makes everybody feel nervous, george, because they think to themselves, what if i can't afford fill in the blank, whatever it is they want to try to get for their families, and the president seems to be in denial about it. and that's the other thing. when you are a leader, you can't appear to be out of touch with a problem that's touching everyone, and i think right now the problem, and what you see reflected in those poll numbers, is the president is saying it's not a problem. yeah, he had his folks saying it's transitory and now it's not. it isn't quite as bad, and the economy is really rebounding. don't be telling people -- we use this line today. you're going to believe me or your lying eyes? they're believing what they're seeing when they go to the
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supermarket, to the gas station, and everywhere else they buy things, especially on christmas coming up buying things. this is a real problem for the president, and i think he's got to get with it. he has to start dealing with it and addressing it. >> what does that mean? what can he do? >> part of it is acknowledging it. i think a lot of people, george, when a leader says, look, i understand this is a problem and i'm going to -- i'm going to go fix it, you don't need to know every specific way you're going to do it. eventually they will, but he hasn't eaten gotten to that point yet. >> first of all, i disagree with you for obvious reasons. >> i can't believe it. >> covid was a shock to our economy not just here in the united states, but across the globe. the supply chain -- it's impacted that. it's impacted consumer buying patterns. so i think there's an acknowledgment this is hurting our economy at a time when the american people want to get back on their feet. the president has acknowledged this with a strategic petroleum
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reserve. i have to always remember where all the gas might be hidden, but gas price haves already gone down 25%. he's also started to focus on the ports and the supply chain. he's focusing on the anti-competitiveness. so yes, there's a focus on inflation, but this is a problem not just facing the american people, but it's all over the globe because of what happened when we shut down our economy and the world shut down their economy. >> justin, inflation is clearly an issue, and other the hand, you have wages going up, and the lowest unemployment in a generation as well. what else is behind this right now? >> the unemployment, there are a lot of people who aren't going back to work, and the unemployment figure is taking into account people that want to work, and we have to keep that in mind. you had the federal government pumping trillions of dollars into an idle economy while there's still some demand, and then the supply artificially is being restricted by a government at the same time.
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it was a recipe for inflation. i saw this a long time ago. i tweeted about it frankly at the beginning of the pandemic saying this was going to be a problem. we're going to have inflation, and it came to be, and now you have the federal reserve -- its balance sheet has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. when you keep pumping into this economy while there's still demand and while supply is restrained, you're going to have inflation. that's what we're seeing. >> donna might appreciate this, but it's when you go back to it, you would too, george. it's all the economy. it's all of this. the bread and butter is what people are feeling and it's christmas season and people are trying to buy presents and it's -- inflation is the insidious tax on the lower and middle income people in this country. the wealthy are fine. they're able to -- their asset values are increasing. they're doing great, but the middle and lower income americans are feeling it, and it's pressing down. >> margaret, you feel it when you go into a bar or restaurant. i was at one recently, and you feel it because they're raising prices to keep their workers. they're raising prices to get the supply.
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so this is a problem that the -- not just our economy, but across the world. people are not ready to go back to work. that's why the president's plan, build back better -- i call it the family fairness act will help. it will help the american people with some of these rising prices. >> workers do have incredible leverage right now, and we're seeing workers across the country use that leverage. we saw starbucks unionize for the first time, at least one branch up in buffalo. we saw john deere with wage increases over the next four years. >> workers do have more leverage now, but you know, donna, it's time for them to go back to work. i don't care whether they're ready or not. it's time to go back to work, and if the president continues to give people excuses not to go back to work, he's not going to get over this problem, and saying that i'm working on the supply chain or everything else is something that the public is not going to understand.
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he needs to acknowledge the problem. he will not acknowledge the problem. people then think he's not getting it, and then it becomes -- joe biden has said his favorite president was jimmy carter and he is becoming jimmy carter. weak, ineffectual, whittled by inflation, in a workforce that won't go back to work. >> that's in the long-term for the american people. 6 million new jobs created, an unemployment figure that was over 6% a year ago down to 4%. look. every step -- as every step along the way, president biden has shown that he's going to deliver for the american people regardless of all the obstruction by republicans. >> margaret, the big question now for the president, he says over time the build back better plan will get inflation under control in the long-term. joe manchin is still sitting on the sidelines saying, because inflation is so high, he thinks this should all be pushed off to next year. how critical is it for the president to get it done now? >> i think he believes it's critical to get it done now, but it's by the way not just joe
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manchin, but kyrsten sinema indicated in the last two weeks, perhapsed this doesn't need to happen by the end of the year. meanwhile, there's other members in the senate saying we have to come back between christmas and new year's to get it done. i think president biden wants to get it done, but there's a lot of crosswinds in terms of how this will affect the economy and how additional continued spending will actually impact the economy, and frankly, it's up to joe manchin and kyrsten sinema. it's not up to president biden. >> you spent several years in the house. do you think president biden gets it done? >> i think they get something done, but, you know, build back better has so many problems, and i think people are starting to see it now, as it sits out there. the longer it sits out there, the more problems people are going to see, and when you are in congress, what you know is the leaders -- they want to get these things done quickly because they don't want people to pick holes in everything. it's sitting out there, and they're going to have problems. i don't see how it helps with inflation. i think it makes inflation worse if anything. the inflation excuse for passing build back better is something that came along later.
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they were pushing this thing for a long time. it's, like, let's say it helps with inflation. that's, like, total baloney, and i think the american people can see that. >> donna, i want to switch gears. the congress also trying to move quickly on this january 6th investigation. we saw a lot of developments on that front this week. more to come this week. they're going to hold former chief of staff mark meadows in contempt tomorrow. we saw another appeal saying former president trump has to turn over his documents. where is this going next? >> i still believe that chairman thompson and liz cheney are set to get this done by the spring, despite the fact that two or three people, bannon, meadows, clark, they're holding out. there's no question. they have had over 300 witnesses t date, and they're getting to the bottom of how it started, who funded it, and how it escalated into an attack on our democracy. i know that there are some people in this country that
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don't care what happened on january 6th, but i hope this committee is able to really dig deep and get the truth behind the attacks, and what i think is the persistent lie that is still ongoing about what happened last year. joe biden won, and this lie is destroying our democracy. >> it seems like every single day, chris christie, we're learning more about what was going on inside the white house in those days leading up to january 6th. most recently this week, this powerpoint presentation that was sent to mark meadows detailing all the ways the white house could interfere in the investigation. it may explain why the president -- former president and his allies are working so hard not to cooperate. >> well, look. all the things that you see were driven from the top, george. i mean, the president made it very clear that he did not want to concede the election, that he would not concede the election, and you got a bunch of people around him by the time he got to the end with very few exceptions
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that were c-team players at best, on their best day. c-team players get in there, and they tell the boss what he wants to hear. there were plenty of people on the outside who were telling him, this is over, and you need to concede. he didn't want to hear that, so he went to the c-team players and got that, and i think that the committee is doing important work. i go back to one point though which i wish nancy pelosi would have done differently. in fact if she would have let kevin mccarthy put people on the committee, and with democrats in control, it wouldn't have made any difference anyway, and it would have given the committee more credibility with republicans. the problem now is that because she dictated for the first time in my memory who the minority party could have on a committee, it does affect to some extent the credibility on my end the credibility the investigation has. let's not kid ourselves. this was a driven from the top process executed by c-team players and that's why it look
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like a keystone cops operation, because it was. >> the powerpoint that you just referenced, mark meadows was cooperating, it includes how they were line by line that day, one path for overturning the election. he, you know, former president trump got involved. he's no longer cooperating, but exactly what happened that day in terms of what happened when the crisis calls were coming in, and those hours that the president didn't act. the committee needs to figure that out. they're not there yet. the committee also needs to figure out what happened with members of congress potentially aiding and helping some of the rioters perhaps in the days before? that also hasn't been -- they haven't gotten to that yet, but that is left to do and still on the docket. >> justin, donna talked about republicans taking hold of this big lie. 60% of republicans don't acknowledge that president biden won the election. it seems like that has
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solidified over the last several months. will this committee change anything? >> i don't think so. we saw this with impeachment, and, you know, i was one of the republicans who called for impeachment. so i -- i know at the time what it was like, and i thought maybe more republicans would come on board and see the problems within the administration, and they didn't, and partisanship is just so high right now that i don't think anything the committee does is going to persuade anyone. i wish that you could persuade people in government, but you can't persuade anyone, and i agree with the governor that having a committee where the republicans were selected by the democrats is a bad idea. again, i don't think you're going to persuade anyone even if you had jim jordan on that committee, or even if you had a whole bunch of other people, but i do think that would have helped -- it would have helped give it some credibility, but look. partisanship is just rampant
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right now, and i don't think it's going anywhere ultimately. >> and one of the things you're seeing, donna, in state after state after state, you're seeing state legislatures changing the rules for the next election. those who stood up to president trump in the last election have been targeted. >> right. >> by republicans leading to some fears that even if the democratic candidate wins next time around by more, they still might not take office. >> there's no question. there's a concerted campaign to basically clean the deck. david perdue this week announced that he's running against brian kemp. your great state of michigan, where republicans are targeting local election officials. in georgia, they're targeting black people who are serving on county election boards. this is dangerous. this is dangerous to the future of our democracy. you know, i listened to both the governor and the congressman talk about nancy pelosi selecting the republicans. nancy pelosi is trying to protect and preserve our
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detection democracy. the republicans opposed the creation of this committee. they have put everything in to stop this committee from getting it work done. i applaud pelosi for taking the steps she took to keep this committee clean of the kind of partisanship you talk about. nancy pelosi has been pilled for standing up to the truth, and she deserves credit for that as well. >> two things on that. the republicans were willing to put people on the committee. kevin mccarthy named people for the committee. that's not trying to stop the committee. maybe people who completely -- >> people who completely disagreed with the very premise. >> it's okay to have people who completely disagree. they'll be judged as credible or not credible based upon the facts that are produced and to get to georgia, look, i think that brian kemp has done a great job as governor in georgia, and i think he stood up when he needed to stand up to the president on the election results in georgia, and he did a great job of it, and i don't
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know which way that primary is going to do, but if i were david perdue, i wouldn't be sitting there this morning all that confident it's going to go his way. >> are the republicans losing this fight right now? >> no, and, in fact, and i talked to justin about this this morning off the air. i've seen polls now in iowa where 62% of iowa republicans when they had to choose between loyalty to the republican party or to donald trump picked the republican party. 26% picked donald trump. this is not going to -- it's not going to happen overnight, george. he's out of office 11 months, over the counc and with g to be continued really awful things that he said just this week about general milley and about netanyahu, these are not the things that will wear over the course of time. everyone needs to have some patience. >> that is the last word today.
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that is all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight," and i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." ll see you tomorrow on "gma."
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>> desperate search and rescue efforts to try to find possible survivors following the store tornado outbreak in six states. we will have thelatest. our atmospheric river has arrived. this is a live look from san rafael. now, mount tam, over two inches and 24 hours of the north bay will not be the focus of the system. stay tuned, we will have all the
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