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tv   CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera  CNN  September 20, 2020 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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hello on this sunday you're in the "cnn newsroom." i'm ana cabrera in new york. thanks for joining me. a second republican senator breaking ranks with her party this afternoon and publicly opposing taking up a supreme court nominee before election day. we have senators lisa murkowski and susan collins now saying any move to replace ruth bader
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ginsburg should be after november 3rd. if two more join them, they could potentially delay the process. neither said specifically that they would oppose a trump nominee in a lame-duck session if joe biden wins. biden meanwhile, is causing on senators to honor ginsburg's dying wish not to replace her until after the election, and making an appeal to republicans to, quote, do what's right. >> i'm not being naive. i'm not speaking that president trump will do whatever he wants. i'm not speaking to mitch mcconnell who will do what he wants. i'm speaking to those senate republicans who know deep down what is right for the country and consistent with the constitution.
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>> senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is already vowing to bring whoever the president nominates to the senate floor for a vote. at a rally last night, president trump said he intends to fill ginsburg's seat with a female justice and plans to do so quickly. >> so article ii of our constitution says the president shall nominate justices of the supreme court. now, it says the president is supposed to fill the seat, right? that's what we're going to do. we're going to fill the seat. >> democrats meantime are threatening retaliation if republicans push through a nominee. some say they'll push to expand the high court to allow for more justices. if they take over the senate majority in this year's election. with two u.s. senators now publicly against moving forward on a new supreme court justice, the president's plan to get a nominee approved, in his words,
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without delay is closer to beg in jeopardy. john harwood joins us now. let's be clear here. she is not saying is whether she would be okay with it afterwards if trump were to lose in november o. >> exactly. there's a question of what a pending nomination, how did that affect both sides? and how did the result of an election affect others. what lisa murkowski said in her statement, i did not support moving forward in 2016 eight month before the election. we're now closer to the election and i believe we should stand by the same standard.
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we do not have any firm indications that they're going to have success yet. >> so, john, who else in the senate are you and other analysts perhaps as looking at possible problems for the president's plan to get the third justice in place asap? >> number one on the suspect list is mitt romney. he voted to convict the president on impeachment charges, but he has not said that he wants to withhold this nominati nomination. so we do not know what he's going to do. he wasn't in the senate in 2016 when that last fight took place. then you've got the question of lamar alexander. he's an institutionalist, somebody who is concerned about the proper functioning of the senate, but he's also close to mitch mcconnell and he's tended to, when the chips are down, vote with mcconnell. so not clear there. then a couple senators who made pledges in 2016 not to change their principle if and when
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there was a republican president in office. one of these is lindsey graham. he has already said publicly he will change his view. chuck grassley also, but he's pretty conservative and represents a conservative state. i don't think anyone is counting on chuck grassley sitting with the opponents here in trying to put this off. >> we know both parties are fund-raising off this. act blue, a fund-raising activity, announced a rise in donation. >> reporter: we haven't gotten competing fund-raising figures. the groups that seems to activate for supreme court appointments, and of course the president of course is going to hit this hard at his rallies, as
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he did yesterday, ana. thank you. let me bring in john dean, a new book, "authoritarian nightmare. on friday night after justice ginsburg's death, you tweeted this -- joe biden must announce the democrats will expand the scotus to 11 judges and expand the lower federal coarse which have long been needed. in short, with he will depoliticize the federal judiciary. i think a lot of americans recoil at expanding the courts, so explain this proposal. >> so what's happened over the last four years, we've never seen a rush to politicize and pack the court like mitch mcconnell has done. both the top court when there were two seats available, put on hard conservatives, and then in the lower courts.
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there's been a steady drumbeat. that's about the only thing the senate has accomplished in the last 3 1/2 years, is to put judges on. they are politicizing the court. it's long overdue, ana, to expand the lower courts. there is no reason in the world if mitch mcconnell pushes a last-minute -- particularly to do it in a lame-duck or pre-election effort, to fill a vacancy on the high court, given the standards they set up for themselves. it's a perfect time to expand the supreme court, which needs expanded. they need more justices. they have more work than they can handle. justice rehnquist as chief justice started tailors back the worklord. they don't need to tailor it back. they need to be taking on more work, in fact. >> how do you keep it from getting out of the hand, every time a party is in power, they do what they want to do and keep adding more that they can
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appoint? >> well, you know, that's been one of the arguments about the lower courts. now the lower courts are not able to handle the business. if a good case is made that it is appropriate to expand the court because of the workload, we're in a different era. we're in a different era when we last upped the number of lower-court judgeships. a lot has happened. a very strong case can be made that this is a very legitimate thing to expand the court. it also is a very legitimate thing to smack mitch mcconnell back for taking this action to invite this kind of activity. >> here's what joe biden said about this brewing fight this appearing. >> i believe voters will make it clear they'll not stand for this abuse of power. this constitutional abuse. there's no discussion about what
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happens if the senate confirms on the eve of an election oar a lame duck, after donald trump loses? a successor to justice ginsburg, what happened? but that discussion assumes that we lose this effort to prevent the grave wrong that trump and mcconnell are pursuing here. i'm not going to assume failure at this point. >> john, he thinking democrats can prevent trump from getting a nominee confirmed. what's your reaction? >> i'm not sure they can prevent it. if they're hellbent to do it and no republicans are willing to break rank, then clearly the democrats cannot prevail. the hope is that there are some republicans who are institutionalists, as john harwood mentioned. there's several others who are up in states where they might pledge to withhold judgment
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until after the election, until after a new president is elected. trump is clearly going to put up somebody who will knock down roe, probably overturn obamacare, probably send the dreamers who knows where. biden hit all the key points in his speech as to the issues that these swing states and purple-state senators who are up will be fighting with and have difficulty. >> what about some of the other scenarios that democrats could use as retribution if they takes the white house, like the idea of eliminating the filibuster. should 24th do that? >> yes, they can. the filibuster has been eliminated for supreme court nominations. they're talking about eliminating it for legislative matters. you know, i've been on both sides of that issue and thought
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about it over the years. i think i come down on the side that it has served its purpose, and it no longer works as a super majority to get basket legislative functions done. the senate is going to be its own institution anyway, with six-year terms, on this a third of the senate up at any time. it will move differently than the house. it can still be a tempering body, but right now it's an obstructionist body. they did trim it back once and i think it's time to eliminate it. >> your book invokes authoritarianism. how strong is the system's checks and balances right now? >> it's very weak right now. one of the weeks i did this book, ana, i wanted to understand who are the people who support this weakening of democracy? who tolerates trump's norm-busting antidemocratic
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behavior? that's the core of the book, to uncover who the authoritarian followers are, and how this country is headed and in fact is already in a authoritarian mode. >> john dean, thank you very much for your expertise. >> i appreciate it. joe biden in a speech earlier today, denouncing the gains, and he explained why now is not the time to release his list of supreme court picks. stay with us, you're live in the "cnn newsroom." over time, you go noseblind to the odors in your home. (background music) but others smell this... (upbeat music) that's why febreze plug has two alternating scents and eliminate odors for 1200 hours. ♪breathe happy febreze... ♪la la la la la.
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is. we have breaking news. another key republican senator weighing in right now about whether the senate should take up the supreme court nominee before the election. let's getting right to cnn's lauren fox. tell us what we are hearing from lamar xaumpd. >> reporter: we had had our eyes on lamar alexander, a rpg from
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t -- republican from tennessee. he is now saying in a statement, that he is comfortable moving forward in an election year. this is very significant. i'm going to get into what he said? just a moment. i want to lay the table. why this matters so much is that majority leader mitch mcconnell could not lose more than three republicans. democrats needed four republicans to side with them on the issue of whether or not moving forward with this vacancy was proemt appropriate or not. what we are now learning is lamar alexander is comfortable moving forward. this is what he says in his statement -- no one should be priced that a republican senate majority would vote on a republican president's supreme
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court nomination even during a presidential election year. the constitution gives the snort the power to do it. going back to george washington, the senate has confirmed many nominees to the supreme court during a presidential election year. it has refused to confirm several when the president and the senate majority were of different parties. senator mcconnell is only doing what democratic leaders have said they would do if the shoes was on the other foot. so this making it much harder for democrats to find an additional two republicans to side with them. we stilling haven't heard from mitt romney, who sided with democrats on one article of impeachment earlier this year. it becomes very hard to figure out who that fourth republican would be, now that lamar alexander has made it clear he's on mcconnell's side moving ahead. >> lauren fox, thank you very much.
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joining us is margaret hoover, host of "firing line." and let me start with you, margaret, what is your reaction to this news? >> ana, i'm not surprised at all. this is really not so much a news flash as it is a solidification and a reminder, if there's anything that unites the republican party, and the republican party has a degree of dweszity right now in its views of trump. while they don't defend the president's tweets and they're uncomfortable about many things, they support his top three priorities as long as they're number one judges, number two judges, and number three judges. this enews the republican party with no other issue. >> particularly because he's so
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close to mcconnell. >> is the fight over, john? >> no, no, but it's important to confirm that's the position, but lamar alexander was never the person urn going to go to. they're entirely tight. the real question is what does mitt romney do? look at chuck grassley, and then the arizona race, between mcsalary amcsa mcsally. it's enormously significant, but i don't think it's surprising, i'm looking at what chuck grassley said, that he would follow the biden rule in 1986, emphasized by him in 1992. you can't have a rule for democratic presidents and then republican presidents. are you surprised romney hasn't made a statement yet?
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>> i suspect he's seriously deliberating this. he has been very serious. he has, as we all know, he has taken very serious and important votes that are matters of deep conscience for him, but it frankly won't surprise me if mitt romney were spoke support the furtherance of mitch mcconnell's path, because judges continue to unite republicans. >> it's an excuse and a very powerful one -- >> i resent that, but i will discuss that after. go ahead and make your point. >> the important point is mruczkowski has -- let's do this and decide after the election. then, look, if donald trump wins, then i don't think anybody wouldn't say it's completely free and clear. if biden wins, that's a
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different calculus. you can't see a bipartisan group say, you know what? we shouldn't rush this through, and shouldn't support packing the courts, as opposed to this hypocrisy and weaponization of ethics. >> so a new gang of eight is what you're advocating? >> yeah, a new gang of four. let me ask you about this argument from senator cruz. he says he can't wait until asp the election, what if you need a supreme court to decide a contested election? listen to his comments and then react. >> i think it's particularly important that the senate take it up and confirm this nomination, boo you joe biden has been explicit. he has said if he doesn't win, he's going to challenge this election. he's going to go to court, he's hired a big legal team. hillary clinton has told joe biden under no circumstances should you concede.
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given that, there is a serious risk of a constitutional crisis if joe biden is bringing litigation, like we had in bush -- >> i have to stop. as you know it's president trump the one talking about rigged election. joe biden has not explicitly said he's going to challenge the election. every campaign always has a team of lawyers. >> wait, wait. what you just saw was like the united states' top college national debater from 1988 or whatever when ted cruz was in college. you saw a wonderful example of him taking an argument and making the opposite argument. on its face, we know its ridiculous, okay? we know this is going to -- look, this election may be very, very close, it may not be. if it's very, very close, it is not only joe biden who will have lawyers looking at every ballot and litigating these states. we know there's at least 30-plus states where both sides have
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their legal teams in place and have organized. this is not just one side's fault. it's also just not donald trump's fault, okay? they're going to litigate state by state. it could be very ugly. frankly it is important that we have a court that is predisposed to be there, if that is necessary. >> the obvious problem, and the additional layer of hypocrisy on ted cruz is, he didn't have a problem with it being a 4-4 court. nobody did. this is just total nonsense, and as george stephanopoulos pointed out, the president has consistenedly talked about a -- it does speak to the seriousness of the continued attack on our democratic institutions.
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you can't say last time 4-4 was fine, but this time it's a great constitutional crisis? >> thank you both. >> ana, appreciate it. coming up, the president says we have turned the final corner on the coronavirus, but a turn for the worse in the case count tells us something different. give you my world ♪
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approaches a milestone we hoped we use never see -- 200,000 deaths due to coronavirus.
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you're asking me when is it going to be generally available to the american public so we can begin to take vaccine to get back to our regular lives, we're probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021. >> the vaccine for the general public would likely not be available until nest summer, maybe early fall. are you comfortable with that timeline? >> no, i think he made a mistake when he said that. it's just incorrection information. we're ready to go immediately as the vaccine is announced. it could be announced in october, a little after. >> reporter: how can the american people trusts on the pandemic when you're contradicting the head of the cdc? >> because of the fabulous job we have done. >> here is the response from
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brett jugiroir. >> i do want to say a vaccine as early as possible, will be a godsend in terms of outcomes, hospitalizations, more bidities and deaths. >> we're joined by the former new york city health commissioner. doctor, he says everybody is right when we just heard from giroir? >> i think we'll probably have a vaccine december or sob for health care workers, first responders, doctors and nurses work in hospitals. that's not the same as having a vaccine to the general public? almost half of the americans under the age of 65 have preexisting conditions. some are not diagnosed, because not everybody goes to the doctor regularly, but there's a huge proportion of americans at risk who will not get risk to the
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vaccine until many later than their. >> i want to play you me also about how many doses they need? >> from my perspective, even a few million doses in early november or december, if we have 5% or 10% we can vaccinate, we can get 80% or 90% of the the if we vaccine workers in the nursing homes, we could -- >> do you agree with that statement? >> well, i suppose it depends on how you define 90% of the benefit. but you know, as i was saying, if you look at such a large proportion of the u.s. population, being at risk for severe covid if they get it, there's no way that the math works, where 5% to 6% will yield 80% to 90% reduction.
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that simply doesn't add up. giroir also said testing each student every week is not necessary. there's obviously a lot of discussion for what is best for back to school. he's saying contact trace, baseline testing around sick students, that's the way to go. is there some realistic middle ground between 100% proactive and 100% reactive? >> the wale why -- is layering all these imperfect interventions to try to control it. so it really depends on what else they have in place. if you are returning to school with 30 kids in a classroom, that's a very different situation from if only the special needs kids and youngest kids, for example, are returning to the classroom. it is a question of trying to address up all of these imperfect measures together to control this as best we can. >> hhs secretary alex azar said
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this morning that masks are a bridge until you get a vaccine, but we have heard from dr. redfield and others, even when we get a vaccine, masks will still be important. help us in terms of setting our expectations. >> i think they're both right. masks are definitely a bridge to the time when we have a vaccine widely available. however, if the vaccine is only 50% to 70% effective, there's still a risk. so in that situation, we may find ourselves lining up to get vaccines, but at the same time still wearing masks including during cold and flu season. >> good information as alway thank you. russia is watching from afar. they've got to be loving it.
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we'll check in with james clapper. he'll join us live right here, on the security risks 44 days out from the election. for my mouth to aim at. oh, hiding, huh? the new grilled buffalo chicken papadia - tangy buffalo sauce, grilled chicken, and melty cheese for just six bucks. papa john's.
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no-contact service. >> tech: schedule at >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪ add a supreme court fight for already a combustible year. pandemic, historic unemployment, widespread protests, and a president attacking the integrity of the vote. guess who is watching? >> we certainly have seen very active, very active efforts by the russian to say influence or election in 2020, through what i would call the ma lined foreign influence, social media, use of proxies, state media, online journals, to primarily to denigrate vice president biden, and what the russians see as an anti-russian establishment. >> so that was on thursday. the president goes on twitter and says, quote, but chris, you don't see any activity from
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china, even though it's a far greater threat than russia, russia, russia. then he suggested he might consider replacing his hand-picked fbi director. >> we're looking at a lot of different things, and i did not like his answers yesterday. i'm not sure he liked them, either. i'm sure he probably would agree with me. >> joining us now is former director of national intelligence james clapper. thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> what do you make of the president's very public disagreement and criticism of christopher wray's intelligence assessment? >> i think the first point is that director wray is right. the primary threat to our electoral systems is from russia. china poses another threat in their interests in conveying information has more to do with
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deflecting attention from taiwan, hong kong, their response to the pandemic. in other words, trying to embellish their own image or what they believe is unfavorable to their image. the russians, on the other hand, are trying to interfere with an attempt to foster an outcome in our election as director wray has said. the other point, of course, the huge loss for the country if director wray were replaced. he, among, you know, hardly anyone else, is willing to speak truth to power. >> but the president is saying he's wrong, so russia has to be cheering right now. >> oh, absolutely. i mean, russia is up to their old tricks. the major difference, of course, is they are going to do all they
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can to hide their tracks and make it harder for us to detect what they're doing. it would appear that near to the doing things like attacking infrastructure and that kind of thing. but they're in a win-win situation. they're trying to influence the outcome towards a particular candidate. >> the president was asked about this idea of not listening to the people advising him. listen to this. >> last night you criticized what christopher wray told congress. um the cdc director withdraws flat wrong on a couple things this week. how is it that you don't trust your own experts? >> oh, i do. >> do you feel like you know better? >> yeah, in many cases i do. >> jonathan karl asked him do
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you thil you know better? and he says, in some cases, i do. >> it's quite dangerous. when you ignore the advice and counsel of experts, subject matter sdperds. in some cases they have devoted their professional lives to this thing and ignore it, because my gut is better than what they know, well, from a national security standpoint and certainly from a public health standpoint, this is very dangerous. >> how does the intelligence community then get people to pay attention to what russia is do when the president won't and now obviously everybody is focused on the supreme court. >> the supreme court drama, to a certain stephextent is overtaki
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these other events. given or collective attention span, i don't think that's good from a national security standpoint, particularly with respect to the safety and security of this country. >> the attorney general, william barr, has been making a number of controversial comments about the election. here's one this week. >> you know, liberals project. the president is going to stay in office and seize power, and all that [ bleep ]. i've never heard of that crab. >> i would think i have heard about it. >> in the vote, a close vote, people will say, you know, the president won nevada -- oh, wait a minute, we just discovered 100,000 ballots? every vote must be counted! yeah, but we don't know where the freaking votes came from. >> this idea that president trump would refuse to leave
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office if he loses. first it's unconventional. to have the attorney general, you know, speak his opinion about the sanctity and security, and joining in a narrative that is shared by both the president and the russians for that matter. they're doing a lot to sow doubt about the efficacy and the safety and security of our voting system. so it's -- as i say, it's very unconventional. >> in the meantime while the president is downplaying russia's meddling, his allies in the senate are issuing depositions to dozens of officials from the obama administration as part of their ongoing probe of the fbi's
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handling of the 2016 russia investigation. i know you yourself received one of the subpoenas. what was your reaction, and will you comply with it? >> well, there was no need for a subpoena, i don't believe. i have indicated through my attorney, you know, i'm happy to appear for a deposition. i would prefer not to do a live hearing given my age demographic, but virtual or a deposition, i'm good with that. we don't have anything to hide. we didn't do anything wrong. i guess maybe they would have preferred we ignore what the russians were doing. that seems to be the message here. >> james clapper, i appreciate your time and expertise. thanks for joining us. >> thanks, ana, for having me. the most anticipated moment of the election is almost here. with special coverage starting
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the emmys are tonight, but like everything else during the pandemic, the show will look nothing even close to normal. there's no traditional red carpet and the stars are staying home. here's stephanie elam. >> reporter: gone is the red carpet and the audience of stars. >> things are going to be quite different. >> this year's emmys are virtual with stars accepting awards from home. >> yeah, i mean, i get to bring my dogs to the emmys. how often will that happen? >> jimmy kimmel will host from staples center. >> this is what makes me feel comfortable. >> social distancing is planned for the crew. >> i think this is a moment from people will address the black lives matter movement, climate
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change, politics. we have an election just weeks away. >> from 114 locations from ten countries. >> live cameras were sent to stars' homes. >> we're hearing the tv academy is trying to feel out with the major nominees, would they be comfortable having somebody essential in a hazmat suit deliver a statue. >> "variety" reports that producers told stars to, quote, come as you are, but make an effort. >> make tuxedo pa gentlemennsa >> "the watchmen" is among the front runser, netflix giving schitt's creek a boost. >> people have been binging past season. >> the emmys are sunday night.
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in kentucky covid is threatening the lives of inmates and creating barriers to help end this vicious cycle in a state with one of the largest prison populations, three cnn heroes have stepped up to safely help those struggling, in and out of prison, amid the crisis. here's anderson cooper. >> as covid-19 impacts those in and out of prisons three cnn heroes are providing lifelines. >> kim carter is on call to pick up -- >> she's down at the greyhound bus station. >> colet carroll is still bringing virtual learning to men at san quentin. >> it's as close as we can get.
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you are live in the "cnn newsroom." thank you for staying with me. we have breaking news this hour. a complicated and messy chess match sun folding right now over filling the seat left vacant by late justice ruth bader ginsburg. we learn that lamar alexander is okay with moving forward on a senate vote. he was part of a group of senators we've been watching closely


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