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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  September 15, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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so, that's why this mission is so important. and that's what the inspiration for a crew is attempting to do, jake. >> all right, kristen fisher, have fun tonight. you can follow me on facebook, instagram, and tiktok. you can tweet the show. if you miss an episode of the show, you can listen to the lead podcast wherever you get your podcasts. our coverage on cnn continues our coverage on cnn continues right now. -- captions by vitac -- happening now, president biden says he has great confidence in the joint chiefs chairman, general milley protecting the country from president trump, including secret calls to china. backup from the national guard and protective fencing is about to go up on the hill, all this amid growing concerns. star gymnasts offer wrenching testimony about the fbi's botched investigation of abuse by dr. larry nassar, accusing
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the feds of lies and a cover-up. olympian simone biles demanding accountability as the attorney general is set to face congress as well. welcome to our viewers in the united states and arnolound the world. i'm jim acosta and you're in the s "situation room." we begin with the top general on revelations and explosive new book on the trump presidency. brian, the white house is standing behind general mark milley, as some republicans say he should stepped down or be fired. >> general milley is at the center of a lot of attention tonight. some key players weighing on whether the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff took action that could have saved lives or whether he committed treason. >> reporter: tonight president biden backing joint chiefs chairman army general mark milley following revelations in
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the new book by robert woodward, some calling for milley to be tossed out or court marshalled over the fear general milley was fearful that secretly called his chinese kaunt part twice to reassure him the united states would not strike china. >> that's treason. i've had so many calls today saying that's treason. >> general milley's office defending his calls with his chinese counterpart saying they were part of a series of calls with america's allies and adversaries at that time. quote, in order to e maintain strategic civility. those calls were not done in secret and followed the same protocols used by other chairman of the joint chiefs. woodward and costa report that after the insurrection on the capitol, milley call a meeting.
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not to take orders from anyone, including then president trump unless milley was involved. the authors write milley, quote, was certain trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with trump all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies. >> it is the essence of a military coup for lack of a better term. that's what it would equate to. i don't think there's any doubt that at a minimum he should be fired if this is true. >> the pentagon press secretary says general milley's actions were above board. >> it is completely appropriate for the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff as the senior military adviser to the secretary and president to want to see those protocols reviewed on whatever frequent basis he wants to do that. >> they also write that after the racial justice protests at the white house in june 2020 trump accused then defense secretary mark esper of trying
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to take away his authority by not imposing the insurrection act, then screamed at others in the room. quote, you're all f-ed up, he yelled, everybody, you're all f-ed, every one of you is f-ed up. former president trump has issued a statement calling the joint chiefs chairman a quote, d dumbass, weak and ineffective. staying they write fiction, not fact. trump says he never thought about attacking china and the people who printed it are sick and demented. >> let's bring in cnn special correspondent was first to report all the detail on cnn. also retired mark hertling.
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jamie, let me start with you. tell us what you've been learning about this. you're learning more from this book. >> so, one of the things i just want to say from that reporting that i think it's important to say is first of all, context is key. these people have not read the book yet. secondly, this seems to me -- and jim, you know this better than anyone, a classic donald trump response. he is criticized in this book. he doesn't like it. so, what does he do? he turns around and attacks milley. milley was not alone. what we have learned in the book was milley was not the only person who thought that donald trump was dangerous, unstable and unpredictable. woodward and costa quote gina haspel as saying, this is a highly dangerous situation. we're going to lash out for his ego. this is after a meeting about
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iran. she said it another time, quote, we're on the way to a right wing coup. the whole thing is insanity. he's acting like a six year old with a tantrum. even then secretary of state mike pompeo, who is considered a loyalist, said after the election that trump was, quote, in a very dark place. >> no question. i remember from talking to my sources at the time that, you know, we had sources telling us that he was out of his mind. >> right. >> at the time. general hertling, let me turn to you next. president biden has said he has great confidence in the joint chiefs chairman general milley. do you see any red flags with how milley handled all this? >> i don't, jim, not at all. i suggest his contact with these foreign general officers like general li of the chinese liberation army, it's the biggest part of his job. and it was likely necessitated by intelligence reports assessed by staff saying something is going on in china. and as we learned from jamie's
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reporting earlier, in other parts of the world. and i'm certain as earlier reports also indicate that chairman followed the protocols for engagement and communication with foreign officials. how do i know these things? because i've done them personally, certainly not at the level of the chairman of the joint chiefs but in a theater of operation. this kind of theater security cooperation with friends, allies and foes at times is one of the biggest part of the senior leader's job when they're in a military building. >> phil, republican senator marco rubio has been tearing into general milley, accusing him of contemplating a treasonous leak to the chinese. apparently there were 15 people on this call between milley and his counterpart. the details were shared with the intelligence community. it wasn't exactly happening in total darkness. it doesn't sound like it was complete run around. what do you think? >> i think that the senator needs to take two aspirin and
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call dr. mud in the morning for some counsel. this is a human eye roll. let me be very clear, very clear. a famous journalist writes a book that says the sky is falling. that's how he sells books. he creates an environment through the early leaks of key parts of the book that makes it sound like the book is really scintillating. that's how people sell books, jim. now, let's look at the facts, not the environment that journalist bob woodward sets up but what actually happened. during a difficult transition in america, the chairman of the joint chiefs calls a counterpart. it's secret. what's he supposed to do? put it on tiktok? of course it's secret. what happens during his counsel -- that is general milley's council at the pentagon? he says let's make sure the most sensitive thing in the military, that's what happens in the chain of command if there's an order particularly related to nuclear weapons. he shouldn't review that? can you tell me when he said i will not take a command from the
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president? didn't happen. he also says, allegedly, that we don't know what the president's trigger is. the president told us that when he came into office. he said let's not signal to adversaries what we're going to do. so, look at the environment the author sets up. that's a lot of drama. look at what the general does. there's not a lot of drama there. let's look at facts, not drama, and tell marco rubio, take a chill pill until you ask the general what he said. this is just too much, jim. >> jamie, what do you think? >> i'm going to push back on phil. we're dear friends a little. i don't think i have read the whole book -- i don't think anyone is trying to overpromote the book. and as far as drama is concerned, i don't think it got any more dramatic than what happened on january 6th. >> general hertling, the authors also report that general milley believed former president trump was in serious mental decline.
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what responsibilities would he then have to safeguard national security, talking about the general at that point? >> yeah, you know, jim, i'm going to do an anecdote here too as well because i worked for a guy in combat that we all -- all the troops thought he was under serious decline. he was a commander. what you do in those situations, you certainly can't pull the guy out of position. you might talk to his superiors. what you do in the meantime is you set up guardrails around him. you reinforce the standards. you do the kinds of things that will prevent that commander from doing something that is unusual or which is contrary to the mission that you're trying to execute. and i think on a larger strategic scale, that's exactly what general milley and others like gina haspel and others were trying to do knowing the demise and seeing the demise of then former president trump. >> yeah. i mean, it certainly was just a
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wild situation, general milley. it sounds like he was trying to make the best of it and prevent just a total cataclysmic situation from unfolding. jamie, general hurt little, phil mud, thank you. just ahead, breaking news, u.s. police are asking the national guard for help at this point as d.c. braces for potential violence at saturday's right wing raleigh. stay with us. you're in the sich sich room. by saying yes. yes to new inventions! yes to clean and fresh ingredients! and yes to living life to the flavor-fullest. panera. live your yes. order on our app. oh my, with chase freedom unlimited, i earn all this cash back? oh, i gotta tell everyone. hey rita, you can earn 3% on dining, including takeout! bon appetit. hey kim, you earn 5% on travel purchased through chase! way ahead of you. hey neal, you can earn 3% at drug stores!!! buddy, i'm right here. why are you yelling? because that's what i do! you're always earning with 5% cash back on travel purchased through chase, 3% at drugstores,
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with the right tech solutions. so you can stop at nothing for your customers. there's no other snack like a planters cashew. what else can go from your car's cup holder to a crystal bowl and seem equally at home? i guess the most well-rounded snack isn't round at all. it's more cashew-shaped. planters. a nut above. breaking news tonight. capitol police requesting help from the d.c. national guard amid fear of violence at a right wing rally in washington this saturday. cnn congressional correspondent ryan noble is working that story for us. ryan, this request for assistance comes as we expect
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the fencing to start going up around the capitol. tell us the latest. >> reporter: that's right, jim. it seems clear that capitol police and the surrounding law enforcement agencies are preparing for a worse case se nare on saturday around this right wing rally in support for those arrested on the january 6th insurrection. they've asked the national guard to be on stand by in case things get out of control. we're not sure what that entails. you'll remember the role the national guard played or their lack thereof on january 6th has been a source of serious contention as groups look into what went wrong on january 6th. but the capitol police seem confidence if they need the national guard's help on saturday they will get it. they are prepared in the next couple hours to resurrect that fence along capitol square. it's going to go along this road, first street northwest. if you're familiar with washington, d.c., right across from the supreme court. it's going to wrap around the capitol, go around the west
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front and the west front is where we expect this rally to take place. the house speaker nancy pelosi is very clear that she supports these efforts not to take any risks ahead of this rally on saturday. she said in a statement today, quote, there is a wish by some to continue the assault on the u.s. capitol with misinformation and malice. the leadership of congress on a bipartisan and bicameral basis has breeched breached by the capitol police board on the nature of the threat. keep in mind pelosi hosted a briefing world war kevin mccarthy, and mitch mcconnell on monday to go over all of these plans which in addition to the fencing, the national guard help also includes the entire capitol police force being prepared and on call and ready to go on saturday just in case. and a part of what we've learned about some of the law enforcement concerns leading up to saturday is the possibility
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that some of these protesters may arrive to washington on saturday armed. well, cnn spoke with the organizer of this rally, and he contends that's just not the case. take a listen. >> we've got a largely peaceful crowd. we've had two events in washington, d.c. so far, at the department of justice and at the prison. there have been no incidents so far. no one is going to be bringing a weapon that's part of our crowd. i can assure the police that. >> reporter: of course that's difficult to predict that, jim. this is an event they're asking people to come from all over the country. they're not going to have metal detectors checking people when they come in. that's part of why law enforcement is taking precautions, preparing for a worse case scenario. >> the police are not taking his word for it. that's for sure. let's dig deeper with charles ram see and cnn law enforcement analyst terrance gainer. you're the former capitol police chief. the pentagon is considering this
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reguest for the d.c. national guard to offer support. how difficult is this adesh nal support and coordination do you think? >> i think it's a smart move based on our experience from january 6th and all the other preparations going on. so, just concentrating on that one request. they'll be prepositioned so they can respond quickly. jim, you may remember one of the problems where they weren't in a ready position so they had to come from home and work to get prepared to help the police. this time they'll be in a stand by mode very close by to be able to come in quickly, as the capitol police is assessing what's going on. >> and chief ram see, when you hear those details about the organizer behind this rally and the possibility of protesters bringing weapons, what does that tell you about how potentially dangerous this situation could get on saturday? >> well, first of all, when i listen to that, the organizer is trying to cover himself. so, if this thing goes badly, since he's the organizer, you
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know, he won't get hit with a conspiracy charge or anything like that. he has no control over this group. this has gotten to a point now where it's going to draw people from all over. some will be there just to protest and rally without any incident. but you can get some people there that have a totally different agenda. he has no control over that. so, this is a very dangerous period of time in our country. the environment is really one that i'm very concerned about, not just the 18th of september. that's not going to end it. this whole situation we find ourselves in right now is very, very dangerous. and it's going to spread beyond washington. >> right. and it's all because the big lie just won't go away. and chief gainer, fencing will start going up tonight. members and staff are being told to avoid the capitol on saturday. what other measures should be under consideration right now with this day? >> well, they'll have localized all the personnel. they'll all be on duty or can come in early from their various
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spots. they all have new equipment that was requested to make sure they're prepared. and the fence is very important because it provides a standoff and time to respond to people who may not be peaceful. remember even that organizer said they'll largely be peaceful. that's not reassuring. so, between the metropolitan police department coming, they'll all be on duty, the capitol police monitoring the crowd, assessing what the mood is, what they're carrying, how they're dressed, that will dictate the actions at the capitol. i think they're going to be in very good shape. and the other important part is the proper intelligence. and i think that's largely completely been fixed since the january 6th incident. >> right. we need these law enforcement agencies to talk to one another. and chief ramsey, you say this could spread beyond washington. to that point, how worried about potential violence in other
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parts of washington, d.c. or other cities around the country on saturday. it goes to the point that these law enforcement agencies have to be working with one another. they have to be talking about tips that come in that relate to other parts of the nation's capital and the other parts of the country. >> september 18th is the focal point right now, but my focus goes beyond september 18th. a lot of this has to come from the haters that come out of the shadows and out in the open. they're not ashamed to show it. and hate is like cancer. it spreads. we've gotten to a point now where it's going to be very difficult to deal with this in the future. i think we're going to see more and more cases where these kinds of groups show up. plus, remember, you'll have counterdemonstrators that may show up. and that's another area that you've got to be very careful about. >> no question about it.
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chief ramsey, chief gainer, thanks so much to both of you. we appreciate those insights. coming up, gut wrenching testimony from team usa gymnasts who were sexually abused by larry nassar. >> i blame larry nassar, and i also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse. >> will anyone at the fbi face criminal charges for botching this investigation? >> tech: every customer has their own safelite story. this couple loves camping adventures and their suv is always there with them. so when their windshield got a chip, they wanted it fixed fast. they drove to safelite autoglass for a guaranteed, same-day, in-shop repair. we repaired the chip before it could crack.
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emotional testimony on capitol hill as some of the top u.s. gymnasts blasted the fbi
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for its mishandling of the abuse investigation of former usa gymnastics team doctor larry nassar who is now in prison. paula, this was gut wrenching testimony we heard today, just awful stuff. >> this was. as you know there were very few area of bipartisan consensus in washington right now. today lawmakers from both parties were united in their anger about how the fbi handled allegations of sexual misconduct by larry nassar. >> how much is a little girl worth? >> reporter: olympic gold medallist simone biles fighting back tears testifying before congress today about how the fbi failed her and hundreds of other survivors of sexual abuse by usa gymnastics team doctor larry nassar. >> i don't want another young gymnast, olympic athlete or any other individual to experience the horror that i and hundreds of others have endured before, during and continuing to this
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day in wake of the larry nassar abuse. to be clear -- sorry. >> take your time. >> to be clear, i blame larry nassar, and i also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse. >> nasser pleaded guilty in 2018 and was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for assaulting hundreds of victims. but not before he was allowed to victimize dozens of girls because adults in positions of authority failed to act on complaints, according to gymnasts who testified today. >> i was molested by larry nassar. in actuality, he turned out to be more of a pedophile than he was a doctor.
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>> makayla maroney testified about how the fbi mishandled her plains and tried to cover it up. >> not only did the fbi not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report, they made entirely false claims of what i said. >> reporter: nassar went on to abuse dozens of other victims after maroney came forward. >> what is the point of reporting abuse if our own fbi agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer. they had legal legitimate evidence of child abuse and did nothing. >> ali raisman testified how the fbi also dismissed her allegations. >> i remember sitting there with the fbi agent and him trying to convince me that it wasn't that bad. >> reporter: she too said the system failed them. >> over 100 victims could have been spared abuse. >> reporter: a report by the
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office of inspector general found the fbi agents who received the complaints did limited follow-up with maroney. the justice department has not brought charges against either of the fbi agents named as having mishandled the case. special agent michael langman was fired by the fbi last week. and langman's supervisor retired before the investigation was complete. >> the truth -- >> reporter: fbi director, christopher wray, who took over leadership of the agency in 2017, was pressed by lawmakers on how the system could have failed so badly. >> i don't have a good explanation for you. it is utterly jarring to me. i'm sorry that so many different people let you down over and over again. >> reporter: attorney general merrick garland and lisa monaco will testify before lawmakers next month.
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and that will be the first opportunity to ask them about the botched investigation and the big questions coming out of the hearing, which is why none of the fbi agents accused of misconduct have been prosecuted. >> so sickening, so heartbreakening. let's get more on all this with cnn legal analyst laura coates and christine brennan. christine, this is infuriating. can you explain what this means for female athletes of all ages and all sports to see some of the greatest gymnasts of all time, including simone biles, testify before congress as they are trying to hold people accountable for this who wronged them? this is just awful. >> jim, it's crushing. it's crushing for young girls and young women. it's crushing frankly for young boys and young men to see this. the power structure exists in these sports. it is so hard to speak out. and then when you have adults failing, especially when these women -- they came forward. they did the right thing. they talked to the fbi.
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and it was buried. of course it was just horrific what happened to them, the sexual abuse, the worse sex abuse scandal in sports history, jim, the worse sex abuse scandal in olympic history. and they tried to do the right thing and the they were silenced and the report was buried. you know, there's power in the platform. here they were today reminding us of the horrors of the last few years. some of us have heard this before, but it's great to hear it again in terms of reminding us of how bad it was and maybe just maybe it helped a kid or two today who watched their heroes, watch simone biles, aly raisman and the others and said, i can speak out. let's hope for that silver lining because otherwise it was a devastatingly harrowing and horrible day on capitol hill. >> these women are making a powerful case against the fbi saying agents mishandled serious allegations, allowed a child abuser's abuse to continue.
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somebody was fired last week. last week? this is ridiculous. >> it is. and there's a lot of anger. and it's justified anger. you're talking about these young women are up there and we've known about this, they've known about it, the fbi has known about it since 2015 and someone just left their job last week. someone was allowed to retire out of it. we have someone familiar with the idea of lying to federal investigators. and these fbi agents are accused of having done that with the office. you don't have credibility and integrity in the system. that's why the director was apologizing. and remember what the investigation -- what they had to do was to at the bear minimum alert their law enforcement counterparts in a venue where larry nassar could have been
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prosecuted federally in michigan. they did not do that. pick up the phone. send an email. figure it out. instead they did self-serving initiatives, it's very, very shocking. and there must be accountability if people are going to still support fbi, the investigative process and the idea that if you come to the investigators and you tell what's happened, you've spoken the truth, you appeal for help, and you're dismissed, you're told at the end, is that it? mckayla maroney, what she had to say was just so shocking. i think i would end here by saying what i loved about these young women is they said, i'm ready to answer any questions you have. and you know why? because they demand and need to have the answers. >> let me get a reaction to that christine. what do you think? >> they're four american heros and they will be remembered as high rows forever, jim, by speaking out. i bet they'll be back again. they're going to be leaders on
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this topic for years to come and we need them because as laura was saying there are some real problems in law enforcement in not helping these young women when they needed the help the most. >> we needed leaders at the fbi too so this never happens again. this is just appalling, six sickening stuff. a booster shot of the pfizer vaccine could dramatically reduce the rate of covid infection, but internal documents reveal the fda is still deeply divided over whether to approve more doses for most americans. walter, twelve o' clock. get em boy! [cows mooing] that is incredible. it's the multi-flex tailgate. it can be a step, it can even become a workspace. i meant the cat. what's so great about him? he doesn't have a workspace. the chevy silverado with the available multi-flex tailgate. find new adventures. find new roads. chevrolet. ok, let's talk about those changes
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dose showed a real world reduction in infection and additional studies by pfizer finds immunity wanes over time the booster restores the immunity. does this make the case that boosters should be approved in the u.s.? >> yeah, jim, thanks for having me back. i think the data are pretty clear as you look at this that boosters are helpful for high risk individuals, older people, people with chronic diseases. that's who's really suffering the severe hospitalizations and severe complications. it's not clear to me from these day that the boosters are necessary for young and healthy people. but for older people, people at high risk, absolutely this for me is pretty convincing that those people need boosters. >> and yet we're hearing the fda meeting this friday, is expected to be bumpy. what's the argument against rolling out these booster doses now? >> yeah, so, i think there are two sets of argument. there is a broader argument of there is so much of the world left unvaccinated and we want to
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vaccinate the world. i think we do want to vaccinate the world. i'm not sure us using boosters will prevent us from doing that. i think the second part is the point that the vaccines, the two doses of the vaccines, do provide a high degree of protection for everybody. maybe the marginal benefit is small. i think it's clear that it is there, and my take is we should be doing it. but we'll see how the fda does this. >> the fda insists boosters is not plolitically motivated. the white house did put them in a tough position though by getting ahead of them. how do they sort this out? >> at the end of the day we've got to look at the signs. process is always important in scientific work. but at the end of the day we've got to look at where the scientific evidence is coming down n. my mind, the scientific evidence is coming down towards boosters for high risk individuals. the white house has its scientific, dr. fauci and others who are looking at the data. i want the fda to examine the data and not worry as much as about the process that's gone on
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here. >> pfizer says data on vaccines for children ages five to 11 should be submit bid the end of this month. how quickly could we see approval for vaccine for that age group? that's a big block of kids out there and it would raise that fully vaccinated rate. >> absolutely. yeah, no, absolutely. i think it's going to make a important difference because that's the set of kids in school right now that are not eligible for vaccination. my hope is within two to three weeks of that submission, the fda brings the advisory committee, authorizes it. sri a 9-year-old at home. i'm hoping my halloween he gets that first shot. i think it's entirely possible he might. >> that would be good for halloween. that's for sure. dr. ashish jha, thanks so much. coming up, the former vice president dan quayle helped put an end to former president trump's attempted coup. we have conversation between quayle and former vice president
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troubling findings in our exclusive new cnn poll. 56% of americans say democracy is under attack in the u.s., and a majority say it's likely officials will overturn an election at some point because their party didn't win. joining us now to talk about this and other matters, democratic congressman jim hines. thanks so much for being with us. when you look at these poll numbers and the details in the bob woodward and robert costa book, how much danger was american democracy in at that point in facing the final days of the trump presidency?
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>> well, it was in profound danger. i'm here to tell you as somebody in the chamber on january 6th and the insurrectionists who attacked the capitol are only the tip of the sphere. they're the piece of this i worry about least. what i worry about is the former president, president trump, to this day continues to cause a significant percentage of americans to believe that the election was stolen from him without a single fact, without a single piece of evidence to back that up. and every time the president says that, of course, that's another little piece taken out of the foundation of democracy. it was troubling to read that mike pence -- i thought mike pence was one of the good guys here. he was working so hard to try to figure out a way to do what donald trump wanted him to do even though mike pence knew and had constant access to the incompetence, to the corruption, to the disregard for the constitution that was the presidency of donald trump, that mike pence was actually working
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really hard to figure out how to help in this what would have amounted to a coup. it's very, very disappointing. >> speaking of that, in the book "peril," it was dan quayle, the former vp, who put his foot down and told mike pence there was no way to overturn the election. who would have thought dan quayle was going to save the day in all this? what did you make of that revelation? >> well, i'm not surprised by it. the previously republican party which still exists today small though it be may is comprised of people with names like quail, with names like bush whose statement on 9/11 was clear he sees a very real danger to our country from this. people with names like cheney, i never image gaiined i would fin myself praising people named cheney. liz cheney is willing to do something so few of my
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republican colleagues are willing to do. our constitution of the united states and democratic order is more important than the fear i feel of donald trump. >> this new cnn poll is troubling. the immediate crisis of january 6th may be over but it shows americans fear a future where an election could be overturned. how concerning is that? do you see steps happening now that would make that nightmare scenario a real possibility in. >> well, absolutely, and two things to say to that. number one, of course it's a real possibility. one of the things that republican legislatiures are doing is taking power away from people like brad wrarathensburg. i'm not going to find 1,000 votes or whatever the number was. legislatures in red states are passing red states laws to over ride the decision of the
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professionals of the secretary of state. this is happening in front of our eyes as we speak. as you know, jim, that poll indicates shockingly the very people today, this evening are working hard to erode our democracy, that is to say that people who believe that donald trump was denied the election without a shred of evidence are the ones that most believe our democracy is at risk and i mean, i can't tell you how unfathomable it is that a meaningful percentage of the republican party, in some cases, a majority are willing to believe something for which there is not a single fact or a single sliver of evidence when the consequences of that belief is an on going attack on our democracy. >> all right. congressman jim himes, thanks for coming on. appreciate it. >> thank you, jim. and we'll have more news just ahead including fresh reaction to california governor gavin newsom's decisive win over the republican effort to remove
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tonight, democrats are celebrating the survival of california governor gavin newsom after he easily defeated a gop led attempt to oust him. both parties are studying the results of the recall lesson looking for lessons ahead of the mid midterms. kyung lah joins us from sacramento. kyung, what is this landslide victory for gavin newsom mean for the rest of the democratic party? they're taking note of this. >> reporter: they certainly are and newsom's advisors are saying
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they should and here is why. you know, about a month ago, what we were hearing from the governor's office and all of his allies and democrats here in california is that there was real concern. this is an off year special election. democrats weren't paying attention. they really weren't engaged. similar to what you would see in the midterm except it was more extreme in california so the governor had to turn it around. how did he do that? he started focussing on his covid protocols. they leaned in on those restrictions, which initially were thought to be a handicap and instead he embraced it. he started talking about that really putting in a contrast with then the republican challenger that emerged out of nowhere, larry elder. there was a true contrast and they leaned into that. the other thing they died was tied elder into donald trump. even though trump isn't on the ballot, his impact in the party
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and state gub tore l race they used like al bar troz to make that a contrast and sink elder because of it. the warning here, though, jim, is that california has a 2-1 voter reg advantage for democrats. this is certainly not going to be a lot like the congressional races that are coming up in 2022. >> no question about it, but will the controversial republican candidate larry elder run again? i mean, he ended up being a gift to democrats in california. >> reporter: certainly. absolutely a gift to the governor because they were able to make that contrast for all of those reasons. if you listen to what elder said certainly sounds like he is, you know, forecasting another run. he is indicated he is not getting out of politics and he said to his crowd as, you know, he was saying that he's lost
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essentially to stay tuned that he is planning on looking ahead so this could be a rematch in 2022, jim? >> kyung lah, thank you. larry elder the entertainer and broadcaster to the end. thank you so much. good to see you. thanks for watching. i'm jim acosta. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, breaking news, cnn learning the nation's top general mark milley was not the only trump official to back channel china to reassure the country in the final months of the presidency this is the white house's defense as milley is kicking into high gear tonight. temporary fencing around the capitol going up in the next hour. this is ahead of saturday's rally which is in honor of the january 6th insurrectionist. who is behind this rally? our reporter spoke with the trump loyalest. and a republican quits the gop over the party's objections
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