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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  January 19, 2022 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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tonight, a president on the defensive tries to regain the initiative and a former president's battle to keep his white house documents away from the january 6th committee ends in defeat at the supreme court. that is in addition to the current president's voting legislation on the line but expected to fail just moments from now in the senate which is taking it up as we speak. so there is a lot of things at play right now and the president went into his part of it with his job approval number 13 points under water. more people disapproving by 13 points, 54% to 41% approving his -- his -- the job that he is doing. and cnn's latest poll of polls, it is a low outmatched in modern times only by the former president. the figure reflects his -- his decisions on covid, shortages, inflation, and more broadly speaking, it speaks to a question president biden was asked this evening when he spoke to reporters in the east room -- does he now, after a year on the job, think he overpromised on what he could accomplish when taking office? >> the fact of the matter is that we're in a situation where
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we have made enormous progress, you mentioned the number of deaths from covid. it was three times that not long ago. it's coming down. everything's changing. it's getting better. i did not anticipate that there would be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that president biden didn't get anything done. think about this. what are republicans for? what are they for? name me one thing they're for. >> well, the president came back to that theme over and over, again, hitting republicans on what he says is their lack of policy or vision beyond just standing in his way. he did acknowledge that his signature build back better legislation was unlikely to pass, as is. but he was optimistic it seems about getting major pieces of it done this year. as for the package of voting reforms on the line tonight, he expressed hope of salvaging major portions of it as well and expressed confidence in his
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point person on it. >> you put vice president harris in charge of voting rights. are you satisfied with her work on this issue? and can you guarantee -- do you commit that she will be your running mate in 2024, provided that you run again? >> yes and yes. >> -- expand? >> pardon me? >> do you care to expand? >> there is no need. i asked the question -- she is going to be my running mate, number one. and number two, i did put her in charge and i think she is doing a good job. >> the president also made news on the ukraine crisis with a series of remarks aimed at showing western solidarity in the face of a russian invasion. but also raising serious questions in kyiv about a portion of this answer. >> i think what you are going to see is that russia will be held accountable if it invades and it depends on what it does. it's one thing if it's a minor
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incursion and then we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, et cetera. but if they actually do what they're capable of doing with the force they have amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for russia if they further invade ukraine and that our allies and partners are ready to impose severe costs and significant harm on russia. >> now, the white house is trying to clean up those remarks and a ukrainian official tells cnn's matthew chance he is shocked by biden's comments, saying they give, quote, the green light to putin to enter ukraine at his pleasure. we will talk about that tonight. we will also talk about the inconvenient fact for a president on the ropes in a midterm election year that as he was talking to reporters, joe manchin was on the senate floor defending his decision to buck the leader of his own party on the filibuster. you see the sign behind him there. opposed to reading the united states senate has never been able to end debate with simple majority. >> allowing one party to exert
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complete control in the senate with only a simple majority will only pour fuel on the fire of political whiplash and dysfunction that is tearing this nation apart. eliminating the filibuster would be the easy way out. >> certainly isn't making it easy on the president tonight. we will be joined shortly by minnesota senator amy klobuchar. with us now, cnn political analyst, malika henderson. dana bash, host of "state of the union." and also, fareed zakaria, host of "fareed zakaria" gps here on cnn. dana, what are you hearing from your source about how the president did how they think the president did and how democrats are -- are feeling tonight? >> well, people i checked in with just when it comes to the political calendar are some house democrats. those who are in the most competitive seats and the word i had back was a couple things. number one, they were happy that he was open to the notion of breaking up his massive spending bill that is stuck in the senate. and doing so piecemeal, which he revealed today in his press
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conference, because it shows a willingness to -- to change in order to get things done. and just on the performance part of it, the fact that he spoke for almost two hours -- i was getting texts during the press conference from some political operatives saying make it stop. but from the -- another political perspective it was -- the response i got was, well, it shows that he has stamina, which is a big deal for a lot of democrats right now who are hearing from their constituents a bit of concern. and that was no question. in fact, i know from talking to people at the white house, anderson, that -- that was one of the reasons they let him go. he looked like he was willing to do it and they were eager to show that he could. >> putting that aside, fareed, just in terms of what the president actually said, how big of a problem is the president's comparison of a russian invasion of ukraine versus a, what he called a -- a minor incursion of ukraine by russia? and now, the biden
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administration now saying well he was referring to what -- and this is a quote -- to the difference between military and nonmilitary, paramilitary, and cyber action. i mean, that's -- with the stakes this high, i would think you would be specific if that's what he actually meant, no? >> yeah, i think he freelanced a little there and i think it was not helpful. but i think what he was trying to signal, anderson, is what most people are expecting is not, you know, a kind of russian blitzkrieg across ukraine. a la world war ii. what is the most likely scenario is that the russians will use some kind of hybrid warfare, foment a crisis in eastern ukraine where, remember, they have a lot of russian irregulars, russian troops in -- in plainclothes uniform -- you know, not uniformed. force the ukrainian government to have to try to assert control, and then the russians
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will come in, in some kind of manner to support. so it's a fairly complex reality and i think he was trying to convey that, look, there is going to be some kind of incursion but it doesn't mean it's an outright invasion. and all of them are bad. you know, so it's a -- it's -- it's a very delicate game he has to play because you don't want to draw such a definitive line saying we will respond in this way because, you know, that is, itself, you're then in danger of being called on. there is a wonderful line in international relations theory which says there are two things very expensive in -- in international life. threats when they fail and promises when they succeed. so be very careful what your threat is and what your promise is because you could be called on it. >> this ukrainian official who talked to cnn's matthew chance saying, you know that he gave a green light to -- to vladimir putin. do you believe he did?
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>> no, i think that's -- that's absurd and i think, look, you have to remember ukraine has its own politics. they have their own, you know, situation. and the ukrainian leader is, himself, a somewhat, you know, by every account, a volatile character. i think what biden is trying to convey is the complexity of this challenge. let's say, ukraine -- you know, ukrainians who speak russian in eastern ukraine who are allied with russia do something provocative. the russians, in some way, short of an invasion, support it. what biden is trying to convey is that is still bad. that is still a russian incursion into ukraine. that is still a russian violation of ukrainian sovereignty. >> nia, as we mentioned, the president said he had to be more realistic about his domestic agenda. i want to play more about what he said about the build back better legislation.
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take a look. >> it's clear to me that we are going to have to probably break it up. i think that we can get -- and i have been talking to a number of my colleagues on the hill. i think it's clear that we would be able to get support for the -- the $500-plus billion for energy and the environment issues that are there, number one. number two, i know that the two people who have opposed on the democratic side at least, support a number of the things that are in there. for example, joe manchin strongly supports early education. >> how big of a concession was that for him? >> listen, it was a big concession and i think a lot of democrats are saying, what took you so long? because if you remember, the last few months, they have been wrangling trying to get this
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build back better infrastructure man passed without much success and joe manchin has always been a roadblock, very vocal about some of the problems that he had with the size and scope of the bill. so, months after wrangling with joe manchin, here he comes now to say, well, listen, we'll sort of tailor something for joe manchin, for sinema as well. i think the question going forward is, is this going to work? and will he have something to unveil to the american people soon that will actually impact their lives? right? there is a lot of stress in this country. a lot of discontent with the way this country is going with some of the decisions that joe biden is making. so i think that's the big question because there have been a lot of bills that he has actually passed, right? the coronavirus rescue package, as well as his other infrastructure plan. but there still is this discontent because americans aren't feeling it in their everyday lives and i think going
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to be the big question about the midterms, too. is he making the lives of americans better? >> dana, the president also made news on the midterm election saying he was asked if he believes the midterm results will be legitimate. just let's play a little bit of his response. >> well, it all depends on whether or not we're able to make the case to the american people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election. no matter how hard they make it for minorities to vote, i think you are going to see them willing to stand in line. and -- and defy the attempt to keep them from being able to vote. i think you are going to see the people they are trying to keep from being able to show up, showing up and making the sacrifice that needs to be make in order to change the law back to what it should be. >> dana, what did you make of his response? >> well, particularly the first part, anderson. what -- what he said was --
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actually, the entire thing but the first part was probably the most jarring, to hear a president of the united states who is not donald trump even suggest, ahead of time, that an election isn't legitimate. having said that, the important thing to keep in mind is what he was trying to say and that is, in places like arizona and places like georgia, especially, that will determine voting -- will determine not only the governor's race but this balance of power in the senate. you have another senate race there. and the laws that were put in place in georgia were such that the legislature -- the republican-led legislature -- has the ability to take the power away from the secretary of state to determine an election. that is what he was trying to say but it's not exactly how he said it, which is why it was so jarring.
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the people who know what he was trying to say get it. but still, with this kind of language, given where we are with the republican party and how you have a former president trying to continue to sow doubt and claim that the election in 2020 was -- was stolen, which is a total lie. that is an area where i know from talking to democrats they believe the president needs to be a lot more nuanced. >> nia, what did you think? >> yeah. listen, i think this president has a problem with precision and clarity. and we saw that, particularly you saw a press conference that went on and on and on much longer than anybody anticipated that it went on. i think it was one of the longest. maybe president clinton has him beat. but in part, that was, you know, to show his stamina but i think he sort of gets himself in trouble, the longer he goes on. i thought the sort of short answers are better and i think it just emphasizes this idea that people wanted joe biden in
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the presidency to regain a sense of competence, clarity, and normalcy. and so when he flubs answers like that, as well as the answer on ukraine, i think again it -- it sows some doubt about his capabilities. >> fareed, back to ukraine. secretary of state blinken is set to meet with russian foreign minister in geneva on friday. do you think the president's comments will impact those negotiations? >> yeah, i think what -- what tony blinken is trying to do is to figure out whether there is a path for a diplomatic resolution here or whether putin is setting up the negotiations to fail. and it's not entirely clear yet. i mean, putin does not want war. he wants a crippled ukraine that can never be part of nato. and, you know, he is trying to essentially get the results of -- of a war by which i mean he wants a completely different, much more favorable disposition
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between the relationship between russia and ukraine. he wants ukraine to be essentially a kind of colony of russia. um, and he feels that ukraine has become a de facto member of nato even though we don't call it a member of nato. there are nato forces there. there are nato advisers there. there are nato equipment there in a stealth capacity/ the russians exaggerate the degree to which that is true but there is some truth to it. and so the question is, is there some -- some way to address some of russia's concerns? or does it really want to fundamentally and militarily alter the situation on the ground? so i think that, you know, it's not so much that biden is making this more difficult or less difficult. let's be clear, i mean, sometimes i think we -- we miss the forest from the trees.
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the big problem here is vladimir putin. vladimir putin wants a ukraine that is subordinate as a colony of russia. the ukrainian people don't want that. that's the fundamental issue. we are just trying to help the ukrainian people achieve their own aspirations. >> fareed zakaria, dana bash, nia malika henderson, appreciate it. next, what it means now that the supreme court cleared the way for the house select committee to receive trump white house documents that could shed light on the attempt to overturn the election. later, cnn's drew griffin investigates questions of insider trading against republican senator richard burr and the reaction to the questions the senator got. >> senator burr? drew griffin with cnn. we wanted to ask you about the stock trades back in february of 2020. to relieve occasional nerve aches, weakness and discomfort. try nervivenerve relief. omega-3 from fish oil is an important nutrient for heart health. qunol's ultra purified omega -3,
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i am here... i am here.... because of dana-farber. what we do here changes lives everywhere. i am here. more breaking news tonight as we mentioned at the top, the supreme court tonight just cleared the way for the national archives to send more than 700 trump white house documents to the january 6th select committee.
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it is a significant defeat for the former president. we will talk about the implications momentarily. but first, cnn's jessica schneider with what the high court actually decided. so what exactly does this entail? >> reporter: well, you know, this entailed the trump team can no longer block these documents and the committee, anderson, expecting the 700-plus documents to be handed over very soon from the national archives. the supreme court said in fairly short order tonight that trump and his legal team cannot block these records that they have actually managed to keep from the committee for several months. this is actually a decision that we have been waiting for from the supreme court since just before christmas, december 23rd. and tonight, it was only justice clarence thomas who publicly disagreed with the decision. also of note, justice brett kavanaugh, he wrote separately here to clearly state that this order -- it doesn't settle the question of whether a current president's decision to assert or not assert executive privilege takes priority over a former president's assertion. that issue will actually be left for another day. but the court's saying here in
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this particular case, since the lower courts essentially decided that trump's arguments were just too weak to assert privilege even if he had been sitting president, that means that trump cannot block his records. so this is, as you mentioned, a significant win for the committee. it now means that they will receive and review 700-plus documents. anderson, this includes a plethora of documents, call logs, visitor logs from the white house on january 6th, a record of trump's movements and meetings that day. plus, some key records from chief of staff mark meadows. press secretary kayleigh mcenany. that includes talking points and draft speeches. so the committee here will suddenly have a lot more information about trump's actions and state of mind that day, anderson. something that they have been trying to understand more about. >> yeah. we'll see what is actually in those documents i guess at some point. jessica schneider, appreciate it. thanks very much. perspective now from cnn political analyst and "new york times" washington correspondent, maggie haberman. also, cnn chief legal analyst jeffrey toobin. jeff, how significant is this? we don't really know the
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significance of exactly what is in these documents but i am wondering what you make of it? >> well, it's an extraordinary rebuke of the former president. first of all, this is just the back of his hand. it's just a one-paragraph opinion with only one dissent. all three trump appointees voting with the majority. plus, you remember when this was argued, there was a lot of controversy over who gets to exert executive privilege. is it the -- only the incumbent president? or can a former president exert -- exert -- assert executive privilege? the court said it doesn't matter because even if trump had been the president asserting executive privilege here, he still would have lost the case. so it is a thoroughgoing repudiation of his legal position. and in -- in further -- in further years, this will strengthen congress' hand in investigating the executive branch even well into the future. >> were you surprised that justice clarence thomas
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dissented? >> not -- not at all. what surprised me is that there were not more of the conservatives who dissented. clarence thomas is the most right-wing member of this supreme court. he is the farthest from the center of the court, at least on the right side. and what surprised me is that neil gorsuch didn't dissent because they are usually in tandem on almost every issue. >> maggie, do you have any sense from sources what information these documents are likely to contain? i mean, jessica schneider was talking about call logs, movements. but it's not like the former president, you know, is on email and tiktok and twitter -- well, he was on twitter at the -- you know, a lot. but, you know, he -- he is not somebody who communicates with devices directly. >> no, not only, anderson, does he not communicate directly in
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terms of, you know, text or email if he uses texts in responses at all. i know he receives texts and that -- that could be interesting to people. but he also uses aides' phones to make phone calls. he doesn't always use his own phones. he doesn't always use his own cell. he doesn't always use the white house phone into his -- what was his office. so it's not going to be that complete a picture. this has been very closely held about what is actually in these documents. i think that it might end up being that there is less there than people are hoping but i agree with jeff. what that means is it is not just a rebuke of the former president but it is a rebuke of this approach of trying to slow everything down with this really broad scale lack of cooperation with this committee. basically just saying we're not going to acknowledge subpoenas over and over and over by any number of people. >> maggie, i talked to someone who worked at the national archives long ago who said that things like signal, you know, all these encrypted apps -- it's not clear that -- and all this information has to be voluntarily turned over by
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white house staff to the national archives. it's not like there is a, you know, national archives police who go up and are scooping up all these documents. it's really just up to mark meadows and all these people i guess to -- to hand over their records. is it -- for all we know, they didn't? >> right. look. mark meadows i will say -- i would put him in a separate category, anderson, because he did turn over a bunch of documents before he then decided he wasn't cooperating with the committee, right after he published this this tell-all book about his former boss. so he's in a different group. but he did turn over a bunch of things. however, you are right. a lot of this is the honor system. the white house is certainly not the only governmental entity i have ever covered where a lot of people use encrypted apps and try to keep their comms off of official lines but this is certainly the most significant and highest office in the land and we are talking of an event of national significance, where there is just unlikely -- as much work has gone into the january 6th committee and the report they are planning on
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putting out, it is still not going to be a complete picture. >> jeff, obviously -- go ahead. >> well, i just was going to say it is maybe worth mentioning that, you know, we are all taking for granted that the trump white house used all these sort of official communications through unofficial means. hillary clinton was not elected president of the united states because she used a personal email. but the trump white house obviously felt that it was fine to use signal, and even more secretive means of communication than hillary clinton ever used. >> so, jeff, the legal problems that the former president faces, you know, there is the not just in washington but in new york, the state's attorney general, letitia james, is claiming in new court papers that the trump organization, quote, used fraudulent or misleading asset valuations to obtain a host of benifits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions. the former president has always denied any wrongdoing and this idea that there were, you know,
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multiple sets of books and one thing to tax authorities and others to bankers. where do you see the new york investigation going? >> well, this was a really extraordinary filing by -- by attorney general james. i mean, the scope of the lying at least as she described it was really breathtaking. and we are talking about differences of hundreds of millions of dollars in certain cases. you know, understating documents when you -- understating valuations when you want to pay taxes. overstating them when you want to take tax deductions or when you want to get bank loans. including just sort of lying about things like the size of his trump tower, you know, in certain circumstances when it was helpful, he said it was 30,000 square feet. in other circumstances, he said it was 10,000 square feet. now, you know, you can argue about valuations of real estate but the size of the apartment is the size of the apartment. i think there's -- there's real possibility for a prosecution here.
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this is, both a civil investigation by the attorney general of new york and a criminal investigation by the manhattan district attorney but it's all the same facts and, you know, i think the former president has some real problems. >> but, jeff, you are talking about even if there were charges to the trump organization, that's -- i mean, isn't that a monetary fine? >> not necessarily. i mean, that's the civil case that attorney general james could file. but the district attorney, who is investigating the same thing, could file criminal charges. now, there are problems with this case. it's not clear that the banks rely on these figures. it's not clear that the banks lost any money. so what kind of fraud would it be if nobody lost money? but the false statements -- at least if james are correct -- could easily be the basis for a criminal investigation of the former president if, in fact -- >> maggie, do you have any sense based on folks you talk to in
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the former president's orbit, do you have any sense of what the former president is more concerned about? the january 6th committee or prosecutors in new york? or, i mean, is he concerned? >> i mean, i think he is in a general state of concern whenever he is under investigation. my sense is that he is most focused on the ones in new york. as we know, there is the january 6th committee. there is -- there are the new york investigations and then there is the georgia investigations. you know, there's been not a ton of movement from georgia. that may happen. we don't know. but new york has generally been where his focus is, in part because that relates to his business. that relates to where he was from and it is also just the area that he knows the best. on january 6th, you know, so far, folks around him have taken note in my conversations with them that the justice department, with the exception of steve bannon and the criminal contempt on not cooperating with the subpoena and not responding to it, they have generally done very little -- the justice department.
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and that is actually aggravated a number of democrats. but that is something the former president's circle has taken heart in. >> maggie haberman, appreciate it. thank you. coming up, a cnn investigation about questions of insider trading against republican senator richard burr after briefings on covid in the early days of the pandemic. see what happens when cnn's drew griffin asked the senator about it on capitol hill. next. ♪ it wasn't me by shaggy ♪ you're never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your discover card.
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in the early days of the pandemic back in february 2020, members of congress got closed-door briefings on the situation. then came some serious questions, namely did some lawmakers profit from the crisis and sell stocks to make money? the lawmakers deny wrongdoing. a justice department investigation brought no criminal charges. the stock trades by republican richard burr are still being investigated by the s.e.c. cnn senior investigative correspondent drew griffin caught up with senator burr on capitol hill. here is his report. >> reporter: north carolina senator richard burr in his senate office building last week had no interest in talking about his perfectly timed stock sales. senator burr? >> yeah. >> reporter: drew griffin with cnn. we wanted to ask you about those stock trades back in february of 2020. you know, the s.e.c. says you had material nonpublic information.
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>> you have to look at what i put out. >> reporter: i did look at what you put out. how is that not insider trading? what he put out in march of 2020 was his explanation for why he sold off more than $1.6 million in stocks weeks before the pandemic market crash. he claims he made the trades relying solely on public news reports. but the securities exchange commission isn't so sure and in october, publicly released details of an investigation of the senator and his politically connected brother-in-law for insider trading. according to the s.e.c., in early 2020, burr was getting confidential briefings about the severity of the coronavirus in his positions on senate intelligence and health committees. according to a memo from attorneys for the s.e.c., on february 13th, 2020, senator burr possessed material non-public information concerning covid-19 and its potential impact on the u.s. and global economies. when he called his own stock broker at 8:54 a.m. directing
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the sale of $1.65 million in stock. virtually all the stocks he owned. at 11:32 a.m. that same morning, burr then called his brother-in-law, gerald, a trump appointee to the national mediation board. the two men talked for just 50 seconds. the s.e.c. claims he hung up and immediately called two stock brokers directing the sale of several stocks in his wife's account. though his lawyer said in a court filing that he had planned his trades days in advance and initiated the trades with his broker the day before his call with burr. a week later, the stock market began to crash. >> true carnage. this was a disastrous day. >> you didn't warn your constituents in north carolina. if that is not insider trading
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is it at least immoral? while burr was quietly selling off his stocks, just a week earlier he had co-authored an op-ed claiming the united states today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats like the coronavirus. trevor potter is with the campaign legal center, a government watchdog. >> the news here is that there is a live investigation going on. they have laid out their timeline of what they think happens and they could well bring charges. we don't know yet. >> reporter: burr is one of at least four u.s. senators whose pre-pandemic stock sales were under criminal investigation by the department of justice. those criminal cases have all been closed with no charges. but the s.e.c. said in november its civil investigation against burr, which could result in fines, was continuing. though the s.e.c. will now not comment on the case. burr has stepped down from his chairmanship of senate
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intelligence. he had already announced his retirement. his brother-in-law has denied wrongdoing, but president biden dropped his renomination to the national mediation board. potter, with the campaign legal center, says legal or not, politicians profiting off trading stocks is a part of a bigger problem. >> they are getting rich up here, by and large, people that are elected to office and come to this town seem to leave with a lot more money than they came. >> well, again, that really causes americans to wonder what's going on and to be suspicious about whether members are feathering their own nest with insider information. they may or may not be. but the fact that somebody is making a killing in the market is going to cause people to wonder where that information came from. >> reporter: there are two senate bills seeking to end that suspicion. both would ban members of congress from buying and selling stocks while in office. >> i call this hearing to order.
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>> reporter: trevor potter says don't expect either one to get much legislative attention. >> members of congress never want to put restraints on themselves. >> reporter: in fact, just last month, speaker nancy pelosi -- one of the richest members of congress -- seemed to shoot down any idea of a stock trade ban for members. >> because this is a free market and people -- we have a free market economy. they should be able to participate in that. >> reporter: but it is richard burr's seemingly perfectly timed pre-pandemic stock trades that have raised the most attention from regulators. how is that not insider trading? >> and drew griffin joins us now. senator burr didn't seem very concerned, obviously. it -- it's -- even if it's not illegal, is this -- is the senate worried that this looks like insider trading? >> reporter: you know, look at
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his actions. burr actually asked the senate ethics committee to investigate him, anderson. probably knowing that those internal investigations in the senate often, in fact almost always, go nowhere. the spokesperson for the chair of that committee today wouldn't even comment on if there is or ever was an investigation on burr's stock trades in the senate. it is part of a bigger problem on capitol hill, say critics. these elected officials get rich. there is little to no oversight on how or an explanation of why and with congress policing itself, you are almost guaranteed inaction and that's no matter which party is in power. >> drew griffin, appreciate it. thanks. for all the concern about political polarization coming up, next we are taking a critical look at the talk of civil war in america. is it overblown? that's next. give you a sort-of white smile. try crest whitening emulsions... ...for 100% whiter teeth. its highly active peroxide droplets... ...swipe on in seconds. better. faster. 100% whiter teeth. shop
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returning to our top story, tonight's senate vote on voting rights. joining us now, senator amy klobuchar, democrat of minnesota. thanks for being with us. >> thanks, anderson.
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>> if the vote fails, do you see tonight as a major setback for voting rights? and do you think a failure to get something done on this issue hurts democrats in november? >> well, first of all, we are still in the middle of it, anderson. we had the first vote which would allow us simply to get on the bill. senator manchin and sinema voted with us on this because they actually do fully support this bill and that's important to know. it is much needed right now with all of the voter suppression laws that are being passed across the country that will greatly hurt voters and make it harder for them to vote. and so next up, there is going to be a debate. and then we will look at the rules of the senate. and if that does fail in changing the rules because we have no support on the republican side to change them, then i guess i will quote martin luther king. he once said that disappointment is finite but hope is infinite. so in answer to your question, we will march on and we will fight this. we will do everything we can to take on these discriminatory voting laws, whether it's in court, whether it's at the state capitols, and whether it is continuing to get work done in
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congress. >> as you know, though, at state capitols, many state legislatures are dominated by republicans, who are actually passing these -- these laws. what does come -- i mean, is there anything else can be done by congress to tackle voting rights? >> there are some things. and you've probably heard about them. that our republican colleagues may discuss, including the electoral college situation. but none of that will replace what we are working to do, and what we tried to do and are trying to do tonight. and that is, make it really clear that there are federal standards so you can't suddenly in montana say, hey, 8,000 people that used same-day registration for 15 years, we decided you are not going to be able to do that anymore. we should make that the law of the land. instead, what we have seen in georgia, 70,000 people who registered to vote in the runoff election last time, suddenly that right was taken away. and so what you have seen is
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with surgical precision, state legislatures discriminating across the country and passing laws that make it harder to vote. we know what it is, as my friend reverend warnock says, some people don't want some people to vote. and that's what this bill would have done. it would have upheld our democracy. i just came back from ukraine, where we proudly wore the pins with the american flag and the ukrainian flag on a bipartisan basis to show the world that we support democracy. we also should be supporting our democracy at home. >> let me ask you about ukraine. you know, asked about vladimir putin's plans to invade, as you know president biden tonight said, quote, my guess is he will move in. i'm wondering if you agree with that assessment? and also, the way the president characterized it seems to have upset at least one ukrainian official who talked to cnn saying it seemed like the president was giving a green light to vladimir putin for an incursion. >> well, i started my morning today with democrats/republicans that went on that trip with the president.
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and i think he was very clear about this. there is going to be consequences. i didn't hear the news conference but, um, one of the reasons we went on this trip is that we wanted to make clear there was no divide between democrats and republicans when it comes to sanctions. not only economic sanctions but also sanctions against individuals in russia that we stand with our allies. and i don't think anyone knows what vladimir putin is going to do right now. but what i do know is that the vast majority of ukrainians, they stand true to their democracy. and they are outnumbered, yes, but they have stood up against vladimir putin now for years. they have lost 14,000 ukrainians. and i think lot of americans don't know that. 14,000 people killed since he took over crimea and started to invade in part of eastern ukraine. that's what we have seen and, i think it's very clear there is going to be severe sanctions if
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he does that and i know the president believes that, as well. >> senator klobuchar, appreciate your time tonight. thank you. >> thank you. the president's first year in office has been marked with concerns about deep divisions in the country. the possibility of unrest, we've had guests on the show talking about that but are those fears overblown? saying if your definition of civil war implies we're always just a few mass shootings or violent protests away from the brink then you don't have a license at all. he went onto write it's worth asking whether people who see potential insurrection are seeing danger rising entirely on its own or in their alarm are helping to invent it. ross, thank you for joining us. your article runs counter to the drumbeat about possible civil war in our future and i certainly hope you are correct. you write, and i'm quoting, the indoor theory of looming
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american civil war which assumes something not yet entirely in evidence, would mean americans putting their lives on the line for the causes that currently divide our country. there still seems to be a lot of support out there for what those people did on january 6th. isn't there? >> well, there is of a certain kind, right? there is a very powerful idea on the american right that the people who stormed the capitol and rioted on january 6th were misunderstood patriots who meant no real harm and were essentially tricked into committing acts of violence by some sort of nefarious fbi plot. like, that is literally the narrative that you would end up with if you switched the channel over to fox news and watched tucker carlson talk about it. that's not exactly a sort of celebration of armed militancy.
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it's basically an argument that we're not the violent ones, the other side is the violent ones. and if you watch to the end of, you know, the extremely controversial tucker carlson documentary about -- called "patriot purge" that basically advances this narrative that the riots on january 6th were something that basically the protesters were tricked into, it ends with an admonition of, your enemies want you to turn violent, don't be tricked by them. now, you can disagree completely with the tucker carlson read on the situation, but that is not actually a call to arms. it's basically a way of backing away from what happened on january 6th. and i think that's -- i just think that's generally characteristic of the dynamics in our politics. there are a lot of people who really like to talk about 1776 and crises, crises of democracy, you just had senator klobuchar on making comparisons between
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today's voting rights debates and the jim crow era. there's a lot of people who like that kind of rhetoric. but the number of people who actually want to, let's say, get arrested or go to jail for this kind of thing doesn't actually seem that large. and most of the people arrested and charged on january 6th really didn't intend to commit acts of violence. there really was this sort of small core of rabble rousers and a lot of people along for the ride. >> there's hundreds of people -- you can't really characterize what they intended to do. there's hundreds of people who stormed into a building they weren't allowed to be in, some of them had tasers, some of them had baseball bats, some just used metal poles and, you know, more than a hundred officers were injured. there's no telling what they might have done. but, i mean, the argument you're making, i used to talk a lot about general michael hayden, former director of the cia, national security agency. he was always very adamant about
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the thin veneer of civilization. he wrote in your newspaper back in 2018, i had learned that the transitions and institutions that protect us are inherently fragile and demand careful tending. do you not see them as fragile? >> so i think there's a really important distinction here which is that in your opening comments and the discussion, you said a lot of people are worried about -- i'm paraphrasing, but deepening polarization, unrest, civil war. and it's not the concern about deepening polarization and unrest that i'm arguing with. it's the leap from the idea that, you know, you're going to have a world with, you know, mass protests or you're going to have a world with what we saw in the summer of 2020, you know, kenosha, wisconsin on fire, that kind of thing. those kind of phases where the veneer cracks a bit and you have real conflict and real tumult, those have always been part of american history and they aren't desirable, and it's okay to say
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they're bad. i'm concerned about polarization too. but the language of civil war is designed to evoke this much more extreme, frankly, hysteria and concern and much more extreme response. and if you look at the united states right now, right, like yes, we have deep polarization, deep divides. we often seem to live in alternative universes. but what actually drives civil wars? we aren't regional divided. we're actually less ethnically divided than we were ten years ago because the republican party is winning more black and hispanic votes. >> you also point out in your article that the definition that people are using of civil war, those who are writing about this, it's different than what people envision when they're thinking about civil war, they're talking about isolated groups attacking, like in the '70s there were large numbers of explosions of property, mostly from left wing groups. i thought it was interesting to hear a contrarian view, i wish we had more time, i would love
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to have you back. >> i'm always here with the contrarianism. >> i know, that's why i like reading you. russ douthat, thank you. we'll be right back. of wellness support products for nutrition, sleep, immune systems and energy, cvs can help them happen a little less. hustle sure, but for what matters. when you do, it leads to amazing. welcome to the next level. the all-new lexus nx. ♪
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a reminder, don't miss "full circle," our digital news shows. it gives us a chance to have in-depth conversations. you can catch it streaming live at 6:00 p.m. eastern on mondays, wednesday and fridays at circle or watch it on the cnn app. the news continues with full circle and a democracy in peril. brianna? hello, i'm brianna keilar and this is "democracy in peril." we are dedicating this hour tonight and in the nights to come to look at the threats to american democracy, ongoing efforts to erode basic fundamental american principles like your right to vote and that vote counting and candidates