tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN May 13, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
least eight states and washington, d.c. today the house oversight committee launched an investigation into what's causing this shortage. one factor was a february recall and shutdown of a key michigan factory that then created a domino effect, made even worse by pandemic supply chain problems. >> white house chief of staff ron klain told members of congress that the administration is strongly considering having president biden invoke the defense production act to ramp up supply. the fda says it is working around the clock and will announce plans to streamline the imports of formula next week. but the urgency is palpable for parents, who feel there is no immediate answer to such a basic and crucial question, how will i feed my baby. >> we have been having to look pretty heavily for it, i would say for the last four, five months. but this last month it's just become impossible to find. >> because mckenzie is
premature, she needs a particular brand of formula. >> not being able to find something that's going to keep our kid healthy is a fear we didn't understand we would be facing after we've faced so many just getting her to where she is. >> with us now, cnn senior medical correspondent, elizabeth corn and white house correspondent, m.j. lee. the white house seems to be struggling to get answers about this. press secretary jan psaki was asked about the defense production act. what did she say? >> this is a white house that really has been scrambling to answer questions about this nationwide baby formula shortage, as there have been so many stories across the country, concerned parents not being able to find formula on the shelves. as you know very well, this is such an acute problem because there's no substitute for formula or breast milk. so this is the reason we're seeing parents feel so panicked and desperate. and the white house has been spending the last 24 hours or so really trying to show that they
are taking actions on a range of different things. so they've been talking about things like working with companies directly to boost their production, importing formula, potentially, from other foreign countries, cracking down on things like price gouging. now, the other thing that cnn reported earlier today is that the white house is strongly considering the use of the defense production act. this is what the white house chief of staff ron klain told a lawmaker we spoke to. but there is an acknowledgment this is not a longer-term solution, this isn't really the method that would get baby formula onto store shelves literally tomorrow. white house press secretary jan psaki was just discussing this in the briefing room. here's what she said. >> the reason why it would have a longer-term impact is because the production of baby formula is so specialized and so specific that you can't just use the defense production act to say to a company that produces something else, produce baby formula. it just doesn't work that way
exactly. that is something that could be a consideration. >> reporter: now, the white house has also been emphatic that one major problem that they are facing is hoarding and panic buying. essentially parents going out there and buying anything that they can get their hands on because they are worried that they may run out, and also some people who are buying up the supply that they see so they can sell it on maybe the black market for a lot more than the formula is typically worth. you might recall yesterday when we were asking white house press secretary jan psaki what exactly a parent should do if they can't find formula in the stores, and the answer was not really an answer. they couldn't really say whether there was a federal resource that parents could consult, and just now minutes ago, in the briefing room, sannouncing the launch of a new web page, hhs.gov/formula. so we'll have to see what kind of information is available on the website. just a reminder that they are
scrambling in the last couple of days to try to get answers for parents across the country. >> one of the things officials have said to do is if they can't find formula, contact their pediatrician. do pediatricians have some sort of backup supply that parents can access? >> they don't, alison. i wish that they did. there's a limited amount that your pediatrician can do for you if you're a parent looking for baby formula. if you can't find it at a supermarket or walmart or target, they can't invent it. now, if your baby has a specific medical problem and needs a specific formula, they might, and i'll emphasize might, they might be able to help you with that. if your baby drinks a certain formula and you can't find it and you want to know if another formula will work for them, your pediatrician could help you with that. another thing your pediatrician might be able to help with is some moms breastfeed and then stop and transition to formula. if moms want to go back to breastfeeding, your pediatrician should be able to put you in
touch with a lactation specialist who can help you try to do that. other than that, what your pediatrician can do is pretty limited. >> elizabeth cohen, m.j. lee, thank you both. the house oversight committee launching an investigation into this nationwide shortage, sending letters to four of the largest manufacturers to try to figure out what is causing this problem and how they can ramp up the supply to meet the overwhelming demand. congresswoman caroline maloney is the chair of the house oversight committee and joins us now. thank you so much for being here. how did we get to this point? from what you've seen, how is it that for weeks now parents have been driving around in the middle of the night, sometimes for miles, looking for baby formula? >> well, the way we got there is it was exacerbated by a recall from abbott of a major portion of baby formula, which then hurt
the entire supply chain. but we sent out letters yesterday to the four largest manufacturers, they produce 90% of the formula in america, and well over three-quarters of parents use this formula, so it is a severe problem for many of them. i'm a mother of two myself. i can only imagine, mothers have told me they've turned to social media, they're driving around trying to find it, they're gouging them with price increases. what our letter asked for was three major points. first, when are these manufacturers going to have the formula back on the shelves so that the families can get it. and then, secondly, is this related to supply chain challenges, are there raw materials that are missing or labor problems, what other issues are compounding it in addition to the recall that i just mentioned. and then, lastly, we are asking, what are they doing to make sure
this never happens again. this is a crisis in america right now. we want to make sure it doesn't happen again. >> senator mitch mcconnell says that the white house has basically been asleep at the switch on this. could they have engaged sooner? >> well, the white house has come out with solutions, they're working now to import, they're doing all kinds of things. congress is responding. there will be a hearing, not my committee, but in another committee next week. we have asked for a briefing by the end of the month. our briefing will come from the private sector. i invite the republicans to join us and try to solve the problem. they can write their own letters. they can have their own investigations or join in ours, as we seek to get the product on the shelves for the families. >> i think the point is that the abbott recall was mid-february. we're now in mid-may. so wasn't there something the federal government could have done sooner?
>> well, we are reacting now, we are reacting swiftly. the white house is totally engaged. the agencies are engaged. we're working to find a solution and we invite the republicans to join us in trying to find a solution. >> have you seen examples of price gouging? i know you said you've heard from some parents anecdotally. is that what you're seeing? >> i am in washington today and we're voting. we just completed voting. i've been here all week. i've been talking to parents and to mothers. i can feel for how they feel. they tell me that they have seen prices three or four times higher than what they have confronted in the past. they're desperate to find the formula. we're working with them to find it and support them in any way. but the thing we can do the most is to get our four major producers of infant formula, help them through the steps to get it resupplied as quickly as possible.
we are asking when will they have the shelves filled again, when will they have enough product to restock the shelves. >> and what's the answer to that? what are they telling you in terms of when can parents expect to be able to go back to the store and buy baby formula? >> they have not given me a specific answer. that's part of the questions that we're asking. we are seeking documents. we have a document request, information request, and we are waiting for their reply. >> the white house communications director was on cnn this morning and she was very reluctant to label this a crisis, basically she said she didn't want to resort to labels, that they were more sort of action oriented. but can we call this a crisis? >> well, some parents, some women, some mothers are calling it a crisis, so it may be a
crisis for them. it may not be a crisis for the country as we import, as we ramp up production. but if you are a mother looking for formula and you do not have it for your infant, i would say it is a crisis for that mother. as a former mother myself, i can only imagine the stress they may be feeling. but we're working together to solve it and we'll get better at it every day. >> well, we look forward to you getting answers to those four big manufacturers about exactly when. that's what parents want to know, when can they go back to their stores and will there be formula. congresswoman carolyn maloney, thank you very much for your time. >> thank you, alison, and we'll get back to you as soon as we hear from the manufacturers. thank you. ukraine's military continues its counteroffensive against russian fighters. they are pushing them from the areas around ukraine's second largest city. we've got more from the front lines ahead. >> and a proxy battle shaping up
between former vice president pence and former president trump. pence will campaign for georgia's governor brian kemp, while trump is backing kemp's opponent. so who is going to win? that's ahead. ♪ ♪ bonnie boon i'm calling you out. everybody be cool, alright? we've got bonnie right here on a video call. we don't take ndly to video calls. we don't take kindly to messages neither. in that ca how 'bout a ringcentral phone call. we don't take kindly to no... would you can it eugene! let's just hear her out. ha ha ha, i've been needing a new horse. we've got ourselves a deal. ♪ ♪ ♪ ringcentral ♪ this is not the stallion i was imagining. i have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
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troops from advancing. that's according to analysis of satellite images. >> but in the east russian forces continue to gain ground in the donbas. multiple reports say the ukrainian military has pulled back from the luhansk region. today ukraine begins its first war crimes trial of a russian soldier. this may be the first time this has happened while the war rages on. cnn's melissa bell joins us from kyiv. what is this russian soldier accused of doing? >> reporter: he's accused on the fourth day of the war of having killed an unarmed civilian, and that was what he was being tried for today. the very first war crimes trial to be held in a war that has lasted nearly three months and already seen more than 11,000 alleged war crimes registered by ukrainian authorities. it's important to note this particular trial, the first one, was held by a ukrainian civilian
court. there will be many more trials to come, there will be international trials to come. this one was ukraine's beginning of its bringing to justice of some of these crimes. the country's prosecutor said it is essential that it should take place, and i think this was a surprising and unusual aspect of watching this very young man walk into the court today, was that it is taking place even as you and victor were just saying, the fighting continues in so many parts of ukraine. it is unusual that a company's judiciary should be sufficiently upright that it can prosecute a case in these circumstances. she explained that it was important that this precedent be set, that the trials start quickly in order that further civilian casualties are avoided, because she said the russian soldiers fighting in other parts of ukraine are going to understand that they cannot go about carrying out atrocities on civilians with a sense of impunity. and i think that is something new. if it is shown to be effective, that could really change the way
that soldiers behave on the ground. but it is something of an experiment, and there is, of course, the question of how impartial this trial is going to be. everyone involved, including the defense lawyer, said they believe in ukrainian judicial independence, but remember one of the things they're going to be facing, one of the main challenges is going to be the extraordinary emotion around all of these trials as they kick off, alison. >> melissa, the first major city that the russians took over was kherson there. we're hearing about some growing desperation in that city. what do you know? >> reporter: victor, to that point, the prosecutor was making earlier, that the urgency for ukrainian authorities is also to use the judicial system as a sort of weapon for peace. it's important to remember how many war crimes they fear might be committed. what we're talking about here are civilian populations deliberately targeted. it's very difficult, victor, to get a precise idea of what's happening in kherson because communications are difficult and because it's been under russian
control now for so many weeks. but we are hearing from ukrainian officials that some 45% of the city's population is believed to have left. others attempted to flee today. a convoy of several thousand people tried to make it out of the city, and say ukrainian officials same under shelling. ukrainian officials also accusing the local russian authorities that have taken control of the town of trying to carry out or create a deliberate humanitarian crisis. now, that is of extreme concern, not just to ukraine but, of course, to the international community watching this unfold in horror and with very little they can do about the situation, kherson, for now. and yet president zelenskyy taking to the airwaves tonight and saying he believes it is only a matter of time before russia realizes that it has lost this war, and the good news for ukraine is coming from the north of the country, as you just mentioned, in kharkiv where substantial gains have been made, not just toward the north,
but the east as well. cnn has seen evidence of bridges being blown up, we believe in order that russia can try and prevent that counteroffensive from continuing. but the aim is not just to try to prevent kharkiv from being the victim of sustained shelling, again civilian populations being targeted for much of the last two months. it is also about cutting off russian supply routes, essential if ukraine is going to win this war. >> melissa bell for us in kyiv, thank you. well, there's another new twist in elon musk's twitter takeover. why is the deal now on hold? to local life and legendary treasures as you sail onboard our r patented, award-winning viking longships. you'll enjoy many extras, including wi-fi, cultural enrichment from ship to shore and engaging excursions. viking - voted number one river cruise line by condé nast readers.
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just hit pause on a deal. it's the ultimate friday the 13th story and it's elon musk super twitter troll at it again and stock is down nearly 10% on the day. twitter stock suffering as a result. investors even less confident he's going to go through with this. here is what dan ives said in a note to clients, he said the street will view this one of three ways. one, it's likely falling apart or musk is negotiating for a lower deal price or musk is simply going to walk away from the deal and view this as a $1 billion fee. ease using this as a way to get out of the deal in a vastly changing market. tesla stock has been dragged down, all of a sudden musk is not worth as much as he was. he was relying on tesla shares in order to finance part of this deal so this might be a convoluted way to back out of the deal, but with elon musk you never know for sure. >> so if he backs out for good, what happens? >> i think this would go back to
being a trouble publicly traded company. look at the stock chart for the past year. you see the rise and fall of twitter, mostly fall. that's a roller coaster no one wants to be on. it has come back in recent weeks because of interest in musk, but now because musk says it's on pause, the stock backed down today. the company would return to being publicly traded. i guess the ceo and the team would have to get together and decide if it wants to implement any of musk's ideas or not. it would be a very difficult position for twitter to be in and frankly i think it speaks to the vulnerability of the company at large. there are no other known buyers. right now it's only elon musk. so we're going to find out is this one giant troll or is he still committed to the deal? he claims he's committed to the deal but i think we should be highly acc highly skeptical at this point. >> this is exhausting. thank you for the friday the 13th update. former president trump is taking shots at one of the candidates in georgia's primary. kathy barnett was once considered a long shot but now
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nearly tied with david mccormick and memet oz. cnn's jeff zeleny has details. >> reporter: for months, kathy barnette campaigned across pennsylvania, drawing attention but remained largely an afterthought from the race. from the outset it played out as a vicious two-man brawl. >> mfueled by big names and tv celebrity david oz and david mccormick. but less than a week before the primary election, her late surge is sending shockwaves across the gop and provoked this dire warning from farmer president donald trump, who has endorsed oz. kathy barnette will never be able to win the general election against the radical left. tonight she gently disagreed. >> i look forward to working with the president, so thank you so much. >> it's a sign you're on the rise, would you agree?
>> i would agree. >> reporter: in one of the most closely watched senate races in the country, which democrats believe offers the best chance to pick up a seat to help hold their majority, a messy family feud deep inside the maga movement is spilling out for all to see. >> maga does not belong to president trump, although he coined it, it never shifted to president trump's values. >> reporter: a compelling personal story sparked interest in her candidacy. >> i'm a little black girl from a pig farm in alabama who grew up with no running water, an outhouse in the back and a well on the side. >> reporter: she pushed utterly false claims the election was stolen and linked her candidacy to doug mastriano. suddenly the polls show a three-way contest. rival republicans are in a mad
scramble to scrutinize her background in hopes of slowing her surprising rise. >> she is a mystery person. we don't know much about her. she's not willing to share. >> reporter: an outside group backing oz also weighed in. >> meet kathy barnette, pennsylvania's whackiest candidate. >> reporter: cnn found she has a history of making anti-muslim and gay comments. she also spread the conspiracy theory former president barack obama is a muslim. the club for growth has her back, booking $2 billion in ads to promote her candidacy. >> kathy barnette is my girl. she's the most authentic person. >> reporter: trump's blistering words, this lady had this to say. >> president trump gets to be wrong and he has this one wrong.
>> let's look at georgia. so in the georgia governor's race, former vice president mike pence is picking sides against donald trump. pence will hold a rally with the current governor, brian kemp, who is fighting off a republican primary challenge from the trump-backed candidate, david perdue. trump urged the former senator to get into the race, still an angry over kemp and the election results. we have the editor from real clear politics. welcome to you both. former vice president might just be getting on a train at the station ahead when you look at fundraising and polling, but what does this mean now that you've got the former president on the opposite side of this race? >> i think it checks a few boxes for mike pence. i think he's strtrying to estabh himself by backing the
establishment candidate and remind people, remember when i was just the run-of-the-mill establishment republican before i sort of attached myself to trump. two, i think he's trying to get back on the right side of history by aligning with kemp, who certified the 2020 election for biden as opposed to someone who is still lying about it. it's hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube for that one. and then finally, i think pence is chasing what would be an incredible headline, and that would be pence-backed kemp beats trump-backed perdue. i mean, if you were looking to have influence in the republican party going forward, it doesn't get better than that headline. >> if you were a betting woman, we might just very well see that headline, right? i mean, that's the way the wind is blowing at the moment? >> that's why it's sort of interesting that mike pence is getting in while the getting is
good with ten days left, when it's very clear that the incumbent governor is likely to be re-elected and beat perdue quite handily and avoid a runoff and meet the 50% threshold. it's not like mike pence took a gamble and got in early to face off against donald trump while he was endorsing perdue to defeat kemp. what's interesting in this race, alison, is that both of the endorsees, herbschel walker, candidates are enjoying trump's endorsement, but they don't want to back david perdue and are keeping quiet because they've known all along it's likely kemp will prevail. pence thinks he can be a fusion candidate and attract republicans who don't like trump because he saved the republic on january 6th, and still try to cling to some part of trump's
base by continuously saying how proud he is of their accomplishments. we'll see where that takes him. i don't know if he can actually pull this off. >> let's turn to the pennsylvania gop senate primary and kathy barnette, as jeff mentioned in the piece, cnn's file uncovered some anti-gay and anti-muslim comments she's made in the past. let's play what was discovered and then talk. >> president barack hussein obama has a hard time saying it in the same sentence and he wants us to feel comfortable. two men sleeping together, two men holding hands, two men caressing, that is not normal. we have the right to discriminate against world views because all views are not morally equal. all views are not equal. so we have the right to reject it. and let me just say offhand, i reject how muslims see the
world. >> so on those comments, as reprehensible as they might be, the country just elected a former president who on tape bragged about sexual assault. are they disqualifying in a race? >> you would think, and certainly in a general i think democrats are salivating at the idea of kathy barnette getting the republican nomination because she is so extreme. she is not extreme, however, inside of trump's republican party. she is not an outlier. there's marjorie taylor greene, madison cawthorn, tons of folks in congress and running for congress who sound a lot like her. what i think is kind of comical and almost absurd is the idea that trump and other right wing outlets, sean hannity, even, are trying to point her out as being too extreme. i mean, fox news invented
birtherism. alison, we saw them do it. so to pretend like she is somehow not a creation of trumpism, maga, fox news, is just -- i mean, it's absurd. >> it's a great point, but also i just think that to have her spell out as explicitly as she did, a.b., that muslims and gay men are not morally equal to her. i'm not even reading between the lines. that's what she was saying. that was 2015. so now, a.b., do you think that these will come back to haunt her? >> alison, i was stunned to see the former president trump try to get out and say the things she said are too -- are going to make her impossible in a general election and she'll be beaten by the radical democrats. i don't find myself agreeing so much with donald trump, except for our fondness or elton john songs. but he is right, it's probably a
mistake to nominate someone who has said those things in a swing state. so it will be interesting to see. he's sort of hedging his bets, saying if she reveals her basic bio information, which she is hiding even from conservative media, that if she can be vetted, he will back her and give her his full support. maybe he's looking at the possibility that she wins outright. but i think everyone from maga world to mitch mcconnell's establishment knows that the things she said are going to be really haunting for the republican ticket if she's in the general election. >> mitch mcconnell is weighing in on what he believes could be the impact if this draft opinion holds on overturning roe v. wade. he says that the impact on the midterms will essentially be a wash for the congressional races. let's put it up. i think we actually have it. we have the quote we can read. i think it will be certainly heavily debated in state
legislative and governors races because the court will have in effect returned the issue to the political process. my guess is the impact on federal races, i think it's probably going to be a wash. do you agree with that? >> no, i think that's wishful thinking. i think that is mitch mcconnell wanting that to be the case. republicans know that overturning roe will be hugely unpopular, even among some republicans, and they are trying to mitigate and minimize the impact of that and also distance themselves from it. so i think mitch mcconnell knows that this issue cuts across every demographic, socioeconomic, racial demographics. so many people are impacted by not only roe, by what else would be next. he knows this is bad and so i think that's the messaging you're hearing to sort of minimize it away.
>> thank you. >> thanks. we just heard moments ago from a key democratic lawmaker on the baby formula shortage. now let's see what more the white house is going to do about it. a senior adviser to president biden joins us in a moment. five professional l benefits. one simple step. totally effortlessss. styling has never been easier. tresemme. do it with style.. when traders tell us how to make thinkorswim® even better, we listen. he wanted a reamlined version he could access anywre, no download necessary. and kim. she wanted to execute a pre-set trade strategy in seconds. so we gave 'em thinkorswim® web. because platforms this innovative aren't just made for traders -they're made by them. thinkorswim® by td ameritrade ♪ ♪ i came, i saw, i conquered.
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local law enforcement officials and community leaders at the white house. he's hearing from them on how they're using billions of dollars allocated from the american rescue plan to reduce crime, hire more police officers and boost public safety. at the top of the hour, the president is expected to make remarks and urge states and cities and communities to spend more covid relief money on public safety. a number of major cities have reported surges in crime since the start of the pandemic, and we are about to enter the summer months when crime typically rises. sedrick richmond is a senior adviser to president biden. welcome back, sir. let's start here with why this is the recommendation from the president because there is this warning from the white house that if there's not more money coming in to focus on covid, that there could be a dramatic surge in the fall and winter. >> well, it's been a priority for this president, if you look at the american rescue plan we passed last year to deal with covid, there was a significant amount of money, almost historic amount of money, to go to local
cities and municipalities, and one of the things we urged them to do is to use that money to beef up law enforcement, to do community violence intervention, to think out the box in terms of after school programs, summer job programs, that we could fight crime in a comp henrehens manner. today the president is going to lay out what cities are doing where it's working and things he's encouraging people to do with the $10 million that's out there to make communities safer. >> there's billions more going to these cities and states throughout the year, and it's flex money. the white house can't tell them what to do with it. this is only encouraging the cities and states to do it. if the white house is asking congress for billions more on covid, you have covid money that's approved, why not urge the cities and states to focus on covid mitigation with that money? >> well, part of the american rescue plan, we knew we wanted to make communities safer and every community should be a safe
community where kids can play outside and families can feel safe getting gas, and doing those things. and so it's not one or the other, and so we want to make sure that our communities are investing that money in comprehensive ways to keep communities safe and on the covid hand, we have been focused on covid since day one in terms of making sure we have the vaccines, making sure we stay a world leader, making sure we get shots in arms, we get tests out, ppe, all of those things, and we can do both. but i think that what we're ask for in terms of covid funding is so we can continue to do all of those things so that we didn't have to shut down covid when there was a spike. we have 99% of our schools open now as opposed to almost half of them closed when we took office, and we think we have to continue to invest, especially as more shots will come online in terms of the people who can get them
and we're talking about young kids. >> let me ask you about the baby formula shortage across the country. today the fda announced that it will be a streamline of the process to import formula. today the hhs launched this new web site to help parents. the chair of house appropriations said the fda dragged its feet after the recall. why didn't this happen months ago as parents were starting to talk about shortage of baby formula? >> well, i can just tell you firsthand, that the fda and the department of agriculture have been working with these companies for months to increase the supply. it may not have been public, but it's been a diligent effort to try to get them to increase supply both by the fda and the department of agriculture. we saw the president call manufacturers and retailers to personally urge them to ramp up
supply. we've expanded the types of formulas that families can buy. we're going to cut the red tape so we can import more. we're going to do everything we can because we understand the vulnerability there and the anxiety that it creates in families when you can't get your hands on baby formula. >> yeah, you said that the administration is doing everything it can. ron klain, chief of staff, told congresswoman abigail enspanberr that the white house is strongly considering using the defense act. beyond just all options are on the table, what are the criteria? what gets it from a strong consideration to an execution that we're going to do this to help these families? >> if the president determines that's what we need to do to ramp up production and that's the only way we can ramp up production and make sure that it's available and make sure that it's affordable, that's his consideration. the other thing we're doing is
asking a state attorney general and the federal trade commission to make sure we don't have unfair market practices going on like people hoarding so they can raise prices. when we say everything's on the table, we mean it. and production is just one manner in doing that. >> i get that, and it's not something that is executed lightly. you don't invoke that lightly. we saw it during covid. we have seen it at other times, but how dire does it have to become for the administration, for the president to say now we will -- we will invoke this. you said that if he thinks that's the way to go, we've got a guest coming up in a few minutes who has enough food to get through tomorrow. what more does this president need to see? >> well, victor, what i don't want to do is make this assumption that if he invokes the defense production act, there will be more formula tomorrow. >> sure. >> and we should not say that because i think that that would imply that there's some switch we can pull, and so the defense
production act will ramp up over time, and what we're doing right now is putting that pressure on ceos immediately so they can start ramping up today and tomorrow, and if that doesn't work, then you look at the long-term implementation of the defense production act. when you see the president on the phone with those manufacturers of baby formula, that's them saying we want more product, and we want more right now. and so i think part of the rationale and the process of going into the defense production act is if you think the defense production act can get it out there quicker and in more supply, then you do that. i think that's part of the consideration that goes on before you do it. >> certainly again, the white house chief of staff said it's something being considered, you say it's an option on the table. we'll see if the president uses that option. sedrick richmond, always good to have you, sir, thank you. >> thanks for having me. well, negotiations are continuing over the fate of the
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