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tv   Washington Journal Open Phones  CSPAN  September 16, 2021 6:15pm-7:01pm EDT

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>> you can go ahead and start calling in now. washington tent puts it, the hearing yesterday march the first official public inquiry into the fbi's failure to investigate the largest sexual abuse case in the history of american sports. this was simone biles from yesterday. >> there can be no keener revelation of a society's solo than the way it treats its children. it is the power of that statement that empowers me to be here today. i don't want another young gymnast, olympic athlete, or any individual to expense the horrors i and hundreds others have endured before, during, and continuing to this day in the wake of the larry nasser abuse.
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to be clear, -- >> take your time. >> to be clear, i blame larry nasser and also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse. usaid domestics and be u.s. olympic committee's -- olympic committee knew i was abused before i was aware of their knowledge. in may 2015, the former head of usa gymnastics women's program was told by my teammate maggie nichols that she suspected i was a victim. i did not understand the magnitude of what was happening until the indianapolis star published its article in the fall of 2016 entitled "former
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usa gymnastics doctor accused of abuse." yet, while i was a member of the 2016 usa lepic team, the fbi nor the committee contacted me or my parents. while others have been informed that investigations were ongoing, i have been left to wonder why i had not been told. this is the largest case of sexual abuse in the history of american sports. although there has been a fully independent investigation of the fbi's handling of the case, neither u.s. og nor uscp have been made the subject of the same scrutiny. these are trusted with our sport and our athletes yet it feels like questions of responsibility and organizational failures remain unanswered. host: simone biles yesterday before the senate judiciary
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committee. the committee scheduled his hearing after the justice department's inspector general report determines the fbi had not adequately addressed accusations from at least 40 women who said that larry nasser molested them over four -- over 14 months. the report said that the top fbi officials knew of the accusations in july 2015 but did not alert officials in michigan where he worked. it'd not respond to the accusations with the utmost seriousness and urgency they were required and the inquiry was inadequate, investigator said in the front page of the washington times. here is more from the hearing room yesterday. this is maggie nichols. >> while the big dreams ended in 2015 when my coach and i reported larry nassar's abuse. i would try to compete at the
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university of oklahoma where i was named the all-american and an eight time national champion. i reported my views to u.s. to gnostics over six years ago and still my family and i received few answers and have more questions and by dozens of other little girls and women at michigan state had to be abused after i reported. and sacrificing my childhood for the chance to compete for the u.s., i am haunted by the fact that even after i reported my abuse, so many women and girls had to suffer at the hands of larry nassar. usa gymnastics and the u.s. olympic and paralympic committee and the fbi have betrayed me and those who were abused by larry nassar after i reported. the cover of my abuse and the fbi's failure to interview me are a well-documented in the oig report. after i reported my abuse, my family and i were told by steve
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penny to keep quiet and not say anything that could hurt the investigation. we know there was no real investigation occurring. while my complaints with the fbi and larry -- larry nassar continued to abuse girls. from the day i reported my molestation by larry nassar, i was treated differently by u.s. ag. not only did the fbi failed to conduct a thorough investigation, they knew usag created a false-negative where larry nassar was allowed to retire with his reputation intact and return to michigan state university, thus allowing dozens of little girls to be molested. host: maggie nichols yesterday. asking you to give your reaction this morning, the criticism of the fbi. phone lines split regionally. if you are in the eastern or
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central time zones, it is 202-748-8000. if you are in the mountain or pacific time zones, 202-748-8001 . we will take you through much more of that hearing throughout this first hour of the washington journal today, but setting aside time for you to call in and let us know your thoughts. dan is up first out of massachusetts. good morning. caller: i know for a fact i had a family member who was taken advantage of and abused and they give her hush money. i don't know how all of these senators make these decisions when their own friends. two shut kids up. they have their own issues. i don't understand how the fbi director is not called out here.
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why did they not bring christopher wray in? they should bring these fbi agents to the justice department and say why did you do this? they were as guilty as larry nassar himself. i don't know how the politicians are all involved and now they are going to save the day and they care so much. they have things going on in their own chambers with young children. host: you mentioned christopher wray who took over the at the i in 2017. he did testify yesterday -- took over the fbi in 2017. he did testify yesterday. here's part of his testimony. [video clip] >> good morning. on behalf of the entire fbi, i want to begin by saying to the brave women who testified this morning, and i gathered there
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were some others here today who were among the many whom larry nassar hurt deeply. i am profoundly sorry to each and every one of you. i'm sorry for what you and your families have been through. i am sorry that some many different people let you down over and over again. i am especially sorry that there were people at the fbi who had their own chance to stop this monster and 2015 and failed -- this monster in 2015 and failed. that is inexcusable and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again. before i became be i director, i was generally familiar with the larry nassar story after his arrest in 2016 and i remember being appalled there were so many people who failed to do their jobs and keep these young women safe.
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after i became fbi director and i learned there were people at the fbi who had failed these women, i was heartsick and furious. i immediately ordered a special review by our inspection division to try to get to the bottom of it. that review led in part to the inspector general's on a review and i'm grateful to the inspector general for his team's work. the actions and inactions of the fbi employees detailed in this report are totally unacceptable. these individuals betrayed the core duty they have of protecting people. they failed to protect young women and girls from abuse. the work we do is often complicated and uncertain and we will never be perfect, but the kinds of fundamental errors made
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in this case in 2015 and 2016 should never have happened. as long as i am fbi director, i am committed to doing everything in my power to make sure they never happen again. host: christopher wray yesterday. in terms of specific actions from the fbi, this from the washington post, "the agent accused of failing to investigate larry nassar and lying about it has been fired by the fbi. michael langman, who is a special agent in the indianapolis field office interviewed mckayla maroney in 2015 about her abuse. he left his job in early september according to those individuals." the ig report that christopher wray referred to specifically singled out for special and --
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for special agent in charge, wj abbott, accused of how he handled -- and he communicated about a potential job opportunity with the u.s. olympic committee. he retired from the agency back in 2018. plenty of calls for more action from the fbi going farther from that, including on the front page of the washington post. sally jenkins, the headline, " larry nassar is in prison but why aren't his enablers? it is time for his enablers to -- in this cover-up." we are getting your reaction to yesterday's hearing. this is charlie out of knoxville, tennessee. good morning. caller: good morning.
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i noticed that comey did not send in any apologies. i feel sorry for these young ladies. never, ever trust the fbi. host: doug in massachusetts is next. good morning. caller: thank you for updating us on what happened to these last few agents. i think it is clear that the guy needs to be a little bore -- a little more investigative. it is not a trustworthy institution anymore. russia gate, you have the governor of minnesota, january 6, this cover bit -- this cover-up. can you tell us if those people retired or fired cap their pensions? host: the reporting on the special agent in charge who retired in 2018 does is to have a pension and plenty of outrage
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about that in some of these columns. caller: that is the scary part. it is no jail time, they resign and keep their pensions and they move alone -- move along and it will be forgotten until the next fbi thing comes up. host: howard in atlanta, georgia. good morning. caller: i think it is pretty much a system that very few people should be shocked about because of the way the fbi conducts investigations. they cover it up like the police . i am very saddened about the girls and what happened. how did that not reach the top? 130 girls or so, how could it not reach the top?
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i think there covering up to save themselves. host: the colors talking about the reputation of the fb, -- the fbi, the washington times delved into that saying the fbi is trying to rebuild christopher wray's image. the trump administration begin with the firing of james comey and ended with his guilty plea to falsifying documents. kevin mccabe was fired for media leaks. a scathing report found a slew of inaccuracies and omissions from the fbi's applications to monitor carter page. just some of the recent stories you might remember regarding the fbi. this hearing yesterday, the fbi taking plenty of criticism for it -- for how it handled the
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abuse investigation. brenda in new york, did you watch yesterday? caller: yes. i think what happened to these young ladies is horrible. i think the whole government needs an overhaul. not just the fbi but the cia and all the rest. for this to stop, it has to be investigated at the top. i hope that in the future nothing like this ever happens again to anyone, to anyone's child or dr. -- or daughter. host: members of congress promising changes. more from the hearing, this is the democrat from illinois speaking with horwitz -- speaking, michael horowitz is his name. he wrote the scathing report
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over the summer asking about the false statements made by fbi agents who were charged with conducting this investigation initially. [video clip] >> any of the fbi employees involved in this case, did they miss resentment -- today misrepresent details to you? >> they did. the person who wrote this report falsely testified to us about what he did in connection to that report as well as other matters we asked him about and special agent abbott made false claims about the steps he made in 2015 when these allegations came in, but also about his jobseeking efforts with the u.s. olympics committee. >> did his misrepresentations reach the level of criminal violation? >> they violated criminal law sufficiently. what we do is make the referral
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to prosecutors to assess them because that is needs to make the decision whether or not there will be charges right. host: -- charges brought. host: showing you the committee hearing yesterday. if you want to watch it in its entirety, you can do that at phone lines split regionally setting aside this first hour to hear from you. 202-748-8000 if you are in the eastern or central time zones, 202-748-8001 if you are in the mountain or pacific time zones. this is joanne in new york. good morning. caller: i am so happy i was able to catch this show this morning because i watched the hearing yesterday. they really need to do something about the fbi. it has been over and over and over again. i have watched everything they have done for the last four years. i am retired and i watch your
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show and i watched the hearings. the fbi needs to go, period. they should lose their pensions. they really should. what happens to those -- what happened to those girls is a disgrace. they never even sent a female fbi agent to talk to young teenagers. host: who else should have been there yesterday? should it have been the fbi agents -- the fbi director's from 2015 and 2016? did you want to hear from merrick garland, the attorney general? you said comey? caller: comey. comey is very corrupt, it is a known fact. they're not doing this country a favor. this is terrible what is going on. when you have young girls such as those girls, i have seen what
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they have done to trump. i have seen what they have been doing all along. it is terrible. for these young olympians to have to go through that, imagine what other people will go through with the guy -- with the fbi? but what they did to roger stone . what did he do? was he a criminal? come on. this is terrible. host: more from sally jenkins in her column for the washington post saying, "christopher wray dithered about improving policies and procedures, but it was not the policies or procedures that failed, it was the people in charge. they failed to do their fundamental duty. now merrick garland is failing to do his, joining the list of graying government functionaries who think an agency reputation
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is more potent than a girl's body. after six years of asking where the officials were who knew about the charges against larry nassar and nothing, whose deliberate inaction let him victimize more women even after mckayla maroney told everyone about him." -- told everyone about him?" caller: i feel so site for those young girls. thank you. host: this is darren in baltimore, maryland. good morning. caller: my comment is, the fbi should not have been trusted from the beginning. i look at things throughout history. he had j edgar hoover running
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some type of disinformation campaign against the black panther party. the people in charge of these government agencies, there was corruption and -- host: are you still with us? i think we lost to the caller. this is sam in michigan. good morning. caller: they would not have even needed the fbi if the parents of the fbi -- if the parents of the gymnasts had gone into the examination room and oversaw larry nassar. that is what i think. host: rudolph in los angeles, good morning. caller: i take it a step
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further, i think that the administration let it go too far. i am not sure how long it has been going on, but they need to go back to find out when was it first reported. it should not take 15 years for this to all come out. the administration has been on notice. it would not have come this far. host: more from the words of the women themselves who testified yesterday. this is aly raisman. [video clip] >> over the past few years, it has become painfully clear how a survivor's healing is affected by their abuse -- affected by the handling of their abuse. it disgusts me we are still fighting for basic accountability over six years later.
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in 2015, it was known at least six national team athletes had been abused by larry nassar. there was even one of the athletes abused on film. given our abuser's access to children, stopping him should have been a priority. instead, the following occurred. the fbi failed to interview pertinent parties in a timely manner. it took over 14 months for the fbi to contact me, despite my many requests to be interviewed by them. the records established that steve penny, fbi agent j abbott, and their corporate subordinates worked to conceal larry nassar's crimes. steve penny arranged with the fbi to conduct my interview at the olympic training center where i was under the observation of usa gymnastics and the u.s. olympic and paralympic committee.
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the day of my interview, steve penny flew to the olympic training center and made sure i was aware he was there. i felt pressured by the fbi to consent to larry nassar's plea deal. they diminish the significance of my abuse and made me feel my criminal case was not worth pursuing. special agent in charge of investigating larry nassar met steve penny for beers to discuss job opportunities in the olympic movement. another fbi agent worked with steve penny to determine jurisdiction without interviewing this rounders -- interviewing the survivors. i watched multiple officials at u.s. ag and fbi resign or retire without explanation of how they may have contributed to the problem, some of whom were publicly thanked for their service and rewarded with
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severance or bonus money. my reports of abuse were not only buried by u.s. ag, u.s. opc , but also mishandled by law enforcement officers who failed to follow their most basic duties. host: gymnast aly raisman yesterday testified before the senate judiciary committee. getting your reaction this morning, this is beth in maryland. caller: i am so glad you played that clip because i feel like it is important that these athletes , how they were treated by the olympic committees and everyone they reported to, i am surprised the could not find another doctor. simone biles, any athlete at the highest caliber, they could not get another doctor? who is more important to the committee then simone biles? doctors are a dime a dozen.
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it shows how little they think of these athletes as human beings. i appreciate you taking my call. i am really proud of them for getting up in front of the committee. host: darlene is in oregon. go ahead. caller: i want to say that these girls are being very -- where were the local investigations? this was a crime being committed against these children. to me, the whole committee idea promoting this athletic program should be totally revised from the bottom up. women do not need to be examined from the age of 14 to 20 years old every year by a gynecologist or a physician at that level.
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it was totally unnecessary. the people in charge should have known better. host: what does this mean for the u.s. olympics organization? caller: i think it is a shame we have to have such an the organization to encourage our athletes. it has become so much about money and promotion, financial promotion, as opposed to what the true athleticism is. host: you were talking about the local investigation. we read a lot from the jenkins,, and she talks about two local investigations and calls them out for some praise in this whole story. she says in the washington post, "to date there have been two beautiful law enforcement efforts on behalf of the gymnasts and both were at the local level. if not for michigan state
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university police, larry nassar would still be molesting women. she builds the case that got him arrested in december 2016 and sent to prison on the testimony of hundreds of victims as well as the 37,000 items of child pornography found on his hard drive. -- on his hard drive." the other investigation she points out was at the local level. "the only other local effort came in walker county, texas, which tried to search a gymnastics center where he committed much of his abuse. doctors were turned away at the direction of penny who allegedly ordered that the claims with records with larry nassar's name had sent to him before officers
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could return to texas with the current -- with a search warrant. he has pleaded not guilty there." erica's next out of manchester, new hampshire -- eric is next out of manchester, new hampshire. caller: my heart goes out to these young women with the abuse. god forbid they want accountability. that is one thing we are losing in this country, there is no accountability. there is no accountability with the budget, we have the u.s. spying on citizens under false pretense. i really wonder, it is like the club. they feel like they can do whatever they want and get away with it. we have not had a budget since 2009. we have continuing resolutions and all of this other prep.
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the laws are made by special interest groups and staffers. the people have become disconnected from this country and it is because of the power that has accumulated in washington, d.c. host: it is just after 7:30 on the east coast. we will continue to take your phone calls. i want to update you on the other stories we are talking about. we spent the first hour yesterday talking about the revelations in the book "peril" from the washington post, the revelations about mark milley's phone calls with his counterpart in china during the final days of the trump administration. this is the headline in the washington post, "president biden comes to the defense of mike millie -- of mark milley."
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that book is expected to be released next week. we are continuing to watch the process here of the very large $3.5 trillion spending bill making its way through congress. a landmark moment yesterday, though plenty more to go before this becomes law. with the sound of one final gavel, they completed the task of translating the vision into a $3.5 trillion tax proposal marking a major milestone. the fruit of their labors being overshadowed by political reality. president biden getting involved in outreach to some democrats,
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their concerns about the $3.5 trillion spending bill. in the local news here on capitol hill, the fencing that surrounded the capital in the months after the january 6 attack on the capital going back up last night, at least begin to go back up. here are some photos from the washington, d.c. local media, including nbc for showing trucks -- nbc four showing trucks bringing in barriers and fencing. the construction happened overnight and continuing today. we will show you a couple of those pictures. the first part of that fence going back up. it is expected to be in a closer ring around the capital than it was after the january 6 attacks. it is going up ahead of a rally that is expected to take place on capitol hill on saturday.
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some reporting on the rally. that is expected to bring about 600 people to capitol hill. it is being organized as a justice for j6 rally. "our motive is to raise awareness for the civil rights of our fellow americans being treated as political prisoners." so says matt reynard, the organizer behind that rally. the house and senate delegation are not expected to be there, although one candidate is expected to be there. he is expected to speak at that rally. he said he wanted to advocate for people whose rights he feels are being violated. we will hear more from him tomorrow and give him a chance
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to answer questions from you, our viewers. that is tomorrow morning. that rally is planned for saturday. that fencing going up and expected to be done today or tomorrow. back to your phone calls this morning on the hearing yesterday, u.s. gymnasts slamming the fbi in that hearing for turning a blind eye to the abuse of larry nassar. james is in south dakota. you are next. caller: yes. i would like to say i watched the hearings. the resilience of the one young gal was beyond me. if you cannot figure out that this woman is telling the truth, then you don't know what the truth is. here is someone who is so brave
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in stepping up and turning a blind eye to this would be absolutely, stunningly, harmfully terrible, watch these little girls had to go through. trying to keep my composure here. i don't know how else you can expand the truth. host: this is charlie in new york. good morning. caller: good morning. it was very good to see that presentation by those girls to the congress. there are probably a number of people in the nation who don't even know about larry nassar. that was an opening at the very least to what goes down,
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possibly across a lot of campuses. one item that has escaped us lately is the wrestling debacle that occurred, i believe it was ohio state university where wrestlers were abused there, hundreds of them. complicit in turning an eye against them was mr. jim jordan. it is strange this has not become before congress. this is the first of many -- of an opening in many cases where one woman comes forward for the abuse that occurred, other women came forward as well. mr. jordan has been a bully in
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the congress for years. for whatever reason, the democrats had their tails between their legs. host: members of congress yesterday at the senate judiciary committee hearing promising to not let this happen again, to hold those accountable among those who spoke to the women yesterday, including senator chuck grassley. [video clip] >> my question to director ray -- director christopher wray, the inspector general's report shows that abbott, a senior official in the indianapolis field office at fbi, was allowed to retire in 2018 and evade prosecution even though this report describes significant misconduct by him and an agent under his supervision. i have asked that the attorney
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general reconsider the decision to not file charges against some of the individuals involved in the case and i would like you to provide this committee with a list of all disciplinary actions that took place with respect to fbi personnel who were the subject of this investigation. i believe that you owe that at the very least to the victims of today's hearing. >> we can provide the committee with whatever information we can, certainly. as i have testified already, the special agent -- the supervisory special agent who featured so prominently in the report i can confirm has been terminated. as to the former special agent in charge, he retired before this review commenced, before we learned the extent of his
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misconduct, much to my frustration. as to the decision whether or not to prosecute the individual, i would respectfully refer over to the justice department which i think is where your letter was appropriately directed. >> i would like you to cooperate in ensuring that the prosecution of those individuals who failed these victims and give us your commitment that he would go to the justice department again to try to get that done. >> i am happy to do what would ever be appropriate. in this case, the criminal investigation conducted -- in the case agents were from horwitz's office which i think is appropriate. that is a discussion between his office and the justice department. if i can be a constructive part of that, given how strongly i feel, i am happy to do whatever
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i can that would be appropriate. host: chuck grassley, his exchange with christopher wray yesterday. taking your phone calls this morning on the washington journal -- on "washington journal." teresa, you are next. caller: good morning. i am so upset to find out that those young ladies did not get their just due. i feel like those people that did that and covered it up should be charged with human rights -- civil rights. that is a crime against women and they let it go on. that is crime against children. women and children are not valued.
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we need our human rights stood up for. there is no reason for that. we need to be qualified immunity of these people that take the law into their own hands and junk that. they do not need to be sitting on their retirement. they do not need to be sitting in the backyard wishing they had not done it, they need to be sitting in a cell. it is a crime against women, it is a crime against humanity. the people in the trump administration were the ones who did this. they swept it under the rug just like they keep pushing everything under the rug. they pushed civil rights, they are pushing our voting rights. host: on the timelines your, the fbi officials did not start their investigation until
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september 2016. that is two months before the 2016 election. caller: whoever was the head of fbi before them, they should also be prosecuted. host: the prosecution that happened is larry nassar's prosecution, sentenced to 175 years behind bars after pleading guilty in 2018 to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct and child pornography charges. mike is in round rock, texas. you are next. caller: just a quick comment, of course they want to bring trump and twisted -- bring in trump and twisted it. the head of the fbi was combing, don't let anyone forget that.
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everybody feels emotional about those girls and i do, too. but this is just another example -- and you will see another one this morning -- another example of how corrupt and rotten the fbi, the cia, and the pentagon are and have been for years. it is not going to change so don't expect anyone to be held responsible. you heard christopher wray, we will take the appropriate steps. he has been saying that for years. i could say more, but i think you get my point. host: pat in washington, you are next. caller: good morning. can you hear me? host: go ahead. caller: this all goes back to the fbi. doesn't this prove there is a deep state?
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the problem is nobody is actually holding these people responsible. this all keeps spurring everybody's nerves. one person could have stopped this, the person actually investigating went out of his way to cover it up for a job. mr. penny, you should be put in jail. it is just pathetic this all continues -- and that this all caps continue over and over on so many different subjects with the fbi and cia. i am very sorry for the u.s. to accept this and it should not be acceptable in any situation, whether it be the athletes, gun running into mexico.
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nobody is being held responsible, including the judges of the pfizer courts. this is already said. thank you -- this is all really sad. >> we take you live grundy, virginia where gubernatorial candidates glenn youngkin and terry mcauliffe are participating in a debate hosted by the appalachian school of law. >> to provide opportunities for its students to realize their dreams of practicing law. there is hardly more of an appropriate venue than a law school for a discussion of societies foundational


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