tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 2, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
mild covid symptoms. what a heartbreaking story. may jj's memory be a blessing and a reminder of the cruelty of this pandemic. you can tweet the show @thelead on cnn. our coverage continues now. i'll see you tomorrow. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're standing by for president biden to dismantle more of the trump legacy. he's about to sign executive orders on immigration that include a task force to reunite families separated under one of the former administration's most controversial policies. we'll have live coverage of that. that's coming up. we're also following the growing in-fighting among congressional republicans just ahead of a critical party meeting tomorrow that comes amid questions, serious questions about its future.
we've learned that house gop leader kevin mccarthy is expected to meet tonight, very soon we're told, with congresswoman marjorie taylor greene, who is under a lot of fire for spreading conspiracy theories and extremist social media lies and posts. among those criticizing her, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, who slammed what he called her looney lies saying they're, quote, a cancer on the party. meanwhile, both sides have filed pretrial briefings just ahead of former president trump's upcoming impeachment trial next week on the floor of the u.s. senate. they say trump's blame for the attack on capitol hill is, quote, unmistakable. trump says the senate has absolutely no authority to try an ex-president. lots going on. let's given with our coverage on capitol hill. manu raju is joining us now. republicans are piling on
marjorie taylor greene ahead of her meeting that's coming up, we're told, fairly soon with the house g op leader. >> yes, senate republicans are piling on marjorie taylor greene because house republicans have been mostly silent, including house minority leader kevin mccarthy, who has said only that her views are deeply is disturbing and will meet one on one, something we expect to happen tonight. the question is whether he will take the steps to take her off key communities or do anything to punish her. one isn't republican after another says she is not the face of the republican party. senator joni ernst told me earlier, she does not represent the republicans. republicans now in a battle for the soul of their party. facing a major test this week about whether they should purge their party of conspiracy-mongering conservatives or punish republicans who stood up to president donald trump. first test, marjorie taylor greene, freshman who dabbled in conspiracies, including
falsehoods about whether 2018 massacre at a parkland high school was staged. with more of greene's controversial views coming to light, top republicans staying silent. senate republican leaders finally had enough. with the top senate republican, mitch mcconnell call ing out greene's looney lies and conspiracy theories, saying they amounted to a conditionser for the party. >> i think i adequately spoke out about how i feel about any effort to define the republican party in such a way. >> reporter: mcconnell would not say if he should have pushed back earlier against trump's conspiracy theories. do you wish, though, you spoke out about donald trump's conspiracy about the election being stolen much earlier than you ultimately did? >> well, with regard to the former president, we're going into an impeachment trial next week. >> reporter: senator jon thune, number two republican, said
today house republicans have to make a choice. do they want to be the party of limited government or do they want to be the party of conspiracy theories and qanon? and i think that is a decision they've got to face. some republicans aren't taking sides yet. >> before i judge what to do about her, i want to know what the facts are. >> reporter: even close trump allies said there's no room for greene's views. north dakota senator kramer said he would support a removal from house education committee which house democratic leaders are threatening to do this week if house republicans don't do it themselves. >> the tent can only be so big. there has to be some sort of guar guardrails. >> reporter: all that comes as house mrnt leader kevin mccarthy has yet to weigh in on greene, and the gop leader plans to meet with her one on one. greene has fired back at mcconnell, calling him the real cancer in the party, and she has begun to walk back some of her
conspiratoreal views, including over the horrific school massacres. >> terrible the loss that these families go through. >> reporter: as house republicans go through one internal battle another messy fight also taking shape. this, over the future of liz cheney, the number three house republican, who joined her colleagues to impeach trump for the deadly insurrection at the capitol. house republican also meet behind closed doors wednesday in what is expected to be a tense meeting, in part focused on cheney's vote. mcconnell, another top republican such as lindsey graham, have given cheney their full-throated endorsement. as mccarthy has tried to get back into trump's good graces after criticizing him on the house floor, the gop leader only offered an endorsed support of cheney. >> i support her but i have concerns. >> reporter: i'm told by sources familiar with the matter that mccarthy wants to see how that
meeting goes, will she offer remorse, contrition, walk back conspiracy theories and other very controversial views and will mccarthy take steps to remove her from the house education and budget committees? if he does not though, wolf, in committee on wednesday potentially on the floor on thursday to strip her from those committee assignments. >> she has to apologize publicly to all of the american people for all of those lies, which were so, so horrible and zpusting. let's see if she does that. if she does that, maybe she has a shot. if she doesn't do that, publicly apologize to the american people, she's going to be in deep, deep trouble, i am sure, among her republican colleagues. manu, as soon as you get word on how that meeting is going, we'll get back to you. thank you very, very much. >> let get the latest on the senate impeachment trial of the former president, donald trump. both sides have now submitted their pretrial briefs, giving us a clearer picture of what their arguments will be on the senate
floor next week. let's go to our chief national current affairs correspondent, jeff zeleny. >> the democratic house impeachment managers made their argument in 80 pages submitted today. they say former president trump was singularly responsible for whipping supporters into a frenzy that led to the violent attack on the capitol. now, to back up this single article of impeachment, incitement of insurrection, the house managers argued this. president trump's responsibility for the events of january 6th is unmistakable. president trump's effort to extend his grip on power by fomenting violence against congress was a profound violation of the oath he swore. if provoking an insurrection or riot against a joint session of congress after losing an election is not an impeachable offense, it is hard to imagine what would be. now the former president's own words are also being used to make their point, particularly
this memorable moment from that january 6th rally outside the white house. >> you fight like hell. and if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore. >> now the president's lawyers responded directly to that comment in a far slimmer 14-page brief of their own file this had afternoon, saying in part this. it is denied that president trump incited the crowd to engage in destructive behavior. it is denied that the phrase "if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore" had anything to do with the action at the capitol as it was clearly about the need to fight for election security in general, as evidenced by the recording of the speech. so that is part of their response filed this afternoon. >> it's interesting because trump's lawyers are arguing trump cannot be impeached because he's no longer a sitting president of the united states. what are the democrats saying about that argument? >> wolf, the president's lawyers
are going directly after this constitutionality argument, spelling out their objections in part like this. they say the constitutional provision requires that a person actually hold office to be impeached. since the 45th president is no longer president, the clause shall be removed from office of impeachment for is impossible for the senate to accomplish. but democrats object to all of this, pointing to page after page of precedent that they say the constitution does allow a former president to be convicted. now in their brief, the house managers write, in part, this, there is no january exception to impeachment or any other provision of the constitution. a president, they say, must answer comprehensively for his conduct in office, from his first day in office through his last. now, wolf, essential question hanging overall of this is how much of the senate trial will be to litigate the inaccurate questions of election fraud. we know the president is intent on pressing that case. it's one of the reasons that led him to form a new legal team one
week before the trial was scheduled to begin. in the briefs from the former president's lawyers, they do point to how he believes he won, but can express his belief that these election results were still suspect. wolf? >> we'll watch it with you every step of the way. jeff zeleny, thank you. let's go to more on all of this. chief correspondent dana bash and chief national correspondent john king. let's begin with the fracture within the republican party as we see it right now. we just heard a top republican senator describe this as a choice between conservative basic principles and conspiracy theories. that might sound simple, but this is a pretty polarizing rift, isn't it? >> it is, and a defining moment now for the republican party. this is a ditch they dug themselves, all of them. no matter which side you're on right now, because of the conduct during the four years of the trump administration. older guard versus newer members like marjorie taylor greene or
matt gaetz. some of this is house versus senate. senator mcconnell has a different view than many house republicans do. most of this is the establishment versus the green light that the former president donald trump gave to these people as he invited them into his coalition and the party. mitch mcconnell would not stand up to president trump's conspiracy theories and illegal people voting in the 2016 election. we could go through a long list through those four years and now he's dealing with marjorie taylor greene. we're watching people take sides. we're also watching some people refuse to take sides. with we'll see what kevin mccarthy does. you heard lindsey graham. i want to hear what the facts are. he can read. i'm sure he's on television a lot. this record is available to him, about what marjorie taylor greene has said and done. that's a copout because he doesn't want to be on the wrong side of donald j. trump. >> kevin mccarthy is considering various options as he prepares to sit down with this congresswoman tonight. what are some of those options?
>> some of the options are, you know, a slap on the wrist, not much, or it going as far as to say that she will be removed from her committees, the one we've been talking about since she was new she was just appointed to the house education committee, which has caused a lot of controversy since several of her conspiracy theories have been about questioning whether the parkland shooting happened, questioning whether the massacre at sandy hook happened. what i was told tonight by a republican source on capitol hill is to essentially look to what happened to steve king as a road map and as a guide post. what happened when he met individually with him, the now former congressman from iowa, who made lots of inappropriate comments, the last one was basically endorsing white supremacy. and what mccarthy did is he met one on one with him.
it obviously didn't go well, meaning steve king didn't show remorse, wasn't contrite, nothing of the sort. so mccarthy left that meeting, went to the steering committee in the house and said let's move to strip him of his committees. so, we're going to get a sense of what kevin mccarthy wants to do following that meeting based on his experience with steve king. it doesn't mean that he's the only decider, but it's going to be the first move that we're going to potentially see made. >> right now she's on the education and labor committee as well as the budget committee. we'll see if she remains on those committees following this meeting. we'll stand by for that. i want to bring in norm isen right now, served as impeachment counsel during the first impeachment trial of trump about a year or so ago. we just have gotten our first look at the democrats' impeachment brief. i have it right here. it's 77 pages. pretty long. we've got the republican brief,
only 14 pages. a lot tighter. the republicans are arguing -- the democrats, i should say, are arguing that trump is singularly responsible for that deadly violent attack on the capitol. lay out the case they're making. >> wolf, thanks for having me back. the democrats argue, i think powerfully and convincingly, trump incited the mob with a long pattern of lies that the election was stolen. he used fighting words, directing them at the capitol on january 6th. and then when they attacked the capitol, he was derelict in his duty to defend co-equal branch of government, congress and his own vice president, wolf, who was in the building. they made clear in their pleadings that the founders of our country and the framers of the constitution would have
abhored this incitement to hold on to political power and upset the counting, final counting of the electoral votes. so it's a very strong case as a matter of fact and law that they lay out in their opening trial brief, wolf. >> that's the democratic case against trump. john, trump's legal team is focusing its defense on the constitutionality of the impeachment trial. what does their decision to pursue that defense tell you? >> it tells me they're focused on the senate republican math and they know it's in their favor right now and are just trying to give enough republicans a place to go to say watch this play out. you'll not see senate republicans running to the floor or tv cameras after the trial. they don't talk much during the trial but you'll not see them running to support the president's conduct but will say it was reprehensible, but he's gone now. he lost the election. he's gone now and i don't think
it's constitutional to have a trial for a president who has left office. essentially, it's a very political argument. they do bring up that the president had a right to talk about election fraud, first amendment right to be suspect about the election. that's dangerous for the trump defense team. if they bring that up in the senate they may annoy some of the republicans. basically their document is a political argument to give republicans, especially republicans safe back home a place to say i don't like what the president did. i just don't think he should be convicted. >> it's interesting, dana, the brief from the house impeachment managers, the democrats, also makes the case for the senate to prevent trump from ever again holding any office. is that a likely outcome? you know the math in the senate. >> uh-huh. no, it's not a likely outcome. and the reason is because the prevailing view, because this is all unprecedented so there's no real hard and fast rule but the prevailing view is that they can't remove him -- excuse me, they can't prevent him from ever running again unless he's
actually convicted in the trial. it's not to say somebody won't try, but it's very unlikely that the former will happen, given the math you just talked about, never mind the latter. the other thing i wanted to add to what john was saying, he was talking about the political arguments. they're process arguments. not on the substance. there's a little bit of an argument so far on this brief on the substance, saying he's not responsible. for the most part they're making a process argument, which is where the most of the republicans are, you know, hiding in the process realm as opposed to the substance realm, because they were all there. they are all witnesses to this. many of them are victims of this, never mind the fact that they have seen the videotape and they understood even leading up to january 6th and that rally on january 6th what the president was up to. >> january 6th, a day that a lot of us will remember for a long, long time. history books will be written
about that day down the road as well. everybody stand by. we're standing by for president biden. he's about to sign executive orders, undoing some of his predecessor's most controversial immigration policies. plus new questions emerging right now about whether you can be infected by the coronavirus twice. we'll talk about that with our medical experts. stand by. lots going on right here in "the situation room." this is ours. the new lexus is. all in on the sports sedan. lease the 2021 is 300 for $359 a month for thirty nine months. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
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once again we're standing by to hear directly from president biden, getting ready to sign executive orders addressing some of the trump administration's harshest policies when it comes to immigration. let's go to phil mattingly joining us right now. set the scene for us, phil. what is the president about to sign? >> wolf, president biden set the tone on the immigration policy day one, laying out several executive orders and will follow up on that today with three executive orders. these orders underscore the priority that immigration is inside the administration but also the issues that they are encoun encountering now that they're in office that were put in place by their predecessor. one of the executive orders will be setting up a task force for
family reunification, this goes back to trump's immigration policy that separated children from their families. there are 600 children still unable to connect with their parents. this task force will be trying to identify those parents, reunite those individuals and through reporting keep the administration apprised. they'll also review the remain in mexico policy that president trump put into effect regarding asylum seekers. what you're seeing, wolf, is a review process, in-depth review process as they try to work through many of the rules that were put in place by their predecessor and reverse them at some point. w wolf, this all comes as the administration is still also keeping their focus keenly on their number one legislative policy, $1.9 trillion covid relief package. they may clear, even though they had an amicable meeting with ten republican senators, they are very set on that $1.9 trillion
top line. what would negotiations with republican senators bring? that's something i asked jen psaki this afternoon. >> your position is firm. staff talks on technical details. is that basically the ball game in terms of the bipartisan talks? >> well, i think the president's commitment is to urgently deliver relief to the american people, and that is what he has conveyed in every meeting he has had or engagement he has had with democrats and republicans. and as we vust talked about, there's a process that's just in the early stages that's beginning on capitol hill to do exactly that. but there are also steps that can be taken or changes that can be made through negotiations that also, through the legislative process have to happen between the house and senate. there are amendments that can be proposed and voted on. and we're going to see that process through or allow that process to go through. >> reporter: wolf, a democratic official tells me today when president joe biden briefs democrats about this plan in a
private conference call he made clear that the republican proposal was too small. you can tell by that exchange. they are willing to negotiate but not on the big things, but right now it doesn't look like on the top line of their proposal. more on the minor side of things and that likely means democrats are going to be doing this on their own as they move through congress the next several weeks. >> that's a very, very important development, indeed. as you know, phil, two key members of the biden cabinet were confirmed by the senate today. tell us about them. >> slowly but surely president biden building his entire team, pete buttigieg the secretary of transportation, confirmed by the united states senate earlier today and ale swrchlt andro mayorkas, incredibly important cabinet member. not that they all aren't. a big piece, ceremonially sworn in by vice president kamala harris in ten minutes time over at the white house. he will be deeply involved in everything you hear the president lay out today.
he was confirmed as well. slowly but surely president biden is getting his team in place. a couple more to come over the course of the next several days and week. the senate more or less shuts down come monday when they start that impeachment trial. democrats have been trying to get as many as these cabinet officials through when that trial launches. >> we'll speak about all the above with kate beddingfield, communications director in the next hour. i like the american flag on that mask of yours as well. very patriotic. nice gesture, indeed. following lots of developments over at the white house where president biden is about to sign executive orders, important ones on immigration, undoing more of the trump legacy. stand by for that. plus, details of a new study suggesting people previously infected with covid-19 may need only one, one vaccine dose, not two. our medical experts are standing by. we'll discuss when we come back. hi, i'm a new customer and i want your best new smartphone deal. well i'm an existing customer
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the country is facing more than 26.4 million confirmed cases. amid concern about the pace of vaccination, the cdc skrust announced as of tonight 32 million doughs have been administered. nick watt is joining us with the latest developments from los angeles. there's another very disturbing, extremely disturbing new statistic just out. >> so far this year in 2021
we've lost more than 100,000 people to this virus. and our number one way out of this, vaccines. >> a 16-lane mega site capable, they say, of 1,000 shots an hour. >> these people have really got it down. >> reporter: early january nationwide sunday average was under 00,000 doses a day in arms. that average is now around 1.3 million per day. the pace needs to pick up even more. >> we have to deliver 500 million immunizations between now and summer to get ahead of these variants. it's going to be tough. >> reporter: another mutation that might make vaccines less effective. plus past infection might not protect you against the variant virs found in south africa.
>> the experience of our colleagues in south africa indicate that even if you've been infected with the original virus, that there is a very high rate of reinfection. >> reporter: the feds will start sending doses directly to local pharmacies, eventually up to 40,000 pharmacies. >> the cdc will monitor the data on an ongoing basis to make sure that pharmacies are efficiently and equitably administering vaccinations. this initial phase of activating local pharmacies will get more shots in arms. >> reporter: moderna might now put 15 vaccine doses in each vial, up from 10, to speed direction, clear a bottleneck if the fda signs off. pfizer confirms it expects to deliver 200 million doses total by end of may, two months early. >> and there's this. if you had the virus and one vaccine shot, you might not need a second shot.
your antibody levels, which protect you, could be higher than people who have had two doses, but never infected. this, according to a study that is not yet peer reviewed, but -- >> if you have to pretest to see who has had the infection before and who hasn't, then it becomes logistically very complex. >> reporter: now one of the big, open questions has always been do these vaccines stop you getting infected but also stop you from spreading the virus around? the fear is that even after vaccination, you might have the virus in your nose and you still might be able to transmit it. well, early results on the astrazeneca virus -- vaccine, i'm sorry, in the uk, suggests that vks even may indeed stop you from spreading this virus around. wolf, if that's true, that's very good news. >> certainly is.
nick watt in l.a. for us. thank you. let's get more on all of this. dr. leana wen is joining us, emergency room physician, former baltimore city health director. i want to get your immediate reaction to this breaking news about this astrazeneca vaccine that may impact the actual transmission of the virus. how big of a finding could that be? >> this is one of the major unknowns in all of this, wolf, which is if you are vaccinated, we know that you're protected from severe effects from coronavirus, but can you still be a carrier and transmit it to others? if it turns ought you're not a carrier, that would be a huge game changer in how we think about people who are vaccinated going forward. they may be able to resume their prepandemic activities much sooner than we think they would be able to. >> that would be a huge, huge, big deal. let's talk about this research suggesting you might only need one dose of the vaccine to be fully protected if, if you've already been infected with covid
and recovered. could that help stretch the vaccine supply to cover a lot more people? >> scientifically, it makes sense. because the reason we have these two-dose vaccines we have a primer and then a booster shot. in theory, your infection could be that primer and then all you need is the second dose in order to have that same effect. you could, in theory, be able to stretch the vaccine supply more. the problem is operationally, it's going to be really difficult. what do you do, make everybody get an antibody test before they get the vaccine? what happens if you got ill with with coronavirus a year ago, are you still protected? are you still only able to get one shot? it's interesting results but i'm not sure how operationally it will make a difference. >> that's a good point. there is troubling news about one of the coronavirus variants commonly found in the uk. reserchs say that variant has developed a mutation which may allow the virus to escape some of our immunity. what impact will that have on
transmission, the efficacy of the vaccines? >> already we have seen that the variant first identified in south africa has this mutation that scientists believe is the reason why these vaccines are not so effective against this particular variant. and if it trns out that this mutation can now be found in other variants as well, i think we could have this melting pot of variants and mutations, and i think it really should be -- it should really underscore the reason why we need to expedite vaccine rollout. we need to cover with immunity as many people as possible. the more people who can spread the virus, the more mutations we could end up developing. >> let me get your thoughts on what we heard from jeffrey zients, white house covid coordinator, on a new plan that was pretty significant to actually distribute some of the vaccine supply directly to local pharmacies all over the country, thousands of pharmacies. how much of an impact is that going to have on distribution,
especially in communities that are lagging behind in vaccination rates? >> this will make a major impact, because this has to be all hands on deck. and we know that pharmacies are already trusted in communities. they already know how to do vaccinations. people already go to pharmacies to get their flu shot, shingles vaccine and others. having thousands of pharmacies now being able to distribute vaccines will make a big difference when it comes to our ability to get vaccines. there's two issues, though. one is setting the expectation. demand still far outstrips supply. i don't want people going to their pharmacy expecting to get a vaccine when right now it's only 1 million pharmacies a week that's going out to these pharmacies. the other issue is accountability. i hope somebody will be tracking how quickly each individual pharmacy gives out their shots and pharmacies that are underperforming ideally should have some process of reallocating vaccines to other
pharmacies that can get the vaccines out. >> here is the president speaking on new executive orders and immigration. >> fbi special agents, and two of whom were killed, three of whom were injured today in florida. i was briefed on this tragedy earlier today, and i know the fbi is gathering information about how this happened, what happened, but i can only imagine how these families are feeling today. one of the things when you are in a combat zone in the military or you're an fbi agent or military or police officer, every family just, when they put that shield on and go out in the morning, dreads the possibility of that call, receiving that phone call. my heart aches for the families
of the i've not had the opportunity nor have i tried today to contact them. they put their lives on the line and it's a hell of a price to pay. and every single day, by and large the vast, vast majority of these men and women are decent, honorable people who put themselves on the line. we owe them. but the purpose of my asking uh-uh hear today is i want to congratulate the new secretary, secretary mayorkas, who is going to take on an easy job, nothing to it. homeland security. and looking fard to his leadership and working with congress on a lot of issues, including the immigration bill that has, i think, great support in both chambers. today i'm going to sign a few executive orders to strengthen our immigration system, building
on the executive actions i took on day one to protect dreamers and to end the muslim ban and better manage our borders. that's what these three different executive orders are about. i want to make it clear, there's a lot of talk, with good reason, about the number of executive orders that i have signed. i'm not making new law. i'm eliminating bad policy. what i'm doing is taking on the issues that 99% of them that the last president of the united states issued executive orders that i thought were counterproductive to our security, counterproductive to who we are as a country, particularly in the era of immigration. this is about how america is safer, stronger, more prosperous, when we have a fair, orderly and humane, legal immigration system. and with the first action of the day, we're going to work to undo the moral and national shame of
the previous administration that literally, not figuratively, ripped children from the arms of their families, mothers and fathers at the border, and with no plan, none whatsoever, to reunify the children who are still in custody and their parents. the second action addresses the root causes of the migration to our southern border and the third action, third order i will sign is a full review of the previous administration's harmful and counterproductive policies basically across the board. with that i'll sign the first order, which is the reestablishment of interagency task force and reunification of families. to remove the stain of the
reputation that separation has caused. that's the first order. the second order i'm signing is creating a comprehensive reasonable framework to address the causes of migration and manage migration throughout north and central america and provide safe and orderly process of asylum seekers at the united states border. and third order i'm signing is restoring faith in our legal immigration system and strengthening immigration and inclusion efforts for new americans. my grandfather would say by the grace of god and goodwill of the
neighbors, we'll reunite these children and re-establish our reputation as being a haven for people in need. thank you very, very much. >> all right. clearly he didn't want to take any questions from reporters who had gathered there. john king, let's talk about this -- i thought it was significant, what the president said. he's not making new laws. 's eliminating bad policy. executive order, you can reverse executive orders signed by the previous president. in this particular case, involving immigration. >> and president biden well aware that this has become a daily, if not hourly criticism from republicans in the congress and from others in the cable news -- conservative cable news and blogosphere outfit saying why is this president every day signing a giant stack of executive orders? president biden clearly wanted
to address that criticism head on saying i'm not making new law, i'm just reversing bad policy, eliminating bad policy. that's interesting out of the box he wanted to address that. very important, chose the white house is aware of the incoming from critics. and we're ending a moral national shame of the trump administration and removing the stain. very strong words from the new president. it's interesting. day 14. as you watch him talk about certain issues, the moral tone there. it's not a policy tone. it was a moral tone, that what president trump did and his administration did with zero tolerance, separating families at the border, you could hear , the shame of the new president at the policy of the last one. >> that shame is so awful, dana. today, the white house suggested, once again, there are probably at least 600 kids, little children out there, who were separated from their mothers and their fathers a long
time ago, during the trump administration, and they're still separated. they're trying to find their parents. but so far, unsuccessfully. >> that's right. what we just saw president biden sign allows legally for the families to be reunited but practically getting that done because it's been so long and because the way that during the trump years the families were separated going into two different agencies and not followed through on with paperwork so that they could be reconnected is going to be very hard. we heard jen psaki, the white house press secretary, say that all those hundreds you mentioned, wolf, they'll have to be taken up on a case-by-case basis. it's heartwrenching to think about how hard it is going to be. hopefully not but in some cases it might be downright impossible. just to, you know, add on to what john was saying about the tone and the big thoughts and
the importance that joe biden wanted to bring to this, talking about the morality and the stain on the reputation. he said we have to reunite these people -- reunite these children and make the united states, return it to being a haven for people in need. it was those words and the message that he wanted to send, really striking as he signed something that is going to be difficult. not impossible, but difficult to actually make good on. >> i hope those little kids are reunited with their mothers and fathers, and i hope that happens very soon. an important moment over at the white house with the new president of the united states, guys. stand by. more news we're following. we'll take a break and be right back. to make: the largest 5g network... award-winning customer satisfaction... or insanely great value.
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detained in russia for protesting the sentencing of the opposition leader aleksi navalny. she was given more than two years in prison for leaving the country for treatment after he was poisoned. let's go to our senior international correspondent in moscow for us tonight. matthew, some very dramatic moments in court as navalny denounced the russian president as, quote, putin the poisoner. >> reporter: that's right. very dramatic speeches made by aleksi navalny in court. but there was a lot of action after the court decision was had as well. hundreds of people detained across the russian capitol as protesters stormed through the streets of moscow chanting anti-putin slogans, calling on other residents to come and join them. after that call, they reverted a suspended sentence that navalny was serving into actual jail
time. anger is spilling out on to the streets of the russian capitol. protesters furious at the imprisonment of aleksi navalny and making their voices heard. let him go, they chant. outside the moscow court, police detained hundreds to make sure that hearing passed off undisturbed. aleksi navalny glanced towards his wife in the gallery as the judge read out the decision. russia's most prominent putin critic is being sent to jail. somebody doesn't want me to set foot in russia, he told the court earlier. the reason for this is the hatred and fear of one person who is hiding in a bunker. i have offended him so deeply by the fact that i survived, he said. outside his lawyers told cnn
navalny took the courts decision bravely, as usual. but they said they will definitely appeal. it was these images of the opposition leader growning in agony after being poisoned by a suspected nerve agent in siberia last year that shocked the world. his recovery and defiant return to arrest in russia has also struck a cord. last week slamming his detention as blatantly illegal, telling the judge in his latest hearing that he was being persecuted because he survived assassination and that president putin himself was behind it, something the kremlin has denied. his main grievance against me, he told the court, is that he'll go down in history as putin the poisoner. for the past two weeks this country has been rocked by some of the biggest anti-kremlin protests its ever seen. tens of thousands have turned out demanding change and for
navalny to be set free. critics say a heavy handed response with thousands detained nationwide outlines how the kremlin really feel. but the kremlin tell cnn president putin himself isn't even following the trials of his biggest critic. instead the russian president was shown meeting teachers of the future generation. it's the generation of russians now protesting on the streets outside inspired by aleksi navalny that may yet prove to be putin's most dangerous challenge. wolf, right now supporters of aleksi navalny are ordering their supporters to go home and disperse and clear the streets of the russian capitol. but, they say, a government that kills its opponents and imprisons their people will not be tolerated and they are vowing to be back on the streets soon. >> we will stay on top of this breaking story with a lot of
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