tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 3, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
incited the mob that led to his death. follow me on facebook, instagram and twitter at jake tapper or @theleadcnn. our coverage continues right now. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're following breaking news. deeply divided house republicans meeting right now to weigh the fates of two congresswomen, georgia representative marjorie taylor greene under fire for spreading conspiracy theories and extremist social media posts and liz cheney of wyoming, number three house republican facing bitter backlash for her vote to impeach president trump. meanwhile over at the white house, president biden met with top democrats to discuss his $1.9 trillion covid relief bill,
telling his party to stick together, underscoring the agency, the cdc is out with a new forecast projecting that the united states will see as many as 534,000 covid-19 deaths by the end of this month. also this hour, exclusive interview with the new homeland security secretary, alejandro mayorkas, first immigrant to head the agency at a critical time for our country. >> first, straight to capitol hill where there's breaking news. manu raju is joining us. this key meeting that's under way could shape the future of the republican party. update us on the very latest. >> reporter: libehind closed dos this meeting is taking place, efforts by a number of members in the republican conference to impeach donald trump, including the number three republican, liz cheney, who voted to impeach donald trump on the charge of inciting that dead ly january 6h
riot that occurred here on capitol hill. she addressed her conference as she has faced a backlash and push to oust her from the leadership spot. she made it very clear she would not apologize for her vote. she spoke for about eight minutes long behind closed doors, talked about her decision to impeach the president, former president, talked about how it was a vote of conscience. some members came to her defense. others spoke out against her and said that her vote did not represent the conference and it is time to move on. it's still an open question whether or not there will be a vote in the house republican conference tonight. it could happen at any minute, the vote to decide whether or not she would stay in that leadership position. now, at the same time, another messy issue they're trying to deal with internally. what to do about marjorie taylor greene, the controversial conspiracy theory freshman from georgia, who has come under withering criticism from both republicans and democrats as her views have come to light over the last several days, questions about whether to strip her from
her two key committee assignments. in a clear indication, house republican leader kevin mccarthy, who has met behind closed doors with marjorie taylor greene but has not said anything public ly broke the silence about the revelation of her comments moments ago and suggested that house republicans would not take action themselves. he said in a statement, i understand that marjorie's comments have caused deep wounds to many and, as a result, i offered majority leader hoyer a path to lower the temperature and address those concerns. instead of coming together to do that, the democrats are using to raise the temperature by taking the unprecedented step to further their partisan power grab regarding the committee assignments of the other party. now, the question had been whether or not the republicans would move on their own. some republicans believe that they should, because they don't believe she represents the future or the face of the republican party. especially in the light of things that she has said, suggesting that the parkland massacre in florida, that high
school, that occurred in the high school there, was a staged event. some republicans, including senator kevin cramer of north dakota made clear that is not what the republicans should be saying and they should be taking action against her. >> is she a good face for the republican party? she is not. she is very extreme, to say the least. the anti-semitism, i've never seen anything quite like it. anti-semitism, school shootings weren't real. she runs the gamut, the idea that forest fires were started by jewish lasers. it's so profound, so far out there, it makes me wonder how she did get elected. >> we're still waiting for an ultimate resolution about what house republicans decide to do with marjorie taylor greene and a resolution about what they will do with liz cheney. going in, wolf, a number of these republicans are still adamant, one way or another, in their positions, dug in, one way or the other, and defending some of the actions they took. one of the ten republican
congressmen who voted to impeach donald trump told me -- i asked him, do you regret your vote in any way? and he said hell, no. wolf is this. >> when kevin mccarthy, the minority leader, says that he offered the majority leader, hoyer, a path to lower the temperature and address these concerns, what is he talking about? what did he offer the democrats? >> reporter: well, they were talking about a variety of options. one of the options that he discussed with hoyer was to remove her from one of her two committee assignments. she sits on the house budget committee and the house education committee. in particular, she has gotten criticism for sitting on the house education committee while talking about these wild conspiracies about these school shootings being staged events. mccarthy pitched to hoyer was to remove her simply from that budget committee position. hoyer did not believe that was the way to go and indicated that democrats were prepared to move forward themselves. so this afternoon, the house rules committee moved forward with a rule that would set the stage for a floor debate tomorrow, to strip her from the
committee assignments. all they need is a simple majority in the house to do that. democrats are in the majority. so they have the power to act on their own to remove marjorie taylor greene tomorrow from her positions. expect that to happen. what you're seeing on the republican side by mccarthy's statement, vast majority of the members are going to oppose moving forward, to strip her from the committee assignments. they're making a procedural argument, arguing it's not the right of democrats to strip a member of their committee assignments about things they did before they were members of congress. they're warning about the precedent that would set and suggesting that republicans could act, respond in kind if they become the majority party after 2022. so, wolf, you're seeing a partisan split on this issue. some republicans will vote to kick off marjorie taylor greene from those committees but largely it will be democrats moving forward. >> manu, that's interesting. thank you very much. don't go too far away i know you're working your sources to
get more information for us. as soon as you do, we'll have you back. >> i want to discuss this with jamie gangel, dana bash and former ohio governor john kasich. jamie, as the republican conference is meeting, as we heard from manu, behind closed doors, take us inside the gop. you're well plugged in. what are you hearing? what's going on? i understand there is such a bitter, bitter divide. >> to put it simply, the republican party, this is no longer a reckoning, wolf. the republican party is at war with each other. it's just starting to think that at the same moment marjorie taylor greene is being, in effect, embraced by kevin mccarthy and liz cheney, number three in the leadership, is being yelled at by members in that conference. what we've learned is she made an eight-minute speech, that it
was calm, yet firm in defense of the constitution, that she said she would not apologize for her vote. and then after that, we're hearing that there are members who asked very pointed questions, some who got angry. she's also been defended by member adam kinzinger, who was also one of the ten to vote for impeachment. but i think, wolf, what we're seeing today is just a shocking moment, where the party is -- the future of the party is really at stake. one last thing. liz cheney has said she would like a vote on whether to stay in the leadership. i think that is a sign of her confidence that the vote will go her way. wolf? >> dana, you're well plugged in up on capitol hill as well.
what are you hearing from house republicans, from your sources? i imagine this is not what many of them would like to be dealing with right now. >> no. and, you know, we heard from jamie and from jeff zeleny, manu and others reporting on the people who are angry at liz cheney, and the fact that she's defending herself and obviously feels very good. she has been working the phones, talking to every member of the conference, and she feels confident that she could get a show of support and that that would help her with a vote. but what we're not hearing about is the anger that does exist against marjorie taylor greene, and the fact that that is the big issue before and that is really dividing the republican conference right now. and mccarthy, the republican leader, just put out a lengthy statement saying that he feels good about a conversation he had with her, and that she recognizes that she can't act
like this now that she's a member of congress and she said different things before she was there. and then he went after democrats, because democrats who are in control of the house, are going to move to remove her in a big vote tomorrow. so let me just put this in english. what the house republican leader right now is suggesting is that he's not dealing with something in a person who is, and all of her statements is a cancer on the gop. he's going to let the democrats do it for him. that is remarkable. and i'm sure our friend, john kasich, who walked those halls and served in the republican conference is not all too pleased about that and what it means for the go approximate. >> let's ask governor kasich. what do you think? >> it's insane, okay? she should be taken off the committees. and good for liz cheney. you know, good for her. i just listened to this. first of all, this is not -- i disagree with jamie on one point
this is not the republican party. these are house republicans who are stuck in this room, yelling and screaming at each other of the i've been in those conferences. it was over things like taxes, spendings and budgets, things like that, not about something that is so ridiculous. and it shows a total lack of leadership. frankly, probably ought to make liz cheney the head of the republican party in the house because mccarthy is saying he can't make a decision? and then he attack the democrats? come on. this is like child's play. stand up and be a leader. this woman, she put out anti-semitic comments. she denied what -- the pain that was inflicted on the families of those kids who were shot and killed in those horrible attacks. what about them? i mean, to say that liz cheney should be disciplined that she thought that the president's actions led to impeachment? and they want to take her out? i mean, it makes me wonder about -- well, first of all, i
don't know what i would do if i were in the house and were a republican. i'm not sure i would go to these conferences. i'm not sure i would stay and declare myself a house veo think about something else. some of them will say, oh, well, he went for biden so therefore he's not a republican anyway. let me ask you something, wolf. i was the chairman of the committee that balanced the federal budget. i was the one that was able to do reform inside the federal government. i did so many things down there that were conservative. and now these guys are off on some -- i don't even know where they are. they're on some crazy tangent here. >> that's the point. they are the republican party now, governor. they are -- the house republicans are very much representative of a very large chunk of the gop. and until they, you know -- unless they do something to say these views are not okay and, yes, they're speaking out, but take action about it, then talking about conservative
fiscal responsibility and all those things, you know, it gets drowned out. don't you think? >> dana, i agree with that, dana. here is the thing. the senate republicans, mitch mcconnell couldn't put out a stronger statement. and he's saying that this lady is -- should be disciplined, should lose her committees in the least, and should be isolated. so he's a pretty big spokesperson. this gets back to what's going on inside the party. is it a trump party, not a trump party? if it stays a trump party in the long term, it will not be successful. it will begin to die. frankly, it's dying already, because a lot of people have left the party. there is a chance for them to get back on their feet. if they can't even make a simple decision about this lady and they can't decide to support liz cheney and her vote of consciousness, what does that tell you about those people? disgraceful. >> jamie, let me get your thoughts. it's hypothetical, obviously. wit would the conversation be different if this congresswoman
from georgia, if she were to actually do the right thing and show some remorse, apologize for her very harmful comments that she made, awful comments, the conspiracy theories, saying -- this was before she joined the u.s. house of representatives, saying she made a mistake, i profusely apologize. she's not apologizing for anything. if she were to do so, it would be a bit different, right? >> yes. >> absolutely. >> absolutely. but if you take a look at her twitter feed this morning, she doubled down. she said no apologies, no going back. i want to say i like when dana defends me on the house. the house, no question, governor kasich, is a rauckus place, as you know better than anyone. >> yeah. >> on the other hand, to dana's point, this does represent a
large section of the republican party. >> yeah. >> and kevin mccarthy has chosen, after january 6th, to go down to mar-a-lago, to embrace donald trump again and to bring us to this day where liz cheney is getting yelled at and marjorie taylor greene is getting a hall pass. >> and i just want to remind our viewers what liz cheney did. she not only voted to impeach trump, together with nine other house republicans, but she also said this in explaining her vote. governor kasich, i'll get you to respond, then dana. she said this, i'll read her words precisely. the president of the united states summoned this mob, ensembled this mob and then lit the flame. there has never been such a
betrayal to the oath of the president. >> remember, she is the daughter of dick cheney who served this country as vice president under george w. bush. maybe people don't know that's his daughter. i'm not going to continue to disagree with these ladies. this has a profound impact on the party. my wife would say why didn't you agree with them? ind what they're saying. but what i'm saying, it's not all over in terms of what the party stands for. this kind of debate, it's what's driven suburban voters away, and all this politics of fear, in the long run, it will not work. and what's happening now just sets them back in terms of being able to get on their feet, which i'm not sure they can get on their feet. i don't know if they know how to stand. >> we'll take a quick break. dana, button this up for us. >> what we will see, if there will be a vote tomorrow, is every republican member is going to have to be on the record to
support marjorie taylor greene being on these committees or not. if mccarthy dealt with this on his own, he would save them those votes and ads in every single one of the swing districts by democrats against them if they don't vote against marjorie taylor greene being on those committees. >> we're watching what's happening in this closed door meeting. we'll update our viewers and stay on top of it. don't go too far away. >> up next, drals of president biden's meeting today with top senate democrats as they strategize how to get some republican support for the president's massive covid relief bill. we'll talk about it with the house majority whip jim clyburn. plus the new homeland security secretary, alejandro mayorkas. we'll ask him about the threat of extremists in the wake of the capitol siege. with unitedhealthcare medicare advantage plans,
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his $1.9 trillion covid relief bill. kaitlan collins is joining us. the president met with the majority leader, democratic chairs. tell our viewers what we know about that important meeting. >> reporter: wolf it's the third week of his presidenty and joe biden has found himself at the center of these negotiations between republicans and democrats over this pandemic relief bill. he says he's still hopeful that he can get republicans on board. during a call with house democrats today, he said while there is room for compromise, he believes this idea that they are going to go from the $1.9 trillion proposal that he's offered and that $600 billion proposal that republicans have put forward is, quote, not in the cards. >> an hour and a half with the president -- >> reporter: senate democrats' turn in the oval office today. >> welcome you all home. new home for a while anyway. >> reporter: after president biden met with the republican in those seats two days ago, he sounded hopeful about getting some of them on board with his coronavirus relief package even
as democrats move forward without them. no republicans have signed on to biden's plan so far and utah senator mitt romney said it's unlikely that any republicans will support the plan if any changes aren't made. >> i would predict not a single republican will support the $1.9 trillion plan. >> reporter: the president told house democrats today he won't slash the $1.9 trillion price tag anywhere near the $618 billion that republicans have suggested. >> i'm not going to start my administration by breaking a promise to the american people. >> reporter: biden also said he won't scale back the $1,400 stimulus checks but said he was open to targeting them further. >> we can't walk away from additional $1,400 in direct checks we proposed because people need them. fr frankly, they've been promised them. i think we can better target the number. i'm okay with that.
>> reporter: noting the slim majority that democrats have in congress, biden encouraged democrats to remain united. >> so, let's stick together. >> reporter: democrats are barreling ahead with biden's big proposal as white house aides are knocking down suggestions from some republicans that biden was more willing to negotiate than his staff. >> our members who were in the meeting felt that the president seemed to be more interested in that than his staff did. >> absolutely not. i've seen some of those reports. many of them are ludicrous. there is no one who is going to tell him what to do or hold him back from his commitment. >> reporter: wolf, as republicans are accusing biden of undermining his promise to be bipartisan as soon as he got into office, he was warning democrats on that call today to stay together, to stay united. of course, we are seeing plenty of in-fighting in the republican party, even going on right now as we speak. but, of course, the question is what this bill is ultimately going to look like, and there are still some democratic concerns that they are going to
deal with before we actually see what the end result is going to be. >> all right. kaitlan, thank you very much. kaitlan collins reporting from the white house. we're joined by south carolina representative jim clyburn, majority whip. congressman, thank you so much for joining us. we just got this statement from the house minority leader kevin mccarthy, you probably heard it. he said democrats are, in his words, choosing to raise the temperature with this push to remove representative marjorie taylor greene from her committees, calling this a distraction. what's your reaction to what his statement says? >> well, you know, once again, this is a failure of leadership. i think kevin mccarthy has demonstrated time and time again in recent weeks, after having seemed to have seen the light three weeks ago, he is back down at mar-a-lago, demonstrating
once again that he cannot divorce himself from donald trump, and donald trump has expressed support for this member. and so i guess he thinks that he needs to support her as well. i don't know why he thinks it is good to have a woman with her views on the education committee, but if that's the way they would like for it to be, then so it will be. >> will you and your fellow democrats vote tomorrow to remove her from all of her committee assignments? >> i've not seen the resolutions. those discussions are taking place. and i think the rules committee is going to take something up. i have no idea what the rules committee is going to come out with. i do have some feelings about whether or not we ought to do mccarthy's work. he ought to do his own work.
but i'll wait and see how the resolutions read. >> obviously he's not going to remove her from those two committees. the question is, do you think she should be removed from those two committees, or do you want to go further and think she should be expeled from the house of representatives? >> i think some kind of censure ought to take place. i won't say expulsion. i don't believe that we can do that without having some hearing on the record, official record, that is. i know tlas a record that she has out there. it seems as if the people voted for her being fully aware of her record. and maybe there are some things they have not heard yet and since then has come out in some kind of hearings or committee meet meetings, which we have not
done. so i'm very reluctant to react emotionally to these things. let's build the proper record before we have a vote. >> and we're just getting word right now. i think this is poe tngsly significant, that the house minority leader, kevin mccarthy, is not going to move to remove representative liz cheney from her number three position. what's your thoughts on that? >> well, once again, it's a failure of leadership on his part. he is the one that removed steve king some years ago for saying things that were unseemly. this seems to be even more egregious than what steve king said. but he removed steve king. we didn't do it. he did it. we did offer a resolution, and i was the author of that resolution, expressing disapproval of his statements, supporting white supremacy. and we passed that.
but that was us expressing disapproval. he saw fit to remove him from the committees. the democrats didn't do that. >> well, we'll see what happens to liz cheney and marjorie taylor greene. we'll stay in close touch, congressman, with you. representative james clyburn of south carolina. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you very much for having me. coming up, a grim new forecast from the centers for disease control and prevention, now projecting covid will kill as many as an additional 85,000 more americans by the end of this month. we'll be right back. when you switch to xfinity mobile, you're choosing to get connected to the most reliable network nationwide, now with 5g included. discover how to save up to $300 a year with shared data starting at $15 a month,
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the house republican meeting under way right now as republicans are weighing the fa fates of liz cheney and marjorie taylor greene. cheney spoke for eight minutes but did not apologize for voting to impeach the former president donald trump. meanwhile house minority leader mccarthy condemned greene's comments and conspiracy theories, which are so wild but didn't say anything about what the consequences should be. meanwhile, we're also following a very important coronavirus developments. the u.s. death toll has now topped 449,000 people with more than 26.5 million cases. cnn's national correspondent erica hill has more. >> we are at war with this virus. >> reporter: that war is also a race against time. >> we're getting a breather. and if this uk variant continues to spread as predicted here in
the u.s., we are in for some very tough months ahead. >> reporter: more vaccinations could help stop the spread. a boost in supply and access, clear moves in the right direction. all teachers in west virginia over age 50 are now vaccinated. in new york city, a push to prioritize restaurant workers. with just 2% of the population fully vaccinated, the country still has a long way to go. >> if you want our society to get back to normal, you have to get about 70 to 85% of the population vaccinated. >> reporter: a new study in the uk finds astrazeneca's vaccine, not yet authorized in the u.s., may also help stop transmission. the study has not been peer reviewed. >> this is encouraging. and it's not actually totally surprising. it is what we would expect from most of our vaccines. >> reporter: the numbers continue to move in the right direction. good news that comes with a warning. >> although we have seen declines in cases and admissions
and a recent slowing of deaths, cases remain extraordinarily high. still twice as high as the peak number of cases over the summer. >> reporter: the cdc's latest ensemble forecast now projects as many as 85,000 additional deaths in the next three weeks. meantime, new findings on who is spreading the virus. in the u.s., that dubious honor goes to younger adults. researchers in london estimating 20 to 49-year-olds account for more than 75% of new transmissions through mid-august. so, should that group have vaccine priority? >> definitely not. what we need to do is get the vaccine into the arms of people who are at highest risk for doing poorly if they are infected. >> reporter: as more areas loosen restrictions on activities like indoor dining -- >> we believe we can make this expansion without leading to undue stress or further stress on our health care system. >> reporter: one thing experts and officials are not
encouraging? super bowl parties. >> not wearing masks and participating in in-person social gatherings have contributed to the variant's spread. please watch the super bowl safely. gathering only virtually or with the people you live with. >> reporter: wolf, one more note on astrazeneca, that vaccine. we heard switzerland today declined to authorize it, saying they need more data. they want more information about safety and efficacy. in response, the company said it will continue to share new data as it becomes available, and in a statement said, quote, it's confident that the vaccine is effective, well tolerated and can have a real impact, wolf, on the pandemic. >> all right. erica hill reporting for us from new york. erica, thank you very much. coming up, a cnn exclusive. the nation's new homeland security secretary, alejandro mayorkas takes questions from
ana cabrera, reuniting migrant families separated by the trump administration. that and more. that exclusive interview coming up next. hey you, yeah you. i opened a sofi money account and it was the first time that i realized i could be earning interest back on my money. i just discovered sofi, and i'm an investor with a diversified portfolio. who am i?! i refinanced my student loans with sofi because of their low interest rates. thanks sofi for helping us get our money right. ♪ for some of us, our daily journey is a short one when you drive less, you pay less with pay per mile insurance from allstate you've never been in better hands allstate click or call for a quote today
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we're watching capitol hill right now where republicans are meeting with liz cheney and marjorie taylor greene. stay with us. we'll share with you all the breaking information. first day on the job for u.s. homeland security secretary, alejandro mayorkas is the first latino homeland security secretary. secretary mayorkas took some time today to speak with cnn's ana cabrera earlier this afternoon. tell us about your conversation. >> wolf, he has only been in the role for about 24 hours. we spoke for about 15 minutes
and got some insights into how he's approaching his new job. i asked him about being an immigrant, now in charge of implementing and enforcing immigration policy. and he told me the cruelty of the prior administration has come to an end. we also talked about the solar wind cyber attack, and i asked about the growing domestic terror threat on the heels of the capitol insurrection. that's where we started our conversation. i want to start with the events of january 6th. the u.s. capitol was attacked for the first time in more than 200 years by our fellow americans. how will the events of that day inform your approach to your new role as homeland security secretary? >> ana, let me start on a personal note, if i may. my parents brought my sister and me to this country to enjoy the freedoms of our country, to have the opportunities that a democracy presented.
the capitol represents one of the pillars of our democracy. to see the insurrection, the horrific acts of january 6th were not only personally devastating, but a commitment, created in me a commitment to redouble our efforts to fight hate and to fight one of the greatest threats that we face currently on our homeland, which is the threat of domestic terrorism. >> i want to dig into that specifically. dhs put out a bulletin just last week warning of a high threat of violent domestic extremism. how imminent is this threat and what is your plan to address it? >> ana, the threat is persistent. it was exemplified, illustrated horrifically by the events of january 6th. the threat of domestic terrorism preceded that terrible day, and it persists to this day. what we in the department of homeland security do is we gather intelligence.
we gather information. we share that with our state, local, tribal and territorial partners, as we collectively, in an all of government effort, not just the federal government, but all of government across the country combat hate and the violence that accompanies it. >> what is the biggest challenge in trying to combat this threat? >> i think it is to identify where the line between hateful rhetoric and hateful action takes place, to be well ahead of the action before it occurs and to stop it. our primary responsibility as the department of homeland security is to protect the safety and security of the american people. and that means taking preventive actions before they occur, of course. >> canada just announced today that the proud boys would be designated as a terrorist group
there. would you be considering ways to limit the proud boys in the u.s.? >> i think our focus is on actions that violate our social norms, that violate our laws and to ensure that those violations don't occur. that is where our focus is going to be. >> i want to turn to the topic of immigration. this is an issue that must be personal to you. as you mentioned at the top, your mom's family fled the nazis during the holocaust and settled in cuba where you were born before your family immigrated to the u.s. what does it mean to be the first latino, the first immigrant to helm the department of homeland security? >> ana, it is a privilege. it is an honor and it is an awesome responsibility. it is an awesome responsibility to demonstrate not only from coast to coast and border to border, but around the world what this nation can be and what
it is. it is a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. and i think the president's vision of adhering to our laws and adhering to our values, and serving, once again, as a leader throughout the world is a vision that i am extraordinarily proud to be part of in executing. >> president biden just named you to lead a task force to reunite families who were separated at the border during the trump administration. as far back as 2017. as of last month there are still hundreds of children who have not been reunited with their families, with their parents. how hard will it be to bring these families back together? do you have a clear sense yet of just how many families need to be reunited? >> ana, however hard it is, we will get the job done. i was sworn in as the secretary of homeland security yesterday. i had the privilege of being in
the company of the president of the united states and the president articulated yet again the urgency and the priority of this mission. the cruelty of the prior administration has come to an end, and now we will demonstrate to the world what we, as americans, are. >> what was it like for you on a personal note, to hear the cries we all heard on the tape of the children who were being taken from their parents and their family members? >> ana, i am a father. i am a husband. i am a son. i am a brother. i have not heard before a pain as acute and heartbreaking as
that. and it is our commitment to make sure that pain is not felt again. >> president biden has also launched a review of trump immigration initiatives, including that remain in mexico policy. we've been speaking with immigrant advocates who say they don't have answers for their clients who are stuck in limbo at the border. when will those people trapped in life-or-death situations in some cases get answers? >> we, ana, are addressing that with due urgency as well. the president has articulated clearly that the policy will come to an end and we are tasked with the obligation of operationalizing effectively, intelligently and carefully the end to that policy, and we are looking at that as recently as earlier today. i, myself, was involved in those
discussions. the urgency of that also cannot be overstated. >> you use the word empathy. president biden says it's president biden says it's time to re-establish america's recomme reputation as a haven for people in need. how do you do that but not unintentionally give a green light to migrants attempting to cross the border illegally? because there was a huge surge at the southern border when you were deputy dhs secretary under president obama. >> ana, this returns to the core principle that i articulated earlier, which is we are a nation of laws and we are a nation of immigrants. we used to lead the world in our stature as a country of refuge, and we will once again lead the world in that regard. we have asylum laws that provide humanitarian relief. those who qualify under those laws are entitled to the relief
that we extend. those who do not will not be able to remain in our country. and we can effectively implement both responsibilities and both opportunities to be both a nation of laws and a nation of immi immigrants. that's our cower and fundamental obligation. >> one of the biggest threats facing everyday americans today is the pandemic. you oversee fema, which is supporting vaccination sites right now, providing financial assistance and federal supplies to state and local governments. what does that effort look like, and what more can fema and dhs do to increase the number of people getting vaccinated? >> so this is again a significant priority of ours. we -- as you well know, we have many priorities. and because of the talent and dedication of our workforce we're going to execute on all of them effectively. and the vaccination effort, the bold vision that the president
has outlined, is but one example of the responsibilities of the department of homeland security and the fulfillment of those responsibilities. under bob fenton's able leadership, the acting administrator of the federal emergency management administration, we are setting up vaccine centers throughout the country. the president outlined the goal of 100 centers in 30 days, and we are well under way. the president outlined an effort to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days. fema has dispensed $1.7 billion to state, local, tribal and territorial governments to assist them in that effort. this is an all of government, all of community effort, and we are proud to play a pivotal role in defeating this pandemic once and for all. >> we've talked about the domestic security threat. i also want to ask you about an emerging foreign threat to u.s. national security right now.
the russian hack of the u.s. government and american corporations has been described as the modern-day cyber equivalent of pearl harbor. and now there's evidence the chinese have exploited the same vulnerability. what will it take to recover from this attack and to secure the country's cyber infrastructure? >> ana, there is no better catalyst, regrettably, for swift and decisive and bold action than an adverse event which the solar winds hack, the very sophisticated cyber attack that you referenced, is. and we as a government working with congress are taking a look at what additional funding can be provided to enhance the security and safety of our federal infrastructure and our federal information systems. and to work with the private
sector in a public-private partnership to strengthen the hygiene of critical infrastructure throughout the united states of america. in the cyber arena specifically there's a saying that we are only as strong as our weakest link and we need to strengthen our weakest link to make sure that we as a nation are safe and secure from these pernicious attacks by our adversaries. >> now, mayorkas steps into this role with a lot of experience in the department. he was deputy dhs secretary, as we mentioned, in the obama administration. prior to that he was also the director of u.s. citizenship and immigration services. some of his predecessors have noted all that experience means he needs no on the ground training. he's also a former federal prosecutor. but it's his personal story that his supporters say really sets him apart. his mother is from romania and fled fascism. several of his jewish relatives were killed in the holocaust. they landed in cuba, where his family then experienced
communism under the castro regime. he knows what it feels like to come to america in pursuit of democratic ideals and a better future. and that's really what's driving him and his mission to protect the united states from threats abroad and within, wolf. >> excellent. excellent interview, ana. really moving. and you can see how moved he was in talking about his own family experience and how has impacting his new role as the secretary of homeland security. he's a child of holocaust survivors. so it has a deep, deep meaning. allowed to come to the united states from cuba after the war, start a new life. it was very, very powerful indeed. thank you so much, ana, for bringing us that interview. appreciate it very much. there's more breaking news we're following. we're learning new information right now about the house gop meeting as the divided party considers consequences for one lawmaker who voted to impeach former president trump and another lawmaker who's made extremist comments, spread conspiracy theories and lies.
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♪ >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're following breaking news on a defining moment for republicans that's playing out right now up on capitol hill. the house gop has been meeting behind closed doors discussing whether to punish two members who symbolize the split within the party. the conspiracy-embracing representative marri