tv CNN Newsroom With Pamela Brown CNN February 14, 2021 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
safely. but she took her last breath on a ventilator. >> she was fighting. she was fighting really, really hard. she was fighting through the whole thing. i know for a fact she was fighting really hard because she knew that baby was still in the nicu. >> nick says they are remaining strong. nick takes it as a sign that zerena is watching over him. >> if i could tell her anything, i would say, babe, i love you so much. i know that the lord has you, but i got this. i'll take care of the family. we successfully prosecuted him and convicted him in the court of public opinion and in the court of history. we could have a thousand witnesses but that could not have overcome the kinds of silly arguments that people like mcconnell were hanging their
hats on. they're trying to have it both ways. >> we didn't need more witnesses. we needed for senators with spines. >> we need to work with president trump. we can't do it without him. to you, president trump, you need to build the republican party stronger. >> i think that the final chapter of donald trump and where the republican party goes hasn't been written yet. i think we're going to have a real battle for the soul of the republican party. >> i'm a strong advocate of teachers receiving their vaccinations, but we don't think it is a prerequisite for schools to open. >> i don't understand why we're having a debate about this. of course teacher vaccinations are essential. i'm pamela brown in washington. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. we are live in the "cnn newsroom" on this sunday evening. and former president trump is publically boosting of his acquittal, showing no remorse
surrounding his actions. but privately we're told he is expressing fears he could face charges for his role, and those fears could be justified. d.c.'s attorney general is carefully investigating whether the former president violated district law, sources say. cnn crime and justice correspondent joins me now. so what are we learning about this? >> yeah. so the attorney general here for the district of columbia is something -- this is something he's looking at. he has said as much. they're still looking at it, but it is an uphill battle for the attorney general here who would have a really hard time having any kind of jurisdiction over what the former president said here on january 6th. at most, what could happen, though, is he could potentially file some kind of misdemeanor charge against the former president. then there is all kinds of legal issues that could potentially unfold after that. but the president -- the former president, i should say, can't
just sit now and calmly not expect anything at all to happen. he has civil suits pending against him. two women who have accused him of sexual assault. those lawsuits are pending. and he has a major criminal investigation that is underway and inside the manhattan da's office looking at his finances and taxes and other information relating to his real estate properties. so he still has a lot that he's going to have to deal with in the months and perhaps even years to come with all of these legal roles that are going to be hanging over him for quite some time, pam. >> all right. thank you so much for bringing us the latest with that. and mitch mcconnell also addressed the legal troubles that await trump, making it clear he is no longer shielded from the law. this morning, republican governor larry hogan of maryland weighed in on that. >> well, it was interesting to
hear leader mcconnell's words were pretty strong. it didn't match how he voted, but i think he was moved by some of the arguments. i think there was yesterday's vote but there is definitely a number of potential court cases, and i think he's still going to face, you know, criminal courts and the court of public opinion. and this is, you know, not over. and we're going to decide over the next couple of years what the fate of donald trump and the republican party is. >> cnn senior political analyst joins me now for more. he is the former u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. thanks for coming on. let's get right to it. they were just talking about it. mcconnell is facing criticism for letting trump off the hook on impeachment while punting the issue to the justice system. how likely is it that trump will face real legal consequences for his action surrounding the capitol attack? >> well, my honest answer on this vailen tine's should always be truthful but especially on
valentine's day is we don't know. one thing we don't have yet is we don't have the new leadership in place at the department of justice. merrick garland has a hearing coming up in the next few days. i imagine he will be peppered with questions about this. i imagine if he's as smart as i know he is, he will avoid answers those questions because he will not have access to the materials without a chance to consult with the new team he will be bringing in. but there are, you know, uphill battles to bringing criminal charges of any sort. one thing i can say is to the extent that the department of justice will consider bringing charges with respect to the investigation, that's viable. i don't know what kind of evidence they could bring to bear, but they're not going to be able to do it by talking about news reports and by playing videos. they will have testimony from real people in the room with donald trump to shine the light on what his intentions were.
that's not easy particularly if they're not friendly witnesses or if they're going to claim attorney-client privilege. >> that's interesting. you said it would be a viable investigation. we know the d.c. attorney general is looking at charges for january 6th focussing on a sedition of disorderly conduct statute. no reasonable prosecutor would dream of bringing a charge on that. what do you think? >> i don't know what that person knows that other people don't know. again, i'm not putting myself in the place of the person who is making the decision, but there is a lot of evidence that relates to various statutes including the insurrection statute that was brought to bear not in the way you need to do it in the court of law where the rules of evidence apply and the verdict is unanimous from the jury beyond a reasonable doubt. those are much higher burdens than you have in a sort of free for all in the senate impeachment trial.
but i think it is reasonable. i'm not saying it is definite. i'm not saying it's 100%. but based on what we have seen, it would be reasonable for law enforcement officials to decide first we should open an inquiry and take a look at this and not just dismiss it out of hand. once we have done the investigation and, you know, finished the inquiry and gotten information in terms of grand jury material, maybe there is other phone call information, we don't know all the calls that donald trump made. we don't know what all the witnesses would say about what he said. and then you make a determination. is it a little tough? yes. but i think there is a reasonable basis based on what we know so far to open the door. >> gotcha. so you have the capitol attack. that's just one of the legal problems facing trump as a private citizen. he faces investigations over calls he made to georgia election officials in an attempt to overturn the state's election results. we heard him on tape asking the
secretary of state to find votes. how tough will it be to show he had the intent to commit election fraud? >> intent is always something that's difficult to prove. we can't read people's minds, so we have to infer intent from the things people said, from the position that they're in and from the things that they do. and part of showing that his intent was to violate the law in connection with the georgia election, you have to show that what he was intending for that official to do was do something untoward. when he said find the votes, he didn't mean to do that unlawfully. he didn't mean to do that at a whim, but it sure sounds like that's what he was asking for. so depending on what you can show with respect to donald trump's actions, intentions in the context as was shown at the senate impeachment trial, based on other things that he did, i think it's reasonable to make an argument to a jury in the future depending on what the standards
are under georgia law that he was spending to have someone do something to change the results of the election. he took action after action after action with respect to michigan, with respect to georgia, with respect to january 6th and the counting in the congress. so i think you take all those things together. and if you have other concrete evidence showing his intent, maybe you have a shot. but again with respect to all those things, it is not easy. it is not an easy road. >> why isn't it an easy road? >> because showing intent is hard. because there is always going to be arguments. look, some of the things that donald trump is smart about, he doesn't say the absolute instruction outloud. with respect to the insurrection, for example, his lawyers were able to make some argument. i think it failed ultimately and that's why you had a bipartisan majority. not enough. but he did not say, go to the capitol and break the windows
and alter the count and kill people and maim people. i think what he did was sufficient under the standard for impeachment. but similarly with georgia, you don't have the president saying go do something illegal. he's pretty explicit but not fully explicit. whenever you have that gap, prosecutors have to be careful how they make their case. that's where the difficulty is. >> i see. thank you so much for helping us better understand all of this. we really appreciate it. cnn senior legal analyst. thanks so much. >> take care. >> this just in to us. new coronavirus mutations have just been identified in the u.s., and they appear to make the virus more transmissible. and then later, life inside extremist groups, whether it's religious or political. there is a way out. i will talk to someone who lived it and escaped it. you're in the "cnn newsroom."
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to cnn. coronavirus researchers announced troubling new findings. a batch of mutations has been found in the u.s. that appears to make the virus more transmissible. researchers at the university of new mexico health sciences and a louisiana state health sciences center made this discovery. we will keep you updated as we learn more. and meantime, though, the numbers are encouraging. the cdc says more than 38 million people have now received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine with almost 14 million receiving both shots. and the latest data shows that cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all going down. cnn has more on that and the debate over when schools should reopen. >> headed into valentine's day, fewer than 70,000 people in the u.s. are in the hospital with covid-19, a level we haven't seen in about three months. but looking ahead at the next
three months, another 130,000 people in the u.s. are projected to die of the coronavirus by june 1st, according to the university of washington's institute for health metrics and evaluation. what could make things worse, analysis of existing research in the u.k. suggests the variant first identified there makes the virus more severe. >> it makes people more sick and it is more likely to lead to serious complications. the somewhat comforting news is that the vaccine that we are now currently distributing, the moderna vaccine and the pfizer vaccine clearly work against this variant. >> some teachers are now among those receiving the more than 50 million vaccine doses administered across the country, including in colorado where teachers became eligible this week. >> it is very exciting and it is a step closer to what everyone wants, which is schools back open full-time with teachers and students. >> while the cdc director is a strong advocate for teachers
getting vaccinated, it is not a prerequisite for opening schools. instead, they suggest universal masking. >> it sounds to me like you are asking for 100% mask compliance and a number of measures that we're never going to be able to achieve. that makes me feel like, boy, i don't think the schools will ever be able to open until everybody is vaccinating. >> if over 90% of people when they're masked you have have safe reopening of schools. this is directly related to how much disease is in the community. we have more flexibility in opening schools as our disease rates come down. >> it includes preventing crowds. 40,000 people are at the cheer sport national competition this weekend in atlanta. though events are staggered with cleaning and mask wearing protocols in place. still, it is the largest event in atlanta since the pandemic began. in new orleans, crowds on
bourbon street more than a week ago prompted the city to close down bars through mardi gras. >> i think it's terrible. the worst part is they didn't announce that until after everyone had already booked rooms. >> it is a different kind of ghost town. but this haunted history tour guide supports the move. >> we have to keep each other safe for right now so we can actually celebrate mardi gras for years to come. >> well, now that the second impeachment trial is over, the republican party is split on how to move forward and whether to follow former president donald trump. former senators doug jones and jeff flake join me next. you are live in the "cnn newsroom." we'll be right back.
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well, yesterday the senate acquitted former president trump in his second impeachment trial. but it still produced the most bipartisan conviction vote in history, with seven republicans joining 50 democrats to vote guilty. depending on which republican you ask, that tally either means the g.o.p. is still the party of trump or it shows republicans are ready to move on without him. >> the trump movement is alive and well. people believe that he brought change to washington. policy-wise it was long overdue. all i can say is that the most potent force in the republican party is president trump. >> i think his force wanes.
the republican party is more than just one person. >> here to discuss the g.o.p. identity crisis is doug jones. and also with us is cnn political commentator and former republican senator from arizona jeff flake. thank you both for coming on. this is really the hot topic right now of course in the wake of the vote yesterday. and senator flake, i want to ask you. moderate republicans, as you just heard senator cassidy there, insist that the party is ready to move on from trump. so why isn't that actually happening? >> well, i'm with cassidy. it simply has to. we have no choice. we're headed down a demographic cult k cul-de-sac if we don't.
we lost the house and the senate. we have to move on. it's difficult because the president's base is still there, but we have to move on. >> and what if you don't? what if it just is the party of trump? >> well, we'll just continue to lose seats. we'll continue to be, frankly, a permanent minority if we continue. so we have to. we should want to as well. i mean, look at what has happened since the last election. the president lost the election. then used every lever at his disposal to hang on to the white house. we saw what resulted on january 6th. >> it is interesting because both of you have in one way or another faced the consequence of going up against trump, right? i mean, senator jones, you know about tough impeachment votes. you lost your seat after voting to convict trump the first time around. lisa murkowski is the only republican senator up for re-election in 2022 that voted
to convict. why do you think she made that vote while so many others put electoral consequences above holding trump accountable? >> i think lisa is a person of honor and integrity and really believes in her oath and the duty she has to the people of her state. and she believed in that vote and doing the right thing. it is just that simple. there are those people in washington, d.c. they may be rare. but there are those people who put principal and country above party and their own politics. and lisa certainly did that. and i think you got to look at bill cassidy and pat toomy and richard burr and the others. they still are facing blowback and they put their country above their party. >> senator flake, you faced backlash for speaking out against trump. the same thing is happening with republicans who voted guilty yesterday, including senator
cassidy there. if this cycle of infighting continues, what will that mean for the midterms? >> well, it's going to be difficult, obviously, in the midterms if the president still controls a big chunk of the base. i think that his influence is going to wane a lot faster than he thinks it is. once you lose the trappings of office and the levers of power and, you know, trumpism is really more of an attitude than a philosophy and it relies on winning. and when you didn't win, then you lose a lot of that swagger that's required to keep it going. so i think that his influence will diminish. it has to if republicans are going to have a chance. but in the meantime, these brave senators who voted to convict are going to face a rough time as they go in arts or wherever they come in contact with large public gatherings. there are people who are very upset with what they did. but i know they were willing to face that to do the right thing.
>> yeah. you saw lindsey graham initially after the riot said that trump is part of the problem, not the solution. he was huddled in the airport. and now he's going to mar-a-lago to be with the president to talk about 2022. there is all these questions about what will happen next for trump. while he didn't get convicted in the impeachment, will he face legal charges? do you think the justice department should pursue charges against him? >> i think they have to look into everything that happened leading up to january 6th and on january 6th. i think they have to look at every speaker that was on that platform, including the former president. i think they have to look at the others. but i also think they have to go back and talk to people, look at everything that happened, the tweets, the contacts that the former president may have had with individuals, how this was planned, if there was whatever coordination that was there. i was listening to your show a few minutes ago, and i understand and i know this would be a tough deal, but i don't think the justice department has
much choice but not to look into everything that occurred leading up to the just incredible violent insurrection we saw on january 6th. >> but senator, do you think that charges or even an investigation, we learned there is an investigation against trump in terms of into the riot dampen his support or would it just unite the g.o.p. around him? will it become this rallies cry of, oh, he's a victim again of the deep state of a witch hunt? >> i think it depends on what they look into. word is they're looking in as are state prosecutors at what happened in georgia. that's really not well known. i mean, calling the secretary of state and asking him to find votes, i think that that does diminish his appeal. it would be different perhaps if he were still in office and he had more levers at his disposal and if he still had his, you know, twitter handle. but he doesn't.
so i think it does matter and it will diminish his support, which is already going to wane just simply by virtue of his being out of office. >> so impeachment is over. democrats promised relief checks as soon as biden entered into office. people are still waiting into that. have democrats botched this issue after running successfully on it to take back the senate? >> no, i don't think so. the president has only been inaugurated less than one month. and i think, you know, everything will tell you. jeff will tell you this. things don't move very quickly in washington, d.c. with that bureaucracy. now that impeachment trial is over, you will see them come back. they will be working on this package while they're out of washington, d.c. the leadership will be working on it with the white house. and i think when we get back -- when they get back in another week or so, you will see things move pretty quickly. i hope republicans in the senate and the house will get onboard with this now and try to come up
with a bipartisan package. i think that's what the american people demand. that's what they need and i am absolutely confident they will be able to get something through both the senate and the house that the president will sign. >> what do you think? do you think that could happen, senator flake? >> i do. and i certainly hope it does. i'm with doug. i mean, there are a lot of issues that need to, you know, we'll need bipartisan support on after this, and that will happen a lot easier if there is bipartisan support for this package. frankly, if you can't get support for a covid relief package which we've had frankly over the past year for the packages that have gone through already, then it's going to be difficult to find cooperation later on. so, yeah, i think it can happen and it will. >> so speaking of bipartisanship, axios reported that your name, senator flake, has been floated for potential ambassadorship. would you accept such a position? >> all i've said is i would have
an interest in making sure that president biden's foreign policy is bipartisan. you know, we used to say that partisanship stops at the water's edge. that needs to happen, and i think it can happen. but there has been no specific talks. >> no specific talks. so it sounds, though, that you would be open to it. and what does specific mean when you say that? i just have to parse words here? >> well, i think they're aways from decisions like they're talking about now. they still have half the cabinet to get through the senate. so i certainly have an interest in, like i said, making sure that our foreign policy is bipartisan. but we'll leave that to the biden administration to make those decisions. >> so it sounds like you have been in touch with the administration, right? >> right. >> okay. just want to make sure i got
that. okay. final words to you, senator jones. and what you think about that. so far there are no republicans in biden's cabinet. what do you think about the idea of a senator flake or other republicans joining the cabinet or being an ambassador? >> well, i think, number one, i'm a jeff flake fan. he sent me a campaign contribution in 2017, and i think i still have it. he said country over party at the end. and i am a big jeff flake fan. i think he would be a great ambassador wherever he would want to go. and i do believe joe biden will be looking at some of his republican colleagues and others for different places in the administration. we don't see that in the cabinet right now, but i think he's open to that. i think it would demonstrate to him and to the country that he really means what he says when he wants to reach across the aisle. as jeff said, that is especially true in foreign policy. we have got to get our foreign policy back in a situation where we have the respect of folks around the globe.
i think we have lost a lot of our luster with people around the globe. and i think a bipartisan effort like that would be just exactly what we need right now from this administration. >> okay. and just to put a button on this, senator flake. you said general talks. have you discussed anything other than ambassadorship, playing any other role in the biden administration with the administration so far? >> i'll leave that for the biden administration to talk about. >> okay. >> i have been really pleased with the names that have come forward so far, particularly on their national security and foreign policy team. they have some real seasoned experienced hands there, and that's great. >> okay. we'll leave it there. we'll keep pressing for answers. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> thank you, pamela. and don't forget to join us tuesday night when president joe biden joins anderson cooper live from milwaukee for an exclusive presidential town hall that starts at 9:00 eastern only on
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of the hundreds of people charged for alleged roles in the deadly capitol insurrection, some are outspoken qanon supporters. some republicans in congress ascribed to the dangerous movement and some families are being torn apart over the extremist conspiracy theories. cnn recently spoke to a woman who is cutting ties with her mother over qanon. >> i just want to have a mom who loves me. we passed that.
>> so another woman who wished to remain anonymous want the people behind the cult conspiracy to know this. >> that they have ruined my family. that they took what is supposed to be the best, most consistent, most loving part of my life and they turned it into evil. >> my next guest spent years as a member of the unification church, which some critics aleg is a cult. she is the founder of antidote, which is an organization that supports people who have lost loved ones to extremism and cults. and diane joins me now. >> hi, pamela. thanks so much for having me. >> so walk us through your experience and how you ultimately left the group you were involved in. >> well, i joined when i was 17, and i was idealistic. the vietnam war was going on,
and i was looking for a way to do something meaningful with my life. i met with group, and i got hooked into it and became really dedicated. i was an extremely dedicated member. and i spent five years of my life being what i considered a soldier for god. and then my family had me programmed. it was mostly my mom who was never going to give up. and, so, she hired someone to talk to me, and it worked. and i left, but that was kind of the beginning of the healing process. it takes a long time to put your life back together after something like that. >> i can't imagine. what really struck me in the story was how powerful the movement is. the fact that one of the moms, the first person we interviewed, basically chose qanon over her daughter. what is it about movements like this? what attracts people to a
movement like qanon? >> it's really an important question. and it's often misunderstood. what's really important to understand is that what pulls people in is on a psychological level. it is a psychological need that's very human, that's getting filled by these groups. and so for me it was idealism and a feeling like i wanted to do more with my life, and i don't think that's so different with qanon members. i think a lot of people feel like they have been left behind, like the world is progressing in a way they don't agree with and this -- the hook is that they feel drawn to a group that is speaking their language. they feel like now they have a group of people that are like minded. and at first it just fills this human need of feeling like i'm finally understood. i'm finally heard. and now i have this group of people that are like me.
and then it -- you just get deeper and deeper into it. and it starts becoming your identity. and you start feeling like your life purpose is to forward this mission. so it takes over your life, really. >> so how do you get out of that? i imagine for people it's hard to come back from that in many ways. just to even accept that, wow, look at what i've devoted my life to all these years. it was basically a sham. how do you come out of something like that? what should loved ones do to get a family member or a friend out of that rabbit hole? >> well, if you understand that what it's filling is a psychological need, then that's the first step. for me, what helped me to decide
to leave wasn't arguing about facts, whether sung young moon was the messiah or whether any of the doctrine i believed was true. what the key for me was understanding the tactics that were used to take advantage of my humanness, my idealism. and once i understood that, then my whole identity shattered because it becomes your identity. and, so, for loved ones, they feel like they can't get through. and, like, this person has become a completely other person. but what you have to understand is that part of the tactics that are so important, if you are addicted to power and what you want is to create an army of people willing to give their life for this cause, you have to convince people that they can't trust anyone other than this group. and, so, everybody outside of
that group becomes the enemy, the other. and, so, that's a big part of what happens with psychological manipulation, is that you have to convince the people that if they question anything, then they're succumbing to evil or wrong. and, so, what happens is that you start to believe that those people that you love, if you really love them, you will fight harder for what's right in the world. it becomes this righteousness that feels really good and this mission that feels really important. and, so, the way out is to open the door to the possibility that maybe you have been lied to, that maybe there has been tactics that have been used to take advantage of the best part of who you are. >> and that obviously worked for you. diane, founder of antidote,
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texas and ordered fema to bring assistance. a state of disaster has been announced for kansas because of the storm. in oklahoma dozens of collisions tonight after cars started piling up right outside oklahoma city. well, tonight we begin a journey across italy like no other. >> this masked man is acknowledged as one of the greatest cheese makers in italy. once this morning's collection of buffalo milk is heated, he separates out the curds and the whey. they are chopped and boiling water is added. the result is incredible. >> it's like he's a magician. you know what i mean? in italian, it means to cut off. and this ancient process gives the cheese its name.
>> mozzarella. >> the mozzarella then rests in a salt bath for a few hours. unlike other cheeses, which get better with age, mozzarella is best eaten fresh. >> stanley tucci told me about his new series. stanley, you're italian and you love to cook, so this show really seems like the perfect assignment for you. i think everyone would say it is the perfect assignment for them. who wouldn't want to do what you've been doing? tell us why you wanted to work on this project and what you want viewers to learn about italy and its many cuisines? >> it's an idea i had for a very long time. i found notes i had made about this probably about 12 years ago or so. cnn came to me almost three years ago now and said, would i be interested in doing a show?
i gave them a few ideas. this was one of them. as soon as i said, i think i would like to explore the regional cuisines of italy, and you saw everyone's eyes light up and they said, oh, yeah. that's a good idea. let's do that. so that was it. that's how it came about. >> and you're off to the races from there. in the premier episode you visit naples and the coast and you embark on a quest for something people in both italy and america have spent ages looking for and arguing over -- the perfect pizza. that is my favorite food by the way. what did you find? >> well, it is really interesting. i think the origins of pizza are really interesting. because it came about during the plague of sorts. because naples is a very old city and a city where -- that
was very poor with people living on top of one another and the hygiene was terrible, they ended up cooking dough but not baking it the way we do it now. they were frying it. and the frying helped sort of get rid of all the bacteria and all that sort of nasty stuff that was causing cholera. and that fried dough eventually turned into pizza. >> and stanley tucci, searching for italy, premise next. i'm pamela brown. happy valentine's day, everyone.
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it's hard to believe that just a few months ago the first wave of covid-19 had emptied the streets of naples and italy was in lockdown. thankfully, i've arrived during a brief moment of normality. restaurants are open and masks are not required outside. and we'll be sticking to the local rules. napoli is a truly thrilling city. the second you arriv