tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN February 15, 2021 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
stay with us cnn for an exclusive townhall event with president biden tomorrow night, 9 "p" live eastern from milwaukee, wisconsin. erin burnt outfront starts right now. outfront next, the purge, republicans trying to oust anyone not no lock step with trump. one congressman disowned by members of his family. is this a sign the gop is now truly the party of trump? plus cnn obtaining security video of the deadly capitol hill riot, as one republican snorps if it was an armed insurrection. if. en a president biden hitting the road to sell the koevrd relief plan but some supporters are worried he won't be able to deliver on promises. let's go outfront.
good evening, erin burnette welcome to a special edition. tonight republicans getting revenge on republicaning voting guilty. in north carolina a meeting going on atsz moment as i speak to censure senator richard burr, after burr voted to hold trump responsible for the insurrection, detailing reasons and conclusion summarize the the facts are clear. by what he did and by what he did not do, trump vitamined his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. senator bill cassidy also censured by the gop in his state of louisiana for his vote to convict. look, this is upsetting because it reflects a deep reality. the party reflecting the basis of its base. tonight adam kisso kinzinger who voted to impeach trump in the house. we'll put it up. the letter he received from members of his own family. there it is. it's a two-page, hand-written letter obtained by "the new york times," reading in part, oh, my, what a doiso days owe guys
appointment you are to us and god. we were once so proud of your accomplishments. instead you go against your christian principles and join the devil's army. they add, you have embarrassed the kinzinger family name. look this is upsetting to read. a family with a giant rift in it. real people, a real letter. they believe these things. they deserve empathy this is not sat ire. but instead of working to change what they believe this utter pile of non-sense, the gop and states across this country and the republican national committee itself is feeding the flames of the feelings that cause a letter like this to be written. at the same time, today, presidents' be the gop tweeting this image of president trump next to mt. rushmore. today we honor the great presidents making america the great country it is. and look at the crowd of supporters cheering on the man the gop honored, leaving trump
signs as he drives by in west palm beach, florida. this is what we heard from them today. >> everybody knows you won! >> again, these are real people. this is a real crowd of supporters today, and they really believe this great lie. and you may just like mitt romney, richard burr and susan collins and bill cassidy and lisa murkowski and ben toomey and adam kinzinger. you may hope the people saying kinzinger joined the devil's army are not controlling the republican party. you'd like to think it's a random fringe outliar. that's not true. they are controlling the republican party. this is way bigger than just that one letter to adam kinzinger. according to a new quinnipiac poll, 3 out of 4 republicans. last i checked that's 75% want to see trump play a big role in the gop. so look, republicans may only be
25% of the population. but these are all real people. and they really believe this. and while there are profiles in courage across the republican party and we have seen many in recent days. the most dangerous players right now are those who do not really believe in any of these wild lies at mitch mcconnell calls them. they don't believe in it but they are willing to peddle the lies now. exhibit a is lindsey graham who says trump plus is the ticket to win in 2022, who bragged today he is going golfing with trump this weekend. lindsey graham who won't stand up to people who believe democrats are the devil's army. graham is an enabler, collaborator to trump's great lie. and sure graham is a particularly ee egregious profile in sycophancy and weakness. but right now ds lindsey graham reflects the majority of gop. and jessica dean is outfront liver on capitol hill. what are you hearing tonight about those who oppose trump on
capitol hill, who voted guilty are flou facing ton. >> well, of course erin, we are waiting to see what happens with senator richard burr and the gop in the state of north carolina. we are expecting them to censure senator burr. he is not up for re-election. the voters won't be able to make voices heard on this in terms of voting for or against him again. but certainly seeing the state party censuring a long-sitting as for for his vote to impeach former president trump is quite a message. and of course those seven republicans you just named them, senator bill cassidy in louisiana, also facing censure from his republican party there in louisiana. and we have seen a number of gop committees in the state of pennsylvania censuring senator pat toomey since the vote on saturday. and we've learned the actual party there in pennsylvania will be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss censuring him as well. this is playing out in a number of states across the country. it was interesting -- there was a statement from the utah gop
party late this afternoon, erin. and they took a bit of a different approach. they really celebrated the diversity of thought. of course they are senator mike lee who voted to acquit and mitt romney voting to convict. and they said that there is power in our differences. that was the quoted from their release. a very different tact there from the state party in utah. but it's quite the cross-roads for the republican party as it sorts through this, looking to 2022 and if it can take back the house and senate. and you have someone like lindsey graham, calling former president trump the most potent force in the republican party. and then you have someone like senator bill cassidy of louisiana, again who voted to convict, who says that he believes former president trump's power will wane. it's back and forth. it's the push and bull that's playing out here as we look ahead to the next two years. and of course now that we have president biden's agenda coming to capitol hill, democrats make
an urgent push to get covid relief through. will it unify the republican party behind that message or continue to show fractures about the way award and the messaging that plays in as they moved toward 2022, erin. >> jessica thank you very much. let's go to longtime republican donor dan eberhardt. you have cassidy censured over the weekend. of course we have seen it in two dozen states across the country. various censures. utah, the one example. look, is this just a reflection, as i said of the basis of the base? is this just trump's gop now. >> absolutely i think an example you haven't mentioned is josh mandel announcing a fresh candidacy for the senate saying he is going to be a pro maga candidate when he didn't have to do that looking to 2022. he thinks rump is going to be
relevant when voters go to the polls in 2022. i think trump krped the republican party. it looks to me like wiley coyote style, the party may be willing to follow him over the cliff. it's to win elections to espouse something or stand for something and we didn't do it in november. during trump we started with the house, the senate and the white house. and we lost all three. now the party continues to follow him with the censuring of liz cheney, senator cassidy, senator burr. it's amazing to watch, really. very unfortunate as a longtime republican. >> it's amazing they are so successfully peddling the message is coming with this guy. when all this guy has done in politics in america is lose. you know, ever since 2016, right when he won the white house. so, john, let me show the handwritten letter that congressman kinzinger shared from family members. i find in letter very moving.
because it shows the personal level of how much people believe it. it's breaking a family apart. after saying kinzinger is going against christian principles and joined the devil's army. the letter says president trump is is not perfect but neither are you for any of that matter. but he is christian. it's most medium sizing underlined three times to us that we are related to you. kindsinger's cousin spoke to the "new york times" and said, quote, i want adam shunned. what does this say about the future of the party, john? >> it shows that the fault lines are gone well beyond politics, that what we're dealing with is not christian principles. it's something like a cult. and like all cults and extremist groups in history, one of the things they focused on is hunting down her ticks, because it's a way to enforce group think. and that's a sign of how deep the rot has got with
poorlization and hyperpartisanship. cowardly politicians can say i need to win the primary i can't win without hugging donald trump. but at some point you alienate not only from the majority of americans but independent voters 50% of the electorate in the gallup poll. 150,000 who proactively deregistered from the republican party in the wake of the capitol hill attack. this capturing by the base is a deep sign of sickness. if people are punishing folks who tell the truth, we know which way history works. >> and, dan, certainly that's the point you need making here. that the letter kinzinger's cousins say good luck in the fundraising endeavors. we should demand our money back. dan, this is ultimately a question of money for a lot of people, right? is adam kindsinger going to have a hard time raising money now. >> i think they'll have a hard time. but i was going to say in response to what john said within the rink party has a choice right now do we want to
be the republican party of ronald reagan and prescribe the 11th commandment thousand shalt not speak ill of other republicans. or do we want a barry galled water, pure, around trump-on shun the others but lose elections like barry gold water lost in 1964. i'm afraid we are schusing to lose in hanlds. republicans needed to step back and say how do we win elections and get a center-right thought and our policies through? and is that more important than circling around -- the wagons around trump who lost in 2020? this is a kamzky mission. >> you have bloodstream bleaching devils's army on thearian level. but 75% of gop voters want a big future for trump. 20% don't. when you're in the primary, it's the voters 25% of the country, those voters matter in the
primary that's how you get to the general. they matter a lot. trump puts out a statement that he is going to be involved. it reads, quote, i look forward to inour incredible journey to achieve american greatness for all of our people. the problem, john, he isn't going anywhere. how happy was he today when they chant at him him, we know you won. >> it's the ultimate narcissist bath. and the problem is it's rooted in fundamental unreality. the prom with the barry bold batter rowe water v reagan parallel. there was a ideology, thought out philosophy. you can say they were too isolated from the general electorate. they were in that election. but this isn't about ideas any more. let's not kid ourselves. this is a cult of personality attracting authoritarian minded folks, incredibly dangerous for our democracy. we need two parties that try to
reach the center and have an interest in governing. what we have seen about donald trump is sthaer willing to follow this guy even after he incites an insurrection in the capitol. there is nothing less than conservative than a violent mob attacking a capitol. >> and yet, dan, you have people like lindsey graham, still with a megaphone, as i said a, a collaborate rater of model of sycophancy and weakness and a guy that still has power. >> look his strangle hold on the party seems to appear. like in the josh mandel example, with the lindsey graham, the party is circling the wagons, trump ito is our guy and we're marching with him. seems to be in february of 2021. we're march into the mid-terms with him in the control of the party. i think it's a dangerous path pap causing longtime republicans a lot of concern. we need to be a bigger tent party that allows a lot of streams of thought and may the best person win the primaries. right now the republicans are clearly afraid of friendly fire in a primary much more than afraid of the democratic opponents in november of 2022
and it's clear and scary. >> thank you both very much. and next obtaining security video from inside the capitol during the riot. a stunning level of coordination shown. plus top republicans turn on mitch mcconnell after he clearly and by the way gave the best speech of his life but voted against his speech. said trump provoked the republican attack. but there is a republican who says mcconnell didn't go far enough. he is my guest. back to march of last year that's the warning about testing for coronavirus strains from a former biden coronavirus adviser.
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astonishing security system videos and stretching bodycam images, assembled by the impeachment team, details are emerging that were not shown in the trial, painting a sharper picture of just how big and coordinated the attack was. >> you're going to need to get us more help up here. we don't have enough people to hold the line. >> in this silent security video when one entryway is breached more than 150 rioters charge through in just a minute 1/2. many wearing helmets, paramilitary group and carrying weapons and flag poles, some used to strike officers. in other videos you can see police trying to stop the mob with hand to hand combat, only to be driven back by the sheer number of intruders, who rapidly seize the corridor. and behind the first wave, other videos show rioters waving up reinforcements who charge into the fray even as radios crackle through the afternoon througho with overwhelmed officers.
>> we're getting orders from the top, the inaugural deck. >> when vice-president mike pence and his family were hustled out the secret service appeared solidly in charge. but as capitol police stalked the stairway elsewhere, guns drawn, another cameras riot he is feet away taunting them making obscene gestures and not backing down. >> we have lost the line. we have lost the line. all m p. d. pull back. and this is really one of the most clear things that you see in all of these videos as you watch them, hour after hour, the fact that these rioters showed no real fear of the police. they pushed them, shoved them, struck them at will and showed no intention of backing down. and indeed, erin, i have to say when you watcher it all you have to think that it was the professionalism and restraint of the police that kept this from being a lot more deadly. >> certainly. certainly they would have been
justified in taking much more action, you know, than they did. tried to be so restrained. thank you very much, tom pap and outfront now congressman ted liu of california pb one of the managers you have seen a lot of him in recent days. congressman speaker pelosi said there is going to be an outside, 9/11 type commission to investigate what led to the attack on the u.s. capitol. let's be clear, you have laid out the facts in a damning way to the world for history regardless of the vote. does any of this -- does this add value? or does this just drag this out add the taint of partisanship? i mean is it worth it. >> thank you, erin, for your question. i fully support speaker pelosi's 9/11 style commission. one thing they will find is that donald trump incited the insurrection. leading from that are a whole host of questions we don't know yet. such as how do we have such a massive breakdown in security?
what other thing could the department of homeland security done for example to pryo try to prevent the attack? and there is a lot of questions we have to delve into and look at the recommendations as to how do we make our capitol even safer? german 6th is a horrific day. and we need to investigate all aspects of this. >> that it was. and you're saying that, you know, you proved donald trump incited it. there are some though -- there is one republican senator today who is actually questioning the entire premise let whole thing, which is whether there was an armed insurrection to begin with. senator ron johnson. i don't know if you heard this, congressman let me play it for you. >> this didn't seem like an armed insurrection to me. i mean, armed when you think -- hear of armed don't you think of firearms? here is the questions i would have liked to asked. how many firearms were confiscated in how many shots fired? i'm only aware of one. >> we just saw a videos a group of people in full military greer
going through. 65 police officers were injured this that day. eyes outage, fingers lost. beaten. and yet he says this didn't seem like an armed insurrection to him. what do you say to senator johnson? i'm a former prosecutor. it's very clear that arms applies to more than just guns. it applies to fire extinguishers, flag poles, any sort of object that you can use to beat someone skull in or bash them with. that's what they did on january 6th. what we're really watching is the radicalization of the republican base. they're basically fomg leaders, like marjorie taylor greene and donald trump telling people to ignore what they saw with their eyes and heard with their ears. >> during the impeachment trial, you had one of the most memorable lines, congressman and it was, quote, i'm not afraid of donald trump running again in four years. i'm afraid he is running again and lose because he can do this again. i just noted a quinnipiac poll
at the top of the show, congressman liu, that said 75% of republicans want trump to continue to play a big role in the gop. he sees that -- i don't know if you saw he had people in palm beach cheering him on as he drove by saying we all know you won. that's what he heard from supporters. do you think he is emboldens now he got acquitted again? >> i do not. an overwhelming majority of the house, concluded donaldo donald trump incited insurrection as well as the senate. in any other context 57 to 43 is not close. and recently pollsing shows overwhelming majority of american people, 58% believe donald trump incited an insurrection. it's hard to run when more than half the country by a large margin believes that you incited a violent attack on our nation's capitol. >> so you're a prosecutor as you said. and mitch mcconnell when he gave his speech. which it was the best of his
career. then of course he voted to acquit. but his speech was damning, right? in terms of what he said about trump. but what he said when he voted to acquit was he noted we have a criminal justice system in this country. and and thump etrump has not been held accountable yet. implying that was the forum in which he felt trump should be accountable. however, inciting insurrection is a steep climb in a courtroom. you're a former prosecutor. you're a lawyer. do you think everyone missed the one chance they would have to hold him accountable? >> let's take a step back and think how remarkable mitch mcconnell's steam is. this is the leader of the republicans in the senate. basically saying that criminal prosecutors should investigate donald trump. >> yeah. >> essentially sess a step away from saying lock him up. that is a remarkable statement. now we do in fact have a prosecutor investigating donald trump's conduct in gay when representative raskin, cicilline and i drafted the articles of impeachment we thought it was
important to include was donald trump was trying to do to steal the election in georgia. and now we have a prosecutor rooking into that very fact. >> all right well congressman liu, i appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you. >> and next i'm talking to a republican leader from pennsylvania who received death threats after defending his state's election. tonight his message to the gop after he chose not to convict trump, saying he didn't cause anybody to do anything. plus biden looking to sell his agenda and connect with voters at a cnn townhall. can he deliver? >> i felt skeptical and nervous when people say they want to unite everyone. ? i didn't-- aah! ok. i'm on vibrate. aaah! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ ♪ hey you, yeah you. i opened a sofi money account and it was the first time that i realized
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new ton, top republican senators criticizing minority leader mitch mcconell for his scathing speech about former president trump after he voted to acquit trump of inciting the capitol insurrection. >> he has to realize as our leader what he says reflects on us. >> right. he is representing the entire caucus. >> i didn't particularly like it. >> got a load off his chest, obviously.
but uvrmt he put a load on the back of republicans. i think his speech is an outliar regarding how republicans feel about all this. >> one republican who does not feel mcconnell went far enough is flechld city commissioner al schmidt. he tweeted leader mcconnell incited supporters to kill my children and put heads on spikes because we counted votes cast by eligible voters they named my children in threats. please consider when voting your conscience. and al schmidt is outfront. for sure i really appreciate your time. you know you put that plea out to senator mcconnell. he did not, obviously, take that plea, right. he gave perhaps the best speech of his career. but what stood obviousliway was his vote and voted to acquit. how disappointed are you? >> i'm very disappointed and like most persons certainly the majority of americans i agreed with every word that he said in his statement. it's just at the end i didn't agree with his -- his vote.
as senator cassidy -- and some others have said, you know, his guilt -- the former president's guilt or innocence is really not no question here. it's pretty obvious what he did. >> so, you know, it is. but as you saw, you know, that wasn't how the vote went for 43 republicans. you put principle over party, because you insisted the election count was tee free and fair from interference. this is the way it is in philadelphia. then trump attacked you on twitter. and what he said is a guy named al schmidt, a so-called republican, being used big time by the fake news media to explain how honest things were with respect to the election in philadelphia. he refuses to look at mountains of corruption appear dishonesty we bin. then you get hit by a surge and death threats, death threats to
you your family, your staff gets death threats. yet 43 republicans say trump is not responsible for anything that happened in the capitol, anyone reverting to violence. what do you say to them. >> i know it sounds cliche but words are important. and words can tacko cause people to take actions. in this case, those actions involved, whether it's the attack on the capitol on the washington, d.c. or threats to myself or colleagues, here in pennsylvania or georgia, or michigan, democrats and republicans who are simply doing their job, which is counting eligible votes cast by voters on or before election day. there have to be consequences to doing those things, to encouraging that sort of behavior. and it's really distressing the way that people just seem to crave, wanting to be lied to in this way.
there is no evidence whatsoever that the election was fraudulent. >> there is none and it's been through the courts. and it's been checked, recounted. none at all. and obviously joe biden won by more than 7 million votes, electoral margin, the same as trump had in 2016. i want to ask you, though, about toomey in your state. one of the seven republicans who did vote to convict the former president is pat too manymy, of course from pennsylvania. the pennsylvania state republican party has emailed county officials to say it's going to meet to decide this if they're taking any action against toomey. the context is burr is about be censured tonight. cassidy has already been censured. he really took a stand, cassidy, because he is up for re-election, not retiring, rerunning he put his career on the line to do the right thing. do you think anything will happen to toomey from the republican party in your state? >> you know, it's strange to hear republican organizations complaint about cancel culture
and yet they are seeking to censure republican elected officials who have done nothing more than told the truth. if they would like to censure someone, i would suggest they yensy yur republican election officials who are lying to voters. those lies have consequences. as we have seen around the country, as we have seen in washington, d.c., as i've seen, you know, outside my house, there are consequences to these lies. and honestly, i don't know what the solution is to get around all of this. i've been asked, you know, what is the best way to communicate with this? hue how due break through this mindset that just seemingly wants to be lied to? i've seen it in my own family. i've seen it with my own friends, who will believe that the election was stolen. and i'm saying to them, but if the election was stolen in philadelphia, i would have been
the one stealing it. and they respond, oh, no, not you. you would never do that. but still they want to -- they want to somehow believe it. they crave that -- that belief. and it's really disturbing. because i don't know what to do about it. >> i think that's a scary thing, it's upsetting because it's real and you have empathy for people thinking these things. you want to break through but no one succeeded in doing it yet. no one has succeeded in doing it yet. and that's really frightening as you point out. i appreciate your time, commissioner. i thank you. i know it's not easy for you to do these things and say these things. i thank you. >> thank you. >> and next president biden about to hold his first townhall as president. what do his supporters actually want to hear? plus researchers say they've discovered seven new strains of coronavirus across the united states. (burke) at farmers, we know how nice it is to save on your auto policy. but it's even nicer knowing that if this happens... ...or this... ...or even this... ...we've seen and covered it. so, call 1-800-farmers and get a quote today.
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new ton, president biden back at the white house. he spent the weekend at camp david. while there focused on his covid relief plan for people affected by the pandemic. one day before he is taking questions from voters he does a townhall with cnn in wisconsin. jeff zeleny is outfront. >> yeah i'm giving it another shot. >> caroline quinn lynn didn't vote for joe biden but is
pulling for his success. >> i think he is a very nice man. i think he is very good. one of the last politicians i think can go across the aisle and meet with people. that's something it's a big plus. >> when we first met quinn lan in the heat of the kban last fall she was torn. >> i get it why people don't like trump. but at the same time he has done a few things i thought were important. >> but said she ultimately decided trump would do a better job fixing the economy. >> i voted for trump. >> in the end biden won wisconsin by less than 1 point and the city of cedar burg by only 19 votes. turning the reliable milwaukee suburb blue the first time in a quarter of century. with most signs of the election gone it's a new season and many voters say a fresh start from the acrimony from the trump era. >> just the tone down of the rhetoric, not having to be glued to the tv or social media to find out the latest is going on has been very refreshing. >> you're welcome, hon. >> natasha, los is a small
business owner who supported biden but sense as era of calm. >> you can tell there is more civilly than there was. >> without a doubt, jeff, i feel like that has started to come back as it pertains to maverick. as a business orion i come to work wanting to share joy and happiness. >> you sell toys. >> i sell toys. i was not interested in being a part of any political anything in my store. that's one thing we don't try to do here. >> the headwinds come in view at a vaccination center. >> our goal is to provide a thousand vaccines day seven days a week. the limitation currently is the number of vaccines. >> paul is the waukesha county executives. he voted for trump but praised biden's pledge to restore unity. >> for me, it's compromise. and by that i mean it's working together to come up with a solution.
>> yet compromise also comes with complications for biden. >> angela lange and her group black leaders organizing for communities helped push biden over the finish line as black voters did across the country. >> we did elect people knowing they're not perfect. we have to hold them accountable. >> she said she is patiently waiting for biden to take steps to systemically combats systemic racism. >> i get skeptical and nervous when people want to unite everyone and bring everyone together. i think sometimes that means watering down progressive policies for the sake of unity. >> congratulations, mr. president. >> and for biden, that is the challenge. trying to be a successful leader in the eyes of lange, quinn lynn and all others who hunger for change. >> he is the president, so it's like let him do his job. and then we can decide in four years if we want him or somebody else. >> now, covid relief, opening
schools and fixing the economy. all of these issues are top of mind to voters here. and president biden will come face-to-face with voters the first time since taking office. now hanging over all this is his ability to win over his detractors, keep supporters happy all while governing. he is of course entering the second month of his presidency trying to get the covid relief bill passed. he has so many challenges await zbroog thank you very much. i want to go to laura baron lopez she is a reporter for oh covering the biden administration and i know you talked to many voters. cedar burg, a 19-vote split. it shows you how split it is in the country. how much is at stake, laura. one of the voters jeff talked to angela lange what she said stood out to me. i get skeptical and nervous when people want to unite everyone and bring people together. injury sometimes that means watering down progressive policies for the sake of unity. how much pressure is biden facing from the progressive wing
of his party right now? >> well, he is facing a lot of pressure, erin, particularly inside this covid relief bill, the big one that biden is trying to pass as soon as march. there is a provision that would raise the minimum wage $15. biden's administration supports it. but there is a lot of concern about whether or not that will survive reconciliation in the senate. not just because republicans don't support it but because there are a number of senate democrats, joe manchin of west virginia with be kirsten sinema of arizona who don't want it in the bill, they argue it's not pertinent to a budget bill, one of targeting covid relief and progressives want to see biden see all of the tools at his disposal to get it done. they don't want the excuse vs disunit in the caucus. they want him leaning on senators to get it done. and they call it a first big test for him. >> i'm not saying it flies in
the face of unity. there is loots are lots of ways to look at it. but one of the challenges that biden have is that progress estes, the left-wing of the party want a list of deliverable. people like sinema and manchin and other moderates may not want. right now the bloom is on the rose. but can it stay that way? you can't keep all the people, happy, can you? >> well, that's going to be the tricky part, right when you're in the majority. they control the house, senate and white house. a lot of democrats want to see big things done that they haven't been able -- that they weren't able to accomplish in the obama years and that of course they weren't able to do because any didn't have the majority during the trump years. and so not only do any consider the $15 minimum wage a first big test, pretty soon they're going to be trying to get going on different elements of immigration reform. and the big question there is comprehensive reform. democrats may want it. but the reality is and see there
aren't the votes there in the senate if they don't use other procedural tools. the idea that they can get senate -- ten senate republicans behind massive immigration reform is pretty much not -- not possible. and so they're going to have to look at ways to break those things down to get it through the 50/50 senate. >> all right. well lara thank you. i'm glad to see you. >> thank you. >> and. next a vaccine expert who worked with biden team raising a red flag about testing for new strains of coronavirus. and dr. anthony fauci revealing details about working in the trump white house. at hom. insurance is cool. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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rick bright is a vaccine expert, and his tweet is, quote, very concerned about the variants we know and more so of the ones we don't. we are not the esting, tracking these variants. it's february/march 2020 all over again. how concerned are you about these variants and the fact that the united states right now basically is not even looking for them? >> hi, erin. well, we heard tonight that there's going to be a 9/11 commission to look at the insurrection and i think when the pandemic is finally over, we'll have a 9/11 commission to look at the myriad of mistakes that have been made over the last 13 months during this pandemic. and one of those mistakes is not having a robust surveillance program to identify these variants as they emerge. so, it's a cautionary tale. look, viruses mutate. this virus has been mutating from the beginning.
there are dozens of variants that have been identified, maybe more, over the last -- over the last year. what this does show is that we really need to rebuild our genomic surveillance program and identify in real time when these variants emerge. and as the implication is, eventually, there will be a variant that will evade testing and evade our current vaccines. there's no evidence that these variants do that, but that's the concern going forward. >> well, it is the concern. and you could see a variant do that, be slightly more deadly and evade and all of a sudden you have another disaster on your hands, right? and if you don't see it, now we've seen how this happens, it gets out of control before you even know it's there. so, i understand what you're saying. i want to ask you, in terms of where we are now, though, this pressure to get students and teachers back into the classroom. you actually have an idea and i saw it today, watching you on twitter, where you vaccinate all teachers within two weeks.
k-12, all teachers, you can do it in two weeks but schools wouldn't reopen until april. so, lay out the plan. >> look. the cdc put forth this plan to open schools but it requires schools to open in places where the level of virus is low in the community and most parts of the country don't have that right now, almost 89% of the districts are still in red zones. it requires big, physical distancing in classrooms, six feet between students and, you know, classrooms are cramped. it's going to be impossible to do that. plus, the reassuring data about the low level of transmission in schools was acquired in a non-variant environment and with the emerging variants, there's no data to reassure teachers. so, let's treat teachers like first responders. let's treat them the way they need to be treats and vaccinate them all. next week, the fda is going to review the data for the johnson
& johnson vaccine, which is likely to be approved shortly thereafter. take the first 4 million doses of that vaccine and dedicate it to america's teachers. let's not just say, oh, you're eli eligible, no, let's take the vaccine and vaccinate them the way health care workers were vaccinated. you know, bring them all into school and vaccinate every teacher in the country, open schools three weeks later. >> all right, dr. reiner, thank you very much. >> my pleasure. next, president biden getting ready to take part in his first town hall as president. you'll see it here on cnn. so, what is it going to be about? that's next.
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plan. takes to the road tomorrow, heading to wisconsin, a state he flipped in the recent election by about 20,000 votes. so, can he convince the american public to get on board and pressure representatives in washington? he'll be taking questions in milwaukee and the cnn town hall with anderson cooper will be here tomorrow night at 9:00 eastern. anderson starts now. and good evening. there is breaking news tonight. house speaker nancy pelosi briefing house democrats on plans to establish an outside, presumably nonpartisan 9/11-style commission to investigate the causes of the january 6th attack on the talk mo capitol. talk more about that in a moment. first, though, how his motivation for putting the impeachment trial behind him difers from republicans, who also want to close the book on it. for starters, president biden wants to focus on covid relief legislation and specific and more generally on re-establishing a sense of continuity with the way pres