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tv   New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman  CNN  February 16, 2021 4:00am-5:01am PST

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joe biden. it's happening right here on cnn. his first town hall. his first real trip outside of washington as he heads to milwaukee to answer questions from voters. his first real chance to address the american people since the impeachment trial of his predecessor. now, we expect him to use the time to push the $1.9 trillion relief package that is working its way quickly through congress. another major development overnight, house speaker nancy pelosi announcing a push to create an independent commission to investigate the deadly siege at the capitol similar to the september 11th commission. now this would require legislation and a presidential signature. there are questions this morning about how much authority this commission will have to call witnesses and to get real answers. >> so overnight, senator richard bur was the latest republican to be censured by his own party for daring to vote his conscious by voting to convict former president trump.
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adam kinzinger's own family said they're embarrassed to be related to his because of his vote. they're accusing him of being in the devil's army. here is a preview of tonight's presidential town hall. what should we expect? >> reporter: good morning. for weeks president biden has been stressing the urgency and importance of passing this $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, but most of that business of selling the american public has been happening here at the white house as the president has tried to drum up bipartisan support in meetings with senators and representatives as well as a group of bipartisan governors and mayors who came to the white house on friday. but now president biden will have his first opportunity to take his message outside of washington directly in conversation with the american people. that is why president biden is heading this evening to milwaukee, wisconsin, where he'll participate in the cnn town hall. i spoke with a senior official who made clear that president biden is going to continue to
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make his pitch for this coronavirus relief bill, talk about his response, his administration's response to this coronavirus pandemic, but i'm also told that the president is looking forward not just to answering these questions but also to hearing from people, to hearing about the challenges that people are facing amidst these dual crises, health crisis and economic cry isis brought o by the pandemic. the president will likely face questions about school reopenings. this is the first time president will speak in public since the cdc released new guidelines for reopening schools on friday. that's a top issue on the minds of so, so many americans and frankly has been one issue that this white house has struggled with. muddled messaging with the white house briefing room at times and the cdc over this issue. and now that the clear guidelines have been laid out, we'll hear from the president directly. again, the urgency of this relief bill is something he will
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stress in just 26 days the federal unemployment benefits expire. that's the deadline by which the president and house democrats would like to see this legislation passed. >> jeremy diamond, thanks very much. david gregory and margaret talev, the managing editor of axios. this is a big deal when a president goes outside washington for the first road show, it is a big deal. it's an even bigger deal because it's on cnn but a bigger deal also because it comes just after the impeachment trial of the former president, david. and as president joe biden wants to sell the american people on this giant relief bill, what do you think he needs to do tonight? >> well, i think it's a few things. first of all, you know, the hardest part about pursuing leadership when you say there's been failed leadership is getting the job. and now you have to lead. you have to lead during a crisis. so i think he uses this tonight to underline the fact that people are hurting.
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that they're without jobs. they're just struggling to make it. there's such weariness in the country about covid how long these shutdowns are going on. and the dull drums and worst, the depression of the pandemic world. he's got to underline that people are still hurting and government specifically can help. then i think these other two points, vaccine rollout and reopening schools. he'll face a lot of pressure on these. i'll be very interested to hear his answers tonight on where there's poor coordination about vaccine rollout and how this administration is going to change that and what they're going to do to get schools open again. people are going to be listening for that. it's a tall order. but he doesn't have a lot of time. you know, because people are impatient on these matters. he's got to act. >> and they're desperate. margaret, i don't know how big of a sales job he has to do when 11.2% of adults, american adults, went hungry this month. that's the last numbers we have
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are from january 20th to february 1st. that's how many people are in food insecurity. we've all seen the lines at food banks. i feel like we've been talking about this for a long time. and congress has been, i don't know, going on recess or dithering or we're just still talking. so does he have to sell this tonight? or what's the plan? >> alisyn, talk about political head winds. the public is saying that they are very much in favor of the sort of mechanisms that president biden is talking about. of course, he's got a $1.9 trillion plan, $1,400 payments as expressed some willingness to negotiate. so he has the public saying they want this. but he's got real pushback from many republicans about the size and the scope of this. we're going to hear all of that messaging in the coming weeks. let's look at where this is happening, right? it's the midwest. this town hall tonight. it's the midwest and importantly one of those crucial swing states to the last election.
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biden won wisconsin by like 20,000 votes, but trump won it four years ago. it will be in play three years from now. it will be in play in a year the mid terms with one of the really crucial senate races that the country will be watching. and so, there is an audience here that the democratic party wants to reach but also a bipartisan audience that president biden wants to reach to get that message that this is not a democratic fix but it is national fix. >> interesting thing is at least right now polls show that the american people, including a large number of republicans are supportive of what's in this bill. the people not supportive are republicans in congress largely exclusively republicans in congress. now, i don't know if that's because there's been so much focus on the impeachment trial that some of the arguments on the other side haven't seeped in yet. we'll see. but it's also just as possible, david, that with the sales pitch that president biden can bring
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even more people on board, what he's offering in terms of money is a lot of money to a lot of people. now, whether or not it's too much is a different story. but, people like getting money. >> yeah. they do. and i agree that that makes things easier. look, biden wants the microphone back. it's been tough. he was inaugurated and so much focus on the impeachment of the president, the second impeachment and the trial. he wants the microphone back. he wants the attention back to start to build support, to tap into the support that's already there, to take action. and reach and deal with that desperation that people are feeling. so i think that's a big part of this job. and people do want this. and i think the bigger bet that the biden administration is making even if the size and the scope are big and bigger than republicans want, the bet is on the economy getting better at a time when more vaccines are getting into people's arms and that he will be the beneficiary
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of that politically. as margaret said, it's not just republicans thinking about 2022 obviously this president is thinking about that, too, and where his base of support and how he expands that base beyond people who are anti-trump to becoming more pro-biden. this is where he starts to lay that ground work. >> as far as the vaccinations, margaret, they're going better. they're not perfect. i mean, this is from the governors who wrote a letter to the biden administration saying we believe the federal decision to use pharmacies and these federally qualified health centers should be coordinated with state governments. if the federal government distributes independently of states without state coordination and consultation redundancy and inefficiency may follow. yeah. that's the whole point. the federal government needs to coordinate with the states. >> yeah. i mean, look, you're going to see some of this tension between governors and the federal government, but what the biden folks are saying is that they basically inherited this very poor slash noninfrastructure and
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they had to form in many ways a pipeline as the vaccines were coming in. we have seen a huge emphasis of purchasing of vaccines and most is for domestic policy, some is for foreign policy. the distribution is still an issue and some of this is politics. democratic and republican governors both are going to look to blame the federal government if they can't get the doses in the arms of their people. but some of this is real. it's a real struggle. this is biden's presidency now whether or not he had to build a new infrastructure the buck will stop with him in terms of how this is all delivered. but you're just seeing phenomenal -- this has moved so quickly. the vaccine moved so quickly, the creation of it and now the distribution of it. everybody wants it. everybody is trying to figure out when they can get it, you know. it's a real challenge. we're going hear him talk about i think a little more the economy tonight and a little bit more about the vaccines on
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thursday when he's in michigan. another swing state, mid western state but this is on every american's mind this week. >> nancy pelosi coming out in support of creating a september 11th-still commission to investigate what happened on january 6th. it's a big deal. we still feel the impact of what happened with the september 11th commission. it created the director of national intelligence position. it desiloed the entire intelligence community and it found out a lot of information about what happened on september 11th. if that happens on for what happened on january 6th, it's a really big deal. it does require congress to pass legislation and the president to sign it. what do you expect to see here? >> well, i think 9/11 was different. i think the questions they were asking after 9/11 were far deeper about what happened and what didn't happen within the federal government. i think there's a lot to be learned about security lapses on january 6th. but we did just have an
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extensive trial about the culpability of the president, about what communications were like. so i think one of the questions will be what more needs to be learned at this level with this kind of commission. and, yes, i think there will be some disagreement about moving forward on this. and i would be curious whether this is something that the president really wants to move forward right now after he's had to kind of sit on the sidelines in some way during this impeachment. >> senator richmond who works inside the white house told me yesterday that if congress passes it, they will support what congress does on this, but they're going to let congress drive this at this point. david gregory, margaret talev, thank you both very much. >> thanks. be sure to join us tonight, anderson cooper moderates the first presidential town hall with president joe biden live from milwaukee at 9:00 p.m. eastern only on cnn. breaking overnight, three people are dead and at least ten others hurt after a tornado
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tears through a coastal town in north carolina. at this hour, search and rescue crews are looking for others who may be trapped. some inside their homes. officials confirmed several homes have been destroyed or severely damaged. power lines are down. and emergency responders are securing gas leaks. a wide-spread systematic search through all impacted homes gets under way when daybreaks there. we'll keep you posted. another republican censured overnight for voting to convict trump. you will not believe what congressman adam kinzinger's family is saying about him for his criticism of former president trump. more on the growing civil war within the gop next. at philadelphia, we know what makes the perfect schmear
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developing overnight, senator richard burr becomes the latest republican to be punished by the gop for daring to criticize president trump's role in the deadly insurrection at the u.s. capitol.
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congressman adam kinzinger's family said they're embarrassed to be related to him. what does all this mean for the future of the republican party? joining us now is georgia's republican lieutenant governor jeff duncan. good morning, lieutenant governor. >> good morning. >> so let me just pull up that list again. okay, here are the 12 republican lawmakers or high profile republicans like cindy mccain, you know, who dared to say that -- who dared to criticize president trump's role in the insurrection at the capitol. i know that you believe that we're at this pivot point for the republican party. and you're looking for gop 2.0, but what do you say to these 12 people who are having to explain that they voted their conscience. >> that's what we should do as elected officials is vote our conscience and be intellectually honest with as many folks as we possibly can. this is a tough time for us here in georgia but also for us in america and certainly as a
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party. but alisyn, i think majority of americans are ready for us as you said to use this as a pivot point to move on and talk about real issues how people can keep their jobs or advance their careers or keep their communities safer or tackle a pandemic. these are real issues that majority of americans want us to tackle in a bipartisan format. >> why did the republican party, wyoming, north carolina, michigan, arizona, washington state, arizona, illinois, why didn't they get that memo? >> well, look, i can't speak for the other states and certainly there's factions inside the republican party, but this is truly a time for us to move on, for us to really double down on the policies that got us here as a party and look at opportunities for us to improve conversations. you know, we always talk about this in this party trying to expand the tent. going back to reagan's philosophy. but we can't wait for two weeks before an election to try to expand that with a fancy ad run. we need to spend the next four
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years to understand the folks issues, move our feet and try to tackle some of those problems that some of the other communities have to bring them into the fold and help us win the white house back in 2024. >> how about poor adam kinzinger. what he has to deal with from his own family. he got his letter from all of his cousins, a large chunk of them that say, oh my, what a disappointment you are to us and to god. we were once so proud of your accomplishments, exclamation point. you go against your christian principles and join the quote, devil's army. you embarrassed the kinzinger's family name. do you get any pushback like that? >> it's cringe worthy to hear people to use faith for it. our family has been shocked that the perspective that some folks brought us to. the tide is turning and we continue to receive additional, more and more, you know, momentum behind folks encouraging us to just continue to do the right thing and to really try to step up, right. there's a vacuum in leadership
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inside the gop. and certainly there's going to be folks to step up and fill that vacuum and lead substance abuse the future. >> one last point on this because i hear your optimism, okay. i know that you want to believe that this is a pivot point for republicans. but then you hear senator ron johnson, may i share with you his take on what happened on january 6th. he doesn't think there was any a armed insurrection. >> this didn't seem like an armed insurrection to me. i mean, armed -- when you think hear armed, don't you think of firearms. >> uh-huh. >> here are the questions i would like to ask, how many firearms were confiscated? how many shots were fired? i'm only aware of one. >> what do you say to senator johnson? >> well, i couldn't disagree more with that perspective and conversations like that are not healthy for the gop. they don't match reality. and you know i walked away from those events being as disappointed as i've ever been in the direction. there was opportunities for the
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president to step up over the ten weeks leading up to those events and during that day to step up and to lead the party in a different direction and it didn't happen. >> i want to ask you about the investigation by the fulton county prosecutor, she sent a letter to you about that phone call that president trump made, demanding the secretary of state find more votes. she's asked you to preserve documents related to that. do you have emails related to that call? >> well, we'll certainly cooperate with the district attorney's letter that she sent us and certainly our office doesn't really have much interaction with those events. there was some hearings that the state senate held but those are individually arranged by the chars and by the individual senators. look, we'll support -- we'll work with the investigation for sure. but speaking to the legalities of that we'll let them do that. but i am once again disappointed with the way that conversation went. it was inappropriate. >> my point is that is it a tall
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order a tough ask to hand over that stuff? have some stuff already been deleted from that phone call? >> we didn't -- i don't think we have anything inside our files but our entire staff has been alerted if there is any information regarding that in communications to certainly preserve that. >> i also want to ask you david purdue who lost the race, though i think you supported him, has announced he's going to rerun against senator raphael warnock this time. he lost to john osoff and is going to run again. do you think it will be different two years from now? >> so look, senator perdue has been a stall worth conservative here in georgia and certainly i think over the next two years he does decide to run he filed some paperwork last night for it. if he does decide to run, stay focussed on the conservative policies he helped get across the finish line and try to remind georgians that aligns with our conservative values in t state. >> thank you. we always appreciate getting your perspective on all this
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stuff. >> thanks, alisyn. researchers found several new coronavirus variants that originated right here in the u.s. we have one of the lead researchers to explain this next. ay, with vitamin c, d and zinc. season, after season. ace your immune support, with centrum. use a single hr software? nope. we use 11. eleven. why do an expense report from your phone when you can do it from a machine that jams? i just emailed my wife's social security number to the entire company instead of hr, so... please come back. how hard is your business software working for you? with paycom, employees enter and manage their own hr data in one easy-to-use software.
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♪ so researchers have identified seven new coronavirus variants that originated right here in the united states. and what is significant to all of us and maybe our health is that they're all mutating basically the same way. joining me now is louisiana state vierologyist one of the coauthors of a new study on these variants. thank you for being with us. this is really interesting work. seven new variants all with a very similar mutation. could you explain to someone like me, a humanities major, what this mutation is and why it's significant. >> well, what made us interested in the mutation and i can't stress enough that we don't have evidence yet that this is making the virus more transmissible or
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in any way more dangerous and shouldn't be any affects on vaccines but what made it interesting to us mutation in the position called 677 which is if virus fusion protein gets into cells is a harpoon, this is one of the triggers that might set off the harpoon and it means the trigger is changing. it's looser on the trigger finger if you will would be a hypothesis to explain what it might mean. >> it might make that harpoon better or more effective, one of the things you have said is it does appear -- now again, you have no proof of this yet. you keep on doing research, but there may be an obvious evolutionary benefit to the mutation for this virus. explain what that means. >> well, there's a concept in evolution called parallelism, but really to boil it down for everyday people, it just means different organisms or people solving the same problem the same way even though they might
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be in different continents or different places. in this case you're looking at a virus changing thing. it didn't originate in people but originates in bats or some other species. this virus is getting comfortable with growing in people. that doesn't mean it's very dangerous. there's coronaviruses that existed in people for millennia and those ones are even better probably than this one with this's aspect. they're not more dangerous. >> it doesn't necessarily mean that it's more dangerous. but when you talk about an evolutionary benefit in terms of a virus what it means is that it's a benefit for that virus. it makes that virus have a better chance at survival or beater chance at spreading or staying alive. whether or not that leads to more infections in humans we don't know, but the fact that we don't know, that is the question i think that a lot of people have concerns about going forward. you do understand why people
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will be concerned about that, yes? >> yeah. i do understand that. i think an important message to the viewers is that a lot of viral rna sequencing is happening around the world to keep track of so many different variants. there's a lot. our study identified seven, but there's a giant family tree of the coronavirus in humans as it spilled into us. and our country has really not done enough to keep up to date or keep up tabs on what the virus is doing. i think the bigger message is we need to do a better job and more even job sequencing the virus so we can know whether there are changes to be concerned about. >> yeah, that's the big thing. i would like you to talk more about that. you discovered seven variants because you went looking for them basically. we need to do a better job in the u.s. of going to look for them. i think it was you who pointed out, it's like going into your kitchen and finding a cockroach. there's never just one cockroach.
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>> the first author of this study had a much better term she named them after birds. but, yeah. it is like turning on the light. just with testing, we didn't know the virus was here back in the spring of last year, about a year ago because we didn't have a test for it. and there's quite a poignant analogy here with sequencing. we don't know what variants are out there until we sequence and decode the entire g gnome. that's very, very inexpensive. the united states has been leader. so there's no excuse why we don't have a lot more data and why we don't have a lot more current data. the united states is now 35th in the world for sequencing. we only went up from 42 recently. and you know, we only sequence about 3 out of every 1,000 gnomes. what's worse, it takes 61 days for people to get to a collected sample gnome up loaded to a data
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base to allow us to see the emergence of the variants detected first in the brazil, uk and south africa. we don't like to name the variants after where they were detected first. that's a no good deed goes unpunished axiom, right? you don't want to punish the people who found the guy breaking into your house. right? so, it's important that lots of countries keep up to date on their gnomic surveillance of the virus. >> thank you very much for the work that you're doing. thank you for explaining to us the humanities majors out there about what you discovered and why it's important. we appreciate the work and let's hope you get a chance to do more of it because the u.s. needs to do a much better job of what you're doing. >> thank you for sharing that message with your viewers and have a great day. >> you too. we want to take time to remember some of the more than 486,000 americans lost to coronavirus. 68-year-old retired healthcare worker brenda lewis loved cooking and baking for her church and neighbors.
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her daughter says she had a strong soprano voice and belonged to several singing groups. 73-year-old william soff was a firefighter in colorado springs for 32 years. he joined at 21 years old and by 27 was one of the youngest captains in the department. one of his daughters followed in his footsteps, spending 27 years on the force. 91-year-old brenda ballen volunteered as a tour guide for metro museum of art for 30 years beginning in the 1970s. besides a deep knowledge of art, family members say she brought a wicked sense of humor that made her tours especially entertaining. we'll be right back.
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>> reporter: hey, good morning, alisyn. president biden will be coming to see voters face to face for the first time since taking office and on their minds are economic relief, vaccine supply, schools, those are central issues to them. but as we talk to voters, something else came up again and again -- that's the president's plan to unify the country. that's from voters who supported him and those who didn't. >> yeah, i'm giving him a shot. >> reporter: she didn't vote for joe biden, but she's pulling for his success. >> i think he's just a very nice man. i think he's very good, one of the last politicians i think that can go across the aisle and meet with people. and i think that's something that's a big plus. >> reporter: when we first met her in the heat of the campaign 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 that i thought were important. >> reporter: but said she ultimately decided trump would do a better job fixing the economy. >> i voted for trump. >> reporter: in the end, biden won wisconsin by less than 1
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point. and the city of cedarberg by only 19 votes. turning the suburb blue for the first time in a quarter century. with most signs of the election long gone, it's a new season and many voters here say a fresh start from the acrimony of the trump era. >> the tone down of the rhetoric, the not having to be glued to the tv or social media to find out what the latest is going on has been very refreshing. >> you're welcome, hon. >> she's a small business owner who supported biden but senses a new era of calm. >> reporter: you can tell there's more civility. >> yes, without a doubt, jeff. that has come back even as it pertains to mask. i come to work everyday wanting to share joy and happiness. >> reporter: you sell toys. >> i was not interested in being part of any kind of political anything in my store. that's just one thing we don't try to do here. >> reporter: the head winds
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facing the administration on coronavirus come into sharper view at a nearby vaccination center. >> our goal is to provide 1,000 vaccines a day seven days a week. the only limitation we currently have is getting the vaccine. >> reporter: paul is the county executive who said he received only 900 doses this week instead of 7,000. 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. >> reporter: yet compromise also comes with complications for biden. >> yeah. >> reporter: 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 elect people knowing they're not going to be perfect. and that means that we have to hold them accountable. >> reporter: she is patiently waiting for biden to take steps to combat systemic and broader equity. >> i always get skeptical and nervous when people say they
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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. >> reporter: and for biden, that is the challenge. trying to be a successful leader in the eyes of lange, quinnland and all others who hunger for change. >> he's 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. >> reporter:care lynn says she does not regret her vote for president trump last year but is eager to move beyond that to see what president biden can do. john, talking to voters here, you get a sense of patience they are waiting to see what the biden administration will do but his challenges are front and center trying to win over his detractors, his key base supporters all while trying to govern, john? >> it's really interesting to hear those perspectives and people willing to give the president a chance to get stuff done. not saying necessarily support him in a few years but want to
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sees what gets done. also interesting to see you in a toy store. thank you for being with us. appreciate it. >> president biden's pandemic stimulus package according to the polls is gaining support, but getting it passed may not be so easy. john avlon. >> to go big or bipartisan. that seems to be the question confronting president joe biden. but it might be a false choice. here is what's clear. the clock is ticking on biden's proposed $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill. which tries to tackle not just the pandemic but some of the underlying economic inequality and government incompetence that covid exposed. this is a dream with a deadline. covid related unemployment benefits expire march 14th. biden proposal would not just result in $1400 relief checks for millions of american around supercharge the vaccination program now averaging 1.6 million doses a day. would strengthen unemployment
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aid, expand child tax credits, offer subsidies for health insurances boost, small businesses, help the hungry, deliver aid for states and schools and even raise the minimum age to -- wage to $15 an hour. now the biden seems willing to negotiate on the details but not at the expense of going big. when ten republicans came to him with a 618 counteroffer it was seen as a nonstarter. here is why. democrats feel burned by obama era negotiations during the fiscal crisis when they cut the size of the stimulus, added tax cuts and still got no republican support and saddled with accusations with a slow recovery. then there's this, the fiscal conservative card doesn't have the credit it used to. because republicans learned to love big stimulus in the trump years. remember, they passed more than $2 trillion package last spring which is credited with stopping the economy from cratering. an additional 900 billion at the end of 2020. that's more than $3 trillion passed under a republican president and senate.
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so, take their claims democrats being socialists with a pound of salt. biden also seems to have public opinion on his side. stunning 3% of the americans want congress to pass new economic relief package according to recent cbs ugov poll. this should be an easy win, right? especially because key senator republicans backed trump's call for $2,000 stimulus check in december. when i tell you those senators included lindsey graham, marco rubio, and josh hawley? pump the brakes. there's signs for support for biden's plan. as fresno mayor said, it's not a republican issue or a democrat issue. it's a public health issue. economic issue. and it's a public safety issue. so while budget reconciliation wasn't the kind of reconciliation joe biden promised it looks like his go big plan may get bipartisan
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support, just not in washington. and that's your reality check. >> really interesting. he will face that reality tonight in the cnn town hall. it will be interesting to see how president biden with this new platform begins to push this over the next few week. >> game on. the extremist anti-government group known for recruiting current and former members of the military and law enforcement knew information about the oath keepers. after this. liberty mutual customizes- wait... am i in one of those liberty mutual commercials where they stand in front of the statue of liberty and talk about how liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need? uhhh... yes. huh... what happens in this one? seagulls. oh, i like it.
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house speaker nancy pelosi announced plans to push to form a 9/11-type commission to investigate the deadly insurrection at the u.s. capitol. one extremist paramilitary group already under investigation by authorities is the oath keepers. cnn's sara sidner taking a deep dive. what have you found? >> john, video evidence and some court documents show it's clear that there was some serious tactical coordination when it came to attacking the capitol among some of these extremist groups. and as the days passed, we have noticed more and more members of those groups are being sought by the fbi. members of the extremist anti-government oath keepers were a part of this siege. >> fight for trump! fight for trump! >> reporter: they are seen in combat gear brazenly bragging
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about overrunning the capitol. the extremist group is known for recruiting current and former members of the military and law enforcement. it has emerged as one of the groups that's a major focus of federal investigators. the fbi is trying to hunt down the suspects in these photos, some of whom are wearing oath keeper gear. these three alleged oath keepers and military veterans jessica watkins, donovan crowell and thomas caldwell were the first to face significant conspiracy charges related to the capitol attack. >> the leader of a militia group known as the oath keepers received messages while at the capitol. >> reporter: the federal claims against the oath keepers even mentioned during the second peach trial against former president donald trump. >> the leader was given directions to where representatives were thought to be sheltered. and instructions to, quote, turn on gas. seal them in. >> reporter: an accused leader of the group that day, caldwell,
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denies any involvement with the oath keepers. in court papers, his lawyer says he worked for the fbi and has held a top security clearance since 1979. but this is also caldwell talking about members of congress on january 6th. >> every single [ bleep ] in there is a traitor. every single one. >> reporter: a source with inside knowledge of how the oath keepers operate told cnn about a dozen members were in federal law enforcement. but purposely kept off the group's official membership database. would it be a surprise that someone in federal law enforcement was a member of the oath keepers? >> unfortunately not. for years oath keepers have been targeting military and law enforcement personnel, especially at the federal level with their messaging recruitments. >> reporter: federal prosecutors say just days before the attack, caldwell discussed with another extremist bringing weapons
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across the potomac by a boat. we could have a quick response team with the heavy weapons standing by. load them and ferry them across the river to our waiting arms. federal agents say he also sent messages to accused oath keepers crowell and watkins. he says, i will probably do prestrike on the 5th. maybe can do some night hunting. and then mentions when his oath keeper friends from north carolina will show up. >> we want trump! >> reporter: in video from january 6th, it appears the three may not have been acting alone. watkins is seen with others marching towards the capitol. the fbi said she was part of a group of 8 to 10 people all wearing paramilitary gear and oath keeper paraphernalia, signifying their affiliation with the conspiracy-fueled anti-government group. here she is again behind the guy with the eye patch. the leader and founder of the oath keepers steward rhodes in the november trump rally in d.c.
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rhodes is seen outside the capitol during the attack mean was clear on his oath keepers mission in d.c. >> our mission there, as we stated in our call to action to go to d.c., protect people, protect venues, protect events. that's vip escorts. >> and some did, appearing to stand guard with trump adviser roger stone. this is oath keeper roberto menudo of new jersey. later that day he's seen yelling at police outside the capitol. soon after, a man wearing the same gobbles and clothing is seen breaching the capitol. despite the mounting evidence and manhunt for some of his oath keepers, this is rhodes 24 days after the siege talking about the current government. >> there's going to be resistance. the only question is, what will be the spark? >> reporter: rhodes is still spewing the lie that the election was stolen and egging on his followers to act. >> you have to declare this regime to be illegitimate. declare everything that comes
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out of king biden's mouth at illegitimate and null and void because he is not a legitimate president. >> he is continuing to use violent rhetoric and spread conspiracies that frame today's events in a way that necessitate action on the part of his followers. >> traitors! traitors! >> reporter: rhodes says it was a mistake for people to go inside the capitol that day. >> keep pushing. >> reporter: even in light of the insurrection, his rhetoric has not changed. >> they have plans for us that they know will rebel against and they are afraid because there's 365 million of us. we outnumber them vastly, and we're well armed. so they have a problem. so they're afraid. >> we reached out to robert menuda. someone at his business told us that he had no comment. we also tried to reach jessica watkins and donovan crowell who are charged with conspiracy charges in that capitol attack. so far, they do not have attorneys, and they are
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currently in jail. john? >> it was interesting on infowars, people going on with these crazy, dangerous notions. any oath keepers who saw what happened on january 6th and have come forward and say, you know what, it's wrong, we don't want any part of this at all? >> yeah, in a really strong statement from the oath keepers in north carolina, one of the state coordinators sent a letter to the sheriff and that letter was shared with us. basically they said that they were horrified at what they saw at the capitol. that they didn't show up that day. they were in d.c. to support donald trump but when they saw the saattack on the capitol, th wanted nothing to do with it and the state coordinator said the men and women of north carolina believe the national leadership of the oath keepers could have stopped this and did nothing. they want nothing more to be -- to do with this group, and they don't want to be affiliated any more. they are going to do their own thing. they said this was a sad event in our nation's history, john.
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>> sara sidner, terrific reporting. glad you're digging in these. it's important for people to know what happened and what is still happening in our country with this. appreciate it. "new day" continues right now. >> biden returned to the white house with one item at the top of his list. getting his covid relief bill through congress. >> it's urgent that we get a lot of the current relief will expire in the middle of march. >> the american people want to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. it is popular. it is what justice demands. >> here in texas, residents are experiencing some of the worst winter weather of their lives. >> i'm not going to sugar coat it. the next few days are going to be very tough. >> we did not make it through almost a year of a pandemic to lose people to a snow or ice storm. >> this is "new day" with alisyn camerota and john berman. >> good morning, everyone.
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welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. this is "new day." president joe biden's first presidential town hall is tonight with cnn, live from milwaukee. the president will get a chance to make his case directly to the american people for his $1.9 trillion relief package that he hopes to pass by next month when existing benefits expire. president biden is certain to face questions about vaccinations and their distribution. a bipartisan group of governors wrote a letter to biden saying his administration's handling of coordination of vaccines needs to be better. how about the reopening of schools? that's also facing scrutiny. while mr. biden is eager to move forward, it's clear questions about the capitol insurrection persist. house speaker nancy pelosi announcing the creation of an independent commission to investigate the deadly siege similar to the 9/11 commission. >> overnight, senator richard burr became the latest republican to be censured by his state party in north carolina for voting to convict the former
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president. congressman adam kinzinger's own family wrote him a scathing letter published by "the new york times" saying they're embarrassed to be related to him, and they accused him of being in the devil's army. >> okay. more on that. joining us now, chief national affairs correspondent jeff zeleny and seung min kim, a white house reporter at "the washington post." seung min, what is the white house's plan for tonight? what message does president biden want to get out to the american public? >> first and foremost, they really want to get out just the necessity of getting this $1.9 trillion package passed as soon as possible. we have reported previously that we're looking at a roughly early march deadline. we talk a lot about these -- these extended federal unemployment benefits expire in the middle of march. but the way these systems work, congress can't pass a bill march 14th and expect the programs to
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continue without any interruption. so they really need to move fast. they are really trying to drum up public support for the package. and right now, the public polls show that it is on their side. it may not be bipartisan in congress so far. obviously, the administration has struggled to find any republican support so far for the package. but that doesn't exactly reflect what's going on in the american public. you have republican governors, republican mayors talking to the white house. lobbying congress saying we need this extra -- for example, state and local aid for our communities. you know, public polling shows that a majority of republican voters also support the legislation as well. so if there are -- for the lack of headway that the white house is making among, you know, for example, senate republicans, they are moving the american people. and what president biden is going to do tonight is just to really keep that feeling of momentum on his side in terms of public support for the package. and try to really pressure

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