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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  February 16, 2021 9:00am-10:01am PST

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the temperatures are expected to be a little higher but still below freezing, and again, this is a dangerous situation that is continuing. kate. >> absolutely. ed, thank you for the update. not near over for folks there. thank you all for joining us. i'm kate bolduan. john king picks up our coverage right now. hello, everybody. top of the hour. welcome to our viewers around the united states and around the world. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king in washington. it's an important day for the president, joe biden. he's hitting the road for wisconsin for his first official trip as president, for a cnn town hall that will test his salesman ship on his covid relief package. the president also plans to extend to summer a moratorium on foreclosures and also a 9/11
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type commission to investigate the capitol hill attack, and a democratic lawmaker in the house and the naacp filing a new lawsuit in federal court accusing former president trump and his attorney rudy giuliani of conspiring with far-right groups ahead of the insurrection. if the lawsuit moves forward, it could add to the body of evidence about the riot and put private texts, emails, calls from mr. trump and others on the official record. the coronavirus pandemic is challenge number one for the new president. and today, he says the country is on track to pass his top line promise of 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days. let's be honest, that was a fairly modest goal, though, and the challenge now is to ramp up vaccinations as the covid case count drops and drops dramatically. from nearly 250,000 new infections per day back in early january to just over 85,000 new infections per day on average right now. dr. anthony fauci says, yes, those numbers are better. a lot better, but he cautions the country cannot let up. >> now, we're below 100,000 and
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continuing to go down in a sharp downward trajectory. we have got to continue until we get it so low that it's no longer a threat. and simultaneous with that downward trajectory are more and more people getting vaccinated. those two things together, i hope are going to get us to the point where we're going to keep going in the right direction. >> president biden will echo that keep up the covid fight message tonight in a cnn town hall. milwaukee, wisconsin, is the venue. we all remember the state was a crucial battleground in the 2020 election, and it remains a battleground right now, in debates over wearing a mask and coronavirus restrictions. look at the margins. remember, 20,608 votes separated joe biden and donald trump. this was one of the blue wall states biden flipped back. you look at the state, the governor consistently in fights with the legislature over mask wearing, over other government
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covid restrictions. also, a key senate race here two years from now in 2022, ron johnson is on the ballot. cnn's jeff zeleny is live for us in milwaukee, wisconsin, ahead of this town hall. it's a critical night for the new president. his first trip out of town to try to sell in the heartland the biggest initiative of his young presidency. >> john, it absolutely is critical. president biden is going to be coming face-to-face with those voters. the whole state, a key battleground, but now a proving ground to see if he can sell his message. there is support out there among people who voted for the president and people who did not, for getting that economic relief. getting that vaccination supply up, and running. there has been a period of grace that you give any new president. of course, there was a distraction with the impeachment, but now, this is president biden's time to sell this plan, as he begins the second month of his presidency. we have been talking to voters, again, voters who did and did not support the president, but
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this is a tension under way, trying to win over the detractors but keep the supporters on board. >> get the virus under control. get the economy back on track so people can go back to work. back to the office. back to school. >> while president biden is using the right language and talking about racial equity and prioritizing these things, we know it takes time for that to trickle down to the community. and to everyone to feel those impacts, and we want to make sure that he's not just being able to say the right words but like the policies are able to be impacted and felt by the people. >> and caroline quinlan, the first person you heard from, she voted for donald trump, but she wounts joe biden to succeed. she prayed for his success and believes he'll do well.
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angela, the second person you heard from, is a progressive and is a bit worried the president will stray from some of his progressive promises. that's the needle this new president, any new leader must thread, but it starts tonight in milwaukee, first and foremost, selling that covid plan that will set the tone for his administration, john. >> looking forward to it. grateful for the live reporting on the ground in milwaukee. thanks so much. let's continue the conversation. manu raju and laura lopez of politico. laura, let me start with you, before we get into the specifics. this for me is an interesting challenge. joe biden trying to go back to a more traditional presidency. for four years of trump, we heard from the president in tweets. he was accessible to reporters at the white house constantly. joe biden wants time with the president to be more special, more scarce, frankly. you do big events like town halls. you go out in the country and you're not trying to drive every minute of the news cycle. are voters reopen to that again, a more traditional approach? >> well, it seems as though voters right now are open to
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that, john. they do, as jeff said, really want to see big stimulus and checks delivered to them as quickly as possible, which is why you're seeing the white house move as fast as they are. it's also why they're really pushing ahead with the route of reconciliation, the budget reconciliation, which allows them to pass -- would allow them to pass this big covid relief bill just with a simple majority of 51 votes. so clearly, tonight is going to be a balancing act for the president. he's going to have to really make his case in terms of why he wants this big covid relief bill. but again, a lot of the american public so far appears to want exactly what he's pushing. and he may try to argue the case to these wisconsin voters that he is still trying to work with republicans despite the fact that it looks like no republicans are going to be supporting the bill at this point. >> it's going to be interesting to watch. and manu, we know from the campaign, empathy worked for joe
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biden. it's a big part that he understands struggle and that people are struggling right now. the house budget committee getting to work on the reconciliation bill. $1400 direct payments per person, cuts off for individuals over $100,000. there's some scaling income wise. increasing the federal weekly boost to $400. nutrition assistance, homeowner assistance. funding for k-12 schools, increasing subsidies for health care under the affordable care act. this is when it gets critical for democrats. there's some disagreements within the family but they understand this is initiative number one for the president. they have to be disciplined. >> absolutely. and right now, they're confident they'll get this through because overall the party is generally united behind the details of this bill. there are some things that are still dividing lines, such as the $15 minimum, federal minimum wage that at least two democratic centrists, kyrsten sinema of arizona, joe manchin of west virmg verge, have raised
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concerns. there are some concerns about the eligibility of the stimulus checks. but based on what we're hearing, what some democrats are saying, what i have been hearing in talking to democrats on the hill, there's a belief those are issues they can essentially resolve, either they may punt on some of these issues and essentially deal with say the minimum wage later, or just the moderates may have to agree to a higher eligibility for more people to get stimulus checks. so there is an overall expectation they can get this through. the question is going to be what happens after this, will this be the only package they'll push? how do people deal with these issues down the line? at the moment, there's confidence this could potentially get done by march. >> to that point, one of the new president's challenges is going to be consistently managing the family. nancy pelosi has four or five votes to spare in the house. there are no votes to spare in the senate. it's 50/50 with kamala harris breaking ties. joe biden campaigned on a $15 federal minimum wage.
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progressives are demanding a $15 minimum wage. two centrist democrats in the senate, that would be enough right there to lose you the votes, say we don't think it belongs in this package. bring it up separately down the road. bernie sanders, remember, rival from the campaign, working closely with the new president right now, says i need to push for this. listen. >> when you have half of the people in this country living paycheck to paycheck, when all over this country are having workers trying to survive on $9 or $10 an hour, or even less than that, the american people want republicans, democrats, independents, want to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, $15 an hour. it is popular. it is what the people want. i believe that we will succeed in including the minimum wage in the reconciliation bill. >> and the question then is for the president tonight at a town hall when he could get asked this question by hard working real american, not a reporter here in washington, not that we don't work hard, but that somebody out there in the country, what is the answer to the will you pick up the phone
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to senator sinema, senator manchin, or do you let it go and see what happens? >> that's the big question, john, and the president has kind of sent a bit of mixed signals. on one hand, the white house is saying they're still very committed to a $15 minimum wage hike, but the president himself said that he things that this could end up happening in a separate negotiation, meaning not in this first big covid relief package. and a lot of progressives are not going to be happy with that. they consider this $15 minimum wage hike included in this first big package one of a big test for the biden administration. and as you heard there, senator sanders is not letting down. he's trying to build the case to make the argument that raising the minimum wage in this bill, that it's jermaine, that it's pertinent, that it has an impact on the federal budget because that's the threshold here, is whether or not it would have a substantial impact, and so far,
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research is showing it would. and so progressives really want to see biden go all in, and they want him to make the case to the centrist holdouts like manchin and sinema. they want to get it done. >> just a peek, i mentioned governor evers and the republican legislature have been under battle for the mask mandate. want to show you some of the local news that's going to mead the president. wage hike increase, that's right there on the daily citizen, one of the local newspapers. panel to investigate capitol riot. but down here, community spread grows in county. so the new president, priority number one, whether he's here in washington or in the states, is covid. and just a reminder, president joe biden will join anderson cooper, an exclusive town hall, tonight, 9:00 p.m. eastern, only right here on cnn. up next, a democratic congressman and the naacp file a
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the naacf and democratic congressman bennie thompson of mississippi today filing a federal lawsuit against former president donald trump accusing him of conspiracy to incite the january 6th insurrection. trump personal attorney rudy giuliani is also named in the lawsuit. it claims they conspired with far right extremist groups ahead of the capitol riot. they're seeking an unspecified amount of money directly from the president. >> this and a notable and really unprecedented lawsuit here. a top democratic congress backed by the naacp accusing former president trump and rudy giuliani of working with these far-right groups to incite this insurrection at the u.s. capitol and to make this conspiracy claim, this lawsuit in about 30 pages it traces trump's words
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and actions and really the months leading up to the insurrection. it details how trump and giuliani spouted allegedly misinformation, angry rhetoric, for weeks before and after the election. and in one part of this lawsuit, it actually accuses trump of delaying his speech on january 6th on the ellipse so members of the proud boys could actually advance to the capitol and better plot their attack. this is a claim that is not backed up by any evidence in the lawsuit, but it's part of this broader conspiracy claim throughout. this entire lawsuit is significant not only because it's seeking monetary damages from trump and giuliani, but notably, if this case moves forward, it could subject the president and others to depositions and the disclosure of other information that could expose some more details about what trump knew about this attack. now, this is a high bar to meet. congressman thompson is represented by the naacp in this case, also attorney joseph sellers, and they're adamant they can be successful with this
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suit, even though the statute they're suing under is rarely used. they argue that fact just adds more credibility to the suit because of the scant precedent it really shows how serious this series of events was. at this point this afternoon, we are hearing from trump spokesman jason miller. he just released a statement to us saying this. he said president trump has been acquitted in the democrats' latest impeachment witch hunt and the facts are irrefutable. speaker nancy pelosi and washington, d.c. mayor muriel bowser must answer questions as to why they rejected additional security and national guard assistance in the run-up to january 6th. this is something we have heard repeatedly from the trump team, shifting this blame to speaker pelosi and d.c.'s mayor. but house speaker pelosi has been briefed on this lawsuit, even though it's been brought in the personal capacity of congressman bennie thompson, and at this point, other members of congress are expected to join in
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the coming days here. john. >> fascinating to watch as it plays out in courts. it's unprecedented ground. thanks so much to you. let me bring back manu raju for reaction. on the one hand, you see the jason miller statement deflecting to the mayor of and nancy blpelosi. but bennie thompson deciding to do this. he's a chairman, a prominent democrat, but he's not someone who runs to the cameras every day. this is this a this is smart politics for democrats or let's try it out and see if we can get on the record some of the evidence of the unanswered questions, who are they texting, who are they emailing with? >> i think it's the latter because as we saw during the impeachment trial, that was one of the big unanswered questions. what did donald trump do in the run-up to january 6th. what did he do when the riot happened, and what was his immediate reaction? what were the interactions that happened at that time? and what is his level of interaction with any of the folks on the ground on january
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6th? those kind of questions, if you recall during the impeachment trial, his attorneys deflected virtually all of those. they instead attacked house democrats for not investigating it themselves. if it does go forward, if he is deposed, donald trump is, perhaps we could learn a lot more information about what he did on that day and what he did in the run-up to that day, but we'll have to see if the courts agree to allow this to go forward. >> we'll follow it as it does go forward. now insurrection fallout of a different sort, mitch mcconnell taking issue with those who see hypocrisy in his decision to vote trump to acquit trump, but then eviscerated his conduct and said the house managers proved their case. the "wall street journal" explores his strategy to win back the majority in the 2022 midterms. he said his number one goal is to field the strongest candidates. if that unin some cases means opposing candidates supported by trump, so be it.
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he also defended his vote to acquit on grounds he doesn't believe the senate can try a former president. there is no question former president trump bared more responsibility, mcconnell wrote. our job is to respect the constitution. that's what our acquittal delivered. impeachment choices remain a flash point. as state and local republican groups now condemn trump's antics. they join ten republican house members who voted to impeach. you see some of the faces there. those among the many facing censure and other backlash from republican committees back home. this is a fascinating, i'm going to call it a balancing act. i'm not sure what the right term is for mcconnell who says i'm trying to move on from trump, but i don't want to pick fights with trump every day, but if trump starts picking candidates who i think are losers, i'm going to foyt them. >> it's a bit of having your cake and eating it, too, john, which is, you know, mcconnell's
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calculation with impeachment, with acquittal, there's clearly political aspects to that. he's clearly thinking about the politics when he did that. he could have called back the senate if he had wanted to, to insure that trump was -- the trial was going on when trump was still in office. and when he was majority leader, he decided not to do that. that being said, what he is telling people is he may get involved, if he sees someone in the mold of kelli ward run in arizona for a senate race, that someone who is a big trump loyalist, used to be far-right fringe, and now is much more mainstream within the republican party. and mcconnell would likely support someone who opposes her. and the same goes in north carolina, for the open seat there if laura trump, the daughter-in-law of the former president, decides to run, you could potentially see if mcconnell decides that she isn't able to win that seat, him back someone against her. so in some areas, he may try to
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stay close to the president. and in other areas go against the former president if he thinks it may cost him winning back the majority. >> and so we'll be watching candidate recruitment from now until those primaries in 2022. that's one place we'll learn how this gets litigated, the future of the party and trump's role. and to that point, ron johnson is on the ballot. ron johnson is on the ballot in 2022 in wisconsin. listen to him in a local interview back home. he said what leader mcconnell says is simply not helpful. >> you have got leader mcconnell voting not guilty, not to convict, but then just providing a scathing speech on the floor of the senate that does not reflect, i think, the majority of our conference. you have our leader out there really representing himself, and that's his right to do, but at the same time, he has to realize as our leader, what he says reflects on us. >> so there's one side of it. the more pro-trump lawmaker in the senate saying mcconnell, you
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betrayed us or don't say that. i don't share that view, yet you're our leader. then ben sasse, republican, one who voted to convict, saying we need to fight this every day. >> it's important to give a frank assessment of where the party of lincoln and reagan is right now. and in just one term, the republican party has lost the white house, the house of representative said, and the senate. and that hasn't happened since herbert hoover got shellacked in 1932. >> so this just the impeachment trial is over. but this debate in some ways is just beginning as we ramp up into 2022. >> what is the road map of this party post trump, and mitch mcconnell is trying to steer this party away from the ensignary politics of donald trump and move into the more establishment, right of center, conservative ideology that really has defined the republican party for the last generation up until donald trump came and rewrote the way the republican party appears right
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now. the problem is there are a significant number of voices within the republican conference, particularly on the house side that represent donald trump. i don't believe that ron johnson is exactly right when he says a majority of the senate republican conference agrees with him that trump is not responsible. a majority of the republican conference was hiding from the notion about whether donald trump had any responsibility at all. they did not want to defend his conduct, so ron johnson is one of the few that is out there defending donald trump's conduct b but he's also a big mitch mcconnell critic. he told me he would not support mitch mcconnell as leader if he would vote to convict. other republicans voiced that as well. that's one reason why mcconnell playing both sides here, trying to, you know, say donald trump did something wrong, but you're acquitted. >> on truth serum, a majority of the republican conference would say they want donald trump to go away. they just want someone else to do it for them, which gets to the point, state parties don't have the power they used to, but
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you see state parties moving in many places to censure. they have voted to impeach the senate republicans who voted to convict. you see headlines from pennsylvania, north carolina, louisiana, and nebraska. that's senators toomey, burr, toomey, and sasse, and there's a bit of a divide. the utah state chairman says disagreement is american. the north carolina state chairman says not if it involved trump. >> i had conversations with over 100 leaders across north carolina over the three days following senator burr's vote, and there was universal disapproval of the vote itself. >> we have two senators who experienced effectively the same set of facts and came to differing conclusions. and that's okay, that's normal. that's healthy. >> it's normal and healthy in utah with president trump does not control the state party, but in most of the state parties, again, they don't have the power they used to have 25 years ago,
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before campaign finance laws changed and everything, but they are a voice of the party at the local level, and in most states, they're pro-trump. >> that's right, and most states, the gop parties across these very republican states have decided to be full trump loyalists. you have seen the former president's takeover of a lot of the local apparatus in that way. but one thing i would check out is senator richard burr who is an outgoing senator, his response to his censure of bides's state gop. he was saying he was very disappointed because it shows these state parties have decided to be -- pledge total fealty to one man rather than to the country or rather to democracy or political discourse. and so i think that really gets to the heart of what republican party is going through right now. >> going through right now, and going through at least through the next election cycle. laura and manu, appreciate the reporting. up next for us, we shift to covid and q&a.
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we asked for received and some great questions about covid from you today. we'll get to those in a second. let's take a look at the numbers to set the stage. we we are now lolooks better, b
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things are improving. 42 states in the green. fewer infections than a week ago. 42 states trending down, seven holding steady. only nebraska reporting more new infections than a week ago. the case trendline, 53,883 new infections yesterday. a high number when you compare it to the beginning of the summer peak, but if you have been through the horror of the winter, starting this trendline starting to go down now finally. 53,000, starting to trend down. one reason is masking and social distancing. another reason is there are vaccines now getting into arms. 70 million distributed to the states just shy of 53 million, actually shots put in arms. so some progress being made here as the biden administration takes over the vaccine rollout. if you look at the seven-day average of vaccines, again, back on january 20th, just before this graphic began, just shy of 900,000 a day. now it's up to above 1.6 million vaccinations every day on a daily basis. the new administration trying to push that number up even higher. and if you look at it this way,
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12% of americans have received their first dose. remember, the vaccines on the market now both require two doses. 12%, just shy of that, have their first dose, but only 4.3%, so shy of 5% of americans have been fully vaccinated. that's why the challenge is there for the new president as he has his town hall tonight. here's another way to look at it here. the percentage of the population with its first dose administered. alaska setting the pace at 17%. west virginia, 14%. you see some 12s, 11s, 10s. this is first dose. every day, just roadhode island 9%, all the other states in double digits in terms of first dose. when you're looking at fully vaccinated, people waiting for their second dose, west virginia shy of 8%. most states in the 3% to 5% range in people who have their first dose now waiting for their second dose. you want to get back to work, gets kids back to school, restaurants open, these percentages have to jump up.
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dr. fauci says we know, it's coming. be patient. >> when you hear about how long it's going to take to get the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated, i don't think anybody disagrees that that's going to be well to the end of the summer, and we get them in the early fall. when are we going to be table start on the process. it's probably going to be in the springtime, because the whole process is going to take a few months to actually get implemented. we have a good plan how to get those doses into people's arms. we just need more vaccine. >> with us to share her expeer tees and her insights, our cnn legal analyst, dr. lena wen. doctor, i have some great questions from our viewers from twitter, but let's start with what we heard from dr. fauci. it is hard to have an aircraft carrier do a tight u-turn, so we have to give the new administration some grace as they inherit this challenge. but do you see proof that they
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get it? that they are ramping this up in a way where the numbers from day to day are getting better at the pace that you find satisfactory? >> i definitely think we're ramping up, and i like what i hear from the biden administration that they're clearly listening to the issues that states and locales are raising. the need for more resources, the need for predictability of supply, and they're trying to address each of these bottlenecks. they need to be aiming higher. we need to get to the place of having 3 million vaccinations a day. that's what will allow us to get to some level of some chance of having herd immunity in 2021. >> so let's get to the questions, and they're really great questions. this is from one of us. do you think it's possible for kids to be back to school late autumn in realistic terms fully vaccinated and without masks? >> well, i think the first part, definitely. we definitely need to get kids back in school. fully back in school by the autumn. i think there's a good chance of us doing that if we get a lot of
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adults, the majority of adults vaccinated at that point, but children are probably not going to be vaccinated. children above the age of 12 i hope will get the vaccine starting late summer. younger children may not be able to get vaccinates until late 2021, so i do think that schools when they come back in the fall are still going to require masks. but we need to put in these mitigation measures. that's what will allow our kids to get back in school and learn again. >> that's a great question, thank you for the answer there. this is another great question from lisa. what transmission rates for communities do you consider safe for reopening schools? >> so there isn't one number. and here's the reason. there are two factors that determine school safety. one is the level of community transmission, and the other is the level of mitigation measures that you have in place. if you have a low level of transmission, you need some mitigation measures but not everything. versus if you have a very high level of transmission, masking, distancing, ventilation alone is not enough. maybe you also need to reduce
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class sizes. maybe you also critically need to make sure that teachers are vaccinated. it really depends on the level of transmission, then you also will add on additional mitigation measures depending on what that transmission rate in the community is. >> here's another great question i need to note, i'm @johnking on twitter, because thisg gentlema took my handle. how long does this protection last? will we need to get an annual vaccine for the foreseeable future? if so, how does that work with the rest of the world being behind the united states in pace? >> we know that the vaccines we have developed thus far, they last at least three months. they're probably going to last quite a bit longer than that, but we can't say definitively because they're relatively new. as to whether we need regular boosters. probably. so we are seeing that there are vaccines or there are variants developing that may not be as susceptible with the vaccines we currently have, so it may be we
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need to develop boosters that specifically target these variants and it may be we need to get an annual shot the way we do for the flu, but this is still terrific news because essentially we can turn covid-19 from the severe disease that it is into something like the flu if we're able to get enough people vaccinated, because we know this vaccine provides people such extraordinary protection from severe disease and hospitalization and death. >> excellent point. one last question here, there wasn't much research on elderly patients to study. after a few months of vaccinations, does the data show any issues for that age group? >> a great question, and actually, we have some preliminary results from israel. there was study that involved more than a million individuals who received or half of them received the vaccine, half did not, and they found in the real world, that the efficacy of the pfizer vaccine is duplicated based on what we're seeing in israel. and critically, the effectiveness of the vaccine for older individuals over 70
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appears to be about the same as the effectiveness in younger people, which is very highly effective, and this is very reassuring data. >> dr. wen, thank you for your time and patience. those were fascinating questions. i appreciate everybody for sending in the questions. we'll keep doing this. it's very helpful. we all learn as we go through it. >> next, the speaker of the house announces plans for a 9/11-style commission to look into the capitol insurrection. . (doorbell) rock on. tonight i'll be eating lobster thermidor au gratin. really? sh-yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt. make it two calzones!
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9/11-style commission to investigate the capitol insurrection. the speaker writing her democratic colleagues promising to get to work on the legislation needed to create such a panel. it will in her words, quote, examine and report upon the facts, causes, and security relating to the terrorist mob attack. cnn's jessica dean is with us for more on what comes next. jessica. >> well, john, i spoke to a source not too long ago who told me that legislation to form this commission could come as early as this week. so they are looking to move quickly on this, to get this commission formed. they're going to need to pass legislation both in the house and also in the senate, then it's going to need to be signed by president biden, which we just heard from the white house briefing room that president biden would be supportive, forming a 9/11-type commission like this to look into the events of january 6th. and as you mentioned, it would be examining facts, causes, security, all of these different issues, but very much in depth.
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we also know that it would be made up of nongovernment figures and people who are not elected officials. who would have, you know, depending on how they shape all of this, could potentially have subpoena power to get all of this information put into one place and make recommendations. so it remains to be seen exactly what the language in that legislation will be, but we're certainly waiting to hear more on that, and again, i'm told that could come as soon as this week. also, worth noting, we just learned in the last hour that a senate joint oversight committee including government affairs, homeland security, and rules, they're going to be holding their own hearing on the security breach and the deadly insurrection next tuesday. they're going to zero in on law enforcement. we know they're asking the mpd chief to be there, the former senate sergeant at arms, the former house sergeant at arms and the former capitol police chief to be there next tuesday.
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john. >> very important, every single question about this should be asked in an open and transparent way. we'll stay on top of the story. up next for us, on day 28 of the biden administration, the press secretary asked if president biden now owns the pandemic response. as he's about to take his push for the relief bill for the first time on the road. hi. so you're the scientist here. does my aveeno® daily moisturizer really make my dry skin healthier in one day? it's true jen. this prebiotic oat formula moisturizes to help prevent dry skin. impressive! aveeno® healthy.
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the white house press secretary jen psaki announcing moments ago the biden administration now increasing its weekly covid-19 vaccine supplies to states. upping it now to 13.5 million doses sent out to the states on a weekly basis. she was also asked if the biden administration now owns the coronavirus response. >> the president of the united states owns the response to the covid pandemic. that's why he's focused on it every single day. however, it's important for the american people to know what we inherited. when the president came into office. and what he inherited was not enough supply, not enough vaccinators, not enough places for vaccinations to happen. communities had been left to fend for themselves. >> bring in cnn senior white house correspondent phil mattingly. that was a yeah, but, on a big day at the white house. the president's first big trip. >> no question about it.
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the reality is white house officials understand this is on their plate now. this is theirs. they own it. that's why you have seen on a weekly basis start to announce the increases in the vaccine production, the increases in supply, the increases in what they believe is the biggest difference from what the past administration did. that's the effort to federalize the response. not make this entirely up to states or entirely up to localities in terms of distribution of the vaccine, in terms of infrastructure for the vaccine, in terms of data for the vooern, but to run it out of a central hub in the hopes that will help quicken the process, particularly on the supply area of things. they know this is theirs. that's what you're going to see the president acknowledge tonight when he speaks at the cnn town hall. not only does he understand the depths of the issue, but also the reality that his cornerstone legislative proposal, really probably the most important element of his first 100 days in office, is now all at center stage. this is now law congress will be focused on in the course of the next couple weeks, not what the country is focused on, and this is a very big proposal with
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very, very low margin for error in terms of how they move it forward. in the house, at least, probably in the senate as well, moving forward with democrats only. narrow margin in the house in terms of passing it. no margin for error in the senate in terms of passing it. part of what you're see tonight, part of what you'll see later the week when he traveled to michigan, part of the next several days and weeks is the president making clear, this is my priority, what needs to happen. if you want real solutions to what the country has been dealing with over the last year, this needs to pass. whether the american people take it and whether it has impact on congress, that will be answered in the coming weeks. >> important few weeks ahead. >> coming up for us, an inside look at the trump impeachment strategy. guess what, there was infighting. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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we made usaa insurance for veterans like martin. when a hailstorm hit, he needed his insurance to get it done right, right away. usaa. what you're made of, we're made for. usaa topping our political radar today, one of donald trump's defense lawyers during last week's impeachment trial is describing dysfunction on the defense team. david chung criticizing the meandering speech his colleague bruce castor gave on the first day of the trial, schoen saying i thought this guy's career was going to disappear. i don't know how he's going to get up in the morning. he still thought he did a good job. okay. >> "the washington post" reporting that a republican donor who backed a conservative group's voter fraud probes now wants his money back. f fred eshelman donated to true the vote, he's suing the group
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now. it launched a series of voter fraud lawsuits that were abandoned. the organization claims there were no qualifications on that money. don't go anywhere. busy news day. brianna keilar picks up our coverage right now. hello, i'm brianna keilar and i want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. it is an important first for president biden tonight, on the road before an audience, and facing important questions that need answering. as the president promotes his ambitious plan to rein in the deadly pandemic, to treat the ailing economy, and treat the millions of americans who urgently need it after nearly a year in crisis. tonight is biden's chance to confront the challenges live before america. he'll be answering questions at a cnn town hall in milwaukee,
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