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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brianna Keilar  CNN  February 19, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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impacted by disruptions to their water after that winter storm and bitter cold overwhelmed the texas power grid. most of the power has returned, but it's not clear when the same can be said of running water in people's homes, and clean water in people's homes. the state capital alone lost a whopping 325 million gallons from pipes that burst, and these are the basics of life texans are struggle to find in the most energy-rich state in the nation, about to face another night of record-low temperatures. >> i've got all the blankets out of the attic. every extra blanket and slept on the couch depending on body heat. probably what we're do tonight. >> out of candles. can't recharge the batteries. no propane in the area to the found. drove over an hour looking for
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propane. there is none in the area. >> no water. i have a 7-year-old, it's like, he's cold. >> i want to go to dallas and cnn's ed lavandera. the organization that managing the power grid, ercot, its ceo repeatedly asked about ercot's accountability in all this. what can you tell us? >> reporter: they have been saying throughout, especially in the last two days, as the governor of texas has unleashed a barrage of criticism at that organization for what he says is a failure, an epic failure here in this state, but ercot officials, the name of the agency that runs the state's power grid system, says they did what they had to do to protect a much larger catastrophe. those officials saying seconds if not a couple minutes away from a total collapse across the grid. that is a political fight that will continue to play out in
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this state, in the coming days and weeks. state lawmakers are in session in off then. obviously, this is something that will continue to play out, but the more pressing matter at hand right now, brianna, is just where we are in terms of getting out of this crisis, and the good news is that those state power grid officials are also saying emergency operations have ceased. that everything from a power plant perspective is back to normal. however, there are still about 180,000 people, or households, without power here across texas. that has more to do with damage inflicted by this winter storm. it's going to take utility crews some time to get all of those issues repaired, and as you alluded to at the top here, it is the water situation that continues to be a growing source of frustration for many people. about 16 million people across the state impacted by water issues and water disruptions.
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161 of the 254 counties in this state are suffering water disruption. so that is something that's going to take time to repair as well, but the good news is, brianna, you can actually, when you drive around and walk around neighborhoods, you can hear the drip, drip of ice and snow beginning to melt. warmer temperatures expected this weekend. so that should put an end to this long week of texas freeze, but the headaches aren't grog away just yet. brianna? >> a long ride to recovery. thank you. not all weather stories ouch texa out of texas are of survival. at least 15 people died. one fire chief in the city of abilene discovered a victim frozen to death in bed despite being under multiple blankets. the wife found in a lounge chair. police took her to the hospital. chief, thank you for taking time
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to talk to me sounds like you've seen the worst of the worst. tell us about this couple and how long you think they had been in the cold before you found them jblg them. >> a little unclear exactly how long. 24 hours a person was taking in meals and had seen the couple. tried to talk them into going to a warming center, and they had been reluctant to leave their home and so it was 24 hours later, she went back to take them food and found the husband deceased in bed. >> what was it like? how cold was it in that house? >> according to our crews about the same temperature. about 12 degrees at the time outside. about the same temperature inside the home. >> can you tell us other situations that you're finding? >> so we've had a total of four deaths now. earlier today we had a situation where an elderly female walked
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out of her home and was found in her backyard deceased. directly related to the weather conditions. we've had two others that are possibly related. one we know of for sure that was a gentleman who was sleeping outside. he spent the night in the weather, and those conditions led to his demise, and then a second, actually it would be a fourth, also possibly related. total of four in abilene and additional three in our county. >> how is the homeless community in abilene faring? >> they're faring pretty well. we've opened up several warming centers throughout the city, and they're taking advantage of those it. so we are seeing mostly that population inside the warming centers getting meals, blankets and accommodations they need. that hasn't been a big issue. besides this one individual who we found on monday.
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>> look i know your first responders are professionals, tough, deal with catastrophes, and a lot of you may be facing the same challenges at home, but how are you and your crews doing? how have their homes been damaged? how are they managing to work while also dealing with what's happening with their families? >> anytime there's any type of a natural disaster, i mean, that's something you just have to deal with. we've pulled together as a crew and a group and taking care of each other. our stations have gone down a couple of times without electricity, without water. relied on generators and bottled water to get us through. right now we're in really good shape. the community stepped up to help us bringing food and water bottles to our station. as whole our crews are doing well. i mean, they're made for this type of disaster, unfortunately, and used to seeing people in their worst moments, and this is one of those times.
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we're doing what we can to help out and i think our guys are doing a stellar job at this point. >> thank you to you and to them as well for your service, chief, we appreciate it. >> thank you. president biden a short time ago giving his first major address on the global stage at president reassuring world leaders and u.s. allies after four years of trump the u.s. will earn back our "position of trusted leadership." biden also committing to being tough on china and russia. >> competition with china is going to be stiff. that's what i expect. and that's what i welcome. because i believe in the global system, europe and the united states together with our allies. this is also how we're going to be able to meet the threat from russia. the criminal attacks to our democracies and weaponizing corruption to try to undermine our system of governance.
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russian people want their people to think our system is as corrupt at theirs, but the world knows that isn't true. we have to work together to strengthen and reform the world health organization. we need a u.n. system focused on biological threats that can move quickly to trigger action. similarly, we can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change. this is a global existential crisis, and we'll all suffer, we'll all suffer, the consequences if we fail. >> biden signed the paperwork on his first day in office to rejoin the paris climate agreement. it became official today announcing plans to lead a summit and welcomed by many leaders including uk prime minister boris johnson. >> as you've seen and heard
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earlier, america is unreservedly back as the leader of the free world. that is fantastic. and it's vital for our american friends to know that their allies on this side of the pittsburgh are willing and able to share the rick risks and bur addressing the world's puffest problems. >> president biden expected to speak next hour on the covid vaccine rollout and in a matter of minutes see hick visiting the facility before some of the first vaccines rolled out in december after receiving emergency use authorization. cnn chief national affairs correspondent jeff zeleny is in portage, michigan. back to the comment by boris johnson. seems significant at this point in time from him having dealt obviously for years with trump. >> reporter: brianna, no question about it. we are hearing the british prime minister talking in words that you almost, they almost could
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have been talking about president trump. i mean, he clearly was praising president biden there in a way that, you know, he might have been talking about his old friend donald trump. clearly a sign the president's speech to the g7 saying america is back and knowing he has to earn the respect of the rest of the world, la to earn the respect of really the damages to alliances that have been frayed over the last four years. remarkable words there from boris johnson. as president biden arrives here in portage, just outside kalamazoo, he just stepped off air force one a few moments ago, he will be inside this pfizer facility behind me and the very place, you said, brianna, where the high hopes were seen on december 13th as the vials were boxed up, roll out the door for the first vaccinations. of course, there were bumps in the road along the way. president biden wants to come and see this firsthand to see
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where these vaccinations and vials are packaged and made. jen psaki on the way here to michigan was talking to reporters, said it is the focus of president biden's to try to ramp up vaccinations. 120 million more by end of march and 200 million by end of may pap goal at least. there have been bumps in the roads getting the supply out to places across the country. of course, the storm has caused a lot of those delays as well. we are going to hear from president biden in the next hour talking directly how he wants to speed up vaccination supply. this, of course, now is something that was found under the trump administration. the vax ccines rolled out durin the trump administration but now the biden administration owns this. >> one of the biggest tests of his presidency. thank you so much. next, a pattern across the country of election officials being forced out or resigning in the wake of president trump's
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election lies. plus, senator lindsey graham, the latest to announce a trip tore mar-a-lago as the for president continues to mount a civil war. and hit and killed a man walking next to the highway. reaction from the victim's reaction from the victim's family. a former army medic, made of the flexibility to handle whatever monday has in store and tackle four things at once. so when her car got hit, she didn't worry. she simply filed a claim on her usaa app and said... i got this. usaa insurance is made the way kate needs it - easy. she can even pick her payment plan so it's easy on her budget and her life. usaa. what you're made of, we're made for. usaa.
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new signs the birt fallout from 20920 elearnings season is not over. several high-profile officials either lost or left their jobs in the wake of president trump's big lie that the election was rigged, and experts are warning more may quit. cnn chief political correspondent dana bash is following this for us.
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dana, tell us where this is happening. >> it's interesting. you and i covered politic as few years and know the local officials barely are known locally, never mind on a national, even international stage. that changed dramatically and for some of them it's meaning they're leaving their jobs. start with connie lawson, you see the indiana secretary of state. she resigned on monday saying bluntly, 2020 took a toll on me. then richard barron, is, or was, a 21-year veteran elections director in fulton county, georgia. he also was voted out of his job, and the reason they gave in that county, wah the need to modernize but he was very critical with things that went on on attacks on the election system. kathy boockvar. saw her so much on television also left her job in february. she did it for a different
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reason. not because of the scrutiny on elections but because there was a mistake in not putting a change in the constitution on the ballot in the commonwealth of pennsylvania. lastly, maybe the most, in addition to indiana, most specific to the 2020 election lie. as you see it's aaron van langevelde, voted to accept the electoral votes went for joe biden not donald trump and he was not reconfirmed to be on that board. so you see all of this fallout and our colleague fredricka scouten has a great piece on cnn.com talking about the fact potentially a quarter of election officials now plan to retire before 2024, the next presidential cycle. >> they had a tough, tough year. right?
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>> never mind the president trump situation, but covid. getting things done in a pandemic. >> a tough year for them. you have reporting on lindsey graham. the senator is paying a special visit to florida this weekend, we hear? >> that's right. just the latest to go down to florida to talk to president trump. now, the two of them got together a lot while the former president was in the white house, golfing, and things like that. we expect them to do that again, but he's going, i'm told, with a very specific mission. that is to be constructive with regard to the very real fight between the former president and mitch mcconnell, and the way they wants to be constructive is looking ahead to 2022. and the real concern that, right now 50/50 senate. very easy for republicans to take control, but also very easy to give up that opportunity. i'm going to show you a couple examples of some concerns republicans have. starting with arizona. kelly ward.
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brianna, you know the former president loves kelly ward but she is not somebody, a real conservative and not somebody who many republicans here in washington think could win state-wide, because mark kelly, sitting democrat, has to run again for a full term. a lot of republicans are trying to convince the current governor, doug ducey to run who says he doesn't want to run. told me that a couple weeks ago, but they're thinking maybe if the former president were to pull back on his criticism of doug ducey, also about the 2020 election, maybe they could convince him, but concern obviously is keli ward. look at georgia. another very, very important state for the 2022 senate elections. marjorie taylor greene. now a congresswoman. there's concern that she could jump's in to the race for senate. david perdue, now a former senator, republican, already wants to challenge raphael warnock, the brand new democrat there.
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the concern is that if president trump, the former president -- all signals he's fine with marjorie taylor greene, could throw the whole thing up in the air and make a republican primary very, very difficult, and if she won, they think up against, here in washington, think almost impossible to beat raphael warnock. examples of why lindsey graham and others are trying so hard to convince the former president to be on the right side of the party when, the big picture, when it comes to trying to get the senate back in 2022. >> we'll have to see if lindsey graham can do it. i haven't seen anyone really do it yet. quite the accomplishment. >> mixed results is probably the best way to say it. >> yeah. dana bash, no definite results getting him to do that. great. thank you for walking us through that. appreciate it. catch dana, of course, on "state of the union" sunday at 9:00 a.m. eastern. we will certainly be watching.
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capitol police telling lawmakers the raidsor wire fence surrounding the capitol should remain in place until at least september due to lingering concerns about threats to members of congress. this developing agency we learn new details about former vice president mike pence's actions on the day of the capitol insurrection when he was evacuated to safety just one minute before the rioters reached the senate floor. in a new interview, pence's former chief of staff marc short appears to suggest it was the vice president who helped deploy the national guard to the capitol and not former president trump. take a listen. >> i saw the vice president exert enormous leadership quickly calling senator mcconnell and leader mccarthy and pelosi and schumer making sure they were safe and okay and quickly moved forward how can we get back to finishing the work of the american people? in those moments, the frustration he first heard a sense the national guard was a little slower in getting there than the leadership wanted.
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the vice president offered to call secretary miller and general milley, which he did. they assured him we're moving as quickly as we could. concern it may take a few days to reconvene. at that point he asked me to call the chief of police for the u.s. capitol top meet with us, because of concerns there could have been explosive devices and other things left behind. take a long time to actually clear the building. >> and cnn's jim acosta is with us now. significant what we're hearing from marc short, jim. >> reporter: i think it is. we have not heard a lot from pence world since january 6th. the vice president, former vice president, kept a low profile you know, brianna, ever since the riot up on capitol hill. marc short, a ufrmost trusted adviser talking on the airwaves. seems short is confirming reporting we heard at that time that essentially president
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trump, then president trump, was pretty slow in getting the national guard mobilized. not moving fast enough obviously for leadership up on capitol hill and in that mike pence at that point intervened calling the acting defense secretary, talking to the joint chiefs of staff general abling sure the guard was mobilizened and deployed. interesting from the interview, short gets into this. talks about this relationship between trump and pence. he talks about how trump was, yes, disappointed in mike pence for not going along with his plot to overturn the outcome of the election and short says the interview he believes trump was getting bad advice is, from people coming from the outside and senior advisors. he didn't mention names, but seems to be pointing at, the firnl as the former chief of staff mark meadows. it's interesting to hear marc short talk about this. obviously a lot of, you know, tough feelings inside pence
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world because they felt, we reported it at the time, that they felt trump did not reach out quickly enough to mike pence making sure he and his family were okay. as they were evacuating with the secret service on january 6th. the other thing we get into briefly, what happens next with this relationship between trump and pence? marc short set during the interview, the other newsworthy item i think trump and pence have been speaking since january 6th and did speak earlier this week. these two are in conversation with one another, and i think one of the things we'll look for in the coming days, cpac, conservative political action conference, takes place next week in orlando. whether or not these two men re-emerge and appear with one another at that event. i just talked with a source close to the formeder president a short while ago. the sort confirmed trump is considering going to cpac, appearing there, and speaking at cpac. it's under consideration at this
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point and possible he'll attend. we should know whether or not that will happen in the next day or two. if mike pence is positioning himself to run in 2024, you would think, brianna, he would also want to be at that conference, as you know. covering this stuff for so many years that is a highly, highly influential conference inside the republican party, brianna. >> jim acosta, thank you siege. go to michigan now where the president is at the pfizer factory.
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[ inaudible ] . >> they're in portage, michigan. he is touring pfizer's manufacturing facility where millions of the nation's first doses of the coronavirus vaccine have, they actually rolled off the production line in december. this is kind of where it all started. bring in primary care physician, doctor, we're watching this. he's visiting. this is so important because it's what's on everyone's minds right now. right? or a lot of people's minds. they want to know when can they get the vaccine? there's not enough for those who want it and we're watching the president. this is going to be the biggest test along with economic recovery when it comes to his presidency. so let's start, doctor, with this vaccine. a new study out of israel that shows one dose is 85% effective. i wonder if this is, you know, is that a game-change r?
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could it help maximize the vaccines? >> it's exciting news. we already know the two doses of moderna and pfizer give you 95%. now saying there's studies to show you get 85% protection. that's huge. i remember dr. fauci mentioning way back when the pandemic started we would accept a vaccine that would be 50% effective. the only concern i have is, why one shot can give you 85%? remember, two shots gives you 95%. and if this uk strain becomes the predominant strain which is more contagious and perhaps more lethal, more people could die. i think more of the vaccine is better than less of the vaccine, but to answer your question, 85%, after one dose, two to four weeks later, that's good news. >> i want to talk a little about what we're seeing. i'm not sure if you can see it, doctor, on your screen, but this is the storage, and we're seeing
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the folk whose work there at this pfizer plant where they have, their gloves on. i assume because what they're dealing with is very cold as they're putting these vaccines into storage. tell us a little more about the storage are and the storage challenges of these vaccines. >> right. so one of the biggest challenges with the pfizer vaccine which is a new platform of the mrna vaccine it has to be stored in ultra cold temperatures. otherwise, the virus can be inactivated. it is in a lipid molecule, if you will, embedded in a lipid molecule and that's what's introduced. for that lipid molecule to not desaturate or melt away, the vaccines have to be stored in minus 73 degrees s celsius. we see the study in israel we
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just talked about earlier is also suggesting that maybe these vaccines don't have to be stored in ultra cold temperatures, and that also would be a game-changer in addition to the fact that maybe we can give people one vaccine, which is 85% effective. >> and then one other thing i want to ask. as we look here at the president who's double masking. appears to be an n 9a and cloth mask on top and the folks around him either have both of those things or just an nmp95. is that wham we all should be doing? >> double masking, i'm a huge believer. because of the strains we think can be more contagious and get into the nose easier. if you're double masking i recommend the first mask should be a medical mask. a surgical mask. an n95, if you can get ahold of one or a kn95.
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on top of that wear a cloth mask. the reason, putting the cloth mask on top of the medical mask it's a tighter fit and not a lot of leakage from on top or bottom of the mask. double masking i think is absolutely going to be key. also depending on the tine of activity that you're partaking in. >> thank you so much. i know these are just the questions we still have. feels like coronavirus is a moving target. helpful to revisit. great to see you. >> thank you. next a significant development in the investigation into donald trump's finances. the manhattan d.a. adding a white collar crime prosecutor to the team. ♪
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we have been monitoring president biden's trip in portage, michigan, to the pfizer factory, where the first vaccines went out back in december and obviously operations continuing there tour. he is touring this facility
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right now. we are going to be monitoring his trip here and he's going to speak soon. we'll bring that to you as soon as it begins. meantime, the manhattan d.a. added a top white collar crime prosecutor to the team that's investigating former president donald trump and his company for possible fraud claims. mark pomerantz is a highly regarded trial attorney and will now serve as a special assistant district attorney. pomerantz headed up the criminal division at the u.s. attorney's office in manhattan in the late 1990s. with us now, a white collar defense lawyer and constitutional attorney. seth what does this mean that pomerantz is joining the team? >> well, it's been a busy week for the manhattan district attorney's office, and the hiring of mr. pomerantz indicates really a very clear clue on where they're leading. this is a very renowned, nationally known prosecutor. he specializes in corporate crime, business fraud, ricco
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cases, and very interesting to also note that they have recently hired from that office fti consulting, a well-known business, company, a business consulting firm that also focuses on among other things business fraud and forensic accounting and also can serve in trials including criminal litigation. it's an indication that the speed and momentum of this train is really picking up. we have more subpoenas. we have more witness interviews. michael cohen was interviewed again yesterday for the fifth time. i doubt they'll rely on him heavily, if there is a returning of an indictment, but you know, michael cohen still serves an important purpose, basically a traffic cop for uncovering documents. he's able to show where all the bodies are buried, where all the documents lie, and this is going to be a very document-oriented case. probably focusing on business fraud specifically, insurance fraud, banking fraud, tax fraud.
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that's the indication, and based upon this hiring and this development, they're picking up steam. >> yeah. no. lots of new developments. seth, appreciate you putting them into perspective. i want to get back now to michigan where we are watching president biden's trip to the pfizer factory there, and jeff zeleny is there on the ground tracking this visit, this key visit of the president's. jeff, tell us what we'll expect here. >> reporter: brianna, seeing president biden the last several minutes walking through the facility. you can see it behind me here. of course, thesish the very images, same factory floor the world saw december 13th when the vials were packed, filled and trucks rolled out of this lot in portage, michigan, just outside of kalamazoo. president biden seeing with his own eyes how the facility works. it's also important, this is the
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vaccine he received in december and again in january. he's been the recipient of this vaccine dose but is traveling along with michigan governor gretchen whitmer, and other plant officials. this is the vaccine that must be frozen to a certain temp. so he's watching all of this production happen. after he finishes his look around the facility here, which employed some 2,500 people here in the southwest michigan area, he'll be making his speech about the need to increase the speed of the vaccination. that's what is at issue here. he's used the defense production at to speed up production of this vaccine. so that is his point of being here. of course, trying to get 300 million vaccines to americans by end of july, brianna. >> jeff, thank you so much for that. jeff zeleny in portage, michigan. we'll continue to monter the trip. next, i will speak with a family of a south dakota man struck and killed by a car while walking on the side of the highway. the state's attorney general was
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south carolina's attorney general jason roundsberg has been charged with three misdemeanors for hitting and killing a pedestrian with his car on the side of a highway last summer. that man was 55-year-old joseph beaver. he had been walking on the shoulder of the highway when he was hit. roundsberg called 911 after the crash at approximately 10:30 p.m. on saturday, september 12th. >> i'm the attorney general, and i'm -- i hit something.
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>> you hit something. >> by highmore. in the middle of the window and smashed my windshield. >> do you think it was a deer or something? >> i have no idea. >> it could be. >> now the next day beaver's body was discovered. crash investigators say roundsberg was distracted at the time but did not find signs of alcohol use. still it took prosecutors five months to announce a charging decision. roundsberg could face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for each of the three misdemeanors, but he's avoided more felony charges. a sample taken after the day of the crash showed his blood-alcohol level at that point was 0 percent, a point noted by prosecutors when addressing why roundsberg wasn't charged with manslaughter. joining me now is the cousin of joe beaver. nick, thank you so much for being with us. we are so sorry for your loss of your cousin and what your family
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is going through, and you've seen these charges, careless driving, driving out of his lane, operating a motor vehicle while on his phone. what's your reaction to these charges? is it. >> i think they are too little. sadly in the months since my cousin was killed i did some research on south carolina law and different lawyers had talked to me and warned me that this might be the eventual outcome and so i had prepared myself for a charge of, you know, crossing the white line, and that's exactly what happened. the south dakota law is totally inadequate when it comes to this kind of situation. the only way you could have gotten vehicular manslaughter in south dakota would have been had he been drunk, had the driver been drurngs and so in south dakota, apparently you can -- so
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long as you're not drunk, you can run over a pedestrian and escape with just misdemeanor charges. >> what do you think would be an appropriate charge here? >> i would like to see the state law changed so that vehicular manslaughter could apply in this case. the man was clearly not paying attention, was negligent in his driving, and he killed a man, but state law doesn't allow for that charge. it specifically states that the driver has to be intoxicated. >> he, the attorney general, said he hit something. do you think he knew he had hit a person? >> yes. i've spent many hours examining the crime scene, my brother and i have gone out there with a
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200-foot tape measure and measured every aspect of that crime scene, and -- and from the point of impact what we thought was the point of impact to the break, the tire skidmarks that were made when he stepped on the brakes it's just too short of a reaction time and i think the attorney general saw my cousin ahead of time and began reacting stepping on the brakes sooner than what people think. >> he released a statement after the charges were announced, and i want to read part of it here. quote, i appreciate more than ever that the presumption of innocence placed in our legal system continues to work. i have and will continue to pray for joe beaver and his family. i cannot imagine their pain and
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loss and i do seep my deepest condolences to them. what is your reaction to that? >> well, that's the first time he's offered condolences to any family. it's been over five months. it would be nice if he did it in person rather than through a press release. he's a politician. he's an elected official. i'm a former elected official, and i intend to do everything i can within my mother to ensure that he does not win re-election. >> you want him -- you want to talk to him in person though genuinely, nick, do you mean that? >> yes, and -- and not so much for me. i'm a cousin. call and talk to each of joe's siblings individually. talk to joe's wife.
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talk to joe's mother. i'm a cause be. i'm kind of far down the totem pole on this, but those people have a much closer connection to joe than i do. >> what do you think that would mean to them to get that call? >> i don't know. they may just think it's a meaningless gesture and maybe it is, i don't know. sadly nothing that can be said will bring joe back. >> a big thank you to nick for taking the time to speak with us today. we're back in a moment. hen my w. the experts at safelite autoglass came right to me... with service i could trust. right, girl? >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪
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this is cnn breaking news. >> all right. here we go on this friday afternoon. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being here. just as this huge winter storm has delayed crucial shipments of the covid vaccine, president joe biden is about to speak at this pfizer plant there in michigan on this very issue. he toured the vaccine manufacturer just a little while ago, but his challenges are not just about the weather impacting vaccine distri.

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