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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  November 25, 2020 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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make sure that you're exercising and make sure to monitor your thought that all helps it living a health care, happier life even during a pandemic or especially during a pandemic. >> yep. robi, thank you so much. robi ludwig on all that is important here as we get through the holidays. happy early thanksgiving to you and thank you for being here. i'll see you tomorrow. "the lead" starts right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news! >> welcome to "the lead." i'm pamela brown in for jake tapper today. breaking news. moments ago, president-elect joe biden delivered a thanksgiving address designed to appeal to americans sense of patriotism and calling on the country to e night during the face of a deadly pandemic. he acknowledged deep divisions but urged americans to fight the virus, not each other. >> we do not talk about much love in our politics. the political arena is too loud, too angry, too heated.
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to love our neighbor as ourselves is a radical act. it is what we are called to do. we must try. >> speaking in delaware there, the president-elect issued an urgent plea saying now is the time to buckle down and get this coronavirus under control. he said life would return to normal at some point but he urged people not to give in to covid fatigue. he promised on day one of his presidency to change the course of the virus with more testing, expanded contact tracing, and new guidance for keeping schools and business open. at almost the exact same time, president trump continued to deny reality and phoned into an event with pennsylvania republicans and spewed false claims about a rigged election and massive voter fraud. trump's failure to accept reality isn't stopping the boyden team from meeting with the current administration's top health officials today as cnn's m.j. lee reports.
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>> america is not going to lose this war. we will get our lives back. >> reporter: president-elect joe biden sharing a thanksgiving message with the nation on wednesday. >> i know that this time of year can be especially difficult. believe me. i know. i remember that first thanksgiving, the empty chair, the silence, it takes your breath away. it's really hard to care. it's hard to give thanks. it's hard to even think of looking forward. it's so hard to hope. i understand. >> reporter: speaking from wilmington, delaware, biden discussing the sacrifices americans are making as coronavirus cases surge across the country. >> we fought nearly a year-long battle with the virus that has devastated this nation. it's brought us pain and loss and frustration and it's cost so
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many lives. we need to remember we are at war with the virus, not with one another, not with each other. this is the moment where we need to steal our spines and redouble our efforts, and recommit ourselves to the fight. >> reporter: the biden transition team announcing biden will receive his first presidential daily briefing since becoming president-elect on monday. >> we are working with dni and the white house on the president-elect and vice president-elect receiving the -- >> reporter: the former vice president preparing to announce some members of his economic team next week. and biden expected to nominate janet yellen as his treasury secretary. biden insisting that as he builds out his administration a political divide across the country. >> the purpose of our administration is reuniting. we can't keep this political dialogue continue.
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it has to end. >> reporter: steaming to draw stark craft to president trump. biden's transition team receiving briefings on everything from vaccine distribution, testing, and ppe supply chains. this is, obviously, going to be such an unusual and tough holiday season for so many americans. biden saying this afternoon his family is no exception. usually, he will travel out of state to get together for a big family get-together. he says this week, he is staying back behind here in delaware for a very small family gathering instead. >> thank you for that. as joe biden tries to strike his new presidential tone, president trump is pushing a message of defiance and making his case on speaker phone to pennsylvania republicans. he led rudy giuliani lead the legal side show in person but not in court or even at the state capital. but, instead, at hotel. jeremy diamond reports. >> this is trump. >> reporter: as americans brace for the surging pandemic to
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collide with thanksgiving, president trump remains focused on attacking the integrity of the election he lost while the incoming president urged caution, the current president once again abdicating leadership at a critical time and silence about the pandemic while shouting on twitter about the rigged election that wasn't and insisting 2020 is a long way from over. it was an abridged version of the pr stunt trump was planning today in pennsylvania with his attorney rudy giuliani where republican state 12340senators an event to hype up voter fraud claims. after judges dismissed lawsuits alleging widespread voter fraud. trump cancelled his trip after campaign adviser boris epstein tested positive seen here with giuliani. giuliani walked into the crowded event in defiance of cdc quarantine guidelines and began spreading misinformation and
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maybe more. >> i know crooks really well. you give them an inch and they take a mile and you give them a mile and they take your whole country. >> reporter: but the president just couldn't stay away, calling in with more false claims. >> this election was rigged and we can't let that happen. we can't let it happen for our country. and this election has to be turned around because we won pennsylvania by a lot and we won all of these swing states by a lot. >> reporter: trump is also starting to think about end of presidency pardons. sources telling cnn a pardon for trump's first national security adviser michael flynn who pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi is under consideration. discussions have also centered on paul manafort and george p papadopoulos. the usually garden variety of lies we heard and conspiracy
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theories and misinformation about the 2020 election. we heard a sitting president repeatedly say he wanted to overturn the results of the 2020 election three weeks after millions of americans went to the polls to exercise their right to vote after his court cases have been tossed out of one court after the next, we heard president trump repeatedly say, quote, we have to turn the election over. >> what a striking contrast to president-elect biden celebrating democracy in his speech the day before thanksgiving. thanks so much, jeremy diamond. we bresappreciate it. jackie, i'll start with you to talk about this and the president-elect talked about democracy and unity and prayer and love. he quoted scripture. he mentioned god. what was your takeaway? >> the speech seemed to have three very distinct parts, acknowledging the grief that americans arie infeeling, wheth they lost someone or away from someone in this holiday. in the middle really telling
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people they need to hold and guard for the months ahead and not stop from keeping themselves safe. the end was the aspirational message and telling people better days are ahead and consistent with what biden was saying during the campaign and i imagine what he will do as president. you had part coach, part priest, part motivational speaker. you had joe biden today. >> this was, i mean, just for context, this is what you expect, right, from a president-elect? >> it is jarring and it's normalcy for sure. >> jarring and it's normalcy. a great way to put if. but it is, of course, it does stand in contrast to the president and even today with him calling in to event. i'll get to that in a moment. i first want to talk about how the president-elect personalized this, talu. he talked about they usually have a big empty gathering and they are not doing that this year and how the empty chair in
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the room to acknowledge lost loved ones. how did that stand out to you. >> a stark contrast between the incoming president and the outgoing president and how they are leveling with the american people about this virus. you had president-elect biden essentially saying i normally have a big family gathering and i know many of you would want to do that but we have to make some changes because we are in the middle of a pandemic that has killed so many thousands of americans and you have the contrast with president trump who has spent the last several months defying his own government's guidelines holding big superspreader events and gathering people at the white house even on the night of the election despite the fact that he, himself, had caught the virus, many people within his orbit have caught the virus, so a stark contrast between president-elect biden trying to show good public policy and good public health guidelines and trying to embrace those in the way that he conducts himself and president trump essentially say don't follow my example, don't follow the example of my government which says that everyone should be avoiding travel and not gathering in big
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groups. it's very clear there is a different type of government come january 20th and president-elect biden wanted to show that. >> you talk about the stark contrast. it's really symbolic in many ways how divided this country is, jackie, right? this is a divided country. joe biden talked about that. he was very sort of optimistic about the future, talking about how he can all come together. there is still hope. but is there? is that realistic for joe biden to think that? how he is going to bring this country together realistically? >> that is an excellent question and i don't know that we know the answer to that but we know joe biden has said repeatedly both on the campaign trail and after he has won that he is going to try. not only, you know, with republicans but within his own party. we have seen that with some of
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the cabinet picks that have been announced. they seem to be pretty nonkov s noncontroversial. not a lot of people on the right or left are upset about them or speaking out, as of yet. the governing from the center left is sort of what joe biden has pitched himself as but whether that -- i think healing the nation, that is going to take a while. this isn't something that is going to be a quick fix. >> thank you so much. we just actually breaking news coming in. president trump just announced on twitter that he has issued a full pardon for his former national security adviser michael flynn. flynn was convicted after a special counsel robert mueller's investigation for lying to the fbi. then the d.o.j. stepped in and a remarkable turn of events. jeremy diamond, i want to bring you in. as we know, this was expected. the president has long felt like his allies got into trouble with the fbi because of their association with him. we know there have been discussions under way in the
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white house to pardon michael flynn and now it's happened according to the president's tweet. >> reporter: that's right. i think you can expect that this will just be the first of several pardons that the president is likely to issue in the final days and weeks of his presidency. certainly this is one that has been long discussed inside the white house. the president has been considering for a long time and now, obviously, that he knows that he will not be president in about 60 days, this is the moment for him to do this pardoning national security -- former national security adviser michael flynn who was only national security adviser for a few weeks before he was fired for lying to the vice president of the united states about his contacts with the russians during the transition back in 2017. those contacts happened in 2016. then he later pleaded guilty to the fbi in 2017 in relation to those same contacts. somehow michael flynn, ultimately, decided to try to
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retract that guilty plea. the justice department also recently intervened and tried to dismiss this case after that guilty plea had already been filed. now there is kind of a legal limbo or has been a legal let me bow about whether or not michael flynn would be sentenced by a judge. that is all out the window as president trump announces he has issued a full and complete pardon to michael flynn who we should note has been represented most recently by sidney powell, that controversial attorney and conspiracy theorist who was on the president's legal team until just last weekend when rudy giuliani and jenna ellis, the president's attorneys started to distance themselves from here. >> it's interesting too. jeremy, sidney powell had actually asked the president a while back to not pardon her client michael flynn as this was going through the courts. i think there was some hope his case would be dropped with doj intervening on his behalf. you point out the legal team distanced themselves from sidney
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powell. now we know the pardon is happening. we know after covering this administration the last several years the president likes to exercise his pardon power. he often talks about it aides and asked if he can pardon himself, pardon his family. something he is very interested in and like you sort of eluded to early on, this could be the beginning of pardons before his term ends, not long from now. we know he has been eyeing other people in his orbit such as george papadopoulos and paul man a forty. >> right. another name you have to keep that in mind is robert mueller because robert mueller carried out a lot of these investigations that led to certain convictions or guilty pleas from a number of the president's associates and we know how the president feels about the mueller investigation. as he is issuing these pardons certainly as he is issuing the flynn pardon, he likely has the name robert mueller in mind as well. this isn't just rewarding his allies but perhaps also undoing
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some of the work that resulted from that mueller investigation which dogged his presidency for such a long time and perhaps this is also the president's way of getting back at him for that. >> absolutely, it is. jeremy diamond, thank you so much. let's go back to toluse and jack for all of this. your reaction? >> well, it is a sign the president realizes his days in office are numbered and the ability the kind of power that is given to the president to pardon people. he is going to lose that power very soon and he'll use it as much as possible even know clear the slate of somebody who lied to the fbi. i wouldn't be surprised if there is more pardons and punishments. the president likes to put out punishment on his enemies and people in his own government are enemies whether it's the fbi on
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or about the cia directors. i wouldn't be surprised if the president lashes out against people who undermine him the last four years. >> the key his days are running out. this could be the first of many pardons we see from donald trump in the weeks ahead. >> is pardoning a dynamite thing? i think we will see that the next weeks. anything has to do with the russia investigation, it seems like the president will try to wipe away. he had said -- i mean, it was the witch hunt and he has said that from the onset of the investigation. with flynn, i mean, i think the only thing that was surprising about that particular pardon is that he will waited while the sun was still up. you don't really do the wednesday before thanksgiving if -- the timing is definitely in line with what the president has done in the past and perhaps
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people when they aren't paying the closest attention to the news. this is just the beginning, you're absolutely right. >> right. as we talked about this is a president who is exercising the authority bestowed to him by the constitution and it's something he has shown a great interest throughout his administration. just put that into context for us as we are just now learning that his former national security adviser michael flynn has been pardoned, as you pointed out, he had pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi. but in context, what does this show? >> it shows what we have seen the past four years, a president who is willing to take very controversial steps and sometimes ethical questionable steps in using the power he has and note really following the past norms of the president and trying to color within the lines what is legal and it's very legal. there is nothing illegal about pardoning a former official who -- it's not necessarily
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something you would have seen from most past presidents, given all of the controversy surrounding michael flynn and the fact he was in contact with the russians before trump took office and he is one of the many people in the trump orbit who had multiple relationships with russian officials and it shows that president trump is still very unhappy that his campaign and his election continued to be tainted by the russia story. he was impeached in part due to his attempt to cover up the russia story by making these allegations that ukraine and biden were in cahoots. it's pretty clear this is really overwhelming much of the trump presidency and the final days of the trump presidency. >> caller: as well. >> thank you both. joining me now, is former u.s. attorney for the district attorney district of new york
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ali honeig. michael flynn is the president's former national security adviser. the fbi was able to listen to a phone call where he was speaking to the then ambassador to russia talking about sanctions during the transition four years ago he lied -- he admitted to lying to the fbi about those discussions. he had also lied to other people in the white house about it, including the vice president. he was eventually fired by the president. fast forward to today and he has now been pardoned by the president. put this in perspective for us, ali. >> i think we all saw this coming as to toluse just said and there is nothing illegal necessarily about it. but let's not lose sight what a wild abuse of power this is by the president. as you just said, pam, michael flynn was convicted of lying to the fbi about his communications with russia on sensitive issues and four years ago right now, during the trump tran circumstances. that is a big deal. remember an important thing here.
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michael flynn was cooperating with robert muellerself. robert mueller said on report that michael flynn was providing information on multiple ongoing criminal investigations until he stopped cooperating which is a very rare thing. i can tell you as a prosecutor once someone starts cooperating if they bail out they do that at their own risk unless michael flynn knew or believed that he had something coming to him, that would save him. remember, bill barr's doj tried to bail michael flynn out and tried to pull back that conviction which was an unprecedented move and, today, we see, i think, the natural culmination of this whole process. donald trump sort of delivering michael flynn what i think he has known has been coming to him a long time. >> to be clear, do you think that he had been told prior to this you're going to get pardoned and that is why he pulled out of cooperating? is that what you're saying? >> well, yeah. look. what we know for sure michael flynn knows and concede donald trump's tweets. donald trump has been tweeting
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about this case incessantly dozens of time and dangled the possibility of a pardon and one of robert mueller's specific findings in the report that donald trump repeatedly, in public, put out there the possibility of pardoning. michael flynn and others, by the way. robert mueller talks about how donald trump tried the same thing with michael cohen and paul man a forty and roger stone. this is part of a pattern. i think it's reasonable to conclude we know michael flynn saw those tweets and know he is a reasonable rational human being and robert mueller told us there absolutely could be a connection. >> you're saying what is publicly available, it's pretty obvious. it's interesting in talking to people within trump's orbit. they say this is going to happen. before today, they said this is our biggest expectation is that the president will pardon michael flynn. he has always felt like his associates paul man a forty and george papadopoulos those charged and convicted in the russia probe that they were unfairly targeted because of
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their association with him. do you feel like what we are seeing play out now is sort of a harbinger what is to come before trump leaves office? >> oh, 100%, pam. you raise such an important point. let's not let the fact this all seems inevitable and cross over and make you're it's okay or normal because it's not normal to see this. what is different about the way the president has used his pardon power he has hinted at this with roger stone. now with michael flynn. it goes to full blast. he is pardoning and comomuting people his direct political allies and may have been in position to expose wrongdoing by the president and those around him and make these pardons different in kind what we have seen from prior presidents of both parties. >> but we had seen controversial pardons from past presidents, right? tell us about that. put this in context with former presidents like bill clinton. >> no question about it. we have seen some dubious pardons in the past.
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b bill clinton i think towards the top of that list. he pardoned his own half-brother and a fugitive on federal charges, a billionaire fugitive that, in fact, the department of justice the southern district of new york investigated that for potential bribery. they did not end up bringing charges. donald trump has used his pardon power quite a bit less frequently than his predecessors and i think this makes 39 pardons during his time in office. george w. bush issued about 200 in twice the time in office and barack obama issued about 1900 in also the twice time in office. most of those to nonviolent drug offenders serving life or long sentences. there have been dubious pardons before. when you look at president trump the majority of his, a stunning percentage of his has gone to his personal acquaintances to celebrity causes to right wing sort of political commentators, heroes, martyr whatever you want to call them of the world.
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now i think most distressingly to those people who are his direct political allies and to those people who may have been -- were cooperating in michael flynn's case with the federal government. >> elie, thank you for your time. appreciate it. more coverage of our breaking news. president trump giving a full pardon to his former national security adviser michael flynn. who else could be on the president's pardon list. e.r. doctor is sick of hearing the lame excuses. his plea just wash your hands and stay home and wear a mask and stop the death and misery. we're all putting things off, especially in these times.
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president trump has announced a full pardon for his former national security adviser michael flynn.
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flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi about his contacts with russia before reversing course and trying to have his case thrown out. we will have more coverage of that in moments. let's turn to our "health lead" now. take a second to digest the staggering new numbers from the pandemic. 2,100 people died right here in this country in one day, that was tuesday. only the second time we have had more than 2,000 reported deaths in a day since may. things are trending the wrong direction. doctors are warning thanksgiving could be the mother of all superspreader events. cnn's athena jones reports. >> reporter: a thanksgiving like no other. coronavirus infections skyrocketing everywhere. tuesday the deadliest day since early may 2100 lives lost to the virus. u.s. sets a record for hoopt
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ho hospitalizations for the 15th day in a row. thanksgiving dinners could surge up a new spike in the infection. >> it's poptentially the mother of all superspreader events. >> reporter: positive iterate is around 10%. situation is worse in some places. adding to the danger. >> what we don't want to see is yet another surge superposed upon the surge you just described, which will realize three, three and a half weeks from now, if we don't do the public health things. >> reporter: a st. louis doctor recording this video to drive home the point. >> i hope that the last moments of your life, don't look like this. i promise this is what your mother or your father or your children when they get covid
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disease will see at the end of their life. >> some states already on the verge of buckling under the pressure. >> 1 out of 41 coloradans are ta contagious right now. the highest percentage of contagion we have had. >> the state will double its death toll by the end of the year. california reported nearly 17,000 new cases tuesday, its highest single day total ever. hospitalizations have nearly doubled in the last two weeks in los angeles county where officials reported the highest number of covid-related deaths in more than two months and warn it's likely to get worse. >> statewide, i don't believe we have ever seen as many hospital admissions increased like we did just in the past 24 hours and i hope, but don't expect, it will be the highest we ever have had. >> reporter: a outdoor ban on
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outdough di outdoor dining tonight. more restrictions in new york city after months of lope case numbers, hospitalization rates in the state have increased 128% over the last three weeks, according to governor andrew cuomo. tuesday was the 22nd day in a row the u.s. reported more than 100,000 new covid-19 cases. in this case it was more than 172,000. we just learned a short time ago that california set a record for new cases for the second straight day reporting more than 18,000 cases on wednesday. >> that is so brave. joining me now, is dean of brown university public of health. let's look at the latest covid numbers here. that is new record. this is all the day before thanksgiving. if you would, doctor, what is
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the story behind these numbers that i just laid out? >> i'm back. >> when you look at the numbers what are the stories these numbers tell? >> i apologize for that. thank you for having me on. the story it tells we are in the middle of a tough time of the pandemic. probably the darkest days of the pandemic is the next six weeks. i expect the numbers to climb above 200,000 infections a day and more than 100,000 people hospitalized. you're going to see the strains on hospital across the country without the thanksgiving surge and i'm worried thanksgiving will make things worse. >> this isn't because the virus has mutated, because people have changed their behaviors, right?
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why we are seeing the upward friend? >> yeah. the upward trend began after labor day. you see increases in changes and definitely no evidence of mutations. i think the colder weather in the northern half of the country really is making a difference. then i also think people have just been tired of changing behavior and policymakers have been slow to close bars and restaurants. it's a combination of all those things that have gotten us to the place we are in. >> let's talk about president-elect biden talking about the challenges and said he is going to listen to experts and provide ppe for all and so much more. that sounds good and well. realistically 'cha can he do on day one to change things? >> i think a lot. i think certainly getting a good team in place which he has to far will be very helpful. i think what he can start doing now is start signaling to the marketplace there really will be a federal government gauged in
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buying up more tests and buying up more personal protective equipment. i think that will help. ultimately his biggest impact comes when he is in office and can start implementing these polici policies. i think we need those policies implemented to get this under control. >> thank you, doctor. >> thank you. president trump has issued a full pardon to his national security adviser michael flynn. why this would be the first of many pardons the next few weeks. now is the time for a new bath from bath fitter. every bath fitter bath is installed quickly, safely, and beautifully, with a lifetime warranty. go from old to new. from worn to wow. the beautiful bath you've always wanted, done right, installed by one expert technician, all in one day.
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we are back with breaking news. president trump, moments ago, announced a full pardon for his former national security adviser michael flynn. the president tweeted it is my great honor to announce that general michael g. flynn has been granted a full pardon. congratulations to general flynn and his wonderful family. i know you will now have a truly fantastic thanksgiving. joining me now, is john dean, former white house counsel to richard nixon and former federal prosecutor laura coats. thank you both for joining me. my sources tell me that this is something the president has long wanted to do. we know this was under discussion at the white house in recent days. what is your reaction now that it's official? >> i'm not surprised. i think he had it on his mind since he lined up the turkey
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yesterday and maybe this is another turkey in the eyes of some. but he, obviously, has been concerned about flynn for a long time. he has leaned on the department of justice in unusual ways. the department has been on all sides of this case, both prosecuting it and withdrawing the prosecution. it's a very unusual case. i think flynn knows an awful lot that mr. trump doesn't want him talking about and that would suggest why he has come through before thanksgiving. >> what do you think? do you think this signals there is more to this story then, laura? >> absolutely. >> i think there is more to this story. >> so sorry. laura. then we will comeback to you, john. >> i would love to hear from john more. i think it -- his motivation not to be fully cooperative about this episode. the notion here that michael flynn just, on his own accord, without any sort of guidance
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anywhere, just decided he was going to retract guilty pleas and go forward might be -- for people to do we have no evidence to suggest that president trump actually put his thumb on the scale but he tweeted. it was very well known what he expected. he was very, very clear about his absolute ability to pardon and about his views on the treatment of michael flynn from day one. he was very clear about this being a part of the witch hunt. of course, he even praised up until recently the attorney for michael flynn for suggesting just that very notion. i think that the writing was on the wall for michael flynn to believe that there was some reason for him to say that, look. i'm digging my heels and not the least of which where the statements by the president about a so-called deep state in the department of justice whereby he was wrapped up into some grand conspiracy of a witch hunt. that was one of the leading things that michael flynn tried to speak about and in accordance with the president's own tweets and statements all across the country and all across the air waves. >> you really laid out how this
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case has taken so many twists and turns from the very beginning and we are also just learning that mark meadows, the fr president's chief of staff tweeted the following. john dean, your take. >> well, he was fired by trump originally for lying to the vice president. he was prosecuted for lying to the fbi. >> he admitted it. he admitted to lying to the fbi. >> he admitted twice to lying to the fbi. as well as to the vice president. lie saeptisn't going away. what they are trying to erase is the criminal prosecution and conviction and will successfully do that with a pardon. all of the history of the event will always be there. >> i just want -- go ahead,
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laura. >> it must be sad. we are talking about the president of the united states whose job is to enforce the law of the land. what is being said is a congratulations for somebody who tried to undermine the actual investigatory process that was undertaken by members of the executive branch of government, has lied and committed perjury and we are congratulating this behavior for what reason? and what message does that send? not to people who can rub the elbows of the president of the united states whoever that might be but the idea if you lie you should be rewarded. if you plead guilty, it can go away as long as the president has a semsympathetic ear toward. what about the hundreds of thousands of defendants looking at this saying can i raise my hand right now? i think i should have an opportunity in the same way. there is a standard we set in the federal government and pros
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ku prosecutions and to have it congratulated at this wide level is hurting the morale of prosecutors whose job it is to prosecute these cases with hair head held high and believing the president is behind him or her. >> we are seeing a pattern emerge her. john, we know the president has commuted the sentence for roger stone, another ally of the president who was sentenced in the russia probe. at the same time, look. he is exercising the authority granted to him by the constitution here, right? >> he is, indeed. rather sweeping authority, no question about it. he has gone up to the edge where proprietary was raised. his first pardon for papao was contempt of court and for a president to reach into a judicial proceeding where the judge exercising his police powers over his court when opio
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had misbehaved in court and erased that. so this is not a norm for most presidents and i suspect that while there is very little the congress can do to put any restrictions on the pardon power, i think they are going to look at it closely as to the process that is involved. >> what would you say, john, to trump allies who come back and say look what past presidents have done. look what president clinton did with his pardon power. what would you say to them? >> for example, i think about 1500 or 16 hundred pardons that were done by his immediate predecessor obama and they were carefully processed through the department of justice, through the pardon attorney. there were some controversial clinton pardons and they were done and they were investigated
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by congress which thought there was some quid pro quo for clinton's library only to find out they were dead wrong and clinton told the truth and the prime minister of israeli had put pressure on him to issue a pardon and that turned out to be correct. it's a delicate area. it's one of the few areas where president's powers, there is almost nothing anybody can do or say about them and this will come up of course in the context of a self-pardon which i'm sure mr. trump is seriously considering right now. >> what do you think about that, laura? i know sources have told me that it's something that he has asked about. that doesn't necessarily mean he is going to do it but the idea of a self-pardon as john just raised. >> the constitution does not explicitly and expressly prohibit it. it's quite clear that the pardoning power is absolutely except in the context of impeachment. you look at the idea of how the department of justice normally operates, you're not allowed to sit as a judge in one's own case
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which would essentially be the president exercising that level of judgment and oversight over a case prospectively with charges involving himself. the question here for the last four years, we have been in a lot of unchartered territory and looked at the wall in case of emergency, break glass to find nothing is behind it. guess what. no one tried to self-pardon one's self as president of the united states. if he were to attempt to do this would no' assuredly have to go to the supreme court which have to wrestle with the parameters what a president could truly do. a pardon is not a get out of jail free card for any future conduct for the rest of your life. it's supposed to be limited in scope to conduct that has occurred while you had the presidential power for a fixed moment in town. gerald ford pardoning nixon for a time while he was president of the united states and not for anything in perpetuity. we are looking at a supreme court most of which he nominated and confirmed who have ultimately decide whether president trump could do it. >> right. i want to go back to this and
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back to flynn. sources i've spoken to close to the president, john, they backed down the idea he would ever issue a self-pardon because it would be essentially admitting wrong doing, admitting criminal wrongdoing in their view and president would never want to do that. do you think he would? that. >> a good question. he might, as an insurance policy, want to stick one in his pocket' not announce he had done it, a self-pardon. there is no question, a pardon -- to accept a pardon is to being knowledge guilt. there is a supreme court case on that. in fact, gerald ford, after he pardoned nixon, carried a little slip of paper with a quote from the relevant supreme court ruling that he could pull out when anybody asked him why he was giving nixon this pass. he said, well, nixon admitted guilt when he accepted the pardon which is true. that is what trump is worried about and why he wouldn't announce it.
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if he were ever indicted, that is his check, that is his ability to say, hey, you can't prosecute me because i have self-pardoned. then we would litigate that issue for probably several years. >> you're saying essentially in the dark of the night he could pardon himself and no one would know? is that what you're saying? of course, this is speculative. >> he could do that. he does not have it announce it. >> i want to be clear this is speculative and no indication he is going to do this. you're right that this is something as he sees the final weeks ahead of him, laura, this is something that he clearly wants to flex his muscle on, the power of the pardon that he has every right to do. what do you think is to come? do you think this is the first of many to come starting with michael flynn here? >> i do. i think there will be several others. the theme he is hoping to pardon all of those he feels has been engulfed in this witch hunt
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theory that arose from the mueller report and not to mention other cases have you close associates. for example rudy gl who wiulian was investigated. discussions about the trump organization, family members who may be investigated. wire fraud issues. tax evasion issues. remember that "the new york times" report about the amount of money he wrote off and whether it was going as an effective write-off to a consultant or not and that his daughter according to reporting. these are speculative. a lot of the things on the horizon for a nonsitting president that is donald trump does not just include federal prosecutions which the pardon power only relates to. you've got state level issues as well here state level litigation in cases to which even if he dreams whole heartedly of pardoning all of those, the constitution does not provide for those and they still have power at the state level that could overshadow even a presidential pardon. >> all right. laura coats and john dean, thank you for that robust discussion
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on this breaking news. we appreciate it. we have much more ahead. president trump's first pardon since losing the election. his former national security adviser michael flynn. who could be next on the president's list? to make a masterpiece. taste our delicious new flatbread pizzas today. panera. oh my gosh you made it! oh shoes! i thought y'all got lost or something. did you put some ah, kale in the greens? oh thank you! we didn't forget about you! welcome to the family. thank you. wooooow. i love it! (laughter) thank you dad! to help you build a flexible wealth plan. you'll have access to tax-smart investing strategies,
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this year has highlighted how many people are struggling but thankfully lisa ling is bringing us inspiring stories that we could all use, right? we will learn about an unconventional bond between a group of prepare school students and maximum security prisoners.
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hitting a kid. that was the answer at that time. i look at the youth and like you guys should not be learning that kind of lesson. don't believe that. it took me to come to prison to understand that that is loving and that is understanding. a man treasures his family and his friends. a man is selfless. these are things you should be taught. we weren't. so i teach them here to you today. >> joining me now, is the host of "this is life" lisa ling. this was intermediate before the pandemic so the lack of masks and socially distancing we saw in the video there.
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the video from the boys in that prep shallow had not been to prison before. were they nervous? >> certainly the ones who were going and starting the program for the first time. it's a program that has been in existence for six years. it's an elective at the school. and the boys will go in to the prison for eight weeks and read a novel together. you would think that the prisoners would really be the biggest beneficiaries of the program because they have these educated young men coming in and reading with them. what i found was the young men from the palma school, these are elite prep school boys, really, really were so moved and transformed by the experience. you saw that clip of raul who was so candidly sharing about his life. the men in this program are so reforceful but they are also so kind of evolved about their emotions and the trauma they experienced as young boys and how it affected the rest of their lives. by sharing that kind of candor
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with these prep school boys it gave these young men permission to feel themselves and we are always telling young men, be a man, man up, don't show feelings, don't cry. it was incredible the kinds of things the prep school boys started to share and some of the things their fellow students had known them their whole lives had never known about them. it was an incredible experience. >> so fascinating and so true that young men are taught at a young age that basically they can't experience the full spectrum of human emotion so that really i'm sure was eye opening for them to hear them talk about. talk about the every book is an engine for empathy that the boy's teacher said. >> yes. this is what the program is about. the teacher jim micheletti says that literature is interpreted differently, depending on who is reading it. i have to tell you this one story. the reason i felt compelled to tell this story is a couple of a
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years ago incarcerated men were reading a book and they decided to start a scholarship to benefit a young man who otherwise would not be able to afford a prep school education at the palma school. these men raise the 8 cents and hour and raised 30,000 and a young man graduated last year having almost all of his entire education paid for by inmates. >> thank you so much. we are out of time. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news! welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim acosta in "the situation room." president trump announcing moments ago that he has granted a full pardon to his former national security adviser michael flynn who pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi. also breaking. president-elect joe biden urging


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