tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN March 2, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
thank you for watching, as always, the big show, c tnn wit don lemon. >> why lift the restrictions, the vaccine is getting in to enough arms that things are starting to turn around, but it's way too early. why do it now? the only reason i can see is because of what happened in texas, someone dropped the ball and they are trying to change the conversation. that is it, a distraction. that is how i feel. >> it's good, you asked the
question, you answered it, we are cdone? >> i am asking you. >> he needed a win. it's part of the macho sentiment, that we are going 100% baby, right in to the rocks. the science is clear, look, you can be relaxing restrictions. the cdc is not crazy about it, but you have toly balance what people want out of their hardship and what leadership believes it has to do. right? there's an alchemy, he is trying to flout convention. it's trumpery, that's all it is. >> i can read ksh. >> you stayed in a holiday inn last night. >> i did, in fact. what the science shows is in restaurants, that the chances of exposure are not as great as in other places. those businesses should be allowed to open to whatever extent or capacity that the
science shows is favorable. is correct. but, as far as wearing masks, i mean, let's, look, all you have to do is look at what is happening with the flu this season. >> hm-mm. what flu? >> exactly. because why? people are wearing masks. it's so obvious. so, wear the mask for a little bit. it's, it doesn't hurt. open up businesses as much as you can. i do agree with that. but, lifting the mask restriction is wrong and i think it's only being done for one reason, as you said, distraction, i say, and you say strong and wrong. that's how i feel about it. >> they are trying to play. we saw it this weekend at the coven of all of the kind of wicked ideas of what is happening in society. >> can i say something, chris, let me say something about that. >> yes, please. >> i have been here for what, 14, 15 years, a long time at cnn, and not once, and i have been covering international news for over a decade, going on two
decades. who knows. i have never heard on the street, anybody in my personal life, democrat or republican saying, oh, my hgosh, i went to the cpac and can't wait to hear the speeches at cpac, nobody talks about cpac, but every single media station covers cpac and it's the extreme of the extreme. most of the sensible republicans don't go to the cpac conference and don't pay attention to it. it's simply a creation and an obsession with the media about the cpac conference. kn no one gives a crap. >> i wish you were right. it's the pregame show on that show. you don't have a left equivalent. i don't mean diss respect to the grassroots -- >> you called it a coven, that's what reminded me of it. >> it was a coven, they were talking about qanon conspiracies and magical ways of killing
their opponents. >> my point proven. >> it's the pregame show now. that's what thatparty has become. look at today. everyone knows what january 6th was, it was as obvious as the red hats. they know it. >> yeah. >> but they will lie about it and whoever thought you would see the day that republicans didn't want to call something terror? >> remember? you have to call it for what it is. >> so, this guy was on a phone, waterboard his ass, remember that is that? got to have the answers. you sure? >> why can't it be terrorism in the united states? >> it's not just that they are white, it's their white people. >> their white people and they are americans. people don't like to believe that americans can be terrorists. yes, there's home grown terrorists in the country. >> hey, if they were american brown people who had said something like hey, we are part of a new party. they would have no problem calling them terrorists.
we both know it. you have to announce yourself as openly not terrorists. >> you remember when i called it for what it was a few years ago. and everyone came after me. the right wing and white terrorists, man, i got it. >> i get, you know, i had adam schiff on tonight, he a bill on out in 2019 had that his party didn't like either. i get people wanting to go slow about what type of intel operations. the cia is not supposed to operate here. what you do with americans. i get it. but when you know they are trying to kill us in organized fashion. the balance has to shift. and now, it's just politics, don, i have never seen us in a more precarious place, when something that is supposed to be right is not anymore. >> not long ago, you and i could not drink at the same water fountain. that division has been there.
>> i was not alive then yet. i love you d lemon. >> you were a glimmer in your mama's -- >> no, i was a mistake. >> the republican party fighting desperatelyfor power. and i will show you examples and their weapon is a big lie about voter fraud, right? the weapon. that's become a weapon. a lie that was knocked down over and over and over and over and over again. over and over and over. now, surfacing in the supreme court. it is so obvious that republicans are trying to grab power because they are not winning at the ballot box. listen closely. they are not willing -- they have to twist and change the rules and now the big lie about voter fraud now has a twin. a new big lie about who was behind the capitol attack. the republicans want you to ignore what you saw with your own eyes. what you saw, there it is.
a blood thirsty mob of trump supporters beating police and hunting lawmakers. they want you to believe that was antifa and black lives matter, fake trump supporters. look at all the black people in there. and anybody other than exactly who we all saw. that's who they want you to believe. that lie was knocked down today by the fbi director himself. christopher wray in his testimony to the senate is today. and let's remember. he was hand picked by the former president. >> do you have any evidence that the capitol attack was organized by quote fake trump protesters? >> we have not seen evidence of that at this stage. >> and i understand from your testimony previously that you the did not see antifa, or left wing groups playing a significant role in the january
6th insurrection s? >> we have not to date seen any evidence of violent stextremist yar -- >> we have not seen my evidence to that affect thus far in the investigation. >> is there any doubt that the people who stormed the capitol included white supremists and other far right extremist organizations? >> there's no doubt that it included individuals that we would call militia violent extremists and then, in some instances, individuals that were racially motivated violent extremists who advocate for, you know, the superiority of the white race. >> hm-mm. hm-mm. so my grandmother was trying to prove a point to us, no matter how many times that we would ask her a question over and over, the answer was the same.
and she'd go, hm-mm, hm-mm, i told you once, and you keep asking. that's what he should have said. as they say in the south. i done told you. and i said what i said. and he said what he said over and over and over and over the same answer. it was not antifa. it was not black lives matter. wasn't fake trump supporters. it was white let me say it clear, it was white supremecists, and far right extremists. that's who it was. republicans trying again and again to blame somebody,
anybody, other than trump support ers, trump supporters, perhaps they didn't hear, that's why i'm saying it, and white supremacists. and wray knocked down the big lie again and again. i want you to listen to what he said about violent chatter on social media. >> there's so much chatter, often unattributed to a person in a neatly identifiable way, where people are saying unbelievably horrific violent ways, talking about beheading and explosions and all kinds of things like that. and separating out which are getting traction and which reflect intention as opposed to aspiration is something that we spend an enormous amount of time trying to do. >> i think we all remember prime examples of chatter.
about beheadings and shootings. and let's not forget the qanon congress woman who in january of 2019 liked the comment that said, quote, a bullet to the head would be quicker, to remove nancy pelosi. let's not forget the rioters who put up a gallows outside the capitol and screamed "hang mike pence." >> hang mike pence! hang mike pence! hang mike pence! hang mike pence! hang mike pence! >> all of it incited by lies. and then there is ted cancoon cruz. >> the rigot did not come out o nowhere. >> he would know, he knows it was all incited by the big lie. after all, he was so on board with the big lie, he was ready and willing to defend it at the
supreme court. he was so on board that he voted to overturn the election results. just hours after rioters stormed the capitol. all in on the big lie. the big lie that christopher wray shut down today. >> and to be crystal clear on this, as fbi director, who is these would be federal crimes you are aware of no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 president ally election, correct? >> we are not aware of any widespread voter fraud, much less that would have affected the outcome in the president ally election. >> let me translate that for you, republicans feared that they would not win in 2020, so we got the big lie. the big lie that incited the former president's supporters to riot at the capitol. the big lie that threatened our democracy, now they are afraid that they will not win future
electi elections. they are threatening the effort again. trying to limit early voting. cut back on ballot drop boxes and ban giving food or water to voters waiting in line. imagine that. restrictions that would keep more voters of color who are more likely to vote democratic away from the polls. you see what is happening here. arizona taking its voting restrictions all the way to the supreme court today. and they are saying the quiet part, out loud. here it is. >> what is the interest in the arizona rnc here, keeping the out of precinct voter ballot disqualification rules on the books? >> because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage, politics is a zero sum game. >> did you hear that?
because it puts them at a competitive disadvantage. politics is a zero sum game. they want to restrict the vote because they are afraid of losing. they are afraid that they won't win. this is right out of the trump playbook. quote, doesn't work out well for republicans. and if the represent are cans are honest, out of power now in the house. the senate and the presidency, and instead of the big lie, they grab on to the big truth. and that is that president trump is not their future. he tanked their future. i got to get to jeff. he is here now, news out of the biden white house, what do you have some. >> well, today, don, president biden announced that really, an accelerated timeframe forgetting the vaccine out to enough americans previously, he said that by july, there would be enough doses for all americans
to receive the vaccine. now, he is moving it up to the end of may. and it's because of the johnson & johnson vaccine as well as the white house working behind the scenes to get a rival company of johnson & johnson, the merck company to produce more vaccine. so really a dramatic escalation of the amount of vaccine to be produced. it does not mean that -- there's still many hobstacles to gettin shots in arms. anybody that has tried to schedule a vaccine, you know how difficult it is. the vaccine supply has been a big issue. so the president announcing a very big development today that there will be more vaccine, and the school teachers should be vaccinated, at least the first dose bring the end of march. that would speed up the opening of schools which has been a majorer recoveries for the first two months of the year.
>> 300 million doses, not shots, in the arms will require more work to get it done and so the white house is saying that. also, tonight, we are learning the white house is withdrawing the nomination of the top budget adviser, what are you hearing about it, jeff? >> she is the first casualty from the biden cabinet. she was had nominated back at the end of last year, to lead the office of management and budget. the top budget office is an important position. she has a history of being active on social media. calling out many republican and democratic senators. that has come back to haunt her had. she apologized and they thought she'd get through confirmation, but they have pulled her, saying they need to spend the political capitol to get the covid relief bill through. it's the first loss in terms of president biden's nominations.
we have seen other new presidents and administrations stumble in terms of filling the cabinet. it's the first one, it looks like it will be the only one. but starting tomorrow the president will be looking for a new replacement for the office of management and budget. and a top contender, don, i'm hearing is a louisiana native, shalonda young, she is the deputy director to be nominated for the omb, she may be going for the top spot. >> we will watch, jeff, thank you so much. we also have breaking news, and it is first on cnn, you will remember ronny jackson, he is the former top trump white house doctor and current congressman. well, a scathing report from a pentagon watch dog finds that he made sexual comments, drank alcohol, took prescription pills on the job. and that's just a piece of the stunning report, we will bring you all the details, that is next. at about me? one for me? you mean us? what about me? and me?
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this is the epson ecotank color printer. no more buying cartridges. big ink tanks. lots of ink. print about this many pages. the new epson ecotank. just fill and chill. so here's the breaking news, and it's first on cnn, a scathing report from the defense department inspector general on inappropriate behavior by congressman ronny jackson who you will remember was the top white house trump doctor. the findings are sexual and d denegrating comments and a use of alcohol on a presidential trip. the investigation was launched in 2018 and looks at his time serving in both the obama and trump administrations.
let's bring in now cnn's chief congressional correspondant, manu, thank you. there's been reports about this, but now the findings are in. this was a year's long investigation in to jackson. the review is scathing. talks about this inappropriate, how he violated the alcohol policy. walk us through what it says. >> it's a pentagon watch dog, it's a serious report and conclusion that is the result of the investigation. 78 witnesses came forward and talked about their experience with ronny jackson as he was the top doctor at both the trump white house and at the obama white house. and the conclusions are very striking and scathing indeed, don. among the things that they conclude here is that he did make sexual and denigrating comments about one of his female subordinates to another, and he
drank alcohol with subordinates against the white house policy. he took ambien, sleeping medication, in violation of white house policy while he was taking care of the president. and at the same time, concerns about creating a toxic workplace environment. so, i will walk through the detailed findings as part of the investigation. it says that a one specific instance, for in 2014, he, as part of a trip to manilla, it alleges he was actually drunk. he went to a female subordinate's room, knocked on her door and said, i need you and then later commented about that subordinate's breasts and buttocks to someone on his staff. he appeared to be drunk on duty while he was in argentina back in, on a presidential trip from march 23rd, 2016, through march
24th, 2016 and that at a time when he was carrying for the president then barack obama and detailing just the magnitude of his anger in the words of his, the people who worked for him and who witnessed this first hand. 56 witnesses described behavior they called as yelling, screeching and rages that occurred from the time of 2012 through 2018, so both of the obama years and the trump years. saying this. many of these witnesses described jackson's behavior with words and phrases such as meltdowns, yells for no reason, rages, tantrums, lashes out and aggressive. the witnesses describe jackson's leadership style as tyrant, dictator, hallmarks of fear, crappy manager and not a leader at all. now, jackson did not comment, declined to do so.
we reached out to comment before we reported the story and he came back with a statement essentially denying the charges saying that he, calling it a political hit job that came after him, because in his words he stood with donald trump. he said that they have resurrected false allegations from the past that were wage bid democrats during his years with the obama administration. as well as some of the allegations of course came during his time with donald trump. and he also denied, he said i deny, i consumed alcohol while on duty. and said he respects prescription drug practices seriously. now, one of the things that is in this report, this all came to light, don, because he was nominated of course of secretary of veteran's affairs under donald trump, that nomination went nowhere, because a lot of the allegations were coming out at that time. one of the allegations was that he was impaired. he was drunk. he crashed in to a, used a government vehicle and crashed. >> i remember that. >> this report debunks that
claim. and said it did not actually happen. but it corroborates claims that did come out. the issue about ambien, while on duty and while providing medical care for government officials he had taken ambien and it raised concerns among his colleagues that were worried that he would not be able to provide the medical care. never mind that it violated the white house policy on per use of the prescription medication. in addition, it was separate allegations of him drinking on the job which of course, he denies separately. but this comes out, don, right before the public release of this watch dog report tomorrow. the congressional committees have been briefed about the findings by this inspector general, but just a scathing report about a congressman, now a freshman congressman, who just won a house seat from texas, represents texas now, former white house doctor and not a pretty review from the key watch dog. >> yeah, and then, listen, we
have more, a much more reporting on this. but there were all kind of bizarre claims that went back to 2018. manu will have it for you, manu will keep going through the report that cnn obtained and we will be back with reporting on this at the top of the hour. thank you, we will see you in moments. thousands of trump supporters and white supremacists stormed the capitol and the gop keeps pushing the big lie, even when it's right in their faces, we will be right back.
republicans today pushing this both as claim that fake trump supporters were involved in the insurrection blaming antifa, black lives matter. it is a second big lie. but he dismantled it, why are they intent on shifting blame here? >> because i think there's a commitment to this false equivolancy, you heard it, whether or not they were talking about amtifa being in the crowd today, they were asking whether he would basically put the threat from domestic terror, white supremacist terror, and white nationalist terror on the same level as what they perceived to be a threat from antifa, it's part of the narrative, that they are all the same and should be treated the same. i think christopher wray was straight forward, when he basically indicated that one of his bigger concerns because of
the level are of violence that is coming from some of the militia groups and white supremacist groups is that they are different from individuals who might be a part of antifa or what have you and republicans don't want to accept that. it would mean grappling with the elements within their own party and supporters and they are not willing to really cut those people off. at some point, i think though they are probably going to have to do that. >> yeah, they would have to admit that they have a problem and they have to deal with it. you are right, abby. director wray, said it was distributed three different ways. butity ilast week, the former capitol police said ishe did no see the report. there was clearly a break down here. who needs to take responsibility? >> yeah, listened to the testimony carefully and i know chris and i think he feels deeply and strongly that the
fbi's intelligence collection and dissemination needs to improve. and i think he took the hit on this. i will say that the capitol police and the metropolitan police have significant responsibility. they were given the information through the normal channels. norfolk is a small fbi office. i think that was one of many reports, that's the only one that happened to leak out. i think it was one of many reports about, or noise if you will, traffic, about what may happen on that day. so, it was a miss. and i think chris freely admitted that today. and i think he pledged to get better. it was a strong performance by this -- >> you said it was a miss, how should it have been disseminated? should there have been a bigger red flag. what do you think should have happened? >> somebody could have picked up
the phone and called someone of rank could have called someone high up in the metropolitan police or the capitol police. you know, that's unusual. it would be, that would be reservedfor a situation where there's a vetted threat, a well defined threat. imminent and that sort of thing. knowing how the fbi works and how the task forces work, and joint terrorism task forces they have established some procedurers. in this case, they followed the procedures. the only other thing they could have done is just pick up the phone. >> yeah, okay. >> i know that people on the hill are upset that he they thought that, that there should have been a bigger warning. right? instead of just sending it, you know, out in a memo and such is. abby, listen, back to you know, this lie, it was not just the lie about fake trump supporters at the riot. wray ripped apart the first big ap lie about election fraud as
well. will all of the debunking stop the republicans from pedaling this disinformation? >> oh, absolutely not. i mean, when you look at what is happening in state level. it's incredibly transparent. there's not even an attempt to actually link back any of these attempts to restrict voting to actual fraud. that is actually happened. the explanation, when you go to arizona or georgia, or florida or where have you. our constituents are worried about this, and we need to make them feel comfortable. well they are worried about it because they have been lied to for several months and that has been the pretext for these rule changes. in fact, many in cases they are explicitly acknowledging there's no fraud and they are arguing that there doesn't need to be fraud for them to pursue voting changes. so, i don't think that any of this effort to restrict voting
as a result of what happened in the 2020 election is teth ered t all to the reality whether or not there was fraud. chris toefwray was straight for, there was no evidence of widespread fraud. and he almost had a chuckle when he said it. he said there was no evidence of widespread fraud, let alone any evidence that would change the outcome of the election. but none of that matters. because the objective seems to be restrict voting in an effort to get a partisan advantage in the next political contest. >> i think it's interesting when you said, they need to make their supporters back home feel comfortable with what is a lie instead of telling them the truth. unbelievable. thank you, abby, thank you, chris, i will see you soon. first they spread the big election lie and now they are pushing a new jim crow, the gop's all-out quest for power. that is next.
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conservative supreme court justices heard a case today that would further weaken the voting rights act, as republicans and states all over the country are pushing for laws that make it harder for people to vote. one analysis finding more than 250 bills in 43 states would limit voting. it goes hand in hand with the big lie pedalled by trump and his allies over his election
laws. part of their effort to under mine the voting process, joining me now, former chief strategist for president george w. bush, matthew dowd. thank you for appearing. ever since trump lost the election. he and the gop have been trying to explain it away with all of these lies. now, republicans across the country are trying to he restrict voting rights based on the lies that they have spread. do they know that they can't win fair and square and that's why they are doing this? >> well, i think, don, you know, as you fully explained, it's just an amazing thing to watch, where you have an election historic turnout. more people turned out than any time in our history before. it was deemed the most safe election, secure election. no wide ved votespread voter fr the gop spreads the lie and because the voters believe the lie, we have to do the
restrictions because the voters don't trust it and you and me, are with people just like that, everything is calm and great and they stir up trouble and they say, we have to fix the trouble. and what they don't understand, they are the problem that stirred up the trouble. this is an amazing thing to me that you have a major party in the country, and if you look at the history, we have a major party in the country who is seeking to do everything that they can to keep people at every level had and so, our history as you know, our history ever since the founding of the constitution, we have dealt with this and we have to keep dealing with it to try to expand the number of people that have access to vote. >> is this, matthew, is this the new jim crow party now? >> well, i would, if they knew, i think. the thing about this, don. that in america, in american history, we basically had a
roughly a third of the people that have constantly fought against change and constantly fought against america evolving to something different. a third of the people in the revolutionary war wanted to stay with the monarchy, a third of the people in the civil war supported slavery. and a third of the people were against civil rights a third of the people were against gay rights and against marriage. so we have had a third along with us, the problem has been is, since our founding, the founding fathers made an imperfect document and the document was only allowed white then over 21 who had property to vote. and since that time, we have tried to chip away, chip away, chip away, chip away, chip away, but there's still an element of the country that doesn't like change. and doesn't like the empowered, the way it's been empowered a
diverser and inclusive country. they are doing everything that they can like they did with jim crow after reconstruction and the way they did against immigrants. the reason we have voting is tied back to the 19th century when the immigrants came here, it was done by people in power to keep the immigrants from voting. they established registration laws. all along the way, it's been a concerted effort by a segment of society to keep the country from becoming a diverse country it's going to become and. >> you hit on something that is important. and i think it would help the country move forward. and that i believe, it's that people need to know the history of the country. when you talked about reconstruction and voter registration, you talk about reconstruction and how the clan was reestablished and when all the monuments were up and erected. people need to do know the history of the country. they are acting out, many types ignorance and if they knew,
perhaps they would change the behavior and it would get them to be more evolved and right thinking. listen, matthew, during the supreme court arguementes today on voting restrictions in arizona. the gop's own lawyer admitted, admitted this, without restrictions they are at a disadvantage because and this io sum game. they are not trying to hide what they want to do. >> no, it's amazing, don, they are saying all the quiet parts out loud. i mean, and it's been this way from all of it. the muslim ban, all of the things they have done all along the way that they have done this. they just do it out loud now. it used to be people believed it and they kept it to themselves and they made decisions that were discriminatory or racist and it was quiet. now it's this is what we need to do and this is the only way we can win and this is how we are going to do it. one other point in history that we should keep in mind.
obviously all of the obstacles have been along the way, and there's been a fight along the way to expand the people that can vote and participate in america. there's been people that stood up and lost in moments but fought and fought and fought and fought and so the only way, i say the only way is not people in power in washington, it's me and you and other people having to do the same thing that the civil rights people did, that the people that fought for gay rights and people that fought for women's rights we have to push our leaders to make america what it's supposed to be. which is a multi-ethnic, diverse democracy. >> hm-mm. matthew dowd. thank you, sir , always a pleasure. >> thanks, don. >> coronavirus variants are spreading. the cdc is warning we are not out of the woods yet but texas is reopening. and masks are not mandatory. interesting. stay with us.
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here's the breaking news tonight, texas governor greg abbott announcing he'll open texas 100% and drop the state's mask mandate. business of any type will be able to fully re-open march 10th, and americans will be able to walk around completely maskless. it's hard to explain the timing one day after a cdc warning that cases aren't going down and americans need to be on their guard. despite the fact that more people died of coronavirus in texas on monday than when the mask mandate was ordered in july, and texas is still reeling from the winter storm disaster. joining me now to discuss is
democratic texas republican congresswoman sheila jackson lee. we have breaking news. our time so halftime report. most of the people in texas are not vaccinated. thanks to the governors' decision an at love people will be going around unmasked. what you want to say to them and the governor? >> i'm stunned. we were just together with president biden a few day ago about the necessity for providing more vaccines, which the federal government has agreed and of course fighting the freeze. we had 2 million cases in texas. we have been on the hot spot -- first, second, or third nationally as it relates to both hospitalizations and death. frankly, i believe this is wrongheaded. i've already indicated that my local jurisdictions, harris county and houston, the most populated county in the state should absolutely not follow it. this is going to explode community spread, and right in the midst of these variants that are coming, it is the wrong
decision, and it's dangerous. >> i want to move on and talk about fbi director christopher wray. what do you think of his testimony today? >> let me just say that as a member of the judiciary committee i worked with him. i know the fbi they are the standard of law enforcement. i'm glad he admitted that white supremacy, domestic terrorism is in fact a dangerous phenomenon in this country, that they have seen exponentially domestic terrorism grow since 2017 but i am certainly disappointed in the communication that did not occur between the metro police and the capitol police. there's probably things that point in all directions but when you're about to attack the center of democracy, i certainly think -- except for the fact that the president trump was the president, there should have been a phone call made to the leadership of the house. in short that they were well aware that this was going to be
a warlike atmosphere. i don't think members of congress knew that 40,000 protesters were going to be in washington and headed toward the united states capitol. >> the supreme court hearing arguments today that could weaken voting rights in arizona. major push nation wayde to make it harder for people to vote. what does this mean particularly for black voters? >> well, i thinkic tragically w have not had this historic. opposition to our rights since slavery. during the jim crow days and the harshness of the 1960s. the tragedy of this is an entire party, the republican party is committed to voter suppression, committed to avoiding the opportunity of votes. donald trump laid out he only wants one day for votes. they don't want opportunities for absentee ballot, extended voting, same-day registration,
all things that um power young people and people of color, african-americans. this is a war on black people as it relates to voting and unfortunately it seems to supreme court is going to participate with this seemingly intended decision to narrow the only remaining aspect of the voting right section 2 which we are trying to fix with the john robert lewis legislation in hr 4. this is a fight for democracy, a fight for justice, and an opportunity or a desire or a need to restore the voting rights to people of color and particularly black people. we will not allow this to happen under the biden administration and the democratic house and senate. it's tragic that republicans want to take that stand because they can't win fairly. they can't draw people to their positions, they are now trying to suppress the votes. >> congresswoman, thank you very much. i appreciate your appearing. >> thank you for having me. drinking, ambien, sexual comments.
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