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President Joe Biden Delivers Remarks At Harry Reid's Funeral; Biden To Deliver Voting Rights Speech Next Week In Atlanta; Interview With Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Sen. Cruz Grovels Before FOX Host For Telling Truth About January 6th; J.D. Vance Falsely Claims Dozens Of Jailed Capitol Protesters Haven't Been Charged With A Crime. Aired 4- 5p ET
Aired January 08, 2022 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For Harry but he wouldn't want us to really be here for just him, for everybody he'd referenced.
Landra, we're here for you and for the family. Eulogies are for the living. You know it's a true love story when you're still talking about your first date 60 years later. Harry never tired of telling the time you two kids had to push start his car making your way down the road, wide smiles on your face.
My recollection is he called it, when he told me the story, one of those, quote, "moments that turn a life" and they stay with you until the last breath.
Landra, what a life you turned together. Until his last breath. Lana, Rory, Leif, Josh, and Key. All the grandchildren. Great grandchildren. Seeing and hearing you talk about him today, it's clear. My dad used to have an expression. He'd say you were blood of his blood, bone of his bone. You are a product of Harry and Landra Reid. What a gift. What a gift God gave you. What a gift it was and is.
Elder Ballard, President Obama, Vice President Harris, Second Gentleman, Governor Sisolak, thanks for the passport into the state, and Iris and Chuck Schumer; and all -- and Nancy Pelosi. Members of the Nevada Congressional Delegation, Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen and Representatives Hart -- excuse me, Horsford and Lee and Titus. Members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, past and present; and distinguished guests.
What a gift Harry Reid was to this state and to this nation and to so many of us individually. I know he's smiling right now. Only Harry Reid, at his sendoff, would sandwich a speaker between a former president of the United States, Carole King, and The Killers. Thanks, Harry.
BIDEN: You've always had a great sense of humor. You always had to win, and you always did. He got me again, but he always got me. The first time I met Harry, I got a call asking whether as I had just been elected at 29 years old to the United States Senate, I hadn't even turned 32 yet, he was a newly -- I was a newly elected senator, and he asked me to campaign for his election for Nevada's Senate seat being vacated by a man I'd only just begun to know, Alan Bible.
The first thing when he met -- when I met him in Nevada, we were talking about where he's from and he said, "Well, I used to have a go out and shoot mad dogs." And I thought, "What in the hell am I doing here?"
BIDEN: I swear to God. "I used to go out and shoot mad dogs." I'm thinking, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. What's going on?"
BIDEN: Harry lost that general election by less than 600 votes to Paul Laxalt. And he never let me forget thinking that I probably cost him those 600 votes. Only kidding about that piece. I probably did. But when he asked me to come back and campaign for him when he ran for the House in 1982, he won that time and he won in '86. And we'd go on to serve in Congress together for more than 30 years.
We worked together with Barack during the eight years we were in office and even when Harry was done in the Senate, he was never really done, as all of you from Nevada know. He'd ask me to campaign for an awful lot of Nevada Democrats. Many of them are here today. I could never say no, although probably said, oh, God, he invited Biden into my district?
But I talked to him often during this last election, taking his advice, and Landra can tell you, coming to his home on more than one occasion to visit and get his advice and where I should be going in order to win.
After we won, one of the things that Harry did, which was sort of incongruous with Harry, as we've heard today, he sent me a text. I've saved it. He said, "I'm so proud. Joe, you're my brother. We won." Well, it made a big deal to me, it was a big deal to me that he felt that way. I know Harry never wrote what he didn't believe. It made me feel good.
And he gave me a sense of confidence. It felt like he was my brother. I counted on him. And I know so many of you felt that same way about Harry as well throughout his career and your great relationship with him.
Over five decades, we became genuine friends. The Irish Catholic kid from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the Latter-Day Saints from Searchlight. You think I'm kidding? But Harry was like the guys I grew up with back in Scranton and in Claymont, Delaware. Harry would always have your back like the guys I grew up with. Harry had mine, and he knew I had his. Although, I sometimes wondered, when I was trying to make an important
point to Harry, about whether he really did have my back as he hung up. But to tell you the truth, every time, every time he would do it, I knew it was the real Harry. It was him.
He had all he needed. He didn't want any more or need any more. And we did share some similarities. Barack said we have loving families, wives that are smarter and better looking than we were. And Harry and I both liked to talk a lot.
I'm just testing whether you're asleep yet.
BIDEN: But whether you served with Harry for decades or you were new to America just a few days ago, you wanted Harry in your corner. And that's not hyperbole. His toughness was distinctively Nevadan. His story was unmistakably American. His remarkable journey has been told so many -- by so many because it has been traveled by so few. The desert shack he called home. The miles he hitchhiked to school.
A boxing ring where he always got up. The family tragedies he endured. The cancer he and Landra fought. The halls of power he walked. The state he transformed. The country he shaped. He was proof that there is nothing ordinary about America. Ordinary Americans can do anything given half a chance.
"We, the People" are pretty damn extraordinary. America is an idea. An idea that anybody, given a shot, can reach their potential. Harry was extraordinary, though. He and I grew up on different sides of the country, but we came from the same place, where certain values run deep. First, loyalty, faith, resolve, service, your word. It was pounded into my head from the time I was child. "Joey, you're a man. You either have your word, without your word, you're not a man"
And he met the marker for what I always believed was the most important thing which you can measure a person by, their actions and keeping their word. If Harry said he was going to do something, he did it. He didn't do what the modern-day rationale is. "When I told you I would do that, I didn't realize that this would happen." No matter what happened, if he gave you his word, he kept it. You could bank on it.
That's how he got so much done for the good of the country for so many decades. That's how he literally saved -- we forget it -- Social Security during the Bush years. Stopped Yucca Mountain from becoming a nuclear waste site. Secured the votes for the Affordable Care Act. It's how he helped us rein in Wall Street, the excesses, and repealed "Don't Ask Don't Tell."
It's how he created Nevada's first national park and conserved Lake Tahoe. And how he was always championed Native Americans and tribal communities and so much more.
[16:10:04] None of it was easy. Not a lot of it was particularly popular when he was doing it. That's the thing about Harry. He never gave up. He never gave up. He never gave up on anybody he cared about. Like every great leader, he led the Democratic caucus just not by speaking, but by listening, by hearing all points of view and finding a common ground. Harry cared so much about his fellow Americans and so little about what anybody thought of him.
He was all Searchlight, no spotlight. I always appreciate the private comfort, and so does Jill, who is with me tonight, that he offered me and Jill in difficult moments in our lives. We know we're not the only ones. Since his passing, we've all heard those wonderful tributes. The gracious way he would console grieving -- the grieving and encourage someone living with a disability.
I still have that picture of our buddy Max Baucus. Max losing three of his limbs. He's -- Harry is standing in front of him in the wheelchair, holding his cheeks. And you know, Max knew, Max knew Harry cared about him. The generous way he would empower a new colleague or insist that the new moms and dads on his staff would put their family first, even before their jobs, and do it always.
And the genuine friendships he made with the Capitol Police have been recognized three times because he was one of them. He wore the uniform. To a friend in need, Harry's voice was soft and gentle. In praise of himself, he was stone-cold silent. In the pursuit of fairness and prosperity, his voice would echo and will echo for generations in this state.
Look, let there be no doubt. Harry Reid will be considered one of the greatest Senate Majority leaders in history. I've served longer than all but about 12 United States senators, served there for over 36 years. I've had the honor of serving with a few of those names to be on that shortlist. For Harry, it wasn't about power. It was about the sake of power, about the power to be able to use power to do right by people.
That's why you wanted Harry in your corner, and that's what we should remember as a nation today. Harry knew better than most how difficult democracy is. That the idea of America itself is under attack from dark and deepening forces, that we're in a battle for the soul of America.
Landra, I remember sitting in a room with Harry when he was supporting me for president and my explaining to him the reason I decided to run when I had decided I was never going to do that again. I was watching all those neo-Nazis come out of the fields down in Virginia, chanting anti-Semitic bile, carrying Nazi flags. And he asked me, "What," I said, "We have to restore the soul of America."
No one knew it better than Harry. Protecting democracy requires vigilant stewardship. Harry's life shows that for all -- from our darkest days, we can find light and find hope. Just look at his life. In just about every respect, Harry Reid came into this world with the odds against him. He believed life, and he lived it, and he left it believing anything was possible. He has demonstrated that anything is possible.
Look at this incredible family. Harry, in a small way, reminds me of my dad. My dad used to say, "Joey, never explain and never complain." I remember one day we were having an event when I was running for my -- this was fifth term. We were at my house. I was feeling a little sorry for myself, talking about a family -- loss of a daughter.
My dad said, "I'll be back in a minute." He left the house, we were waiting for people to show up, went up to the local Hallmark store, and came back with a cartoon that was a little brass plaque with two sections to it. There were two clips from the cartoon character Hagar the Horrible.
And in one, Hagar the Viking, on his ship, had been moving along near the rocks, lightning comes out of the sky, charged the horns of his helmet, breaks the mast of his ship. And he's looking up at God and he's going, "God, why me?" In the next frame is a picture with Hagar and the ship and a voice coming down from Heaven saying, "Why not?" That was my dad. "What makes you so special these things wouldn't happen to you? Why not? Stand up, get up, never bow, never bend, never yield."
That was Harry. "Never complain." That's what I admired so much about him.
Above Harry's desk, as we all know, in his Senate office was a giant portrait of Mark Twain. They both -- Harry and Mark Twain -- loved Nevada, and they both knew how to say things we know to be true about ourselves and about our country. For Harry, it was this, as he said himself, he said, quote, "I grew up around people with strong values, even if they rarely talked about them." He went on to say, "They loved their country, worshipped God, never shunned hard work, and never asked for special favors"
That's Harry. That's America. Here is someone Mark Twain himself would've written about as a defining character in America's story had he known Harry. To his staff, known as "Team Reid," you've lost an incredibly genuine role model. But we see you carrying on HMR's legacy. People of Nevada, you lost a beloved son, but his spirit is always going to burn as bright as the desert sun .
To the nation, we lost a giant of America, a plainspoken, honorable, decent, brave, unyielding man. May this be his legacy. Call on each of us to be our best, to speak truth from the heart, to take up the remaining rounds of Harry Reid's good fight for the America we all love.
What a gift. I mean this from the bottom of my heart. What a gift. What a life of a nation that he turned until his last breath.
Landra, God bless you. God bless the entire family. God bless my friend Harry. A great American. And God protect our troops.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: And that is President Biden wrapping up his remarks honoring the late Senator Harry Reid there in Las Vegas, following former president, Barack Obama.
I want to bring in CNN's Jeff Zeleny to talk about this, CNN's senior political analyst, David Gergen and Washington bureau chief for "USA Today" Susan Page.
Some very moving remarks there. Jeff Zeleny, you know, at one point, President Biden said of Harry Reid, it was all Searchlight, not spotlight. I think that sums it up pretty well.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: He certainly did sum it up well, Jim, through some powerful and poignant remarks. Of course, Joe Biden worked alongside Harry Reid for a very long time before becoming vice president and now president. But he really ticked through a laundry list of things that simply would not have happened but not for Harry Reid. Saving Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, the Wall Street reform, on and on.
But I think it was the private, personal matters where President Biden minced no words. He added him to the ranks of the most powerful and successful and greatest Senate leaders of all time. A giant of this time in the Capitol, but it was president, former President Obama's eulogy, Jim, that I thought was also spoked to this moment, specifically the pragmatic.
He said that Reid was always a pragmatist. He did not necessarily have a rigid ideology. He wanted to get the votes. He wanted to get things done so certainly perhaps a message for this time as Senate Democrats as President Biden knows well have been squabbling over differences on the Biden agenda.
So President Obama was definitely delivering a message through the current Democratic Party through the legacy and lessons of Harry Reid. But, Jim, also some moments of levity. If I remember, when Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she never heard Harry Reid utter an unkind word about any of his colleagues, President Biden clearly -- President Obama, excuse me, clearly adlibbing there in his speech and he said, I don't know about that, Nancy.
I think Harry actually did say some unkind words. He was unvarnished and the senators out there who have gotten the other side of a lecture from Harry Reid certainly know who he's talking about. So certainly poignant, powerful moments, but also some moments of laughter and light there to celebrate Harry Reid.
ACOSTA: Absolutely, Jeff Zeleny. We should point out to our viewers you're looking at the flags at half-staff here in Washington. There in front of the Capitol as the nation remembers Harry Reid.
Susan Page, you know, just to pick up on what Jeff Zeleny was just saying, you know, Barack Obama did say that Reid was not much of a schmoozer, he was not much of a backslapper. I think he said at one during his remarks, he didn't own a tuxedo, wasn't a regular on the D.C. cocktail circuit, but he got things done. And we just don't have as much of that in Washington these days, do we? SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: You know, I think that
some Americans who watch politics closely would be surprised by this outpouring of affection for Harry Reid because he was not a good outside politician. In fact he was a terrible outside politician. He couldn't give a big speech to save his life. I remember in 2010, I went out when he had actually what was thought to be a reasonably serious challenge from Sharron Angle for his Senate re-election bid.
He participated in a debate. He was terrible. He was not a schmoozer, he wasn't glib. But he was a master of as an inside politician. He was a master at getting legislation done. Getting it through, figuring out how to build a coalition that could get something like the Affordable Care Act through the U.S. Senate. And he had the enormous loyalty of members of the Democratic caucus.
Remember, congressional leaders have really very small constituencies, 50 or 60 of the senators from their own party and with them, Harry Reid was really seen as a beloved figure. As somebody whose flaws were viewed with some affection and humor, and he was seen as really effective, Jim, at getting things done.
ACOSTA: Yes, absolutely, and I remember that 2010 campaign. I was out there covering that as well. And I remember, I asked Harry Reid, was he worried about losing to Sharron Angle, he almost laughed at me, you know, just sort of hilariously blew off this challenge. And I remember he was able to marshal those unions, those hospitality, you know, unions in Las Vegas to his benefit and he was able to win pretty handily in that race.
David Gergen, you know, do we need to have fewer charismatic politicians in Washington? Might that help the situation a little bit? I kind of think that might be one of the themes today.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think so. I thought they were in very much in character and in the midst of all the turmoil and uncertainty and anger and polarization, they actually reminded us of what politics used to be like when they first got into it and how personal relationships really do matter. Harry Reid, not charismatic certainly but was able to get things done because he worked so closely. And you can take his word to the bank during the Democratic Party.
All that worked well. I thought there's no question that as Jeff was saying, no question, I think Barack Obama was sending a message to his party. Especially to the progressive wing of the party. How important it's going to be to work across the aisle.
There's something I thought was missing today. It was notable. I would really have -- I think we would have been so well off to have one Republican who gave a talk about working with the Democrats.
It was all the Democrats. In terms of where we are as a people, I think the more we're talking to each other and having these difficult conversations as we try to heal. ACOSTA: That is so true and I remember, I spoke to Harry Reid last
year during one interview, and you know, he confessed that, you know, he enjoyed giving the former House Speaker John Boehner a hard time when they had to tangle with one another in Washington, but that they enjoyed working to get things done behind the scenes, and there's just so little of that these days here in Washington.
So true what you said there, David Gergen. Susan Page, Jeff Zeleny, thanks to all of you for being with us for this special coverage of the late Harry Reid's funeral there in Las Vegas and we'll have more in just a moment. We'll be right back.
ACOSTA: President Biden will deliver a speech on voting rights in Atlanta next week in advance of the Martin Luther King Jr holiday.
Biden and congressional Democrats have been pushing two pieces of legislation, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to counter a wave of new Republican laws that make it harder to vote.
But the bills have stalled in the Senate because of the 60-vote threshold required under Senate rules.
So Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, has set the MLK holiday, January 17th, as the deadline for the Senate to vote on changing those rules.
Several lawmakers have also reflected on the fact that the mob on January 6th was driven by an intense anger over the massive voter turnout in minority communities.
And as part of the conversation for the January 6th anniversary, two members of Congress, both women of color, talked about the moment they were asked to take off their congressional pins so the rioters could not identify them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): You can take your pin off but you can't take the color of your skin off. And it was a mob. It was a group of terrorists that were fueled by white supremacy.
And so we knew that a lot of what was unsettling to them was the browning of America, was the fact that so many people turned out to vote in places like Georgia.
REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D-DE): As a woman of color, as a black woman, I had to think twice about, do I take it off or keep it on?
If I take it off, will the people trying to protect me not recognize it? And if I keep it on, will I be attacked?
So what I ended up doing was holding it in this hand so I could easily show it if I needed to.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR & HOST: If I could ask you about the scarf, I know it has significance. Explain it.
ROCHESTER: The day that I was sworn in, I came in at the same time, 2016, I was elected.
I said to my sister, I've got to wear something special. I'm the first woman to represent Delaware, first person of color.
And so she found a record of the returns of qualified voters and the Reconstruction Oath. It's from 1867.
At the bottom, there's an "X." Our great, great, great grandfather, who was a slave, marked his "X" to have the right to vote.
I carried it on the day I was sworn in as my proof we've been through slavery, we've been through Reconstruction, we've been through Jim Crow. And I carry it as my inspiration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Joining me now is the House majority whip, Congressman James Clyburn, of South Carolina.
Congressman, those were some powerful stories we heard from Veronia Escobar and Lisa Rochester.
Is there any hard evidence that anything is going to get done on voting rights in the next few days, despite all those passions, all that emotion you just heard there a few moments ago?
I wonder if we're just going to be let down if this doesn't happen.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, thank you very much for having me, Jim.
You know, I really hope so. You mentioned that there are two pieces of legislation under consideration, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
Now, I would bring to your attention that the Freedom to Vote Act is really a Joe Manchin's version of the For the People Act.
When that bill did not get 10 Republicans to come up, Joe Manchin requested of the Senate leader time to pull something together that he thought he could get bipartisan support for.
So the Freedom to Vote Act is what he pulled together. And the Republicans have disappointed him because they have not even supported that.
So it seemed to me that, that being the case, Joe Manchin ought to be all about now going forward with Chuck Schumer's vote. And he ought to be ready to cut off the bait. Because it's his bill. This Freedom to Vote Act is his bill that we're trying to bring to a vote.
ACOSTA: And so you're talking about a special carve out in the Senate filibuster rules to bring this legislation forward.
We've been talking about the late Senator Harry Reid today. Sounds like something Harry Reid would certainly do.
Do you think that that -- that kind of spirit is maybe making its way to Joe Manchin as we speak?
CLYBURN: Certainly would to me. If Joe Manchin, who believes in the filibuster -- of course, I don't -- but he said he thought he could pull something together that would get bipartisan votes.
He pulled together and they're still refusing to support it.
So he has all the cover he needs to now step away and do what we need done, and that is provide the 49th vote. And I hope that the 50th vote will come along.
ACOSTA: And President Biden, as you know, gave a very passionate speech on the anniversary of January 6th. He condemned Trump in the most forceful way that we've heard yet from President Biden.
Let's take a quick listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.
He's done so because he values power over principle. Because he sees his own interests as more important than his country's interests and America's interests.
And because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution. He can't accept he lost!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Congressman Clyburn, do you expect that tone to continue, to be even stronger on Tuesday when the president gives that speech on voting rights in Atlanta?
Has something changed with this president, where he said, you know what, enough is enough with this, I'm going to start calling this stuff out much more forcefully than in the past?
CLYBURN: I really think so. Certainly hope so.
Because I think if President Biden has given a full year of cooperation and he's not getting any.
He has done the American Rescue Act and got very little cooperation. In fact, got none in the House.
He's now done the infrastructure bill. He's got 19, I think, House members, 13 Senators.
Now he's trying to get Build Back Better, which is the third leg on this three-legged stool that is needed in order to bring balance back into people's lives so we can continue this pursuit of a more perfect union.
So he's done that for a year. He has now decided that it's time for us to really call upon the American people to examine where we are as a nation, look at what is being proposed by people on the other side.
And then let's decide whether or not we want to continue this pursuit of fulfilling this democracy and its promise or are we going to give up on the pursuit for a more perfect union and turn to an autocratic government.
That is what is the alternative at this particular juncture.
Either continue trying to perfect this democracy. It will never be perfect. But it ought to be a participatory democracy, a representative democracy. It should never become an autocracy.
And that's what you would do if you step away from the Constitution, if you allow it to be turned into a cult, and if you follow one man who has absolutely no relationship with the truth.
ACOSTA: Doesn't that mean then that the attorney general has to act? You know, that is how a lot of Democrats feel these days.
A lot of your fellow Democrats in the House, they sound like they're starting to sour a little bit on the attorney general, Merrick Garland.
Where are you on that?
CLYBURN: Well, I said two days ago that I think the attorney general needs to step up his game. I think that's the exact quote I mentioned two weeks, two days ago.
Now that is not to say he ought not continue to pursue the judicial processes that he should pursue.
But we have to remember that this country is teetering on edge. And I think he needs to reassure the American people.
It's not just about whether or not you're going to do what you need to do. It's whether or not the American people will have confidence in the fact that you will do what needs to be done.
And so things need to be said, things need to be done, to assure the American people that this democracy is not just worth saving, but that it's being saved.
That is what I think the attorney general has to take into consideration.
ACOSTA: All right, Congressman James Clyburn. Fiery as always. We appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
CLYBURN: Thank you very much for having me.
ACOSTA: Coming up, a United States Senator begs for forgiveness for telling the truth and grovels at the feet of a television host. Just another day in the Trump-Owned Party, the TOP. Hold on for that, next.
ACOSTA: We have spent a lot of time this past week talking about January 6th, but we haven't really addressed what comes next.
One thing we know is that the truth about the insurrection is still under attack.
Consider Ted Cruz, who told the truth about January 6th and paid the price.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week. And it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the capitol.
Where we saw the men and women of law enforcement demonstrate incredible courage, incredible bravery, risk their lives to defend the men and women who serve in this capitol.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: But for Cruz, a funny thing happened on the way to honesty.
The same Ted Cruz, who, yes, fanned the flames of the insurrection in the days leading up to January 6th, went on FOX to apologize for telling the truth, that the attack on the capitol was an act of terrorism.
Tucker Carlson accused Cruz of lying, which makes sense as Tucker is an expert on this subject. Lying, that is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX HOST, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT": You called this a terror attack when, by no definition, was it a terror attack. It's a lie.
You told that lie on purpose and I'm wondering why you did.
CRUZ: Well, Tucker, thank you for having me on.
When you aired your episode last night, I sent you a text shortly thereafter and said, listen, I'd like to go on because, the way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb. And --
CARLSON: I don't buy that.
CARLSON: Whoa, whoa, whoa, I don't buy that.
I've known you a long time since before you went to the Senate. You were a Supreme Court contender.
You take words as seriously as any man who has ever served in the Senate. And every word -- you repeated that phrase. I do not believe you used that accidentally.
CRUZ: So, Tucker, as a result of my sloppy phrasing, it's caused a lot of people to misunderstand what I meant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: That was a flaccid moment. I know comparisons have been made to Reek (ph) from "Game of Thrones," but I was thinking "Pulp Fiction."
At this point, if Cruz wants to head to Cancun, I don't blame him. Somebody get this man a margarita. I'll be buying.
But here's the thing. Cruz has repeatedly referred to January 6th as a terrorist attack. Seventeen times, in fact.
Here's his tweet from a year ago when he called it a despicable act of terrorism. It's true.
But herein lies the problem for the Republican Party. In the party of Trump, truth telling will no longer be tolerated.
Some in the party used to tell the truth right after the capitol attack. Anybody remember that?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The mob was fed lies.
UNIDENTIFIED CONGRESSMAN: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress.
MCCONNELL: They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. UNIDENTIFIED CONGRESSMAN: He should have immediately denounced the mob
when he saw what was unfolding.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Trump and I, we've had a hell of a journey. I hate it being this way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: And then something dawned on nearly all of them. The Republican Party had already sold its soul to Trump. Then they sold out America.
As Kevin McCarthy did when he restored Trump as the leader of the party. The transformation was complete. Trump was the party and the party was Trump.
And a new breed of extremists Trump Republicans started taking the lead. Let's call them the TOP, the Trump-Owned Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): The president didn't incite anything.
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): We have a January 6th committee that Nancy Pelosi is leading that is nothing but a political witch hunt on Republicans and Trump supporters.
REP. JODY HICE (R-GA): It was Trump supporters that lost their lives that day. Not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.
REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: All lies. All lies. Trump's lies about the 2020 election became their lies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's got to be a very hard thing to conceive because we know there was massive fraud.
It was a rigged election. You look at the different states. The election was totally rigged.
There's no way we lost Georgia. There's no way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: To which Senator Josh Hawley said hold my beer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS HOST: Pin you down on what you're trying to do. You know, are you trying to say that as of January 20th, that President Trump will be president?
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Well, Bret, that depends on what happens on Wednesday. This is why we have the debate. This is why --
BAIER: No, it doesn't. The states, by the Constitution, say they certify the election. They did certify it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: George Orwell, eat your heart out. That shamelessness and monumental dishonesty are now hardwired into the DNA of the TOP.
Some of them are proud of what took place on January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): We're ashamed of nothing.
STEVE BANNON, PODCAST HOST, "WAR ROOM" & FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: Seize the day.
GAETZ: We're proud of the work we did on January 6th to --
GAETZ: -- make legitimate arguments about election integrity.
So we're going to make those arguments today at a press conference at 2:15.
And we're actually going to go walk the grounds that patriotic Americans walked from the White House to the capitol.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: That explains why President Biden was trying to grab people by the shirt collar this week when he vowed to defend American democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I did not seek this fight. Brought to this capitol one year ago today. But I will not shrink from it either.
I will stand in this breach. I will defend this nation. I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Why would the president put the threat to democracy in such stark terms as if there were some in the TOP who were talking about civil war?
That's because they are. Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has been floating the concept of quote, "national divorce." Another term for succession. She's already seceded from reality.
North Carolina Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn, boasted his side would win a second civil war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): And I will tell you, we're going to face some dark times as a nation. I genuinely believe it.
I think we have an opportunity in the next four to six years to prevent kinetic American forces, countryman on countryman, from ever meeting. I think that is incumbent on all of us.
Although, I have no doubt we would be victorious --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Let's be honest. A lot of these agitators, instigators, they're not going to be doing the fighting themselves.
We've already seen what happens when the going gets tough for Senator Ted Cruz. There won't be a battle of Cancun. They can take our life, but they can't take our tequila.
No, these instigators will send others into battle. They'll send our young adults, our teenagers, your teenagers, to do the fighting. Just like what happens in any other war.
And for what? Or should I say for whom? The orange-headed love child of Rupert Murdoch and David Duke?
Who said this to one of his propaganda networks about the anniversary of January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They never show helicopter pictures of that incredible crowd because it was the largest crowd I've ever spoke before. I've never had a crowd -- I've never seen a crowd that big.
UNIDENTIFIED OAN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It was -- it was massive.
TRUMP: It was -- the real number, I won't say it because it will be a headline, oh, he exaggerated the number. The real number was over that sacred number.
UNIDENTIFIED OAN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
TRUMP: You know what that number was, right?
UNIDENTIFIED OAN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I do.
TRUMP: And I don't even talk about that. And they don't talk about it.
I'll tell you, the crowd itself was the biggest crowd I've ever -- and I've spoken before the biggest crowds. The biggest crowd I've ever spoken by far.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: He's sick. That is sick.
And his party right now is changing state voting laws and running candidates who peddle the Big Lie to oversee elections all because of that deranged lunatic.
The same party that barely showed up to commemorate the first anniversary of January 6th may win control of Congress this year and begin plotting to install Trump as president in 2024. Yes, even if he loses again.
Which is why the Justice Department simply has to do its job. Investigate the real case of voter fraud from 2020, Trump's voter fraud.
The way he and his cabal pressured state officials and his own vice president to steal the 2020 election and then cover it all up.
They didn't want to stop the steal. They were doing the stealing.
Our upcoming elections are a little like the comet threatening to destroy the earth in the movie, "Don't Look Up." The experts are warning us that our democracy could take a direct hit in our next elections.
You could do something about it. I, for one, I'm not going to both sides of the truth for January 6th or our democracy. Without democracy, I couldn't even do this.
You have to do something, too. All of you. Or just don't look up.
And we'll be right back.
ACOSTA: It may be a new year but we're still hearing wild non-truths and flat-out falsehoods, lies about January 6th.
One of the latest coming from J.D. Vance, a Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio.
Vance tweeted, "There are dozens of people who protested on J6 who haven't been charged with a crime, yet are being mistreated in D.C. prisons."
Moments later, another tweet, "Many of these prisoners are veterans who served their country honorably and are accused of nothing." CNN's Daniel Dale joins me now to fact-check this.
Daniel, tell us what the truth is here. There isn't much in those tweets, which is why we're so glad to have you.
DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Thank you, Jim.
These tweets are false. Mr. Vance said dozens of prisoners are in a prison in D.C. without charges. In fact, the actual number of January 6th who are in D.C. jail, not prison, without charges, is zero.
All of these people have been charged. You can Google their names or look them up on the Department of Justice's handy, official, online database.
The other thing to note, Jim, they've not only been charged, but accused of something serious. The vast majority of the 700-plus people who have been charged the capitol assault were released to await trial.
I shouldn't say handful, but the minority that have been detained -- it numbers in the dozens -- are there because they've been accused of either doing something violent, are thought to be too dangerous to release, or are thought to be a flight risk.
Those decisions were made by federal judges, including Trump-appointed judges, not by the Biden administration or its political appointees.
Now, Mr. Vance did post a quasi-soft kind of semi-correction. He wrote a couple of hours later, he said convicted, not charged.
But he never took down the offending false tweet. And he never explicitly acknowledged, Jim, that he had gotten it wrong.
ACOSTA: How do we fix this, Daniel? You know, Twitter has gone to great lengths to root out disinformation, misinformation.
When it comes to January 6th, it's just rampant. It's just everywhere.
DALE: It's rampant. It's hard for me to think of some sort of systemic solution.
I think it's incumbent upon all of us in the media, not just the designated fact-checkers, but for all of us, every outlet to be calling this stuff out as quickly and as forcible as possible.
There was a time when they told us not to pay attention to the tweets, but it's very important these days.
Daniel Dale, thank you so much for that fact-check. As always, we appreciate it.
DALE: Thank you. ACOSTA: In western Washington State, floodwaters closed a 20-mile
stretch of Interstate 5 south of Seattle Friday. At one point, people had to be rescued from the tops of their vehicles.
One man was killed trying to get his car out of the way of the oncoming floods.
I-5 is now open, but five rivers still pose a threat.
Add to this, travel frustration. A combination of snow and icy rain has closed all mountain passes between the eastern and western sides of the state.
A break in the rain is expected to bring some long-awaited relief. And we certainly hope for that.
And make sure to tune in for an unforgettable concert film all about Carole King and James Taylor, "JUST CALL OUT MY NAME." It's coming up tonight at 9:00 p.m. on CNN. Don't miss it.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta, in Washington.
The sudden COVID surge this weekend getting in the way of those who need medical help for other reasons.