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Pelosi's Daughter: Our Name Became A GOP "Curse Word"; U.S. Scientists Achieve Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough; U.S. Finalizing Plans To Send Patriot Missile Defense System To Ukraine. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired December 13, 2022 - 12:30   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: A CNN exclusive now Alexandra Pelosi, the Speaker Nancy Pelosi's daughter, opening up about her mother's decision to leave the House Democratic leadership.


ALEXANDRA PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI'S DAUGHTER: I used to joke with my father, like, she turned her last name into a curse word.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, you were there the day that your mother stepped down, announced she was stepping down from Democratic leadership, tell us about --

A. PELOSI: I think that was the best day of my adult life.

LEMON: Are you serious?

A. PELOSI: Oh, I feel so liberated.

LEMON: And what about for her though?

A. PELOSI: I think she's free. It's just at some point. You're just done, after my father was attacked, that was it. We were sitting in the ICU. And we were just saying we're done.


KING: Alexandra Pelosi's new HBO documentary on her mother debuts today. In it, she captured some incredible behind the scenes moments with the Speaker of the House, our reporters back with us at the table. You listen to Alexandra Pelosi there talking about how we're done, the best moment of her adult life when she, you know, her mother's giving up the leadership position. But then she says she's free. Are we sure about that? She's not leaving Congress. She's going to leave the leadership. What's next?

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: What's next is probably helping her daughter get elected her congressional seat if we're being honest. I mean, the Pelosi family is not going to be leaving politics anytime soon, I do not think. And the reality is she has been turned into the kind of villain that, you know, frankly, I struggled to see how they can really break free of kind of the way our politics has evolved.

I mean, I sympathize with what Alexandra Pelosi mean, obviously, I've never been through anything like that. But those of us were at the Capitol on January 6th, I think many of us had a moment of reconsideration of the way our politics has evolved, what it means now to be especially for the members of Congress, who obviously were the targets of the attacks on that day, that violence in our political culture has become more and more normalized with time and that there is a different meaning to being a public figure in public life than there really used to be. And then that's a real challenge to have to grapple with. And obviously, the Pelosi's felted in this very this personal way.

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: John, two things. One is what you played it at the top there that clip about in the hospital, they said we're done, actually contradicts what her mom said the day that she did leave the speakership where she said that the attack actually made me want to stay. So there's a little bit of sort of off message this between mother and daughter there about the ramifications of that tragedy. I saw the film last night there was a showing in Washington, look, it's not dispassionate. It's a daughter's tribute to her mother, obviously.

But what it also is, John, is a great gift to future historians purely because of the footage, not just from the last year, we're talking 20 years of private clips of a towering historical figure, and somebody who, thankfully, we now have on tape at incredibly crucial moments over the past couple of decades, her raw, unfiltered comments. And I think it's going to be wonderful for the future. And I hope to all of those clips, not just the ones in the film, but those outtakes as well go into some library or Congress or a future Pelosi library.

KING: Well, let's listen to a piece of it where this is the daughter Alexandra trying to get her mother Nancy, longtime member of the House Democratic leadership, becoming the most powerful woman in American politics until Kamala Harris elected vice president, talking about her sixth sense.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: I have a sixth sense about the scent of elections and I smell success wherever I go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are impossible to crack. You're always on message. How do you do it? How do you always stay on all the time?


N. PELOSI: Well, I had my sensitivities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does that mean?

N. PELOSI: It means I have to be sensitive to the impact of my words, on certain other campaigns. You know, if I'm saying I can smell success, it means I can smell lack of success as well.


KING: That's an interesting comment there. I mean, it says the most of her fundraising work has been for Democrats. She's known where she's not welcomed sometimes. And she's happy to step back if she thinks it's somebody she wants to help by staying away. But she also says her sensitivity about her words, she got more demonstrative, if you will, in the Trump age where she stood up to him quite frequently, including the speech.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: I just -- I do. I think it's so -- to Jonathan's point, it's so fascinating and to be able to have these behind the scenes, you know, looks at her because she is like, her instinct. That's what she was just talking about her acumen. We haven't seen that. And I think we're going to study it. But I also think that people are going to learn so much from watching this movie, I look forward to watching it.

HUNT: I mean, watching that it's so, I mean, as someone who I covered her from the time when she first became speaker in back in after the 2006 election, and there's so much there. And I'm so excited to see the whole film that we suspected was part of how Nancy Pelosi looks at the world. It was certainly how people described it to us from the outside of someone who has just incredibly sharp political instincts, in addition to frankly, and this is one of the rare things about her is that she also combines incredible legislative skills because building a legislative coalition and working the politics of getting a bill like the, you know, Affordable Care Act through the house to different set of skills than raw political ones.

But what you saw there was her sort of campaign knows I'm in her describing how she thinks about it. And it's really it's just a fascinating portrait of somebody who managed to rise to the top of American political life as a woman when it was very difficult to do that.

MITCHELL: And also that realness though, you know, like, whether you like it or not, the disdain, the open disdain for former President Trump that was, you know, you could tell that was how she truly felt about him and didn't choose to hide it.

KING: She did not choose -- she deliberately chose not to hide that, yes. She's good at hiding it if she wants to be, she did not want to hide that.

Up next for us, news of a massive energy breakthrough, one that would make Doc Brown and Marty McFly quite proud. Neil deGrasse Tyson joins us next.



KING: A major announcement today that could reshape the way we live, scientists revealing they've successfully created a nuclear fusion reaction with a net energy gain. The end result technology that replicates the way the sun generates energy. It could, it could one day power our homes and our cars in a way that's free of greenhouse gas emissions and radioactive waste.

Let's get some perspective now from the Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He's the author of "Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilisation." Neil, grateful for your time today trying to understand the context here, what does this compare to, Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, he said, you know, small step for men, giant step for mankind. What does this mean?

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, ASTROPHYSICIST: Well, OK, so walking on the moon would have been really great if we had continued to go back to the moon, after that, you know, we're all just living there now, it would have been the beginning of something that continued so. So we don't want this to be just a fast science experiment that doesn't then have ramifications on our civilization, and especially on our economy, and our environment.

So the big step that remains to be taken is once this bit of physics has been demonstrated, which of course was announced today by the U.S. energy secretary and her team, that this would one day become something real, that is something portable, something that is the foundation of power plants, or ideally, and maybe it's not entirely science fiction, we remember from the film "Back to the Future" at the very end, Doc Brown returns with his modern flying car, and it's powered by nuclear fusion, home fusion the device on his hood of his car, and he pours in beer and some banana peels and things. And so fusion is a whole other frontier and it's -- I'm delighted even giddy that we've made this progress.

KING: As you say delighted even giddy, so if you're watching at home, or you're somewhere in the world that has, you know, huge problems with energy or you're somebody who's committed to trying to have more sustainability when. Is there any idea of when this scale obviously more research and then like anything big you invent, you need to shrink it, make it have to scale. Any idea or do we still not know how long that process will take before we know, OK, you have this breakthrough discovery, we have managed to make it fit in everyday life?

TYSON: OK, of course, we don't know for sure. But the history of this exercise, it reminds me, well, from what I've read 150 years ago, Michael Faraday demonstrates how you might make electricity by passing a wire through a magnetic field. And there's a little meter that moves, and so that's quaint. I wonder what value that would ever have, all right, so the history of interesting physics results is replete with naysayers saying, oh, that'll be 50 years, 100 years, whatever. And typically, it's never much more than decades. We have very clever engineers out there.

Once the physics has been demonstrated to be possible, engineers just attack it from all directions and they won't have the same solutions as each other and that's a good thing this is what starts different companies, this was what enables you to bet on one winner versus another. And this is what drives economies. And this will transform civilization, because we are so energy dependent, and being so has been so costly to the very environment that sustains us, which is a recipe for extinction, if you follow that through. So here, to create energy in the same way the sun does it, in a way it's solar power, right, think about it.


KING: And so sometimes there's a cool development, a cool advancement, and it's cool, and it's worth pursuing. But to your point, this one happens to deal with the threat of extinction of the planet having to deal with the huge need globally for clean energy. So are you convinced that there will be the necessary surge, both of government and private resources to take this breakthrough and turn it into again, the developments, the advancements that make it apply to everyday life?

TYSON: I have complete confidence, because of the sheer weight of the forces operating on making it work. I mean, just think of, like I said, it's environmental, you can bring energy to places that never really had good access to it, it creates energy independence, it creates a thing of wars that have been fought over access to energy, and so it would remove an entire category of conflict and geopolitics that has shaped so much of how we live and what we do, especially in the last century.

So it's a game changer. And I very much look forward to watching that unfold and watching the engineer. By the way, to get the physics done required its own feats of engineering. So that's a whole other I mean, you know, what a civilization without engineers in this world so I just look forward to that. There's so, there are a lot of advances where there was some people who liked it and wanted it and they did it anyway and fine. Like you said, it's -- their toys that have been invented by the genius of physicists and engineers. This goes far beyond that, in terms of its ramifications and implications on the direction of civilization.

KING: Neil deGrasse Tyson, grateful for your help understanding a little bit better. It is fascinating, appreciate it sir. Thank you.

Up next for us, a CNN exclusive, the United States now planning to send a new missile system to Ukraine.



KING: Now to an important CNN exclusive, the United States finalizing plans to send the patriot missile defense system to Ukraine as early as this week. That's according to several U.S. officials. Ukrainian officials have been asking for the system for months. Let's get to the Pentagon. CNN's Barbara Starr joins us to share this exclusive reporting. Barbara, tell us more.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, right now, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has to sign off on the plan. It goes to the White House for the President's signature. And then once all of that is done and approved, it could start moving very quickly. We're told the announcement could come by the end of the week. Why is this so important? Well, the patriot is really the premier long range high altitude air defense system that the Ukrainians have wanted for months. And the U.S. has, shall we say been resisting sending.

Now in the face of all the destruction we're seeing in Ukraine with the Russian missile attacks, it looks like the White House is changing its mind and moving ahead. So why is this system so important? You see the picture of the launchers there. What the patriot does is its radar locks on to an incoming Russian missile, launches its own missile to shoot down the Russian attack and it can do it at high altitude and long range.

And that means if this all works, the Ukrainian forces can bring down those Russian missiles before they get close to population centers, to power plants to water generation plants, to bridges, to infrastructure, all the things that are causing such devastation across Ukraine.

This is what the Ukrainian forces have been asking for. What will have to happen once this is all finalized is Ukraine forces will have to be trained. They are likely to grow to the facility, the U.S. Army runs in Griffin weird Germany, get the training, move back into Ukraine and set all this up. The big question of course, what will Vladimir Putin have to say about all of this, John?

KING: Right. We'll not be happy with this one, important reporting Barbara Starr grateful for your sharing and thank you, Barbara.


Ahead for us, how Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene now explains her alarming remarks about the Capitol insurrection.


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, this afternoon President Biden hosts a big ceremony as he signs Respect for Marriage Act into law. This bipartisan bill protects same sex and interracial marriages ensuring those unions are recognized across state lines. The Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg talking this morning about what this means for him as an LGBTQ American.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: It's a huge relief. Look, our marriage has been the cornerstone of our family life, the more so since we've come -- become parents to our amazing twins, our son and our daughter. But for as long as we've been married, we've also lived knowing that that marriage only exists by the grace of a single vote on the United States Supreme Court. This change is that.


KING: Senator Marco Rubio among a group of federal lawmakers who have now introduced legislation to ban TikTok from operating in the United States. This as Alabama and Utah join the list of states banning TikTok from government devices, all of those states have Republican governors.

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene says she was quote being sarcastic and quote, making fun of Joe Biden and the Democrats when she called the Capitol rioters would have been armed and would have won if she had been in charge. The White House says her violent rhetoric is a quote slap in the face for those who defended the Capitol that day.


John Fetterman, heading to Netflix, Axios reports the senator-elect from Pennsylvania has a cameo in the new movie "The Pale Blue Eye." Fetterman tweeting this picture with actor Christian Bale, where he's traded his standard hoodie for a hat.

Thanks for your time today in INSIDE POLITICS. We'll see you tomorrow. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.