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Chinese Rocket Set To Crash Into Earth Between 9 P.M. & 11 P.M. ET; Three Bystanders Including Four-Year-Old Hurt In Times Square Shooting; Cyber Attack Forces Shutdown Of Major U.S. Gas Pipeline; Former Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) On The GOP "Cult Of Personality"; Republicans Coalesce Around The Big Lie, Move To Oust Cheney. Aired 8- 9p ET
Aired May 8, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world is watching as a rocket is out of control and hurtling toward earth. A piece of a giant 22-ton Chinese rocket is expected to reenter the atmosphere some time tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's right now moving at some 17,500 miles an hour, about 100 miles up. And that's what makes the difficult question of where does this actually reenter and then where does it hit?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congresswoman Liz Cheney has lost a lot of her allies, has lost a lot of members who previously had her back. She's not staying silent about the big lie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The big lie helps Republican leadership shield themselves from accountability for these election losses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the first time since the beginning of October, the United States has a seven day average of 45,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, and hospitalizations are falling across the country, too. The CDC says it is monitoring a new coronavirus variant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Saturday. Great to have you along with us.
We have breaking news into CNN about that Chinese rocket due to crash to Earth.
U.S. experts say that we have about 1 hour to go before a 2-hour window opens. They now predict the rocket debris will make landfall or land in the ocean between 9:04 and 11:04 p.m. Eastern. Spain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Australia and New Zealand are all in the risk zone according to their calculation. But European modelers say the U.S. is not out of danger.
CNN's Will Ripley is live in Hong Kong watching along with the rest of us. Will, there are still so many variables in play. What can you tell us?
What's the latest?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is astounding to people, Pamela, that we are now potentially an hour, two, hours, three hours away from possible impact of this Chinese rocket which is the size of a ten- story building, 22 tons, about a fifth the size of the Statue of Liberty hurtling to the Earth as we speak. This is live look right now.
You can see it's in the Pacific Ocean. Even as I've been watching this dot over the last few minutes it's proving extraordinarily fast toward South America. And we believe because the speed, 18,000 miles an hour, it will orbit the Earth another couple of times before the likely impact.
Even in that 2-hour window from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 Eastern Time the U.S. estimates this Long March 5B rocket will orbit the earth 1.3 times which is why there's still such a huge window of possibility for the estimated reentry.
And there's not consensus here between the United States which does not believe the mainland U.S. is in the possible impact window or the Europeans who still do put a part of the United States in the possible window of impact. Of course, the largest possibility if we go to next map here is ocean because 70 percent of the world is covered with ocean.
And so the odds makers would say that the best chance would be it hits somewhere in the open water whether it be in the Pacific or the Atlantic. But because there is still a probability, a small one at that, though, it could hit land, potentially a densely populated or populated area, that is what has so many scientists concerned because, Pamela, in this day and age of space exploration, you don't expect to see the kind of thing we saw back in 1979 when the American Skylab space station actually entered the earth in an uncontrolled manner much like this and scattered debris over parts of western Australia.
It has been decades since this sort of thing has been a possibility. But given that the Chinese who are just now starting to ramp up their space program just launched one of ten or so that are expected as they put in the modules to build their space station which they expected to be completed by the end of 2022, it raises a lot of questions about the design of this rocket and whether it's going to be safe with all these launches and possibly more uncontrolled reentries like the one we expect in the coming hours.
BROWN: Yeah, it certainly does raise a lot of concern. We don't want to go through this again. Will Ripley, thanks so much for that.
And Michio Kaku joins us now to talk a little bit more about this. He's a theoretical physicist at the City University of New York and author of "The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything."
Thanks so much for coming on.
You have described this rocket as a, quote, bat out of hell.
Now I hear that and I think oh, my gosh that freaks me out. This bat weighs 22 tons and is the length of three school buses.
Can you give us any reassurance here? What are the chances it could hit a populated area?
MICHIO KAKU, THEORETICAL PHYSICIST, CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK: Well, look at what happened last year when we had a near identical burn up of a long march rocket. That burned up over the Atlantic Ocean and actually landed in a village in the ivory coast of Africa. No one was killed but shows you how unpredictable these things are.
Think of a rock skipping stone. When rock skips stones over a surface of a pond, you don't know where the rock is eventually going to plow into the pond itself. So, it's anyone's guess.
It could probably land perhaps as north as New York City where I am right now or as far south as New Zealand. We simply don't know for sure because the laws of physics cannot take into account the irregularities of the ionosphere.
BROWN: So, do you expect most of it the burned up though before it reenters? Like, right now, it's the size of three school buses. How much do you think will actually make it to landfall or in the water?
KAKU: Well, on average about 30 percent of the wreckage of a object like this will actually reach the ground. Also, by the way, I think I know why the Chinese are doing this.
You see the Chinese are playing catch-up. They know they're years behind the west but they've made the international space station the center piece of that national pride and national glory. And so, they're going to cut corners. That's what they're doing here. They're taking shortcuts rather than de-orbiting this thing naturally, I mean with retrorockets they're simply letting it fall because they want to build the space station as soon as possible.
This is the first of 11 missions meaning that we may see more uncontrolled de-orbiting incidences because this is a low priority for the Chinese government. Top priority is national pride, build a space station with 11 missions, and so we have ten more to go.
BROWN: So, in that context how much more do you expect to happen? I mean, this seems to be a rare occurrence right now, but given what China is trying to do and the dynamic at play here, do you expect this to be an ongoing concern in the future?
KAKU: I think so because the Chinese are cutting corners, whatever it takes to satisfy national pride and glory to build that Chinese space station. And remember 30 years ago, the West would naturally discard these rocket parts as part of the course. In 1978, the Russians dropped the nuclear reactor -- a nuclear reactor over Canada, and burnt up over Canada, contaminated several hundred square miles of tundra in northern Canada.
So the Chinese attitude is, well, the Russians did it, the United States did it. So why can't we?
BROWN: So let's talk about space junk in the larger context. I think this has put a lot more of our focus on that. There's this article in New Yorker last September that says since 1957, humanity has placed nearly 10,000 satellites into the sky. A great majority of them are now defunct. They're just floating trash in space.
There's other space junk. You have tools dropped by astronauts during space walks. All of this poses a risk for the international space station. They have to consistently watch and adjust orbit to avoid colliding with the bigger stuff.
But how do you clean it up? Who should be in charge of policing that?
KAKU: Well, that's a problem. At the present time of the 10,000, 6,000 are still in orbit around the planet earth. Most of the 6,000 satellites are defunct and not operation at all, but every single one will eventually be de-orbited. De-orbited naturally or perhaps deliberately by putting some kind of rocket on them, but they'll eventually burn up.
Even the International Space Station, even the Hubble space telescope may eventually burn up in the atmosphere because we have to change our mindset. Our mindset is to get up into space. We don't care about what comes down, but eventually it will come down.
It may take years, decades, even centuries but thousands of pieces of debris will eventually come down on the planet earth. And things that are the size of let's say a screwdriver we're not talking about potentially hundreds of thousands of pieces of small debris that could barely be tracked by radar which poses a problem for the International Space Station as well as astronauts in the future.
In other words, we have to change our mindset. We have to cleanup the mess we make.
BROWN: All right. Michio, thanks for helping us understand what's going on in the bigger context as well.
We appreciate it.
KAKU: Thank you.
BROWN: Well, we have some new details now from New York City, the center of Times Square which is a crime scene tonight after a shooting that sent at least two people to the hospital, one of them a little girl.
CNN's Evan McMorris is in Times Square.
Evan, police are quick to point out the people hurt are innocent bystanders.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Pam. We're learning a lot more about this very scary moment in broad daylight here in Times Square. Let me set the scene for you and I'll talk to you about the details we just learned.
Right behind me, this street over here, this busy street is where these shootings -- where gunfire broke out around 5:00 this afternoon police are saying. While the street was totally full of people, full of tourists, people walking around.
And what ended up happening was a gunfight that police say began with a scuffle between some folks that led to some gunfire going off.
We got a press conference that just ended just a few minutes ago with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea where he explained the details of the shooting.
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DERMOT SHEA, NYPD COMMISSIONER: We have a female Hispanic, 4 years old, from Brooklyn shot in the leg and expected to undergo surgery at Bellevue Hospital. We have a 23-year-old female tourist from Rhode Island here today to New York City, first to visit the Statue of Liberty which was closed or not available at the time they got the tickets.
They decided to come to Times Square to enjoy the sights. And last we have a 43-year-old female Hispanic from New Jersey. What we know right now we have a dispute that interrupted between two to four individuals, males.
We have a picture of one person of interest we've put out on NYPD news on our Twitter page, as well as a video. If you go there, you will see it. We're asking anyone with any information of what transpired here today to please call our crime stoppers hot line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So, as you here there just three innocent New Yorkers of varying ages who were down here in Times Square ended up getting hit by those bullets. After those comments, the commissioner expressed extreme frustration at this moment. He was very angry seeming.
I was standing there watching him talk. This is scary moment for New York. The city is trying to reopen, get tourists back in here, trying to get the Broadway theaters that are here in Times Square back open and trying to keep the city safe as it's come out of this pandemic that's knocked the city flat for a whole year.
And to have shootings like this one happen here in the heart of the tourist area, it's a very scary moment and you can see the frustration in the commissioner's face, Pam. He says investigators are going to investigate this, keep at it and see what more they can learn and bring the people who did it to justice. BROWN: Yeah, you really summed up that frustration. I mean, the fact a
4-year-old was also shot, it's just deplorable. It's awful. Thank you so much, Evan.
Well, another major cyber attack exposing America's energy sector. Next, I'll ask David Sanger why critical government and private sector networks are still so vulnerable.
And we've got your COVID questions covered. Dr. Peter Hotez joins us for a lightening round later in the hour.
BROWN: We're learning tonight that President Biden was briefed on the cyber attack that shutdown a critical U.S. pipeline. Colonial Pipeline says it was hit by ransomware. That's an attack where hackers hold a victim's data hostage for a ransom.
The exact nature of the attack including who launched it is still unclear. The pipeline runs from Texas to New Jersey and carries nearly half of the fuel supply for the East Coast.
Joining me now to share his insights and analysis is David Sanger. He is "The New York Times" national security correspondent and a CNN analyst.
Hi, David. Good to see you.
How big of a deal is this?
DAVID SANGER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It was a pretty big deal, and it's still ongoing.
It's big for several reasons, Pamela. First, we've all discussed the potential that our critical infrastructure has for vulnerabilities of this kind. But here we've gotten a vivid view of it. And in this case, the hackers which we think was a criminal group, probably not a nation state didn't even go directly at the control systems that turn on and off that pipeline or would control the flow.
Instead, they went after the computers that are used in the headquarters of Colonial Pipeline. And they as you said seized those in a ransomware attack. And that forced Colonial to shutdown the pipeline for fear that the hackers had enough information that they might be able to get into the pipeline or some of the customers. And that really tells you that the hackers don't have to get right into the operational part.
BROWN: Wow. So just in a bigger context, why are critical government and private sector networks still constantly proving themselves open to attack? I mean, this was a major pipeline.
SANGER: It was a major pipeline and you'd think would be the kind of thing that would be highly protected. So that's the first big question in this investigation. And, you know, it's interesting when you have a big airplane crash or you have a big bank robbery, it's understood that the federal government will come in, there'll be a big investigation, the results will be made public.
In cyber, frequently, you see that companies still have a great deal of control to keep things quiet. And when colonial pipeline first turned out a statement on this late last night they never even said it was a ransomware attack, which is pretty fascinating. So we need to learn a lot of the details because if you don't understand that, then you don't begin to understand what other parts of critical infrastructure may be unprotected.
It is pretty wild after ten years of these attacks.
BROWN: So for everyone at home watching this right now, why should they care? How could it impact every day Americans? How could these attacks really have sort of that ripple effect to them?
SANGER: You know, that's a really great question because many times when we hear about these attacks, it seems to be computer systems attacking other computer systems, or it's deep in someone's financial network or it's U.S. government data that's lost and people say, you know, how's that affect my life?
When it attacks the pipeline or ends up resulting in the shutdown of a pipeline that provides half your fuel -- well, it's pretty easy to understand. Now, in this case, fortunately, because demand is low now, it's just coming back and as we come out of pandemic life. And because there is a fair bit of supply inside large storage tanks, I don't think there's going to be a big market effect here.
But, boy, what have you learned if you're the Russians or the Chinese? You've just learned that a not terribly talented ransomware group or a group that isn't using its biggest and best weapons was able to get into a system and force a company to shutdown that pipeline.
That's a pretty big lesson if you're wondering what the vulnerabilities of the U.S. really are.
BROWN: I want to pivot to today's massive explosion outside of a girl's school in Kabul, Afghanistan. We understand that children are among the dozens dead. You say you think this is a message sent to remind people there who's really in charge, right?
SANGER: Well, Pamela, first of all, it is a huge tragedy. And all these bombings are a tragedy and to hear of one aimed at school children is --
BROWN: It's just awful. As they're leaving school.
BROWN: It was timed perfectly as they're leaving school. It's just awful. SANGER: Well, that itself is an interesting message because we know
that the Taliban, you know, objects to having many who are in school continue to go there. But the fact of the matter is with the United States leaving I think the big message here is the Taliban have reached deep inside Kabul, the center of the government.
And we were barely able to help the Afghans protect Kabul when we were there. Of course, we were down to 2,500 troops. But once we're gone after September 1st, it's just a civil war and it's not one we're likely to get more deeply involved in because we haven't really been able to affect these outcomes in 20 years.
BROWN: All right, we'll leave it there. Sanger, thank you so much as always.
SANGER: Thank you, Pamela. Great to be with you.
BROWN: Well, major unrest tonight in Jerusalem as tensions rise over the possible eviction of Palestinian families. At least 64 people were hurt in clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police. This is according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Now, all of those injured are Palestinian. Most were hurt by rubber bullets or stun grenades. Israeli police said they began dispersing the crowd after protesters started throwing objects at them. Just last night, clashes at a mosque left more than 200 people injured.
Well, don't go anywhere because we have a got all of your COVID questions covered. Dr. Peter Hotez is ready for your quick fire questions when we come back. You're not going to want to miss this.
Stay with us.
BROWN: A coronavirus variant is ravaging India, and I've heard from viewers concerned about how effective our vaccines will be against that threat. Earlier tonight, I spoke with White House senior advisor for COVID response Andy Slavitt, and he said those fears could be put to bed soon.
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ANDY SLAVITT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER FOR COVID RESPONSE: I think we're going to see data come out even in the coming weeks on this, the coming week I should say. I've seen some early data which actually is quite relieving and confirming that shows that this variant while certainly causing more trouble is not nearly as troublesome as say, for example, the South African vaccine -- I'm sorry, variant.
Therefore, it looks like we're going to get very good levels of protection from our current vaccines. I think we'll see that confirmed over the coming week, but Americans should expect if they're not vaccinated, they're going to be more exposed. If they are vaccinated, I think they can look at these variants and there's going to be very good levels of protection so far.
BROWN: So just to recap, we could see data soon in the coming week that shows the U.S. vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, that they are -- it's encouraging news they are pretty effective against the variant that's spreading in India. Okay, we'll be looking out for that data for sure.
SLAVITT: It's encouraging.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Dr. Peter Hotez joins us now to help us answer all of your COVID questions. He's a professor of dean at tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr. Hotez, great to see you. Thank you for joining us for this lightening round of questions for our viewers. I mean, we've got so many smart ones, so I want to make sure we get to all the ones we can.
The first one is interacting with people who choose not to be vaccinated. This viewer asks, I've been fully vaccinated. I have two coworkers choosing not to, one for political reasons and the other has been swayed by the anti-vaxxers. Am I more of a danger to them or them to me?
BROWN: Am I more of a danger to them or them to me?
PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR AND DEAN OF TROPICAL MEDICINE BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Actually, the real answer is the two unvaccinated co-workers are a danger to each other. So, the person who's vaccinated has more than a 90 percent reduced risk of getting other symptomatic illness or actually documented infection, including asymptomatic transmission. So, it's not -- it's not perfect, and we'd like to bring transmission down. But the real risk are those two other individuals to each other. So, they are extremely vulnerable.
BROWN: So, let's talk about masks and variants. Wearing a mask is being lifted, right, those mandates. But I'm concerned that although certain variants have been tested against the current vaccines, there are undetected variants that may penetrate the vaccines and use. I continue to wear a mask. What do you say to that?
HOTEZ: Well, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and Moderna, a pretty robust immunity if you've gotten two doses, even to the variants that have been studied so far. So, Andy Slavitt mentioned that the India results will be coming out soon, the Maharashtra strain the B1617.
But look, the B117 variant from the U.K., that's almost the same level of protection as the -- as the original lineage around 90 percent or more. The South African one, which is always the most problematic is around 72 to 75 percent. So, I would guess the Indian one will probably come out somewhere in the middle. So still a high level of protection. Not perfect. And this is why the CDC has issued interim guidance in terms of slow lifting of masks because they're trying to get that transmission down. Once we get transmission way, way down during the summer, then it becomes much, much safer not to wear masks at all. And that's the aspirational goal.
BROWN: All right. So, heads up here, you're about to be asked to give a public service announcement in this one. What approach should I use to help convince hesitant friends and neighbors to be vaccinated without causing hard feelings or undue controversy? And what would Hotez include in a 32nd PSA campaign to boost vaccination rates?
HOTEZ: Well, maybe you'll give me 40 seconds, but a few things.
HOTEZ: One is -- one of the big myths out there is that if you're a young, strapping healthy person, you don't need to get vaccinated, and that's not true. Keeping fit, going to the gym is certainly a good idea, no matter what, but it doesn't give you virus neutralizing antibodies.
And we're seeing which is how well the vaccines work, and we are seeing a lot of young adults go into the hospital right now even in this -- even in this current period. So, they need to get vaccinated.
I think another myth that's out there is they think the vaccines are rushed, not adequately tested for safety that's misinformation. These vaccines have been in development for over 10 years and we've been working on coronavirus vaccines for 10 years to show how you deliver the spike protein. So, there's nothing really rushed.
Remember, it's important not to get angry at people who say they won't get vaccinated. I think of them as actual victims. Victims of this vast disinformation campaign that's come out of dedicated anti-vaccine groups. The Center for Countering Digital Hate now says they have an estimated 58 million follower -- vaccine group. So, the garbage is pervasive on the internet. How did I do for 30 seconds?
BROWN: Garbage is pervasive. I think it was a little longer. I wasn't timing, but I think it was. That's all right. We'll let you off.
We have another question. I've been so interested in this, you know, this idea that we're hearing from that we are not expected to reach herd immunity, at least in the foreseeable future here in the United States. Does Dr. Hotez expect some variation of COVID to be part of our long-term future?
HOTEZ: Well, I even stopped using the term herd immunity -- just because it's been so misused, and we've heard all these fake numbers coming from political extremism, saying 22 percent herd immunity, 40 percent herd immunity. Here's what happens. We already know what's -- we've seen this happen in Israel.
Now, once you get over 65 percent of the population with a single dose of the vaccine and 50 percent two doses, the amount of transmission will really start to decline. And as we can hit -- if we can hit 70, 75 percent of the population, I think we could really slow virus transmission. And that's where we have to -- that's where -- that's where we have to head.
And if we can do that, I think we can have a quality of life that would resemble one that's pre-pandemic with the exception that there's still a lot of international places we can't travel to because they're not getting vaccinated. So, that is a priority.
We do have other variants that may come in though -- as right now the South African one, which is the most problematic, it's still pretty minor. But don't be surprised if we need to get a boost later on and the purpose of that boost, meaning, dose of Pfizer or Moderna or a second dose of J&J will be to manage the variants, better give us higher levels of virus neutralizing antibody and will be reconfigured slightly to be specific for the variants.
BROWN: All right. Dr. Peter Hotez, we got to leave it there. Thank you so much for coming on the show. We'll see you again soon.
HOTEZ: Thanks, Pamela. Appreciate it.
BROWN: Well, former Republican governor and 2020 presidential candidate, Mark Sanford, says his party has turned into a crazy cult of personality. I'll ask him if he sees any way to save the GOP from its extremist elements. He joins me next.
Joined on -- join Don Lemon for a look at Marvin Gaye's groundbreaking album What's Going On that the years after its release? Why has it become an anthem for a new generation? A CNN special "What's Going On: Marvin Gaye's Anthem For the Ages" premieres tomorrow night at 8:00.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marvin Gaye's groundbreaking, What's Going On.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the first time that I understood poetry.
SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR: -- this one of the greatest albums ever made.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His melodies were like a voice of Christ.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He created something that lasts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifty years later. Why is it an anthem for a new generation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This prophecy, man.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: What do you think Marvin would think about what's going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN special report, What's Going On: Marvin Gaye's Anthem For the Ages, tomorrow at 8:00.
BROWN: Republican Congresswoman, Liz Cheney, has taken a stand against her party's embrace of Donald Trump and the election live, following the January 6 Capital attack. In return, she has been fired as the Republican Conference chair, at least that's what we expect. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is set to replace her on Wednesday. By all accounts, it's a done deal. But today, Stefanik continued lobbying for the spot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): The role of the conference chair who is elected by all the Republican members of Congress, you speak with a unified voice for the majority of Republican members. And there has been significant frustration among the members of the Republican conference, that she is no longer doing that. And we hear that frustration at home among voters. When you no longer have the confidence of your colleagues, it's time for a new direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Stefanik rise in the ranks comes as she doubles down on loyalty to Trump and completely false conspiracies about a rigged election. With us now, South Carolina's former Republican governor, Mark Sanford. Governor, nice to see you. Thanks for spending a part of your Saturday with us.
What do you make of Stefanik's comments? Does she have a point? Does Cheney simply out of step with the GOP mainstream right now?
MARK SANFORD (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, I mean, that's arguable. I mean, you certainly have a lot of folks here on the coast of South Carolina who would see it a bit otherwise. But I think that the big issue is, are we a big tent or not? I mean, what we've always claimed to be, what Ronald Reagan talked about was a big tent with a diversity of different perspectives and opinions that were held within it.
And what we see is a narrowing of that tent. I mean, we're pulling up pay -- the state -- the stakes, the polls, the whole thing collapsing the tent, in essence, to say, wait a minute, if we don't completely walk in lockstep on particular scripts, whether they're true or not, then you're out of the club. That makes no sense to me. And that seems to be what's being contemplated on Wednesday.
BROWN: Right. I mean, that just brings the question -- the bigger question, right? That's sort of the foundation for this. How do you stay in power and political power as a Republican, and also take a stand for the truth that may be out of line with the scrip, these conspiracies, these lies? I mean, how can you stay in power as a Republican and have that integrity?
SANFORD: Well, it was oddly enough, Edmund Burke, who talked about this a long, long time ago, when he talked about this idea of representation that you owed not just the -- you know, giving the view of those who elected you, but you owe the wisdom of the experience and the perspective that you gained in office.
And it seems to me that that's what's lacking right now. In a run for political cover, people are saying, well, I'm just representing my folks. Well, guess what, you know, you swear to uphold the Constitution, not just to elect your folks but to uphold the Constitution.
And what's at play here, when you begin to go against the decision of over 16, state and federal courts, a number of other, you know, chump -- Trump appointed judges, in saying no, the election -- you know, any election has some margin around the edge that we don't like. I've been through my share of elections over the years, but it was legitimate, and we have a legitimate new president. And we have to move forward.
When you begin to play with that, you're playing with the constitutional precept of our government. And it goes well beyond the whim of the moment, and your political viability back home. And so, I think this is a huge issue that goes to the heart of what we stand for as Republicans. Do we stand for truth, rule of law, and this idea of a constitutionally balanced system or don't we?
BROWN: That really -- that really does seem to sum it up. And many of these people who -- in the Republican Party who are -- continue to push this big lie for political persons, they're basically -- for political reasons, I should say, they're basically saying, I don't care about the rule of law and the constitution. But this is good to stay in power.
I mean, you have Stefanik, who initially sold herself as a moderate then made a hard right turn to Trump and the big lie. Does a conspiracy theorist essentially put you on the fast lane in the GOP now, whether it's her or Ron Johnson or Matt Gaetz?
SANFORD: Well, there's something real -- I mean, you talk about scaring off every college educated woman along the coast of South Carolina. I mean, this is going to do it, if this actually happens on Wednesday, and a whole lot of other places will be on South Carolina.
So, the electoral reasoning, I don't get. How you say, I stand with Marjorie, whether, and I stand with Matt Gaetz and a number of other folks who've done some weird stuff. But I won't stand with Cheney, because she happens to disagree -- I mean, the irony is -- Stefanik actually voted against the tax cut, which was supposedly a Republican thing. Cheney voted for it. I mean -- I mean, we're crisscrossing and a whole range of different policies, simply because she's going against Trump.
So, I don't know. We're in no man's land right now. What comes next? I don't know. But I know that from an electoral standpoint, I think it is awfully shortsighted to lose the value and the significance of truth in a political debate.
And to lose the significance of what reason people would say back home, which is, it's time to move on. We have a new president. You can like him or dislike him. If you don't like him, vote against him in a couple of years. But that's the way our system is at play. And if you begin to challenge that, you'd challenge the entire system. So, this is again, a big deal.
BROWN: So actually, Lindsey Graham has asked about this, he was asked whether the party can survive without Trump, and here's what the senator said. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no. I've always liked Liz Cheney, but she's made a determination that the Republican Party can't grow with President Trump. I've determined we can't grow without him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So, Benjy Sarlin of NBC News made this interesting point on Twitter saying, "Trump's leverage isn't so much his ability to grow the GOP, it's that he could destroy them if he wanted. Do you agree?
SANFORD: No. I mean, he's bombastic. He's loud, he's forceful, but his ability to stay -- you know -- you know, knocked down, stand down the party of Lincoln, I don't buy into.
There are too many folks that I've seen over my 25 years in politics, that were working hard, licking envelopes, and putting up yard signs and all the things that go with politics that preceded Donald Trump and it will come along after Donald Trump to say that he -- I mean, it's crazy what Lindsey just said. The idea of we can't go forward without Donald Trump.
I mean, look at Lindsey's speech on the night of the insurrection January 6, he was saying the opposite. So, I don't buy it. I guess it's again, it creates political favor in the moment. But it's horribly mistaken from a principled and from a political standpoint in my view.
BROWN: But do you see how fear is playing such a big role here? I mean, do you think that it is playing a role with some of these decisions?
SANFORD: Sure. I mean, the four of us who stood up early against Trump were all gone. I mean, you know, Cornyn, Flake in the Senate, me and Amash in the House, we're all gone. So, I mean, I get it. And the saying in politics is, you know, it's the -- it's the pioneers that end up with arrows in the back, so don't be a pioneer.
I mean, once an issue is hot, you can't push a politician away from the microphone. But until it's hot people, you know, sort of leery. I get it, but it doesn't make it right.
BROWN: All right. Governor Sanford, thank you so much.
SANFORD: Yes, ma'am.
BROWN: And up next, a preview of CNNs new hit documentary What's Going On: Marvin Gaye's Anthem For the Ages. Our Don Lemon explains how Marvin Gaye turned his everyday experiences into music. That's next.
BROWN: Fifty years after its released, the groundbreaking album What's Going On is an anthem for a new generation. With Vietnam and social unrest, the 1970s were turbulent in America. And Marvin Gaye captured that time for the world.
CNN's Don Lemon joins me now with how Marvin Gaye transferred his everyday experiences into music. Don?
LEMON: Pamela, this documentary means so much to me and I really want people to see it. It is the deepest dive yet on What's Going On. And we get to hear from voices like Smokey Robinson, like Stevie Wonder, and many more. And you're going to get to learn much more about the album and how it came together and how it had such a lasting impact. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Do you remember where you were when you first heard the album?
SMOKEY ROBINSON, AMERICAN SINGER: Yes. I was probably at his house. Well, see, I heard it in the making. I've heard it from conception.
ZEOLA GAYE, MARVIN GAYE'S SISTER: He was in exile when he made the album. He hadn't been seen or heard from for pretty long time. And then all of a sudden, it came to him and he said he just felt like writing.
NELSON GEORGE, MUSIC CRITIC AND AUTHOR: Obie Benson of the Four Tops, sees a riot, basically, of police brutality attack in the Bay Area when he's on tour with the Four Tops. And he writes some lyrics down about what's going on in the world. He goes back to Detroit.
DUKE FAKIR, AMERICAN SINGER: He said, man, I'm going to drop my stuff off and go by Marvin's house. He said -- he said got this kind of song in my head and it sounds like Marvin Gaye could sing it. So, they start clicking around with it and he and Marvin is at the piano.
JACK ASHFORD, PERCUSSIONIST, THE FUNK BROTHERS: So, Marvin said, well, let me change some of the lyrics. Marvin had a real unique way of transferring his everyday experiences into songs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You saw Smokey Robinson. You also hear from Stevie Wonder. You're going to hear from Spike Lee and he's going to tell you about the influence that had had on him. There's so much to learn about the album. And you will see it all in this documentary. I can't wait for it. I can't wait for you to see it, Pamela.
BROWN: Thanks so much, Don. Don's CNN special, "What's Going On: Marvin Gaye's Anthem For the Ages" premieres tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Thank you so much for joining me this evening. I'm Pamela Brown.
Up next, United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell.