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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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January 2, 2022 12:00 pm

CBS Sunday Morning,

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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January 2, 2022 12:00 pm

On this week's "CBS Sunday Morning," baseless allegations of election fraud amplified by President Donald Trump fueled the violent siege on the Capitol last January 6, intended to stop the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden's victory. CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett talks with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger -- whom Trump tried to pressure to "find" enough votes that would win him the state -- and with other officials who fear denying the results of elections is chipping away at the integrity of our democracy.

Democratic Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin witnessed the attack on Congress by insurrectionists on January 6, 2021, but he'd already experienced an even darker day, when his 25-year-old son, Thomas, took his own life. Correspondent Rita Braver talks with him about the pain of that loss, his new book, "Unthinkable"; and his determination to hold accountable those responsible for an attempted coup.

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I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. It's been well over a year since the election, and yet mistruths about the outcome continue to cast a shadow across America. Even though courts have dismissed dozens of lawsuits challenging the accuracy of the vote, former President Donald Trump's false claim the election was stolen lives on. This morning we'll take a closer look at events still testing the limits of our democracy, starting with a report from Major Garrett. It's also clear that we have won Georgia.

Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has spent the last year feeling as if he was howling into the wind. Truth has become a casualty. No matter how we looked at it, President Trump came up short. This election was stolen. The so-called big lie fueled the January 6th riot and death threats against election officials nationwide.

You watch yourself, you watch your back. Coming up on Sunday Morning, echoes of the 2020 election still ringing one year later. The curtain is slowly going up on Broadway, and a new version of an old classic is in the spotlight. I'll be talking to the star. I'm not sure, but I think Hugh Jackman is back.

I am back. On Broadway, the show will go on. People always say, what do you prefer, the theater or the movies? And I say, I love them both.

But if you had to give me one, it'd be the theater. And I might as he took my place as a one and only base. Ahead, music man Hugh Jackman.

As you've probably heard, the legendary Betty White, a beloved television mainstay for decades, passed away on Friday. We'll have an appreciation from Mo Rocca. Sue Ann, guess what? I may be having Prince Charles on my show. Oh, Mary. Oh, you and he would make a wonderful pair.

If only you weren't so old American in common. No question, Betty White had impeccable timing, but she had an even rarer quality that made her timeless. She sparkled.

She walked into a room and you could not not notice this kind of light and energy that she carried with her all the time. Later on Sunday morning, remembering Betty White. Rita Braver talks with Congressman Jamie Raskin about a year of political turmoil and personal tragedy. Tracy Smith takes note of music phenom Lil Nas X, plus a story from Steve Hartman, thoughts from Jim Gaffigan, and more on this Sunday morning, January 2nd, 2022.

We'll be back in a moment. 2021 was a year of political turmoil, perhaps unlike any other in American history. And it all began, Major Garrett tells us, with a phone call. It's also clear that we have won Georgia. One year ago today, President Trump set in motion his most brazen effort to overturn election defeat.

I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more that we have. In a recorded phone call, he told Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffin to take a look at the results of the election. He said Raffensperger he could face unspecified criminal charges. That's a criminal offense.

If he did not bend. That's a big risk to you. I listened, but I also knew that you can dig all you want, Mr. President. We have the facts and I'm sorry you lost. Did it shock you? I was going to make sure that we followed the law and we followed the rules.

I'm going to be swayed, pushed or deviating from that. Raffensperger recounts that call and the turbulent months after the 2020 election in his new book, Integrity Counts, distributed by a division of ViacomCBS. Raffensperger was dogged by accusations that he helped steal the election from Mr. Trump. He faced death threats. His wife was threatened with sexual violence. Raffensperger, a lifelong Republican and conservative who voted for Mr. Trump, felt hunted by fellow Republicans.

What's that been like? You watch yourself, watch your back and you start looking for people's tails. What is that? Oh, is there anything on the side of their hip?

Things like that. Raffensperger also got a dog. Is it a guard dog? No. OK.

But he's an awareness dog. They steal and rig and rob. Baseless allegations of fraud in Georgia and other states, amplified by Mr. Trump. This election was stolen from you, from me and from the country.

Fueled the violent Capitol siege. They were misled. They were deceived. They were given falsehoods about the results of the election. Those falsehoods were on display in full color in Maricopa County, Arizona, where the GOP controlled state Senate sponsored a so-called election audit last May. It concluded Mr. Biden actually won with more votes than originally indicated.

I pledge allegiance. A summer symposium on 2020 election fraud conducted by the CEO of MyPillow yielded no evidence. Even so, 2021 saw 19 states, most led by Republicans, tighten election laws.

One irony of all this? The conservative leading Heritage Foundation found four of the states President Trump most vociferously contested had some of the nation's most secure voting procedures. Helen Butler is a proud Democrat who served on the Board of Elections in Trump-friendly Morgan County, Georgia, for more than a decade. Republican county leaders there recently enacted new rules, allowing them to purge board members, including Butler. If you reconstitute the board with a lot of members that are made up by one political party and the political line of that party is that you have to change the outcome of the election to keep someone in power, this is a way to do it. Meaning, as the old saying goes, it doesn't matter as much who votes, it matters more who counts. I see it as we didn't get it done this time, but next time I'm going to get it done because I have total control of the election process. Threats of violence still stalk Americans who did nothing more than count ballots. This is where it would start. One of them is Tom Freitag, director of elections in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Angry calls, threats.

What kind of things are we talking about? We received one email that said that we would all hang for treason. Bucks County is a swing county in a swing state. Mr. Trump won Pennsylvania by 44,000 votes in 2016.

He lost by nearly twice that many in 2020. We met Freitag in September of 2020, when he was working round the clock to build a vote counting facility from scratch, all to comply with staggering new demand for voting by mail. Tom, I love what you've done with the place.

Thanks. It's a lot different than the last time you were here. How did it all play out? I mean, we were all nervous going into it overall.

I think it went really smoothly with the pain we were dealt. And yet the threats and bullying continued for a full year. Are you frustrated so much that you might quit? There's been days where I wonder why I'm still doing this.

I don't think I've gotten to the point where I want to quit just yet, but there's been days where I really don't want to come into work. This is not something I've seen in the history of this country, except for the before the Civil War. Bob Harvey is an elected county commissioner in Bucks County. We asked about January 6th. If you wanted to destroy democracy, the first thing you do is turn members of that country against each other. And the second thing you do is to get people to start doubting the validity of the elections.

Doubts. They circulate the country as a contagion of conspiracies. If you count the lawful votes, Trump won Wisconsin. Wisconsin, long a hotbed of hard-fought and very close elections, is in the throes of a secretive Republican-led investigation into voter fraud in 2020. I am a Republican. We can't continue to beat a dead horse.

We need to move on. State Senator Kathy Bernier, a former election administrator herself, is a loud Trump supporter and among the most conservative voices in the legislature. Were there voter fraud cases? Yes there were, and they're being investigated now. But there was not organized widespread voter fraud in the state of Wisconsin that anyone has provided proof of. Uncover what occurred in 2020.

The man leading the effort to find it, Republican State Assembly Speaker Robin Voss, declined our interview request for this story. For some pro-Trump Republicans, contesting or denying the 2020 result is no different than Democrats refusing to accept Mr. Trump's election. There has been no collusion. No less harmful, they would say, than persistent allegations of Russian collusion. There's no collusion. Bernier accepts Biden as president, but the Democrats are just as guilty as the Republicans for perpetuating misinformation or outright lies.

Secretary of State Raffensperger, in general, agrees. He's stolen election claims. What they do is they undermine voters' confidence in the election process. He's more focused now on his next election, a GOP referendum of sorts on election denialism. His opponent, Congressman Jody Heiss, the election conducted on November 3rd, was faulty and fraudulent. Objected to certifying George's election results. How do you feel about this coming up, the primary? Well, see, I can stand on the truth.

What's he going to stand on? Heiss declined our repeated requests to speak with him. I think at some point people have to face the brutal truth of what the election results were. Do you feel that on this particular topic you are howling into the wind?

Well, like a voice in the wilderness, yeah. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, a project focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out. What people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation, our military situation, is not being matched up with what we're doing.

Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts. Steve Hartman now on the power of a mother's love. This is your presence?

Yeah. At first blush, this may look like another one of those viral videos. A soldier surprising her family after months apart. But our story isn't about this reunion, it's about the woman who made it possible.

Maddie Mitchell is the unseen hand behind an untold number of joyful surprises here in Nashville, Tennessee. This stay-at-home mother of two with a third on the way got started making other people's days after her worst day. A four-year-old child. A fourth child, Liam, a preemie, died at just five weeks. I felt like my son can't just come in this world just to suffer and then die.

You found his purpose. And it's helped so many kids. How many good deeds has your group done? Hundreds.

Hundreds? Maddie started a non-profit called Liam changed the world and in the 10 years since he has. We paid medical bills for children. Planning a parade for a kid with cancer to collecting supplies for flood victims. If kindness is needed, Liam's mom is there. Her most recent effort to help Army Private First Class Harmony Jackson surprise her family.

I love you. Harmony hadn't seen her kids in person in seven months. Maddie found Harmony on Facebook and offered to orchestrate the reunion. She lured the dad telling him he'd want to photo shoot for the family.

Then showered them with gifts and finally the ultimate present. Of course for Maddie the moment was tinged with irony. A hug like this is something she and Liam will never know. But Maddie insists that every good deed she does reunites her too. I feel my son because I always say that's him doing that from heaven.

That he's still working his purpose from up there. Nice work Liam. You're raising a great mom. Thank you so much.

I just want to do good. Mission accomplished. Thank you. Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin spent this past year not only consumed by fallout from the January 6th Capitol riot but by unthinkable loss closer to home. He talks with Rita Braver. Americans watched Congressman Jamie Raskin manage the impeachment trial of former President Trump last February. This trial is about who we are.

Who we are. And they now see him on the committee investigating the January 6th Capitol assault. We have a duty to collect all of the evidence we need to report back to Congress and to the American people. But many viewers may not know that Raskin has carried out these duties under circumstances most of us could not even imagine. After all Jamie Raskin seems to have lived a charmed life. Since 2017 representing a Maryland congressional district that shares his pragmatic progressive ideals. This is a community of activists and dreamers and visionaries.

It always has been. He met his wife law professor Sarah Bloom Raskin a former deputy treasury secretary and federal reserve board member when they were both students at Harvard Law School. So why'd you marry him? Well I knew life would be really really deep and beautiful with Jamie. Jamie Raskin's mom Barbara was a best-selling novelist. His dad Marcus an anti-vietnam war activist who ended up on President Richard Nixon's enemies list.

It certainly gave me a sensitivity to people who get into high office or the highest office of the presidency and then abuse it for their own political purposes. When Raskin a long-time professor of constitutional law at American University decided to enter politics his family was all in. Sarah, daughters Hannah and Tabitha and especially son Tommy. Tommy was pure magic. Tommy was pure magic.

He just was. He was always writing plays. He was always writing poems. He was exuberant. Everybody wanted to be around him. As gifted as he was he also as he went into adolescence and beyond started to have some problems with anxiety and other mental issues. Yeah he did. Like so many kids today he had he had a struggle with mental health. During the pandemic Tommy took his Harvard Law School classes remotely from the Raskin's Maryland home. He was shaken by both George Floyd's death and Donald Trump's false election claims.

The tremendous voter fraud. The darkness of the time overcame him. And on the night of December 30th, 2020, Tommy Raskin would take his own life. And the next morning you were the one who found yes. I can't even imagine what that must have felt like.

Like the end of the world. Tommy left a note for you in the family. What did it say? Please forgive me. My illness won today.

Look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy. For him to ask forgiveness of us means that we can ask forgiveness from him. But Jamie Raskin's new book, Unthinkable, is not only about the tragedy of his son's suicide, but also about the tragedy that befell the whole nation just a few days later. On January 6th, Raskin felt duty bound to be in the House chamber when Congress was to certify Joe Biden as the next president.

Madam Speaker, members of Congress. Raskin breathed a sigh of relief when Vice President Mike Pence refused Donald Trump's demands to reject some electoral votes. Was Vice President Pence a hero? On that day he was a hero. And this is a guy who I felt went along with way too much during the Trump administration, but on that day he was a constitutional patriot. Speaker, once the proceedings began, Raskin got up to speak.

For your love and tenderness, which my family and I will never forget. Everybody was in a standing ovation and I was absolutely overcome with emotion. And for a second, a split second, I thought, maybe because of Tommy, the two sides aren't going to fight tonight, but that was a bit of a fantasy. In fact, within a few minutes, after a rally where President Trump repeated the big lie that the election had been stolen from him, Trump supporters were soon storming the Capitol, trying to break into the House chamber. Boom, boom, boom.

Everybody stay down. And at that point, it was pandemonium and chaos. Raskin and other members found themselves running through the hallways trying to find a safe place to shelter. Were you terrified? I didn't feel any fear the entire time. And I think that was because of Tommy.

The very worst thing that could ever happen to me has already happened. And then I felt, Rita, like Tommy was in my chest. I felt him by my heart.

He was giving me strength. Last February, after the House voted to impeach Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection, the evidence will show you Raskin became the lead House manager in the Senate trial. But the Democrats could not get the two thirds majority they needed to convict. Did you ever honestly think that impeachment would carry the day? I believed from the beginning up until the moment when the roll call was called that we could get a hundred votes.

I thought it would be a hundred to zero. Undaunted, Congressman Jamie Raskin agreed to serve on the January 6th committee, methodically trying to uncover what he now sees as a plot to stage a coup. There was a plan, essentially, to set aside the presidential election of 2020, despite the fact that Joe Biden won by more than seven million votes. Set it aside and then implant a new presidency. Given your own personal tragedy, why do you stay in the fight? Look, I've already lost my son, the thing most precious to me, but I'm not going to see American democracy go down the tubes. We are in the fight of our lives to defend American democracy. Opinion this morning comes from retired U.S. Army General, Steven Anderson.

Forty-three years ago, I swore an oath to protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Back then, who could have imagined that the United States would have had a domestic attack on our democracy a year ago this week? I've become increasingly concerned that our military has become politicized and infected by the acrimony that plagues our society today. Just consider this, at least 10% of the January 6th insurrectionists charged with crimes served in the military. Over 100 retired senior service leaders signed an open letter supporting Trump's big lie about the 2020 election.

Convicted felon, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, advocated military action to support this claim. And the Republican Party spent the last year downplaying the insurrection and obstructing investigations. All this nonsense may confuse our troops on the difference between allegiance to a leader and allegiance to our Constitution. Such confusion could set conditions for another coup attempt, a thought that chills me to the bone.

So what should we do? First, all insurrectionists must be held accountable for their actions. All insurrectionists must be held accountable to include the politicians that supported the capital assault. We need to educate our service members on the Constitution and the integrity and legitimacy of our election system. The Pentagon must identify emerging threats and war game against future domestic terrorist acts. And we need policy that prevents troops from joining hate groups. Military service is a profound privilege and we cannot allow extremists to contaminate morale and cohesion. Ultimately, our military is merely a reflection of us, you and me. The misinformation and hateful rhetoric that infects our country and our political discourse weakens our national defense and vitalizes our adversaries.

We must learn from the January 6th insurrection and take immediate actions to protect our great democracy from the domestic cancer that continues to grow within. Our last word comes from Jim Gaffigan, who just can't believe it's 2022. The year is 2022?

How can that be? I understand 2022 would come after the year 2021, but that can't be. You see, my eldest child will graduate from high school in June of 2022, and I remember clearly dropping her off at kindergarten like last week. That was the day I learned that she was part of the class of 2022, which I thought was hysterical, 2022, as if 2022 is a year that'll exist in our lifetime.

What is this, the Jetsons? 2022 is not a year. It's something a nervous 19-year-old stutters to a bartender after they've been asked their age. Me? I'm 20. 22. 2022 sounds like the title of a bad 90s movie about a dystopian America, which has embraced tribalism during a prolonged multi-year fight with a disease that has killed hundreds of thousands. Wait, are we living in a movie? I bet I play the fat guy who's sexy. Thank you for listening.

Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. Two Senate races where you think Republicans have the best chance of taking a Democratic seat away. Nevada, New Hampshire. Not Georgia. Well, Georgia's right up there, but New Hampshire is a surprise. In New Hampshire, people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hassan. For more from this week's conversation, follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 12:28:58 / 2023-01-29 12:38:04 / 9

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