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Twitter, Brendan Fraser, Child Welfare Services

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
December 4, 2022 2:30 pm

Twitter, Brendan Fraser, Child Welfare Services

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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December 4, 2022 2:30 pm

Hosted by Jane Pauley. In our cover story, Luke Burbank looks at Elon Musk's chaotic reign since buying Twitter. Plus: Erin Moriarty examines how some families are being broken up in the name of protecting children; Lee Cowan talks with actor Brendan Fraser about his acclaimed performance in "The Whale"; And Robert Costa talks with Rep. Jamie Raskin and The New Yorker's David Remnick about the impending January 6th Committee report.

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Member FINRA and SIPC. In March 2020, a family on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana, got shocking news about their loved one. Christy wouldn't die. My daughter came and notified me that Christy was run over. And I said, is she okay? And she's like, no, she died.

I was like, what? Missing Justice from CBS News takes you inside what really happened that night and the federal investigation that followed. Listen to Missing Justice from CBS News on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts. Good morning.

I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. The difficult job of protecting our children from neglect or abuse belongs to the men and women of the nation's child welfare system. And many do heroic work, but it is an imperfect system at best, tending to focus more scrutiny on the poor and families of color. Four years ago, many Americans were horrified by an immigration policy separating families at the border. Yet every day, American families are torn apart by child welfare workers. Erin Moriarty looks at a system that all too often fosters tragedy. Bad parents or just poor parents without resources?

It's not always easy to tell. Is removing a child always the best solution? Does it feel like the death penalty to you?

It does. It's my whole world. That's the reason I'm a mom in the first place.

Families divided, coming up on Sunday Morning. Brendan Fraser became an A-list star thanks to his memorable role in the movie The Mummy. Now, as Lee Cowan will tell us, Fraser has reinvented his career along with his movie persona. He used to be one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. And now Brendan Fraser is back on the big screen. With what many are calling the performance of his career. I get another take.

You don't always get another take. Our visit with the actor who wasn't about to let Hollywood get the better of him. Ahead on Sunday Morning. Robert Costa previews findings of the upcoming report from the January 6th committee. Plus, Luke Burbank on Twitter in the age of Elon Musk. A story from Steve Hartman, thoughts from Rabbi Steve Leder and more.

It's the first Sunday of this last month of the year, December 4th, 2022. And we'll be right back. In the weeks since Elon Musk acquired Twitter, the modern day town square has been shaken to its core. Will the bluebird find happiness when the dust settles?

Here's Luke Burbank. Twitter may not be the biggest social media platform out there, but it's certainly one of the most influential. With that single inflammatory tweet, Roseanne's rising star imploded today. President Trump apparently has a lot on his mind, at least according to his Twitter account.

I will name it Twitter Revolution. Because what happens on Twitter doesn't just stay on Twitter. Which might be why this guy, the world's richest man, Elon Musk, is such a fan. Musk bought the company for an eye-popping $44 billion. Despite the fact that Twitter, which relies on advertising for much of its revenue, has turned a profit in only two of the last ten years. Since his takeover, Musk has fired or accepted resignations from about two-thirds of Twitter's staff.

If you looked at it as a business, you'd have to say, no, no, stay away from this. But it's sort of like buying a yacht or a baseball team for a rich person, and this is interesting to him. Kara Swisher is a tech journalist and podcast host who's known Musk for over 20 years and has interviewed him extensively. Lately though, he hasn't been such a fan of her coverage of him.

He thinks he can reform it. Since buying the company, Musk, a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, has invited back some users who'd previously been banned or otherwise restricted. He's fired employees who've tweeted criticisms of him. And he posted and then deleted what one commentator called the most expensive tweet ever.

A conspiracy theory about Nancy Pelosi's husband. Expensive because there's speculation that that tweet, and many others from Musk, have caused advertisers to flee Twitter in droves. Now he's antagonizing advertisers and calling them woke. Advertisers will advertise on Satan Inc. if it'll sell a Fitbit.

I mean, honestly. A documented rise in hate speech since Musk's takeover came to a head this past week after the rapper, formerly known as Kanye West, tweeted a photo of a swastika, prompting Musk to suspend his account. Anything that's more moderated, and I'm using the word moderated, not censored, tends to do better with users, with advertisers, with the entire experience. But Musk thinks Twitter's prior management unfairly stifled conservative speech. On Friday, when reporter Matt Taibbi tweeted a trove of internal emails purporting to prove Twitter's liberal bias, Musk retweeted the thread approvingly. In the days before the 2020 election, Twitter made the decision to not allow people to post the New York Post story about Hunter Biden's laptop until they could try to figure out whether or not that was part of a government influence campaign.

Alex Stamos is the former chief security officer at Facebook, and says the Russian hacking of Democratic National Committee emails in 2016 made Twitter wary of foreign influence campaigns. And then they decided, since it was going to get covered, that they should allow it to be posted. So they did make a mistake, but the idea that it affected the election is just ludicrous. For some, Twitter's suppression of that article became a First Amendment issue, but Kara Swisher thinks that misses the point.

It's gotten sucked up into a free speech conversation or a First Amendment conversation, largely by people who never read the First Amendment, because it's about government shall make no law. That's all it says, folks. And so companies certainly can, and they certainly do. And speech on Twitter can have real world implications. For years, Twitter's blue check marks have verified that a user is who they say they are.

But when Musk started selling the check marks without actual verification, a slew of imposter accounts sprang up, like this one posing as Eli Lilly, tweeting out, Insulin is free now, causing the pharmaceutical company's stock price to tumble. In fact, due to security concerns, CBS News briefly paused its Twitter use two weeks ago. He said that he wanted to experiment with long-form content, content longer than just a tweet. That was already launched and was available on the platform, and he fired the team that had developed it and launched it. This current Twitter employee asked that we not identify him for fear of reprisal from Musk and his online fans. What is your employment status with Twitter as of right now? I'm still technically an employee, but I'm on a suspended status until January 4th, when they will put us on severance, if we sign a severance agreement. Like many, this unnamed, soon-to-be ex-employee believes Musk is trying to reduce what he owes former Twitter staff in terms of severance and stock options.

To be clear, Elon Musk bought the company. He can make any business decision he wants to make. It's the nature in which we were let go and potentially even ways that broke employment law.

And it's the hostile and almost cruel manner in which we've been let go in terms of no communication, no direction. In response to a proposed class-action lawsuit brought by its employees, Twitter has said in court that allegations it broke U.S. employment law are baseless. He's actually a really bad manager, and that's kind of shocking to me how bad he is at the human management side of this. The odds of them being able to execute well over this next year I think are very long unless he decides to bring in a CEO to calm things down. And it's clear that's what he's going to have to do at Twitter if they're going to try to stabilize and stop the bleeding of all of this talent that they need to be able to execute. We reached out to Musk, but did not receive a reply. How does he strike you as a person?

Depends on what day. I sometimes think of Silicon Valley as a lot of smart people working on stupid things, and Elon was working on smart things. Things like Tesla and SpaceX, Musk's companies that have arguably revolutionized life on this planet.

We have over 150 computers in this room. But before all that, in 1998, on this very TV show, Rita Braver talked to Elon Musk. How old were you when you started this company?

Twenty-three. Musk was working at his first startup, Zip2, a city guide on a new thing called the internet. There's a level of freedom on the internet that really doesn't exist anywhere else, and there's no central controlling entity that gets to decide this content is good, this content is bad. But now Musk is that controlling entity, at least when it comes to Twitter, free to moderate or to allow the spread of misinformation as he sees fit. One person who understands Twitter's power? That anonymous Twitter employee, the one who may soon be downsized by the world's richest man.

Whether it's local to national politics, whether it's the conversation around important cultural events or cultural issues, whether people use Twitter or not, their lives are shaped by what happens on Twitter. We're going way down the rabbit hole. Like, did you know that Osama bin Laden is a guy named Tim? Yeah, we're doing a whole episode on that one. JFK Jr., coming back from the dead, that's an episode. The Deep State, that too. Listen to Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracy wherever you get your podcasts. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell. This week, two former senior CIA officers talk about the most realistic books, movies and TV series about the CIA, intelligence and espionage. And what CIA guys don't get right about films, most people don't want to hear about the case.

That's exactly where we got into this business is we want to try to create movies that get a real feel. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts. The difficult task of protecting our children from neglectful or abusive parents falls to the nation's child welfare system.

For many, it's a lifesaver. But Erin Moriarty reports that when the system fails, families can pay the ultimate price. We were right here by this tree. My son was right about here in this area.

In June 2017, at a family picnic in this park in Aurora, Colorado, Vanessa Peeples noticed that one of her young sons had slipped away. You're maybe how far? This far away? What do you think?

Right here. This is my soon-to-be eight-year-old. Peeples, who is studying to be a nurse, is not the first parent to take her eyes off a child. It happens all the time. But a bystander's call to police resulted in child abuse charges that have upended her life. They treated me as if I really done harm to my children. And I didn't harm anyone. A month after the picnic, a caseworker from the Adams County Children and Family Services came unannounced to her home.

That day I can never forget. Peeples, who was downstairs doing laundry, didn't hear the doorbell. So again, police were called. At that moment, I'm coming up the stairs thinking I'm going to get my kids, and I have a gun pointed in my face.

Even when it was clear the children were not home alone, the police didn't leave. Ma'am, the door ain't getting closed right now. What happened next is not easy to watch. Watch out.

Hey, behind you. When Peeples objected to the way police treated her mother, who had just come home, officers physically restrained her, partially dislocating her shoulder in the process. When the officer had slammed me down on the floor, I looked my son dead in his face, and it was just the look of pain. I was treated like an animal. I wasn't treated like a human being.

Peeples who had no criminal history was taken to jail, charged with child abuse and obstructing an officer. The part that really got to me, I seen the look on that social worker's face when it happened. And she didn't say anything.

She just stood there. There are certainly times when the state needs to be involved. This was not even approaching one of those cases. Erica Grossman, a civil rights lawyer, sued the Aurora police on people's behalf, accusing officers of excessive force. Was there any indication that there were weapons inside the home?

No, there was absolutely zero indication. A police internal investigation determined that the use of force was lawful, but the department settled the case, and the charge against Peeples for obstruction was dropped. Still, the one alleging child abuse was not. Once you ring the bell of the state, it's a tragedy. You can't un-ring it. It's almost impossible to get out of that. Colorado child welfare officials say they cannot discuss the case, but that the violence that Peeples experienced is unusual.

Still, what happened next is not. Peeples was required to follow a strict service plan, much at her own expense, and allow twice-weekly inspections by caseworkers. I had to pay for a drug test. I had to pay for parenting classes.

I also had to pay to be on probation. Unless the treatment of a child makes headlines, for example when a child dies, Americans rarely think about the agency's charge with child protection. So the system that handles more than three and a half million cases a year gets little public scrutiny, in part because the people most affected are poor. Part of the propaganda that this system uses to convince the public that it's actually a benevolent, caring system is the very terms that are used to describe it. Child welfare, foster care, child protection. University of Pennsylvania professor Dorothy Roberts has written extensively about the child protection system. I prefer the term family policing system because that really describes what the system does to investigate, to accuse, to tear apart.

And the numbers don't lie, says Roberts. Black families are twice as likely as white families to be impacted. More than half of black children in America will be subjected to a child welfare investigation at some point before they reach age 18. The care of poor or abandoned children used to be handled by private charities and orphanages. But when the growing use of x-rays in the 1960s revealed that children were suffering abuse at home, the government got involved.

Today, fewer than 20 percent of cases allege actual physical abuse. The great majority involve neglect. Neglect is usually confused with poverty. Neglect is defined by most states as parents failing to provide the resources that children need, like clothing or food or secure housing. And those are usually caused because parents simply can't afford them. Every two minutes, a child is removed from his or her home. There are now more than 400,000 children in foster care. Would you agree there are probably some cases of neglect where extreme poverty or a parent with a terrible drug problem, kids would be better off in another environment? Yes, of course there are cases. And again, these are extreme cases. But first of all, this system doesn't spend enough attention or resources on what could be given to that family to keep it together. Your life completely changed because of one night, didn't it?

Yep. One dumb mistake that I literally wish I could take back every single day. In the summer of 2017, Samantha Mungai was a 22-year-old single mom of a four-year-old girl living in Missouri, struggling to pay rent and child care. We had gotten behind on rent, and so they gave us an eviction notice. If you don't pay on this date, you know, you have to leave. Mungai, who danced at a club at night, says she couldn't find a babysitter and left her daughter in the apartment alone. Samantha, you had to know how risky that was. There could be a fire. She could get sick, and she was alone. Yeah. I mean, you could have just not gone to work that night.

Yeah, that's what I thought. Then we would have been evicted. Then what do I do next? When she got home that morning, she discovered her child had gone to a neighbor's apartment who called police. The child was placed in foster care. Mungai agreed to follow a plan to get her back. How often were you able to see her?

Once a week. That's not enough. Although records show her daughter struggled to adjust to foster care, Mungai was never allowed to spend time alone with her or bring her home. What we have as a system now is a system that's responding to harm and inflicting an intervention on those children in a way that causes further harm. Alan Detloft, dean of social work at the University of Houston, was once a child protection caseworker himself. He says that service plans often set parents up for failure. They have to go to counseling. They have to go to parenting classes when parents would say, I can't take this much time off work to go to these classes. And the caseworker will say to the parents, well, this is about your child. That should be your priority.

You need to figure it out. In Mungai's case, she was also required to pay child support payments to the county to reimburse them for the foster care. And soon, weeks away from her daughter became months and then a year and a half. When parents are required to pay child support, doesn't it also increase the amount of time the child is away from the parent?

Absolutely. And that's not what we want either. Asia Schomburg is associate commissioner for the U.S. Children's Bureau.

This past summer, her office recommended that state and county agencies stop charging struggling parents for foster care. But it's not enough, says Professor Roberts. She and others say the entire system needs to change. This system is a 30 billion dollar system. It would be so much more beneficial for children to take those 30 plus billion dollars and give it directly to families for meeting their children's needs.

To spend it on housing, on clothing, on food, on medical care. What do you say to people who say the system needs to be completely dismantled? We don't want 400,000 children in foster care. There may be children and families out there that need the help and are getting the help that they need. But these agencies wield great power over families' lives.

Let me show you how to do one. Yeah, the big one. Moonguy, who now also has a four-year-old son, says she believes she'd get her daughter back. But while her case files noted steady improvement, in 2019, her parental rights were terminated. Does that mean you can't see her? I get in trouble if I do, is what they say. Can't talk to her? No. Can't find out how she's doing?

No. Moonguy's appeal was denied. Among the reasons cited by the court, she failed to take a parenting class, a psychological assessment, and she mis-scheduled visits with her daughter.

The Clay County Children's Division and the Missouri Department of Social Services said they cannot speak about specific investigations. What bothers me is she doesn't think I love her. She will grow up thinking that I don't care and I didn't try and I left her and I gave up.

I live with this every day because it's a nightmare. It's been more than five years since Vanessa Peeples' son wandered off in the park. She never lost her children, yet Peeples is still dealing with the repercussions. In January 2018, she pled guilty to reckless endangerment of a child rather than risk jail, but the conviction makes her unable to get a job in nursing. She has a criminal history now for reckless endangerment of a child. For what? For allowing a child to wander off in a park? Yeah, there's nothing more.

It's absolutely insane. I can't get jobs. I can't even get housing. I'm still living with my mom. I should be able to have a home for my children and myself.

But the fact that someone else intervened in my life, I'm stuck at zero. Hey, I'm Jen Landon, and I play Teeter on the Paramount Network original series, Yellowstone. Yellowstone is back for season five, and so is the official Yellowstone podcast. This isn't just your typical recap podcast. Every week, you'll get exclusive access to cast and crew members who will take you behind the scenes of season five in a way that no other podcast can.

Saddle up for all new episodes of the official Yellowstone podcast available wherever you get your podcasts. Forensic evidence, then sentenced to life. The state never really had any case against this kid. Was he wrongfully convicted? She was very close with Michael. He was her baby.

Follow and listen to the 48 Hours podcast on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts. The Mummy made Brendan Fraser an action movie superstar, but he's trying something completely different and getting rave reviews. Lee Cowan is in conversation with Brendan Fraser. We didn't expect Brendan Fraser to build us a fire, especially since he had a pretty nasty cold. But what we really didn't expect was for him to start quoting Herman Melville. I know not all that may be coming, but come what will, I will go to it laughing.

Herman Melville, 1851. The will. That quote about accepting his future has meant a lot to him lately, ever since whispers of a best actor Oscar began sneaking through Hollywood for Fraser's latest movie out this week. That's like a tomorrow thing.

I'm staying in today. Before we show you his performance, just take a look at the reaction it's getting. A six minute standing ovation, first at the Venice Film Festival, and then a five minute one at the London Film Festival.

That was wholly unexpected. It seemed very emotional for you too. I got choked up. And chances are, you may get choked up too. Do you ever get the feeling that people are incapable of not caring?

People are amazing. That's The Whale from director Darren Aronofsky. It's the story of Charlie, a man living with obesity, who's trying to write a few wrongs in his life. I'm sorry.

Don't. Fraser says it is the most demanding role of his long career, and one of the most controversial. He worked with the Obesity Action Coalition to make sure his performance of Charlie was done with respect and empathy.

I really hate you for putting me through this again, you know that. But to some critics, that wasn't enough. They say the film, and Fraser's use of a so-called fat suit, still stigmatizes those with larger body types. Exactly what Fraser says he was trying to avoid. It has us take a look at someone who we would otherwise just dismiss.

I think this film has the ability to change hearts and minds about how we perceive those who live with obesity. His return to the big screen has Hollywood calling it a comeback, as fans have a better name for it. They're calling it a Brenna-size.

Whatever it is, Charlie is certainly a far different character than the one he was playing back in the 90s and early 2000s. Good catch. He could just as easily go from George with a jungle. Rubber tree.

Always good for clothesline. I am not your monster. To holding his own with the likes of Oscar nominee Ian McKellen in the drama Gods and Monsters. When you look back at yourself in the 90s, what do you think these days? What do I think? I think that guy's really lucky. I think he's got awesome hair.

We are in serious trouble. That hair, his good looks, and his swashbuckling demeanor made the mummy a blockbuster. Oh, I hate mummies. Critics even started comparing him to Harrison Ford. Here we go again.

And like Ford, Fraser reprised the role several times over. Which is both a blessing and a curse, I guess. Or maybe there's no curse. I don't know. The curse of the mummy.

Curse of the mummy. Oh my God. But his celebrity was quickly becoming a sandstorm, pelting him with self-doubt, he says, day after day. I felt at that time that it wasn't enough, I wasn't big enough, I wasn't caught enough, or any of those adjectives.

And the person that I saw and was trying to create wasn't an ideal in my mind. And how you contend with that. Just how he contended with it, is to back off.

Re-evaluate his priorities and let the Hollywood merry-go-round spin off on its own for a while. I needed the music to stop, you know. We can put actors on pedestals and then knock them off so quickly and so easily. It's almost like that's the game. So I just got rid of the pedestal.

I just wanted to be myself. I'm going to put this over there. And then miss. Like that. So he picked up a hobby. Archery. He says there's something about releasing an arrow into the wind that's become for him anyway, both calming and cathartic. Whistling arrowhead.

That's so cool. That smile though quickly went away when our conversation turned to one of the most painful chapters in his life. It was causing me emotional distress. It was causing me personal distress. In 2003, he says the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Phillip Burke, groped him during a luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Burke has consistently denied the allegations, saying he only pinched him as a joke. But to Fraser, the intent didn't matter. It sounds like it really derailed everything, right?

Well, yes, because there's a system in place that is about power. And I had played by the rules up until that point. And I felt like, OK, now suddenly I've been violated and it has gone too far and I will no longer abide this.

He waited 15 years before he finally went public in a 2018 GQ article. Had it not been for the Me Too movement, he says, he might not have come forward at all. I spoke up because I saw so many of my friends and colleagues who at that time were bravely emerging to speak their truth to power. And I had something to say, too. The whale has something to say as well, he thinks. You don't have to be angry at the whole world. You can just be angry at me. OK. What he hopes audiences take away isn't pity, but an understanding that Charlie could be any one of us. Who loves, who cares and greets. Hey, Bebe, want to go for a walk?

Brendan Fraser has been through all of that pain himself. And is now coming out the other side. Do you feel like those days of self-doubt when you were trying to step back from things to really focus on priorities, do you think those are behind you now? It feels like a new day, that's for sure.

It does. It feels like a new, better, beautiful day. From Steve Hartman this morning, proof that love does indeed conquer all. For most of her adult life, 69-year-old Jean Gustafson has suffered from chronic regret. I can't turn back the clock, I wish I could. Would you do anything different? Yes, I would have married him. I would have married him. As we first reported a few months ago, what Jean so regrets is breaking up with her college sweetheart. So this was in the spring of 72. A guy she met in the German club at Loyola University in Chicago.

This is Steve and I in the back here. Jean says he would have made the perfect husband. A lot of memories here. If only he'd been white. My mother was absolutely livid. What did she say? What didn't she say?

How could I disgrace the family? It was not pretty. Partly because of those pressures, Jean broke up with Steve Watts and never saw him again.

Until last year, when she tracked him down at this Chicago nursing home. What I found was sort of a broken man. Like Jean, Steve was divorced with no kids. But life for him had been much harder. He'd fallen on terrible times.

He was homeless, had two strokes, and was almost unrecognizable the day Jean walked back into his life. But he's still the wonderful, gorgeous man that I knew. Did all those feelings come rushing back?

Yes. For both of us. And so, with her mother no longer in the way, Jean made arrangements to move Steve from the nursing home to her home in Portland, Oregon. I feel terribly lucky that I get a second chance. Steve's health issues have left him bedridden, but his mind is sharp and his heart young. In fact, if you listen closely, you can still hear his devotion, unwavering after all these years. All of us.

All of us too. Racism drove its wedge, and love wormed its way back. Permanently. A few weeks ago, 43 years after her mom laid their love asunder, Jean and Steve were married. Newlyweds.

Now well on their way to making up for a lifetime of lost time. Two years ago, on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana, Christy Wooden Thigh's family rushed to her home after receiving shocking news. On March 6th, my daughter had came and notified me that Christy was run over. I said, is she okay? And she's like, no, she died.

I was like, what? But when they arrived, there were no police. Where's the cops, first of all? Why is there no cops here?

Because it's a crime scene, you know, like, there should have been yellow tape. Missing Justice from CBS News takes you inside what really happened that night and the federal investigation that followed. We kind of had confidence in the police, hoping they'd arrest him. And then we just, like, it was just silence. Like, nobody came and let us know anything. And how, for years, a family fought for justice. Listen to Missing Justice from CBS News on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts. The January 6th committee is expected to release its highly anticipated findings any day now.

Our preview comes from Robert Costa. Did you go to the rally in the presidential motorcade? I was there, yes. After more than a thousand interviews and hours of televised hearings, one of the highest profile congressional investigations since Watergate, the January 6th committee, will soon release a sweeping report. I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullsh-t. The looming question, will the report urge the Justice Department to prosecute former President Donald Trump? On January 6th, Trump knew the crowd was angry.

He knew the crowd was armed. He sent them to the Capitol anyway. For now, the committee is coy. But Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin, one of its leading members, has reached his own personal conclusion. People want to know, does Congressman Jamie Raskin believe Donald Trump committed a crime or not? Well, absolutely. I mean, for one thing, there's this mega offense.

Of coup and insurrection against the constitutional democracy. But then that mega offense includes hundreds of statutory criminal offenses. And I think, speaking personally, that Donald Trump could be prosecuted for several of them. But this report could be the basis, in your view, for prosecution. Could be. Yeah. I think that it could be. It was Donald Trump who sent out the tweet, heard around the alt-right underworld to gather on January 6th.

He wanted to ride in like Mussolini on the shoulders of the mob so that he could seize the presidency. This past Thursday, Raskin and David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker magazine, sat down to discuss the potential impact of the report. They paired up since Remnick will publish the report as a book, which will include an essay from Raskin, who received no payment. Are you confident people will sit down and read this report? I think in many ways that's the right question. I think about that all the time when we publish a 25,000-word piece in The New Yorker that's deeply detailed and fact-checked. And I've come to the conclusion over time that it's absorbed in different ways. Yes, there are the people that immediately read it. They hungrily read it.

Then two weeks later is, by the way, did you look at that piece in The New Yorker? And it has an effect. Having an effect has been the committee's mission. But its work has been challenged by many in Washington, who declared the hearings would change few minds, even when the revelations were startling. Attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns.

We will be discussing these issues as a committee, carefully considering our next steps. The results of the midterm elections, where Trump allies took a beating, cracked open that conventional wisdom. Had we lost those elections by 40 or 50 votes, as various pundits and strategists and historians were predicting, undoubtedly everybody would have been saying the Democrats should not have focused on the Constitution and democracy.

The Democrats should have not focused on reproductive freedom and the rights and liberties of the people. Perhaps looking back, was the alarm loud enough? Well, we certainly sounded the alarm as vociferously as we could.

I think that the American public grasped the essential elements of the story. Donald Trump was a guy who just would not take no for an answer from the American people and set about to overthrow an election. This past week, Oath Keepers founder Stuart Rhodes was found guilty of seditious conspiracy for a plot to keep Trump in power.

The former president, who has announced his candidacy for 2024, has denied any wrongdoing and has refused to testify before the House committee. But Trump still faces multiple state and federal investigations. What would it mean for the country if there is, at the end of the day, no consequence for Trump?

I think if there's no consequence for Trump, even if he loses, even if he kind of burns out the way a lot of commentators are suggesting that he's in the process of doing, I think that's a sad day, that there's no consequence. People are hungering for justice and for accountability and consequences here. Injustice runs free for a long time before the mechanisms of justice and the rule of law can operate.

That's what it means to live in a free society. We don't just sweep people off of the street, even a tyrant like Donald Trump, and just declare them guilty and throw them in solitary confinement. So people should have patience, even though these trials are taking a long time, the grand juries are taking years. Yes, there have been more than 950 prosecutions, I think it is now. We've had dozens and dozens of people convicted, but I know that people feel that we need to make sure that accountability runs all the way to the top.

Just because you're elected president or used to be president does not give you the right to engage in crimes freely. This Tuesday, a ceremony will be held in the Capitol Rotunda honoring the U.S. Capitol and Metropolitan Police who defended the center of our democracy. Our commentary comes from Steve Leader, senior rabbi of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. Ten years ago, I preached about transcending the Jewish victim narrative I was raised with.

In America, we are accepted, free and safe, I argued. So enough with the victim mentality. Fast forward to a former president dining with a white supremacist who compared Jews and crematoria to cookies in an oven. And a multi-billionaire with more than 50 million followers who said he wanted to go Death Con 3 on Jews. Just before that Jew haters banquet, a prominent athlete promoted a film about Jew hatred and a comic on Saturday Night Live observed, there are a lot of Jews in Hollywood, a lot.

He wasn't legitimizing the trope about a conspiratorial Jewish cabal running Hollywood. He was just saying the line between free speech and Jew hatred is hard to define. But like sexual harassment, you know when you feel it. A lot of us are feeling it.

And it is heartbreakingly sad. Sad because Jew hatred is so often promulgated by other marginalized communities. And sad because of privileged cultural exemplars claiming victimization by Jews. Are some Jews privileged? Yes. Are Yeh, Dave Chappelle and Kyrie Irving privileged?

Yes. We are all privileged and disadvantaged in some ways. I can turn a phrase, but I can't dunk. More important than our differences is the one way we are all the same. We are all human.

And if you prick us, we all bleed. To believe otherwise about Jews or anyone else is a danger to our nation and people's lives. A decade ago I proclaimed from the pulpit America was different, better, and Jews should stop acting like all roads lead to Auschwitz. I still believe in America. We're not on our way to Auschwitz. But lately, it sure feels like we are on the wrong road, shamefully heading in the wrong direction. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-04 16:10:59 / 2022-12-04 16:26:33 / 16

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