February 27th, 2014
09:59 PM ET

Keeping Them Honest: CNN confronts Sen. Mike Lee during ski trip with lobbyists

Utah Senator Mike Lee delivered the Tea Party's response to the State of the Union address and criticized "political and economic insiders" who "twist the immense power of the federal government." But that did not stop Senator Lee from scheduling a fundraising ski trip with lobbyists. Lee is definitely not the only lawmaker to raise political cash this way. But he wasn’t expecting Drew Griffin to show up asking questions.

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Filed under: CNN Investigations • Drew Griffin
February 27th, 2014
09:55 PM ET

Debating "My Brother's Keeper"

President Obama shared a very private moment today at the White House as he unveiled a new initiative called "My Brother's Keeper." It's a public-private venture that has $200,000,000 in seed money aimed at helping young black and Hispanic men to stay in school and get good jobs. He told the crowd:

"I could see myself in these young men.  And the only difference is that I grew up in an environment that was a little bit more forgiving.  So when I made a mistake, the consequences were not as severe.” 

Anderson discussed this with New York Times op-ed columnist Charles Blow, CNN commentator Michaela Angela Davis, yourblackworld.com founder Boyce Watkins and Reverend Kevin Johnson.

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Filed under: Boyce Watkins • Charles Blow • Michaela Angela Davis • President Obama
February 27th, 2014
09:53 PM ET

Will an Illinois community go from frozen to flooded?

The deep freeze has left an Illinois river looking more like a glacier. But it is not the cold weather that has nearby residents frightened. When temperatures start to rise and the river begins to flow, the ice may cause catastrophic flooding. Gary Tuchman has the latest.

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Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Severe Weather
February 27th, 2014
09:51 PM ET

SB 1062 defender caught on tape making anti-Hispanic remarks

Arizona Republican State Representative John Kavanagh was a leading defender of Senate Bill 1062, vetoed yesterday by Gov. Jan Brewer. Last weekend, he was also a speaker at a roast for Phoenix's controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Rep. Kavanagh set off a firestorm in the Latino community with remarks including these:

"I'm not the federal monitor.  How many Hispanics did you pull over on the way over here Arpaio? "

"Sheriff Joe is the kind of guy that you gotta love as long as you have papers."
"Going out with Sheriff Joe is always an adventure. Usually when we walk into a restaurant most of the wait staff and cooks dive out the back window. And when they don't, I never know what the hell is in my food. There's a great one. Get em! sic em!"

AC360 wanted to ask Kavanaugh about those jokes, which many found offensive. We invited him on the program. He accepted but later backed out. The invitation stands. He later released a statement to AC360. Anderson discussed the controversy with GOP strategist Ana Navarro and CNN's Ana Cabrera who spoke with Sheriff Arpaio today.

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Filed under: Arizona
February 27th, 2014
09:49 PM ET

What's stopping 150,000 Russian troops from crossing into Ukraine?

Tensions are rising in the south of Ukraine. Armed men seized control of the regional parliament building in Crimea and raised the Russian flag. Just over the border, some 150,000 Russian soldiers are taking part in surprise military exercises, a move that’s raising fears that President Putin could be planning a power grab. Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto has the latest.

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Filed under: Jim Sciutto • Ukraine
February 27th, 2014
09:47 PM ET

Should men who want kids check their biological clocks?

A new study finds that children born to older fathers were at higher risk for autism, bipolar disorder and a range of other psychiatric problems. Does this mean that men should factor age into their family planning? Anderson asked Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


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Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta
February 27th, 2014
08:56 PM ET

Arizona Republican State Representative John Kavanagh's statement

Arizona Republican State Representative John Kavanagh's sent AC360 a statement on the Arpaio roast recordings:

The jokes I made at the Sheriff Joe Arpaio Roast, at his invitation, were satirical comedy. The jokes were not directed at minority group members but at the target of the roast – Sheriff Arpaio. The jokes were jabs against the sheriff based upon allegations of his department’s engaging in racial profiling.

The Southern Poverty Law Center edited out selected portions of a much longer roast on many topics not related to racial profiling. The humor was typical of roasts and had I made the same jokes against Sheriff Arpaio at their annual dinner, I suspect that they would have been laughing as much as this audience laughed. Likewise, had these jokes been made on a TV comedy or variety show, there would also be no controversy.

I have never hesitated to appear on this show or other shows to discuss policy issues because that is part of my job.  But this is not a policy issue. This is a personal attack upon me, which appears to be politically motivated, no doubt due to my support of SB1070.

Filed under: 360° Radar
February 27th, 2014
06:41 PM ET

Check out Drew Griffin's reports on money and influence in Washington

When lawmakers and lobbyists are family

There’s a saying in Washington that it’s not simply what you know, it’s who you know. It may be a bromide but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

As part of a planned year long series on AC 360 devoted to money, politics and influence, we took a look at how many members of Congressional families are in fact registered lobbyists.

The results may surprise you. We worked with an independent group called Legistorm and the non profit Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Please take a look. If you’d like to see the entire list, you can easily take a look here.

Keeping Them Honest: Money, influence and politics

The journalist Michael Kinsley famously wrote about Washington: The real scandal is not what's against the law. The real scandal is what's LEGAL. Drew Griffin investigates what some are calling the extortion game, played for personal gain, they say, by the very politicians who make the rules… and it is all perfectly legal.