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CNN NEWSROOM

GOP Turns on Trump as Impeachment Gathers Momentum; House Formally Urges Pence to Remove Trump from Office; Justice Department Bringing Sedition and Conspiracy Charges; Verdict Expected in South Korean Religion Leader's Trial; Japan Insists Olympics Still on Track Despite Pandemic; U.S. to Release All Available Vaccine Doses; Ireland to Apologize for Abuse at 'Mother and Baby' Homes; Trump Discussing Issuing Pardons for Himself, His Children; Key Organizer of Rally Says He Got Help from 3 GOP Congressmen. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired January 13, 2021 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM: and so it begins. Under heavy security inside a fortified Capitol, U.S. lawmakers voted on party lines to strip Donald Trump of his presidential powers.

The extraordinary move in response to Trump's incitement of a mob, which stormed the Capitol last week. The FBI now warning of one of its biggest investigations ever, to find all involved.

Amid a soaring coronavirus death toll, the Trump administration will release almost all its vaccine stockpile to the public.

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VAUSE: Donald Trump is now facing the very real possibility of becoming the first-ever U.S. president to be impeached twice. Just one week ago, his supporters attacked the Capitol, leaving dozens hurt and 5 people dead. One week from now Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the next president.

A short time ago, the lower House approved a resolution calling on vice president Mike Pence to enact the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office. Pence has already refused that call and now a vote to impeach will take place in the coming hours.

Trump's hold on the Republican Party is starting to weaken. Five Republican House members are on record in support of a second impeachment. Among them, the third ranking House Republican, Liz Cheney. She said, "There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his oath of office and his oath to the Constitution." Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell supporting impeachment as

well. "The New York Times" saying McConnell said the president committed impeachable offenses.

New disturbing details of last week's violence emerging from the FBI and the Department of Justice, calling their investigation unprecedented in scope and scale.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL SHERWIN, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: We are looking at significant felony cases, tied to sedition and conspiracy. But I think there's a lot of misconceptions about what happened within the Capitol and it's going to come into laser focus, I think, over the next weeks and days.

And I think people are going to be shocked. In some instances, MPD and Capitol police were in open-handed combat with some of these persons inside the Capitol.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Publicly, Donald Trump taking no responsibility for the violence, calling his rally speech last week, totally appropriate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Caroline Heldman is a professor of critical theory and social justice at Occidental College in Los Angeles and she joins us now.

It's good to see you, it's been a while, Caroline, thanks for taking the time.

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good to see you John.

VAUSE: Over the past four years, the news has changed every day but the stories have essentially been the same. After every Donald Trump outrage, be it criminal, offensive, insensitive or vile, the focus would briefly turn to the Republicans, many asking, how far is too far?

"The New York Times" is reporting that the Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, said to be pleased about impeachment, saying it will be easier to purge Trump from the GOP.

McConnell not willing to come out from his shell and say anything on record about that, but number 3 in the House, Republican Liz Cheney, has actually gone public.

"The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the president. He could've immediately and forcibly intervened to stop the violence. He did not."

So this growing number of Republican lawmakers support impeachment, at least 5 on record, a lot more probably privately.

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VAUSE: What does that number actually have to be to remove any appearance that this is a one-sided legal hack job, all about getting Donald Trump, and is actually a true bipartisan effort?

HELDMAN: Well, if you look at the makeup in the House, you need to get a majority vote to impeach. I actually think that will happen, I think Liz Cheney and other Republicans, many Republicans in the House, will be voting for impeachment, along with the Democrats.

I think the sticking point is, to actually remove the president it requires a super majority in the Senate. That means 17 Republicans will have to break with their party. I would expect two, Lisa Murkowski and a few others, certainly Mitt Romney to break with the rank and file, possibly even Mitch McConnell.

But I don't think they have the votes in the Senate to remove Donald Trump. At the end of the day I think again it's going to be a second impeachment but not -- just a slap on the wrist, not an actual removal from office.

VAUSE: What does it matter that by that point but it seems that Trump is making it harder by the day for Republicans to defend him. On Tuesday, he toured the border wall in Alamo, Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So if you read my speech and many people have done it, I've seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television. It's been analyzed and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Just before he arrived at Alamo, but he has shown no contrition, no recognition of the seriousness of what happened. Even the name of the town in Texas he went to -- there were a lot of towns impacted by the border wall -- that's no coincidence.

HANCOCK: It is no coincidence, historians will tell you it's similar to the Confederate flag: while it means a lot of different things a lot of different people, one of the clear meanings is that it is a nod to white supremacy.

The fact that Donald Trump has no contrition over this, I guess is not surprising. What is surprising to me is that a lot of Republicans, rank and file Republicans, are behind him on this.

So if you look in terms of the percentage of Americans who want to remove him from office because of what happened, it's only 15 percent of Republicans. When you look at their support for the insurrectionists, one in three Republicans have sympathy for the insurrectionists.

These are folks who were wearing Camp Auschwitz shirts; 6 million wasn't enough, referring to Jewish people in the Holocaust; zip ties, at least 3 men looking to murder Mike Pence, at least one man looking to murder Nancy Pelosi.

How you can't have shame about this is a mystery. It's not a mystery in terms of Donald Trump; as you pointed out, John, he's been doing this since he ran for office in 2016. He has used his rhetoric to incite violence and to incite hatred. But its effectiveness with some members of the American population is a mystery.

VAUSE: Listen to some of what Donald Trump calls totally appropriate remarks he made last week, here they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're going to have to fight much harder, when you catch somebody in a fraud you're allowed to go by very different rules. We are going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.

So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong. We fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell, then you're not going to have a country anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: If this isn't incitement, I don't know what is. Maybe legally it does not rise to those levels but it certainly sounds like it does.

Given the growing security risk around the inauguration, threats of armed protesters planning attacks in every state capital, do you see January 20th, not so much the end of the Trump era but maybe the beginning of a period of sustained violent unrest and a dark chapter beginning in U.S. history?

HELDMAN: That's a great question, John, we know that with the civil rights movement this overt racism went underground but it didn't go anywhere. So Donald Trump pulled it back out.

The question is whether it will diminish if he doesn't have the bully pulpit of the presidency and he doesn't have access to social media. My thought would be that it won't disappear, if you look at racial resentment, one in five Americans has very high racial resentment.

What is driving his ability to manipulate and using fear is this thing called aggrieved entitlement, where they believe that the social order shifting -- women are taking their jobs, people of color are making advances and they believe that they're entitled to these things.

It's not an accurate picture of what's happening. But it's really easy to play upon the fear of Americans who are hurting. It would be great if they were blaming that, you know, the right people, you know, substandard living and wages, the fact that we don't have a health care system.

But to get to your question, John, I don't think we've seen the end of this because we haven't addressed the root cause, which is high levels of racial resentment and sexism in our culture that are really easy to dig into.

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HELDMAN: And whip up using fear tactics, which Donald Trump has just shown us the last five years.

VAUSE: Caroline, yes it's one of those issues, I guess, which is going to be with us for a while and we'll be seeing it play out for many months and possibly years to come. But good to see you, Caroline, thanks for being with us.

HELDMAN: Great to see you, John.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: America's most senior military leaders have taken the unprecedented step of condemning the sedition and insurrection of the Capitol. The Joint Chiefs of Staff reminded service members of their obligation to support and defend the Constitution.

In a statement that reads in part, "We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection."

Stunning new details about exactly what happened inside the Capitol last week, including rioters engaging in open-handed combat with the police. The acting U.S. Attorney of D.C. says people will be shocked when they hear the full story. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz has this report.

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MICHAEL SHERWIN, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: You will be charged and you will be found.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER (voice-over): That's the message from federal investigators tonight for the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol January 6.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the attack, FBI and DOJ officials announcing over 170 active investigations. And possible charges of sedition, conspiracy and felony murders.

SHERWIN: Just the gamut of cases and criminal conduct that we're looking at is really mind-blowing.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): There is now a nationwide manhunt for those involved as federal officials conduct an investigation, they call unprecedented. But sparing no resources to deliver justice.

SHERWIN: We are looking at and treating this just like a significant international counterterrorism or counterintelligence operation. We're looking at everything: money, travel records, looking at disposition movement, communication records. STEVEN D'ANTUONO, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI WASHINGTON FIELD OFFICE: The FBI has a long memory and a broad reach. So even if you've left D.C., agents from our local field offices will be knocking on your door.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): The FBI also responding to questions over an intelligence failure leading up to Wednesday's attack on the Capitol. "The Washington Post" reporting a day before the January 6th insurrection, a Virginia FBI field office issued a dire warning, extremists were going to Washington for violence and war.

Despite the warning the FBI says it shared with its law enforcement partners, no preparations were made by the Capitol police.

D'ANTUONO: All that information was shared with our partners. And then we went from there.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): The investigation news comes as chilling new details emerge about what federal investigators fear are more plots to overthrow the government all across the country.

REP. CONOR LAMB (D-PA): They are talking about 4,000 armed patriots to surround the capitol and prevent any Democrat from going in and they have published rules of engagement, meaning when you shoot and when you don't. So, this is, this is an organized group that has a plan.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): With the inauguration on track for next week, the FBI is warning of threats of violence and mayhem on a massive scale. In a memo obtained by CNN, quote, "Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitals and at the U.S. Capitol."

The bulletin warns of a potential uprising if the president is removed from office prior to January 20th, Inauguration Day.

But even if Trump is allowed to finish his term, the bulletin warns, quote, "an identified group planning to storm government offices in the District of Columbia and in every state, regardless."

LAMB: We are in the midst of an ongoing series of crimes and an ongoing threat to the United States Capitol, to our institutions, to communities all around the United States.

PROKUPECZ: And inside the walls of the U.S. Capitol, the federal government has conducted readiness drills to ensure a smooth transfer of power, a public event Biden says he is not afraid of.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not afraid of taking the oath outside.

PROKUPECZ: A top priority for investigators, FBI and prosecutors is to figure out if anyone was helping fund this effort to take over the Capitol. The FBI and U.S. attorney say they are going to be reviewing financial records and other records to see if there was sort of a command and control structure. They feel there are some indication that this was much more organized than they had initially thought and now they are working to investigate and see if that was the case -- Shimon Prokupecz, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: To Los Angeles and CNN security correspondent and former FBI supervisory special agent Josh Campbell.

Josh, thanks for being with us. Right now, it seems increased security, a huge nationwide investigation and all the surveillance in the world can only do so much.

If Donald Trump demanded his insurgent supporters to stand down, if he admitted the election was not rigged, would that defuse the current security threat to almost negligible?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: John, I think that would go a long way.

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CAMPBELL: What we know right now from our reporting is that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is concerned now about potentially violent protests in all 50 states, armed protesters showing up at individual state capitals.

What we don't know is if those individual protesters will also be intent on causing the exact same type of insurrection activity that we saw at the United States Capitol last week. That's a giant concern for the FBI.

We do know that FBI agents are now working their sources, scouring social media, trying to identify any potential threats. But they can only do so much. FBI agents can try to stop a threat if they identify suspects.

But there is a larger issue about what is motivating this insurrectionist activity to begin with. And all roads lead to president Donald Trump, who continues to whip up fear among members of his base. He continues to spread the lie that the United States was stolen.

That's what's motivating a lot of these actors who could engage in violence and that's making the work of law enforcement so much more difficult.

VAUSE: I am not sure if you can secure the U.S. Capitol. I am sure you can (INAUDIBLE).

Is it possible to secure every state capital and Washington, D.C.?

CAMPBELL: It's a herculean task. We know individual governors in the states are now looking at resources to include individual National Guard members, local military. FBI agents will be on hand, local law enforcement. But this task is going to be a giant task for law enforcement.

You can try to surround the building but, as we saw at the United States Capitol, these insurrectionists were intent on blasting through these barricades, these barriers. So if you see these kind of violent confrontations, we will likely see something in the individual states on a larger scale than we even saw in Washington.

VAUSE: "The Guardian" says, "The playbook for the MAGA invasion on the nation's Capitol building on Wednesday has been developing for years in plain sight at far-right rallies in cities like Charlottesville, Berkeley, Portland and, then, in the past year, at state capitals across the country, where heavily armed white protesters have forced their way into legislative chambers to accuse politicians of tyranny and treason."

If you look at these MAGA supporters, for the most part, they look like ordinary Americans or civilians. But sometimes, you see people wearing gear and kit like they just got back from Fallujah, the semiautomatic weapons, the camouflage. It looks real and like they know how to use it. It looks like they are prepared for a low level civil war or insurgency.

CAMPBELL: That's right. I think we are seeing individual actors that are now meeting opportunity. There has always been this low level undercurrent of anti government actors inside the United States.

We've seen them engage in violent acts, including the 1990s, when a white supremacist anti-government suspect bombed the Federal Building, resulting in over 100 deaths, hundreds and hundreds of injuries.

So they are deadly but, for the most part, they have been in this undercurrent. They have been pushed to the far dark corners of society, because no one, in typical American life, would abide a white supremacist.

That changed with the presidency of Donald Trump. From Charlottesville, where you had white supremacists engaged in violence, Trump came out and said they were, quote, "very fine people on both sides."

And since then, he has simply refused to come out and forcefully condemn a lot of this far-right violence, these violent actors. Political analysts say he didn't want to lose votes. But we are now seeing what was once an undercurrent is boiling up.

These people now feel emboldened, because the most powerful person in the country is giving them his imprimatur and we are seeing that he is basically using his base to try and whip up fear, whip up anger, trying to claim he lost the election.

A lot of people believed that Trump, after the election, will engage in further business activities, maybe a new media empire. Perhaps these people will be subscribers. He always likes to make a buck.

But then that leaves the question about potential violence. He is convincing people the election has been stolen. And for a lot of these violent actors, that are predisposed to act with violence, he is just fueling the fire.

The only outlet to their rage, in my estimation, will be violence. Yet, we have not seen Trump come out and say to his base, cut it out, back off, these are how elections go, we will get them the next time. What he has continued to do is play the victim card and claim the election is stolen. That will lead to violence in coming weeks.

VAUSE: I hope you are wrong but it sounds like you could be right. It seems like 9/11 was a failure of imagination to see what could happen. A similar thing maybe playing out here with these Trump supporters and some kind of ongoing insurgency. Josh Campbell, thank you.

Cracks are emerging within Republican support for Trump in Congress.

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VAUSE: His hardcore supporters are standing firm and continue to believe what Trump says about the election being stolen and widespread voter fraud. CNN's Ed Lavandera has more on that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A self-described Trump train of supporters lined the streets where the president landed in the Rio Grande Valley. This is a crowd of true believers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump!

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Ryan Wolfe says he is a state home father of three children. He brought a ballistic vest, a knife and a baton to protect fellow Trump supporters.

LAVANDERA: Why is this necessary?

RYAN WOLFE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well sir, we have seen the Marxists attack children and families and women. I'm not going to tolerate that.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Wolfe and others here don't blame Trump for last week's right at the U.S. Capitol. The conspiracy theories are running rampant.

WOLFE: I believe that either foreign intelligence officers or local militant groups incited the conflict.

DARRELL FLIFLET, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I feel it was people like Antifa, Black Lives Matter, who infiltrated the crowd and cause the problems.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Of course, none of that is true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's boarding Marine One. Whoo!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's on his way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's on his way. LAVANDERA (voice-over): Among the most ardent Trump supporters is the false, yet unwavering, belief that the 2020 presidential election was riddled with widespread fraud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a stolen election. It will -- there will be a price sooner or later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody has actually looked at the evidence. There is definitely evidence towards that. It's just that nobody wants to look at it.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Joan Danworth (ph) says she will never see Joe Biden as a

legitimate president and still has hopes of seeing Trump remain in office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want my President Trump being up there inaugurated as an extended president of the United States.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): In this crowd, though, we found Noel Cantu (ph). He says he's a retired border patrol agent and a lifelong conservative. We ended our talk on a question that revealed the danger for Republicans lying about the 2020 election.

President Trump has said the election was stolen from him over and over and over. What if in the end, you've been lied to this entire time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will definitely be very upset, because if my party has been lying to me and this is what they are telling to me and I find out later that it was nothing but lies, I don't think that I will ever vote again.

LAVANDERA: As we see more Republicans in Washington beginning to turn on President Trump, it is striking to see the divide between those politicians and that talk and the president's most fervent supporters out here in the country.

One thing we didn't hear anything about today was anyone willing to accept President-Elect Joe Biden's calls for unity in the future -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, McAllen, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: We are standing by for a verdict in the trial of a South Korean religious leader. His followers are accused of spreading the coronavirus and then hiding information from authorities. More on that when we come back.

And while officials in Tokyo are determined to hold the already delayed Olympics later this year, a growing number of people in Japan are saying maybe it's not such a good idea after all.

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VAUSE: A verdict expected any moment in the trial of a religious leader at the center of South Korea's coronavirus outbreak. His followers are accused of spreading the virus and then hampering efforts of contact tracing. CNN's Paula Hancocks is covering the case live for us from Seoul.

This is basically, from this one church gathering, the virus has spread like wildfire.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This was back in February and March of last year, when the first wave really took hold here in South Korea. This leader of the religious group, Lee Man-hee, of the religious group Shincheonji, he is accused of effectively stonewalling authorities when they were trying to crack down on the outbreak in Daegu, down in the south of the country, and impeding the work of contact tracers.

The charges are against him is that he was against the antivirus law, that he obstructed justice, instructed the destruction of evidence and then separately a charge of embezzlement. So we will hear shortly what the verdict is in those charges.

But this goes back to a Patient 31, a very famous patient here in South Korea, who was a member of this religious group and then, within two weeks, there were 4,000 people who tested positive. Prosecutors say that was because the members of this group would not give their real names, in some cases, were unwilling to be tested.

They say there was obstruction of justice by Lee Man-hee and also by other leaders, telling their members not to admit to being part of the group. So they really made it difficult to contact trace.

Hundreds of police officers were brought in at the time to try and track down the members of this group. Shincheonji itself denies this, saying they have been victimized. But this is what we are looking at today. Whether or not this leader can in fact be found guilty of any of those charges.

At the time there was fury in this country, widespread anger, that this one particular group had not been following the rules and had been stonewalling authorities, which really led to an explosion of cases and the first wave in this country.

VAUSE: Paula, thank you. It's interesting to wait and see what the verdict will be. Paula Hancocks live in Seoul.

Preparations for the Tokyo Olympics continue on in the midst of a state of emergency because of the pandemic. Many in Japan say the games should be postponed again, maybe even canceled altogether. More now from CNN's Selina Wang.

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SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ten thousand competitors, millions of spectators, a record $15 billion bill. Under 200 days until the Olympic Games are set to open in Tokyo, the global event of the year for sports looms as a deadline on the Japanese calendar, a deadline to get the spiraling pandemic under control.

After initial success and keeping cases low by closing its borders and pushing citizens to socially distance, Japan's second wave has been vicious. Prime minister Yoshihide Suga has announced another state of emergency as hospitals fill and cases grow in their thousands each day. But public health expert Dr. Kenji Shibuya says it is too little too late.

DR. KENJI SHIBUYA, JAPAN INSTITUTE FOR GLOBAL HEALTH: The message from the government has been confusing. On the one hand, they encourage domestic tourism (ph) and eating out. On the other, they ask the people to behave properly.

WANG (voice-over): The government spent billions to encourage domestic tourism through the COVID-19 economic slump, only temporarily halting the program in late December.

Now over half the population oppose the games being held this year, according to a survey by national broadcaster NHK.

WANG: Convincing people to get vaccinated in Japan is a challenge of its own. Vaccine skepticism is widespread here, driven by a history of vaccine safe scares and concerns about side effects.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I don't trust it. I will avoid getting vaccinated.

WANG (voice-over): Despite the challenges, the prime minister and International Olympic Committee maintain the games will go ahead. But if they don't, officials say, there will be no more delays. The Summer Games would simply be no more.

WANG: Just yesterday, I spoke to Dick Pound. He is the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee. I asked him if this question of a further delay is really impossible.

And he said there are no discussions about a further delay, that it's unrealistic considering the massive costs that it would incur and also the fact that it would interfere with other global sporting events on the schedule.

[00:30:10]

He also told me that he thinks athletes should be required to get vaccinated and that the really big question now is how many spectators can come, and can international fans come, as well.

I also asked him about how sure he was about these games being held on time? He said he was hopeful and, quote, "75 percent confident" that they would be held, but that nothing is guaranteed -- John. JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: So much for that shining beacon of human

determination and the quest for unity, whatever it was they said last year when -- when it was delayed.

Selina, thank you for the report. Selina Wang there, live for us in Tokyo.

Well, it may take years, maybe decades, but scientists believe eventually the coronavirus will be no worse than the common cold for most people. COVID has been so deadly because no one has had an immunity to it, but a study in the journal "Science" finds it's still similar to other coronaviruses, which caused nothing more than cold symptoms. And once there's immunity, either infections of those who survive, or vaccines, the severity of COVID will be greatly reduced. Something to look forward to.

The five deadliest days of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic have all taken place this year. The latest record shattered just a short time ago. Details on that and a new strategy for distributing new vaccines.

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VAUSE: Yet again, the U.S. set another record for the deadliest day in this pandemic. On Tuesday, COVID-19 claimed more than 4,200 lives. The second time the death toll has topped 4,000. And starting January 26, all air travelers entering the U.S. will need proof of a negative COVID test.

This comes as the U.S. government revamps its vaccine distribution, which has been rolled out much slower than expected. CNN's Nick Watt explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK WATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After four weeks of faltering vaccine roll-out, a new phase.

ALEX AZAR, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: The next phase has several components. First, we're expanding the groups getting vaccinated.

WATT: Everyone 65 and over can get one, and anyone under 65 with a co- morbidity.

AZAR: Next, we are releasing the entire supply we have.

WATT: No more holding back second doses. Team Biden also planned to release them. Next up, where vaccines will now be given.

AZAR: States should move on to pharmacies, community health centers, and mass vaccination sites.

WATT: Plans already in place for Citi Field in New York, Dodger Stadium in L.A.

Also time today for buck passing and Trumpian praise for the federal distribution effort.

[00:35:00]

AZAR: Which has now successfully delivered to over 14,000 locations, essentially without a hitch. State restrictions on eligibility have obstructed speed and accessibility of the administration.

WATT: Latest data, more than 27 million distributed, just over 9 million actually administered.

The president hasn't uttered a word in public about COVID since December 8. The domestic terrorists who stormed the Capitol almost certainly spreading this virus.

And the mobilization of the National Guard to stifle them?

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): This is also probably going to take away from some of the vaccine distribution issues in some of these states where the National Guard was involved.

WATT (on camera): And here in L.A. County, some pretty startling advice. If you are an essential worker, you have to go out to work, and you live with vulnerable people, you're now being told that you should really be wearing a mask even inside your own House.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Dr. Celine Gounder, a member of Biden's COVID advisory board, weighed in on the decision to race (ph) the second doses of the vaccines.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, MEMBER OF BIDEN'S COVID ADVISORY BOARD: The Biden brand is about following the science, which means that we're not deviating from FDA authorizations with respect to the dosing of the vaccine or the timing with which the vaccine should be given.

So in other words, the Pfizer vaccine should still be given at full dose. The second dose should be given at 21 days, and the second dose of the Moderna vaccine should also be given full dose and at 28 days.

So that guidance has still not changed from our perspective. This is really more of a supply chain management question in terms of releasing nearly all the doses, as opposed to a recommendation about dosing or priorities.

Now, we are in -- in favor of trying to speed up vaccination, and clearly, the current CDC guidance is a bit too restrictive. Whether we would have opened it up quite so dramatically I'm not sure. We're still debating that, frankly, amongst ourselves.

But this is going to be challenging, to have this many people eligible now for vaccination. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: The Infectious Disease Society of America is among those who say the states need more financial assistance to try and speed up the vaccine rollout, and they need it quickly.

Greenhouse gas emissions plunged last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Rhodium Group estimates that emissions of CO2 equivalent gases fell more than 10 percent, putting the U.S. within its climate change targets.

Rhodium Group says it's the biggest drop in the post-World War II era but warns emissions are likely to rise again as the economy continues to recover.

Coming up next on CNN NEWSROOM, Ireland faces a dark chapter in its history, but some say it still needs a lot more answers about what happened in those mother and baby homes.

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VAUSE: Ireland's taoiseach is set to apologize in the coming hours for horrific abuse at its so-called mother and baby homes, which was revealed in a landmark report covering decades of mistreatment at the church-run institutions.

But as CNN's Nina dos Santos reports, some survivors want more than an apology.

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NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The shocking impact to the abuse and neglect in Ireland's mother and baby homes was laid bare with the release of a landmark report on Tuesday.

(voice-over): The document, running at nearly 3,000 pages long, was the fruit of nearly six years' worth of investigation. And it estimated that at least 9,000 children had perished in these institutions, homes run by the church where unwed mothers were sent to give birth in the 76 years between 1920 and 1998, when the last of these facilities shut their doors.

The report from Ireland's Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes said that one in 7, or 15 percent, of all children born in these facilities died, well above the national average. And its authors chillingly said that, before 1960 in particular, mother and baby homes, quote, "did not save the lives of 'illegitimate' children. In fact, they appear to have significantly reduced their prospects of survival."

Many children died of malnutrition, infectious childhood diseases or neglect and were buried in unmarked graves, according to the report.

The investigation was prompted after the discovery of hundreds of bodies at a mass grave at a former home in Tuam in 2017, just one year before Ireland finally legalized abortion.

Fifty-six thousand woman passed through the 18 homes examined, according to the findings. And many never learned the fate of their children, some of whom were also forcibly removed for adoption.

(on camera): The report's release, the government says, marks a crucial step in coming to terms with one of the darkest chapters in Ireland's recent history.

MICHAEL MARTIN, IRELAND'S TAOISEACH: It opens a window onto a deeply misogynistic culture in Ireland over several decades, with serious and systematic discrimination against women. We did this to ourselves as a society. We treated women exceptionally badly. We treated children exceptionally badly.

DOS SANTOS: For those women and their children finding each other remains a painfully difficult task, thanks to Ireland's strict privacy rules.

As recently as October, Irish lawmakers voted to seal for 30 years the records of mother and baby homes. And, although they've since softened that stance, survivors say they face an uphill struggle to get access to their information, especially to their birth certificates.

Nina dos Santos, CNN, in London.

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