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Authorities Investigating Possible Role Of Police And Military In Insurrection; Acting Attorney General Condemns Capitol Siege In Video Message; U.S. Shatters Record With 4,327 Reported Deaths. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired January 13, 2021 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, federal authorities are investigating the possible role that Capitol police and military officers may have played in last week's deadly insurrection. Investigators say as many as 17 Capitol police officers are under investigation.
CNN's Alex Marquardt has the latest.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The violent insurrection at the Capitol has put law enforcement and the military in the spotlight -- their failures, their victims, and potentially, their participation.
While some officers were violently beaten by the mob, crushed -- even killed -- others moved aside as the attackers tried to break through a door. One Capitol Hill officer in a selfie with a rioter. According to Congressman Tim Ryan, that officer and a different one who appeared to direct some in the mob have been suspended. A congressional aide tells CNN at least 17 others are under investigation.
But this video posted on the day of the insurrection highlights the difficulty of figuring out what exactly happened. A Capitol police officer is seen in a red 'Make America Great Again' hat. It's unclear whether he's showing his allegiance or trying to avoid becoming a target for the mob. He asks for help getting fellow officers out of the building.
UNIDENTIFIED CAPITOL HILL POLICE OFFICER: Yes, but if you guys can help me get these people, I'd appreciate it.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Then, the man he's speaking to agrees and appears to flash a badge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can -- I can help.
UNIDENTIFIED CAPITOL HILL POLICE OFFICER: You will (ph)? MARQUARDT (voice-over): Also unclear whether that man, possibly a police officer, is a protester or under cover. Moments later, the two men helped this line of riot police leave the Capitol building.
Officers around the country are also being investigated.
CHIEF ADRIAN DIAZ, SEATTLE INTERIM POLICE CHIEF: If any SPD employee participated directly in assaulting the U.S. Capitol, I will terminate them.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): So far, the activities of at least 14 police officers from Seattle to New York are being looked into for possible roles in the insurrection. CNN has just learned that seven of them are Transit Police officers from Philadelphia.
MAYOR JIM KENNEY (D), PHILADELPHIA: It's certainly a person's right to participate in a First Amendment activity, but it's not a right to attack the Capitol. So we'll see what -- we'll see what the investigation brings forth.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): What experts have seen has them worried there may be larger numbers of well-trained current or former law enforcement and military in the crowds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're seeing, again and again, is men and some women with a military bearing who were wearing the right gear, carrying it right in the right ways. And this really concerns me.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): The rioter who was shot and killed as she tried to climb through the broken pane of a door, Ashli Babbitt, was an Air Force veteran.
Larry Brock, who is seen here, is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserves. He's now been charged. Before his arrest, he told "The New Yorker" magazine he assumed he was allowed into the building.
There are reports of others with military training.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once the civilian judicial system is done, the military judicial system should be involved.
MARQUART (voice-over): Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
CAMEROTA: The federal prosecutor leading the investigation of the Capitol Hill insurrection says that Americans will be shocked once the details of this attack are fully released. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY ROSEN, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I want to send a clear message to anyone contemplating violence, threats of violence, or other criminal conduct. We will have no tolerance whatsoever for any attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power on January 20th that our Constitution calls for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK. That's acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen delivering his first on-camera comments since the Capitol attack. That was in a video posted to YouTube overnight.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm sorry. If you want to -- if you want to send a clear message, you don't do it in a midnight YouTube video.
CAMEROTA: What took so long?
CAMEROTA: What took so long? I mean, look at those -- look at that video that we're seeing. And do you feel better having heard that statement?
Was that -- is that going to quell the anxiety of Americans as we approach the inauguration? As we see this video as well? Because more video comes out every day of what went on inside these hallways.
Joining us now is CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She's a former assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.
And, Juliette, I'm glad we're playing this video. There -- as I said, there's new stuff that comes out every day of what lawmakers were up against with this murderous mob. It's amazing they didn't have lit torches as they went into the U.S. Capitol.
They were yelling "hang Mike Pence." They were looking for the vice president. They killed a police officer.
And yesterday, in this DOJ press conference, they said that when we learn more of what they know -- the full story of what happened in there -- we will be shocked. What does that mean?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, PROFESSOR, HARVARD'S KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT (via Cisco Webex): I think it means that there was tremendous evidence to suggest two things. One is that there was collusion of some sort -- that's a legal term -- but there was organization by the group. It wasn't some random grouping that said oh, let's just storm the Capitol.
And I think you can see that in some of the pictures. If you look at some of the videos it looks like line formations. These guys are entering the Capitol as if they were a military squad. So I think it's going to -- there's going to be more evidence of planning and practice. The second is, of course, the extent to which federal law enforcement knew that this could happen. We are starting to hear of the FBI having concerns. They tried to alert the Capitol police and others.
And I do think that if we view 9/11 as a failure of imagination, right -- that we couldn't quite comprehend the terror attack that might hit us -- excuse me -- 1/6 is going to be the failure of execution and implementation.
The dots were connected. We knew what was going to happen and for some reason, the Capitol police and the military were not prepared. And one has to wonder was it that they were just not able to contemplate it or were they told not to have more resources. That's where the investigation should lead.
BERMAN: It's a fair question. "The New York Times" is reporting overnight that the discussions that did exist involved preventing Antifa --
BERMAN: -- or people who didn't like the Trump supporters from attacking them -- the mob.
BERMAN: That there was no discussion about how to keep the MAGA mob from overtaking the U.S. Capitol.
Juliette, when you were watching this news conference yesterday though, with your trained eyes, you saw something else. You saw it not just as a message about what we are doing to the people who launched this insurrection --
BERMAN: -- but the message we're trying to send about next week's inauguration.
KAYYEM: That's exactly it. I've been on-air a lot lately just trying to get people to conceive of where we are right now as a nation. We are in the middle of a massive counterterrorism effort. We are in the operational phase. I know people want to talk about unity and bridging the divide. That will happen in this nation.
But there is a small portion of Trump supporters who have been incited and who are promising violence. So you shut off Trump from social media, you isolate him -- all the things that we're seeing that are being done politically in terms of media, in terms of the isolation that we need to stop Trump from being able to wreak havoc. But the other is that we need to prevent future attacks. We've got seven days, if not beyond.
And so part of this press conference was to show would-be recruits that Trump is not going to save them and that they will face penalties and punishment. And that is really important because there's an element to the violence that makes it seem like their playacting, right? That this is just all pretend, right? It's not pretend. They killed people, they harmed the Capitol, they put legislators under threat.
And so, part of that press conference was this is no longer some pretend revolution. You will be put in jail. And I think that's really important because the goal now is to minimize the threat of what Trump is inciting.
We'll get to unity at some stage in this nation, but we're in the middle of a -- of a tactical operation now and we have to think of it that way. And that's why -- here's the irony. Just, you know, the fact that the acting attorney general put a video on YouTube just as YouTube was taking down Trump, right? They put -- they took him down for the last -- in the last 24 hours. I mean, the irony is rich so to speak.
CAMEROTA: I mean, I don't know why we had to wait six days for that press conference.
CAMEROTA: I was comforted to hear it, for sure. I want to encourage them to have more public statements. But that was long overdue after we all saw the video of all of this marauding mob walking away and mass arrests not happening.
And so --
KAYYEM: Yes. That --
CAMEROTA: Quickly, Juliette.
KAYYEM: Oh, no. So one -- I will say one of the things -- and this is -- this gets to Alex's pre-tape right before I came on. He said we still don't know. Like, were -- you know, were cops just trying to lower the risk so they put the MAGA hats on because they didn't want to be harmed?
One of the things that I wonder, and this is why we need an accounting, is did they not make arrests on Wednesday because they were worried that the arrests that day would incite more violence. And so they said well, we have the pictures -- we're going to go out. But the silence of the FBI and DOJ has been shocking. And I think -- and I'm not going to complain that they went out yesterday --
KAYYEM: I think it was good.
KAYYEM: -- but we need more accounting.
CAMEROTA: For sure.
Juliette, thank you very much for all of your expertise.
KAYYEM: Happy New Year.
CAMEROTA: You, too.
KAYYEM: I think.
CAMEROTA: As lawmakers prepare to impeach President Trump for a historic second time, Americans are dying from coronavirus at a higher rate than ever. Wait until you hear the numbers from yesterday. That's next.
BERMAN: We do have breaking news. Four thousand three hundred twenty- seven coronavirus deaths reported overnight. That is a horrifying new record.
Joining us, CNN political commentator, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. He's an epidemiologist and Detroit's former health director.
Dr. Al-Sayed, that number is horrifying -- just horrifying. And a reminder -- and you're plugged in politically so I can say this to you. Look, we're talking a lot about the historic second impeachment of Donald Trump today, but when Joe Biden takes office next week, this challenge is going to be staring him in the face and it seems to be getting worse.
So the actions taken by the Trump administration and promised by the incoming Biden administration to change the way people are being vaccinated -- to start vaccinating -- recommending that people 65 and older get vaccinated right away. To release the second dose of vaccine.
How much of a difference will all this make?
DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERT (via Cisco Webex): Well, let me say two things.
First, this is an absurd number of deaths in one day. And what we're starting to see right now is the consequences of holiday-related travel. That moment when all of the folks came together and people traveled and that the virus was spread between them.
The second point that I do want to make is that the vaccine is not going to save us from this current spike at the rate we're going, in particular, whether they release the second doses or not. It's not going to save us. It's not going to take effect in time.
We know the full immunity from the virus doesn't happen -- full immunity from the vaccine to the virus doesn't happen until 10 days after the second shot, which is three weeks after the first shot. So now you're talking about over a month. And at the rate that we're going right now, our models tell us that we're going to see over 400,000 deaths by the end of January.
And so it's great that there's a vaccine. That is the light at the end of the tunnel but there's a lot more tunnel left. And the thing that we need to do right now is to make sure that we're practicing the same old social distancing protocols we've been talking about from the very beginning.
And the last thing that I want to say is that it's important for us to appreciate that the same disinformation that created the mob that stormed the Capitol last week is the same disinformation that's been peddled about this coronavirus. It's the same process.
And what that led to in terms of the assault on our civics has created a long-term assault on our public health in the form of COVID-19. And that we can't be differentiating these things -- the consequences of leadership failure, of leadership by disinformation we're seeing in 4,000-plus deaths a day at this point and we saw in the storming of the Capitol.
So I want folks to understand there's the same kernel -- the same process that's led to both outcomes.
CAMEROTA: And by the way, they came together there at that insurrection. They were interwoven in a deadly way. It turns out that not only was that the sort of explosion of misinformation, it also was a super-spreader event.
Three lawmakers -- I'll put their names up -- the Congresswoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman, Pramila Jayapal, and Brad Schneider have now tested positive because they were forced to be in a room for hours taking shelter, hiding for their lives with fellow congresspeople who refused to wear a mask.
EL-SAYED: You know, we should be demanding that the same congressional people who helped to incite and validated the attack on the Capitol last Wednesday -- as they come out and recognize the failure of Trump and Trumpism in what created this assault on our Capitol, we also should be demanding that they step up, put on a mask, and say I've been wrong about this all along.
If the same disinformation sits at the kernel of both the attack on our public health and the attack on our Capitol, then we should be demanding that those folks who are now giving us a mea culpa about what happened to our democracy last Wednesday also give us a mea culpa about what they've been peddling when it comes to masks and this COVID-19 pandemic.
And so it's sad to hear. I mean, a lot of these congresspeople have been very, very diligent about wearing masks around their Republican colleagues because they know their Republican colleagues have been so caught up in pushing these conspiracy theories about this virus --
EL-SAYED: -- that it's a hoax and the vacs don't work -- that they avoid them.
EL-SAYED: And what happened on the Capitol forced them into closed spaces.
CAMEROTA: Yes, they were all trapped together -- exactly.
Doctor, thank you very much.
EL-SAYED: Thank you.
BERMAN: President Trump, very shortly, will be the first president to be impeached twice. And as we sit here, the number of Republicans voting to get rid of him growing. We have major breaking news, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Democrats are now poised to impeach the president for the second time. Only this time around, there are going to be Republicans getting on board.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitch McConnell signaling that there may be some opportunity for his conference to pick up these articles of impeachment and eventually convict.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump cost him the majority. He sees Trump now as an albatross to the party in the future.
MICHAEL SHERWIN, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY: We're looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy. The gamut of cases we're looking at is really mind-blowing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going to negotiate with domestic terrorists, and that's who these people are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers.