Return to Transcripts main page


FBI Warns of Protests Next Week; Acting Attorney General Releases Video Message; U.S. Shatters Record for Deaths. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 13, 2021 - 06:30   ET



MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Because, as you know, back in April, armed protesters took over the state capitol here. It was legal then to carry open carry long guns in the state capitol, which they did. Some of those individuals down the road were then busted for a plot to kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan, Governor Whitmer. All of that was for anti-coronavirus restriction protests.

After the election, there were armed individual who went to the secretary of state's office here in Michigan, along with Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Georgia and Arizona, all those states that, you know, are sort of the fulcrum of the argument about the fraud in this election are all on very high alert.

The mayor of Lansing, Michigan, has asked the governor to call out the National Guard. The Michigan State Police are in charge of matters here. We expect, in the next day or two, that they will put up fencing around the capitol here, may board off some of the windows, as well.

The Michigan legislature is in session today. It's their first session of the new legislature. They're not expecting anything. The capitol will be open to the public, as it always is when the legislature's in session. So it is sort of business as usual, but everybody is on very, very high alert.

Back to you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Miguel Marquez, we're lucky to have you there. Please keep us posted and stay safe.

Developing overnight, after complete silence from the FBI director and the acting attorney general, the Justice Department, overnight, posts a video message from Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen on YouTube.


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.


BERMAN: All right, joining us now, CNN's senior law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe. He's the former deputy director of the FBI.

Andy, Jeffrey Rosen says, I want to send a clear message. If you want to send a clear message, why are you posting a video in the dead of night on YouTube that no one knows how to find it?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's inexplicable, John. It is -- it's -- and, you know, this is -- this is not coming from an organization and a group of people that don't know the right way to handle these situations. I mean, look, we saw it very clearly last summer during the Black Lives Matter protests, the attorney general, the FBI director and others were out there frequently in front of the press answering questions. And the fact that they still have not done that, the director and the acting attorney general, just continues to raise this question of why? Why is this being handled differently? And, if so, why?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And what's the answer?

MCCABE: Well, I think, you know, you have to -- I think it's totally reasonable to conclude that there is some effort by the upper most levels of both organizations to avoid being held accountable in front of the public. I mean, look, the FBI has -- and the Department of Justice has one thing really -- two things, let's say, that they can do to restore faith and confidence in our government after an incident like that. And it's to get up and say how we're holding the people responsible and how we're making sure that this is not going to happen again. So we got a little bit of that yesterday at the press conference where we learned a few things, but it left a lot of questions on the table.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Let me --

MCCABE: And in the absence of senior leadership here, it's remarkable.

CAMEROTA: Let me play a little bit of that because I was so struck by what they did say yesterday. So here is a little bit of that press conference from the DOJ.


MICHAEL SHERWIN, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY: In some instances, MPD and Capitol Police were in open-handed combat with some of these persons inside the Capitol.

And I think people are going to be shocked with some of the egregious contact that happened within the Capitol.


CAMEROTA: They know more than we do. It's -- we're already shocked. We're already shocked by what we saw. But they think we're going to be more shocked when it comes out.

Here's a couple more takeaways from what they said yesterday.

The DOJ has opened more than 170 subject files. They've charged over 70 cases. They are looking at sedition and conspiracy charges. Pipe bombs left outside party headquarters were real. They could have gone off. FBI is considering putting some of the domestic terrorists on the no-fly list. And they are looking at the violent attacks against the press.

And so, Andy, there were threats, there was intelligence, and can you help us understand why they didn't connect the dots? Who dropped the ball?

MCCABE: Well, it's a great question, Alisyn. I'm not sure we know the full answer to it yet. But the answer we got at the press conference yesterday was, yes, our Norfolk field office prepared a raw intelligence report. Yes, they sent that report to the right place, the Washington field office.


And, yes, the Washington field office shared it amongst the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is the group within the field office that handles all terrorism matters and it includes members from the Metropolitan Police Department and the Capitol Police.

The question is, did you just make it available, or did you turn this into an issue that you brought to the attention of leadership of those other organizations? It's not enough, we learned, after the Boston bombing and the investigations of how we handled intelligence there. It's not enough to just merely make things available to your partners, you have to prioritize them and draw attention to them in a way that's significant. It's not clear that that happened here.

BERMAN: Andy, you've been through this before, several times in several different capacities of investigations. What should we be most concerned about now as we head into the inauguration?

MCCABE: You know, that's really the piece, John, that I didn't hear yesterday from the press conference. So I fully expect the FBI to do a broad scope, massive investigation of what happened last week, and it sounds like they're well on their way to that. The question is, how are they changing their preparations, their plans, the way they think about the events coming up in D.C. this coming week? How are they rethinking about that intelligence and applying it, bringing in new resources, approaching the security of not just Washington, D.C. and the inauguration, but all 50 statehouses, as we now know are also under threat? Those are the questions that are still remaining out there. It would be helpful for leadership to get up in front of the press and answer some of those questions.

BERMAN: All right, Andy McCabe, thank you for coming on and explaining all this. We expect we will be speaking with you again very soon as we get more developments in.

In the meantime, horrifying news developing overnight. More American deaths reported in one day from the coronavirus than South Korea has seen the entire pandemic, than Japan has seen in the entire pandemic. I'm talking about a year. Japan hasn't had this many deaths in a year and we had it last night. What's going on? Where are we headed? Next.



CAMEROTA: Breaking news.

The United States, again, breaking its record for deaths in a single day. This time, it's more than 4,000, 4,327 Americans reportedly died yesterday. Nearly 35,000 American deaths reported just in January so far and more than 2.8 million new cases.

Joining us now is Dr. Paul Offit. He's the director of the Vaccine Education Center of the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and a member of the FDA's Vaccine Advisory Committee.

Dr. Offit, it's great to have you here.

Sometimes I wake up to some numbers that I sort of have to compartmentalize. And this morning was one of them. I can't even actually let myself think about, that we're up to 4,327 deaths, because it didn't have to be this way and it's such a sickening and shocking number. And I just don't -- I mean I'm out of adjectives. I just don't -- I don't know what we're supposed to say about this.

DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR, VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: It's awful and I think it's going to continue for the next couple of months where you could see another 150,000 people that die over the next couple months.

But I'm going to try and sound -- kind of sound a note of optimism. I think things are soon going to get dramatically better for these reasons. First of all, you have two vaccines out there that are remarkably effective. They're 95 percent effective. And now we're finally starting to get how to mass administer this vaccine when you see things like at the Pennsylvania Convention Center or Dodger Stadium where we're finally getting the mass vaccination thing right. You have two more vaccines that are right around the corner, that probably will be -- we'll see in February, Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, AstraZeneca's vaccine.

The weather will get warm. When the weather gets warmer, that makes it much more difficult for this virus, which is spread, you know, by small droplets. And when it's humid and hot, it won't spread as easily. That's going to happen.

And the other thing -- and we have an administration that actually isn't into this cult of denial, that's actually going to take this -- this problem head on.

But the other thing -- and it's awful to talk about and for that reason we don't talk about it, but when you -- you put the numbers up that, for example, 23 million Americans have been infected by SARS COVID-2 virus. That's just people who have been tested and been found to be infected. Many people have asymptomatic infection or mildly symptomatic infection and never got tested. So when you do antibiotic -- antibody surveillance studies, where you look at who really has been infected, that number, 23 million, is off by -- probably by a factor of three. It's probably closer to 65 to 70 million Americans who have already been infected. That's 20 percent of the population that when they're re-exposed to this virus are not going to become sick with it.

So if we can vaccinate about 55 to 60 percent of this country, and we can do that at a 1 million to 1.5 million doses a day, then I really do think that by June we can -- we can stop the spread of this virus.

BERMAN: By June. It's a long time. It's a long time until June at the rate we're going. And I get that you do seem some light on the horizon, albeit distant horizon.

I want your opinion of the shifts in vaccine distribution, from the incoming Biden administration, and then leading from behind, from the outgoing Trump administration changing the guidelines to administer all the doses available as quickly as possible. Not hold back doses. But also the guidance that people 65 and older, they should start getting the vaccine now. They should just do it.

How much of a -- I understand that that's not going to keep 4,000 people a day from dying over the next week or month, but how much of a difference will that make?

OFFIT: I think it's a great idea. I mean get the vaccine out there. They're making the bet, and I don't think it's a big bet, that we will be able to continue to mass produce this vaccine so that we will be able to do what has to be done, which is a two-dose strategy. This is not a one-dose strategy. And let's just hope for the best, hope we can get a second dose out there.

I think they're saying, we know two doses is critical. We can do that and let's just start immunizing as many people as we can. I think it's brilliant. I think it's the right thing to do.


CAMEROTA: But yet not all states are following that. I mean we had a map yesterday of which states are still sticking to 1A, which are moving to 1B, which are in their 1C mode. And so it should -- I mean you're saying that that should be -- that should be national, basically. National should move into that. And then when do people under 65 start getting it?

OFFIT: You know, we have a public health infrastructure that is not geared towards mass vaccination. And I think the states are learning this at a different rate. The question is, do we just sort of eat one thing on the plate at a time or do we just sort of try and get as much vaccine out there as we can, knowing that the more people that are vaccinated, the more likely we are to achieve herd immunity by vaccination.

I do think we're learning as we go here and I think it makes some sense not to have to go as the CDC initially outlined, 1A, 1B, 1C. Let's just start getting vaccine out there as much as we can and we'll see how this plays out.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Paul Offit, we always appreciate your wisdom on this and your expertise. Thank you so much.

OFFIT: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: It has been exactly one week since the domestic terrorists incited by President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. But it is worth remembering just how we got here. A "Reality Check" is next.



BERMAN: We are hours away from an historic second impeachment of Donald Trump. An impeachment very much caused by a big lie.

John Avlon with a "Reality Check."


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We can't forget that the attack on the U.S. Capitol and the new impeachment proceedings against this president are all happening because Donald Trump told a big lie loudly, and many of his supporters believed him.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will stop the steal. We won this election and we won it by a landslide.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the election was stolen from him, but he didn't lose the election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unquestionable that our votes were stolen. It's unquestionable.

CROWD: Stop the steal! Stop the steal! Stop the steal!

AVLON: It's an obvious and self-serving lie, pushed by the president because he cannot confront the fact that he is a loser and he's willing to burn America's democracy down to distract from that fact.

But his war on reality has been aided and abetted by zealots and spineless Republicans alike, amplified by sycophants on partisan media who profit off polarization. The sickening thing is that some of them knew it was all a lie, but they went along with it anyway.

But don't take my word for it. Listen to Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher.

REP. MIKE GALLAGHER (R-WI): Behind closed doors, a lot of my colleagues would say, OK, I know this is the wrong thing to do. The true believers who actually believe the arguments they were making were less than 10 percent.

AVLON: This election wasn't stolen. It wasn't even close. Listen to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election.

This election actually was not unusually close.

Just in recent history, 1976, 2000 and 2004 were all closer than this one.

AVLON: High-level White House officials knew Trump was lying. Here's his former communications director, Alyssa Farrah.

ALYSSA FARAH, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I was asked to stand down. And the message instead of the election was stolen is what won the day and it's wrong. We didn't win because we just came up short. And that happens. We know that the results were not going to be overturned. We knew that it was a stunt.

AVLON: As General John Kelly, Trump's former chief of staff told Jake Tapper, what happened on Capitol Hill yesterday is a direct result of his poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the frauds.

But some Trumpers might think they know the president better than his chief of staff or his communications director. They don't. But what's been revealed is how dangerous lies become when they're weaponized. As Voltaire wrote, those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Now, the fever is breaking for some Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have experienced the violence that comes from extremist lies. And when we look back at this time, it will seem strange that we had a president who insisted lies were the truth and the truth was a lie and that so many people believed him. But you reap what you sow. And this is a time for truth and consequences.

And that's your "Reality Check."


BERMAN: All right, our thanks to John for that.

We're getting new information just in about Republicans turning on Donald Trump this morning and we're also getting, though, new statements from members of Congress that might very well incite more violence.



CAMEROTA: Overnight, the U.S. government executed the first woman in nearly 70 years. The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for 52-year- old Lisa Montgomery's death by lethal injection. She's a convicted killer who strangled a pregnant woman and then took the unborn baby. Montgomery's lawyers argued that she should have been given a competency hearing to prove severe mental illness, which would have made her ineligible for the death penalty. Montgomery was the 11th person to be executed under President Trump. He ended the federal government's 16-year moratorium. Two men were scheduled to be executed later this week, but that was stopped by a federal judge as the men recover from coronavirus.

BERMAN: New this morning, multiple reports, including from CNN affiliate WXYZ, that Michigan's former governor is facing criminal charges in connection to the Flynt water crisis. A source with knowledge of the situation tells "The Detroit News" that former Governor Rick Snyder and others are set to be formally indicted as early as tomorrow. The Michigan state attorney general's office has not commented on details of the investigation. Twelve people died from Legionnaires' disease during this crisis that began in 2014 when residents were exposed to dangerously high levels of lead after officials switched Flynt's water supply. An attorney for the former governor calls any charges meritless and politically motivated.

We're getting new information in on this historic day, the second impeachment of Donald Trump.

NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 9:00 a.m., the House will move forward with those articles of impeachment and there will be Republicans that vote in favor of impeachment this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's about time that Republicans found their voice and their moral compass.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mitch McConnell sending a signal to his caucus that they can go ahead and vote however they want.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Blaming others for what he caused is a pathological technique. Trump foments the violence and blames others for it.

MICHAEL SHERWIN, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY: Regardless if it was just a trespass in the capitol or if someone planted a pipe bomb, you will be charged and you will be found.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

And we are on the cusp of a watershed moment in history. In just a matter of hours, Donald Trump will become the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

[07:00:03] And this morning, more Republicans are turning on him.

At 9:00 a.m., impeachment proceedings begin in the House.