Return to Transcripts main page
Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
C.D.C. Shortens COVID Isolation Period From 10 Days To Five; Pediatric Hospitalizations In New York City Increase Five-Fold Over A Three-Week Period; Biden Concedes Not Enough Has Been Done To Expand Testing Capacity; LAPD Releases Bodycam Video After Teen Killed In Dressing Room During Police Shooting; Rep. Thompson: Willard Hotel "War Room" Communications Are A "Key Part" Of The Jan. 6 Probe; Kovler Tweeted A Warning On Dec. 21,2020: "It's Highly Likely That They'll Try To Storm The Capitol"; Jurors Have Asked For Transcripts From All Four Accusers' Testimony During Deliberations. Aired 8-9pm ET
Aired December 27, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: The Nelson Mandela Foundation called his loss immeasurable.
Among his many legacies, these words, an important reminder he left all of us: "We grow in kindness when our kindness is tested."
The world mourns his loss.
Thanks so much for joining us tonight. AC 360 starts now.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Another word for variant is strain and we're all starting to feel it from omicron tonight.
Jim Acosta here in for Anderson.
We begin with breaking news. The C.D.C. is cutting its recommended quarantine time for people who have tested positive for COVID in half, from 10 days to five as long as they're not showing symptoms. With the country now averaging more than 200,000 new cases a day, it comes in part to minimize the disruption as people across the healthcare, transportation, education, and public safety sectors all start feeling ill.
We'll talk about that tonight about the ongoing difficulties still, of getting tested or even just buying a home test kit. We'll look at the impact omicron is already having on our kids and what comes after the Holiday break. We'll also focus on the disruption at airports and talk about one idea that sounds like commonsense to many, but others say, it is a step too far.
I took that up earlier with Dr. Anthony Fauci.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: You've been saying that vaccine mandates for domestic flight should be considered, should be seriously considered. Is that something that President Biden is seriously considering?
Is it something that the administration is considering?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: No, what I said, Jim, was that everything when that comes up as a possibility, we put it on the table, and we consider it. That does not mean that it is going to be likely to happen.
Right now, I don't think people should expect that we're going to have a requirement in domestic flights for people to be vaccinated. When I was asked that question, I gave an honest answer, it's on the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: And we'll ask our medical experts about that shortly. But first, the breaking news on how all the other pieces fit together from CNN's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The C.D.C. announcement shortening isolation time came just hours after President Biden admitted to the nation's governors COVID testing has not kept pace with the omicron threat.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not enough. It's clearly not enough. If I had known, we would have gotten harder quicker if we could have.
FOREMAN (voice over): With COVID cases soaring, more than 2,000 flights were grounded worldwide, nearly 3,000 delayed in the U.S. just today. At sea, several cruise ships have been infected, in some cases being turned away from ports in all dampening the festivities.
ASHLEY PETERSON, CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER: And they weren't really enforcing masks until a lot of people started getting COVID and then they were kind of you know, enforcing masks more.
I don't think I'll ever go on a cruise again honestly at this point.
FOREMAN (voice over): As the omicron variant rages, testing lines are stretching out and tests running short in some places. New York City is enforcing a COVID vaccine mandate for private businesses.
DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: No one thinks that this is the Holiday season we were hoping for, but contrast it to last year. It's so much better.
FOREMAN (voice over): Also better, hospitalizations are not rising as quickly as feared. Though in many places, patients and staff alike are staggering against the surge.
DIANA RICHARDSON, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, TUFTS MEDICAL CENTER: We have as of this morning, 115 staff members out ill with COVID who have tested positive. FOREMAN (voice over): Even the Holiday fun and games are getting
shaky with five college football Bowl games canceled or scrambling to find new teams as COVID rips through locker rooms.
Brand new rules allow for the championship itself to be delayed or decided by forfeit if necessary. Although nobody wants that --
ELI GOLD, RADIO VOICE FOR ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE FOOTBALL: Everybody wants to play. The players are looking out for themselves. They really are.
FOREMAN (on camera): Simply put, if you have plans to be out for New Year's Eve, you might want to rethink those and then brace yourself.
Health officials say the omicron winter surge could last six to eight weeks -- Jim.
ACOSTA: Thanks, Tom. And more now on what life is like for everyone trying to get somewhere tonight as more flight crew call in sick taking more flights off the board. CNN Shimon Prokupecz joins us now from New York's LaGuardia Airport, which can be frustrating even without a pandemic, you know, going on. Shimon, what's the latest on your end?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so, I mean, it's late here for LaGuardia. This is late, so as you can see behind me, there is not much activity. There's about half of the flights that are taking off from Terminal B here. They are delayed, a couple hours here and there. So, we've been seeing passengers arrive late.
We've seen some crew even arriving just a short time ago as the airline's try to move crews around, try to move people around to get some of these flights that have been delayed or canceled back up in the air so they can get passengers home.
Across the U.S., 1,300 flights were canceled, and already tomorrow, we are seeing over 200 U.S. flights being cancelled according to FlightAware.
So there is still obviously more cancellations to come even after today -- Jim.
ACOSTA: And is there any indication of how many more days we're going to see these massive cancellations? I suppose these new C.D.C. guidelines may provide some relief.
PROKUPECZ: Right, and that is going to be a thing, I think that some of the airline folks are probably going to find. They're going to find that that's going to give them some relief so that they can get some of their employees if they're healthy enough back out on the planes, because that's the thing, right, the crews right now, who are out just living their lives, right, every day are contracting this virus and because of that, they can't work.
So perhaps with these new C.D.C. guidelines that will help the airlines, but already tomorrow, you're starting to see some of these cancellations, over 200, as I said, and I think in the days to come, certainly airline officials expect that to continue. The demand may not be there because we may be -- we're going to be past the Holidays, but obviously there are going to still be people trying to get home.
What the airlines have been doing and in talking to friends who have been stranded and certainly I'm sure you have, too, Jim, is that they are just rescheduling people, and people for the most part are taking it with stride, doing what they can to try and make the best of the situation -- Jim.
ACOSTA: It is all we can do. It's all we've been doing for way too long.
All right, Shimon Prokupecz, thanks very much.
Again, tonight's new C.D.C. quarantine recommendations could take some of the strain off the airlines and others. CNN has learned that the NBA has just shortened its quarantine time for players and coaches to six days as long as testing shows that they are not infectious. That's a day longer than the CDC guidelines, which specify five days regardless of vaccination status, except for people who have also been boosted. They don't need to isolate at all unless they're showing symptoms.
And joining us now, CNN medical analyst, Dr. Leana Wen. She is a former Baltimore Health Commissioner, and the current author of "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health."
Also with us Dr. Almaz Dessie, pediatric emergency room physician at Columbia University Medical Center, as well as a member of Columbia's medical faculty.
Ladies, thanks so much for being with us. My goodness, if we could just get past this thing. It's just wishful thinking, I suppose during this Holiday week.
I want to ask you, though, Dr. Wen about the C.D.C. updating their guidelines today, as I mentioned, you know, they've shortened the recommended times that people should isolate when they've tested positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to five days, if they don't have symptoms. If they wear a mask around others for at least five more days. What do you think of that decision, as Shimon was just saying at LaGuardia Airport, it might help the flight crews who are kind of grounded right now?
DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Jim, this was a necessary step because we are facing the collapse of our critical infrastructure, the number of cases that we're seeing now it's really high, but it is going to get so much worse because we have exponential spread of an extremely contagious variant.
The numbers now, by the way, are a significant undercount because of how many people who are not getting tested or getting rapid home tests and are not reporting it to public health authorities. We could very well surpass over a million new cases every day. And with those kinds of numbers, we're going to see our police officers, our food service workers, transport and other critical infrastructure not be able to function.
And so I think the Biden ministration through the C.D.C. did the right thing today in shortening the isolation period. I wish that they made it a bit more nuanced making the distinction between vaccinated versus unvaccinated because the vaccinated probably are carrying the virus for a much shorter period of time compared to the unvaccinated.
And I also wish that in the future, they put in testing as a way to return to work, because right now, maybe the issue is that there aren't enough rapid test for us to have testing as a way to figure out if you're still infectious or not.
But I think that is something else that could be useful to potentially even shorten the isolation period even more.
ACOSTA: Dr. Wen, what does this look like, though, in practical terms, because right now C.D.C. guidance is for people to get tested five to seven days after they've been exposed or tested positive, but under this scenario, should you get tested much earlier on? There is also data to suggest that many people test positive far beyond recovering from the virus whether or not they were symptomatic. How does that fit into this guidance?
WEN: I think the guidance right now is a bit confusing, but basically, we need to break it down to isolation versus quarantine.
Isolation is what happens when you test positive, quarantine is what you do when you have not tested positive but you've been exposed to somebody who has COVID-19. So there are differences between the two.
What the C.D.C. is now saying is that if you test positive, but you are without symptoms, your isolation does not need to be a full 10 days, it could be five days. Then they're also saying that if you are exposed, so that means that you're in quarantine, there is a difference there between vaccinated versus unvaccinated, but they're also cutting the quarantine period there, too.
So definitely recommend that people refer to the C.D.C. guidelines especially if they are employers who are now trying to figure out what to do with getting their employees back to work.
ACOSTA: Yes. I suspect this is going to come as a great help to employers right now who are -- they're just all trying to figure out what to do right now.
Dr. Dessie, I just want to take a look at hospitalization figures in New York City, over the course of the pandemic for those 19 and younger. There is no mistaking that line at the end going straight up. You're there in the emergency room with children every day. What are you seeing with this new omicron wave firsthand and how children are being affected because you know that is something that we don't focus enough on.
DR. ALMAZ DESSIE, PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: So thank you so much for having me. So what we're seeing on the ground now in New York is a rapid and dramatic increase in cases. Comparing my shifts two weeks ago in the Emergency Department where almost no patients were testing positive to the last couple of days where more than half, and now the majority of patients are testing positive who come into the Emergency Department, it's really a dramatic increase.
We have seen overall in New York State and across the country, admissions to the hospital for children are also going up, but it appears most likely that this is proportional to the rate of rise of cases overall as omicron is just tearing through New York City and the rest of the country.
As far as we've seen, it is not particularly more virulent or dangerous for children, but because they're just so many more people being infected, we're just seeing more kids being admitted as well.
ACOSTA: And Dr. Wen, in light of the uptick in pediatric cases that the doctor was just talking about, and the high transmissibility of the omicron variant, many parents are wondering if they should hold back their kids from in-person school in the upcoming first week or so right after the Holiday break.
I know some parents are watching right now, and they are absolutely tearing their hair out hearing me ask that question, because of the experience that we've all been through. But what would you tell them right now?
DESSIE: I would tell them that they should keep their kids in school, and the reason is that, we know that schooling is essential and also, we know that there are ways for us to make schools really safe. I understand that this is a really frightening time, especially for parents with children who are still unvaccinated. I would say to those parents if they are -- if the kids are five and older, this is the time to get your children vaccinated because of how much this virus is all around us.
We have a choice, we get our kids vaccinated and give them really good protection, especially against severe illness or we can let our kids face the virus. So, please do not wait to get your kids vaccinated.
For parents whose kids cannot get vaccinated who may be younger than five that are going back to preschool or kindergarten or something else or daycare, there are still ways to keep your child safe, as well.
Making sure that everybody else around the child at home and at the school are vaccinated and boosted is one.
Also, masks really matter and quality of mask matter as well. A single layer cloth mask is not going to do it even for little kids,
I would recommend at least a three-ply surgical mask, you can wear a cloth mask over it if needed, or at least a several ply cloth mask.
But those are additional ways to keep kids safe and testing in schools can be an added layer of reassurance, too.
ACOSTA: And Dr. Dessie, there are still extremely long lines throughout the U.S. for testing. I'm sure you're seeing them in New York on your way to work, and despite the President's announcement last week about adding more it may still take weeks for the uptick in home test to meet the demand without the ability for the average American to go out and get tested when they need it.
I mean, people were just scrambling at the pharmacy right now, day by day trying to find out is there a test that I can buy? Do you worry about our ability to contain this wave without adequate testing available?
DESSIE: It's a really important point. And unfortunately, we are behind the ball on this one. Families are scrambling, especially around the holidays to get tested and New York City has great testing infrastructure, and still we cannot keep up with the number of tests that we need in this particular season with this wave.
So we're seeing patients in the emergency room just simply here to get a test because they can't get it anywhere else. I advise families to reach out to their pediatricians, go to their city's websites, look in your community where you can get tested before you come to the emergency room because we are really overburdened with patients.
It's very challenging to come here to get a test, but hopefully, the city I know has been -- in New York City, the efforts to increase testing sites, there have been pop ups all over New York City and hopefully we'll be catching up in the coming weeks.
ACOSTA: All right. Best of luck to you out there in New York. Dr. Leana Wen and Dr. Almaz Dessie, thanks so much for your time. We appreciate it.
And next, the governor of a state, Connecticut that was so hard hit at the start of the pandemic and what it is doing now to get ahead of a rapidly rising case curve hoping that this time will be different.
And later, new reporting on phone calls potentially by the former President just hours before the insurrection and the role that they're playing in the House Select Committee's investigation.
ACOSTA: In her statement, cutting quarantine time in half for people with asymptomatic COVID infection, C.D.C. Director Rochelle Walensky said quote: "These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives." That said, when it comes to the tools needed for doing just that, namely, easily available home testing, her boss, the President said today that more needs to be done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: We went from no over-the-counter tests in January to 46 million in October, a hundred million in November and almost 200 million in December. But it's not enough. It's clearly not enough. If I had -- we had known, we would have gotten harder quicker if we could have.
But we have to do more. We have to do better. And we will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: The President said that on a call with the nation's governors, some of whom were taking steps of their own to face the omicron surge.
Connecticut governor, Ned Lamont, for one announced his administration would distribute one million at home rapid COVID-19 tests, six million N95 masks and distribute two million COVID-19 test to K-12 schools starting next month.
We spoke briefly with the governor before air time.
ACOSTA: Governor Lamont, I want to talk to you about the initiative in your state distributing tests and masks. But first, I just want to get your take on this call with President Biden. What did he tell you? And did you or any of your fellow governors express concerns or frustrations with how this pandemic is being handled right now, with how testing is being handled right now?
GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): I think we appreciate the partnership with the President and the Federal government. It wasn't always that way. The President was very clear that omicron is a source of real concern, but not panic, that we are so much better prepared and able to fight off this virus today than we were say, a year and a half ago, and then we talked about what we can do together.
Let's face it, the governors are the frontline troops in terms of getting the vaccines, getting the test, and making sure that people are taken care of.
ACOSTA: And you heard President Biden acknowledge the shortfalls on testing. Do you think the White House missed this? Did they fail to see this threat of the omicron variant? Is that why you're taking matters into your own hands when it comes to distributing testing and masks in your state?
LAMONT: Remember that rapid tests didn't really exist nine months ago and omicron, you know really happened in the last month, so things are moving pretty quickly.
Look, I'm very thankful that President Biden is going to probably be making you know five million rapid tests available to the State of Connecticut, you know sometime in the next month or so.
LAMONT: But in the meantime, you're right, we took matters into our own hands, we went out, we contracted and purchased three million rapid tests that are going to hit the ground over the next week, a big focus on our schools to earn everything to keep our schools open. It's in the best interest of the kids and that is how we keep our economy open.
ACOSTA: And Connecticut was one of the hardest hit states at the beginning of the pandemic. We're seeing another surge there now. But thankfully, so far, hospitalizations are not rising as severely, in addition to the tests and the masks that you're distributing, what other steps are you trying to take right now to stop this spread right now? I mean, it's pretty alarming the way that this is moving.
LAMONT: What's alarming is how fast the infection rate is moving. You're right, New York sneezes, Connecticut catches cold. We did this month -- a year and a half ago, we are not going to repeat that story.
I mean, the good news is that while our infection rate is up a lot, we stabilized things at the hospital for now. You never know what curveball a variant is going to throw our way next. But right now we are stabilized in the hospitals, a much lower number than we had a year ago, thanks to a very high vaccination rate in this state and I hope that holds.
ACOSTA: And I spoke to Dr. Anthony Fauci earlier this evening, he seemed to be saying the administration is not expected to pursue a vaccine mandate on domestic flights anytime soon after suggesting earlier in the day, that it could be a good idea.
What's your response to that, Governor? Do you think it's time to start talking about maybe having vaccine mandates to fly domestically? I mean, Dr. Fauci initially indicated that this was a good idea. Why not?
LAMONT: Well, broadly speaking, Jim, I'm trying to make it faster, easier for you to get vaccinated, to get tested, to do all the right things. Sometimes you can push people too hard if we mandate, mandate and browbeat. You know that said, perhaps you find on domestic flights, international flights vaccines are important.
I look at our nursing homes all the time and the number of nurses that are there, time for them to get a booster. So we'll figure out whether persuasion is working.
ACOSTA: And in terms of the C.D.C.'s decision to shorten the isolation period to five days for people who test positive, but are asymptomatic, what do you make of that? Is that a good thing in your mind? Are you seeing any confusion potentially for people out there with these new timelines from the C.D.C.?
LAMONT: Well, the C.D.C. bobs and weaves a little bit. That can be confusing, but overall, I think it's the right thing. I mean, five days, no symptoms, test negative get back in the game. Look, I can't afford to lose nurses. We know them.
The airlines can't afford to lose stewardesses and pilots. We have a real labor shortage. We're very thinly traded. So, if I can get people back to work safely, I'm for it.
ACOSTA: All right, Governor Ned Lamont, thanks so much for joining us. Good luck combating this terrible variant in your state. We appreciate your time.
LAMONT: Nice to see you, Jim.
ACOSTA: And coming up, a new view and perhaps new insight into a Christmas Eve incident that is almost just beyond words -- the death of a 14-year-old girl huddled in fear in a department store dressing room, killed apparently by a stray police bullet. Moments ago, the LAPD released bodycam footage, we'll have a live update next.
ACOSTA: There are some things you can barely wrap your head around and this certainly is one of them, a 14-year-old girl with her mom trying on dresses at a store late last week. A short time later, she is gone, killed officials believe by a stray police bullet.
It happened in Los Angeles but the story has drawn national attention for so many reasons beyond just the sheer horrible fact of life taken so randomly so young.
Late today, the LAPD released new bodycam video showing the moments before Valentina Orellana-Peralta was shot and killed and we're going to show you a portion now and a warning, this is not easy to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Victim down, victim down.
Hey hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, slow down. Slow down. Let me take a point with the rifle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He, back up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out. Out, out, out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got-- he's got a tube.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, get her out, get her out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got it? You got it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, on you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's hitting her now on the right hand side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slow down, slow down, slow down. Slow it down. Slow it down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, she is bleeding. She's bleeding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold up, hold up, Jones. Hold up. Hold up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: The assault suspect was shot and killed by police. CNN's senior national correspondent, Kyung Lah joins us now with the latest.
Kyung, I can't imagine what it's like covering this story. This is just an unspeakable tragedy, and there are some very serious questions for the LAPD. This video being released by the LAPD, walk us through how all of this unfolded.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This video was released just a short time ago, Jim, and we want to remind you that this is video from the perspective of the LAPD. This was video that the LAPD released very quickly because they wanted the community to understand the mindset of law enforcement.
Police were responding to reports -- multiple reports of a possible shooting in progress at a Burlington store the day before Christmas Eve. The police released 9-1-1 calls. They released that body camera video that you just showed and they also released surveillance video and on that surveillance video, you can see that this man who is acting erratically is swinging a bike lock, one of those solid metal bike locks.
He attacks three different women, he attacked one woman so severely that her face is bloodied. He pulls her hair and that is on the surveillance video.
The reason why law enforcement released this is that they wanted you to understand what they were encountering. They found this woman who was bloody and then the assailant a short distance away.
We want to play that video for you one more time, a reminder, it is very difficult to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Victim down, victim down!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, slow down, slow down, let me take point with the rifle. Hey, back up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out. Out, out, out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got -- he's got a tube.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey get her out, get her out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got it? You got it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, on you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's hitting her now on the right-hand side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slows down, slow down, slow down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slow it down, slow it down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, she's bleeding! She's bleeding!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold up, hold up Jones. Hold up, hold up. I got you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired, shots fired, shots fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And what you can't quite hear on this body camera, Jim, is that there is a woman screaming. You can hear this woman's voice. There was on the other side of that wall that police were firing towards that assailant.
One of those bullets had skipped off the floor penetrated a dressing room. And on the other side of the dressing room was 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta. She, according to her family in Chile, was in the arms of her mother. She -- they were praying, they were cowering in that dressing room when the shooting happened. Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: And what more do we know about this this girl? I mean, it just breaks your heart to hear about this.
LAH: I mean, what we know about her is just little snips and pieces that we're gathering from our affiliates in Chile that she is originally from there. The family says that she had come to America to try to improve her life and that they could not imagine that this would happen. That family, the mother and the father, Jim, are going to be holding a news conference tomorrow morning, here in Los Angeles to talk to the press so that they can know a little bit more about what happened in this 14-year-old girl's life. Jim?
ACOSTA: Yes. And some very serious questions are going to be asked about the appropriate use of force in this situation. No question about it.
All right, Kyung Lah, thank you very much.
And joining us now is the former Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner and CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Anthony Barksdale. Also joining us, Paul Callan, a Criminal Defence Attorney, former New York City Homicide Prosecutor and CNN Legal Analyst.
Anthony, as a former officer, what stands out to you about this video? I mean, the thing that I am thinking about here is OK, they're dealing with a suspect with a heavy bike lock. That use of force, I assume, is going to be looked at whether that was appropriate.
ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: The use of force must be looked at. At the time the officers make contact with the suspect, who, in my opinion, clearly was going through a mental-health crisis. Was the use of the patrol rifle justified?
And Jim, if you're going to fire a 223 round inside of a department store, those rounds can easily rip through a body and keep right on moving through dry wall. So, the use of force must be looked at.
ACOSTA: And the thing that I keep coming back to is this is LAPD. I mean, these should be experienced officers who understand these questions. And Paul, legally speaking walk us through how this investigation will work. This young woman's death has been ruled a homicide by the medical examiner. Is it possible the officer could face criminal prosecution here?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it is possible he could face criminal prosecution for either a reckless or criminally negligent use of the rifle in firing the shots in this atmosphere. There is a directive, it's called Directive 1.2 that was issued by LAPD in October of 2020, outlining when you can use deadly physical force. And part one of it says, essentially, if you have a fleeing felon who may hurt somebody else, that would give you reasonable grounds to use deadly physical force to stop him.
But there's yet another provision that says any officer using such force must be aware of his surroundings and the danger that the use of force might pose to innocent bystanders. And I think that's where the focus will be on this in terms of whether the officer acted properly.
Now bear in mind, when these officers entered that department store, they had reports that maybe a shooting was going on. We -- there is other film that was released that indicated he had beaten at least three females then he started removing his pants as if he was going to commit a sexual assault on somebody. And there was actually blood on the floor as they approached him and the officer then fired the fatal shots.
But I think the real question when you go back over these films will be, did he have to fire at that particular moment? And should he have considered, as the Commissioner said, that this is a department store, maybe within dry wall and maybe with innocent bystanders close by. So it's a very, very difficult case and it could be problematic for the officer, I think.
ACOSTA: And Anthony, the suspect that police were aiming for was also hit and killed. No gun was found on the scene, but they reportedly did find a heavy cable with a lock attached to it, that the suspect is believed to have used to assault a woman. We -- I think we see it in some of that video. How does that change the equation in terms of a justified use of force, as Paul was just talking about?
BARKSDALE: You can't show me a victim that he was heading towards, or an officer that he was immediately moving towards, then I don't see it. And Jim, throughout this incident, you hear some of the officers' training kicking in. You hear diamond formation, you hear "slow it down, slow, slow, slow," but we see the actions of the officer with the assault rifle push forward. He wants to take the lead, and we see the results.
So the training, this is LAPD and you heard some training trying to kick in. But in the end, we have something horrible happen. And this poor 14-year-old girl is no longer with her family. And that's a tragedy.
ACOSTA: Yes. And, of course, we're going to be hearing from her parents tomorrow. Apparently, according to Kyung Lah, there'll be a news conference tomorrow and all of this will be following that as it develops.
Anthony Barksdale, Paul Callan, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
Up next, a new view of just how brutal the January 6th Capitol insurrection really was striking new surveillance video. That and new reporting on what the House Select Committee is now looking into.
ACOSTA: New details tonight in the January 6th investigation. Earlier, I heard from the Chairman of the House Select Committee investigating the riot Bennie Thompson. He tells me that phone calls with the Willard Hotel war room where a lot of Trump allies and aides to the former president were gathered are a key part of the probe and they're looking into, quote, anyone who was on them. Meaning, they may be looking at possible phone calls, including with the former president.
This comes as the brutal nature of that riot was displayed once again. A three-hour video has been released showing the battle between rioters and police during the insurrection showing rioters spraying police with pepper spray, hitting them with a baton. And even stealing a shield from officers.
Our next guest predicted the insurrection in a series of tweets more than two weeks before the riot on December 21st. This is what he wrote, "On January 6, armed Trumpist militias will be rallying in D.C. at Trump's orders. It's highly likely that they'll try to storm the Capitol after it certifies Joe Biden's win. I don't think this has sunk in yet."
Perspective now from the author of that tweet extremism and political analyst and founding writer of "The Hat Tip," Arieh Kovler. Arieh, your Twitter thread, obviously, proved to be terribly prescient. How was it that you were able to see what the American public, the U.S. military, law enforcement community were not able to see coming?
ARIEH KOVLER, EXTREMISM ANALYST, WRITER: I think keeping a very close eye on those forms in public spaces open and public, where Trump's most hardcore supporters met and talked. And the one thing you've got to remember is that for several months, they absolutely convinced that Trump was going to win the election and win big, you know, he was going to win California 40, 45 states.
And then after Election Day, when, obviously, he lost, Trump continued to say I've won. And you will see soon, and they all believed him. But they didn't just believe that the election was stolen, they believe Trump had a plan to win.
And they -- every -- any day now, it was going to be proved. And January the 6th was the last real day that you could keep that fantasy alive. And so, when Trump himself summoned them to D.C. on January 6th, this was really only going to go one way. These are people who are coming to D.C., expecting to watch Trump wins somehow.
Whether that was by Congress somehow, nevertheless, deciding to make him the president and throw out the Biden votes, or whether it was by Trump using the military or perhaps the crowd themselves as the militia to basically storm Congress and install a dictatorship. So once they were there, and they were there because he called them there, I think it was only going to go one way.
ACOSTA: And these threat streams, you were seeing, they were publicly visible at the time, correct? I understand you thought a warning from you directly to the FBI wasn't necessary, but you were concerned enough to tweet about it. And I was looking at some of these tweets earlier today. They've been retweeted thousands of times now. So, obviously, that -- it's had an impact.
KOVLER: Yes. I mean, I'd say it never occurred to me -- towards the FBI or anybody because to me, it would be like calling up the inauguration parade to tell them that there was going to be rain. You know, this is something that was so obvious that the authorities would and should have known about.
In fact, I spoke to other people after January the 6th that said they did call the FBI with what they saw. So even if I had, I don't think it would have made really any difference.
ACOSTA: And we showed some video in your introduction that the Justice Department released this past week of one of the battles between rioters and police at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6th. Was this the level of violence that you expected to see? We're looking at some of this now?
KOVLER: Absolutely. I mean, the truth is, I expected it to be worse. In some senses, I think the U.S. got extremely lucky on January the 6th. The shooting never really started. And if it had, things might have really gone terribly worse.
It's only, remember, the fluke of a couple of seconds. And the good graces of Eugene Goodman, Officer Goodman. The mob didn't end up capturing senators. There are so many things that could have gone much worse than they did on January 6th.
And the level of violence that we saw is some is horrifying to see. And the fact that it went on for so long, also. But it was also a miracle that the shooting didn't really start. And this might have been a bloodbath that day.
ACOSTA: Absolutely. I mean, you can only imagine what would have happened if they had captured Mike Pence or Nancy Pelosi or Mitt Romney in all those harrowing scenes.
And Arieh, we're coming up on the anniversary of January 6th as you know and there are midterm elections ahead in 2022. What sorts of things are being talked about online right now that are a cause for concern in the weeks ahead? What are you picking up on that maybe once again people here in the United States may not be, you know, paying enough attention to?
KOVLER: If you go now into the kind of MAGA online spaces, and the adjacent QAnon spaces, we're not exactly the same people. There is some crossover. The vast majority of the conversation there is about the pandemic. It's all vaccines and mandates and masks.
Probably the number one hate figure right now, amongst that group isn't the President Biden, it isn't Vice President either. It's Anthony Fauci. You know, they're absolutely obsessed with Fauci. The pandemic is a hoax. This is all a form of control.
And, you know, frankly, what we've seen even before January 6th is a lot of this right wing violence directed at pandemic measures. You know, the seizing of the state Capitols in summer 2020, the Governor Whitmer plot. And, you know, if it was me, that is where I would be concerned about the potential for future violence.
ACOSTA: Arieh Kovler, thanks very much for your time. We appreciate it. And hopefully, officials in this country are heating some of your warnings this time around. Thanks for your time.
KOVLER: Thank you.
ACOSTA: Just a head, clues in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial about what the jury may ultimately decide as they weigh the fate of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's former companion.
[20:50:08] ACOSTA: It's been one week since jury deliberations began in the federal sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell. Today, the jury notes to the judge offered clues as to the fate of the longtime companion of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. To notes asked for transcripts of witness testimony and other for the legal definition of enticement, which is at the heart of two of the six federal accounts facing Maxwell.
Perspective now from criminal Defence Attorney Sara Azari and Julie K. Brown an investigative reporter with The Miami Herald, who has pursued the Epstein story for years and as the author of "Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story." Sara and Julie, great to have both of you with us.
Sara, the jury has sent about a dozen questions to the court since deliberations began. What did the questions tell you about where the juries heads are at right now -- where the jurors heads are at right now? And I guess the number of questions is that a lot?
SARA AZARI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, good to be with you, Jim. You know, the questions, I think, they're about 11 or so questions with the one today, tell us a few things. Number one, that this jury is focused on credibility and corroboration of these witnesses accounts. And that they find this charging -- the chargesheet, the indictment, extremely complicated, and they're making their best effort to break it down.
And with the last question today that they might be confused at least as to account four. And let me just start with the credibility issue. You know, we are in the thick of the Me Too, Times Up movement. And as someone who's on the ground and courtrooms fighting every day, I can tell you that it's become extremely dangerous, that we are to believe women with no corroboration.
And I'm not speaking about specifically these accusers, but in general, that, you know, the constitutional rights and due process rights are being trampled upon as a result of that. And I applaud this jury for paying attention to the issue of credibility because the defense had a point that they're motivated by money, at least as to two of them. They never brought up Maxwell and years of sitting down with law enforcement until they lawyer it up, and there was money in the pot for them.
So, I commend them for that. And then with respect to the complexity, Jim, you know, this is an indictment with six counts, for accusers. And each of these counts have elements, there's conspiracy counts, there's substantive counts, there's sex trafficking count, there's sex trafficking of a minor count. And so this jury came up with a question of, can we have a whiteboard and color posters, which is how us lawyers prepare for trial, so that we could break this down.
So it tells me they're paying close attention, doing their best to sort of pair up the accusers with the charges and these elements in the testimony that they've heard. And lastly, they're confused as to count four because they thought that an underlying illegal sex act that occurred in New York under New York law was actually New Mexico. And instead of the judge clarifying that for them, the judge said, I myself am confused about what they're asking about. And I'm just going to let -- refer them back to the chargesheet.
And so, I bet that the defence was taking careful notes about that in the event that Maxwell's convicted on that count, count four.
ACOSTA: And Julie, your reporting on Jeffrey Epstein is what encouraged authorities to reopen his investigation, which led to his eventual arrest. What's your take on the questions the jury has asked so far? And the fact that they've asked for multiple witness testimonies to review during the deliberations, what are you picking up on?
JULIE K. BROWN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, MIAMI HERALD: Well, there definitely some kind of conflict there. I mean, the longer this goes on, as most people know, it's better for the defense. And they are debating certain elements of this indictment and the charges that they've -- they have to go through. These counts are very complicated. They have various elements to them.
Many lawyers themselves don't even, unless you deal with these kinds of sex cases, often don't even understand these charges. So you're asking lay people to really understand these charges. I would like to correct one thing, and that is not all these women just spoke up when the money was in the pot, so to speak. That's absolutely not true.
One of the victims who was very much abused for many, many years told authorities about it a -- over a decade ago. Any farmer, another victim --
BROWN: -- told them many years ago as well. So I just wanted to correct that it -- I understand the idea that they received this money from Epstein's estate and how that hurts their credibility and it does. But I just wanted to make sure that people understood that it wasn't always the case that they did. They did try -- a couple of them did try to tell authorities a long time ago.
ACOSTA: And that's why you've been working on the story for so long. And Sara, the indictments and charges in the case are complex. Six federal accounts including one count of sex trafficking of a minor and three counts of conspiracy, how big of a task does this jury have not only understanding the elements of each defense or offence of coming to a decision on each of them?
AZARI: Well, Jim, I think they're going to have to go through, you know, first of all, with respect to the conspiracy counts, they don't have to find that Maxwell completed the crime. It's enough that they find that Maxwell was involved in the planning or scheming even if Epstein was the one that completed the crime. So that's sort of -- that's a category in and of itself, and then you get to the substantive counts where they have to, for example, find that for the sex trafficking, for example. They have to find that those lingerie buys and gifts and things were intentionally and willfully done to lure these girls and essentially knowing that they're going to get paid for sexual activity with Epstein and others. So they're very different sort of analyses that have to take place like Julie said. It's complex for some lawyers, let alone, laypeople. And so this jury is doing the best that its can -- that it can under the circumstances.