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Raphael Warnock Wins Georgia Runoff; Paul Rosenzweig Reacts to Riot at U.S. Capitol; McConnell Sides Against Trump in Senate Speech; Nurse Discusses the Strain on L.A. Healthcare Workers. 2-3p ET

Aired January 06, 2021 - 14:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Amanpour and Company. Here's what's coming up.


RAPHAEL WARNOCK, (D-GA), SENATOR-ELECT: We prove that with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.


AMANPOUR: A dramatic day in Georgia for Democrats and democracy. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms joins me and the chair of African American

Studies at Princeton, Eddie Glaude, Jr. on Reverend Rafael Warnock's historic victory.



MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Senate and House of Representatives are meeting a joint session to verify the certificates and

count the votes of the electors of the several states for president and vice president of the United States.


AMANPOUR: Congress gets set to certify Presidents-elect Joe Biden's win despite Trump's supporters who want to reverse the election result. I speak

with former Homeland Security Official and conservative Paul Rosenzweig.



NERISSA BLACK, REGISTERED NURSE, HENRY MAYO NEWHALL HOSPITAL: I can hear his heartbeat over the phone asking me, will I ever get to see my mother



AMANPOUR: An L.A. county nurse tells our Hari Sreenivasan about the havoc COVID has brought inside California hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amanpour and Company is made possible by the Anderson Family Fund, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim, III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein

family, Candice King Weir, the Straus Family Foundation, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Jeffrey Katz and Beth Rogers. Additional support provided by

these funders. And by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Just two weeks to go before President-elect Biden's inauguration and history is marching on.

In a year where Black Lives Matter we have seen that black votes matter too. From pastor to Senator, the Reverend Raphael Warnock becomes the first

African-American in the history of the Republic to enter the United States Senate from the state of Georgia. The preacher of the Ebenezer Baptist

Church in Atlanta, as Martin Luther King once was spoke of his historic path to victory and paid tribute to his own mother.


WARNOCK: The other day, because this is America. The 82 year old hands that used to pick somebody else's cotton went to the polls and picked her

youngest son to be a United States senator.


AMANPOUR: He won his runoff so and the second runoff Democrat Jon Ossoff and the Democratic Party are claiming victory against incumbent Senator

David Perdue.

This tantalizing balance of power in the U.S. Senate comes as Congress needs to certify Joe Biden's Electoral College votes, with yet another

public show of opposition from diehard Trump supporters.

I'm joined now by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta. She threw her weight behind both Warnock and Ossoff and she's with me to discuss this

game changing election in her state.

So welcome back to the program, Mayor Lance Bottoms.

I just want to ask you your reaction, you must be thrilled today.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D-GA) ATLANTA: Yes, I am full of so many motions and thank you for having me today on this day after this. Seemed

like this day would never come.

We knew how important it was to show up to vote in November, obviously, the work was not done. And for it to all come down to Georgia in all that

Georgia has meant for civil rights and human rights across the globe. It is just -- it's moving beyond description.


AMANPOUR: So let's just talk a little bit more about that because it is, and there's so much history in your state from Reverend Martin Luther King

to John Lewis. And as you mentioned, all the civil rights that came out of your state, and yet, it is the first time a black American becomes a

senator from Georgia. What was it that made this happen at this time?

BOTTOMS: There were so many things that have brought us to this moment. And certainly, what we saw happen across America over the summer really was a

rallying cry for everyone who wanted to see change in this country.

Remember, on May 29, when the protests erupted in Atlanta in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, just imploring people, if you want change in

America go and vote. And people want a change in this country. And especially in Georgia with the attention that the runoff elections received

an understanding how important it is not just to the country, but to the entire world, that America -- that the soul of America be restored as

President-elect Joe Biden has so described it.

It is -- it's certainly an inflection point for us across this country, because we now -- that we can make a difference, simply by showing up to

vote. And that's what John Lewis employed (ph) us and so many others.

AMANPOUR: So what do you think this means going forward? We see -- we see now, I guess, you also calling the race for Jon Ossoff, although it hasn't

been formally called. But when you look at the balance of power now in Congress, what do you think this actually means on the, you know, in

politics going forward?

BOTTOMS: It means that we will have national leadership, and I talk with mayors across the country, and it has been so disheartening to be a mayor

under Donald Trump, because there has been no leadership. So much has fallen on the shoulders of local leaders to lead in areas such as the

pandemic. Things that certainly are important to our communities where we often look to our federal government to give us guidance in such matters.

And so to be able to share the responsibility of leadership with the White House, and with our Congress is going to be a huge shift for all of us. And

I'm looking forward to it.

Certainly having the Senate and having the House in the hands of Democrats will certainly help get things done much quicker than we could have ever

anticipated in November. But it's needed, we are hurting in our communities. And so much of that hurt and pain is because of the lack of

leadership that we've had in the White House over the past four years.

AMANPOUR: So let me ask you about two immediate things that I guess you and many people around the country are looking for in terms of leadership. Real

leadership now as it comes to the very important moment where vaccines need to be rolled out in a national and coordinated way. I wonder whether you,

you know, what your thoughts are on that.

And then of course, there's Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate said, and now we need every American to get the $2,000 relief check that

they have been waiting for. What are the people of Atlanta, of your city and I guess your state, what are they looking for immediately?

BOTTOMS: Well, certainly as it relates to the pandemic, we are looking for some national coordination and leadership in terms of getting our

communities vaccinated. Georgia is second to last in the country per capita in terms of vaccination distribution. So that's something that we need

immediately. Our hospital beds, our ICU capacity is beyond capacity at this point.

And additionally, something that talk with President-elect Biden about on multiple occasions has been what my dear friend Mayor Hancock in Denver

referred to as our next pandemic, the mental health pandemic, as we look to recover economically and physically from the pandemic. What I'm seeing is,

is something probably likened to post traumatic stress in our communities, violence is up across the country, domestic violence cases are up across

the country. There's going to be really a need for leadership in that area as well.

AMANPOUR: You know, this election was President Trump's two to loss, really, and he lost in Georgia by a pretty thin margin. We've seen the

phone calls where he tried to intimidate the secretary of state, a Republican, into giving him the balance of those of those votes.


And we've heard from Mitt Romney and I just want to read what he said. Well, it turns out that telling the voters that the election is rigged is

not a great way to turn out your voters.

As Congress is now, you know, meeting to certify this election, can you reflect on whether you think that was, you know, a problem for Republican

voters and cost the Republicans these two Senate seats?

BOTTOMS: We absolutely know that it was a problem in Georgia. When Donald Trump came back to the state just a couple of days ago, he barely mentioned

senators Perdue and Loeffler. It was all about the election being stolen from him.

And to see the discord with the Republican Party in our state really was a preview to how split the Republican Party would be.

We saw a number of Republican leaning independents show up and vote for Joe Biden in November. It looks like they showed up and voted for Ossoff and


There were several groups on the ground doing really the hard work, knocking on doors, calling people. There was one group in particular that

focus just on voters who did not show up in November to get them back out to vote in January. And so it all came together, it with this perfect storm

of chaos on the Republican side that came together in favor of Democrats across the state and Donald Trump needs to own every single piece of it.

AMANPOUR: Mayor, you know, some very, very difficult and dangerous moments are underway right now. As we speak, we can report that the Capitol police

are saying that the Capitol is on lockdown for this period as we're speaking during the certification process because of, you know, these

protesters who've come out, and I guess they're trying to be forceful in their diehard support of President Trump.

You know, I just want you to reflect on what you think is going to be the future for this country? Do you think this will end once the next

administration takes hold? Or where do you think this deep division and this actual incitement to violence that we've seen, where's this going to


BOTTOMS: I'm optimistic about the future of this country. The beauty of our democracy is that we can sometimes get elections wrong, but every few

years, we have an opportunity to get it right. It's going to take a lot of healing, it's going to take strong leadership, and it's going to take

someone like President-elect Joe Biden, who really was made for this moment. Someone who has the ability to empathize and to not take everything

personally and to be able to work across the aisle and work with a cross section of people to get things done. And so leadership matters.

We have President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and now with some strong leaders joining the Senate, I'm optimistic. We've been

through a lot in America to say the least over the past few years, but the healing has already begun.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you also about the terrible events of the spring. And of course, this has been going on for many years, but really, really

put into a very, very stark global focus, the killing, execution style of George Floyd in Minneapolis. After that happened, you actually, you are

obviously mayor of majority black city, you are the mother of four children. And this is what you said back in, in May, during the Black Lives

Matter protests.


BOTTOMS: Above everything else. I am a mother. I am a mother to four black children in America. One of whom is 18 years old. And when I saw the murder

of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt.

And on yesterday when I heard there were rumors about violent protests in Atlanta, I do what a mother would do. I call my son and I said, where are

you? I said, I cannot protect you and black boys shouldn't be out today.


AMANPOUR: Reflect on that now on whether you think we have moved on from that in any -- in any serious matter.

BOTTOMS: No, it's difficult for me to listen to that because all of the emotions come back that I felt that night. But my 18-year-old son went to

vote. And my 18-year-old son spent the last few weeks working on a campaign to make sure that Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff would be elected.


So I know that change is already coming in our country. And I know that it's touching a generation of kids who otherwise may have had the privilege

not to care. But this summer has opened all of our eyes in Atlanta, especially where we are the cradle of the civil rights movement. And in so

many ways, we've had the luxury of thinking and feeling that these things don't happen in our city.

But this summer with a brutal murder of George Floyd and so many other names that we can call, we've seen that it's all of our issues to care

about, no matter how privileged we are, no matter how protected we think that we may be that if each and every one of us can step up and care about

this country, then we will lose this great democracy that John Lewis and Dr. King and so many others fought for us to build and to be a part of.

AMANPOUR: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on this incredibly historic day, thank you for joining me from the city of Atlanta.

And now with me to discuss this moment in the broader frame of American history is Eddie Glaude Jr. a prominent academic on the African American

experience and Chair of Princeton University's Department of African American Studies.

His latest book "Begin Again" releases here in the UK on January 14, and he himself is joining me now from Princeton, New Jersey.

Professor Glaude, welcome to the program. And I just wonder if you could take what we've been discussing with the mayor of Atlanta. And perhaps you

-- I'd like to hear your perspective on certainly Reverend Raphael Warnock's historic win.

EDDIE GLAUDE JR., AUTHOR, "BEGIN AGAIN": Well, you know, I know Raphael very well, we went to Morehouse College together in Atlanta. This is an

extraordinary day.

I think it's important for us to understand what is happening in Georgia or what has happened in the full light of the demographic shifts that in some

ways have changing the landscape of Georgia politics.

Think about it that Cobb County produced Newt Gingrich who gave us, you know, the social contract, the new contract with America. In 1992, Bill

Clinton and Senator Sam Nunn stood before Stone Mountain and these rows of black prisoners as they in some ways announced the new way, these new

Democrats as it were.

And now you have a Georgia that not in Cobb County would produce a new Gingrich, but would vote for John Ossoff, a Jewish camp, that would vote

for Raphael Warnock, the first African American candidate in some ways. And so -- not in some ways, who is.

And so, what we're seeing, I think, it's the effects of not only the demographic shifts with regards to African Americans, but Latino

communities, Asian Pacific, API, a range of folks. So its -- demographics are destiny, Christiane, but they certainly matter. And we saw that last


AMANPOUR: And I want to ask you, actually, because certainly in Georgia, and maybe across the United States, you know, at one point, there was some

question about what the turnout would be. And we all have heard, and we've all followed and reported on the incredible efforts of Stacey Abrams in

Georgia to bring out the vote, not only in her own state, but to really make that her life's work. Reflect on that and what brought out such huge

turnout in the presidential and, you know, oddly in these run offs, which historically have a much lower turnout.

GLAUDE: I think generally there was a sense across the country that American democracy was on the ballot, that the stakes were high. And it's

also the context of this broader racial reckoning, four years of mendacity, of incompetence and corruption. That led many folk across a number of

different demographics to understand that this election was perhaps the most important in the history of the country, at least for us.

I think it's also important that you mentioned the underground -- on the ground organize, not only Stacey Abrams' fair fight when we think about

black voters matter with LaTosha Brown and others, we think about New Georgia Project with Nse Ufot, you think about Helen Butler and the

coalition -- Georgia coalition of People's Alliance, you think about Project South, all of these folks were on the ground doing work.

Now this is really important to mention, because for so long, the Democratic Party has thought that its strategy, the pathway to victory was

to take its base for granted, and to appeal to that swing voter, you know, the kind of -- you know, the kind of for long (ph) lover who is constantly

pining for the rejected -- for the -- for the spouse that rejected him or her. And that is the Reagan Democrat, right?


So that the Democratic Party has been in pursuit of the Reagan Democrat ever since Reagan won in 1980. But what Stacey Abrams insisted upon, and

what was in evidence last night, was that this broader coalition can actually be the pathway to victory, that you don't have to take your base

for granted, that you don't have to become Republican light, that you can actually run on a set of policy positions that speak to the circumstances

and conditions of everyday ordinary people. And they will turn out for you.

So we got a different politics, a different kind of political logic that evidenced itself in Georgia last night.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you also about the agenda of, let's say, Reverend Raphael Warnock and many who come from the religious background. You know,

it's been said that, you know, his, his pastoral work, informed his politics, the moral imperative, the support for the dispossessed and the

disenfranchised, how -- talk to me a little bit about how those politics emerge from the black churches and how that will be put to work for the

people who you say absolutely need to have their needs met?

GLAUDE: Right. So I mean, it's important for us to understand that Reverend Warnock is actually a scholar. He received his PhD from Union Theological

Seminary, he wrote his PhD under the supervision of the black liberation theologian, James Cone. He has written a very important works about the

social function of black churches.

So he comes out of this kind of liberationist tradition, where he understands the gospel in light of African American interpretations of a

gospel that speaks to the material conditions of everyday ordinary people. That is love and justice sits at the center of his understanding of Jesus's

ministry, of his understanding of the gospel itself. So he asked to speak truth to power. And he has to speak to the conditions of the least of


And I think that has animated his ministry. And it and I believe it will inform his public life as a politician. But let's be let's be clear,

Reverend Warnock will have to run again in two years. So he has to immediately start ramping up for another campaign.

So in some ways, I expect him to be a voice for progressive policies, he ran on, health care for all he ran on, living wage he ran on, specifically

addressing the racial disparities in -- that are that are being evidenced in the context of COVID-19. So he's going to be a progressive voice. But we

must understand that he's already starting, you know, as soon as he's sworn in, he has to start running again.

AMANPOUR: As we're speaking, the House has gone into recess. We're getting reports from Capitol police and those at the House right now because of

these protests that are underway called by President Trump. And I want to ask you about something that Raphael Warnock said, he talked about, and you

speak about his scholarship and his history of civil rights and his, you know, struggle for -- on behalf of people.

He also talks about how he went to Washington many times as a young man to protest outside the Capitol for the -- for the rights that, you know, that

he believed, should be given. And he reports that of course, then he was arrested sometimes. He said he never was angry because they were just doing

their job. And he expects, he said, when he goes to the Capitol next, those police will be not arresting him, but escorting him and showing him where

his new office will be in the Senate.

I guess I use that anecdote to ask you, given all the violence that's going on right now, given the Black Lives Matter moment and movement, where do

you think it's going from here? Is it solid? Is this a game changer? Are we really on the path to major change?

GLAUDE: You know, I think that's a wonderful question. I'm not sure. You know, we find ourselves in this inflection point where we have to decide as

a nation who do we take ourselves to be, who we are. And that's going to require kind of honest confrontation with our past and our present.

What we're seeing outside the White House right now and outside of Congress and what we're seeing in the White House and what we're hearing within the

halls of the Senate and the House of Representatives are people who are committed to what I call the lie. They want to hold the view that America

must remain a white nation in the vein of old Europe and they're clinging to a desperately.


So what we've facing this moment, Christiane, and I don't want to sound too dramatic here or melodramatic, is the kind of confrontation of an old world

that's dying and a new world is trying to be born. And this has happened in the U.S. before. And the baby has always been stillborn.

So I don't want us to pat ourselves on the back, which is our tendency. I don't want us to congratulate ourselves because now Black Lives Matter has

a certain kind of currents, we have to get about the hard work, we have to be more diligent midwives if we're going to actually give birth to a new

American this time.

AMANPOUR: And, you know, Professor Glaude, as we're speaking more of these protesters are taking matters into their own hands. And you talk about, you

know, the birth of, you know, the rebirth and the midwifery of American democracy.

These people have now breached Congress, according to reports, they're inside the Capitol. This is a direct result of the President of the United

States and his diehard supporters.

I mean, I don't know what is to be said right now at this moment. With any luck, we hope, that things will remain safe and the Capitol police can do

their job to keep danger away. But this is extraordinary. How is this even possible? You know, have the Republicans just left it too long?

GLAUDE: Well, look, I think there's always been this dalliance with illiberal forces in the United States. We could talk about the Wilmington

coup in 1898 when you had violent lost cause proponents literally overthrow the local government, and that was duplicated across the country.

There's always been these forces in the United States that in some ways hold on to democracy as a kind of tool, but are all too willing to throw it

into the trash bin in light of their own interests. And so, but the point that I want to make here is that the country has kind of, in some ways,

danced with that -- those forces over and over again, tried to manipulate, tried to leverage them for their own -- for its own political aims, these

political actors, right? What we have to decide to do, finally, is to say no more, is to finally uproot what's driving, what's motivating this racial

animus, this grievance, this sense of resentment. Donald Trump is exploiting something that has been in our body politic since the nation was


So I think, first, we have to tell the truth about ourselves. This isn't too unfamiliar. It is who we are.

And second, we have to decide, finally, to be otherwise, right? And I -- and that's going to be hard. It's going to have to deal with our fellows

honestly and directly and boldly. And that's difficult in some ways.

AMANPOUR: I feel like you're talking about a real earnest truth and reconciliation moment, and we'll see whether that comes to pass.

Professor Eddie Glaude Jr., thank you so much for joining us on this incredibly important day.

So let's now turn to Washington and what should be a mere formality, which is certifying the presidential election, we've been reporting about the

violence, about the protests, 1000s of the President's supporters who refuse to accept his election loss are there as we speak, some have

breached the capital, as we said, and we wait to see whether that can be contained.

We've overseas also seen outbreaks of violence, as these Trump loyalists face off against police. This has happened over the last 24 hours.

Now inside Congress, some Republicans have been insisting on a futile attempt to reverse the election result. Still insisting on this, Vice

President Pence has told President Trump that his certifying role is a formality, and that he has no authority to block the election result.

And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell actually stood up for democracy. Take a listen to what he said to all voters during the certification



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): This election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side. Our democracy would enter a death spiral.

We'd never see the whole nation except an election again. Every four years would be a scramble for power at any cost.


AMANPOUR: And I'm joined now by conservative Paul Rosenzweig. He's formerly a high level official in the Department of Homeland Security under

President George W. Bush, and he is joining me now by Skype from his home in Costa Rica.

Welcome back to the program, Mr. Rosenzweig. You guess -- I guess you've heard me report throughout this program, that there are serious breaches of

the Capitol on this important day, and that these protesters are causing violence, and that the House is in recess, at least as we speak.


Just reflect on that. I mean, this is, you know, a result of what's been ginned up on the ground by the President and his loyalists. Just talk to me

a little bit about that.

PAUL ROSENZWEIG, FORMER DEPUTY ASST. SECRETARY, HOMELAND SECURITY DEPT.: Well, I think that there are probably two points to be made about that. The

first, as you said, is that really this is all on the President, and all on his enablers like Senator Cruz in the Senate, and Congressman Brooks in the

House, who have indulged him in the fiction that the election was stolen.

If Republican leaders outside of the presidency had the courage to stand up to the President's false claims, it's likely that a lot less of this would

be happening.

The second point, at a broader level, since this is an international show, is how incredibly damaging this is to America's standing across the globe.

For, you know, a 100 years, America has stood for democracy, has stood for the peaceful transition of power, and has, rightly or wrongly sort of

lectured to the rest of the world about how to do it right, holding ourselves up as an exceptional example of how democracy should function.

We're not going to recover that anytime soon, if at all. And what's happening today will be touted by our opponents, by opponents of democracy,

opponents of freedom as evidence that democracy is ill-conceive. Across the globe, it is a reward to authoritarians everywhere.

Mr. Rosenzweig, you're absolutely correct. It's an international show. And also, it's a show for American viewers across PBS station.

So I wonder what you make and what they might make of the lateness to the party of defending democracy. In other words, Senate Majority Leader Mitch

McConnell who may lose his majority position there was very clear for the first time in four years, at least that I can recall, saying that there is

no constitutional right to overturn the votes of the people, that it was a massive majority that President-elect Joe Biden won, that the courts have

spoken, that all the local election officials have spoken, and that this would be just a march to perdition, basically. What do you make of him

saying that now how, how seriously, do you take that?

ROSENZWEIG: Well, I take it somewhat seriously. We, you know, the human condition is one of constant error and constant changing of one's mind. And

so I'm happy to welcome Senator McConnell to the right side of history now. I'll be are far too late for my tastes.

To a large degree, the last four years have been an exercise in boiling a frog in water. And it is finally occurred to Senator McConnell that he has

to jump out.

Others like Senator Romney jumped out much earlier. Still others like Senators Cruz and Hawley have yet to jump out and they're eventually going

to get boiled to death by the authoritarian impulse that President Trump has unleashed.

So, while I certainly think that Senator McConnell is far too late to the game of opposing President Trump's authoritarian impulses, at least we can

say that he came to the right answer in the end.

AMANPOUR: Not before, you know, these protesters breached his chamber. I wonder because you were in the Department of Homeland Security, what should

they have done? They knew these protests were coming.

What -- how is it possible that, you know, police around the Capitol are unable to control that crowd? How is it possible? We see them walking

through the halls with their flags and their banners inside the Capitol building?

ROSENZWEIG: Well, the Capitol police and the D.C. police have a lot of experience dealing with First Amendment protests of this sort. And they

have come to expect that the protesters follow a generalized set of rules. They don't want to overreact and be violent towards people who are simply

exercising their political rights.

I suspect that when we do an after action report of what has just -- what is transpiring, even as we speak, we'll find that the Capitol police

underestimated the potential for violence, underestimated the threat to the integrity of the Capitol building. Thought they could handle it. And were


I have several friends who work on the -- on the Capitol Police Force and several others who work on D.C. police. And I'm sure right now, they are

reflecting about how they wish that just three hours ago they taken a stronger stance. But you have to feel for them.

I mean, if they'd overreacted if they'd used rubber bullets and tear gas, we'd be criticizing them now. So they've got a very, very hard line to run.

Have a hard line to hoe.


AMANPOUR: You're right. But, I mean, to be fair, the mayor of Washington did call out the National Guard and got the approval for National Guard

forces because she predicted that there was going to be this kind of trouble.

Let me just read you --


AMANPOUR: -- some of what Donald Trump is tweeting right now as we speak and as those protesters are speaking inside the Capitol building. He says,

and he's obsessed by reversing the election result, "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our

Constitution, giving states a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously

certify. USA demands the truth!"

I mean, is that pouring, you know, oil on the fire?

ROSENZWEIG: Yes, it's pouring kerosene on the fire. Donald Trump quite literally has incited this violence. And that is a crime. It's an

impeachable offense.

We probably won't do either of those in the 15 days that are left to him. But once he leaves office, he will be remembered as a president who

attempted to incite violence in the United States Capitol and attempted to steal an election. He is or should be remembered as the worst president in

American history. And more importantly, as a president who produced American norms of peaceful transition of power, of rule of law of democracy

in ways that are going to resonate down the annals of American history for at least the next 50 years.

I do not know how the country recovers from this. I hope that in the aftermath of the -- of the inauguration, both the Biden Department of

Justice, and other prosecutorial authorities actually initiate criminal investigations of this and take appropriate action.

AMANPOUR: Spoken as, I think you're a former Republican, certainly you're not a supporter of the President, but you are conservative. So what you're

saying is actually, you know, really, really important from your perspective. I just want to say -- read you kind of building on what you've

just said.

You know Ali Soufan, the former FBI agent who was instrumental in some of the interrogations after 9/11. He as an anti-terror expert, he says, "In

many other contexts, such actions and rhetoric would be considered tantamount to incitement to terrorism."

Talking about what we've just been speaking about, that's a pretty that's a pretty important thing that he said.

And I want to ask you also, because all of this is an attempt to get Mike Pence and to pressure him to do what he can't do. Mike Pence read out a

statement or had it read out before he went into that chamber, he was clear that he wanted it public. He basically said that he would not be able to

defy the will of the people.

And this is what President Trump's own impeachment lawyer said about this matter.


JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S IMPEACHMENT LAWYER: Some have speculated that the Vice President could simply say I'm not going to accept these

electors, that that he has the authority to do that on the Constitution. I actually don't think that's what the Constitution has in mind. If that were

the case, any vice president could refuse any election.


AMANPOUR: So that's Jay Sekulow, who was the President's lawyer, and are now saying what many Republicans clearly believe.

Again, speculate, I know, it's dangerous to speculate, but between now and Inauguration Day, what are we going to be facing?

ROSENZWEIG: Oh, if I had that crystal ball I win a prize.

Here's what I think is likely, the President's inability to change the outcome of the election is increasingly driving him to taking as much

unilateral action as he can.

There are some areas of American law like issuing Presidential Medal of Freedom which he's done, or issuing pardons, which he's done, where he

truly does have unlimited unilateral power, but those are few and far between.

What I fear is that he will attempt to exercise unilateral power in other areas where he really doesn't have it and where it will be incumbent upon

the institutions of American democracy to resist him. For example, he might seek to start a criminal investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden and appoint

a special counsel. It would be incumbent upon the Attorney General to resist and reject that effort. He might order the military to take

provocative military action in the Middle East.

It would be incumbent upon the civilian leadership of the Department of Defense and the uniform leadership of the military to resist and reject

those kinds of suggestions. He might attempt to unilaterally impose equity anomic sanctions on countries that recognize Joe Biden as President-elect.

It would be incumbent upon the career civil servants in the Department of Treasury and Commerce to resist and reject those. He might try to play with

the census.


The list is almost endless as to the types of things he can try and do. And all of them ought to be rejected to the maximum extent practicable.

AMANPOUR: And we do see those institutions at least talking out and rejecting those kinds of issues that you just raised.

Paul Rosenzweig, thank you so much. It's so difficult at this moment, even amid history being made to fathom what's going on in any event. Thank you

very much for your perspective.

Now turning to the surging coronavirus pandemic, here in London one in 30 have that virus.

And across the ocean in Los Angeles County, a person is dying of the virus every 10 minutes. This is according to the public health chief there.

The total number of cases has doubled in just over a month and ambulances are being told not to transport patients with little chance of survival. On

the front lines is Nurse Nerissa Black. She is from Henry Mayo Newhall hospital and she says she's not seen anything like it in her 10 year

career. And here she is talking to our Hari Sreenivasan.



Nerissa, thanks for joining us.

First, I think people have heard different stories about parts of the country where hospitals are overwhelmed. What is it like right now to walk

into your shift? Describe the scene for me.

BLACK: Right now walking into my shift, I'm dreading starting my shift because I know that I have more patients to take care of than usual.

At the beginning of the pandemic and even before December 11, we were given a maximum of four patients to take care of which on a good day is just

enough time to take care of those patients properly like a human being. But these days were assigned up to six patients, which means that instead of

spending 15 minutes every hour with each patient, now I only have 10 minutes for each hour to spend on each patient.

Those 10 minutes are not just with the patient in the room. The 10 minutes includes donning and doffing the PPE. The 10 minutes includes reviewing lab

work, imaging results and reporting any abnormalities to physicians.

The 10 minutes includes coordinated care with the physical therapist, the case manager, the social worker. The 10 minutes includes calling family


It's not just us being in the room giving the medications to the patients turning them, it's a lot of background work that we do also.

SREENIVASAN: So that's happening over and over again, you're putting your PPE on and taking it off in between every patient so you don't get one

person infected with something another person has?

BLACK: Correct. We have -- we put on a new set of PPE in between each patient to protect our very already vulnerable patients from getting an

infection that they don't currently have. Because our patients these days are not just COVID patients, I mean, even throughout the whole pandemic,

our patients don't just have coronavirus. Our patients are sick with a heart attack and they happen to have COVID. They have they have a stroke,

and they happen to have COVID. They fell off a ladder putting up the Christmas lights and they happen to have COVID.

So they have an injury or an illness already. And then on top of that now they have COVID as well. So it just adds another layer of complication to

their care.

Patients who are already -- who are already infected with an infectious disease that is not just COVID, they can come in with an -- what's called

an MDRO, that's a multi drug resistant organism. You've heard of MRSE before, maybe --


BLACK: -- or SBL of the urine, those are multi drug resistant organisms that have infected our patients, and they have COVID on top of that. And in

order to prevent to pass that from one patient to another, we put on a new set of PPE. Because we don't want them -- we don't want our next patient to

be infected with that.

SREENIVASAN: And for people outside who might look at your workload and say, you know what she's just talking about going from four patients to six

patients. Why is that such a big deal?

BLACK: It doesn't seem like a lot more but going from four patients to six patients means 50 percent more care that the more people that we need to

take care of.


BLACK: And extra 50 percent in workload just puts a lot of strain not just on us, but ultimately it puts a strain on our patients, because our

patients need help. And we have to decide if we're only going to be able to spend so much time with each patient, we have to figure out who will get

the care first.


SREENIVASAN: When you are describing this scenario to me, even what you're doing, and the 50 percent extra work that you're doing, do you think that

this is decreasing the quality of care that a patient is getting, as hard as you're trying?

BLACK: Yes. Well, definitely ever since we change the ratio -- change the number of patients that we are given to take care of, it has definitely

decreased the quality of care I personally believe that we are able to give our patients.

At the end of the day I go home and I feel like I could have done more for our patients to make sure that they're comfortable, to make sure that their

needs are met. Because I feel like I, my patients, I treat them like my family member. They're human beings.

There's somebody's mother, they're somebody's daughter, they're somebody's son, they're somebody's grandfather. And at the end of the day it's hard to

think about when I go home that I didn't -- I feel like I didn't get to do enough for them, like I normally would. The standard of care that I'm given

-- that I've given is not the same as before our ratio changed.

SREENIVASAN: Do you think people are taking longer to come to the emergency room, and they're more sick now?

BLACK: Of course, a lot of our patients are coming in more and more sick these days. A lot of people are waiting to get their illness or injury

taking care of. They're waiting -- they're hoping it will go away until it becomes unbearable.

I had a particular patient come in with abdominal pain that she has had for several days. And it turned out that her appendix had burst by the time she

had come in to get help for her -- for her abdominal pain. Before the pandemic she would have probably come in after a day or two of that

abdominal pain not going away. And we could -- we could have treated that more quickly and the outcome would be better.

But in her case, she had waited so long and her appendix had burst. She became septic. And this is a relatively young woman.

And people are just getting more and more sick because they're waiting longer and longer to go to the hospital to be treated.

SREENIVASAN: Now, at the same time, they're hearing on the news and they're hearing from EMS, don't call 911 unless you're in a life threatening


BLACK: Yes, our emergency medical system has been directed to not transport patients to hospitals if they don't get what's called the return of

spontaneous circulation.

So if a patient's heart stops or they stop breathing and the paramedics can't get them back in the field, they can't resuscitate that person in the

field. They're not there -- they're directed to not transport that person to the hospital. So essentially, they pass in the field with no help


SREENIVASAN: I've also heard stories about ambulances, basically becoming hospital beds. That they're waiting outside hospitals because the hospital

is so full, that the ICU's have no capacity, that the E.R.'s are backed up. Is this true?

BLACK: It's true. We have -- we have ambulances waiting in the -- in the ambulance base in our emergency room. Not just my hospital, but other

hospitals because many of my colleagues work in other hospitals as well. They work in the E.R. and they have multiple ambulances waiting for -- to

even just get into the E.R.

SREENIVASAN: You know, have you been the last person that a patient's family member speaks to?

BLACK: I have been one of the people that a patient has spoken to.

SREENIVASAN: What was that like? Can you describe that for me?

BLACK: Recently, I had a patient who was placed on comfort care. And for this particular patient, she was declining rather quickly. And the son --

my patients son had called asking, is there any way I can visit my mom?

And because the patient was in a COVID unit and in order to prevent further spread of infection, our hospital has the rule of absolutely no visitors

allowed in the COVID units. And the best -- the next best thing we could do for our patient is to, you know, to initiate a phone call with the patient

and the patient's son.

The patient's son wanted to say goodbye to his mother on the phone. And I was the only really one to available to be the middleman.


For this particular patient, she was already very obtunded. She was not awake anymore. Her breathing was very shallow. The son had asked me to

repeat his words to his mother on the phone because she -- he was worried that she -- since she has hard of hearing he won't -- she won't be able to

hear his words. So I had to repeat.

I went into the room with a phone on speaker mode. And I laid the phone next to the patient's ear on her pillow. And I repeated his words to her.

And he said, Mom, I love you very much. I want you to know that we're going to be OK, I want you to take care of you.

He had some children. And he said that, you know, your grandchildren love you very much, they will miss you, but they will be OK with us. Make sure

that you take care of you. We love you very much.

You'll be OK. It's -- and it's OK to go.

And it's -- it was very emotional and heartbreaking for me to be the middleman during that conversation.

SREENIVASAN: Yes. Well, thank you for being there for him and for the other people.

You know, what's so strange about this is while you're describing what's happening inside of a hospital, there are still people on New Year's in Los

Angeles --


SREENIVASAN: -- going to rave parties, you know. And people that actually don't believe that this is real, what do you say to those people?

BLACK: I would tell them, you know, please stop gathering. It's a very simple way to spread this ill -- to prevent the spread of this illness.

It's not only affecting the elderly, it's affecting many people, especially our health care workers, which a lot of people say we're the frontline. But

I think we are the last line of defense against this virus. The people of the population are the first line, they're the ones who can prevent the

spread of this disease.

And I feel that they should know that the people who keep gathering should know that we are strained. We've had -- I've had a patient -- another

patient's son call, because his mom was hospitalized. And he said, I just saw her last week. And she's very elderly. And he was very, very worried

that he will not see her again.

And he was crying on the phone. And I had to calm him down. Even though my heart was breaking, too, because I could hear him, I could hear his

heartbeat over the phone asking me, will I ever get to see my mother again, because I just saw her last week, and I was just talking to her. And now

that might have been the last time that I saw my mother.

SREENIVASAN: We know now in Los Angeles almost one in five people are testing positive for this. What you're living through isn't going to end

tomorrow or next week. How do you go in day after day knowing that it's going to be just as hard and you're going to have to have these


BLACK: I'm hopeful that we will have -- that this will -- this situation that we're in will end. We recently have the vaccine.

I received my first dose two and a half weeks ago, and I'm actually scheduled to get my second dose a little bit later today. So I'm hopeful

that by the end of this year that we will be able to be back to our normal lives. I'm hopeful.

I'm always hopeful that we will get back to what we need to get back to which is, you know, getting together with our family and friends. But we

need to do it safely. We need to do it so that we don't spread infection to other people, especially the most vulnerable in our population.

SREENIVASAN: What is the toll that this takes on you when you go home? I'm sure there's a lot of things that you see that you don't share with your

family. But how do -- you how do you get through this?

BLACK: For me personally, my husband is very, very supportive. He listens to me and to my stories. That day when I had to put my very first patient

into a body bag, a human being, somebody's mother, it was very difficult for me because I'm good at what I do. I feel like I'm really good at what I


And I was telling my husband what had happened that day. And I got home, I was really hungry because I hadn't eaten my lunch yet. I took -- I got

showered and I looked in the fridge. And I just stared, you know, at that at the tubs of ice cream we have in our freezer, and I said, which --

should I put this on a cup or cone and decided, you know what, I'm just going to eat it out of the tub.


So as I'm eating out of the tub, I'm sobbing at my husband telling him the story about how my patient's son had called and asked me to say goodbye to

his mother for him. And then later on that shift, I had to clean her up and get her ready to go into a body bag to go to the mortuary. And it was a

very, very hard shift for me.

I try my very, very best to not have to do that with a patient. But for this particular one, the patient was based on comfort care. And I was

supposed to let her go so that she can be at peace.

But it was still very difficult for me to think about doing that, you know, because she's a human being. She is -- she could have been my mother, which

is the way I think of my patients, which made it even more difficult for me.

SREENIVASAN: Nerissa Black, a telemetry nurse in Los Angeles. Thanks so much for joining us.

BLACK: Thank you so much for hearing our voices.


AMANPOUR: And amid these tragic stories amid the pandemic, let's go back to what happened at the seat of power and leadership in Capitol Hill.

This violence in protest has been a nightmare for many who've warned that Trump wanted to invoke the insurrection act.

Presumably watching it and watching this disgrace unfold on television, the President has now tweeted, "Please support our Capitol police and law

enforcement. They are truly on the side of our country. Stay peaceful.

And so finally, let us remind what the peaceful transfer of power looks like in America. The former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney

certifying the electoral vote for then President-elect Barack Obama on January 8, 2009 and made a standing ovation in Congress. Or then Vice

President Joe Biden certifying the electoral votes for then President-elect Donald Trump exactly four years ago today and famously telling disappointed

Democrats it is over.

That was then. It's a little messier this time but the transition is happening.

And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can follow me and the show on Twitter.

Thanks for watching Amanpour and Company on PBS. And join us again tomorrow night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amanpour and Company is made possible by the Anderson Family Fund, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim, III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein

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