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At This Hour

Australia Revokes Novak Djokovic's Visa Again, Faces Deportation; 11 Oath Keepers Charged with Seditious Conspiracy In Capitol Siege; N. Korea Fires More Missiles After U.S. Imposes New Sanctions. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired January 14, 2022 - 11:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Here's what we're watching AT THIS HOUR.

Double fault. Tennis star Novak Djokovic will be detained just hours from now. His chance to make tennis history at the Australian Open may be over.

Oath Keepers arrested, new charges of sedition raising the stakes in the insurrection investigation.

And Biden's bad week, the President trying and failing to persuade his party to act on voting rights. What this latest series of setbacks means for the White House?

Thanks for being here, everybody. We begin with breaking news. The world's number one men's tennis player Novak Djokovic is again facing detention and deportation after the Australian Government revoked his visa a second time. The unvaccinated tennis star will be detained until a federal court hears this case tomorrow just as time is running out before the start of the Australian Open. Despite this, Djokovic was back on the practice court today. The number one seed is still officially scheduled to play on Monday. But again, that all depends on another decision to come from another courtroom. CNN's Paula Hancocks is live in Melbourne, Australia with more on this. So honestly, Paula, what's going to happen next?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, what we know is that in five hours' time, we are going to see Novak Djokovic, going to an undisclosed location to talk once again with immigration officials. He's been asked to go for another interview. He will then be detained at that point and he will have two Australia Border Force officials escorting him after that to his lawyer's office. And at 10:15 in the morning, that will be when the first hearing happens of the Federal Court of Australia.

Now it has been referred to a higher court. And this is where they will start hearing the appeal, if you like, the judicial review from his lawyers. Now we have heard from the immigration minister saying that it's in the public interest, he has decided to cancel this visa the lawyers for Djokovic pointing out in this hearing on Friday evening that it was an argument that if Djokovic stays, it would, quote, excite the anti-vax sentiment in the community, something they reject. But that gives you an idea of which direction this could go.

We also heard from the Prime Minister Scott Morrison today saying I understand the following consideration, action has been taken by the minister to cancel Mr. Djokovic's visa held on health and good order grounds on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so. Australians have made many sacrifices during the pandemic. And they rightly expect the result of these sanctions and sacrifices to be protected. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Paula, thank you so much for your continued coverage. I really appreciate it.

Joining me now for more on this is former pro tennis player Patrick McEnroe. He is an ESPN tennis commentator, host of the podcast Holding Court. And CNN's sports analyst Christine Brennan. She's a columnist for USA Today. Patrick, I told you I was going to need you back. Christine, I told you I was going to need you back. And here we are. So where are we from your perspective right now, Patrick? And as this draws on, what is the sense that you're getting from other players?

PATRICK MCENROE, FORMER PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: Well, let me start with your second question. Both are great questions, Kate, off the bat. The players are -- they've had it, basically. I think they're in a similar situation to the Australian public, which is this has gone on for too long. The rules, yes, have been changed as we've moved along in this past week.

But the players, Stefanos Tsitsipas, he's the latest player to speak out. He's the number four seed. He lost to Djokovic in the French Open final last year and five cents. He said, look, Novak's been playing by his own rules. We all knew coming into this tournament that we'd have to be vaccinated. We all played along and did our part. And he said we sort of feel like fools at this point.

And remember, Kate, let me point out to you that in the singles draws both men and women, Novak Djokovic, if he does play in the tournament, that's still up for debate up for grabs. He will be the only unvaccinated player in the draw at the Australian Open. That's 128 men and 128 women.

BOLDUAN: And Christine, as you said, this is all on -- comes down to this. This is all on Djokovic in the end because of just what Patrick was talking about. But this is just a mess, Christine, for Novak, for tennis, for the Australian Government. Do you see anyone coming out of this a winner here?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Not really, Kate. It's a parable for our times though. And, as Patrick so eloquently said, you know, this is the reality of where we are. I mean, these are extraordinary times, the pandemic, obviously once a century. So, I guess I cut a little slack to everyone that leaders, government leaders, you know, we're dealing with something new every day.

And I also think as we've talked before, about the citizens of Australia who've done everything right, you know, 260-day lockdown in Melbourne, which of course is the host city for the Australian Open. And Novak Djokovic just thought he would saunter on in there and play. And so, when I say it's a parable for our times, I mean that. You know, sports athletes get away with all kinds of stuff high, school, college, pro.


Well, maybe this is a time when an athlete's not going to get away with something and no one, Djokovic has no one to blame but himself, get vaccinated and as Patrick was saying, everyone else is. And I just find, and I also think another key point is governments are allowed to control their borders. And Australia is allowed to make this decision. That said, who the heck knows what's going to happen next?

BOLDUAN: I'm definitely not going to ask either of you to guess how this one ends. That's -- that I am not going to ask. Patrick, putting health and politics aside because it is actually quite hard to, as an athlete, what does this do? I was just thinking as we were seeing him back on the practice court, what does this do to your head knowing that -- in this extraordinary case, you could either be in detention. You could either be kicked out of the country, or you could be heading back to center court anytime now.

MCENROE: Well, let's start with what I've seen over the years from Novak Djokovic, Kate, and by the way, it's an honor to be on with Christine Brennan, who I've admired for a long time. Novak Djokovic is the toughest player mentally I believe I've ever seen. And I put him up there with Jimmy Connors, Lleyton Hewitt, Rafael Nadal, of course, one of his main rivals. I mean, this guy shrugs things off. He's come back from the brink of defeat numerous times.

He's always played with that chip on his shoulder, a little me against the world mentality, which has served him very well as he's chased down Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. He's tough. But this is a whole another level, Kate. This is like something we've never seen before. As Christine said, these are very, very unusual times in the world. And it's affecting the tennis world. But I'm told from my sources down there at the tournament players, coaches, and so on, that Novak Djokovic got into the locker room after his practice session in the last day or two, and broke a couple of his rackets. That's pretty unusual for players to do the week before the tournament, although they do get frustrated with the practice session.

But this has to be wearing on him. This has to be taking its toll. That being said, he's arguably the toughest player I've ever seen on a tennis court.

BOLDUAN: You mentioned, Christine, Patrick mentioned Nadal, this puts him in a strange place too, meaning I mean, he could become, you could make history and become the winningest men's player of all time at this tournament but maybe because his rival got kicked out of the country. I mean, what position does that put him in?

BRENNAN: It's a tough one. I think it's tough for everyone. But we've all been through this right, Kate, and Patrick, of course, right back at you, for two years now. So, we know these are not normal times. And I think the record books will show and whoever wins the men's tournament, whether it's, you know, Djokovic is allowed back in or if it's Nadal or Medvedev or anyone else, that they won the Australian Open, there will be no asterisk.

And these are again, Djokovic's decisions potentially coming back to haunt him, so far, definitely coming back to haunt him. And you move on, like an injury or anything else. And but I think, you know, we're seeing the class of some of these athletes and the way they speak out, and I hold these athletes to a very high standard, because their role models for so many, and they're pillars of the community. And so, Djokovic were getting a wonderful window into his personality and the decision making that he is doing at the primetime of his career, get the vaccine and play. What are you doing, pal? So here we are, but yes, if anyone else wins, they're the men's Australian Open champion, no doubt about it.

BOLDUAN: Christine Brennan, Patrick McEnroe, thank you both very much. Appreciate it.

So, coming up for us --

MCENROE: Thank you.


BOLDUAN: -- seditious conspiracy, the most serious charge yet filed against some of the rioters who allegedly planned the attack on the U.S. Capitol. One of the heroes from that day Officer Mike Fanone, he joins me live, next.


BOLDUAN: Developing this morning, a watershed moment in the year-long Justice Department investigation into the Capitol insurrection. For the first time, DOJ has charged 11 Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy in the violent siege. They include Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right extremist group, who will be arraigned in a Texas federal court this afternoon. CNN's Whitney Wild has more on this big move by federal prosecutors in what is now the largest investigation in the FBIs history.


WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Stewart Rhodes, founder and leader of the far-right group, the Oath Keepers, arrested in Texas on charges including seditious conspiracy for his alleged involvement in the Capitol attack.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): I hope that this arrest in this prosecution will shut up those of our colleagues who keep saying well, if it was a conspiracy, how come there are no conspiracy charges? If it was seditious, how come there are no sedition charges?

WILD (voice-over): The Justice Department continuing its effort to prosecute those responsible for January 6th, charging 10 others with seditious conspiracy as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is such a powerful statement by the Justice Department.

WILD (voice-over): It's the first-time federal prosecutors have used the sedition charge after bringing in more than 700 cases related to the insurrection. But prosecutors have long signaled that they were considering using the rarely applied section of federal law. And it was just last week in a speech commemorating the Capitol attack where Attorney General Merrick Garland said this.

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last.

WILD (voice-over): Rhodes is the most high-profile individual charged in the investigation so far. Court documents released Thursday lay out a wide-ranging plot to storm the Capitol and disrupt the certification of the 2020 election. Two days after Election Day, Rhodes allegedly urged his followers to refuse to accept the election results. Writing in a signal message, we aren't getting through this without a civil war.


According to federal prosecutors on his way to D.C. on January 3rd, Rhodes allegedly bought an AR-platform rifle and other firearms equipment including sights, mounts, triggers, slings, and other firearms attachments in Texas. The next day, he allegedly bought more firearms equipment in Mississippi. Rhodes, a former army paratrooper who went on to earn a law degree from Yale said he did not enter the Capitol on January 6th, but video captures other Oath Keepers wearing military gear forcing their way into the building in a military stack formation.

MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: They were highly organized groups who were exploiting the chaos of that day.

WILD (voice-over): The new indictment also alleges the group had quick reaction forces from three states Arizona, North Carolina, and Florida to rush into D.C. if needed. According to court documents, Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell arrested last January, claimed that he took reconnaissance trips to D.C. prior to the insurrection. Prosecutors say Rhodes was planning for violence will be on January 6th, allegedly referring to the Capitol attack as nothing compared to what's coming.

In the weeks after the attack on the Capitol, he allegedly spent around $17,500 on weapons, equipment, and ammunition. Then around Inauguration Day, prosecutors say Rhodes told his associates to organize local militias to oppose the Biden administration. Another member allegedly said after this, if nothing happens, it's war, Civil War 2.0.


BOLDUAN: Whitney Wild, thank you so much for that. And joining me now is former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe and former D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Mike Fanone, one of the officers brutally attacked by rioters as he defended the Capitol on January 6th, both our CNN law enforcement analyst. Thanks for being here, guys. Mike, now seeing this attack was months in the making, according to prosecutors, months of planning, by the Oath Keepers, not just spontaneous. Does this change how you see that battle that day?

FANONE: You know, honestly, it doesn't. I think that these charges just confirm what many of us who were on the ground that day witnessed firsthand. We saw elements of highly organized groups. And, you know, what the FBI has now uncovered is that the leaders of these groups were intimately involved in planning, preparation, and training of their members. And that those group's intentions that they were clear, they were there to impede Congress certifying the 2020 election. And then you directly contradict if that January 6th was some kind of holy, spontaneous event.

BOLDUAN: And you could see that on the day up, you don't need these charges to confirm that for you.

FANONE: Correct.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Andy, what do you think of these charges? How big of a deal is this?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Oh, it's a huge deal, Kate. It's a major statement by the Justice Department that they are prepared to take the next step, to go up the chain, to levy charges of greater responsibility and greater condemnation on what happened that day. And that's something that many of us have been really concerned about as the last year has been mostly lower-level charges and less culpable people.

The indictment itself is broad and incredibly detailed. And its account of the level of planning and coordination that went into this. But, you know, like, Officer Fanone just said, it doesn't take a genius to look at 12 people who show up at the same riot wearing the same clothes and the same gear, working together in a coordinated way to be able to guess that these people plan this, they train for it. And this is not something that just sprung up that day.

BOLDUAN: You know, Mike, the indictment lays out not only planning ahead of time for an attack, but also that they were preparing for future operations and violence. One Oath Keeper sent a message to this group that they should adopt tactics similar to the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War. This is what he wrote, we've been organizing a bug out plan if the usurper is installed, the message said, something like 20 plus Oath Keepers going to Kentucky mountains on hundreds of acres apparently. Be like the North Vietnamese Army and network tunnels. Suggesting that this wasn't and maybe isn't over, what worries you when you see this kind of plotting?

FANONE: Yes, I'm concerned about future attacks. But what I think is most troublesome is the fact that these groups, they now enjoy the level of mainstream legitimacy afforded to them by Donald Trump and many of his political supporters. You know, these are groups enjoy support from members of law enforcement, the military, and their extremist anti-government ideology is misrepresented as patriotism by many of our elected leaders. It's this distorted belief that they're the ones upholding and defending the Constitution. [11:20:10]

And I think that mixed with firearms and a basic understanding of how to use them is extremely dangerous. But one of the other things I thought was like very telling was, I was skimming through the indictment. And I found a statement made by Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers to be incredibly telling. The statement was President Pence is doing nothing as I predicted, all I see Trump doing is complaining, I see no intent by him to do anything. So, the Patriots are taking it into their own hands, they've had enough.

And what tell -- this tells me is that, you know, while Donald Trump may have opened this Pandora's Box by inviting this group into, you know, the political conversation, that they have their own goals and their own attention. And if Donald Trump is not going to live up to, you know, his promises to them, that they're going to continue the fight with or without him.

BOLDUAN: That is really interesting because Andy I was going to ask you about what impact you think these serious charges have on this extremist group and those like it? I mean, what does it do to what matters most to them, which is recruitment?

MCCABE: Well, I mean, look, it's an indictment, right, Kate? So, it's an accusation, the government still has to go into court and prove it. If they're successful in doing that, it could really have a devastating impact on this group, really set them back in terms of fundraising and recruiting and things like that.

Now, that said, I think what Mike just said is absolutely right. I think that the overall inspirational value of January 6th cannot be underestimated. There has been a mainlining of these sorts of ideologies, and an acceptance by political leadership on the on the right side of many of these groups and what they've done. And so, you can't underestimate the impact that that's going to have in growing this movement writ large.

Now, at the end of the day, if the government goes to court and can't prove these charges, you can count on the fact that Conservatives and Republicans currently on the Hill, will use that failure, as proof as it were, that no such thing happened and that this was all just a peaceful protest. So it's a high stakes game they're playing right here.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Well, it's good to have both here. Mike, thank you. Andy, thanks so much.

Coming up for us, North Korea launches more ballistic missiles as new details emerge about what caused the U.S. to be so worried about a launch earlier this week, a live report from the Pentagon next.



BOLDUAN: New and dangerous developments from overseas, North Korea firing more missiles overnight after the U.S. imposed new sanctions. The latest missile tests come on the heels of another ballistic missile launch on Tuesday that even caused disruption in the United States, a ground stop at several West Coast airports. CNN is learning new details now about what sparked that reaction. Let's get over to CNN, Barbara Starr. She's live at the Pentagon with more on this. Barbara, what are you learning?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, let's start with those overnight launches by North Korea. Now, we have seen several launches of suspected ballistic missiles by the regime in the last several days, some saying it's the highest pace of activity by them since 2017. Not a clear understanding of what is going on another one of those usual statements from the administration. They're watching it. They're condemning it.

But behind the scenes, a lot of worry, what is Kim Jong-un up to, why is he doing this, and perhaps no more laser focus than as you say, earlier this week on an incident when they launched a missile, believed to be by the U.S. an advanced missile going at super high speeds that the U.S. would have trouble defending against. And initially, the trajectory they calculated was aim square at the West Coast in Alaska that led to an FAA ground stop for a short period of time.

Now, the U.S. military saying it was all a big mistake because they very quickly calculated that that was not the trajectory. And in fact, the missile only flew about 400 miles and dropped harmlessly into the ocean, thank goodness. But it nonetheless it led to a ground stop. If it was a mistake by the FAA, it was the most significant ground stop of commercial traffic perhaps since 911. So, the U.S. military and the FAA certainly have a lot to talk about if North Korea keeps launching these missiles and how the U.S. is going to defend itself. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Barbara, thanks so much that reporting. Appreciate it.

Also developing at this hour, U.S. intelligence, indicating that Russia has prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine, one that of course, then the Kremlin could use as a false pretext for an invasion. An official telling CNN that the U.S. has evidence that operatives have been trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia's armed forces.