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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Jan. 6th Committee Has Firsthand Knowledge Of Trump's Activity During The Insurrection; McCarthy Calls Partisan Political Weapon Of The Select Committee; COVID Hospitalizations Of Children Surging; Democrats Start 2022 With Hopes Of Passing Build Back Better Act; Schumer Pushes For Rule Change In Senate By Jan. 17 If Republicans Block Action Voting Rights; Trump Endorses Hungary's Far-Right Leader Viktor Orban; Biden: U.S. Will "Respond Decisively" To Russian Invasion Of Ukraine; CBS Poll: 62 Percent Of Americans Expect Violence From The Losing Side In Future Presidential Elections. Aired 5-6pm ET

Aired January 03, 2022 - 17:00   ET




REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): The committee has firsthand testimony now that he was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office watching the attack on television as the assault on the capitol occurred.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A special focus now on former President Donald Trump's conduct in the White House on that day. In particular, how he resisted pleas to take action to get his supporters to leave the capitol.

CHENEY: We have firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence.

NOBLES (voice-over): Committee members say they also have texts and other documents that back up their witness testimony. They are seeking even more evidence in a tranche of documents held by the National Archives that Trump is suing to keep secret. The Supreme Court could decide soon if they will take up the case.

The committee's work comes as the clock is ticking on their window to produce a product. They are hatching plans for big primetime hearings they hope will provide a definitive narrative of what led to the chaos on that day.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): -- what occurred on January 6th played out in full view of the American public and the world. And we want to make sure that that never, ever happens again. So we need to get it right.

NOBLES (voice-over): Meanwhile, Republicans continue to try and undermine their work. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who could still be called before the committee, penned a lengthy letter to his colleagues saying the focus should be on the security lapses that led to January 6th. "Unfortunately one year later, the major hit party seems no closer to answering the central question of how the capitol was left so unprepared and what must be done to ensure it never happens again. Instead, they are using it as a partisan political weapon to further divide our country," McCarthy wrote. Without making any mention of the mob of angry Trump supporters fueled by the big lie about the 2020 election being stolen.

Meanwhile, plans are in place to remember what took place one year ago. President Biden plans to deliver remarks and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is hosting a series of events, including members of Congress sharing their experiences from that day and a candlelight vigil on the capitol steps on the evening of January 6th.


NOBLES (on camera): The January 6th select committee is concerned about those security lapses and do plan to offer some recommendations, but it's the capitol police force right now that is having a difficult time recovering from the January 6th riots. The capitol police chief Tom Manger saying that they have plugged a lot of the holes that they found from what happened on January 6th.

But their biggest problem right now is finding physical officers to join the force. Jake, right now he says their force is down 400 people that they need to be fully staffed in order to protect the capitol. Jake?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Ryan nobles, thank you so much. Let's discuss with our panel. S.E. Cupp, let me start with you. It seems as though Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney is inching closer and closer to accusing former President Trump of a crime. She mentioned dereliction of duty on Sunday.

Carrie Cordero told us in the last hour that's a hard legal case to make. It's more likely Trump might get something like an obstruction charge. What are the political ramifications for Republicans if Trump is ultimately charged with a crime related to January 6th?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, I think they're huge but I think they're already huge and I don't think you need a crime for there to be, you know, some real hard lessons down the line. I mean, whether they come in time for 2022, I don't know, but I think Republicans will be punished for this in the long term for not only kind of allowing and encouraging what happened on January 6th, but also then lying about why and how it happened in the months, in fact, year after.

And seemingly having learned no lessons about it. In fact, many talk about, you know, overturning elections again. And so I don't think you need criminal charges against Donald Trump for there to be some real serious consequences here.

TAPPER: Bakari Sellers, let me ask you, if Republican congressmen are part of this, are complicit in what happened on January 6th in so many ways and if Donald Trump, the leader of the party, was the one who led the charge, why are we not expecting there to be any voter recriminations this November? We're all pretty much expecting that Republicans are going to take the House back, maybe even the Senate back and there really isn't going to be any political blowback.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, that's a good question. And I think part of it has to be the fact that over the next weeks, it really can't be months because we're already in 2022, this committee outside of Liz Cheney, really needs to get their messaging together about what exactly happened and about what that means and how you prevent it from happening again.

That's the most important thing because, right now, in the list of things that the American public are worried about, I mean, its COVID number one, I'm sure. There are concerns about inflation.


And all the days that go by this drops further and further down the radar. So, I'm sure that many people want to remember this, remember the lives lost on the 6th, but the question, it begs itself, what happens on the seventh? What is the messaging going forward about how you're going to hold these individuals accountable and how you're going to prevent this from happening again?

TAPPER: S.E., if I came out right now and said Donald Trump bears responsibility for the attack on Congress by mob rioters, I would be denounced, I think, by people at other networks and right-wing media, et cetera. But you know who said that? House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy a year ago this week. Take a listen.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.


TAPPER: I mean, he directly blamed the mob rioters on Donald Trump a year ago, and this week, he doesn't even mention Trump's name when talking about the January 6th attack.

CUPP: Yes, I mean, no -- it shouldn't surprise anyone that in the moment, you know, it was very clear what had happened and how it happened. You know, the -- connecting the dots was very obvious and, of course, in the following months and over the course of investigations we have more details, but it wasn't unclear what happened that day.

What changed is politics. You know, Kevin McCarthy and the Republican Party decided they could not hang this on Donald Trump and still keep his affection and his voters. And so they had to go along with his lies about what happened that day and again what happened on Election Day.

It's perverse and perverted, but, you know, we all know what happened that day and I don't expect anything that Donald Trump says this January 6th or going forward to change the facts of history. It was clear.

TAPPER: And Bakari Sellers, we had reporting from Jamie Gangel a few minutes ago saying that there are Republicans on Capitol Hill who think that Kevin McCarthy's decision to pull all of the Republicans that he wanted to put on the committee, to pull them off entirely, that that was unwise.

He did that because Nancy Pelosi didn't want to put two of them on the committee. One of them, Jim Jordan, is probably going to be a witness. And anyway, there are a lot of Republicans who think that was really unwise because now McCarthy has no visibility into what's going on. He doesn't have any allies on the committee to push back or leak or -- and keep him informed even as to what's going on.

SELLERS: Correct. As much as I talked about the messaging of the Democrats and Liz Cheney coming out of this committee, the fact is, there's no messaging that will have any credibility pushing back against them. You know, and a lot of times you know this better than I, Jake, you have minority reports that are developed from these committees.

In this instance, you're not going to have that. But I mean, again, it kind of goes to the fact that we know that Nancy Pelosi versus Kevin McCarthy is not really a fair chess match in terms of their leadership tactics and she is running circles around him even on this.

But the fact remains, this committee has to come out with something strong, sound messaging and preventing this from happening again or else it's going to get drowned out by COVID. It's going to get drowned out by inflation. It's going to get drowned out by the problems of today.

TAPPER: And we should also note after all the lies, of course, a number of states had these bogus audits, Arizona, Pennsylvania is talking about it. The Texas secretary of state's office recently released a progress report on its so-called full forensic audit of the 2020 election results in four densely populated Texas counties.

And the report found very few discrepancies between the electronic and manual hand counts of ballots -- 17 in Collin County, 10 in Dallas County, five in Harris County, zero in Tarrant County. The discrepancies found had reasonable explanations like data entry errors, curbside voters not having both electric and paper copy of their vote.

S.E. Cupp, perhaps not surprisingly the Texas attorney general's office released this report Friday night, New Year's Eve. Talking about burying a story in a Friday night news dump.

CUPP: Well, it's inconvenient for the conspiracy theorists in the Republican Party, but I think the untold story in all of this is the waste, the actual taxpayer waste that these phony audits and, you know, election fraud non-stories are costing Americans. That should be important to conservatives and Republicans. It should be important to everyone.


But the waste of resources and money and time and people, not to mention the things we do talk about all the time, which is that this is turning people into conspiracy theorists who no longer trust that elections are real, but also just the waste. And every time one of these pops up and reveals there wasn't significant fraud or fraud at all, I just think how long are we going to keep wasting time and money on this?

TAPPER: Thanks to both of you. Really appreciate it. Happy New Year to you both.

Coming up, new today, the FDA says a new group of Americans can get Pfizer boosters and sooner than previously recommended. What that could mean for the return to classrooms. That's next.

Plus, with much of the Biden agenda on the line, top Democrats want to shift to another high priority promise. We'll explain, ahead.



TAPPER: In our "Health Lead," right now the peak of 3,000 children are hospitalized with coronavirus. That is the largest number of the entire pandemic when it comes to children in the U.S. as the New Year kicks off and schools reopen their doors today. CNN's senior national correspondent Miguel Marquez went to the country's biggest children's hospital where they just surpassed the summer delta surge of COVID hospitalizations and doctors they say -- doctors there say most of the kids are unvaccinated.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four- month-old Grayson Perry, his tiny belly rapidly expanding and contracting. One of many children here with COVID-19 struggling to breathe.

(On camera): Are you afraid they're going to have to intubate him?

GAYVIELLE GOFF, MOTHER OF COVID-19 PATIENT: Yes. A little bit. It's just really scary. So I just hope that, you know, he's able to get better and go home.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Gayvielle Goff, mom to three, thinks her youngest picked up the virus at a Christmas family gathering. Her only job now, keeping her son in good spirits.

GOFF: I do talk to him in like a little baby voice. I sing to him. I can't sing, but he likes it.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): One of nearly 70 children now hospitalized at Texas Children's, a new record high for the nation's largest pediatric hospital. In just the last two weeks, hospitalizations here have increased more than fourfold. Most unvaccinated or not eligible for vaccines from toddlers to teens.

AMY WOODRUFF, MOTHER OF COVID-19 PATIENT: Our COVID journey began -- see, I don't even know my days. Brains are mashed potatoes. We began November 29th. Me and my daughter both tested positive for COVID.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Amy Woodruff's daughter, Haley (ph), her 17th birthday the day we visited has been intubated in an induced coma for nearly a month. She also gave birth nearly three weeks ago. She knows none of it.

WOODRUFF: She had a C-section in Amarillo on December 9th to a beautiful little baby girl, 3 pounds 6 ounces.

MARQUEZ (on camera): And she has not seen yet.

WOODRUFF: She has not seen. And she was COVID negative, praise Jesus.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): From Pampa, Texas, Haley (ph) was moved to Amarillo, then Houston for advanced care. Still unaware her 3-week-old daughter (inaudible) is 900 miles away in an Amarillo newborn intensive care unit.

MARQUEZ (on camera): What will you tell her when you can speak to her?

WOODRUFF: I don't even want to think about it. That's my little girl being away from her little girl. My heart bleeds for her.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The omicron variant now ripping through the lone star state. Texas Children's preparing for even more sick kids as COVID-19 cases skyrocket.

MARQUEZ (on camera): What is your sense for what the next few weeks are going to hold?

NICOLE LEATHERS, NURSE MANAGER, PEDIATRIC ICU, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: You know, I think the bar for resilience just keeps moving. You think that I don't know how we can do this again and then we keep doing it again.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): As Texas Children's readies for a fourth coronavirus wave, already its E.R. is seeing a spike in kids suffering mild symptoms. Their parents seeking testing, bogging down triage for the seriously ill.

BRENT KAZINY, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: We're seeing a lot of patients present with mild respiratory symptoms, cough, congestion, fever, known COVID exposures, et cetera, that really I think a lot of them are really seeking testing.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Like previous waves, the sickest kids, those needing hospitalization, are having a tough time breathing. MELANIE KITAGAWA, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, TRANSITIONAL ICU, TEXAS CHILDREN'S

HOSPITAL: So they're getting a lot of respiratory symptoms as we've been expecting. Pneumonias, needing respiratory support to help them breathe better.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Viral spread expected to intensify in the weeks ahead and even if the omicron variant isn't as severe --

JIM VERSALOVIC, PATHOLOGIZT-IN-CHIEF, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: The problem is that with so many children and adults infected, even if the percent -- percent hospitalization rate is lower, we're still -- we could see more children hospitalized over a very short period of time. So, that certainly puts a strain on our health care resources.


MARQUEZ (on camera): About a third of the children at Texas Children's Hospital are under 5. Those are the most vulnerable, still unable to get vaccinated at all. And maybe what's most disturbing here is that we're nowhere near the end of this thing. They think the next couple of weeks, mid-January into February is going to be the worst. Texas schools go back into session tomorrow. And keep in mind, places like Texas where the government has banned mask mandates in schools, parents are going to have to be very, very careful. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Miguel Marquez, thanks so much.

Joining us now to discuss is Dr. Peter Hotez. He is the chair of tropical pediatrics at Texas Children's Hospital and the co-director of the Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. Dr. Hotez, you just saw Miguel's piece from Texas Children's with those heartbreaking stories from your colleagues about patients there.


How are hospital staff dealing with this wave that is hitting kids so especially hard?

PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Yeah, well, we got a hint of it over the summer with delta, which was more transmissible than previous lineages, but this is by far, the king of transmissible COVID viruses. So we're seeing unprecedented number numbers of kids getting infected and going into children's hospitals.

I don't think this virus is selectively targeting children. I think what's happening is we're seeing unfold across the country is a virus firestorm, a virus blizzard and so many kids are getting swept up in it. What we tend to see are two -- they come in two flavors.

One, kids who have been admitted for other reasons who are found on routine testing upon admission to be positive. I think that's a substantial segment. But also kids who are actually getting sick from COVID. And so this narrative that it's just a mild virus is not accurate. Also we have the additional problem that in hospitals across the

country now so many health care providers, nurses, ICU staff, physicians are getting knocked out of the workforce because they have COVID and they're at home. And so that creates the dangerous situation on top of it.

And finally, we've just done a terrible job vaccinating our kids across the country. You know, in the southern part of the U.S. among the adolescents, 12 to 17-year-olds, the rates are about half of what they are in the northeast. Sometimes as low as 30 to 40 percent.

And little kids, parents have been really slow to adopt vaccinating the kids 5 and up. So that creates that added vulnerability. So, even though there's a lot of happy talk about the omicron variant, less severe disease, when you add up all the factors that I've just talked about, we've got a very serious situation facing us in this country especially for the kids.

TAPPER: And just today the FDA greenlit the Pfizer booster. A third shot for 12 to 15-year-olds and Pfizer boosters for kids 5 to 11 if they are immunocompromised. Right now almost 86 percent of adults in the U.S., 18 and over, have at least one shot. Compare that to only 61 percent of 12 to 15-year-olds and only about 24 percent of 5 to 11- year-olds. Why is it still so low for kids? Is it just parents are afraid of what the vaccine will do?

HOTEZ: Well, I think, you know, in the southern part of the United States where the adolescent vaccination rates are about half, what you are seeing is there's a lot of negative press around these vaccines in terms of coming from even members of Congress and some of the red states here that are working to discredit vaccines. And so that's working against us.

And the same parents who have adolescents that they're not vaccinating, well, guess what? Those adolescents have younger brothers and sisters and the parents aren't vaccinating them either. And so we've got this kind of spiraling situation so we need to step up our vaccine advocacy for little kids. There's too much of a narrative out there that says kids do really fine with this. Don't worry about it.

And we haven't even spoken, Jake, about the long COVID symptoms that we're seeing in kids. So, Great Ormond Street Hospital in the U.K. has done a pretty impressive study to show roughly 1 in 7 kids in London are growing up to develop long COVID symptoms. And we don't know what that means for their neurodevelopment because in some adults we're seeing gray matter brain degeneration, cognitive declines.

We don't know if that's going to be a situation in kids. So this could haunt us for a long time and the U.S. needs to not only advocate better but bring up this situation and really start proactively doing some neurodevelopmental testing in these kids before and after their COVID.

TAPPER: Health experts keep saying that with better ventilation, masking, testing and obviously vaccines, kids should be in school. That the academic, psychological, and emotional damage done during remote learning was too substantial and there are ways to safely go back to school.

Students in Milwaukee, Atlanta and Cleveland, however, are going back to school remotely this week. The CDC keeps saying kids should be in- person. Listen to what one mom told CNN's Gabe Cohen.


ROBIN JACKSON, MOTHER: Every time he talks about school, he gets anxiety. Worried about omicron. Worried about courses. Worried about social life. It's a lot for a 16-year-old to handle.


TAPPER: There are going to be some very long-lasting effects on this generation of kids from all of this stress, especially the damage from remote learning where so many kids slip through the cracks.

HOTEZ: Yes, and right before the holidays, Jake, Vivek Murthy, Dr. Murthy, the surgeon general, issued a very timely report on the mental health aspects of COVID-19.


But here's the other piece to this. You know, all of the ways that we've been keeping kids safe over the last two years, omicron is a different animal in terms of how transmissible it is. So, it's really unclear how well this is going to go for the first few weeks. So, it's a very tough call for school administrators and I have a lot of sympathy and empathy for them making the call either to stay virtual for a couple more weeks or holding the line and doing in person now.

TAPPER: Dr. Hotez, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

It was supposed to be part of President Biden's legislative legacy. And critical for Democratic prospects in the midterm elections. Will Democrats be able to pass the Build Back Better Act? We'll talk to a leading Democratic lawmaker next. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, an obscured path forward for President Joe Biden as he arrives back in Washington today, not just literally but figuratively. His biggest legislative agenda, his Build Back Better plan has an uncertain future. But today, Senate leaders are putting another issue on the priority list.

Let's go to CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us. Kaitlan, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, is calling for action in the next two weeks on some sort of election reform bill. Is the President giving Schumer his blessing to do so?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, a big question, Jake, is whether or not he's giving him his blessing when it comes to changing those rules. And so we know that the President has said if he gets legislation to his desk on voting rights, he'll sign it. That doesn't seem like a likely path forward at this time right now given, of course, Republicans have rejected any efforts to pass that over the last several months.

And so when it comes to changing the Senate rules, though, the President did say before the holiday break that he could be open to fundamental changes to those rules. And whether it came to a carve out of the Senate filibuster, that would mean changing it basically for one issue or something along those lines.

Jake, the President, that he kind of views that as a last resort-type measure, but they very well may be in that last resort-type place. Because Senator Schumer sending this letter today a very bluntly worded letter talking about how they are going to be voting on changes to the Senate rules by January 17th that there's been no movement on legislation with -- seems really unlikely right now, Jake.

And in this letter from the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, it's really worth reading in full. But he did say in part, "We must ask ourselves if the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the state level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same?"

And so, of course, that would mean changing those votes, changing those rules where they do not need those Republican votes in order to get something passed on voting rights. That has been the big irritation for Democrats over the last several months, Jake. But when it comes to changing those rules, they would need Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema on board to do so. That is something they have not been interested in in the past.

And so they've been having meetings privately behind the scenes about this, whether or not they could actually get there and get them on board. That remains to be seen. But that's a big question in this going forward that you're going to be looking at over the next two weeks, Jake.

Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much. Let's bring in Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan. She's the Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Congresswoman, Happy New Year, we're now in 2022 for those counting. 10 months, five days until the midterm elections. On a scale of one to 10, how likely do you see it for Bill -- for Biden's Build Back Better agenda passing the Senate this year?

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI), DEPUTY WHIP, CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS: I think that we're going to get something. I would put it in the seven to eight category. I think it was very clear that there were conversations that didn't need to play out in public over the holidays. There are too many important things in Build Back Better.

You know, part of the problem is, everybody knows the words Build Back Better, and they don't know what's in it. They don't know that you're trying to lower the cost of prescription drugs. They don't know that employers who are desperate to hire people, the employees can't get child care.

They don't know what's in there about helping the supply chain. So we got to do a better job of talking about what's in it. But it is my hope that people have had a good holiday, they've taken deep breaths, and we're going to come back and go to the table and get it done.

TAPPER: Well, let's talk about some of the items in the Build Back Better Act. They include universal and free pre-K, rebates and tax credits to try to help combat climate change. As you noted, a lower prescription drug prices, an extension on the Child Tax Credit. That's a provision Senator Joe Manchin says he has issues with. Would you support the Senate making this bill smaller so that Manchin would support it?

DINGELL: You know, I'm not going to negotiate in public. He has said that he support the Child Tax Credit, but thinks it should be different. So let's see what happens in the negotiations.

But I'm going to tell you something, Jake. I was on the phone today with one of the CEOs in the auto industry. And we are behind as a country keeping up with Europe and Asia, in terms of advanced technology. We can't afford not to get this done, which is exactly what he said to me and told me that even our neighbor Canada is beating us at it and even arguing that these companies, they're build the battery plant there.

I don't want those (INAUDIBLE) in Canada, or to Europe, or to China or to Japan or Korea. We got to get this bill down. We got to keep job here and address these (INAUDIBLE).

TAPPER: Today, the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat in New York, he put election reform on the priority list. He wants to debate Senate rules in the next two weeks theoretically getting rid of the filibuster for this vote.


It's an issue Democrats campaigned on election reform, voting rights as many call it, promised action. Is that going to happen? Are Manchin and Sinema going to be on board that change?

DINGELL: I don't know what's going to happen. You know, I'm a traditionalist. I think that our constitution is held up for a couple of centuries. But I also know that what I'm seeing happening in our states that where we are seeing people trying to undermine people's confidence in their vote, trying to not get people not to believe that their votes are being counted honorably, with integrity, and accurately and now funded (INAUDIBLE), all kinds of people will not be able to vote.

Yes, African Americans and people of color are being discouraged. But so as seniors. We have legislation in the state of Michigan that would make it hard for people have voted absentee after they turn 65. Their vote won't count unless they can figure out and how to get to the clerk office and show their ID. That's not right.

Democracy thrive when every single person can participate. We maximize (INAUDIBLE), don't diminish it with the lowest number (INAUDIBLE).

TAPPER: Speaking of attempts to undermine democracy, a rather odd move by Donald Trump today, even by Donald Trump standards. He endorsed the far-right Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban. Orban is someone who has considered -- he's considered a threat to democracy, has consolidated power over the years. He's blocked independent media, once tried to block asylum seekers and refugees.

A lot of people might not know this, but of the many positions you hold, you are also co-chair of the Congressional Hungarian Caucus. What do you make of this endorsement by Trump? Is it too much to say that Donald Trump might want to turn the U.S. into what Viktor Orban has done to Hungary?

DINGELL: Well, you know, the Hungarian Caucus doesn't endorse candidates, but we work on issues of mutual concern. But I have with my colleagues communicated to the State Department, my real concern about what's happening in Hungary to the democracy that we all supported so strongly. He is limiting freedom of press. He is attacking human right.

It is very scary about what he is doing, the basic democratic principle that people fought so long for. And it's a danger to democracy in the world the actions that he is taking.

TAPPER: Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan, good to see you. Happy New Year. Thanks for joining us today.

President Biden makes another promise to respond if Russia invades Ukraine. So what happens now? We're going to go live to the Pentagon and to Moscow next.



TAPPER: In our world lead, President Biden is vowing the United States will, quote, respond decisively to any Russian invasion of Ukraine again, though, how seriously Putin takes that pledge given that Biden has already taken off the table to U.S. dispatching its own forces to protect Ukraine. Well, that's another matter.

That pledge came during a phone call with Ukraine's President on Sunday, just days after a tense call between President Biden and Russia's Vladimir Putin last week as many as 100,000 Russian troops remain on its border with Ukraine despite increasing warnings from the U.S. and NATO over Russia's military buildup.

CNN's Oren Liebermann joins us now live from the Pentagon. So Oren, what options does the President have to deter further Russian aggression towards Ukraine?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, the primary option remains sanctions, wide ranging hard hitting, going right after the economy and perhaps, for example, the energy sector, the financial sector, ones that will make Russia pay a heavy price if President Vladimir Putin decides to invade Ukraine. And President Joe Biden promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, that the U.S. will respond decisively. Zelensky saying he appreciates the call and the special nature of the relationship.

But it's not only sanctions, there are military options on the table here, not to send troops to Ukraine, but to send U.S. troops to Eastern European allies and other NATO countries to show Russia and to show Putin that the U.S. is still very serious about eastern Russia. And he's watching all of this very carefully, sending, for example, reconnaissance flights through Ukraine over the last couple of days to monitor Russian activity.

All of this will be done in close coordination with NATO allies. There is, of course, a balancing act here. There is a fine line between deterrence and provocation. And that's what the U.S. and NATO are trying to figure out here during this incredibly sensitive time between Russia and Ukraine.

TAPPER: Oren, the Democratic Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, raised some eyebrows in an interview talking about the conflict. What did he have to say about the likelihood that Russia will invade, again, Ukraine?

LIEBERMANN: He was blunt here, not mincing any words. He called it very likely. Listen to this.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I fear that Putin is very likely to invade. He certainly appears intent on it unless we can persuade him otherwise. And I think nothing other than a level of sanctions that Russia has never seen, will deter him. And that's exactly what we need to do with our allies.


LIEBERMANN: Biden and the administration have promised sanctions beyond what Russia saw following the 2014 invasion of Ukraine. And that's what Congressman Schiff is pointing at saying they need to be, quote, sector-size sanctions, even saying there should be sanctions targeting Putin personally.

TAPPER: Oren Liebermann, thanks so much.

Let's get the reaction from the Kremlin to President Biden's new warnings. CNN's Nic Robertson is live for us in Moscow. And Nic, Putin says the current U.S. posture towards this country could lead to a complete breakdown of relations. What does the Kremlin have to say about the warnings from Biden?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: So far, nothing. And I think there are a couple of reasons here. One is it sort of still a vacation period here. New Year is a big time to celebrate and there is the Orthodox Christmas coming up the 7th of January, just later this week. A holiday period for Russian government.

However, we did hear from the Russian Foreign Minister over the weekend saying that the Russia would not allow these talks to drag on.


But I think let's take a step back here, Jake, for a second. We're looking at this as how is Russia responding to what President Biden has said. But it is Russia that's created the context and the pressure to have these talks, to have the phone calls with President Biden to have the trickledown effect of the President Biden's phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. To have the meeting next week with the United States, to have the meeting with NATO after that.

Russia in many ways here has set has set the grounds already, has pulled the strings to make this happen. This, in a way, and I'm not calling it a game, but let's just use that word here for a moment, because it's way more serious in the game, but they've kind of set the terms of this and they can wait and play it as as it comes up.

They don't have to say anything at this moment. They've said a lot and constructed the scenario already.

TAPPER: All right, Nic Robertson, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Almost a year since the January 6th attack on the Capitol, now a staggering number of Americans say they expect violence over future presidential election losses. We're breaking down the numbers next.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, this Thursday marks the sobering one year anniversary of the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. That deadly insurrection and its aftermath remained a huge focus here in Washington, D.C. both at the Justice Department and on Capitol Hill with the work of the House January 6 Select Committee.

CNN's Senior Data reporter Harry Enten joins us now live to discuss. And Harry, nearly a full year has passed and it's stunning. So many people still share the false belief of the January 6th rioters that Trump won the election. He did not win the election. What did the latest polls have to say?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN'S SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I think the word you're looking for is maybe insane. I think that's the word. Look, if you ask people whether they think Biden was legitimately elected, you look among Republicans. Look at this, believe that Biden's election wasn't legitimate, 71 percent, that's barely changed from where it was a year ago when it was 73 percent.

Overall, I should point out, it's just 33 percent of Americans who believe Biden victory was not legitimate. But that Republican number to me is quite concerning. And if we look back over time, right, I mean, look back at the last few elections, and basically say, OK, do you have no confidence at all that the election was conducted accurately?

Look at that number for the 2020 election among the losing candidates party, 63 percent. That is out of this world and no other election on that slide, you see, was it more than 11 percent. So clearly, there's something distinct going on in this past election with so many Republicans believing that it was not a legitimate election, which it clearly was.

TAPPER: Oh, Donald Trump lying about it. And the Republican Party acquiescing with his lies. How do Americans, in general, not just Republicans, Americans in general, view what happened on January 6th?

ENTEN: Look, you know, again, it's just this big divide between Republicans and everybody else. You know, 59 percent of Trump voters say that the January 6th rioter were defending freedom, just 17 percent of them called it an insurrection. Most Americans, however, believe it was, in fact, an insurrection.

But, you know, I think what's so interesting here is how they view the January 6th protesters themselves. And essentially if you say, OK, were these January 6th protesters Trump supporters, or were they perhaps left-leaning pretend Trump supporters? This is an idea that's been floated out there, which is, of course, lunacy.

Among Trump voters, look at that. 45 percent of them believed that, in fact, these were pretend Trump supporters. Fortunately, most people overall, in fact, believe that the folks on January 6th were Trump supporters, which actually worse. So there are still a lot of Americans who believe in the truth, at least.

TAPPER: It's just absolutely disgraceful. I mean, it's just such a testament to the MAGA media and MAGA politicians just acquiescing, supplicating to this lie. What are Americans have to think about future elections?

ENTEN: I -- well, what they say is that they expect that there's going to be potential violence in future elections. And this is something that actually Trump voters, Biden voters and overall agree upon in future presidential elections, with the losing side concede peacefully, just 38 percent of voters overall say that, yes, they will.

Look at that, violence over losing. Look at that, 62 percent believe that they'll be violence over losing and future presidential elections, and Biden voters and Trump voters overwhelmingly agree on that. And, you know, the thing when we're looking ahead to the future is, I think we're basically going to get perhaps the same equation, if not a closer election, potentially, in 2024, than we had this past time around.

Because if you look at the 2024 polls at this particular point, what do you see? You see that Biden and Trump are neck and neck in those polls at this particular point. Look at that, 46 percent for Biden versus 45 percent for Trump. If you look back four years ago, at this point, Biden was running away with it. Right now, voters are very willing to give Trump a chance, despite what happened on January 6th, and despite the fact that a lot of voters feel that Trump is responsible for what happened then.

TAPPER: So, and Harry, I mean, we should say -- I mean, people saying that they think there's going to be violence doesn't mean that they support violence. I mean --


TAPPER: -- there are a lot of people who might think that there's going to be violence who oppose it, they're afraid of it. What about voters who say that violence is sometimes justified?


ENTEN: Crazy, crazy. Look at this, 34 percent, 34 percent, in fact, say that it is justified sometimes in an ABC News Washington Post poll and 40 -- nearly 40 percent of Trump supporters actually believe that Biden supporters only 20 percent do. But the fact is that a third of the public believes that violence is sometimes justified. That's crazy.

TAPPER: Absolutely insane. Very disturbing. Harry Enten, thanks. Good to see you again. Happy New Year --

ENTEN: Nice to see you.

TAPPER: -- this Thursday.

Join us for an unprecedented gathering inside the Capitol with the police, lawmakers, political leaders. Anderson Cooper and I are going to host our coverage "Live From The Capitol: January 6th One Year Later" at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up, in the middle of the COVID surge, the Big Apple's new Mayor has a clear message, classrooms will remain open. New York City Mayor Eric Adams joins CNN live, that's ahead.