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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Chief: U.S. Capitol Strong Enough To Withstand An Attack Today; Soon: Chicago Teachers Vote On Going Remote; If Vote Passes Classes Will Be Canceled Tomorrow; January 6 CMTE. Reveals New Text Messages From Fox Host Sean Hannity About Insurrection; Some Accused Rioters Still Clinging To Trump's Big Lie; FBI Still Trying To Track Down 350 Plus Capitol Rioters; Schumer Announces Vote To Change Filibuster Rules For Election Reform Despite Resistance From Manchin & Sinema; Hong Kong's Strict COVID Protocols Impacting Mental Health. Aired 5- 6pm ET

Aired January 04, 2022 - 17:00   ET



CHIEF THOMAS MANGER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: The United States Capitol Police, as an organization is stronger and better prepared to carry out its mission today than it was before January 6 of last year.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A report last month by Inspector General Michael Bolton found that only about a quarter of the 104 recommended changes to the U.S. Capitol Police following the January 6 riot have been implemented. But today, Manger said 60 other reforms are in progress.

MANGER: There was no question in my mind looking at all of the recommendations that intelligence, operational planning and getting our civil disturbance unit up to where it needs to be with the three biggest issues. And those were the ones that we worked on first, and those the ones that frankly, are largely completed.

REID (voice-over): Still, the department faces daunting challenges, at least four January 6 responders have died by suicide over the last year. The department also has not been able to fully address staffing issues.

It has lost over 130 officers through retirement or resignation after January 6, and the force is still about 400 officers short of where it needs to be. And those who remain still have scars from the attack.

SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: This whole year has been very difficult.

REID (voice-over): Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, a 15 year veteran of the force, was assigned to guard the west entrance to the Capitol on January 6, today, he reflected on that haunting experience.

GONELL: So the magnitude of what we encounter was something like I never experienced myself, not even when I was overseas in combat. REID (voice-over): Gonell was out for months because of injuries sustained during the insurrection and still grapples with trauma from that day.

GONELL: When I returned to the Capitol on November 3, I hesitated before going in, to be honest. And for a moment I thought it's going to be gut wrenching to even take the first step out of my car.


REID: Manger says he is aware of several events planned for Thursday, but there was no intelligence that indicates there'll be any problems. Now the Department of Homeland Security Chief also said today he is not aware of any specific credible threats on the anniversary of the insurrection. Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, Paula Reid, thanks so much.

Let's discuss with former FBI Senior Intelligence Adviser and CIA counterterrorism official, Phil Mudd, and Terrance Gainer, former Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police.

Chief, let me start with you. The current Capitol Police Chief, Thomas Manger, says the force is stronger and better prepared today than it was before the attack a year ago. Do you agree?

TERRANCE GAINER, FORMER U.S. CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF: Absolutely. I agree. I know Tom very well. I know the work he's been doing.

Jake, I've talking to officers at all level and they agree things are a lot better in equipment, training, information, intelligence and radio communications.

TAPPER: Phil Mudd, after the attack the Capitol Police Inspector General issued more than 100 security upgrade recommendations. They say the police -- Capitol Police say they've only finished a third of those. Chief Manger says today that about 60 others are underway, one such as stronger windows which can't be installed during winter. We don't know exactly what's remaining on the list.

Now, some House Republicans are out there saying nothing has changed or at least not enough to actually make the Capitol safer. Is that U.S. Capitol properly protected today?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think in one sense it is. If you look at physical security, I was watching the briefing today and you anticipate what happens in a couple of days. It's hard to imagine. We'll see a repeat, either this week, next week, the week after of what we saw a year ago.

I do think that there's a broader question here that we need to focus on. And that's not just on physical security, that's on the security in this country of how we speak about political violence. What I've seen change over the last year isn't just the threat to windows, it's more and more politicians saying what happened is maybe an acceptable part of the political landscape. I don't care how hard you secure windows or how many people you hire, if this starts to be part of the American political dialogue that is violence against the building, no Intel guy, no security guy can secure that building.

TAPPER: Chief, Chief Manger says the Capitol could withstand another January 6 style attack. Do you agree?

GAINER: As it stands right now, I don't think it could without a lot more forces. One of the things we keep skipping in addition to what Phil just mentioned, is the fact that there is not a secure perimeter around there. So you're always relying on the best intelligence you can in a number of authors to be able to fight and repel hordes. As long as there's not crowds of five and 10,000, they are in good shape.

But everybody refuses to address a more secure way to let people onto the campus, let's say, a gateway where everybody is checked before they come on the campus and then you can be in control of that. So those -- we are relying on those officers to be able to keep people off the steps, away from those windows that still aren't repaired and be ready for anything.


TAPPER: So, Phil, you had a decade's long career in law enforcement counterterrorism. We know the Capitol Police force is about 400 officers short of full operating capacity. We've also heard, by the way, before the Capitol attack of low morale caused by a lot of the Black Lives Matter, Defund the Police movement and the low morale among police officers. How difficult is it to recruit good officers and retain our current workforce, with all of this political violence, especially what happened on the Capitol, I guess?

MUDD: I think extremely difficult and maybe impossible. I mean, if you contrast this to what we face at the bureau and at the CIA after 9/11, America, despite the mistakes we made, they supported us.

Every time I saw somebody in a public event, they would come up almost without exception and say, we love you guys, including parents who lost children in the towers, who came up to me personally. If you contrast that to what we see in terms of treatment of police today, and even how some members of Congress I've spoken about the people that the officers who protected them, it's a polar opposite.

I guess I'd worry, not just that they can't recruit. But to close, Jake, if you have to open the aperture to recruit people who maybe aren't up to the standards that you want, that's not where you want to be. I'd worry just -- I'd worry about recruiting people who maybe shouldn't be there in the first place because they can't get anybody to show up.

TAPPER: And Chief, a recent threat assessment warns that quote, "threat actors" might take advantage of the one year anniversary of the January 6 attack. Federal officials, though, as you heard from Paula, they say there's no currently no specific or credible threats. How concerned are you? GAINER: Well, I hope they learned a lot of lessons, our intelligence partners across the spectrum of state, local and federal to share that information. But it's some actually similar to the attitude they had a couple days before the six. That said, Jake, I think like after 9/11, everybody got showered sharper. After the January 6 of last year, everybody's gotten sharper, we have to stay on guard.

And it doesn't help that members of Congress, the Republican members of Congress in large part, are saying it's not secure enough, and they're not doing much to dial down the temperature and say honest things and push to calm the rancor we have throughout the United States.

TAPPER: Chief Gainer, Phil Mudd, thanks to both of you. I really appreciate it.

Coming up, we're going to have a look at some of the rioters from January 6, including one who says he's embarrassed by what he did that day. Plus, we'll talk to a pediatric expert about the importance of keeping kids in classrooms as one major teachers union is about the vote on going virtual again. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our health lead from coast to coast, a growing dilemma as President Biden says school should remain open, school districts are struggling with what to do amid a skyrocketing number of children hospitalized with COVID. Although most school districts are open for in person learning, around 3,200 schools from Seattle to Newark, New Jersey have instituted what amounts to a patchwork of delays and remote starts. In Chicago, the country's third largest school district, teachers are going to vote tonight whether to take action against in person learning.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is in Chicago.

Omar, what does the teachers union want?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, they've been at the bargaining table this afternoon. And part of the concerns from the Chicago Teachers Union is they don't believe the current measures in place from the school district are enough to keep students and staff safe in person. And that comes from not enough access to testing, also the fact that only about a third of the total student population is vaccinated, even though the rate for teachers is much higher within the context of record COVID-19 case numbers over the course of the past few weeks for students, staff and of course, the city of Chicago as a whole.

Now the school district has said going virtual would be too detrimental to education. And part of what they've proposed is school level metrics for when to go fully remote. And an example they put out was when about 50 percent of the student population is forced to isolate or quarantine. And that comes on top of the universal masking they've instituted and maintaining the primary spread is not happening in the classrooms, but instead in the surrounding communities.

But of course, as of right now, the union is still set to vote that will carry on likely until 10:00 Eastern Time tonight. And if they vote yes to go virtual, they won't end up going virtual, the school district says school will be canceled.

TAPPER: And what are you hearing from parents in Chicago?

JIMENEZ: Well, parents, Jake, as you can imagine are a mixed bag on this. But one sentiment that they share is that this is deja vu, we went through a similar situation like this last year. And another shared sentiment is frustration over what happens to the student's educations when these two sides negotiate and virtual learning is on the table.

One parent in particular with a first grader in the Chicago Public School System told me that, "Our children have a right to quality in person education and teachers that will help them reach their academic potential. Anything short of that is called professional negligence. My wife will have to quit her job in order to be home for the remote learning experience. The hardship this will cause to working families, mine included, is criminal."

And another parent who pulled her child out of the school system last year because of these frustrations said that the blame lies with the school district. They need to figure it out. But the district says, they have, union says they haven't, Jake.


TAPPER: Omar Jimenez in Chicago, thanks so much.

Let's talk about this with Dr. Paul Offit. He's the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He's also a member of the FDA's Advisory Committee.

So, Dr. Offit, you heard Omar's report from Chicago. We know that as long as schools are embracing vaccines, ventilation testing and masking, health experts say it's safe for kids to go back and safer in person learning. But there are -- there is a shortage in testing. So, what should schools do? I think in Philly, where you are they voted -- the schools are remote now, right?

DR. PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE: I think 81 of the 200 schools in Philadelphia are remote but still almost a little more than half are still going back to school because we want kids to be back in school, right? I mean, nobody has suffered, I think the social isolation from not being in school more than children, and for many, it's the only decent meal they get during the day and distance learning is many ways of contradiction in terms. So I think we want kids to be in school.

But if we want them to be in school, then we have to do everything we can to keep them in school, the testing is a problem. So I think what we have to do is make -- use of the fact or understand the fact that we just don't have testing that's available. And so the best thing to do that, that if a child obviously has COVID, they should stay home until they're completely asymptomatic and then come back to school with masks. And for anybody who's been exposed, they need to mask for 10 days.

But I think with masking and social distancing and vaccination, you know, we can really get on top of that. The teachers have to be vaccinated, the bus drivers has to be vaccinated, and the children over five should be vaccinated. And then we can have the thing we all want, this precious thing we all want, which is to have our children back in school, but we should do it in a responsible way. And vaccination and masking and social distancing and having the right filtration is that responsible way.

TAPPER: A piece in "The New York Times" this morning says, quote, "For the past two years, large parts of American society have decided harming children was an unavoidable side effect of COVID-19. And that was probably true in the spring of 2020, when nearly all of society shut down." But "the widespread availability of vaccines since last spring also raises an ethical question, should children suffer to protect unvaccinated adults who are voluntarily accepting COVID risk for themselves and increasing everybody else's risk, too? Right now, the United States is effectively saying yes."

The argument being made there is most of the people in the hospitals are adults, overwhelmingly and most of the adults in the hospitals are unvaccinated. And that we are making this decision as a society, kids can suffer because we don't want adults who have the vaccine right there to get hurt.

OFFIT: Well, certainly children are suffering this infection. I mean, our Children's Hospital, Philadelphia is now seeing many, many children, including as many as 15 in the intensive care unit who have COVID. And I think, you know, the vaccine is safe and effective, and so, we should give it. Unfortunately, if you look at the 12 to 17 year old, only about 55 percent are vaccinated, so 45 percent aren't. For the five to 11 year old, only 15 percent are vaccinated, so 85 percent aren't.

I think you can never make a case to a parent that they should vaccinate a child to protect an older adult. I think you should vaccinate a child because it protects the child. And we do need to protect children because although they do get infected less frequently, unless severely, they certainly can be infected severely causing them to suffer and be hospitalized and occasionally die. But 1000 children, less than 18 years of age, have died from this infection. We have vaccines in place for diseases that cause far fewer deaths than that.

TAPPER: We talked to a pediatrician from Chicago hospital last week and a different one in a Texas hospital. And they say that the kids that are hospitalized with COVID -- because of COVID are almost entirely unvaccinated. Is that the case at CHOP?

OFFIT: Yes, not only the children unvaccinated, but their parents are unvaccinated and the siblings are unvaccinated. I mean, watching these parents suffer the fact that their children are brought up to the ICU sedated, you know, have -- put on a ventilator and you're watching the parents crying, you're thinking, this was all preventable. You could have vaccinated your child, you could have vaccinated yourself. And it's just really heartbreaking.

This was heartbreaking enough before we had a vaccine. Now that you have the vaccine to prevent all this, it's doubly heartbreaking. It's hard.

TAPPER: Get your kids vaccinated.

Dr. Paul Offit, thank you so much. Good to see you as always.

Breaking news, the January 6 committee has just officially asked Sean Hannity from Fox to voluntarily cooperate with their questions about his conversations with folks at the White House. Find out what they want from him specifically, next.



TAPPER: We have some breaking news for you in our politics lead right now. The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection has just released the letter that its members sent to Fox News host Sean Hannity today asking for his cooperation with their probe into the deadly attack.

Let's bring in CNN's Jaime Gangel.

Jaime, walk us through what the letter says and what the committee is asking Mr. Hannity for.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So first of all, they're asking him for voluntary cooperation, Jake, and it's based on the fact that they say they have a series of texts, multiple texts from him to former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, as well as other members of the White House staff.

Let me just read you from the top of the letter. They say to Hannity, that it indicates that he had quote, "advanced knowledge regarding President Trump's and his legal teams planning for January 6." It goes on to say that it appears Hannity was quote, "expressing concerns and providing advice to the president and certain White House staff regarding the planning."


It goes on to say that Sean Hannity quote, "also had relevant communications while the riot was underway and in the days thereafter." And that, quote, "The communications make you a fact witness in our investigation."

Within the letter, there are -- they have released a number of text messages. They say that there were others in addition to that. But let me just give you one example, Jake, they refer to a text message on January 5. This would be obviously the night before the riot. And they say, on January 5, the night before the violent riot, you sent and received a stream of texts, you wrote, quote, "I'm very worried about the next 48 hours." With the counting of the electoral votes scheduled for January 6 at 1:00 p.m., this is now the committee saying to Hannity, why were you concerned about the next 48 hours?

So Jake, we're still going through it. We're just looking at this letter now. But I think it gives you a sense of two things. One is, while they say in the letter that they have the utmost respect for the First Amendment, they feel that Sean Hannity has relevant information that does not interfere with the First Amendment. And it's also obvious from their letter that they have -- it would seem dozens, if not more e-mail exchanges in this critical period of time. Jake.

TAPPER: Jamie Gangel, thank you so much.

Joining us live to discuss, Carrie Cordero, former Counsel to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

Carrie, just looking at this letter that the January 6 Committee has sent to Fox host Sean Hannity, they have a lot of evidence they seem to have, they seem to be claiming, about whom Hannity was talking to, what he was discussing. One of the things that it seems clear that they're trying to establish the fact pattern that Sean Hannity was worried about what Trump and Trump's mob would do because he didn't think that, I mean, I'm trying to -- I'm extrapolating here, but it doesn't sound like Hannity is saying, you know, we're going to be able to hold on to the presidency, he seems worried about what Trump's going to do.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. So there's obviously facts that they have in their possession that indicate that Sean Hannity was in communication with folks at the White House, and that he can potentially provide insights into the thinking that was going on either by the president, the former president himself, or others who were close to him to try to understand the events leading up to January 6, itself.

But Jake, just on giving this letter a very quick look as it just came out, there's three things that stand out to me on the letter. Number one, they're asking for voluntary cooperation from Sean Hannity. So this is not a subpoena to a member of the news media, this is the committee asking for voluntary cooperation. And that's important.

The second thing that stands out to me is that they say they want to work with his counsel. So again, they -- this is not a subpoena, this is not a demand, this is the committee asking for his participation in this constitutional process to get to the bottom of the facts.

And the third thing that stands out to me in the letter is that they say that they are not interested in information that's related to news gathering. And so, for members of the media who are on the receiving end of a request from a government entity, the fact that it's not related to his news gathering activity is also important.

TAPPER: Most Trump allies have refused to engage with the committee ones at this level like Mark Meadows or Steve Bannon. Assuming that Hannity refuses, and we don't know what he's going to do, I should be clear with that. Most people that the committee has asked to speak to have cooperated, but some very top level people have not.

If Hannity doesn't cooperate, is there a strong case for criminal contempt of Congress? Executive privilege doesn't apply, but at the same time, he is a member of the press. And even if the committee is saying, hey, we're not trying to get involved with your press gathering, your news gathering operation, that comes very close if not going over a line in terms of a journalist talking to people in the White House.

CORDERO: So, on one hand, Jake, what the committee's way of operating has demonstrated is that no one is above the law. And people who are acting in their individual capacities, not in government positions even but especially in their individual capacities don't have the right to deny participating with the committee in responding to a request. But at this point, this is voluntary cooperation that they're asking for. They haven't served a subpoena yet.

And so really, the question is, will he engage with the committee? And so one of the things that I'll be interested to see how this plays out, is whether he engages with the committee only through personal counsel, or whether Fox News acts on his behalf. Because if the news organization acts on his behalf, that will then raise the media side of this more.

TAPPER: Yes. All right, Carrie Cordero, to be continued. Thanks so much.

More than 700 rioters have so far been charged for attacking the Capitol nearly one year after the insurrection, while plenty continue to stand by their actions, insisting they did nothing wrong. CNN's Jessica Schneider now reports some are expressing remorse for being a part of the violent mob.


JOSHUA PRUITT, ACCUSED CAPITOL RIOTER: So if you asked me if I do it again, I want to say yes, but then I'd question in the back my head, would I?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former Proud Boy Josh Pruitt describes his past year as an emotional train wreck.

PRUITT: I don't feel like I did anything wrong, but knowing the consequences that came out of it, would be the part that would make me question it.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Prosecutors have laid out an array of video as evidence against him. Pruitt can be seen confronting Capitol police officers after walking in through the shattered front doors. And inside the Capitol crypt, Pruitt is caught smashing aside.

All of it leading to eight federal charges against him, including counts for destruction of government property and acts of physical violence. But Pruitt defends his actions that day, clinging to the big lie that former President Donald Trump continues to spread and saying he has no plans to plead guilty.

PRUITT: I was just a patriot out there, you know, protesting against some I -- what I think is a stolen election, trying to send him to prison for a few years over this, I think is a complete joke.

SCHNEIDER (on-camera): Are you concerned that you could be, in fact, sent to prison?

PRUITT: I am concerned.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Pruitt is among the more than 700 people now charged in connection with the Capitol attack. 70 plus defendants have been sent in so far, about 30 getting jail time.

JENNA RYAN, CAPITOL RIOTER SENTENCED TO PRISON: The first week in January, I have to report to prison.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Jenna Ryan flew a private jet to Washington and notably boasted that storming the Capitol was one of the best days of her life. Her lack of remorse, in part, prompted a judge to impose a 60-day sentence after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. The judge saying he wanted to make an example of her after she shamelessly tweeted that she wouldn't get jail time since she has blonde hair, white skin and did nothing wrong.

RYAN: All those 600 people that have been arrested are now wondering what's going to happen to them and prison is -- can happen.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Several of those sentences are expressing remorse. Erik Rau got 45 days in jail after pleading guilty to just one count of disorderly conduct. Federal Judge James Boasberg admonished Rau for trying to undermine the peaceful transfer of presidential power what he called one of the country's bedrock acts.

Rau struggled to speak at sentencing telling the judge, "There is no excuse for my actions on January 6th. I can't tell you how much this has just twisted my stomach every day since it happened."

Another writer Robert Reeder got three months in jail. During his sentencing, he pleaded with a judge saying he lost his family, his job and his place within his church community after January 6th. "I am embarrassed, I am in shame," Reeder said. "The hurt that I have caused to other people, not just to myself has left a permanent stain on me. Society, the country and I don't want to be ever remembered for being part of that crowd."

Josh Pruitt though still isn't willing to admit guilt or cooperate with prosecutors.

Video for it pledging to become a member of the Proud Boys in November 2020 went viral. Pruitt says prosecutors are asking him to help make the case against other Proud Boys facing conspiracy charges. But he claims he no longer associates with the extremist group. PRUITT: I don't have anybody to throw under the bus, nor would I anyway. And I just -- what I'm saying doesn't fit their narrative, because they would like me to come forward and say that it was planned. And I'm like, no, it wasn't

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Pruitt expects his case to go to trial and says he still stands by the big lie.

PRUITT: I do believe the election was stolen, for sure.

SCHNEIDER (on-camera): And do you still believe that?

PRUITT: I still believe it.


SCHNEIDER: And Pruitt isn't the only one. I actually spoke with several accused rioters on the phone. All of them declined to talk on camera. They cited their ongoing cases or their desire to step back from the public glare. But the handful that I did speak to told me they still believe the election was stolen.


Some even dispute that it was just pro-Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol Building on January 6th. They've falsely told me that they say members of Antifa were involved.

Now meanwhile, Jake, the FBI is still trying to identify more than 350 people who they say committed violent acts on the Capitol grounds. So this investigation, Jake, far from over at this point.

TAPPER: All right, Jessica Schneider, thanks so much.

This Thursday, join us for an unprecedented gathering inside the US. .Capitol with police, lawmakers, political leaders. Anderson Cooper and I will host our coverage "Live from the Capitol: January 6, one year later" at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up, there's new pressure on West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from fellow Democrats. The Senator's response is next.


TAPPER: In our politics lead, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin today talking about Turkeys when addressing the intense pressure campaign underway to get him to support a rules change in order to pass election reform legislation.


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying the chamber will vote on the filibuster rule changed by mid-January as a way to pass an election reform bill with a simple 51 vote majority. It's a move Manchin and Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema have both said they are not on board with. CNN's Manu Raju is live for us on Capitol Hill. And Manu, you spoke with Manchin today. What did he have to say about Schumer's plan?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's not for it. And the way that this will happen, Jake, in order to get a large scale package done to change voting laws, they have to actually get at least 10 Republicans to support overcoming a filibuster or they did change the Senate rules.

In order to change the Senate rules, you're going to have a two-thirds majority to do that. Or you can do it along straight party lines, meaning in the 50-50 Senate, one senator defection could be enough to scuttle the effort to change the rules. And Joe Manchin is making it very clear. But he along with Kyrsten Sinema oppose the idea of changing the rules along straight party lines, a process on called the nuclear option on Capitol Hill because of concern that it could be replicated by future majorities to run roughshod over the minority.

Now, one of the ideas that Democrats are trying to pressure Joe Manchin on at this moment is to support the idea of a carve out, allow voting rights legislation to be approved by a simple majority, 51 senators, circumventing a filibuster. But when I asked Joe Manchin about that, if he was open to this idea at all, he made clear he was not.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Let me just say that to being open to a rules change that would create a nuclear option, it's very, very difficult. So it's a heavy lift. And the reason I say it's a heavy lift is that once you change a rule or you have a carve out, I've always said this, anytime there's a carve out, you eat the whole turkey. There's nothing left. But let's just see.

The conversations are still ongoing. I've been talking to everybody. We've been having good conversations.


RAJU: Now conversations are ongoing, Jake, at this exact moment at Chuck Schumer's office. Joe Manchin is there at this moment talking with a handful of other Democratic senators about whether there's any way forward to get him on board. He said he's willing to talk.

But getting to the point where Democrats want him to go was to change the rules to pass a sweeping measure to make it -- to either overturn a 2013 Supreme Court ruling gutting the Voting Rights Act or changing -- imposing a whole suite of reforms. Getting to that point is a very heavy lift, as he says, Jake, but the Democratic leaders are still pushing. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju on Capitol Hill for us, thanks so much.

Here to discuss, Democratic Congressman Joe Neguse of Colorado. He's the vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Congressman, thanks for joining us. So you just heard Senator Manchin say he's opposed to this rules change, proposed rules change or allow election reform legislation to pass with a simple majority in the Senate. Usually you need 60 votes.

I guess one of the questions I have is what makes you think that this could happen. And then when Republicans next take over the Senate chamber, they wouldn't have a carve out for, let's say, a nationwide ban on abortion or a nationwide concealed carry law? I mean, haven't we all learned in Washington, D.C. just in the last 20 years once something is eroded, once a standard or a voting measure is eroded, it just doesn't come back?

REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO), CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS: Well, it's good to be with you, Jake. First, before I address the merits of the proposal, I would just say I take Senator Manchin at his word that, as he said, it's a difficult lift for him personally, but that also there are good conversations happening. And so I trust leader Schumer to engage in those conversations with Senator Manchin and the other senators, as they try to path forward to some reform of the filibuster totally enable us to consider voting rights legislation.

To the core of your question. Look, at the end of the day, there are many in my caucus, in the Democratic Caucus, who believe that the Senate should eliminate the filibuster entirely. The Senate juxtaposed against the House is a broken institution. You know, that the volume of legislation that the House considers as we do the people's work, is compared to the Senate, very, very much, much larger.

And the reality is the Senate as it is today. You have a situation in which a few obstinate senators can stop and impede progress on a host of issues including the protection of constitutional rights. And of course, no right more important than the right to vote, which is sacrosanct under our Constitution and the right from which all the rights flow.

So look, from my perspective, I'm comfortable letting the chips fall where they may, eliminating an archaic rule like the filibuster to ensure that it does not preclude and impede the ability of a majority in the Senate to make progress on issues that the American people care about. That's why we have elections, Jake, and I think that's a far more prudent way forward.

Obviously, there's some who disagree with that. There are a number of proposals being considered when it really -- as it relates to reforming the filibuster, including a talking filibuster, a carve out as Manu said, I think all of that is on the table. I'm hopeful that we'll see progress before MLK Day.


TAPPER: But -- you still didn't get to -- I mean, that's why we have elections. I mean, Republicans have controlled the House and the Senate and the White House before. They will again. There is the 60- vote threshold right now, when it comes to non-reconciliation, non- economic bills.

What will you say to your constituents next time, assuming Democrats get rid of the filibuster? Next time Republicans control the House and the Senate and the White House, and they pass a bill outlawing abortion nationwide, allowing concealed carry of guns nationwide? And they'll say, well, you told us getting rid of the filibuster was a good idea. And now look what's happened?

NEGUSE: Yes. What I'll say, Jake, is the same thing that I say to constituents here in Colorado, where we have a legislature, a state legislature, a House and a Senate where an archaic supermajority rule like the filibuster does not exist. The voters here in our state elect state representatives and state senators to ultimately protect the general welfare and to enact laws that are responsive to their needs.

And that's why we have elections at the end of the day, to the extent that voters disagree with the decisions made by a majority in the State Senate or in the State House, as the case may be. They have the opportunity to elect new representatives and new senators. And I would think that that system would work the best at the federal level in light of the reality that on so many issues, we are unable to make any progress in United States Senate because a simple senator, one senator, two senators, a few senators can impede all progress.

And, by the way, Jake, it doesn't just extend to matters of public policy, per se. It also extends to the personnel decisions that the administration makes, Republican and Democrat. You know, that just a few months ago, because of Senator Cruz and some other senators, the President was unable to have a wide array of ambassadors confirmed to some pretty highly sensitive posts abroad and overseas.


NEGUSE: So thankfully, that logjam was broken, but I don't think that's the way the Senate should function in the 21st century.

TAPPER: Congressman Joe Neguse, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time today.

Coming up next, the cost of zero-COVID. How one city is imposing weeks-long guarantees, leaving some people with long lasting trauma. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, Hong Kong has prided itself as one of the safest cities during the pandemic. But one psychiatrist is now telling CNN that that safety comes at a heavy price. CNN's Will Ripley dives into the city's required 21-day quarantine and what some people are describing as post-traumatic stress because of it.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In zero- COVID Hong Kong, pandemic protocols have paralyzed. This one's busy travel hub, the arrival process that used to take minutes now drags on for hours. Mandatory testing at the airport, waiting hours for the results. The lucky ones test negative and spend up to 21 days in shelf-paid hotel quarantine.

Darryl Chan is not one of the lucky ones.

DARRYL CHAN, TESTED POSITIVE FOR OMICRON IN HONG KONG: I've had both of my jobs. I've been boosted. I'd, you know, didn't think -- didn't ever think that I'll be -- I actually test positive on arrival.

RIPLEY (voice-over): 13 hours after landing in Hong Kong, Chan was in an ambulance. His luggage? Left at the airport. He tested positive for the Omicron variant. Even without symptoms, his minimum hospital stay is nearly a month.

(on-camera): Do you worry about your mental health as these days turn into weeks?

CHAN: Yes, absolutely. Because I've never been in a situation like this before.

DR. ELISABETH WONG, HONG KONG PSYCHIATRIST: In general, there is an increased sense of isolation, anxiety, and in some severe cases even post-traumatic stress.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Hong Kong psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Wong says longer quarantines can be more traumatic.

WONG: And then, then we have a lot of changes between the seven days and the 14 days and 21 days and that was when people reported more stress especially with a longer period of the quarantine.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Daryl's day begins with a wake up jingle. He takes his own vitals. Calls and messages with friends and family help pass the time.

CHAN: Social media has really helped actually. Definitely makes you feel less alone.

RIPLEY (voice-over): One of his greatest struggles, sharing a room in a bathroom with two strangers.

CHAN: But I think what has definitely impacted me the most so far is the feeling of just, you know, not having the freedom and regressing into almost feeling like you're back at school. You know, with some controlled wake up and bedtimes, not being able to control what you can eat.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Hospital meals often consists of mystery meat. The bigger mystery, Chan's release date. He's supposed to start a new job, a new life in Hong Kong.

(on-camera): What's the worst part of this?

CHAN: I think the worst part is not knowing when I'll be able to get out.

RIPLEY (voice-over): For now, all he can do is wait from his hospital bed. Freedom feels like a lifetime away. (END VIDEOTAPE)

RIPLEY: I called Daryl last night, he is still testing positive, Jake. He doesn't know how many more days this is going to be, maybe five, 10, 15 days. The number of people in his room, it was three at the time of our interview. It's now six, all with the Omicron variant, all without symptoms, all essentially stuck there together, waiting until a test negative and then can be phased back out into zero-COVID Hong Kong.


It is really extraordinary the lengths that are being taken here by comparison with my friends in the U.S. who, you know, you basically can get on a plane, you can walk around and it's not a big deal even if you do test positive, certainly nothing like what's happening here, Jake.

TAPPER: And Will, you personally are no stranger to life in quarantine grip, given that you travel all over Asia for CNN, what's that been like?

RIPLEY: I think it's almost five months of my life this pandemic and quarantine. My experience are very different from Darryl's because we are basically locked in a hotel room that we pay for as a company or you pay for out of your own pocket when you travel.

It's very isolating. I didn't realize how much of an introvert I am, Jake, and how much it really creeps me out in some ways to be around big groups of people when I get out of quarantine.

TAPPER: All right, Will Ripley, thank you so much. Thanks for the work that you do.

Trips that were supposed to take an hour turning into an entire day in brutal snowy conditions, the hundreds of drivers stranded overnight ahead.