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January 6th Probe Heating Up As One Year Anniversary Of Attack Approaches; U.S. Averaging Nearly 400,000 Cases Per Day; Twitter Suspends Personal Account Of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene; Schools Shift Plans As Child COVID Hospitalizations Surge; Judge: Prince Andrew Must Turn Over Documents In Sexual Assault Lawsuit; U.S. Diplomats & Russian Counterparts To Talk Ongoing Ukraine Crisis On January 10 In Geneva. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired January 02, 2022 - 16:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: It couple. The it musical couple. The all-new CNN Film, "CAROLE KING AND JAMES TAYLOR: JUST CALL OUT MY NAME," premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. only on CNN.

And thank you for joining me today. Happy New Year. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. "CNN NEWSROOM" continues with Paula Reid right now.

PAULA REID, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Reid in Washington. Jim Acosta is off today.

Now today as the nation prepares to mark one year since the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, we are getting stunning new details from the January 6th Committee whose members say they now have firsthand testimony about what Donald Trump was doing as those rioters stormed the building. He was just sitting there watching it on TV.


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. Members of his staff were pleading with him to go on television, to tell people to stop, we know Leader McCarthy was pleading with him to do that. We know members of his family, we know his daughter, we have firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence.


REID: That is a major development because it means someone who was in the room with Trump that day was talking on the record. And it is the record of that day that will be the spotlight when Congress holds a series of events Thursday to commemorate the one-year anniversary including a moment of silence on the House floor and a prayer vigil on the steps of the Capitol. But on that same day, former President Trump is planning his own press conference about the riot he sparked.

Now I want to get right to CNN's Melanie Zanona who joins us from Capitol Hill.

Melanie, look, you and I both cover the January 6th investigation. This is big. It means someone very close to Trump has now given the committee a firsthand account of what happened. What else are you learning?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a significant development because, as you say, someone close to Trump is clearly talking to the committee, and they're offering up pretty specific details about his actions that day, not just who he was talking to but even where physically was seated as the riots unfolded. And so whoever this person is, he was clearly in a position to know these details, could also provide crucial insights about Trump's mindset that day.

I think what's also clear to me from those Liz Cheney interviews is that investigators are zeroing in on those 187 minutes when Trump was publicly silent as rioters stormed the building. That is something they're trying to look into whether there was any criminal culpability for the former president there or whether it was just a dereliction of duty.

Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the select committee, was asked by our Dana Bash earlier today about what else the committee is looking into. Take a listen.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): We have significant testimony that leads us to believe that the White House had been told to do something.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS' "MEET THE PRESS" HOST: Have you seen any evidence? Or do you have any indication that maybe members of Congress assisted any of the rioters on that day?

THOMPSON: Yes. We have a lot of information about communication with individuals who came -- assisted means different things. Some took pictures with people who came to the Stop the Steal rally. Some, you know, allowed them to come and associate in their offices and other things during that whole rally week. So there is some participation.


ZANONA: Now, as Bennie Thompson hinted there, this investigation plans to enter a much more public phase in the new year. That includes a number of public hearings as well as an interim report in the summer with a final report expected in the fall. But the clock is ticking because, Paula, as you know, the midterms are sort of the unofficial deadline to complete the committee's work here.

REID: Melanie, thank you so much for your reporting.

I want to bring in CNN's senior legal analyst and former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig. He joins us now.

All right, Elie, we know that they've been talking to hundreds of witnesses, but so much of their work happens behind closed doors. We're already always asking, where is this going, what are they learning? And this seems incredibly significant. We're learning that someone, maybe multiple people in Trump's inner circle, gave the committee firsthand information about what he was doing during those 187 minutes. What is your take on this?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Paula. That phrase firsthand testimony is so important. It's so telling because what it tells us is this is not just somebody who's learning about what happened afterward, who was briefed on it, who maybe read a memo or read a readout. This is coming from inside the room, and the people in that room were inner, inner sanctum.

Now who is the person? We don't know. Could it be Ivanka Trump? Possibly. But you know, you cover the White House, you know that presidents are rarely alone, especially at important moments when they're making important decisions.


So somebody inside that room is giving the committee firsthand testimony. That is the most powerful kind of testimony for any prosecutor or any investigator.

REID: And, Elie, there's also the revelation that Ivanka Trump asked her father twice to intervene. Now looking at all this new evidence that we have gotten today, so often with Trump we see him do things that may be shocking, may be disappointing, inappropriate. But do you see legal liability in what we know so far?

HONIG: I do, Paula. I see, first of all, the failure to act during those 187 minutes, those three plus hours, that is crucial. I think it's really damning and I think it's really telling as to Donald Trump's intent. If he saw what was happening and it was not what he wanted to happen, it was not what he intended to happen, he could have and would've very easily taken action. But I want to say this, it's not just the failure to act.

It's the fact that he set this all in motion in the first place over the weeks and hours leading up to January 6th. I've said before I see potential federal crimes here. Election interference is a federal crime. Trying to obstruct Congress from counting the electoral votes is a federal crime. We don't even have to get into the tricky First Amendment issue of whether Donald Trump incited this riot or not.

To me there is much more clear-cut crimes that could be applicable to Donald Trump and others in his power circle here.

REID: But if we take that a few steps further, you know the attorney general, you analyze and report extensively on Merrick Garland. You know how hard it is to prove things beyond a reasonable doubt. Do you think, based on what we know now, that this is likely the kind of case that they would pursue?

HONIG: I see no indication right now from this Attorney General Merrick Garland that he is meaningfully investigating Donald Trump or other power players for their role in January 6th. We've seen no evidence of any subpoenas, we've seen no evidence of any grand jury, of any voluntary witness interviews. We've certainly seen no charges.

And look, I don't want to be too glib about this. It's easy to sit here and say someone should be charged, this is a crime, this is a crime, but my complaint is, we're not even seeing any evidence of an investigation. And one of the police officers, Officer Hodges, appeared on our air a couple of weeks ago. He was one of the people who defended the Capitol. And he said, look, I will respect wherever DOJ comes out on this. But I cannot live with them now even meaningfully investigating it. And I think that's right on.

REID: Well, the committee we know is now pursuing evidence from other members of Congress, including Scott Perry and Jim Jordan. Bot of them have defied the committee's request to cooperate. So what do you think happens next? As I'm sure you heard, Bennie Thompson said he's not really sure they even have the power to subpoena their colleagues. Where do you see that going?

HONIG: Well, legally of course they do. Why not? I mean unless Bennie Thompson is talking about some sort of internal unspoken principal of comity, C-O-M-I-T-Y, comity, of sort of doing favors for one another. But there's no legal reason they can't subpoena their own members.

Look, the committee has done a good job overall. They've gotten a lot of really important and interesting information. But they have had a soft touch when it comes to their fellow colleagues in Congress. It was just -- it took until two weeks ago before they even approached Scott Perry and Jim Jordan, people who obviously have information, and, by the way, still not a word towards Kevin McCarthy who we know had a critical communication with Donald Trump on January 6th.

So if the committee is serious here, they will subpoena those folks. And if they defy the subpoenas, then the committee will do the same thing it did with Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows and hold them in contempt. So let's see if the committee's playing on equal footing here when it comes to its own colleagues.

REID: Look, it's going to be a while before anything enters a criminal courtroom. But in the court of public opinion, we are expecting public hearings. How do you think that these lawmakers need to make their case to the American people? What do they need to show? Who do they need to call?

HONIG: They need to get witnesses who can make this come to life for the American people. Yes, we all sat there a year ago and watched it on videotape. Right? Nothing could be more powerful than that. But there was a lot happening behind closed doors, not at the Capitol itself, that needs to be brought to life.

And so they need to find witnesses and it seems like they had witnesses who had access to important information, who are credible and honest, who don't have any political allegiance that's going to shade the truth and who can explain this in a way that makes it really hit home just how important this is.

REID: Elie Honig, thank you so much for joining us.

HONIG: Thanks, Paula.

REID: Staggering new numbers on the nationwide surge in COVID cases. The U.S. seven-day average of new cases now up to nearly 400,000. And health experts say those numbers will climb even higher as the impact of holiday gathering sets in. The healthcare workforce is already stretched thin. Yet they must prepare for the worst yet again.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The only difficulty is, is that when you have so many, many cases, even if the rate of hospitalization is lower with Omicron than it is with Delta, there's still the danger that you're going to have a surging of hospitalizations that might stress the healthcare system.



REID: And even if you're not among the infected, chances are you're feeling the impact in your everyday life. For example, at least five metro Atlanta school systems joined countless others in moving, once again, to virtual learning after the holiday break. Staffing shortages due to COVID are upending multiple industries. And it's turned the busiest travel season of the year into a giant mess.

Travelers are stranded as COVID and severe weather forced U.S. carriers to cancel more than 2200 flights so far today, and more than 14,000 since Christmas Eve.

So let's go to Ryan Young who's at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the nation's busiest airport.

Ryan, is there any relief in sight for these travelers who likely just want to get home?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is the big question. Happy New Year, Paula. Planes, trains, and automobiles, wherever way you try to get home, right now you can see delays especially in parts of the country where bad weather is moving in. But I can you here, we've been talking to several people who had their flights canceled. I had one woman tell me she didn't have the app on her phone so she didn't realize her flight was canceled until arriving here.

On the big board here, you do see a spattering of cancelations but the real story, though, is people who've been stuck here for days because as their flights got canceled, the rebooking process is quite hard. Now on the inside, if you look at this video that we shot, there is such a long line for people to talk to the airlines to get rebooked, you can understand, they're not starting the new year in the right way. In fact, listen to this one traveler who had a large family with them trying to get home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yesterday in the night going here, so checking my flight, so the lady told me, yes, they canceled the flight. So what happened, why? (INAUDIBLE). Only (INAUDIBLE), 7:00 p.m. We have no more solution.


YOUNG: Yes, Paula, when you think about this, you're talking about 2300 flights canceled so far today. That number's going up. 2700 plus yesterday. And more than 14,000 over the last 10 days. And when you think about this, every year when we cover holiday travel, we always tell people to pack their patience. You add in the fact that it seems like some of these airlines are not helping some of the people who are stuck here.

There are folks who are sleeping on the floor inside that airport trying to get home. We talked to one couple that's trying to get back to California. There has been no flights to even get them close to the West Coast at all. And they're trying to get back to work on a Monday. So you know how people budget their flights and their work and their schedules. There'll probably be a lot of bosses getting calls in the morning about delayed flights or cancelations.

So hopefully that kind of streamlines itself out and some of these weather systems pass through. But then when you add COVID on top of all of this and the impact that it's having on air travel, you can understand the ripple effect seems to be growing by each hour -- Paula.

REID: Absolutely ripple effects indeed. Ryan Young, thank you so much for your reporting.

And, coming up, why Twitter just permanently suspended one of Marjorie Taylor Greene's verified Twitter accounts. That's next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



REID: If you go to Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's personal Twitter account today, this is what you will see. Twitter permanently suspending one of her accounts over what it says were repeated violations of its COVID-19 misinformation policy. Now it should be noted Taylor Greene's official congressional Twitter account is still up and running.

So I want to discuss this with CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter.

Brian, thanks for joining me.


REID: We now have new information about the tweet that apparently became the last straw for Twitter. What have you learned?

STELTER: Right. She was posting commentary, that's actually the wrong word, Paula. She was posting lies about vaccines. She was posting claims that actually the COVID vaccines that have saved millions of people, she claims have killed lots of people. This is totally preposterous. It comes from a debunked conspiracy theory involving a government database where anybody can report any adverse effect from any vaccine ever.

And that database is sometimes misused and abused by conspiracy theorists who want to spread antivaccine disinformation. So that's what's happened in this case. Marjorie Taylor Greene was using this database. She was misusing it in a way that claimed that lots and lots and lots of people have died from COVID vaccines and that the media is suppressing the truth.

Come on, like, obviously that's not true because we would see it with our own eyes. But, you know, she has engaged in that kind of antivaccine propaganda many times. And according to Twitter, this was her fifth strike. That's right. You cannot just have three strikes on Twitter before you're out, you have five strikes. This was her fifth strike and that's why she was banned.

REID: Yes, I don't know a lot about sports, but I'm pretty sure it's usually three strikes. But as we mentioned, her congressional account is still online. Is there a different bar, a different standard for that account as opposed to her personal account in terms of what it takes to get suspended?

STELTER: So in theory, the rules are the same for everyone. I would say in practice actually political accounts are given pretty favorable treatment. I would argue that there's been cases where politicians have been on Twitter abusing the platform in ways that regular folks would never be able to. But, in theory, the rules are the same. And usually she's used her congressional account for official business, for platitudes, very basic messaging.

Then her personal account for the incendiary lies that she likes to spread. So the question now is, what will she do? Will she go and use her congressional account in some new way? I think the reality is she'll go off to these far-right Twitter alternatives, that have cropped up. None of which are very popular but, you know, which do exist.

Remember Donald Trump has said he was going to launch one in 2022. There's no sign of that actually happening. But maybe he will and maybe that's where she'll go.

REID: Perhaps. Of course this isn't the first time that Twitter has restricted Taylor Greene's access. In June she was temporarily restricted and now with the permanent shutdown of her personal account, she's responding, she released a statement that says, in part, "Social media platforms can't stop the truth from being spread far and wide. Big tech can't stop the truth. Communist Democrats can't stop the truth. I stand with the truth and the people, we will overcome." I mean, it sounds like this ban, in a way, she's trying to spin it

into her narrative as the outsider who works for those who feel like they're being ignored by Washington.

STELTER: That's certainly the attempt. But what researchers have found who study Twitter and other platforms, they've studied this notion of de-platforming, you know, when someone has a platform, they're de- platformed, they're removed from the site, what these researchers have found is, you know, there's a moment where, yes, the person gets lots of attention for being removed. But then their voice does fade away a little bit.

You know, think about how many statements Donald Trump releases that are barely heard by anyone except his biggest fans. From an effectiveness standpoint, whether you think it's a good or bad thing, de-platforming does seem to work. Maybe she knows that and that's why she is lashing out. Of course some of her Republican colleagues in the Congress have come to her defense today. A few of her kind of MAGA colleagues have come to her defense.


But I thought Matt Iglesias made a great point on Twitter. He said maybe de-platforming the most egregious, the biggest liars in the GOP actually does a favor for Republicans. Right? If you're not seeing the nonsense that she is spreading on Twitter, it's not in your face not being covered by the media, maybe it actually does a favor to Republicans by not showing the extremism that's out there in the ranks.

I do think ultimately, Paula, this is another example of right-wing radicalization and extremism. In this case it was about anti-vaxx propaganda, it was about the COVID vaccines. But we have seen her promote time and time again radical points of view that are not even in step with where her constituents are. So, you know, we will see, I suppose, at the end of this year with the midterms how her constituents do feel about her posts or now by her lack of ability to post on Twitter.

REID: Brian, fascinating analysis. Thanks so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

REID: With me now is professor of medicine at George Washington University, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, whos' also a CNN medical analyst.

First, I want to start on what I was just talking about with Brian, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's personal Twitter account getting permanently suspended for COVID misinformation, partially because it included a misleading graph purporting to show deaths related to vaccines. What's your reaction?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, she's been a purveyor of misinformation, you know, for the last year basically. We've lost about a quarter of a million Americans since vaccines were widely available to every adult in April. And for those folks, almost every one of those deaths was in somebody who was unvaccinated. And since vaccines were widely available, that was a personal choice.

And those choices have largely been fueled by a relatively small number of people who have widely distributed false information about the safety of vaccines and the efficacy of vaccines and the danger of the virus. And Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has been one of those people. In addition to her misinformation yesterday about deaths from the vaccines, she also slandered the entire medical community when she said that physicians are refusing to care for people with COVID now.

That's an outrageous lie, deeply offensive, and deeply ungrateful for the sacrifices that have been made all over this country by, you know, my colleagues, people I admire deeply who have continuously put their own lives at risk to care for people who have chosen not to get vaccinated. So I'm glad Twitter made that decision. Her voice was destructive.

REID: Speaking of destructive, the U.S. is averaging almost 400,000 new cases a day. And we just ended a holiday period where lots of folks were getting together. Hospitalizations of course tend to lag case counts. We're already seeing hospitalizations rising again, now averaging at levels not seen since the end of September. Are you worried about whether the nation's healthcare system can handle this over the next few weeks?

REINER: Oh, absolutely. And we're going to see maybe the greatest stress test of our hospitals since the beginning of this pandemic. So, mind you, before Omicron, parts of this country were stressed to begin with. Parts of the Midwest, places like western Michigan were really almost in crisis mode then. And then this tremendously contagious variant took over in the United States. And that has just compounded the problem.

So if you look at parts of the northeast, places like Rhode Island, New York is starting to approach this. In Maryland, you know, where I live, hospitals are having to start to think about canceling elective procedures, taking staff, moving them into places to care for critically ill patients. This is going to spread throughout the United States over the next several weeks.

I'm hopeful that the parts that are hit hardest now, places like New York and, again, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Michigan, will start to crest within the next two weeks. But we're going to see this wave travel out across the country and down through the south. And it's going to go to places where the vaccination rates are much lower than they are in the northeast and places like that, mid-Atlantic.

And for that reason hospitals are likely to see a lot of sick people because many more people are unvaccinated there. So it's going to be a very rough four to six weeks across the country now. People need to really prepare for that.

REID: When you're out and about now, I think you certainly see more people wearing masks, but a lot of folks wearing cloth masks. So with the Omicron variant being more transmissible, do cloth masks still cut it? REINER: No. The only way they cut it is if it's on top of another

mask. If you're wearing it on top of a surgical mask or on top of an N95 mask, that's not an unreasonable strategy.


But we have much better masks at filtering out viral particles. N95s, KN95s, KF94 masks. That's what people should get. They're available online. It's amazing to me that the federal government over the last year hasn't made these even more widely available.

The coronavirus is an airborne pathogen. And we have simple technologies that can reduce your exposure if you're in a crowd. You know, if I go into a store, I'm wearing an N95 mask and that's what I advocate for my patients, for my family and for my friends. We have the ability to reduce your likelihood of being infected. Why not use that? Cloth masks do not cut it anymore. And CDC should simply say that.

REID: Important point. I want to take a listen to what former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said earlier today about the Omicron variant. Let's take a listen.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: It appears to be more of an upper airway disease than a lower airway disease. That's good for most Americans. The one group that that may be a problem for is very young kid, very young children, toddlers who have trouble with upper airway infections.


REID: So this comes as the U.S. is seeing a record level of hospitalizations among children. So how should we respond to this in the U.S. amid this ongoing surge? How can you protect children?

REINER: Right. So, our kids, particularly kids under 5, are our most vulnerable population now because they are completely unvaccinated. Fortunately, kids typically do OK if infected. But a small percentage of kids need to be admitted to hospitals about 300 kids per day are being admitted to American hospitals with COVID-19. And the best way to protect them is to protect the rest of the family.

We haven't vaccinated nearly enough kids between 5 and 11 or 12 and 17. We need to do much better than that. If you want to protect little children, you need to vaccinate older children, all the parents need to be vaccinated. Those kids need to have a mask when they go out. And if they're in school, schools should be using rapid tests widely to, you know, identify kids who are infected, have them stay home, keep the rest of the kids in school.

We have a bunch of strategies that we know work. Hopefully within the next few months we'll be able to vaccinate kids under 5. We have to wait several weeks unless that data is available from Pfizer. That's going to come, but until then we need to protect them with the mitigation strategies that we know are proven and work.

REID: Dr. Jonathan Reiner, thank you so much.

REINER: Thank you, Paula.

REID: Still to come, millions of children will head back to school in the coming days as COVID surges and child hospitalizations are at an all-time high. How school districts across the country are handling the unprecedented challenge, next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



REID: On the latest COVID surges complicating the end of winter break for weary parents, millions of students are set to go back to class tomorrow, but now some will be doing so virtually. And this comes as the number of children being hospitalized for coronavirus is breaking pandemic-era records.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us now. All right, Polo, how are schools adjusting to stop the spread of this virus?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, there are some school districts across the country that are just choosing to go straight up remote learning which is really not what the federal government wanted to do here. They believe that there are several measures that could be implemented to try to make the return to school in the coming days for the spring semester as safe as possible.

Consider the nation's largest school district, for example, here in New York City, rather than going remote for an entire classroom if they're exposed to COVID, they're instead going to send those in their classroom home with take-home rapid tests, those that are asymptomatic and are negative are allowed to return to class. It's an effort to try to limit disruptions to daily life which you're seeing it more and more every day are becoming more and more common.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): Fresh off the holiday break, teachers, parents and students are trying to make sense of the latest COVID surge. Monday's return of school for millions of kids across the U.S., but many will not be heading back to a classroom. As record numbers children are hospitalized for COVID-19, some school districts will start with online learning including in Atlanta, which announced on Saturday the first week back from the holidays will be virtual.

It's a third large school district in Atlanta metropolitan area to make that move. All Atlanta Public School staff members are required to report their workplaces on Monday for COVID-19 testing, according to a statement.

There is absolutely no way to keep Omicron out of the schools. No way. It's more transmissible. It passes through and looks just like a cold. And what we're going to be relying on is testing in addition to the standard practices of masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene.

DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, CHIEF OF DISASTER MEDICINE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: But the testing that we're using, these antigen tests at home simply are not sensitive enough to keep Omicron out of our schools, even if they're picking up 80, 85 percent of the cases. And that's with parents doing their absolute best to test correctly, read it correctly, or even have their willingness to do so. Some cases of Omicron are still going to slip through.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): A vast majority of the country seen in dark red is struggling with COVID surges in some place 50 percent or more. The nation broke records at least five times this week for its seven-day average of new daily COVID-19 cases reporting an all-time high of more than 394,000 new daily infections on Saturday. That's according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well I'm worried about our hospitals. We're going to continue to see millions and millions of cases in the United States and even with a lower virulence apparently for this variant, still about 2 percent of folks who contract the virus need to be hospitalized and it's going to be a race. It's going to be a race between waiting for this surge to crest and hoping that we don't run out of hospital capacity.


SANDOVAL: Just re-emphasizing what we just heard there from Dr. Reiner, the big concern right now is the staggering numbers are only going to continue to climb after we begin to feel the effects of these holiday gatherings. And the question that -- with so many quests -- with so many cases, Paula, will the nation's healthcare system be able to actually handle a surge in patients that we're expected to see?


REID: And that's the big question. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

SANDOVAL: Thanks, Paula.

And coming up, a judge delivers a major blow to Prince Andrew's attempt to get a sexual assault lawsuit thrown out before a hearing tomorrow.


REID: A sexual assault lawsuit against Britain's Prince Andrew is moving forward. A Manhattan judge says the Prince must turn over key legal documents in the suit brought by Virginia Giuffre, a woman who says she was forced to have sex with the Prince when she was just 17 after being trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The lawyers for Prince Andrew have tried to argue that Giuffre had lived in Australia for 19 years and cannot legally sue him in the U.S. But the judge disagreed and oral arguments are set to begin in the coming days.

Now Prince Andrew, who was featured in a photograph with Giuffre has strongly denied the claims against him, telling the BBC in a 2019 interview he has no memory of ever meeting her.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world has now seen the photo that Virginia Roberts provided, taken by Epstein, we understand, in Ghislaine Maxwell's house.

PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK: Well, here's the problem. I've never seen Epstein with a camera in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was Virginia Roberts' camera. She said a little code at one that she lent to Epstein. He took a photo and your arm is around her waist.

PRINCE ANDREW: Well, I didn't -- listen, I don't remember that photograph ever being taken. I don't remember going upstairs in the house because that photograph is taken upstairs. And I'm not entirely convinced that -- I mean, that is what I would describe as me in that picture. But I can't -- we can't be certain as to whether or not that's my hand on her, whatever it is, left side.


REID: I want to bring in CNN Royal Correspondent Max Foster. Max, clearly, this is not the way the royal family wanted to start the New Year. But here's the possibility for an alleged victim of a sexual assault to get her day in court. What will you be watching for in the case in the days and months ahead?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: As you say, none of this is good for the royal family, but they can't be seen to be intervening in the legal process. So they're very much leaving it to Prince Andrew's lawyers. And as you describe, they're making various attempts to get the case dismissed.

So you have this recent case, which was rejected, which is arguing that the U.S. court doesn't have jurisdiction because Giuffre was living or has been living in Australia. That's been rejected. So the next attempt will come into focus tomorrow.

So Prince Andrew's lawyers believe there's an agreement between Giuffre and Epstein that exists, which -- where Giuffre agreed not to pursue cases like this one against Prince Andrew. That agreement is sealed. It's going to be unsealed tomorrow. We'll see what's in that.

And then the judge will have a hearing on Tuesday considering all of these claims for dismissal of the case. And there'll be weighing that up in the court. So that's the next thing we're looking at.

And if the case does continue, we get to the point where they start taking depositions. So Prince Andrew will be asked to depose, but possibly also Sarah Ferguson, possibly the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle will be asked. And that's when it gets very, very difficult for everyone involved really.

But as you say, Giuffre firmly believes she has a case here. She wants her day in court, and this is her opportunity. And so far, Prince Andrew's team are failing in their attempts to get the case thrown out.

REID: Interesting. Now, of course, the details of these allegations are pretty sordid (ph), so can you remind people who aren't familiar with the story what exactly happened here and why? She is asking Prince Andrew specifically to turn over proof that he can't sweat.

FOSTER: Yes. So one of the occasions where Giuffre claims to have had sex with Prince Andrew was at Ghislaine Maxwell's house in London. And earlier in the evening, they claim that she and Prince Andrew were at a nightclub, Prince Andrew was sweating profusely.

Now Prince Andrew said he never went to that nightclub. And in a BBC interview in 2019, he also addressed this issue of sweating. He says he couldn't have been there and he wasn't sweating. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was very specific about that night. She described dancing with you --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- and you profusely sweating. And that she went on to have baff (ph)--



PRINCE ANDREW: There is slight problem with the sweating, because I have a peculiar medical condition, which is that I don't sweat, or I didn't sweat at the time. And that was (INAUDIBLE). Yes. I didn't sweat at the time, because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War when I was shot at.

And I simply it was -- it was almost impossible for me to sweat. And it's only because I have done a number of things in the recent past. But I'm starting to be able to do that again. So I'm afraid to say that there's a medical condition that says that I didn't do it, so therefore.


FOSTER: Giuffre's team have asked for documents to back up claims of that medical condition. Andrew's teem haven't delivered that and they say they can't. They say it's private information immaterial to the case, doesn't have -- and he doesn't have any documents in his possession which really prove it. So they're going to pursue that. We'll let's see how that goes.

REID: Private information he disclosed to the BBC. All right. Max Foster, thank you so much for your reporting.


And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown is now out of a job, according to the team. This, after Brown left in the middle of the Jets-Buccaneers game this afternoon. According to the broadcast, Brown appeared to be upset on the sidelines. He then removed his jersey and pads as his teammates pleaded with him to stay.

Brown threw his jersey into the stance and ran off the field, waving a peace sign. Here's how the Buc's head coach reacted.


BRUCE ARIANS, HEAD COACH, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: He is no longer a Buc. All right? That's the end of the story. Let's talk about the guy who's went out there and won the game.


REID: It's unclear what prompted this but the Buc's rallied late to beat the Jets 20 to 24.

And coming up, can President Biden help avert a Russian invasion of Ukraine? What we're learning about his call today with the Ukrainian President?


REID: President Biden is holding a phone call today with the President of Ukraine amid an unremitting military crisis on Ukraine's border. The call between the two leaders comes just days after Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin there'd be a heavy price to pay if Russia were to invade Ukraine.

CNN's Nic Robertson is live for us in Moscow. But let's begin with Eva McKend at the White House. Eva, all right, what can you tell us about this call today between President Biden and the Ukrainian President?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, the primary purpose of this call is for President Biden to reaffirm America's support for Ukraine's sovereignty. You know, Paula, this is another major task for President Biden on the world stage, testing his credibility and his ability to negotiate.


It's also important for these two leaders, Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, to essentially be on the same page as these negotiations continue between the U.S. and Russia. Ultimately, America is looking for a diplomatic solution, de-escalation for Russia not to invade Ukraine. While Russia is looking for what many described as an impossible demand, they want an assurance that Ukraine can't be able to join NATO. Paula?

REID: And Nic, these tense talks come just days before the U.S. and Russian officials are set to meet in person in Geneva. What else are you learning?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, we've heard from the Russian foreign minister in the past couple of days, who said that the Russia will not let these talks drag on. This comes in the face of President Biden really laying out even more clearly than he has in the past that not only will there be very tough economic sanctions on Russia, if Russia invades Ukraine, but there will be a military price to pay. And that is that NATO would increase its forces on Europe's eastern border.

This is exactly the opposite of what President Putin is trying to achieve. No doubt, the Ukrainian President Zelensky will want to hear, you know, how President Biden is going to achieve some form of negotiation and some form of progress with the Russians in their conversations in a week's time. That's not going to give away any element of Ukraine sovereignty, because that's exactly what Russia is asking for, you know, to deny Ukraine the possibility of joining NATO.

So at the moment, it's very clear. Both sides are a long way apart. The red lines become clearer. But that only makes the negotiations ahead much tougher.

REID: It does seem like a very difficult negotiation. Nic, how do you see this playing out over the next few weeks and months?

ROBERTSON: So you had the talks on January 10th with the United States and Russia. Two days later, you have talks between Russia and NATO. After that the day after, you have talks between Russia and the USA Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, that actually will have Ukraine at the table.

I think what we're going to hear more from Russia about in coming days and weeks will be, they want the United States to push Ukraine to fully implement what's known as the Minsk agreement. This was the agreement back in 2014. Then a second agreement early in 2015, Minsk 2, that was supposed to bring stability and a settlement to Ukraine's east where there are separatist regions backed by Russia.

Russia is going to push to have Ukraine, give them greater autonomy. That's not something the Ukrainian government wants to see. And it's not clear if President Putin is going to be satisfied with just that as an outcome or if he's going to want achievement on the NATO issue as well. But that's, I think, the direction that we can expect these very bumpy and perhaps very protracted talks to go.

REID: Eva McKend, Nic Robertson, thank you so much.

And coming up, why the airplane bathroom became the safest seat for one woman on a long flight. That's next. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.



REID: Perhaps one of the best stories of 2022 already. Vancouver Canucks equipment manager Brian Hamilton was able to meet the woman who saved his life yesterday. In October, a Seattle Kraken fan was holding up her phone towards Hamilton with the message, the mole on the back of your neck is cancer.

After checking with team docs, Hamilton learned he had stage 2 skin cancer with maybe five years left to live. After a monumental effort to track the fan down, Hamilton was finally able to meet his guardian angel, 22-year-old Nadia Popovici.


BRIAN "RED" HAMILTON, VANCOUVER CANUCKS EQUIPMENT MANAGER: She needs to know she is the story. She is the person that did this. She saved the life. She doesn't know like, she needs to know her efforts were valid and bang on and I'm happy that story is there but not for me but for her because the world needs to know that she's a -- like this woman exists. She's a hero. And, you know, we need to celebrate her and people like her that take the time to do things like this and save lives.


REID: Nadia is about to start medical school and the Canucks are giving her $10,000 to help her get started on her journey.

Well, what happens if you're on a plane and you test positive for COVID mid-flight? Well, in the case of a Chicago woman, the plane's bathroom became her seat. CNN's Lynda Kinkade has the story.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): COVID-19 flushed one woman's holiday plans down the lawn (ph). This is Marisa Fotieo with a most unusual seat on a trip from the U.S. to Switzerland via Iceland. Fotieo spend around three hours quarantining in the plane's bathroom, after she took a COVID test mid-flight.

MARISA FOTIEO, QUARANTINED PASSENGER: We boarded our flight, and then probably an hour to an hour and a half in, I started -- I just, all of a sudden, this severe sore throat came on. I thought, OK, I'm going to just going to take a test, it's going to make me feel better. And immediately it came back. It's positive.

KINKADE (voice-over): Fotieo, who was vaccinated and boosted and traveling with family. So she immediately told a flight attendant who tried to find a place where she would be least at risk of spreading the infection. And eventually, they found one.

FOTIEO: It was a full flight so she was going to look for ways to move people around so I could have a designated area just to quarantine by myself during the remainder of the flight. And after a while, she couldn't find -- she couldn't move people. There were too many people on the plane.

It was -- you know, they had to get the meals out. They had to get the drinks out. So she asked if I would be OK staying in the bathroom and I opted to stay in the bathroom.

I'm sure if I had said, no, can I please go back to my seat? She would have said, yes. But I was too nervous. And I know there were so many people on the flight and my dad is 70 and he was on the flight.

KINKADE (voice-over): Fotieo made good use of the time alone making a TikTok video of her experience which has been viewed more than 4 million times. When she landed in Iceland, she quarantined for 10 days in a hotel room.