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FDA Authorizes Booster For Ages 12 to 15; Insurrection Investigation; Subpoenas Issued For Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired January 03, 2022 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Senator Reid died last week at the age of 82.
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Don't go anywhere, busy news day. Erica Hill picks up our coverage right now.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Good afternoon. I'm Erica Hill, in for Ana Cabrera.
We begin this hour with breaking news in the investigation into the Trump Organization. The New York attorney general, we have learned, has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump as part of the fraud probe looking into whether executives in the Trump Organization manipulated property values.
New York A.G. Letitia James, you may recall, also seeking testimony from Donald Trump himself. The deadline for that subpoena for the former president is Friday.
I want to go straight to CNN's Kara Scannell and CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig.
Kara, you have been following all the ins and outs of these investigations. So what's new today?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so we have just learned today through a court filing that the New York attorney general, Letitia James, has subpoenaed for testimony and for documents Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.
Now, this is part of her civil investigation looking into whether the Trump Organization and any of its executives had manipulated the value of its condos, its office buildings, its golf courses and other properties.
Now, as you said, that Letitia James' office had previously subpoenaed former President Donald Trump for his testimony. Now, Trump's attorneys have said that they will file a motion to quash that subpoena. In this court filing today, we learned that the children of Donald Trump, Ivanka and Don Jr., are also likely to fight this.
And Ivanka Trump before she went into the administration was a top executive at the company. Donald Trump Jr. is still one of the top executives. Now, James' office had previously deposed Eric Trump. He is also one of the top executives at this company. But that came before James joined a criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney's office.
That is something that Trump's lawyers are likely to focus on in their arguments of why this depositions -- these depositions should not take place. They have already sued James' office, saying that she is biased and trying to get a judge to stop her investigation -- Erica.
HILL: This will be something interesting to see what happens with these subpoenas.
Elie, as you're looking at this, learning about these subpoenas now, does this tell you anything about where they are in the investigation? Anything we should read into that?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, OK, it tells me that Letitia James, the attorney general, is intensifying the focus and broadening the scope of her civil investigation.
And it's really important that people understand there are two separate tracks here. On the one hand, there's a civil investigation of these fraud allegations that Kara just laid out. And then, separately, there's a criminal investigation being run by the district attorney with Letitia James as well looking at potential criminal violations.
And there's important differences there. One, it's way harder to prove a criminal case. The burden of proof in a criminal case is beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, it's just a preponderance, which means basically 50.01 percent. And, two, of course, the penalties are very different.
Criminal cases, people can go to jail. Civil cases, we're just talking about monetary penalties. So, two different tracks. This is on the civil side.
HILL: And when you look at these subpoenas, again, on the civil side, as you point out, based on what we have seen from other members of the Trump family, what we're waiting to hear from the former president, what do you anticipate will happen with these subpoenas?
HONIG: So there are three really potential approaches or responses to a subpoena like this.
One is, you can comply and testify people often do that. Two is, a person in this position can take the Fifth Amendment. Even though we are in the civil context, any person who believes that their testimony or statement might be used against them in some future criminal proceeding -- and we know that there is a criminal investigation -- has the right to take the Fifth. And then three is what appears like the road we're going down, which is they may move to quash the subpoena, which is a legal move saying basically, I want to block this subpoena, it's improper, it's inappropriate.
In this case, I expect them to argue the same thing that the father, Donald Trump, has argued, which is, this is politically motivated and inappropriate.
HILL: You know, when we look at -- it can be, I think, a little bit confusing what you have both pointed out so well.
We have the civil investigation. There is this criminal investigation, which the New York A.G. then sort of jumped onto -- joined, I should say.
Kara, you recently spoke with the new district attorney here in Manhattan, who told you he was going to personally focus on this investigation -- again, the DA's investigation was criminal -- possibly even expand it.
How does that relate, if at all, to what we're seeing today?
SCANNELL: Well, Alvin Bragg, the new DA, was just sworn into office on January 1, and, up until now, he has not had any briefings of substance on the investigation. So one of the first things that he will do is get a briefing from the senior staff, understand where they are in the criminal investigation, what avenues there are.
He's already asked. And one of the top prosecutors on the case, a top supervisor, has agreed to stay on, because they did indict the Trump Organization and the CFO this summer. So, there still is that piece of this investigation.
But Bragg said he will evaluate the facts. He will look to see where this investigation is. And he said he would treat it like he would any other investigation, even though it is of such consequence because it's a former president, and ask and be guided by the question of, would they bring this case if it wasn't Trump? Would they bring the case otherwise?
And that's what he said he would use to help guide his decision-making -- Erica.
HILL: Kara Scannell and Elie Honig, great to have your insight and your expertise on this breaking news. Thank you.
Thursday will mark the one-year anniversary of the Capitol insurrection, an attack that up ended America's peaceful transfer of power and sent shockwaves through the political system, and they're still being felt a year later. There is still not a full accounting of what then-President Trump was doing as that attack played out.
The House select committee investigating January 6, however, says a detailed picture is emerging.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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. We have firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): We have significant testimony that leads us to believe that the White House had been told to do something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: A source tells CNN the committee has spoken to a collection of people with firsthand knowledge of Trump's actions during the riot.
CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju joins us now live from the Capitol.
So, Manu, President Biden, all of Washington really preparing to mark the one-year anniversary of that dark day. As we're learning more about what this committee is learning, what can we expect this week?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We can expect a lot of bipartisan moments and a lot of very partisan moments in the aftermath of January 6 and on the day of this January 6, the one-year anniversary.
On the bipartisan side, there is expected to be a prayer vigil that will occur on the East -- in the center steps of the Capitol. House and Senate members will participate in that prayer vigil that evening. Now, who attends remains to be seen.
There will be a lot of testimonials and a lot of speeches about the impact that this had on individual members of Congress. We could probably hear some Republicans and Democrats alike. But we're going to hear a lot of blame being passed around, a lot of arguments about what should come next.
Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy sent out a letter to his colleagues last night attacking Democrats for not doing more to prepare the Capitol for the insurrection on that day. Expect more of that Republican line of argument.
We will expect a lot of Democrats pointing out Donald Trump's role in all of this and argue about how Republicans even in the aftermath of what happened on the Capitol, the deadly insurrection voted to overturn the electoral results in two states.
And also expect from the Senate side Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, planning to use January 6 as an argument to move forward with the Democrats' bill to overhaul the nation's voting and electoral laws, arguing that this is a perfect reason to push back on the big lie that Donald Trump -- the election was stolen from Donald Trump and that Joe Biden was somehow an illegitimate president, that they should pass a large scale bill that Republicans call a federal takeover of the elections.
And Democrats are planning to push forward to try to change the Senate's filibuster rules in order to pass that measure from going forward, which they don't have the votes to do at the moment.
But, nevertheless, expect a lot of discussion, a lot of arguments this week, but probably not a lot of agreement as the two sides grapple with this one-year anniversary -- Erica.
HILL: Yes, Manu Raju, appreciate it. Thank you.
Also with us, former White House ethic czar, former House special counsel in President Trump's first impeachment trial Norm Eisen, and former Republican congressman, host of "The White Flag" podcast, Joe Walsh.
Good to have both of you with.
So, Norm, we have been hearing more from the House select committee. We just played some of that sound from over the weekend talking specifically about firsthand testimony of people who begged with the former president to act as the Capitol was being attacked.
And we keep hearing over and over again about this 187 minutes of silence, as they say, saying that they believe it shows a dereliction of duty. The question, though, is would that show criminal -- any sort of criminal action or inaction?
NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Erica, thanks for having me back.
I do think that the evidence that's unfolding is relevant to former President Trump's potential criminal liability. Think about it. He swore an oath to defend the government. And then he allegedly -- we're still unfolding the facts -- allegedly stood by for over three hours after inciting that same crowd to attack the Capitol, and, it appears, did nothing.
That does come into criminal statutes like 18-USC-1512, obstruction of a congressional proceeding, where, by his failure to act, the Congress count of the electoral votes was obstructed through violence.
So, yes, there is potential criminal exposure. And the committee has said they're considering criminal referrals. So that could open a very important new chapter of this investigation.
HILL: And, really quickly, before we leave this point, you actually say there's sort of a connection right between that 187 minutes and the gap in time on the Watergate tapes.
EISEN: Well, you will remember that famous 18-and-a-half minute gap, Rose Mary Woods, the -- former President Nixon's secretary. It became a central issue, whether that was part of the obstruction of justice there, whether that was an interference with the Watergate investigation. And here we have the 187 minutes. And, Erica, it's so important, because we're just getting the facts out. And what the committee is going to do with its hearings, and then its interim report is really make this case, not just to prosecutors, potentially, but to the American people.
HILL: And it'll be interesting to see how that is received, right?
Congressman, Donald Trump, we know, is set to speak on the anniversary, on January 6. A recent CBS News poll found 62 percent of Americans expect violence over the outcome of future presidential elections.
Now, you took some heat in 2016 just before that election when you suggested people grab their musket if Donald Trump lost. You later said you weren't suggesting people take up arms if Hillary Clinton won, but that they protest in acts of civil disobedience. But the reality is, a year ago, people did take up arms in this country.
And when we look at those numbers that 62 percent of Americans now expect more violence, I wonder, Congressman, do you see a way back from this?
FMR. REP. JOE WALSH (R-IL): No. Erica, sadly, no.
And none of this is surprising, because here's the reality as 2022 begins. We have two major political parties. The entire voting base of one of those major political parties is completely radicalized, Erica. I mean completely radicalized. They no longer believe in basic truths.
It used to be, Erica -- and I engage with these folks every day. It used to be that they would say about January 6 it was no big deal. They don't say that anymore. Now there's almost a badge of honor. January 6, to the base of the Republican Party, is almost a patriotic event.
And I got to say one more thing, Erica. It just -- it scares the hell out of me that the rest of the country doesn't understand this. This is really scary.
HILL: Why do you think people don't understand it?
WALSH: Because it's almost, Erica, too impossible to believe.
I mean, think about it. A former president of the United States, as Norm said, sat on his ass for 187 minutes and didn't do anything while our Capitol was attacked. Why didn't Donald Trump do anything? Because, Erica, he wanted that to happen.
He smiled. He loved it. But, like, you -- the American people don't want to believe that. One of our presidents rejoiced in an insurrection?
Well, that's the scary truth. And he's still the leader of the Republican Party. HILL: Real quickly, do you think that public -- as Norm pointed out,
public hearings, we're told, are coming. There has been a push for incremental reports even.
Do you think any of that would change any of those minds of the people who are OK with this, who, as you point out, right, they're good?
HILL: It won't?
WALSH: Yes. Sadly, Erica, hell no.
Anything the January 6 Committee puts out will not change one mind among the Republican Party base. They are a cult. But it ought to wake the rest of us up.
HILL: Well, one would hope so.
But, as we look at this, we also know the messaging, Norm, at this point that we're hearing, right?
So House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, putting out a letter, saying that the focus needs to be on 2022, this as Republicans really maintain and he points out in his letter that January 6 was, in his view, a result of security failures, writing specifically that the question of how the Capitol was left so unprepared and what must be done to ensure it never happens again, in his view, isn't being addressed, that, instead, the committee is a partisan political weapon to further divide the country.
I mean, I feel like we ask this question all the time. Is there anything you can say, is there anything you can do to get through to people who are determined to stay in this lane, determined to embrace the big lie?
Criminal charges? I mean, people are in jail. It doesn't seem to be having an effect either.
EISEN: Well, Erica, several points.
First, contrary to the minority leader, this is a bipartisan committee with the vice chair, Liz Cheney and Representative Adam Kinzinger very active. And I think it has credibility.
Number two -- and this is a hopeful note in the polls that came in, including over the weekend -- 40 percent of Republicans do support the committee getting to the truth and fully two-thirds of Americans. So those are very important numbers that the committee can build on with these hearings, and its interim report that I think,are helpful in perhaps stopping the bleeding and maybe even reversing a little bit.
And then, finally, I would really make the point that the committee has taken account. Representative Schiff, for example, said they're going to look at the intelligence failures leading up to what happened. They're going to do a full-spectrum review. So it's not accurate that that's not being looked at.
I do think there is some hope to stop additional Americans from going over to the dark side. And it's early days yet. They have only begun the first -- well into the first phase of the investigation. But hearings and the report can really have very beneficial effects on the Americans who have open minds, and maybe even reopen the minds of a few of those whose minds are currently closed.
HILL: We will be watching.
Norm Eisen, Joe Walsh, appreciate both joining us today. Thank you.
EISEN: Thank you.
WALSH: Thanks, Erica.
HILL: Back to school in the midst of a massive surge. How districts across the country are grappling with an explosion in COVID cases.
Plus, President Biden's new warning to Moscow, what he says the U.S. is prepared to do if Russia invades Ukraine.
And five strikes and you're out. Why Twitter has now decided to finally ban one of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's Twitter accounts.
HILL: The first full week of the new year kicking off with millions more Americans now eligible for a booster, the FDA just hours ago giving the green light for children ages 12 to 15 who've already gotten both doses to get a third dose of Pfizer.
The agency also shortening the window there. Remember, with adults, who had to wait six months past your second shot? Well, it's now five months. That announcement comes as the highly contagious Omicron variant has upended the start of 2022 for millions of Americans.
Travel, you have heard a lot about, but it's not just travel being disrupted. For some kids, the return to school after the holidays, kids and staff, I should say, also being impacted, cases just exploding, as you can see on that graph there. Child hospitalizations are also up.
And, as we know, hospitalization numbers are key here. And now Dr. Anthony Fauci noting that, soon, the CDC may change some of its isolation guidelines and recommend an infected person test negative before they return to places like work.
Testing sites already struggling to meet demand, so what could this mean moving forward?
CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joining us now.
So, Elizabeth, let's start with those boosters, because this is something that a lot of parents have been waiting for, children now as young as 12 eligible for a booster. What more do we know?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.
So we know that they have changed the date. So it used to be you have to wait six months to get a booster. they're telling in this case for children 12 to 15 just wait five months. So let's take a look at what this means to parents who have children in this age group.
So they're saying, at least five months after a child's second shot ages 5 through 12, go ahead and get a booster. That means that about five million 5-to-12 -- I'm sorry -- 12-to-15-year-olds are eligible right now, as we speak.
Now, those numbers are important. And it's great that those five million can now go get their booster. But there's one number, Erica, that I really think we need to focus on, which is this; 39 percent of children ages 12 to 15 have not even gotten the first shot, have not gotten even one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
So while the booster is important, that -- what they call the primary series, those first two shots, that's even more important. So we need to figure out ways to convince those parents. Children have been eligible that age to get a vaccine since May. So they have had plenty of time to do it; 39 percent of them have not done it -- Erica.
HILL: We will watch and hopefully that number will change a little bit.
Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.
Taking a look now at schools, back to school today for millions of kids across the country, but not all in person, some districts opening remotely or even delaying their return to school. A lot of kids, though, back inside the classroom.
I know two from my house who are in the classroom right now.
CNN's Athena Jones joining us now.
Here in New York City, we know kids are going back to school. I was at a school in the Bronx this morning. The mayor has been very clear where he stands on this, Athena.
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erica.
You're right, very, very clear. We have heard Mayor Eric Adams. He has a lot of things he likes to say over and over again. One of them is that schools are the safest place for students to be.
He continued to press that point this morning at that elementary school in the Bronx. Here's some of what he had to say there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC ADAMS (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I'm going to tell you what's going to happen day to day. We are staying open. We're going to do everything that we have to do to keep our schools open.
And I know there's questions about staffing. I know there's question about testing. There's a lot of questions. But we're going to turn those question marks into an exclamation point. We're staying open. We're going to make sure our children are in safe spaces.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And, of course, the mayor has pointed to the many drawbacks of children not being in school. One of them is them being exposed to an environment of crime. Another is kids missing meals. A lot of kids rely on schools to get their meals, the challenges for parents who don't have child care.
And, of course, remote learning leaving a lot of kids behind, especially kids who are in poor communities or housing-insecure, they're not able to get online as much. So, the commitment to keeping schools open is there, but there's no doubt this is going to be a huge challenge, perhaps the mayor's most pressing and immediate challenge.
This is, of course, the nation's largest school district, but they say they have a testing system in place, they have a system for staffing, a pool of employees waiting, standing by to fill in where necessary.
And the real question, though, is whether that's going to work -- Erica.
HILL: Everyone will be watching to see.
Athena Jones, appreciate it.
Joining us now, Dr. William Schaffner, who is a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Dr. Schaffner, great to see you today.
Let's pick up where Athena left off there. As we look at schools, they have been very clear, as Athena pointed out, here in New York City, the mayor says kids are going back. He believes it's the safest place for them to be. This morning, he was touting -- he said, look, last year, the transmission rate was less than 1 percent in schools. He says, in homes, it was 15 percent.
And he believes that's another reason why it's safer in schools. They have also added a lot more testing. Is in person learning the right approach in January of 2022?
DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, DEPARTMENT OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE CHAIRMAN, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Well, Erica, I don't know a single educator who does not want to send children back to school for all the reasons that you have just mentioned.
It's then our responsibility to make that school environment, as the mayor has said, absolutely as safe as possible. And one of the things that we can do now, citing Elizabeth Cohen, is to make sure that all the children attending the school are vaccinated.
Every child now age 5 and older can be vaccinated. That's where we need to really put the emphasis. And, of course, all the adults in that school environment should themselves be vaccinated. If that happens and other prudent interventions are taken, masking appropriately in communities where there's a lot of spread, good hand hygiene, yes, as much ventilation as possible.
I know it's cold out there. But, nonetheless, all of those things together, I think schools can be really at very, very low risk.
HILL: You talk about the importance of vaccinations. Boosters as well are really a focus of that conversation.
As Elizabeth just pointed out for us, 39 percent of kids who are eligible still haven't gotten that first shot. When you look at a booster for 12-to-15-year-olds, how much of a difference do you think that will make?
SCHAFFNER: Well, the boosters have been shown certainly to provide more secure protection against Omicron. And by secure protection, I mean protection against serious illness that requires hospitalization.
You can still get a minor infection, akin to a bad cold, but it keeps you out of the hospital. So, now that boosters are available for those 12 and up, I would hope that parents quickly take advantage of that.
We have plenty of vaccine in the refrigerator. But vaccine does not prevent disease. Vaccination prevents disease. It's got to move from those refrigerators into arms. And that's what we need to focus on, children.
And then, of course, we have adult friends and neighbors who haven't gotten their first dose either. Come on aboard, everybody. Let's get ahead of this virus.
HILL: Come on in. The water's fine.
You -- we also heard from -- there's a lot of focus early on, I remember -- and you and I talked about it a number of times -- that a lot of people would say, well, it's not as severe for kids. We know that kids, perhaps less often than adults, but kids can get severely ill.
We have been looking at the hospitalization rates for kids tick up here. We also heard specifically about Omicron and younger children from former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: It appears to be a 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 kids, very young children, toddlers, who have trouble with upper airway infections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Toddlers, of course, children under 5, aren't eligible for a vaccine yet.
Do you agree with his assessment? And, if so, how concerning is that?
SCHAFFNER: Well, Dr. Gottlieb makes an interesting point.
I haven't seen an increased risk in toddlers yet, thank goodness. And my fingers are crossed.