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Insurrection Investigation; Subpoenas Issued For Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump; Winter Storm; FDA Authorizes Booster For Ages 12 to 15. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 03, 2022 - 14:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Happy new year, and welcome to NEWSROOM.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

Listen, flights are canceled. Some schools are remote. Government offices are closed. The U.S. is dealing with both this winter storm and what one expert calls a viral blizzard.

More than 20 million Americans are under winter weather alerts from the Southeast to New England. It's the region's first major snowstorm of the season and the year.

CAMEROTA: At the same time, the Omicron variant has driven the seven- day average of new COVID infections to a record-breaking 404,000 a day. And the -- this is news that so many parents have been waiting for. The FDA just authorized the Pfizer booster for kids aged 12 to 15 and it shortened the time for how long to wait before getting a booster.

CNN's Alexandra Field takes us through all of the latest developments.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: If you look at the uptick, it is actually almost a vertical increase.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amid a tsunami of new COVID cases, the daily average topping 400,000 for the first time, the FDA making major moves to add layers of protection, authorizing booster shots for kids ages 12 to 15, shortening the window between the initial doses of a vaccine and the booster shot for everyone from six months to five, and authorizing a third dose of vaccine for some immunocompromised children between the ages of 5 and 11.

All that as the Omicron surge brings with it a growing number of hospitalizations, but at a lower rate than we have seen during other searches.

DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: 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. And we are seeing rising hospitalizations among that pediatric segment.

FIELD: School districts across the country now struggling with how to bring students safely back to school, five Metro Atlanta schools going remote for the first week of the new year, while Seattle and D.C. schools delayed their start dates to allow time for more testing.

But the largest district in the nation, New York City schools, is bringing students back to class with a new mayor committing to in person learning.

ERIC ADAMS (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: We're not sending an unclear message of what is going to happen day to day. I'm going to tell you what's going to happen day to day. We are staying open.

FIELD: It's part of a shift being seen in more of the country toward finding ways to coexist with COVID, crowds filling stadiums for holiday bowl games, the NFL and NBA easing restrictions on players last week after so many cancellations and delays.

But there are still consequences of the crushingly high case count. And it isn't business as usual.

FAUCI: When I say major disruptions, you're certainly going to see stresses on the system. We already know that there are reports from fire departments, from police departments in different cities that there are 10, 20, 25 and sometimes 30 percent of the people are ill.

FIELD: New York City coping with a staffing shortage among first responders by instructing emergency medical services not to transport most stable patients with flu-like symptoms.

The headaches for air travelers intensifying, a mix of staffing shortages and winter weather now causing another 2,100 cancellations today.


FIELD: Delays and shortages are now even affecting COVID treatments. The state of New Hampshire was set to receive federal monoclonal antibody teams today. They're now being told the teams won't deploy before next week, the federal government citing the high demand for antibodies across the country, according to the state of New Hampshire, which says they requested the treatment a month ago -- Victor, Alisyn.

BLACKWELL: Alexandra Field, thank you so much.

Let's bring in now Dr. Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist at the Yale School Public of Health, and E.R. Dr. Leana Wen. She's a former health commissioner for Baltimore and a CNN medical analyst.

Welcome to your both.

Dr. Wen, let me start with you and tick through a couple of these developments from the FDA. Boosters now approved for children 12 to 15. Only half of 12-to-15-year-olds, according to the latest data, are fully vaccinated. So how does this change the landscape?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, don't think that the booster shot for 12-to-15-year-olds is going to do much when it comes to overall epidemiology.

This is not how we're going to curb the current huge surge of cases among children and adults. But I do think that approving that booster is going to give a lot of peace of mind for parents of teens, who may be really eager. They are teens who have underlying who have medical conditions, including asthma and obesity, who are at increased risk.


Getting them the booster will be important. But I certainly agree, Victor, that the overall emphasis really still needs to be getting the unvaccinated vaccinated as kids are coming back to school. And I strongly believe that we should have in person instruction.

We need to use every tool in our toolbox to protect our children. And parents of children 5 and older have the ability to protect their children with vaccinations. And they should not delay.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Ko, I want to ask you about something that our correspondent Alexandra Field just touched on in that piece. And that's the culture changing around COVID.

I was just in New Orleans for New Year's Eve. There were throngs and throngs of people on the street, as there often are in New Orleans. There were throngs of people going to that Sugar Bowl game. There were few masks. However, every restaurant that I went to require proof of vaccination.

So are you seeing any kind of shift in the paradigm where fully vaccinated people are learning to live with it or trying to get back to normal now?

DR. ALBERT KO, YALE UNIVERSITY: So thank you very much for that question.

I think, really, we have to go back to, what are the ground principles? The most important thing we can do through this pandemic is to save lives and prevent our hospitals from overflowing with patients.

It's a very fragile time now with staff shortages throughout hospitalizations. So, in order to do that, certainly, vaccinations are going to be important. COVID is still a pandemic among the unvaccinated. And so we have to get primary vaccination included, as well as boosters.

But we're also going to have to implement those non-pharmaceutical interventions, the basic face masks and social distancing, so that we're not getting into a horrible surge in the month of January.

BLACKWELL: Dr. Ko, let me stay with you on what we have heard from Dr. Fauci is that there could be some clarification coming as relates to the five-day window now, that people who do not have symptoms can leave quarantine.

He says the testing could be added to that. What does a test tell me? Let's say a person test positive for COVID. Does that mean that they are still able to transmit it? Is the viral load necessarily high enough to pass it on to someone?

KO: Yes, so I think it's important to differentiate. There are two different types of tests. There's a PCR test and there's a rapid antigen test.

Of those two, the test that we're going to want to use to test out of isolation is going to be the rapid antigen test. That's much more specific for determining if someone's more infectious, rather than being infected.

And in that situation, I'm certainly of the opinion that we need a test-out option to get people out of isolation, rather than kind of a one rule for all five days staying in isolation and come out, regardless of what your testing result is.

BLACKWELL: And that rapid at-home, that rapid antigen test, that's the at-home test that people are taking, right?

KO: Right.

It's -- it can be done both in pharmacies. It can be done in clinics, but it's also can be done at home with the at-home tests.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Wen, I want to ask you this, because you are the mom of two little kids. And I don't know if you heard what Dr. Scott Gottlieb said over the weekend, former FDA commissioner, but, basically, that Omicron appears to be more mild, a more mild variant for adults, but possibly more problematic for little kids, because it might be an upper respiratory virus.

So, can you -- do you agree? And can you explain that?

WEN: Well, based on the data that we have, Alisyn, what we understand is that Omicron is -- appears to be quite a bit less -- mild than previous variants, certainly than the Delta variant, when it comes to adults.

And the reason seems to be that there is less virus that's going into the lungs. And COVID pneumonia was the major reason why people were getting so severely ill. So this is good news.

What is unclear is the degree to which this affects younger children because of the anatomy of younger kids. And we're talking in this case about 1- and 2-year-olds in particular. For these younger kids, they are more susceptible to upper airway disease.

And so if you then have a virus that accumulates in the upper airways, could it cause more severe disease in these children? That remains to be seen, although what we are seeing across the country and that we are -- and that we do know for a fact is that, when we have a lot of infections among adults, we're also going to see and we are seeing a lot of infections among children.

And some substantial portion of them are going to need to be hospitalized. And so this is a really dangerous time when it comes to our children. The best way to protect them remains getting everybody around them, including older kids who are now eligible to be vaccinated, getting them vaccinated.


That's the whole idea of herd immunity, to protect the most vulnerable among us, which includes young kids.

CAMEROTA: OK, Dr. Wen, Dr. Ko, thank you both very much for all the information.

KO: Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: All right, meanwhile, more than 725,000 people up and down the East Coast are without power because of today's severe weather.

And the FAA has issued a ground stop for Reagan National and BWI airports.

So let's get to meteorologist Tom Sater, who is tracking this big storm.

Tom, what cities are you seeing there that will get the most snow?

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's quite an array of totals.

I mean, the first snow of the season, Alisyn, we have got nine-and-a- half in Atlantic city. I mean, it's snowing on the beaches and not far from there some major coastal flooding in Sea Isle City. That's in North Carolina, but we have had a few tornadoes to the South.

It is a fast-moving system. We knew something was going to happen over the weekend. It was 99 degrees down in Southern Texas and 14 below in North Dakota. This cold air is moving all the way through the Florida Keys. Look at some of these totals. I mean, Maryland, you're almost at a foot of snow.

You're over that in Virginia, Washington, D.C., eight-and-a-half. It's six-and-a-half at Reagan National, therefore more of the flight delays. But these totals continue. In fact, in Boone, North Carolina, we had thunder snow. If you hear thunder, it's snowing at three inches an hour in some cases.

The warnings are starting to dwindle, but it's still right at the heart of the Mid-Atlantic, including Washington, D.C., up through New Jersey. Good news is most of the heavy snow seems to be staying just to the south and east of New York City. But it's coming down still in North Carolina, down around areas of Raleigh.

Up to the North, though, it's going to continue to snow. And even though this is fast-moving, we're going to see an additional two to four inches as this system moves out. Now, we did have a few tornadoes to the South. We had a tornado watch in effect. That is no longer in effect for the Outer Banks. Again, still going to cause some travel problems.

I know a lot are pretty shocked that, though temperatures have been so warm after so many records that have been broken, that, after that first initial snow falls, it really cools the ground, so snow is sticking around.

The power outages are really heavy around Charlottesville. This is where you have got the heavier snow on the trees, but look at the temperature difference. It's a 35-degree drop down in Tallahassee.

Freeport, Florida, yesterday afternoon, 75 degrees. At 3:00 in the morning, it was in the 20s and snowing. So here comes that cold air. It's going to be with us for a while, at least through the entire week. And, again, that cold air goes all the way down through Florida. So just hang in there and, by the end of the week, things will hopefully get a little bit better.

But first snow of the year for some is -- comes with quite a punch.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it looks like it is.

Tom Sater, thanks so much.

Lawmakers investigating the January 6 insurrection say they have firsthand testimony about what former President Trump was doing while his supporters were doing this, storming the U.S. Capitol. What it could mean for possible criminal charges next.

CAMEROTA: And the New York attorney general's office has now subpoenaed Ivanka Trump and Don Jr. in its investigation into the Trump Organization.

We have all the details.



CAMEROTA: Lawmakers investigating the Capitol insurrection appear to have broken former President Trump's wall of obstruction.

A source tells CNN's Jamie Gangel that the January 6 Committee has information from multiple people with firsthand knowledge about what Trump was doing as the attack unfolded.

And that includes Keith Kellogg, national security adviser for then- Vice President Pence, who was with Trump in the White House as the riot was happening and is reportedly a key witness.

CAMEROTA: Now, here's vice chair of the committee, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, with more on what that committee is learning.

(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 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.


BLACKWELL: Let's bring it now CNN's chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, and Renato Mariotti. He is a former federal prosecutor.

Welcome to you both.

Gloria, let me start with you with just the significance that, for all the people who are obstructing, who are suing to keep testimony and documents from the committee, that there are members of this inner circle who are talking, that wall is not holding up.


Everything's kind of unraveling to a degree for those people, because for every e-mail or text they refuse to share, there is someone who texted them or there is someone they shared some information with. And so what the what the committee is doing is kind of what reporters do, which is trying to sort of get the full picture from as many primary sources as they possibly can, people who were eyewitnesses to what Trump was doing in that dining room, as Liz Cheney was talking about.

Who went in and out? Ivanka Trump going in and out a couple of times, saying, you got to stop this, and what Donald Trump may or may not have been saying to people who were coming in and out of that dining room or the Oval Office. So they're trying to get this full picture.

And so for every person who is refusing to cooperate, and those are the bright, shiny objects, there may be multiple people who are saying, you know what, I am going to cooperate because what happened was appalling.

CAMEROTA: So, Renato, if they do now have evidence of, as Liz Cheney says, President Trump's dereliction of duty, as roughly 140 police officers were being beaten, some of them within an inch of their life -- I mean, we can just remember the horrible image of Officer Hodges being crushed in that turnstile.


That's just one example. I mean, there are more than 100 officers while they claim that President Trump was standing by doing nothing for hours. Is that criminal? Would that warrant criminal charges?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I think it's certainly enough to prove a dereliction of duty beyond a reasonable doubt.

But, of course, that's not what the relevant criminal charge would be. And so my focus of, coming from a criminal law perspective, would be on what his action was, not his inaction, because I think his inaction, I don't think anyone can argue with that.

But the question is, what exactly was he doing? And I know, in that same interview, Liz Cheney talked about how Trump was on the phone with senators trying to urge them to delay the vote, how what -- I'd be interested, if I was investigating this matter, as to what exactly he was saying to Ivanka during those conversations, and what Trump knew in advance about the attack.

I think what they would have to show is that Trump not only knew this attack was going on and did nothing in the face of the attack, but that he actually took an active step to aid the scheme in some way.

And that would involve taking a look at his words and actions and really learning from the sort of people you were just talking about as exactly what he knew and what his intent was.

BLACKWELL: Gloria, and you reconcile what we're learning from the vice chair, Cheney, there and that little gem that she offered about firsthand knowledge about Ivanka Trump walking in at least twice to try to get a father to do something.

Juxtapose that to the new "Washington Post" poll that shows that 72 percent of Republicans believe that the former president played little to no role or bears little to no responsibility for the January 6 attack.

It was clear to Ivanka Trump that day who had some control. It was clear to Don Jr., we learned from the Mark Meadows texts, who had some control that day.

BORGER: Sure. Sure.

Look, here's the question. Whether or not you believe that Donald Trump provoked the attack -- and most of his loyal supporters would say, of course, he didn't provoke the attack -- what the committee is talking about now is, what did he do, if anything, to stop the attack on democracy, to stop the attack on the Capitol once he saw the violence that was being perpetrated?

I think they would like to prove to the American public that not only did he provoke it and participate in it, and maybe they will use the money chain to do that, but also that when, as president of the United States, he saw the U.S. Capitol under attack, he did nothing. In fact, perhaps he was even applauding it, because he saw it as people supporting his point of view that the election was stolen.

So why did it take 187 minutes? Why was his daughter unable to have him go out immediately or quickly and say, you have got to stop this? We don't know the answers to those questions, because we don't know yet when Ivanka Trump, say, went in there, what he said to her.


BORGER: We don't know that yet.


I mean, let's not forget, as we were pointing out, the FOX hosts knew that day as that was happening how bad it was and were trying to get ahold of the president.

BORGER: Right.

CAMEROTA: As you say, his children knew. That day, people knew what they saw with their own eyes and what was happening.

And so I just circle back, Renato. I mean, I understand what you're doing, distinguishing between an action and an inaction, but isn't failing to render aid in the midst of a grievous attack, isn't that a crime?

MARIOTTI: Usually not. It could be in a certain circumstance where you have a specific duty to do so and that's part of a scheme.

For example, if we're all robbing a bank, and the guard is in on it, and just stands there and watches us rob the bank, if he was in on the scheme, that would be a crime. But if Trump was just eating popcorn and laughing while this was going on, and really he had no idea what was going to happen in advance, I think that'd be a very difficult case to prove.

I mean, I certainly think there could be -- I'm sure you could come up with some arguments, but it's a lot easier to come up with an argument that we could debate on TV, rather than something that a jury would convict on based -- in terms of evidence beyond a reasonable now.

I think you need something more.

BLACKWELL: Renato, let me ask you about this news from the New York A.G.'s office. They're subpoenaing Ivanka Trump, Don Jr. as part of the investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices.

We know that former President Trump says that they will fight this. What is first the significance of if they cooperate? We have some hint that they will not. But do they have any greater protections than the former president does?


MARIOTTI: Well they don't have greater protections.

What I would say is that what they probably are going to try to do is say that there's a criminal case ongoing, and essentially say that they shouldn't be forced to make a decision regarding whether to take the Fifth while there's a criminal investigation ongoing.

I think that's what's going to happen there, because, of course, the Manhattan DA is investigating them for criminal charges related to the same conduct. So, I expect them. They're not -- they're going to try to dance around taking the Fifth.

They're not going to want to take the Fifth. That actually would have been -- aside from the P.R. battle, that would have an impact on the civil case if they took the Fifth. But I think that's likely how that's going to play out for them.

BLACKWELL: All right, Renato Mariotti, Gloria Borger, thank you both.


MARIOTTI: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We have breaking news in the criminal fraud trial of the former Theranos CEO, Elizabeth Holmes.

The jury just sent a note saying -- quote -- "We are unable to come to a unanimous verdict on three of the counts." Holmes faces 11 counts, including nine for wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

BLACKWELL: Now, the jury has not indicated which of the counts they have been able to reach a unanimous verdict on. The judge, prosecutors, defense attorneys are still in the courtroom discussing how to respond to that note.

CAMEROTA: Yes, so we understand that the judge has just told the jury to continue deliberating. So, we will keep you posted on that.

BLACKWELL: OK. That just came in. All right.


BLACKWELL: New York City's new mayor, Eric Adams, is vowing to keep schools open.

His plan to keep kids safe, as Omicron cases surge, and what parents and teachers across the country need to know, we have that for you next.