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Capitol Police Making Changes in Response to Insurrection; Miami-Dade Schools Mandate Masks for All Adult as Cases Surge; Newark, New Jersey Schools Will be 100 percent Virtual Until January 18; January 6 Committee Wants to Ask Fox Host Sean Hannity Abut His Interactions with Trump; Trump Face Backlash from Some Supporters After Touting COVID Vaccine. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired January 04, 2022 - 15:30   ET



DR. MICHAEL MINA, CHIEF SCIENCE OFFICER, EMED: We will figure it out very quickly and be able to get them these new oral antivirals shipped directly to their house, for instance. That is a very strategic and good use of the tests given that those antivirals need to be initiated within just a few days of symptom onset to have their benefit.

Other approaches are tests to stay. No child should have to not -- should be staying out of school just because they might be exposed and infected. COVID's an information problem, and rapid tests give us the information we need to keep those kids in school. If you're negative, keep going to school. If you're positive, don't.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All right. Dr. Michael Mina, Dr. Abdul El- Sayed, we've got to wrap it there. First question goes to you next time Dr. El-Sayed, thank you very much for your time.

All right, as the nation prepares to mark one year since the deadly U.S. Capitol attack, the Capitol Police Force is announcing changes in response to the insurrection.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: So, moments ago, the Capitol Police board held a press conference to discuss what steps are being made to secure the Capitol and try to prevent another January 6th. So, let's bring in Whitney Wild. So, Whitney, tell us about what these changes are.

WHITNEY WILD, LAW ENFORCEMENT CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what the Capitol Police Chief said was that they sought to make the most impactful changes at the outset. So, there had been this comment from the Capitol Police Inspector General a while back, a couple of weeks ago, in which he said that department made basically a fraction of the recommendations that he had suggested. So, he suggested a hundred. They've made around 30.

The Capitol Police Chief today made a point of saying it's not like they are only doing a third of the work they are supposed to be doing. In fact, what those 34 recommendations that are completed represent are the most pressing issues that were facing the department. Things such as intelligence gathering and dissemination. Operational planning as well as civil disturbance unit preparedness. The CDU is critical because when you look at what the attack was, the

attack was, you know, hundreds, thousands of people descending on the Capitol, and it was hand-to-hand combat. CDU is right at the front line of that. And so, getting that unit up to speed was really critical. Here's what the chief said when he was asked basically frankly, are you prepared for another January 6th.


CHIEF TIM MANGER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: The United States Capitol police as an organization is stronger and better prepared to carry out its mission today than it was before January 6th of last year. The department began significant work immediately after the 6th to fix the failures that occurred, intelligence failures, operational planning failures, leadership failures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the insurrection happened today, is the capital strong enough to withstand that?

MANGER: I believe it is, yes.


WILD: Further, when he talked about the security posture and intelligence that they're monitoring as they lead up to this anniversary, what he said is at this point there's not credible intelligence to suggest there's going to be an issue. However, they are monitoring events throughout Washington. They are monitoring an event at the D.C. jail. Further he said that they are working through another 60 recommendations. So, the hope is that in due time when they can finish up all of these recommendations, this department will be at the best possible place -- Alisyn, Victor.

CAMEROTA: OK, Whitney Wild, thank you very much for that breaking news.

BLACKWELL: School districts across the country are coming up with different plans now in light of the Omicron surge. We're going to talk to two superintendents from some of the country's largest school districts on what they are doing. That's next.



CAMEROTA: Different schools are responding differently to the Omicron surge. In Newark, New Jersey, schools are reverting to remote instruction for two more weeks.

BLACKWELL: In Miami-Dade County where cases are skyrocketing, students have returned to in-person learning. All adults inside a school building or buses there are now required to wear a mask, while students are strongly encouraged to wear masks indoors. Joining us now are two superintendents, Alberto Carvalho who runs a district in Miami-Dade County, and Roger Leon heads Newark, New Jersey schools. Welcome to you both. Let me start with you Mr. Superintendent there in Miami-Dade. This

patch work, I know this is the best that you can do considering the ban on mandates from the governor, but how do you think this will end up? I mean, it doesn't make sense that the visitors and the vendors have to wear masks but the teachers don't, the students don't. It's only encouraged.

ALBERTO CARVALHO, SUPERINTENDENT, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Good afternoon, Victor and Alisyn, thank you for having us on your show. No, unfortunately in the state of Florida, there are a lot of tools in the tool box, but we cannot use all of them because of legislative restrictions recently adopted by the state. So yes, there's a degree of inconsistency regarding the protective measures that we are requiring as adults, but we cannot legislatively require students.

The irony here also is in this state, students can evolve themselves a voucher, scholarships, they can transport that money to a Catholic school, to a private school, where they mandate the student to wear a mask. So, there's a great deal of inconsistency, all of it disconnected from reasons and the expert advice of medical entities.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we hear your frustration. I mean, there's a law that has been passed in Florida that you cannot mandate that students wear masks in school, even though as you say, it's a tool in the tool kit.

So Superintendent Leon, there seems to be near universal agreement that remote learning is hard for kids. It is not preferable. They would much rather be in the classroom. They don't learn well remotely. So, why are you moving to remote learning?

ROGER LEON, SUPERINTENDENT, NEWARK PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Once again, thanks, Alisyn, and Victor for having me and a good hello to my friend down in Miami. So, we agree that in-person instruction is and will always trump the whole notion of what occurs during remote instruction, no matter how perfected we try to improve those efforts.


Our number in Newark after the Thanksgiving break three weeks in and leading to our winter break justified a reality that was scary. The numbers began to spike during the week of winter break, and so we began to implement a couple of strategies. Precautionary measures during the last two weeks before winter break, and then leading to winter break began preparation plans so that the families of children would, in fact, be ready at home as well as for the staff to pivot as well.

In new jersey, we see it a little differently. Our governor as well as the mayor of our great city have been nothing but extremely supportive, not only in orders, but definitely in on ground supports in Newark.

CAMEROTA: What are your numbers right now? What are your numbers?

LEON: Yes, so in the city -- in the state of New Jersey, about 1.4 million are positive. In Newark, a little over 60,000. In our school system active positives, we have 11 percent of my entire teaching staff, so that's 3,000 teachers, 11 percent of my classroom teachers are in fact positive, and we only know that because of mandatory testing last week.

CAMEROTA: So, you both have your work cut out for you. Really appreciate your time. Obviously, we'll be watching very closely what happens there. Superintendents Carvalho and Leon, we appreciate you, thank you.

LEON: Thank you.

CARVALHO: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And we'll be right back.



BLACKWELL: The breaking news, three sources tell CNN that the House Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection now intends to ask Fox News host Sean Hannity to speak with them. CNN's Ryan Nobles joins us now with more. Tell us what you know.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor, we've just confirmed this report. First was put out by Axios and committee sources are telling us that it is indeed true that the committee is preparing to send a letter to Fox News host Sean Hannity asking that he voluntarily appear before the committee to discuss what he knows about the events leading up to and on January 6th.

Of course, the committee has already been very public about the information that they've received about Hannity's interactions with the former president and his staff, specifically on January 6th. They revealed text messages that Hannity sent to the then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on that day. And they outlined some of those text messages as part of their criminal contempt referral report of the former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. So, it's clear that they believe that Hannity knows a lot about what took place on that day, and they'd like to learn even more information from Hannity about his role and everything that took place on January 6th.

Now, what's important to point out about the committee's step here is that the committee is voluntarily asking for Hannity to come forward. This isn't going to be a formal subpoena, we understand, that this is just going to be a letter asking that he do this of his own accord, but they aren't yet ready to take the step of issuing a formal subpoena.

Now if that comes, it certainly puts the situation in a different realm, it then becomes a legal responsibility for Hannity to appear and then it could become a situation where if he defies that subpoena, he too could face a criminal contempt charge. We're not at that point yet. So, at this point, this is a voluntary ask of Hannity to come before

the committee and answer their questions. We expect that we'll see that letter at some point today, but we can confirm that this is the committee's plans, that they do want to hear from the Fox News host -- Alisyn, and Victor.

CAMEROTA: Ryan, this is interesting on many levels and complicated because Hannity -- well, his lawyer, Jay Sekulow is already saying that this raises First Amendment, freedom of the press issues. I don't know if that's true because Hannity was acting as an informal adviser throughout the Trump -- separate and apart from his day job, throughout the Trump presidency as we know.

And also, he's a huge Donald Trump friend and loyalist so it's hard to know what the committee could get out of him that his text messages haven't already said.

NOBLES: Yes, I think that's right, Alisyn, and it does open up kind of a new realm in terms of this inquiry by the committee that they're bringing forward someone who has a platform as big as Hannity's and who kind of sits in this weird space of commentary, political activism and serving as an informal adviser to the former president, and someone who by every account is still in regular contact with the former president, Donald Trump.

So, I think there's another question, too, Alisyn about where the first -- what role the First Amendment plays in terms of the committee just asking him questions about the conversations that he had with the former president, whether they be public or not public, that's not necessarily preventing Sean Hannity from talking about that should it come to that point.

So, you know, this is kind of a weird space, and the committee's been in this space multiple times, whether it be, you know, asking former administration officials to come forward and talk to them, former Department of Justice officials, asking them to come forward and talk to them, and even asking members of Congress to come forward and talk to them.

This is in many ways ground that hasn't been covered by a Congressional investigation which can make it difficult from a legal perspective because it could mean that some of these issues have to be ironed out in a court of law. So, we'll have to see what the letter says, what they're specifically asking of, and then what response Hannity has before we see what path this process could go down before the committee actually gets the information they're looking for.


BLACKWELL: All right, Ryan Nobles standby. Let's bring in CNN'S senior media correspondent Brian Stelter. Brian, we know that there were the text messages that Hannity sent to Mark Meadows, then Chief of Staff. Can he deliver some remarks, can he ask people to leave the Capitol? Your reaction now to this appeal from the committee to get Hannity to cooperate. BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the big

question that a lot of people are going to want to know including Sean Hannity's viewers is what is Sean Hannity hiding? What does Hannity know that he's been hiding from his audience?

Because he has an audience of millions of people who rely on him, who trust him, who believe him, even though he's given them many reasons to disbelieve. And so, what has he been hiding from them for the past year?

I think it's very significant this is voluntary, it's not a subpoena. It is not a situation where we're going to be talking about a dramatic First Amendment debate.

Certainly, if it did escalate to that point there would be interesting questions about the role of a media personality who acts like a shadow chief of staff to a former president, and what that shadow chief of staff knew in the days leading up to the riot?

That's an interesting First Amendment issue at some point, but this is just a voluntary request. And let's also remember that Sean Hannity has repeatedly and loudly for the last 11 or 12 years said that journalism is dead in America. He says journalism is dead but all of a sudden as soon as there's a request from a legal committee he doesn't like, he wraps himself in the First Amendment flag and says this would breach the First Amendment.

So, I think it really comes down to the key question. What's he hiding? What does he know over the past year that he hasn't told his viewers or told the public? Is he in on it, in some way? As we know we're learning about this vast conspiracy. Was he in on it in some fashion? And if not, I'm sure he'll want to share that as well.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean when you say what's he hiding? You mean if he refuses to show up. At the moment, what makes you think that he's hiding anything?

STELTER: Well, I think for the past year he has defended Donald Trump and promoted Trumpism, even though he was text messaging on January 6th trying to stop what was going on just like so many others at Fox and elsewhere. You know, as I reported on Fox over the years, people have always singled out Hannity as the single biggest Trump sycophant and the most important adviser to the then president.

He was on the phone with Trump before and after his shows in primetime. They essentially produced each other's shows and he produced Trump's presidency. And so, he certainly knows more than he has shared about what happened between election day and the insurrection. I think that's absolutely true because he was on the phone. He was texting and all of this, of course, Alisyn, goes to the bigger issue. The pro-Trump media set the stage for the riot. And that's something that wants this committee clearly wants to explore.

CAMEROTA: OK, Ryan Nobles, Brian Stelter, thank you very much.

All right, former President Trump has recently been vocal about the benefits of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and most Americans, even Republicans, agree with him and have gotten the shot.

BLACKWELL: But there's still a largely Republican-leaning group of holdouts who do not want to hear Trump preach about vaccines. CNN's Tom Foreman has more.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I recommend take the vaccines. I did it. It's good. Take the vaccines. But you got -- no, no, that's OK.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Boos from his own crowd scorned from his dedicated fans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both the president and I are vaxxed, and did you get the booster?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got it too. OK, so...

TRUMP: No, don't, don't, don't, don't.

FOREMAN (voice over): Donald Trump is increasingly talking up the vaccine and taking heat for it. Ridiculed in conservative cartoons, skewered in right wing media.

ALEX JONES, INFOWARS: You know what, I'm going to dish it all on Trump.

FOREMAN: Where flamethrower Alex Jones told his followers Trump is getting and giving bad advice on the vaccine.

JONES: It's so people can know how pathetic he is when you think he's playing 40 chess going to save you and he's not.

FOREMAN (voice over): Resistance to the vaccine is so high among Republicans 4 in 10 were unvaccinated going into the holidays compared to about 1 in 10 Democrats. So never mind that the former president steadily rejects the idea of mandates, when he talks up voluntary vaccination, some slap him down.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I was stunned by that. I mean, given the fact of how popular he is with that group.

TRUMP: The vaccine is one of the greatest achievements of mankind.

FOREMAN (voice over): In a chat with conservative talk host Candice Owens, Trump rightfully took credit for fast-tracking the life-saving science that is leading the fight against COVID.

TRUMP: Look, the results of the vaccine are very good. And if you do get it, it's a very minor form. People aren't dying when they take the vaccine.

FOREMAN (voice over): Her snap response, a tangled video suggesting Trump is out of touch with the truth.

CANDACE OWENS, @REALCANDACEO: You've oftentimes forget like how old Trump is. I believe also that he only reads the mainstream media news. Believe it or not.

FOREMAN (voice over): It all has Trump facing rare skepticism from his party's faithful and praise from outside those ranks.


FAUCI: I think that his continuing to say that people should get vaccinated and articulating that to them, in my mind is a good thing. I hope he keeps it up.


FOREMAN (on camera): Maybe he's doing this because he really believes it. But more cynical, political analysts say maybe it's because he wants to run again. He knows he needs to expand his base and most of America believes in vaccines.

CAMEROTA: OK. Tom Foreman, thank you.

BLACKWELL: "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now after the break.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Family what was handing out the oranges and there's, you know, other -- you get out to stretch your legs. It was a clear night. Oh, yeah there Cascade theaters and the Big Dipper, you know, we were half sharing the gallows experience. All right.