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January 6 Committee Seeks Cooperation from Fox News' Sean Hannity; Trump Hit with Two New Lawsuits from Police Officers; Security Ramping Up Ahead of January 6 Anniversary; CDC New Isolation Guidance Causes More Confusion; Israel Study: Fourth Dose Boosts Antibodies Fivefold. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 05, 2022 - 04:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and right around the world. I'm Isa Soares in London and just ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The United States Capitol Police as an organization is stronger and better prepared, but we've got to keep working at it and making it safer and safer and safer.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): I would hope that he would do the right thing and come forward.


SOARES: Fox News anchor Sean Hannity's call by the House Select Committee to voluntarily cooperate in their inquiry into the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

New CDC guidance brings confusion and frustration for many, we'll break down the new isolation guidelines for you.

And Prince Andrew is trying to get a sexual assault law against him thrown out. But a U.S. judge appears skeptical of his legal team's arguments. We're live for you in Windsor.

ANNOUNCER: Lives from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Isa Soares.

SOARES: Welcome to the show everyone. It is Wednesday, January the 5th, and there are new revelations and new requests from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol as he we approach, of course, the one-year anniversary of the insurrection.

Now, we have learned the panel is looking for cooperation from this man on your screen, Fox News host Sean Hannity after receiving dozens of his text messages sent to and from former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Texts like this one exactly a year ago.

Hannity wrote, very worried about the next 48 hours. Now, the panel says his messages show advance knowledge about the

planning for January the 6th, and here's what Hannity said on Fox News one day before the Capitol riot.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: A big day tomorrow, big crowds apparently showed up to the point where the West Wing could hear the music and the chanting of the people that were there already, and this all kicks off in the morning tomorrow.


SOARES: Well, the House Committee also cited a separate text from December 31st of 2020, when Hannity wrote to Meadows saying, quote, we can't lose the entire White House counsel's office. I do not see January 6 happening the way he's been told. After the 6th he will announce we'll lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Florida and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks, people will listen.

Well, Hannity isn't the only one the committee wants to hear from. They're also hoping to speak with former Vice President Mike Pence. CNN's Ryan Nobles reports for you from Washington.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are many conversations that the January 6 Select Committee would like to have with key players in the events leading up to the riots that took place here almost a year ago. Among them, Sean Hannity, the Fox News commentator, a close political adviser of the former President Donald Trump.

They sent a letter to Hannity this week asking him to voluntarily appear before the committee and answer questions about the communications that he had with White House officials, with members of Congress, and the former president himself. And in that letter, they outline a series of text messages that Hannity sent to Meadows, to Jim Jordan, a member of Congress and other White House officials where he expressed real concerns about the rhetoric and the movement that was being made by the White House around that time to attempt to get the Vice President, Mike Pence, to stand in the way of the election certification results.

Now, it's unclear if Hannity will comply. This is not a legal request. They're asking him to come on his own accord, but it does stand to reason that if he decides not to, that the committee could take that next step of forcing him to comply through a Congressional subpoena. His lawyer, Jay Sekulow, telling CNN that he believes that there are some serious First Amendment issues involved in this request and that he and his client are reviewing what the committee is asking for.

Now, Hannity is one thing. They are also interested in Pence. They'd like to talk to the former Vice President Mike Pence. Bennie Thompson telling me in an interview that he wants to hear about Pence's experience on January 6th.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): The Vice President could not leave the Capitol of the United States because of a riot. He was sequestered in an area in the Capitol. So, his life was in danger.


I would hope that he would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee.

NOBLES: Now, to be clear, Thompson has not sent Pence a formal request asking him to appear voluntarily, or a subpoena. They'd like Pence just to come in on his own to sit down and say that he's ready to answer questions about the days leading up to January 6th. They want to know not just about the pressure campaign, but also just the day- to-day tick tock of what happened on January 6. How he was ushered out of the Senate chamber, was forced to be protected. And they also want to hear from his security detail.

So, it's clear that Pence plays a pretty important role in this process. The committee already has spoken to several of his close allies, including his former Chief of Staff Marc Short, who was with him on January 6, and Keith Kellogg who once served as his national security adviser.

So, the committee continues to cast a wide net as they look for information leading to what went wrong on January 6th.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, on Capitol Hill.


SOARES: Well, CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter points out Sean Hannity texted his concerns about Trump in the run up to the insurrection and afterward. Yet he said nothing publicly to his many viewers.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hannity is not commenting on this. He's not saying a word about this. He's pretending it doesn't exist. But his messages do exist. And they're not just about the days before the riot. They're about the days after the riot. I've always wondered how was Trump muzzled in the days after the riot. Why is it that the Congress did not remove him from office after he incited a riot? What happened on those pivotal days? Well, here's Hannity on January 10 saying, I had a pretty bad call with him. Why didn't you tell your viewers about that call? Why didn't you call that Fox News room and say, we've got an emergency on our hands?


SOARES: Important context there from our Brian Stelter.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has called off his press conference on January 6, deciding instead to speak at a rally in Arizona on the 15th. A source tells CNN the former president is irritated by the media's lack of interest and a lot of negative feedback. Well, several outside advisers and Republican Senators urged him to cancel Thursday's event. The source says the rally of supporters would be more receptive to his message than the media.

And Donald Trump is facing two more lawsuits from police officers for his role in the January 6 insurrection. The officers claim the former president directed the attack, which left them injured and emotionally traumatized. One is a Capitol police officer. Two others are members of the D.C. Metro Police. Trump already faces six civil suits related to those riots. An attorney for Trump did not respond to CNN's request for comment. But be sure we'll stay on top of that story for you.

Now, security is ramping up in preparation for the anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Homeland Security Secretary says there's a heightened threat level, but he isn't aware of any credible threats directly tied to the anniversary. Meantime, the chief of the Capitol police says his force will be able to defend against another mob-like attack. Our Paula Reid has the story for you.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just days before the anniversary of the January 6th insurrection, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger addressed the current state of his embattled department.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GONELL: So, the magnitude of what we encounter was something like I never experienced myself, not even when I was overseas in combat.

REID (voice-over): Gonell was out for months because of injuries sustained during the insurrection and still grapples with trauma from that day.

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

REID: Manger said he is aware of some events plans for Thursday, but there is no intelligence that indicates there will be any problems. The Department of Homeland Security chief also said today that he is not aware of any specific credible threats on the anniversary of the insurrection.

Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.


SOARES: And, of course, we'll have much more ahead on the January 6 investigation, including how lawmakers are pushing forward with prosecuting some of the rioters. Do stay with us for that.

And we are following developments on The Korean Peninsula, pardon me, where South Korea's joints chief of staff, says North Korea has fired an unidentified projectile into the sea off the east coast. In a tweet, Japan says the projectile that fell into the water Wednesday morning may have been a ballistic missile. This marks the first projectile launched since North Korea said it test fired a submarine launched ballistic missile, if you remember, back in October.

And still ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM, the CDC updates its guidance on testing and isolation for the people recovering from COVID. We'll break down the new recommendations for you.

Plus, we are learning -- what we're learning from a new study in Israel about the effect of the fourth COVID vaccine dose. We're live in Tel Aviv with the latest. That's coming up.



SOARES: Now, COVID-19 hospital admissions in the United States are climbing quickly largely because of the Omicron variant. As you can see from this graphic -- we'll bring up for you -- the seven-day average of new cases is more than 550,000 on Tuesday. So, that's topping, of course, the previous day's record.

New data shows that hospitalizations have now surpassed September's peak during the Delta surge. Now, the Department of Health and Human Services says I.C.U. beds are at least 95 percent full in more than one in five hospitals. And the CDC says that Omicron variant is up to three times more infectious than the Delta variant.

Meanwhile, excuse me, the Biden administration is facing even more criticism for its new guidance on the COVID isolation period, and what some are calling inconsistent recommendations for testing. CNN's Kaitlan Collins has more now from the White House.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The CDC has now updated its guidance when it comes to what you should do after you've tested positive for coronavirus. But it may not do much to clear up the confusion that was generated last week when they cut that isolation period in half, from ten days to five days. Because right now the CDC is still saying that you can leave isolation after five days without taking a rapid test and having a negative result, as long as you continue to wear a mask in public.

They do add some qualifiers to that now, saying you should avoid travel, getting on airplanes. You should avoid restaurants where you obviously cannot wear a mask and you should avoid gyms where you can't wear a mask either.

So, they are adding some caveats to that guidance but they still haven't recommending a rapid desk. However, they say if you take a rapid test on day five and the result is positive, you should stay in isolation for five more days, kind of making the guidance to where if you don't take a test and you don't get a positive result or negative result obviously, you could leave isolation and wear a mask. But if you do take a test and you have a positive result, you need to stay in that isolation period.

Of course, this comes under criticism from health experts outside the administration who said they did believe it should require a rapid test to test negative to leave that isolation period. That's a model that you see similar in places like the United Kingdom and other countries. Not one that you are seeing from the CDC so far as they face a lot of criticism over some of the confusion that they've caused. Of course, this comes as we are still facing a nationwide shortage of rapid tests. Something that President Biden noted during a briefing with his COVID team on Tuesday is something that has also frustrated him.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


SOARES: Thanks, Kaitlan.

Well, meantime, some health experts are saying the new CDC recommendations on COVID isolation will end up causing more confusion among people. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DR. BRETT GIROIR, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT HEALTH SECRETARY: I think it's pretty clear that a person who is infected with the Omicron can be highly infectious to other people. That if they are involved in any kind of activity that's high risk. If they're a nursing home attendant, if they are in healthcare, if they're working at, you know, Chick-fil-A, where there are a lot of people. They really ought to test at day five to make sure they're not infectious. Still wear a mask whether you're negative or not.

DR. ROBERT WACHTER, CHAIR, UCSF DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE: And I think there is an imperative to try to shorten the length of time that people in isolation, particularly for hospitals and clinics and airplanes and all sorts of reasons. But most people will not be infectious at five days, but some people still will. So, I think the better message would have been five days and then a rapid test or better yet, two days in a row to have negative rapid tests before you come out of isolation. They also need to strengthen the message about wearing a mask.


SOARES: Well meantime, Chicago Public Schools have canceled classes for today, after the city's teachers union voted to move to virtual learning. The union's vice president says teachers are facing extreme staffing shortages and aren't being given the tools to keep their students and themselves safe from COVID. Union members are refusing in-person teaching until January 18th or until the two sides actually reach an agreement. The school district calls it an unfortunate decision that harms students as well as families and says any teacher who doesn't report to school on Wednesday will not be paid.


Now, new U.S. data shows Americans are still quitting their jobs at a historic rate. 4 1/2 million workers resigned in November, pushing the quit rate really to 3 percent, which matches the high from September. There were more than 10 million jobs available across the United States in November. Workers in the hospitality industry, the hospitality sector were the most likely to resign.

And if we have a quick look on Wall Street, how markets ended. Industrial firms and banks brought the Dow to yet another fresh high, rising more than 200 points. The S&P stayed about the same. But big tech did slide somewhat, bringing down the Nasdaq by more than 1 percent, 1.3 percent as you can see there.

Now, meantime, Israel's Prime Minister says he's more confident a fourth dose of vaccine is safe. New data suggests the fourth dose boosts COVID antibodies fivefold, meaning a drastic increase, of course, in the body's ability to fight infection as well as severe symptoms. The country is offering the Pfizer BioNTech booster to health care workers, immunocompromised as well as people over 60. Israel's daily infection rate has increased more than tenfold over the last month.

Let's get more for you on the story. Elliott Gotkine joins me now from Tel Aviv for more. And Elliott, it's important to point out here that this study is preliminary on the fourth booster, but it does seem very promising. What does this mean going forward in terms of perhaps being more readily available to other age groups here?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Isa, it does seem promising, certainly Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in announcing the news at the Sheba Medical Center -- that's the hospital that was carrying out this study. He was calling this big news and very good news. And certainly, it would seem also to support the country's decision to roll out this fourth dose of COVID vaccine or second booster, if you will, to the over 60s, healthcare workers and people with suppressed immune system.

But as you say, we do need to err on the side of caution. These are preliminary results, preliminary findings. They have not been peer reviewed and more data will no doubt come out as this study is ongoing. And of course, they'll also be looking very closely at the data from the impact of a fourth dose on these high-risk groups which began on New Year's Eve with people with suppressed immune systems, and then a few days later on the over 60s and healthcare workers.

Now, if history is any guide after initially targeting high-risk groups, the doses are then rolled out to the rest of the population. But ultimately, it's not the Prime Minister's decision. It's not the government's decision. It is a decision for the Health Ministry Director General who I would imagine will also be looking closely at this data. As of course, will other countries around the world, which are also grappling with unprecedented levels of infection.

I should say one final note, Isa, on Tuesday, Israel's daily COVID caseload did hit an all-time high of close to 12,000.

SOARES: Yes, which is what we're seeing very much across Europe and the United States as well. Elliott, great to see you. Thanks very much.

And still to come right here on the show.


JOSHUA PRUITT, ACCUSED CAPITOL RIOTER: ... trying to send him to prison for a few years on this, I think is a complete joke.



SOARES: A man charged in the attack on the U.S. Capitol is defending his actions, saying he was just a patriot. We'll hear more from him next.

And a judge will soon decide if a sexual assault case against Prince Andrew shoot to dismiss. More on that and what's more at stake and have the legal matter reach this critical point. We're live for you in Windsor next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SOARES: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Isa Soares. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top stories this hour.

The committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 wants to hear from Them host Sean Hannity. Newly released text messages sent by Hannity to former President Donald Trump and his advisers before and after the insurrection reveal just how much he knew about the attack as well as Trump's state of mind.

Lawmakers are also looking to speak to former Vice President Mike Pence. The committee's chairman told CNN he'd like to know the details about his evacuation from the U.S. Capitol. A formal request to Pence has been made, but the panel is hoping he will come forward voluntarily.

Well meanwhile, former President Donald Trump is facing two new lawsuits filed by police officers who were at the U.S. Capitol on January the 6th. They allege Trump directed the assault that left them injured. CNN spoke with one man charged in the Capitol riot who says he doesn't believe he did anything wrong. Jessica Schneider has the story for you.


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

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

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

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

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

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

SCHNEIDER: Are you concerned that you could be, in fact, sent to prison?

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

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

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

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