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Biden to Speak on One-Year Anniversary of Capitol Riot; U.S. Attorney General Vows to Hold All Perpetrators Accountable; Djokovic's Visa Appeal Hearing Adjourned Until Monday; Chicago Public Schools Cancel Classes for Second Day; U.K. Hospitals Face Major Pressure Amid Staffing Shortages. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 06, 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.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6 perpetrators accountable under law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice is justice and politics is to be kept separate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to talk about how to defend ourselves against domestic violent extremism which is the number one terror threat domestically.


SOARES: Well, exactly one year after the chaos and carnage at the U.S. Capitol, President Biden is expected to point the finger directly at the former President Donald Trump.

It is now a waiting game for world number one tennis star Novak Djokovic. Australian officials say they won't decide if he can enter the country until next week.

And parents and officials in Chicago are furious after America's biggest school district cancels classes for yet another day.

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

SOARES: Welcome to the show, everyone. It is Thursday, January the 6th, and exactly one year ago today, hundreds of supporters of then President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in scenes really that stunned lawmakers, the American public as well as the world. The violence and chaos that unfolded that day came, of course, as Trump cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Well, in just a few hours, President Joe Biden is set to deliver remarks marking the one-year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol. The White House press secretary laid out what we can expect to hear. Have a listen.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I would expect that President Biden will layout the significance of what happened at the Capitol and the singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw. And he will forcibly push back on the lies spread by the former president in an attempt to mislead the American people and his own supporters as well as distract from his role in what happened.


SOARES: Well, one year on, America remains divided -- as you can see there on your screen. A new Axios/Momentive poll shows only really a slim majority accept Mr. Biden as having legitimately won the 2020 election. That's 55 percent down slightly from 58 percent just over a year ago. And the poll also shows 57 percent say events like January 6 are likely to happen again in the next few years.

Meanwhile, hundreds now face charges in connection with insurrection after crowds had gathered to protest the certification of Joe Biden's electoral college win. As pro-Trump rioters flooded into the Capitol on January 6, they made clear their intentions and their belief that the election had been stolen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we came this far. What do you say?

CROWD: Drag 'em out!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a job to do! That's why we're going to kill these people, cause we got a job to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want our country back!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our house. This is our country.


SOARES: And there are a number of Republicans who continue to support Trump and are blasting efforts to investigate the Capitol riot. Have a listen to this.


REP. JIM JORDON (R-OH): The president didn't incite anything.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): We have a January 6 committee that Nancy Pelosi is leading that is nothing but a political witch-hunt on Republicans and Trump supporters.

REP. JIM BANKS (R-IN): As they've proven yet again today and over and over again, they only care about attacking their political enemies. REP. RODNEY DAVID (R-IL): That it really has turned out to be nothing

more than a partisan committee just to investigate the former president.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): We've seen plenty of video of people in the Capitol and they weren't rioting. It doesn't look like an armed insurrection when you have people that breach the Capitol -- and I don't condone it -- but they're staying within the rope lines in the rotunda. That's not what an armed insurrection would look like.


SOARES: Well, both a House Select Committee and the Justice Department are investigating January 6, but the U.S. Attorney General is under increasing pressure to take more aggressive action against those responsible. CNN's Paula Reid reports for you from Washington.



PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department is committed to holding all January 6 perpetrators at any level accountable.


GARLAND: The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators at any level accountable under law, whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.

REID (voice-over): This speech comes amid growing calls for him to do more.

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): I think Merrick Garland has been extremely weak and I think there should be a lot more of the organizers of January 6th that should be arrested by now.

REID (voice-over): The nation's top law enforcement official vowing their work is not done.

GARLAND: Our answer is and will continue to be the same answer we would give with respect to any ongoing investigation, as long as it takes and whatever it takes for justice to be done.

REID (voice-over): The Justice Department's work runs parallel to the House select committee investigation. Lawmakers on that panel say they are looking at whether Trump may have committed a federal crime by obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and could make criminal referrals to the Justice Department, And they continue to bring in witnesses. Former Trump White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham arrived on Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers. Their meeting follows an in-depth phone call she had with committee member Jamie Raskin, a source telling CNN Grisham shared candid details about what was going on inside the White House during the insurrection, including conversations involving Trump.

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I was hearing from some people that he was in the dining room watching and enjoying that people were fighting for him, and I just couldn't -- I couldn't watch what was happening to our Capitol.

REID (voice-over): Grisham became the first Trump administration official to resign in the wake of the attack, stepping down on the afternoon of January 6th. She later recalled in her memoire that she sent first lady Melania Trump a text that said --

Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American but there is no place for lawlessness and violence?

To which Trump replied, no.

Her cooperation comes as the committee also targets other Trump allies, like Fox News Host Sean Hannity, former Vice President Mike Pence and now we're learning radio host Sebastian Gorka, subpoenaing his cell phone records.

SEBASTIAN GORKA, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: The most powerful and one of the greatest presidents we've ever had.

REID (voice-over): Gorka is suing the committee and Verizon to block that request. His lawyer arguing, that unlike other targets, he wasn't involved in planning events on January 6th and only observed speeches at The Ellipse, like any other spectator.

REID: In his remarks, Garland also addressed what he sees as broader threats to democracy, like attacks on judges, police and journalists, and legislative enactments that make it harder for millions of Americans to vote. He noted many of those legislative efforts followed the big lie that the election was stolen.

Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.


SOARES: Well, another Trump ally is fighting to keep the committee from obtaining his phone records. Mike Lindell -- as you can see there -- the C.E.O. of My Pillow, has continue to spread Trump's lie that there was widespread voter fraud in the election. Lindell's lawsuit claims he hasn't had the chance to review his communications, but that he may have had protected conversations either with his lawyer or as a journalist because he's produced movies of alleged election fraud.

Meantime, January 6 committee member Jamie Raskin said the committee's goals are far reaching. It will not just address last year's events but will also suggest ways to prevent the attack on democracy from happening again. Have a listen to this.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We're going to have to address the problems in each level there. We're going to have to talk the social media. We're going to have to talk about how to defend ourselves against domestic violent extremism which is the number one terror threat domestically in the country. And we're going to have to learn how to defend the whole electoral system, voting rights, the integrity of the election, the electoral college process against these kinds of attacks. So, that's a complicated task that's facing the committee, but we are determined to do that, as well as getting all of the information to the American people and to the Congress.


SOARES: And coming up later on CNN, we take a look at the heroes who protected U.S. democracy. Join Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper for a two-hour special event, "LIVE FROM THE CAPITOL JANUARY 6 ONE YEAR LATER." It begins tonight at 8:00 p.m. in Washington, D.C. That's Friday if you're watching at 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong. Right here only on CNN.

Now, tennis star Novak Djokovic will have to wait until Monday to find out whether he can play in the Australian Open or will be deported after an Australian court adjourned the decision. Australia can pull Djokovic's visa over vaccine rules. His lawyers are challenging that move. Supporters are now gathering outside a hotel believed to be where Djokovic is present.


The top tennis player came under fire after receiving a medical exemption for COVID vaccinations to play in the Australian Open.

Well, CNN is following all the developments on the situation. For more I'm joined by CNN's World Sport's Patrick Snell in Atlanta. But first, let me go live to Sydney where Angus Watson is standing by. And Angus, what a day it has been. I'm guessing now it's just a waiting game to finding out the decision. But give me a sense and give our viewers a sense of the sentiment in the country. Is there any sympathy for him?

ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: An absolutely extraordinary story, Isa. A situation where the world's number one tennis player for men is in an immigration detention facility in Melbourne, Australia, having been detained at the airport overnight for hours while his vaccination status or lack thereof, was poured over by federal officials.

Now, people here in Australia were very upset, a lot of them, about the possibility that the Australia government would even consider allowing an unvaccinated person into the country against what is broadly accepted as the rule. You have to be double vaccinated in order to come into Australia.

People were so upset because of the amount of anxiety that exists now, particularly in large cities. Sydney where I am, and Melbourne where the tennis is set to be held in January. Tens of thousands of cases per day in those two big cities despite the fact that over 90 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, and it's the Omicron variant which is tearing through the community and putting record numbers of people in hospital. Putting strain on those hospital systems. Doctors and nurses working in skeleton crews, complaining of burnout.

And here you have a situation in which a famous tennis player -- although being an amazing talent such as Novak Djokovic who has won the Australian open nine times, going for a 10th, wonderful tennis that could have been played. That all seems it's come to a crashing halt as Novak Djokovic's vaccine situation has prevented him from playing in this grand slam -- Isa.

SOARES: Yes, especially given the lockdown, especially I'm thinking of city Melbourne. You and I spoke at length about the tough restrictions and lockdowns Melbourne had to face. I can imagine why people are feeling this way. Do stay with us, Angus. I want to go to Patrick. Patrick, give me a sense of the reaction from the tennis community including other tennis players who may be taking part in the Australia Open here.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yes, there's been lots of reaction coming in. If you would expect this. As Angus said, just an extraordinary story, that seems to be taking twist after twist after twist. And I suspect we are not done yet. I do want to get to quotes from Rafa Nadal who was speaking earlier. The Spanish tennis legend, of course, one of Djokovic's huge rivals.

Let me get to what he has been saying. He's been against -- spelling it out very directly. Nadal saying, I think if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem. He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions. But then there are some consequence. Of course, I don't like the situation that's happening. In some way I feel sorry for him, but at the same time he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision.

So, Rafa Nadal there speaking out very clearly indeed. But you know, more reaction from equally high-profile players, the Australian tennis legend Rod Laver, 11 times men's grand slam champ weighing in, calling for greater transparency from the man himself. And some really interesting insights, too, from Djokovic's former coach, German tennis legend, six-time winner champ himself, Mr. Boris Becker. Take a listen.


BORIS BECKER, FORMER TENNIS WORLD NUMBER ONE: Novak is going unspoken. He was never asked about vaccinations. He talked about the pros and the cons. I think he enlarged the problem. I think he (INAUDIBLE) Novak talking about it. They keep it sort of under their radar a little bit. He's outspoken. He trains differently. He eased differently. He lives his life differently. But something must be pretty good for him otherwise he wouldn't be the 20-major winner. Having said that, he's everything a little different.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SNELL: Well, there you go. Really interesting insights there from Boris Becker. A really, really insightful quote as well from a top women's tennis star, Ash Barty, Australian world number one. I think it's a tough one as we've seen a little bit in the last day or so from the Australian public.

I know how hard it's been for Australians, but in particular Victorians who've had a real rough trot over the last 18 months and two years. I understand why they may be frustrated with the decision. Ultimately, I have no interest in speaking about Novak's medical history. It's not my decision. Those decisions are made. They're completely out of my control.

So, those are the reactions. Why is this all really, really significant?


Because look, you've got three iconic players, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic. They're all on 20 grand slam titles. Why does Djokovic so badly want to compete at the Australian Open? He wants the record outright for himself. He wants number 21.

SOARES: We shall wait and see whether he'll be able to take part in the Australian Open. And I do wonder, Patrick -- and we'll have this conversation another day. Whether if he had been more transparent, things would have played out differently from what we're seeing now. Patrick Snell for us and Angus Watson, thank you.

Now, attorneys for Ghislaine Maxwell say comments from a juror could be grounds for a new trial. The man told several news outlets, he shared his story of sexual abuse as a child with other jurors. And he believes it helped sway their opinions on testimony from two of Maxwell's victims. The 60-year-old British socialite was convicted last week -- if you remember -- of five federal charges including sex trafficking of a minor. Her attorneys are planning an appeal.

Still to come right here in the show. Chicago public schools cancel classes for second day after negotiations with teachers union failed. The teacher say they need more COVID protection. But city officials disagree.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is behaving really like the flu. And we don't close school districts, especially for extended periods of time for the flu.


SOARES: And an influx of Omicron is crossing through Europe. Cases shattering all sorts of records and yet some countries are loosening COVID restrictions. We'll explain next. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.



SOARES: Now, the debate over keeping schools open while COVID cases surge in the U.S. is further dividing the city of Chicago. The city's public school system has canceled classes for the second day in a row after failing to reach an agreement with the local teachers union in which they voted to go to virtual learning because of COVID concerns. Chicago's mayor isn't backing down saying the union is trying to, quote, take our children hostage with their decision. Here's the mayor arguing to keep the schools open. Have a listen.


LORI LIGHTFOOT, CHICAGO MAYOR: Why are we here again when we know that our schools are safe? We have put over $100 million of resources into our schools over the last two years. 100,000 children were disconnected and disengaged when we were fully remote. 100,000, mostly black and brown and poor kids who weren't learning, and who we have to make up a lot of ground with them. And just when we're starting to do that, CTU pulls the rug right out from under them.


SOARES: Well, the mayor has asked teachers to report to work on Friday. But the union says they'll refuse in person work until at least January 18.

Well, in Boston the superintendent of the city's public schools returned to the classroom to substitute teach. She taught this class on Wednesday after hundreds of teachers called in sick. It is unclear how many of the sick calls were COVID related. But Boston's Mayor says up to a quarter of employees in some schools are out. Senior school district administrators also stepped in to help fill the staff shortage.

Now, many experts agree that children should remain in school and say there are ways to keep both teachers and students safe. Have a listen.


JOE ALLEN, DIR. HEALTHY BUILDINGS PROGRAM, HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: If you want to be protected, get vaccinated, get boosted. The vaccines are available for kids. Get your child boosted. On top of that, if that doesn't feel safe enough for you, and these vaccines are working at preventing severe disease and death, by all means wear a high-efficiency mask.

If you are vaccinated and boosted and wearing a high-efficiency mask, that is about as low risk as anything you can get your entire life. So, I'm really tired of using the 2020 playbook here in 2022. In justifying, let's just close schools for two weeks. We saw how that went March 2020. We're coming up on two years. A kindergartner who started school in 2020 is now in second grade and has not had a normal school yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SOARES: And that's the reality. Well, meanwhile, the CDC is recommending children age 12 to 15 get the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine booster as long as they been fully vaccinated for five months.

And across the United States COVID infections have soared to an all- time high largely due to the Omicron variant. The seven-day average -- as you can see there on your screen -- shook out to more than 574,000 daily cases. One expert warns the next month is going to be awful, but that doesn't mean anyone should give up on prevention measures.

And Omicron is also doing a real number, to be completely honest with you, on Europe. It will likely become the dominant variant in Germany in just a few days. The German health ministry says it's already makes up a quarter of all cases.

France, meanwhile, once again smashed its record for new infections reporting more than 330,000 on Wednesday, by far the most ever in the single day. And this comes as a French government prepares really to ease travel restrictions with the U.K.

And England is also getting ready to scrap a key COVID travel requirement as British hospitals grapple with severe staffing shortages. COVID has heaped intense pressure on the National Health Service here and lawmakers are warning the absence of thousands of workers must be addressed.

We go to CNN's Nina dos Santos who joins me now in London. And Nina, explain to our viewers around the world the decision from the government to really ditch the PCR travel requirement given these soaring case numbers we see and the pressure it's putting on the National Health Service here.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, essentially, Isa, Boris Johnson said that what they didn't want was to dissuade people from traveling abroad, thinking that they might get stuck abroad if they contracted COVID. And also, they basically think that the Omicron strain is a lot milder than previous variants like the Delta variant that the U.K. has had to grapple with before.

This is a country where there's a high vaccination rate. And the country is still continuing to offer 900,000 people, plus, daily a booster of a COVID-19 vaccination. So, they feel that with this milder strain, they can cope.

Now, the question is whether or not the N.H.S., the health system, can cope at the moment.


Not just because of the number of patients who are being admitted with Omicron, because as we know, that the death toll from this variant appears to be much, much lighter than in previous variants. But it's also the staffing shortages as well that public services are having to grapple with, particularly the National Health Service.

This morning members of Parliament have been debating this very issue in one of the committees. And the former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was pointing out that already going into the pandemic, the N.H.S. was short of nearly 100,000 staff.

And it's not just the health system that is being affected by this in the United Kingdom. It is also transport services, too. One of the main commuter lines into London had to suspend services for a couple of weeks because of staff shortages. And what we know is that even though this Omicron variant might be milder. The point is, is that if people have tested positive, they still have to isolate for a period of time.

So, we've got that mismatch between the isolation criteria, the high levels of vaccination rates, Isa, and also this mixed messaging on the requirements for entry with the variant still circulating. Remember, the U.K. now has a high record number of people infected, over 218,000 daily cases just yesterday. That means one in 15 people across England and one in 10 across London actually are carrying COVID -- Isa,

SOARES: Nina dos Santos there, a very good perspective. Thanks, Nina. Good to see you.

Now, Virginia's governor has declared a state of emergency ahead of another winter storm. More than 123,000 customers are still without power because of Monday's storm. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the forecast. Good morning, Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Isa, we've got plenty of weather to tell you about over the next couple of days, not just across the southern United States, but back towards areas of the Midwest where the coldest air of the season and a pretty impressive wintry lineup here with activity coming in. Western Michigan. Some of these favorite lake effect snow areas could see as much as 16 inches over the next 24 or so hours.

So, an incredible run of snow showers across this region. And you notice accumulations already really from Minnesota to Wyoming and work your way back towards Michigan. Anywhere from 5, 10, even up to 15 inches have already come down in a 24-hour span. But the cold air now sets up shop here and a potential one-two punch of cold air as we go in the next couple of days. So, we get one round of it come through this weekend, and potentially another one early next week.

But these are the forecast low temperatures, and just take a look at the seesaw battle in places like Fargo. Friday morning 2 degrees. Saturday morning 24 degrees. Sunday morning minus 18 degrees. And, again, back and forth we go. Minneapolis 3 to 31 to minus 12 speaks to the impressive nature of this cold spell upon us across some of these areas in the northern United States.

Storm system eventually sets up shop around the northeast. It is going to be a quick mover. We don't expect a significant amount of snowfall in those major metro cities, but still, 2 to 4 inches could cause some disruptions from D.C. up towards New York City. 4 to 8 inches, though, across interior portions. Kentucky on into West Virginia. We'll watch this through much of Thursday afternoon, Thursday night, and eventually kind of culminate on Friday around the northeast. Back towards the west, across the Intermountain West, a thousand-mile

plus stretch of land where we have widespread winter weather alerts in place. Over two feet of it has already come down across parts of Colorado, into the Rockies and more rounds of snow across the western United States. So, winter here in full effect for just about everyone, Isa, across the United States. Send it back to you.

SOARES: Thank you very much, Pedram.

Now, a somber remembrance today in the United States as Americans reflect on the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol one year ago, and the lasting impact it's had on the officers who valiantly defended lawmakers that day.

Plus, tennis star Novak Djokovic faces deportation from Australia over a canceled visa. We'll have the latest on his appeal to reverse the decision.