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Kazakhstan President Says, Russian-Led Military Bloc to Leave Country Within Ten Days; Genetically-Modified Pig Heart Transplanted into Man; Now, Fed Chair Testifies at Confirmation Hearing for Second Term. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 11, 2022 - 10:30   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: Happening right now, two major hearings on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers search for answers after the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN NEWSROOM: The House talking to officials charged with keeping the building safe, and senators addressing the ongoing threat of domestic terrorism.

CNN's Whitney Wild joins us now. And, Whitney, what more are we hearing?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the Senate Judiciary hearing, which is meant to extract from the Department of Justice, what have you done over the last year to ensure that you are now bringing the correct perspective to the real threat that domestic terrorism poses, as we have officials from the FBI, as well as an official from the Department of Justice, saying, over the last two years, the number of cases of domestic terrorism that they're investigating have doubled.

And what senators want to know now is the volume of information that you're working with being properly analyzed. Because, ultimately, what we know is that federal officials always knew that domestic terrorism posed a threat, but what they did not appreciate was the way that it would manifest. Those are the answers that senators are looking for today.

This hearing just began. It began with some of the same themes we've seen over the last year, which is Democrats making sure that people understand how vicious the attack was on January 6th, what kind of a real threat domestic terrorism poses, meanwhile Republicans drawing this equivalency to the riots that happened over the summer. So, Democrats played a video of that January 6th, Republicans offered a video of rebuttal of that, which was basically a compilation of some of the social justice riots that we saw in the summer of 2020.

Just now, we're getting into the Department of Justice officials, and so, again, the hope is that there are going to be concrete answer, concrete ways that these DOJ officials explain what they've learned over the last year and how they're different today than they were a year ago.

SCIUTTO: And we should note that law enforcement identifies right- wing extremism as the primary domestic terrorism threat, and they have done for some time and through, we should note, multiple administrations. Whitney Wild, good to have you on the story.

Officials say that Russian troops are set to leave Kazakhstan after a series of protests that left more than 160 people dead, thousands more detained. How soon could that exit happen? And what does it mean to see Russian troops on the ground there? We are going to be live at the Kazakhstan border, next.

GOLODRYGA: And here is a look at some of the other things and events we're watching today.



SCIUTTO: The president of Kazakhstan now says a Russian-led military bloc, which he says entered the country last week, to help put down a series of major protest, will begin withdrawing its troops from the country in the coming days.

GOLODRYGA: More than 160 people have been killed in at least, and at least 10,000 detained since protests over spiking fuel prices, government corruption and other issues began last week.

Let's get to CNN's Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen in neighboring Kyrgyzstan. And, Fred, Kazakhstan's parliament just confirming the country's new prime minister.


What more do we know about him?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that he was the acting prime minister after the government that was originally in place stepped down as those protests began. I think one of the things that the Kazakhstani president is trying to show is that, essentially, they're trying to return to some form of normalcy and they're to show that they have the situation under control.

But at the same time, Bianna, we do have to point out that that crackdown certainly appears to still be very much going on in full force. You just mentioned it, almost 10,000 people have already been detained. And I've been watching those numbers over the past couple of days and they've just been skyrocketing from around 3,000 just a couple of days to now almost 10,000 people into detention.

At the same time, the government is saying that it is increasingly getting things under control. However, they're also saying that they only did manage to do that with that Russian-led force that they asked to come into the country. It was quite interesting because the Kazakhstani president also said today that they were in real danger of losing control over Almaty, over the biggest city, the commercial and very much also the cultural hub, and possibly also the capital, Astana, as well.

And they essentially say that with those Russian-led forces that came in, they were then able to guard some of the critical infrastructure and then it was Kazakhstani Special Forces that then went and confronted those crowds in the streets. Of course, you remember some of those scenes, especially from Almaty, with those soldiers apparently sweeping through the streets, also firing apparently into crowds as well. And we've mentioned the death toll of over 160, 103 of those alone in Almaty.

The president now saying that the situation is getting under control and that the Russian-led force is withdrawing. That withdrawal is going to begin in two days and then take about ten days. Guys?

SCIUTTO: We should note that Russia looks at those protests and thinks they might see something similar, they saw in Ukraine during the Maidan, which overturned the pro-Russian government. A lot of competing interests here. Fred Pleitgen in Kyrgyzstan, thanks very much.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. An important point to make, Jim, just as Vladimir Putin said today that he will not allow any revolutions in neighboring countries following up on what you just said in Maidan.

Well, the U.S. and Russia, meantime, are still deadlocked following yesterday's critical talks in Geneva on the growing crisis of Russia's border with Ukraine. U.S. officials describing the talks as, quote, frank and forthright, but both sides remaining far apart, with the U.S. calling Russian demands for Ukraine to never become a NATO member a nonstarter.

SCIUTTO: Coming up next, Russia will meet with NATO member officials in Brussels tomorrow. And ahead of that big meeting, CNN Senior National Security Correspondent Alex Marquardt sat down this morning for an interview with U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith, and here's a portion of what she said.


JULIANNE SMITH, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: Russia is still maintaining about 100,000 forces right on the border with Ukraine. We believe they have plans to bring more forces forward. We are not in a position where we can say that we believe that we have seen any clear signs of de-escalation. We are of the mind that, at this point, Russia is holding with the current force posture it has on Ukraine's border.


SCIUTTO: CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance joins us now from Moscow. Matthew, so what is the Kremlin's readout from these negotiations? Are they expressing any optimism, any talk of progress?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not really, in fact, the opposite of that. They're saying that they don't see any signs of optimism from these talks so far. And that was what Dmitry Peskov, who is the Kremlin's main spokesperson, said this morning. But he said they were making a positive assessment of the fact the negotiations are taking place.

And so, look, they still are saying they are committed to this week- long series of negotiations between Russians and various officials in the United States and others. What we saw there are going to be those talks with Russia and NATO officials tomorrow, the day after the negotiations of even to Vienna, in Austria, where the European Security Organization is going to be speaking with Russia as well.

And it's only after those negotiations are over that Russian officials say that look, we're going to sit down, we're going to have a chat, we're going to talk about whether it is worth proceeding any further. The big concern, of course, expressed by U.S. officials and others in the west as well is that this whole process of negotiation is kind of like a fig leaf for the Kremlin. So, you can say, look, we tried negotiations, it didn't work, now we're going to go with the military option. That may well be the case. We'll see.

But there is also a possibility that Russia senses it can get some compromises from the west on this ongoing process of negotiation. There's already been some compromises offered, the idea that there could be a sort of claw-back of number of NATO exercises taking place close to Russia's borders, that could be looked at. There is also this idea there could be a revival of an arms limitation treaty, intermediate nuclear weapons treaty in Europe, to be renegotiated as well, and after it was abandoned by the United States back in 2009, citing Russian violations.

And so, look, there are all sorts of possible compromises.


The Russians might be able to take from this process of negotiation, and all they'd have to do in return, if you think about it, is draw down some of the 120,000 troops that they've positioned over the past several months on the border with Ukraine.

GOLODRYGA: Matthew Chance, thank you so much for your reporting, obviously, ahead of that important meeting with Russia and NATO tomorrow.

Well, a remarkable moment for medicine, a man with terminal heart disease receiving the first-ever transplant from a genetically modified pig. The stunning and incredible details coming up, straight ahead.



SCIUTTO: This is remarkable, truly remarkable medical news. In a medical first, a 57-year-old Maryland man with terminal heart disease has now survived a transplant surgery using a genetically modified heart from a pig. GOLODRYGA: Yes. David Bennett is now at home thankfully recovering, but his doctors will have to monitor his immune system for weeks to see whether the transplant holds.

CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more on this. And, Elizabeth, this has so many people talking this morning. What is the back story here? How did doctors decide on a pig heart?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Because they couldn't get a human heart. I mean, that's really what it comes down to. This was not anyone's first choice, Bianna. They would have preferred a human heart, but those are in great shortage, and it was also deemed that he wasn't suitable for a human heart or for an artificial heart pump. So, the surgeons at the University of Maryland decided to give David Bennett a pig heart.

Now, we are going to see some video of the surgery. If you're squeamish, this might not be for you, but this is truly a historic surgery. And so they chose a pig heart, because, believe it or not, even though pigs seem sort of little, their size and their anatomy are roughly the same as size ours. Now, that doesn't mean they match perfectly. Our hearts have to pump a lot of blood vertically, which pigs don't have to because they're low to the ground, but it was seen by the patient as, look, this is my only choice, either I die, or I get this transplant.

So, let's take a listen to one of his surgeons at the University of Maryland.


DR. BARTLEY GRIFFITH, SURGEON: We've never done this in a human. And I like to think that we have given him a better option than what continuing his therapy would have been. But whether it's a day, week, month, year, I don't know.


COHEN: So, again, wishing David Bennett the best of luck. He will be monitored, not just to see how his immune system is doing, they genetically modified that heart so that it would be less likely to be rejected. But they also need to see, is the heart working? I mean, people are not pigs. Is that heart going to be able to pump blood to all of the places that it needs to go? Bianna, Jim?

SCIUTTO: And given a shortage of hearts, for transplants, could this be a potential model to save lives in the future? Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, she's right. People are not pigs but maybe this could be a first.

Well, right now, Fed Chair Jerome Powell is making his case for a second term, just as his vice chair announces that he is stepping down. Details on the controversy that was swirling around him.



GOLODRYGA: Right now, Jerome Powell is speaking before Congress as he seeks confirmation for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

SCIUTTO: The confirmation hearing comes as Powell's vice chair, Richard Clarida, announced on Monday that he would be resigning before the end of his term this. Follows questions over stock trades he made during the early days of the pandemic.

CNN Business Reporter Matt Egan has been following. Matt, so, first of, of course, the markets watching this very closely, what are we hearing from Powell this hour?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Well, Bianna and Jim, Jerome Powell, he is vowing to get inflation under control. Because, remember, it's the Fed, not the White House, that's responsible for maintaining price stability. And prices have been anything but stable lately. New numbers out tomorrow are expected to show that inflation accelerated in December to a fresh 39-year high.

Now, Powell this morning acknowledged that inflation is a problem. Here's what he said.


JEROME POWELL, CHAIR, FEDERAL RESERVE: We know that high inflation exacts a toll particularly for those less able to meet the higher costs of essentials like food, housing and transportation. We will use our tools to support the economy and a strong labor market and to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched.


EGAN: We will use our tools. So, that is Fed speak for essentially tapping the brakes on the economy to fight inflation. The fed has indicated that it will end its bond-buying stimulus program around March, and it's pencilling in three interest rate hikes this year. Goldman Sachs are telling clients that the Fed could raise rates four times. And Powell said today, he said, look, if we need to raise interest rates more to fight inflation, we will.

The challenge for the Fed though is ending these emergency policies without slowing down the economy or even dipping into a recession, or without freaking out financial markets. It's already gotten off to a very rocky start on Wall Street so far this year, and a lot of that is about concerns about the Fed.

Speaking of financial markets, the second in command at the Fed is stepping down early amid criticism over some of his trades in 2020, Richard Clarida, the vice chairman, announcing that he is resigning at the end of this week. His term wasn't due to expire until the end of January. Now, Clarida didn't says exactly why he is leaving early but this news comes after Clarida amended his financial disclosure forms over what he called inadvertent errors. These revisions show that Clarida's 2020 trades went further than previously known.


Listen, Bianna, and Jim, on top of inflation and COVID, Powell is going to face questions about --