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Jan. 6th Committee Plans To Seek Information From Rudy Giuliani; DOJ Forms New Domestic Terrorism Unit Amid Growing Threat; Capitol Police Chief Says Lack Of Staffing Is Hurdle; Biden & Harris Lay Wreath At MLK Crypt Ahead Of Voting Rights Speech; Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wi) Discusses Passing Voting Rights Legislation; Man Receives Pig Heart In First-Of-Its-Kind Transplant. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired January 11, 2022 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: The way I heard it was that, OK, maybe most of us will get infected.
But our goal is, and I think has always been, to stay out of the hospital. And that's what obviously what vaccines and all these other mitigation techniques should help us do.
But it's interesting, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, to hear you say that you haven't seen the science that supports that.
So thank you very much. Your perspective is really helpful as always.
DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, EPIDEMIOLOGIST & FORMER DETROIT HEALTH COMMISSIONER: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: OK, more than a year after the January 6th insurrection, the Department of Justice announces it's creating a new Domestic Terrorism Unit as extremist threats continue.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: And the Capitol Police chief says staffing is the biggest hurdle to reopen the capitol to the public. They're still down hundreds of officers. More on that ahead.
And here's a look at some other events we're watching today.
BLACKWELL: Breaking news. CNN has just learned the January 6th Select Committee wants to talk to Rudy Giuliani.
CAMEROTA: CNN's Ryan Nobles joins us.
It's not surprising. But tell us about this timing, Ryan.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think what's surprising, Alisyn, is that the committee has not taken this step as of yet. Rudy Giuliani, of course, one of the key public figures that was
peddling the Big Lie after the 2020 election and then leading up to January 6th.
He also served as the personal attorney for the former president, Donald Trump.
So I asked the committee chairman, Bennie Thompson, just a few minutes ago, if they do indeed want to talk to Rudy Giuliani and asked why they hadn't subpoenaed him yet.
And what Thompson told me was that he agreed that Giuliani was an integral part of everything that happened after the election and leading up to January 6th.
And he described him as being on a long list of people that they want to talk to. And that, at some point, they will reach out to him and attempt to get him to come before the committee.
Now, the big open question here is, the form and fashion in which they seek that cooperation.
The committee's done this in a variety of different ways.
Sometimes they send a letter asking for voluntary cooperation. They've done that with Sean Hannity, for instance, and a few members of Congress.
Other times, they just go straight to the subpoena route and issue that subpoena that would legally force someone to hand over documents and then meet for a deposition.
At this point, Thompson says they are just reviewing the process and talking through the process before making a final decision as to how they are going to reach out to Giuliani.
But the key point here, Victor and Alisyn, is that they are interested in talking to Giuliani. They view him as an integral part of their investigation.
It now just seems as a matter of when and how they go through that process.
BLACKWELL: Ryan, the question is, then, how successful, regardless of how they reach out, whether it's a request or a subpoena, will they be in getting Rudy Giuliani to sit down?
We've seen kind of a common denominator among those closest to the president.
NOBLES: Yes, that's absolutely right, Victor. And that may be part of the reason it's taken them so long to take this step.
Because, of course, Giuliani is in that class of loyal Trump defenders, someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to protect the former president. So you would have to assume that he would stand in the way of any type of cooperation with the Select Committee.
There also becomes the issue of his relationship as counsel for the former president, Donald Trump.
And we've seen some of these ancillary figures attempt to evoke attorney-client privilege in their relationship with Donald Trump as a way to stand in the -- in front of the committee's requests.
Even when their relationship as an attorney is pretty distant from Donald Trump directly or specifically.
So, you can imagine the fact that, you know, he had this title as personal attorney to Donald Trump during this time frame, that he may try and throw up that as a roadblock of attorney-client privilege.
Regardless, the committee is going to try and find a way to get him to talk.
Victor, I do think it is an important point to make that they have not had a ton of success with those that are very close and loyal to Donald Trump. And there's no doubt that Giuliani is in that category.
CAMEROTA: Ryan, also, we're learning that the Department of Justice is announcing that it's going to form this new unit to combat domestic terrorism.
So, how will it do that?
NOBLES: Yes. What's interesting about this -- and this was part of hearings that took place here on Capitol Hill.
Is that they are worried about not just domestic terrorism across the country but they're also worried about the internal threats that could, you know, be a problem here at the capitol.
And that goes with not only staffers and people that work for members of Congress but also Capitol Police officers.
In the Capitol Police chief, Tom Manger, said during this hearing part of what they're going to do to try to root this problem out is begin at the hiring process and this is a bit of what he said earlier today.
I guess --
BLACKWELL: I don't think we have that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM MANGER, CHIEF, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE DEPARTMENT: I think it all begins with the hiring process. And you've got to make sure that the background investigations that we do, the polygraph tests that we give, the deep dive into an individual's social media.
The social media, it is also tremendously important to really determine, is this person suitable to be a police officer? And then, so, that's where it starts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: So, you could see where the focus here is, not just from the Capitol Police Department, these internal threats.
But also the Department of Justice looking into domestic terrorism more broadly.
You can see the different ways these federal government agencies are combatting what they see as an outgrowth of what happened here on January 6th -- Victor and Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: Ryan Nobles, thank you very much.
Let's go now to Atlanta, Georgia, where President Biden and Vice President Harris are about to lay a wreath at the tomb of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott King.
BLACKWELL: We see the president and vice president walking with Martin Luther King III. His wife and daughter as well. And just behind the president, we see Bernice King as well, alongside the vice president.
We, of course, expect the president to lay a wreath here. He'll have some remarks on voting rights a little later this afternoon.
We'll, of course, keep an eye on what happens here and bring you any significant remarks that the president makes.
So, we will take a quick break and we'll be right back.
BLACKWELL: President Biden and Vice President Harris are paying their respects with a wreath-laying at the tomb of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King in Atlanta.
These are pictures from just a few moments ago.
Now, more than a half century after the civil rights icon led nationwide demonstrations and protests that ushered in the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.
And soon the president will make a speech pushing for voting rights legislation. The president is aiming to turn up to heat on Congress and urge lawmakers to act.
Let's bring in now Tammy Baldwin, Democratic Senator from Wisconsin. She joins us now.
Senator Baldwin, thank you very much for your time.
SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN (D-WI): It's a pleasure to join you.
BLACKWELL: Can we just, at the top, establish that you believe this is urgent, that you think that the Senate has to act on voting rights?
These conversations usually get into reiterating the urgency without getting to the what, the how and all of that. Can we do that?
BALDWIN: Absolutely. So, I'll start with that. This is incredibly urgent.
Last week, we solemnly recognized the anniversary of Donald Trump's insurrection where his mob tried to overturn the results of an election, to discount the voters' desires, and to steal the election.
And then his Big Lie has now incited states across this country to pass laws that will curtail people's access to the ballot box.
And we've seen a spate of harassment, intimidation and threats aimed against election officials in almost all states.
This is dire. It's urgent.
And one more thing to add in, gerrymandering is sadly taking place across this country.
BALDWIN: And so we need to act and we need to act with dispatch.
BLACKWELL: Understood. You believe this is urgent.
Let's get now to why this vote is happening right now.
Senator Manchin has said that he doesn't support changing the filibuster with just Democratic votes.
So why is there going to be a vote in the next couple of days if you don't have the votes to pass anything?
BALDWIN: Well, first of all, we need to recognize the urgency. And in many ways, I don't want to say it will be too late, but we will have lost the opportunity to save people's right to be heard in elections if we don't act quickly.
But I also think that it's important that we set a deadline, and how appropriate it is to set that deadline for our observation of Martin Luther King Day, on Monday.
It really does bring together the fight, the herculean fight in which many lost their lives in order to secure the right to vote against --
BLACKWELL: But, Senator, you don't have the votes.
BALDWIN: -- policies that made it very, very difficult and the Voting Rights Act passed.
And recognizing both the heroes of that day but also in the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to --
BLACKWELL: Understood, Senator.
BALDWIN: -- look at somebody who was a champion until his last breath --
BLACKWELL: I get that.
BALDWIN: -- to make sure that everybody no matter where you live has a right to --
BLACKWELL: Senator Baldwin --
BALDWIN: -- cast their ballot and have it counted.
BLACKWELL: Senator Baldwin, my question is, I understand, you have established the urgency. Why is this vote happening now?
The urgency was established six months ago when President Biden delivered the speech at the Constitution Center. There's been no progress since then. You still don't have the votes.
Why is this happening at this moment?
And do you think that there's any possibility that a week from now, two weeks from now, that you'll be any further along on the road to passing some voting rights protections?
BALDWIN: Well, of course, I remain hopeful. And I think as we've made this argument, our colleagues have further understood the urgency.
We have --
BLACKWELL: What is the evidence that Senator Manchin further understood the urgency, Senator?
BALDWIN: I know in my conversations talking about the urgent situation in Wisconsin, where not only are there endeavors to pass new laws -- thankfully our governor is vetoing those.
But there's incredible harassment and threats being launched against the election officials in our state in an effort to undermine faith in the ballot box and in our democracy.
I think we have by demonstrating and talking to our colleagues about what's going on in each of our states that, we've really upped this sense of urgency. And what I will say is that every Democrat is on both bills and, in fact, in the John Lewis Act, we have one Republican.
I think it is time for them to figure out -- well, first of all, it's time for Mitch McConnell to stop obstructing it.
BLACKWELL: You think it's every Democrat on both bills?
BALDWIN: The Freedom to Vote Act has 50 cosponsors. And the John Lewis Voting Rights Act has, I think, 51 sponsors, if I recall correctly. Because Senator Murkowski joined us when that was introduced.
So there's obvious unanimity in our party to move this forward.
What we need to do is get rid of our obstruction, which is the filibuster.
Which is Mitch McConnell saying that despite this overwhelming support from the majority party, that he will not let it move forward.
And I think that my remaining colleagues, who have expressed their skepticism about eliminating the filibuster, which I would do because I think this is so urgent.
That in the moment, they will decide to cast their vote to change the rules in a manner that we can pass this by a simple majority vote.
BLACKWELL: Let me describe what's happening right now. We've got Senator Raphael Warnock, who until his time there -- until joining the Senate, was the lead pastor, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
We see President Biden, Vice President Harris walking in. Couldn't exactly hear what the president said there. I'm sure one of our reporters will report that for us.
Senator Tammy Baldwin, thank you so much for being with us to discuss where this goes.
You remain hopeful. Although, one of the votes you need, Senator Manchin, says he's not on board for changing the filibuster.
Thank you so much for your time.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: OK. Victor, doctors are celebrating a major medical breakthrough. A man received a genetically modified pig heart transplant. This could be a game changer for transplant patients. We have more ahead.
[14:55:51] BLACKWELL: Doctors say a man in Maryland is doing well after a breakthrough heart transplant. On Friday, doctors transplanted a genetically modified pig heart into the man who had terminal heart disease.
CAMEROTA: This could help solve the shortage of donor organs in the U.S.
Let's bring in CNN senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohn.
Elizabeth, this is a medical breakthrough with major implications. So what could this mean for the future?
DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, if this works, if this man lives, and lives a healthy life for any period of time, really, or for more than just a few days or weeks or months, this could be a game changer.
If it doesn't work, it might not end up meaning very much.
So everyone agrees here, his doctor, he agrees, this was not anyone's first choice. No one wanted to do a pig heart plant.
He didn't qualify for a human heart or for an artificial heart pump. So he said this was his only choice, this was all he could do, it was either this or death.
That's David Bennett, a 57-year-old man from Maryland.
Now the video of the surgery that we're showing, it is a little graphic, and so this might not be for people who are squeamish.
But David Bennett, again, 57-year-old man from Maryland, said this was his only choice.
Let's take a listen to one of his surgeons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BARTLEY GRIFFITH, SURGEON WHO PERFORMED PIG HEART TRANSPLANT: We have never done this in a human. And I'd 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: Now, there are, of course, ethical considerations here. You might say, well, why are there ethical issues, he was going to die, this was a big option.
I don't mean to be a big downer. If he lives and he lives with a terrible quality of life, and he really suffers, he and other people might question, was this really the right thing to do?
Given that there weren't any clinical trials, there were no tests given, that this was so new, was this really the right thing to do -- Alisyn, Victor?
CAMEROTA: Interesting to look at it from all of those angles. I guess we shall see.
Elizabeth Cohen, thank you for that.
Back to Georgia right now. President Biden is at Ebenezer Baptist Church. He is meeting with Senator Raphael Warnock. This is all ahead of his critical speech on voting rights. So we are live in Atlanta, next.