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Biden After Meeting: Not Sure I Can Get Voting Rights Done; Supreme Court Blocks Vaccine and Testing Mandate for Big Firms; FBI: Intentional Killings of Police Reach 20-Year High; Prince Andrew No Longer To Be Called "His Royal Highness". Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired January 13, 2022 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The honest to god answer is, I don't know whether we can get this done. We missed this time and the state legislative bodies continue to change the law not as to who can vote but who gets to count the vote. Count the vote. Count the vote! It's about election subversion, not just whether or not people get to vote. Who counts the vote. That's what makes this so different than anything else we've ever done. I don't know whether we get it done but I know one thing. As long as I have a breath in me, as long as I'm in the White House, as long as I'm engaged at all, I'm going to be fighting to change the way these legislature legislatures are moving.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: CNN's Phil Mattingly -- sorry.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Back to you.
BLACKWELL: All right, Manu Raju, Abby Phillip joins us now. It's hard to do it in separate rooms. Abby Phillip with us as well. Let me start here with you, Manu. Take us inside the room.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the president did speak at length about his desire to pass these two bills, and his concerns -- in his works -- that democracy is at risk and trying to convince his members to come along. But there's a problem. He simply does not have the votes to do what he wants to do. If they just were going over the current regular order, they would need 60 votes in order to overcome a Republican filibuster. That does not exist. There are zero Republicans who support this measure they're trying to get through and also to change the Senate rules. That's what the focus is really been about.
There's been a pressure campaign on Kyrsten Sinema, on Joe Manchin for months, trying to get them to agree to change the Senate rules to allow these voting bills to pass along straight party lines. Sinema today, of course, came out very forcefully and said she still supports maintaining that 60-vote threshold, concerned that undercutting that would have drastic ramifications on the Senate itself.
Manchin just told me moments ago, I just caught up, he said his position has not changed at all. He said, everybody knows where I stand. He did not praise the president's Appearance. And he engaged with him privately behind closed doors about -- talking about the history of the Senate. It was a civil discussion. It was not contentious. But one person did not speak -- that's Sinema herself. I'm told that from multiple Senators she did not address the room. A number of Senators were concerned and frustrated that she came out and essentially officially put the nail in the coffin before Biden himself came to Capitol Hill.
And just moments ago, I tried to ask Sinema why the timing of her speech? Why she gave that speech before Biden even came to The Hill? She would not engage on that question at all, but there is definitely some frustration. One Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico just told me also that -- he said I'm, quote, very frustrated right now and the reason is pretty simple. The Biden agenda is essentially stalled on multiple fronts, voting rights, the Build Back Better bill, it's a question of what else major they can get done before the election, and it appears not a whole lot.
CAMEROTA: Abby, Manu has done a great job of talking how intractable the process here seems to be. But what about substance? Do we know if Senators Manchin and Sinema are as concerned as President Biden seems to be when he kept sounding the alarm? Said, this is about who counts the vote. This peddlers of the big lie being installed in vital election oversight positions. Are they as worried about that?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that Manchin and Sinema would say that they are but their actions seem to indicate that they do not believe that those concerns override their concerns about the process long term. And look, Democrats are really angry about this, but you do have to take into consideration that one of the concerns is obviously that if you pass voting -- you know, if you pass voting legislation in a Democratic administration to expand voting rights without a 60-vote margin, when Republicans take over the Senate, they could reverse that just as easily. I mean, I think that's part of the concern here.
I do think, though, we should read between the lines of what Biden was saying to get a sense of where the next move might be. He was talking about who counts the votes. That is a slightly different thing that some of the pieces of policy that are in the legislation that we've been talking about. Who counts the votes is also about the process by which, you know, some of these Republicans who are trying to push the January 6 lie are being installed in positions in the states.
That's one of the reasons some people are saying, let's focus on the electoral count act, let's focus even on the John Lewis voting rights bill and try to find some consensus around those things. There is reason to be skeptical that Republicans will engage, but that's a little bit more of a narrowly focused effort that could address some real concerns for the next presidential cycle.
BLACKWELL: All right, Phil let me come to you at the White House. Manu laid out there that Build Back Better is in the mud. We've see what happened today with moving forward to voting rights, and add to it, the breaking news of the decision from the Supreme Court blocking the president's mandate on vaccine or testing for large companies. Have we heard anything from the White House on that decision, and where does the administration go from here?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look on that, probably not the best day the White House has had when you look kind of across the board at their key priorities. They were bracing for the Supreme Court decision as it related to the large employer mandate. They could listen to or read where the conservative justices were on the court, just like everybody else could one this was actually heard in the court. On the floor like anybody else could when this was actually heard in the court.
I think White House officials not only were aware that this was likely, but I also think that they that they looked at the second part of the ruling as well, with the healthcare workers. And they viewed those 17 million individuals is the one who are dealing with the most vulnerable people. That has obviously been cleared to continue forward. So, they see that as a positive thing.
I also think that -- we talked to White House officials, they're keenly aware that there's been a dramatic increase in vaccinations since they put the mandates or attempted to put the mandates in to place. And they don't belief that this will stop large employers from deciding to do it on their own. In fact, would not in any legal way do so. So, they're hoping that will continue, large employees will continue to pursue it.
The president earlier this week was pointing out United Airlines which put a mandate in place. 99 percent have complied with it and the deaths for the company have gone down to zero from once a week over the course of that mandate being put in to place. So, they hope that that has an effect as well. But I think something you also see in the weeks ahead, is when you look at the data, particularly from Omicron with those who are vaccinated, and the fact that those who are vaccinated are not being hospitalized. They're certainly not dying anywhere near the rates of those who are unvaccinated. It's
This could be a contrast moment as well. Of making the point for vaccinations and making the point that Republicans or conservatives have been against vaccinations. It's a sharper contrast that White House officials have been considering going into over the course of the next several weeks given just with the value that vaccines bring in this moment with the Omicron surge. So, that might be something as well you may see.
Obviously, they wanted to win this. They thought when they introduced this mandate that they were on solid legal footing. But the Supreme Court, of course, today said they were not.
CAMEROTA: Manu, back to Capitol Hill's next steps. What their next priorities? If voting rights isn't going anywhere, if Build Back Better, as Victor just said, is stuck in the mud, what's next?
RAJU: A basic housekeeping of government. They have to avoid a government shutdown by February 18th. But the big-ticket items on the agenda, there's just simply no path for that. When I talked to Manchin just about ten minutes before coming on air here, I said, have you had any discussions on the Build Back Better Bill? He said, I have had nothing since late December. That was, of course, when he essentially put the brakes on that bill. He wants significant changes.
So even getting even him on board on that would take weeks and weeks and weeks, and then they have to get the whole Democratic caucus in line. So, it's uncertain if they can even get to that point. So, then what else is left? Possibly smaller changes to voting laws, mainly the Electoral Certification Act -- the electoral count act. That's the 1887 law that governs how the electoral votes are certified and when Congress takes that up.
We saw President Trump at the time -- then-President Trump tried to use and force Mike Pence to throw out the electoral votes. Yes, there's some talk of about typing that up to prevent the vice president, for instance, from simply discarding the votes from various states.
So, there are smaller, narrower issues in which perhaps they can get some sort of agreement, but the big-ticket items are essentially out the window. And in covering Capitol Hill for as long as I have, is one thing if very clear. When it's an election year, particularly if you get closer to an election, legislating falls by the wayside, big deals are almost impossible to achieve and they worry about their campaigns and their seats back home. So, we're going to see probably Congress move to pretty aggressive campaign footing very soon in the coming weeks.
BLACKWELL: All right, Manu Raju for us on Capitol Hill, Phil Mattingly at the White House, Abby Phillip, thank you.
CAMEROTA: OK, now to this. 2021 saw the highest number of law enforcement officers intentionally killed in the line of duty since 9/11. So, what's behind this? That's next.
BLACKWELL: The number of law enforcement officers targeted and killed in the line of duty reached a 20-year high last year. According to the FBI's preliminary data, that's the most since 9/11. The Baltimore Police Commissioner expressed the frustration that he has with the lack of respect for officers who put their life on the line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMISSIONER MICHAEL HARRISON, BALTIMORE POLICE: And it shows the lack of respect for human life. The lack of respect for authority and for government that we've seen in our country. You know, but our officers knowing this signed up to do this work, show up every single day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: CNN's Josh Campbell joins us now. Josh, this is horrible, and I can only imagine the effect it's having on the police and the morale.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. This new data from the FBI is so troubling. And bottom line here is 2021 was an exceptionally deadly year for law enforcement in the United States. You know, we've covered so many of these stories of slain officers, but we're now getting the figures that explain what exactly happened, what is happening to officers around the country.
I'll describe some of what the FBI found. They found there were 73 intentionally killed officers in 2021. That was up from 46 in 2020. It's being described as the highest number of police officers killed in a year since 9/11.
And just as troubling, some of the tactics that suspects are using, ambushed and unprovoked attacks on law enforcement up from 11 in 2020 to 33 in 2021.
Now there has been incident after incident including in Illinois last month there was an officer that was shot and killed, his partner badly injured. They were responding to something as simple as the call of a barking dog.
There was an officer in Colorado, a 19-year veteran, shot and killed by a suspect that officers said targeted that officer specifically. And of course, as we mentioned at the top, former Boston police officer Keona Holley laid to rest this week. She was a mother of four, police say that she was sitting in her patrol car when two men came up behind her, opening fire, shooting her in the head. She later succumbed to those injuries.
I spoke yesterday with her family members who described her as a dedicated public servant, someone who was just trying to make the community a better place. They also had a message to other law enforcement families out there who might be grieving. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAWANDA SYKES, SISTER OF FALLEN POLICE OFFICER KEONA HOLLEY: Keep faith, have faith over fear, always. And know that your loved ones, they gave their lives for something special. When they took on this job just like my sister, they didn't that, you know, they would be leaving their children, and their moms, their dads, their families and their friends behind. But what they did was they put other people first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL: Now the biggest killer of cops last year was COVID-19. But nevertheless, this trend of officers being assaulted and killed in the line of duty. The highest number since 9/11 obviously has the attention of police officials around the country. It also, Victor and Alisyn, has the attention of lawmakers. They're trying to do something. Including for example, one Republican bill in the Senate that seeks to make assaults on police officers a federal crime -- Alisyn, Victor.
CAMEROTA: Josh Campbell, thank you for that.
All right, there is big news out of Buckingham Palace. Prince Andrew can no longer use the term "His Royal Highness." more fallout from a sex abuse lawsuit. We're live in London, next.
CAMEROTA: Major news out of Buckingham Palace. The Palace is stripping Prince Andrew of his military titles. He will no longer undertake any public duties as a royal or use the title "His Royal Highness" in any official capacity.
BLACKWELL: Just yesterday a judge ruled that a sexual abuse civil lawsuit can proceed against him in New York. Virginia Giuffre alleges the late sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein forced her to perform sex acts with the Prince when she was just 17.
CNN's Max Foster has more. Max, so first, Prince Andrew has denied all these claims but his mother the Queen signed off on these actions. What do we learn from that?
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you imagine, you know, the British monarchy is a family firm. It means effectively been fired from the firm. He is still part of the family. He's still Prince Andrew. He's still Duke of York, but he's not a working member of the Royal family. He has no public role. So, all of his Royal patronages, the military titles, they've all been taken from him. They're going to be given to other members of the Royal family and he won't get them back. This is permanent. That's according to a Royal source, the Royal source saying he won't be getting them back. So, we are interpreting that as permanent.
As you say, you know, his whole life he has been known as His Royal Highness. And that's a styling, His or Her Royal Highness, it comes from being a senior Royal, someone who represents the Queen. Who's got a very high profile, public position.
He doesn't have that anymore. He is now a private citizen. He's out of the firm. A tough decision I'm sure for the Queen but another example of how she always puts duty, you know, the Monarchy above any personal thoughts and she just felt I think that the Monarchy has to be protected from any further damage of being associated with this case in New York.
CAMEROTA: I mean, part of what is so interesting, Max, is this has not been adjudicated yet against him yet. You know, he hasn't been found guilty of anything yet. So, what would it mean if he is compelled now to testify?
FOSTER: Well, it's interesting because as you say some people are saying the Queen acted way too late on this. You know, this should have happened back with the disastrous 2019 BBC interview he did with the BBC.
Others are saying it is premature because he has not been found guilty. But there is no doubt that, you know, there's huge questions about how he handled all of this. How much sympathy he has expressed for Epstein's victims. You didn't hear that very often.
But both Giuffre and Andrew suggested that they don't want to ask for a settlement. They do want it to go to trial or to, you know, the next phase which was potentially trial in September. Lots of embarrassment for the Monarchy to come. Therefore, I think the Queen wanted to separate from that.
CAMEROTA: OK, Max Foster, thank you.
BLACKWELL: President Biden is promising masks, tests, and military support to help battle the Omicron surge as COVID hospitalizations and cases hit record levels. Much more on his plan just ahead.
BLACKWELL: Tensions between Russia and Ukraine are escalating even further today. Another round of talks aided without any commitment from Russia to pull roughly 100,000 troops back from the Ukrainian border amid growing fears of an invasion.
CAMEROTA: Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned he is ready to take military action if he does not get what he wants. CNN's Kaitlan Collins just asked National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan about the U.S. response.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In your view what is the likelihood of Russia invading?
JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I'm not going to put any kind of likelihood on it. What I'm going to say is that the United States and our allies and partners are prepared for any contingency, any eventuality. We're prepared to keep moving forward down the diplomatic path in good faith and we're prepared to respond if Russia acts. And beyond that all we can do is get ready and we are ready.
BLACKWELL: And "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.