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U.S. President Suffers Disappointing Day of Setbacks; U.S. Democrats Face Grim Offs Over Voting Rights Measure; All Direct U.S.- China Flights to Face Suspensions Next Week Due to China's Covid Rules; "Rust" Armorer Sues Gun and Ammunition Supplier for Set; Mixed Mask Messages Sow Confusion Ahead of New CDC Guidelines. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired January 14, 2022 - 04:30   ET



ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: It feels permanent, Paula. We were told by a Royal source that these roles will not be returned to the Duke of York which suggests even if this case goes to trial. Even if Prince Andrew were to win -- lots of ifs -- this is permanent. He will not be making a return as a working member of the Royal Family.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, and I'm sure many Britons, despite how they may feel about Prince Andrew, are very regretful that the Queen is starting 2022 as well on this note. Anna Stewart, appreciate that.

Now coming up for us, President Joe Biden suffers a really bad day of setbacks and roadblocks as he struggles to push his agenda through Congress. The latest from Washington straight ahead.

Plus, U.S. sports fans may have to look for extra connections to try and get to those Beijing Olympics. The reason all direct flights from the United States are likely to be canceled. We'll explain.


NEWTON: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton. If you're just joining us, I want to bring you right up to date on our top story this hour.

Australia has canceled the visa of Novak Djokovic for a second time just days before the start of the Australian Open. Now, the immigration minister says he used his personal power to do so because, in his words, it is in the public's best interest. Now, the unvaccinated Djokovic now faces deportation, and just moments ago CNN confirmed that an Australian court is holding what it's called directions hearing. That is going on right now as they decide the fate of Novak Djokovic and his visa cancellation.

And we go now to news here at home. The Justice Department charged the leader of the Oath Keepers and ten others with seditious conspiracy in connection with the U.S. Capitol attack.

[04:35:00] Now, the indictment says they engaged in a conspiracy to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force.

Thursday it was a disappointing day of defeats really for U.S. President Joe Biden. He arrived on Capitol Hill to a standing ovation by fellow Democrats, but left an hour later visibly upset by another Senate impasse. CNN's Phil Mattingly has the latest from Washington.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The honest to god answer is, I don't know whether we can get this done.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For President Biden, a day of roadblocks and setbacks, a presidential trip to Capitol Hill for a voting reform bill doomed to fail.

BIDEN: 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 legislatures have moving.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Vaccine requirements on large employers viewed as critical to the White House COVID response efforts blocked by the Supreme Court.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: President Biden will be calling on and will continue to call on businesses to immediately join those who have already stepped up.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Even as a separate requirement for healthcare workers was given the green light rulings that came at a moment of peak exhaustion with a pandemic in its third year.

BIDEN: I know we're all frustrated as we enter this New Year. Omicron variant is causing millions of cases and record hospitalizations.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): All, as Senate Democrats press toward votes on a sweeping voting reform measure.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), U.S. MAJORITY LEADER: And every senator will be faced with a choice of whether or not to pass this legislation to protect our democracy.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): No clear path over unified Republican opposition.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Nobody in this country is buying the fake hysteria that democracy will die unless Democrats get total control.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Two key centrist Democrats, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, both supportive of the voting measures.

SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): While I continue to support these bills --

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But both also still opposed to unilateral changes to Senate rules to do away with the filibuster.

SINEMA: -- I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): In reality, that throws cold water on the weak Biden went all in on passing the voting measures.

BIDEN: Do you want to be the side of the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The Biden speech serve to only more deeply entrenched GOP opposition both to the bill and to his rhetoric.

MCCONNELL: God known, like and personally respected Joe Biden for many years. I did not recognize the man at the podium yesterday.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Leaving Democratic leaders barreling toward a doomed effort to change Senate rules, arguing that state GOP efforts to change voting laws have forced the so-called nuclear option to the forefront.

SCHUMER: In the coming days, we will confront this sobering question.

MATTINGLY: And while Senators Manchin and Sinema made it abundantly clear, they will not support any changes to Senate rules. It hasn't stopped President Biden from continuing to work with them. He has brought them over to the White House on Thursday night trying to figure out if there is some path forward on voting rights and also keep in mind those are two critical Senators the president's entire agenda. It looked like there was a pretty significant split over the course of the day on Thursday. The president making clear he wants to continue pushing forward and at least continue the relationship with two critical members of the Senate Democratic caucus.

Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.


NEWTON: Now, despite seeing Biden's vaccine mandate for large companies, the Supreme Court did uphold it for some healthcare workers and the American Nurses Association responded to the ruling saying to the statement: through this decision, 76,000 hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities right across the country that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs are required to implement COVID-19 vaccine requirements for an estimated 17 million health care workers. ANA is pleased that the Supreme Court allowed this requirement to be implemented.

Turning now to the Beijing Winter Olympics, they actually get underway, if you can believe it, in about three weeks. But U.S. sports fans may have trouble getting there because, according to a CNN analysis, all direct flights between the U.S. and China are likely to face cancellation starting next week. The reason for that are China's COVID rules. David Culver is in Beijing with more. And you're going to be able to

clarify this for us. Because the Beijing Olympics in general is something that's concerning. But now they're doing something very practical it seems to try and protect themselves as they go forward with this zero-COVID policy.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and when we look at the flight cancellations that have been taking place, and really their suspension of certain flights, it's based around what's considered to be a circuit breaker rule.


And that was put in by Chinese aviation regulators. Essentially saying, Paula, that if you have five or more positive cases on one flight, it'll be suspended for two weeks. And then if you have more than that number of cases, it could be suspended for several weeks. So, what we're likely to enter next week is the reality that there are no China-bound flights from the U.S.

Now, when you mentioned the Olympic athletes and some of the personnel and media, sure, that could impact some individuals who would normally be taking commercial flights. Many of them have already orchestrated chartered flights so as to get around that, knowing there have been limited international flights into China over the past several months. And really even dating back two years to the start of this pandemic. But it complicates matters even more.

I mean, the Olympics is supposed to be that opportunity to showcase to the world, from China's perspective, that they were able to contain the virus, and then to show a global unity stance really. But if you're starting to limit people coming in and it's going to be that as we get closer, now three weeks away, it really kind of dampens the mood even more.

And now you have these cases in Shanghai, which this major financial hub, this metropolis, that normally has delicately balanced the COVID restrictions, which are very harsh here at times, with trying to stay open and moving around. Well, now you're seeing that they're going to have to revert back to harsher restrictions in place, Paula, because they just left one person who seemed to get out of her quarantine and spread it to a few more people. So, that's causing the issue there.

NEWTON: Yes, and one instance like that happened, I'm sure it makes them even ever more cautious about who they let in the country and what freedom of movement they would have. David Culver, glad to have you there. Appreciate it.

Now, there is a new lawsuit over the fatal shooting on the "Rust" movie set. The wrongdoing in the film's armor alleges led to a crew member's death.


[04:45:00] NEWTON: Well, the Mexico County sheriff's office says actor Alec Baldwin still hasn't handed over his phone to the authorities investigating the fatal shooting on the "Rust" movie set. Now, a warrant was issued for it last month. Baldwin has said he will comply, but the process seems to be taking a long time. The actor was holding the gun that went off, killing the movie cinematographer. Meanwhile, armorer for "Rust" is suing the movie's gun and ammunition supplier. Lucy Kafanov has more on that.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the big outstanding question is how the live bullets ended up on set? In this 24-page lawsuit filed Wednesday, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, offers one version accusing Seth Kenny, the owner of the weapons and prop company that supplied ammunition for the low-budget western of mislabeling boxes of ammo. They were abled dummies but contained a mix of blanks and live rounds.

Seth Kenny has previously denied that the live rounds came from his company. He has not responded to CNN's request for comment, but there are new interesting details emerging from this complaint that helps shed some light in the events of that day. At least the armorer's version of them.

Now, in the lawsuit, Gutierrez-Reed said she remembers cleaning the gun that Baldwin used and loaded the weapon with what she believed were dummy rounds. She said she spun the cylinder for the assistant director Dave Halls and showed him what she thought were blank rounds. The armorer said Halls told her that Baldwin would not be shooting the weapon and the gun was not going to be used for rehearsal. So, she left it inside the church set and stepped away.

Now, according to the complaint, Halls was supposed to alert the armorer if Baldwin or anyone used the gun because she was required to re-inspect it. But about 15 minutes later, Gutierrez-Reed claims that Halls gave the firearm to Baldwin and called out, cold gun, which signified that the firearm was empty or contained blank rounds.

Now the complaint also states that Baldwin never responded to Gutierrez-Reed's request to attended a cross draw training on October 15 -- this was just days before the shooting. The complaint also states had Hannah been called back in, she would have re-inspected the weapon and every round again and instructed Baldwin on safe gun practice with the cross draw as was her standard practice on set. Hannah would never have let Baldwin point the weapon at Halyna as part of standard safe gun practices.

Apparently, no one inside the church stopped Baldwin from doing so, including AD Dave Halls -- referring to the assistant director Dave Halls.

Now, CNN has reached tout to Seth Kenny, Alec Baldwin as well as an attorney for Halls for comment but did not immediately hear back. Meanwhile, the investigation continues.

Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Denver. (END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: Millions across the southern and eastern U.S. are about to be hit by a winter storm. And it could bring anything from rain to ice to snow in places not used to it, including right here in Atlanta. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has details.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Indeed, Paula. We have a significant winter storm that is moving across the Central U.S. that will bring a wide range of threats across the southeastern United States and along the East Coast through the course of the weekend and parts of next week.

We already have seen winter storm warnings, advisories and watches in place. Where the storm is ongoing across the Northern Plains through the southern portions of the Midwest, this will be ongoing through the course of the day today and then preemptively ahead of the storm across the southeast, winter storm watches already hoisted for portions of Arkansas, northeastern Georgia into the Carolinas and now starting to pop up across central Pennsylvania and into southern New York. This is in advance of the storm system moving across the East Coast later this weekend.

Here is a look at the timing. This starts on Saturday morning. So, be aware of that. Here comes the low-pressure system diving south across the southeastern U.S. and you can see the backside of the storm, according to this particular model which is the American model, there will be enough cold air behind it to change our precipitation from rain to snow into the Atlanta region, maybe a couple of inches for that area. Higher amounts northeast of the metro region.

Rainfall totals along the East Coast could be hefty because of the surge of warm air right along the major metropolitans from just east of D.C., to New York, as well as Boston. This is an area where we're going to have a tight gradient between precipitation types. Rain along the coast, snow inland. How much do we get? Well, it depends exactly where you live. You can see the coastal area should be rain, but just inland, that's where we have the potential for several inches of snowfall. And we cannot neglect the potential for a crippling ice storm across the western portions of the Carolinas. Cold air already in place across the northeast, and that will only aid in our chances of snowfall across that region. Back to you.

NEWTON: Thank you, Derek. I think. And we will be right back with more news in a moment.



NEWTON: Here's something we've all been wondering about, right? Health experts agree masking is one of the keys to preventing the spread of the coronavirus, along with vaccines and social distancing. But which masks are actually the best ones? CNN's Brian Todd takes a look for us.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new effort to stem confusion about mask-wearing during the pandemic. The CDC is expected to update its guidance on the best masks to wear soon. The CDC and local health officials have recently said that N95 and KN95 masks appear to give you the most protection against the surging omicron variant.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We should be wearing the best possible mask that we can get. That's a fact.

TODD (voice-over): Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top officials say N95s and KN95's work better than the standard 3-ply surgical masks many people have worn, and much better than cloth masks. How?

One group of experts comparing leakage from masks found cloth mask can leak 75 percent in and out. Surgical mask, only 50 percent. And N95 masks, as low as 1 to 10 percent if correctly fitted.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You do want to make sure they fit properly.


So, you don't want air sort of escaping from the sides, underneath or around the eyes. So, you got have to make sure it's really snug. But it's an effective mask. That's the thing.

TODD (voice-over): One expert says that N95s are very similar to KN95s because they both have high efficiency filters. But the N95 has a slight edge over the KN95.

JOHN VOLCKENS, PROFESSOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY: It provides a better fits your face. If a mask doesn't fit your face well, it's going to leak.

TODD (voice-over): Another key question, can you wear an N95 or a KN95 more than once? Yes, says one expert.

VOLCKENS: You can wear an N95, a rule of thumb is about up to 40 hours of use. The filter in the N95 respirator does not go bad for days to weeks.

TODD: Experts now say that with Omicron, it's high time to upgrade from cloth.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Cloth masks are a little more than facial decorations. There is no place for them in light of Omicron.

TODD (voice-over): Some health experts believe there's been way too much confusion over mask-wearing and the messaging monitor a pandemic.

GAVIN MACGREGOR-SKINNER, DIRECTOR OF TRAINING, GLOBAL BIORISK ADVISORY COUNCIL: We should not have any confusion over mask-wearing. This is confusion that we ourselves are the frontline workers, the government, public health expert, doctors, nurses and other influential people when it comes to infection and prevention control have actually created. Because we haven't got on the same page on what works and what doesn't work. And what works based on evidence.

TODD: N95s and KN95s aren't cheap. At various times during the pandemic, they've averaged between $.80 and $2 apiece. But next week, President Biden is set to announce how the government is going to make N95s and KN95s available to the American public for free.

Brian Todd, CNN Washington.


NEWTON: That does it for me. I'm Paula Newton. I want to thank you for your company. "EARLY START" is next. You are watching CNN.