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Ukraine's President Zelenskyy Delivers Historic Speech To Congress; Zelensky To Congress, Ukraine Will Never Surrender; Zelenskyy Says, U.S. Aid To Ukraine Is Investment In Global Security; Career Changed In The Name Of War; January 6 Committee Wraps Up Its Report; Millions Of Americans Bracing For Bomb Cyclone. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired December 21, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: The coldest month in Kyiv, the lack of power because of Russia's strikes on civilian infrastructure.
Those attacks taking out power, heat, and the internet, which leaves kids unable to even attend classes virtually unless they go outside.
And one extremely resourceful teacher has found a way to teach no matter what. Look at her. She's on the street, no Wi-Fi inside, goes outside in the freezing cold, sets up shop at a parking lot at a super market. That's where she is. According to Ukraine's defense ministry, this is an area that still has some electricity. But look at that. There's something about that I found to be so powerful.
Thanks for joining us. CNN TONIGHT with John Berman starts now.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm John Berman, and this is CNN TONIGHT. And, frankly, what a night, based on some predictions, a nearly impossible night for those who believe in freedom, an almost miraculous night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: And it gives me good reason to share with you our first -- first joint victory. We defeated Russia in the battle for minds of the world. We have no fear nor should anyone in the world have it. Ukraine gained this victory and it gives us courage, which inspires the entire world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Standing before the U.S. Congress, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy there, not as some deposed or defeated figure, but as the leader of an independent and democratic Ukraine, a Ukraine that ten months ago no one thought would exist, a Ukraine Vladimir Putin clearly thought would crumble, a Ukraine whose capital, Kyiv, western intelligence thought might fall within a week. It didn't. This was President Zelenskyy's very first night outside Ukraine since the Russian invasion, but his 300th night of defiance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENSKYY: Against all odds and doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine didn't fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: This was history with a capital H or a capital U, as the case might be, or actually if you'll forgive me a capital FU to Russia from Zelenskyy. This was the leader of those troops on Snake Island who declared a Russian warship, go blank yourself. This was the leader himself who told those who offered to help him flee last February, I don't need a ride, I need ammunition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENSKYY: We'll celebrate Christmas. We'll celebrate Christmas, and even if there is no electricity, the light of our faith in ourselves will not be put out. If Russian missiles attack us, we'll do our best to protect ourselves. If they attack us with Iranian drones and our people will have to go to bomb shelters on Christmas Eve, Ukrainians will still sit down at the holiday table and cheer up each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Politicians and the press often toss around comparisons to Winston Churchill, but this time, minus the cigar and the whiskey, it fits. Churchill came to the United State and spoke to Congress after the worst of the London blitz, in just two weeks after Pearl Harbor. He actually helped to light the Christmas tree. Today, President Biden noted that Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, was here for Hanukkah, itself a celebration of perseverance, making one night's worth of oil last eight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Tonight is the fourth night of Hanukkah, a time when Jewish people around the world, President Zelenskyy and many families among them, honor the timeless miracle, the small band of warriors fighting for their values and their freedom against a much larger foe, and how they endured and how they overcame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: One difference between the visit of Churchill and Zelenskyy, the U.S. is not nearly as unified in support for the war effort. Yes, there was warmth and applause inside the House chamber, but Donald Trump Jr. declared today, quote, Zelenskyy is basically an ungrateful international welfare queen. As you let that sink in, remember what the people of Ukraine have been through.
Homes bombed, buildings destroyed, schools, playgrounds, trains, and for what? For existing, for daring to be there at all next to Russia, separate from Russia.
[22:05:00] Thousands of Ukrainians killed. Instead of trying to grasp the enormity of those numbers, thousands, let's talk about one. I met Andriy last march in the hospital after his foot was shattered by a Russian mine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRIY, ESCAPED CHERNIHIV: And I just remember like I woke up in road. I see the broken car and I see my mother on fire. My mother was --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: why mother was still alive while she was on fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The blast killed his mother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: What do you want the world to know about your mother?
ANDRIY: Excuse me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want them to know that my mother was a very beautiful woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: And that's just one story, one. There are mass graves. There are the cities without power, the towns without water. That is what President Zelenskyy was here for tonight, standing before Congress, before the world, standing for freedom, for Ukraine, for Andriy.
Let's turn to Phil Mattingly, CNN's Chief White House Correspondent, and Jim Sciutto, CNN Anchor and Chief National Correspondent. Gentlemen, great to see you.
I have to say, this felt like a moment. This felt like a speech people will be talking about for generations. Jim, to you. Who do you think that Zelenskyy was speaking to tonight?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: John, I'm so glad you told the story you did just there of your experience in Ukraine and just one victims of many tens of thousands. Because there has been willful ignorance in this country about the war in Ukraine, and it still continues tonight. We've heard it even in the wake of the speech in some corridors, not just through Donald Trump Jr., who, through some choice, don't want to see what has happened there at the hands of Russia.
You had a leader, a Ukrainian leader there, coming and deliberately, in his first words, direct his comments to the American people at home, and not the politicians or anybody else, just folks at home to say, this is not just our war, it's your war. This is a war for our country's freedom but also for the free world. And he reserved for the Russians behind this war some quite strong language at times, including calling them terrorists. Have a listen to one of those moments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENSKYY: It is in your power really to help us bring to justice everyone who started this unprovoked and criminal war. Let's do it. Let terrorists --
Let the terrorists take responsibility for its war and aggression and compensate all losses done by this war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: He was speaking facts there, right? Russia invaded. Since the invasion, Russia has not just tried to burn down the country and it's committed alleged war crimes, rapes, murders of civilians, et cetera, and saying, don't give up, in effect, to the American people or to the politicians in that room, don't give up because we still need your help.
BERMAN: So, clearly speaking to the American people, speaking to members of Congress what you just played, Jim.
Speaking, I also think of Vladimir Putin. Phil Mattingly at the White House, how does this message that Zelenskyy delivered today, how does it square with the current White House message? How aligned are they?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think, broadly, when it comes to the messaging, they're very aligned. And I think White House officials going into this day, throughout the course of this day and certainly at the end of President Zelenskyy's remarks, were willing to acknowledge this was a critical moment for these messages to be delivered, a moment where there is no sense that there is an endgame here for a war that continues to grind on. It's gotten more grueling day by day.
And I think when you look at the dynamics of the battlefield right now and you talk to U.S. officials about that, they've looked at the escalations we've seen over the last couple of weeks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. They look at the number of troops that Russia is calling up in this moment despite their battlefield defeats over the course of the last several months. And they recognize that this is going to be a major and significant battle for months, if not longer.
And that is why this moment, this moment that President Zelenskyy shocked everyone, showing up here in his first trip was so critical. Yes, there are very clear differences in what types of assistance the U.S. believes it should provide versus what Zelenskyy wants and has requested, there are clear differences about the diplomatic pathways that could lead to the end of the war.
But, overall, I think the dynamics when you talk to White House officials is recognizing that what they need more than anything else is a durability of the coalition that has been rock solid up to this point from the western alliance but also the durability for the American people and their willingness to continue to serve as the number one ally of Ukraine both in money, in military assistance and economic assistance, but also, as President Biden made clear, for as long as it takes, John.
BERMAN: And, Phil, just on this point, quickly, does the White House believe that this speech tonight, this visit helped that cause?
MATTINGLY: I think unequivocally when you talk to White House officials, they believe it does, they believe it was essential. And they also understand the shifting political dynamics. They believe that Republicans will, in large part, stay with Democrats in supporting this cause, in supporting Ukraine and President Zelenskyy, but they know things are shifting, certainly with the House Republicans about to take the majority, and they want to make sure they do everything in their power to maintain that going into that new dynamic in Washington.
BERMAN: And, Jim, can we talk about the major deliverable or at least the one that's being billed as the major deliverable here, which is this single Patriot missile battery. Practically speaking, what might that do? And I will note that Zelenskyy flat out said he'd like more of them.
SCIUTTO: Listen, it's an umbrella in a rainstorm, right, a rainstorm of Russian missiles and Iranian drones that are punishing the Ukrainian people every day and is the reason, that as Zelenskyy said in the chamber, that they'll be celebrating Christmas but perhaps by candlelight, right, because so many people have lost power, and that's deliberate.
It's one system. It's going to take weeks to train the folks necessary to operate it. Frankly, Ukraine has been asking for more and more air defense since the beginning of this war. They're getting more, not at the pace they want, and that's why I think you heard Zelenskyy a little bit tongue in cheek, say it's nice to have this, but we need more. But, man, he's behind that as the suffering of the Ukrainian people.
So, it's a step but it's not all they need. And it's not clear how quickly they will get the air defense necessary to stop some -- you know, stop some of the suffering. I mean, listen, they shoot a lot of these down, but Russia is firing so many at them that they can't shoot them all down.
BERMAN: Jim Sciutto, Phil Mattingly, so great to have you both on tonight. Thanks so much.
I want to bring in Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She was in that chamber during President Zelenskyy's historic speech. Senator Klobuchar, if you can be our reporter for us on the ground there, just what was it like to be in the room?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Well, thanks, John, and thanks for the last reporting. It was right on. President Zelenskyy has always shown courage. He showed courage when he walked down into the streets of Ukraine when everyone had counted him out and said those simple three words, we are here, and changed the trajectory. Everyone had counted him out and the people of Ukraine out. He did it again tonight.
First of all, it was at a moment where Democrats and Republicans are hashing out this end of year spending bill and tempers are high. People were united. Leaders of both parties there, multiple, multiple times of standing ovations and applause, and almost this joyous -- while somber, the joyous support for this man that they respect so much.
And the way he was able to conjure those images that Jim and Phil just mentioned of the candlelight and Ukrainians, I saw more than a few members tears coming down their cheeks as they heard those stories and thought of the people of Ukraine in the cold still hanging in there, refusing to give up on democracy.
And then his rhetoric, I don't know you can say it was soaring, right? But what it was, was to the point. And he said, this is about the kind of world our children are going to grow up in, as in Ukrainian kids, but also your children, making the case that this is a worldwide cause to stand up for democracy, which is, of course, one of the reasons you're seeing this broad support.
People love him. They love the people of Ukraine, but they also know we cannot fold to Vladimir Putin and to Russia. And that's why you're seeing the president standing up with his plans and that is why you're seeing the money coming here. What I hope we will get done, I am sure we will get done by the end of the year for military and refugees and assistance.
BERMAN: Well, let's a little bit more about that money, because President Zelenskyy, who, not for nothing, delivered this entire speech in English, which he speaks well, but to do that in front of the Congress and the American people, that takes a certain type of courage also.
But he talked about the money that the American people and the American Congress is providing, and he pointed out it's not charity. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENSKYY: Your money is not charity. It's an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.
Russia could stop its aggression really if it wanted to, but you can speed up our victory. I know it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Who do you think that message was directed to? Why is it necessary?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, I love that part when he talked about the investment, the first part about investment in democracy. I think I might have been the first one to stand up. I just thought that was a really important point to make.
First of all, Ukraine is going to come back. They are incredibly innovative group, and there's already people thinking about their economy moving forward. So, it is an investment in their country, but it's also an investment in the world's democracy.
So, I thought that was well-said, because you don't want to start thinking like, oh, this is just a sad sack situation. It's not. They've beaten all the odds. They've beaten back Russia. They've got -- regained their territory. So, I think that was a really important point to make.
BERMAN: You know that the Republicans will be in control of the House of Representatives in a matter of a few weeks. How do you think that might change the dynamic in terms of what has been pretty broad congressional support for aid to Ukraine?
KLOBUCHAR: I am hopeful that that is not going to change. I saw it for one thing I know in the Senate strong support, even with Senator Portman leaving. He and I traveled in August in the middle of the night to meet with President Zelenskyy and Defense Minister Reznikov, and many other members stepping in. But you're going to have strong support still in the Senate.
There have been a few, as you know, in the House on some of the statements that were made -- Kevin McCarthy actually did, I remember this before the election, actually draw back some of his statements after he made them about Ukraine. So, I'm hoping that this strong support continues.
There are so many Ukrainian-Americans in the U.S. That's important. People are listening to them. But I think people get this democracy argument. You cannot, no matter what your political beliefs are -- and you're always going to have people on the extremes who may not want to help, but when you look at what this is about, you cannot let the barbaric, inhuman Vladimir Putin be able to dominate the world stage and just walk into any democracy he wants and take it over. That is an American interest. It's not just Democratic or Republican.
BERMAN: Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you so much for being with us. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas back in Minnesota. As close to the North Pole as you can get, right?
KLOBUCHAR: If we can get through the blizzards and these votes, yes, I hope I do. Thank you very much, John.
BERMAN: Thank you so much, Senator.
Much more ahead tonight on President Zelenskyy's historic address to Congress. Plus, 34 new transcripts just released tonight by the January 6th committee. New details about what witnesses said about the attack on the Capitol. This is ahead of the report's full release coming tomorrow.
BERMAN: And there he was, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, walking into the House chamber wearing his now famous green fatigues. He might be the first person ever to address a joint meeting in Congress in a green sweatshirt.
He spoke near perfect English reading from the notes in front of him as he addressed the crowd. He got a kiss from the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi. This was a remarkable moment. We've never seen anything quite like this before, but it does harken back to some of the more some inspiring moments, inspiring leaders from foreign visits in our past.
Joining me now to discuss is Tim Naftali, CNN Presidential Historian, former director of the Nixon Presidential Library. Also with us, Margaret Hoover and CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon.
Tim, I dropped the Winston Churchill bomb earlier, and that is the comparison. Churchill did come here after Pearl Harbor, stayed at the White House with Franklin Roosevelt, spoke to Congress.
JIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes. And this historical analogy is just right. And it's just right because, at this moment, Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the symbol of resistance and the symbol of liberty in the world. And in 1941 Winston Churchill was the symbol of resistance and the symbol of liberty. In 1941, Churchill's country faced long odds. In 2022, Zelenskyy's Ukraine faces long odds. And in both times -- at both times, the arsenal of democracy was America. We weren't doing the fighting. But if we didn't give the supplies, our ally would fail. And so the analogy is perfect, and that's why tonight was one of those historic moments that will be talked about forever.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Here's where I'm not so sure it's a perfect analogy. Tim Naftali, you're the historian. But as you know, in 1941, the United States had just been bombed in Pearl Harbor. Churchill was coming here because he had been begging the United States to join this war for years, and, you know, as Churchill always said, Americans eventually get it right after they've exhausted every other option, okay?
This is the case now where 300 days into the war, Americans -- we know democracy gets tired of war when it's our own, let alone when it's other people's wars.
And so I think it's really poignant and not exactly precise to say it's an exact analogy because he was coming here to rabble our troops to make the case that we cannot get tired of fighting for our values on their front.
BERMAN: So, you're almost saying that Zelenskyy has a harder job than Churchill has?
HOOVER: That's exactly what I'm saying.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think that -- you know, I love history giving perspective on the present moment, but this was one of those moments that will endure in part because Zelenskyy is also -- he's living on the frontlines, not just an air war but a ground war. And it is about symbols of freedom and liberty and the free world standing up to tyranny.
And it was great to see the bipartisan applause in this joint session of Congress. We don't remember the America Firsters of that first generation when Churchill spoke. Because after Pearl Harbor was bombed, many of them shifted their tune. And I think Amy Klobuchar, who was just on a second ago with you, was right saying that the extremes -- we shouldn't let them crowd out the broad bipartisan support there is for Ukraine in standing up to Vladimir Putin. But it is still striking that there is -- there are extremists who still are willing to denigrate Zelenskyy in a moment like this.
HOOVER: But he came here -- rebut me, because what I was trying to say is he came here to say, don't lose energy -- because you're a historian.
NAFTALI: That doesn't mean I know everything. No, no. Winston Churchill would have disagreed with you. Because when he came here, what his fear was, was because Japan had attacked the United States. The United States would not send munitions to Europe. So, he was actually very worried. Yes, the United States will go to war --
AVLON: I'm going to push back on two fronts. First of all, Germany declared war on the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor. So, we were already engaged in that fight, miscalculated it.
BERMAN: Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
AVLON: Yes. And as Senator Blutarsky would point out, it was not, in fact, when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.
The second point, of course, is, as a historian, you can't get in Winston Churchill's head. That's impossible.
BERMAN: Right, let's bring this to Zelenskyy.
NAFTALI: But Churchill wrote to the king and what he explained why he was going to the United States. He was very afraid the United States would not supply support, which is what Zelenskyy was trying to do today.
BERMAN: Yes, Zelenskyy was afraid that it's going to stop.
AVLON: That's right.
HOOVER: That's exactly right. And it's all about the politics of the moment. I mean, they are coming here to the United States based on the contemporary politics in that moment in 1941 and the politics right now.
BERMAN: Okay. So, sales pitch, did he sell?
AVLON: Yes. Yes. And, you know --
HOOVER: I think so. I think it was very clear. I mean -- go ahead.
AVLON: You could tell by the room the overwhelming bipartisan support. It dramatizes the moment. But I think when we take a step back, we'll see that 2022 has been a tipping point in the 21st century. And the way that the western world led by the United States has rallied around Ukraine, who pushed back Vladimir Putin -- and this was an important point he made, too. This is not Russia's war. It's Putin's war. That's a critical point.
HOOVER: Here's how we know he sold. I mean, look, he was coming to a welcoming Congress. The Congress has actually given Ukraine $8 billion more dollars in omni than the White House even asked for. They're buttressing against a GOP House that might actually try to withdraw support.
BERMAN: Tim, Margaret brought a point that sometimes Americans get tired of war, and those are wars that Americans are actually fighting in. What does history tell us about how long America's heart will stay in this, because Zelenskyy was clearly asking for a lot longer?
NAFTALI: When Americans lose a sense of why they're fighting, then morale disappears. When Americans couldn't understand why they were fighting in Korea, morale collapsed. When Americans couldn't understand why they were fighting in Vietnam, morale collapsed. Americans never lost a sense of why they were fighting evil in World War II. Morale was always high in both wars.
I suspect that as long as people in this country can tell the difference between good and evil and understand that Zelenskyy represents good and that we're actually fighting -- we're in the era of dictators once again, and that the frontline for all of us is the Donbas -- if Americans accept that, I don't think morale will collapse and I don't think it will collapse in Europe either.
BERMAN: And that's what Zelenskyy was pitching tonight, to Congress and to the American people and to Vladimir Putin, who he spoke to somewhat directly, as Jim Sciutto noted.
Guys, thank you so much for being with us. I really appreciate it.
NAFTALI: Thank you. It's fun.
BERMAN: So, he was hoping to go on tour across Europe with his punk rock band shortly after the war in Ukraine broke out. That's when I first met Andriy Zolob. Since then, he's been touring as a military doctor in his own country. How his story reflects the reality on the ground in the country that Vladimir Putin is trying to destroy and Volodymyr Zelenskyy is asking the world to save, that's next.
BERMAN: The audience for President Zelenskyy speech tonight was certainly American lawmakers, the American people, the international community, but in the middle of it, all the Ukrainian people, so many of whose lives have been completely upended by the war.
I wanted to tell you a story of one Ukrainian, a punk rocker I met last winter, what he is now fighting for and how his life has been changed.
ANDRII ZHOLOB, LEAD SINGER, BETON AND MILITARY DOCTOR: Kyiv calling to the faraway towns. Now war is declared and battle come down.
BERMAN: We first met Andrii Zholob and his Ukrainian punk rock band Beton in March, not long after the Russian invasion.
ZHOLOB: Kyiv calling, see we don't have the planes. So, clear our skies stop the rockets of pain.
BERMAN: They had just released Kyiv Calling, a cover of the classic London Calling by the Clash. It went viral with all proceeds going to the war effort.
What message are you trying to send?
ZHOLOB: Message that we are struggling. We are stubborn, we stay strong, but we need help.
BERMAN: That was then. This is now. What happened with the song after that? How far did it go? How successful was it?
ZHOLOB: So, things happen, so I've started my old Ukrainian tour as a military doctor, as a military surgeon.
BERMAN: So instead of going on a tour with the song, you basically have been touring as a military doctor.
ZHOLOB: Yes, exactly. So, I've been working during four months on evacuation with my ambulance car, I'm going closer to the front line, to take wounded person who are in trenches. We are very close to frontline nearly seven kilometers or something like that. And Russian militaries are very happy when they can bomb an ambulance car. It's a very big success to shoot an ambulance car.
And, some, maybe three or four times I was very close to be shot. But thanks to all the gods, thanks to all the rock and roll gods, and so on. I'm still here and I can speak with you.
BERMAN: Andrii sent us this video of his work near the front lines. Here he's removing a piece of shrapnel from a soldier's arm. In a way, he's now living the words of his song.
ZHOLOB: Because Kyiv is rising. We live by resistance.
We are not the band who pretends to be, those who resist. We do the resistance.
BERMAN: Is this part of the resistance?
ZHOLOB: Yes. I can say properly that music, you know, is it's something like a bridge from this abnormal world with rockets, and thanks to a normal world with families, with concerts, with bicycles, with skiing or something like that.
So, music, music is really, it's a very helpful thing for all of us.
BERMAN: Helpful because they know, they always knew the struggle and pain ahead.
Are you guys, are you afraid?
ZHOLOB: Sure, we do. It's normal to be. We are adult, we understand that every day can be the last one. All in all.
BERMAN: That was then. This is now. A picture of Andrii's bloodstained vest after a shift treating soldiers.
ZHOLOB: War is goddamn bullshit. I cannot explain in other words, you know, it's blood, it's sweat. It's flies, it's mud. It's the worst thing that ever can happen with a human race.
ZHOLOB: I never felt so much alike, alike, alike, alike --
BERMAN: Andrii told us he didn't think he was going to be able to see his family, his wife, his children for Christmas, and he told us their faces the only ones he wants to see.
So, the January 6th committee dropping the first bash of hundreds of interview transcripts from this investigation. What we can expect in the final report, which is due out tomorrow. That's next.
BERMAN: So, tonight, the January 6th committee released 34 transcripts of witness testimony including their questioning of witnesses, Michael Flynn, John Eastman, Roger Stone, Alex Jones. The documents show that Michael Flynn took the fifth nearly every question asked by the committee. Then there was Roger Stone refusing to answer any questions in an
interview that lasted a little bit under an hour. Jeffrey Clark stonewalled the committee in two contentious interviews, one of which he left early.
Just hours from now, we will get the full report from the committee, the final report. It's a day late. We were expecting it today. Now we're told it will come tomorrow.
With me now as former assistant special Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman, and CNN senior law enforcement analyst, and former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe, author of "The Threat."
Nick, let me start with you. The full report is coming out tomorrow.
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Right.
BERMAN: Delayed today. It may be as simple as they wanted to wait till after Zelenskyy spoke to Congress to release the full report for --
BERMAN: -- maximum coverage.
BERMAN: What will you be looking for when we get these hundreds and hundreds of pages of writing?
AKERMAN: Well, I think what I'm going to be looking for is to see if there's anything different than what was in that summary that they just released the other day. I mean, that was pretty comprehensive.
So it's hard to believe that there are going to be any bombshells in the full report, but clearly one of the things I'm going to be looking for and I look for in the summary was whether or not they filled in that gap between the White House and the actual insurrection that was perpetrated by the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, on January 6th.
You know, is there going to be anything in there about Roger Stone? Is there going to be anything in there about Michael Flynn? Is there going to be a connection to the war room at the Willard Hotel? And all of the no-good nicks that were hanging out there, all of whom had one common denominator. They all had either been pardoned by Donald Trump or had asked for pardons by Donald Trump.
So, that to me, is the real key. If you could show that somehow the White House Donald Trump was orchestrating what was going on through Roger Stone and General Flynn, that would open up a whole new area of evidence. I don't think they have it or it would've been in that summary.
BERMAN: Andrew McCabe, we do understand that the committee has already started transmitting some of their information to the Department of Justice investigators. [22:45:02]
Tomorrow, all three of us, you know, half of the journalist and community will be pouring over the full report. My question to you, Andy, is will investigators, the federal investigators doing the report, will they be going through the report as carefully or at this point, do they already know everything that's in it?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: They will absolutely be going over it very carefully. Listen to -- listen, John, even if, let's say you are the investigator on the team that's focused on, you know, the, let's say you're focused on the piece of Trump's kind of continuing to put out the big lie after his advisors had told him that absolutely he lost without any question.
Even if you know who all the interviews were, who was interviewed by the committee. Even if you have a general idea what all those people said, you are still going to parse through this report and the underlying documents, the transcripts, the things that support the conclusions in the report, just to see if the folks that you're talking to, the folks that you've interviewed already, the folks that you would like to interview in the future may have said something that you're not aware of.
It's a both a fascinating opportunity for the attorneys and the investigators to get an inside line on what these witnesses might be thinking and might have said. And it's also a possible real problem for them if they've already taken statements from these people. They already have them on the record.
Now, they're going to be looking to see if they said anything contradictory to anyone else on the committee in the past. So, they're going to be very focused on all this material.
BERMAN: And Nick, one of the things we saw from the transcripts that were released tonight is the fifth, like people --
BERMAN: You know, using their fifth amendment rights a lot. One of my questions is, when you take the fifth, why do you take it on simple questions like how old are you, or what's your address? So many times in these transcripts, we see it from people saying, on the advice of my lawyer, you know, I assert my constitutional rights.
AKERMAN: I think it's just that they're doing it because their lawyer is telling them to take the fifth straight throughout. If you went to a judge and said, this guy is claiming the Fifth amendment right, because he's not going to tell us how old he is, that that's not going to work.
But I think as a general matter, these people are just refusing to answer any questions based on the fact that a truthful answer would tend to incriminate them. That's what it's all about. And they don't want to incriminate themselves. And the committee, if they had wanted, could have provided immunity. They have the power to grant immunity to witnesses. But they didn't do it with.
Now this was contrary to what the Senate select committee did during the Watergate investigation. It seemed like half the witnesses, including John Dean, who we all know, it was granted immunity. But the problem now is the law has changed on that because of Iran-Contra and Ali North and the case that was brought against him.
So, I think that the committee was being very, very careful about not undermining any kind of DOJ investigation, and I think they've been pretty much, if you read the summary, you get the impression that they have been feeding information to DOJ and the D.A.'s office in Fulton County just as things have been going along. So, there's not going to be a lot of surprises there.
BERMAN: We'll see. Well, I'm dying to see what happens over the next few weeks and months with the DOJ investigation with the information that came from the January 6th committee will be fascinating.
Nick Akerman, Andrew McCabe, thank you both so much for being with us.
So, millions of Americans facing a deep freeze as a bomb cyclone moves across the country. The temperature in Denver dropped from a springlike -- dropped from springlike to frigid in just a couple hours. We're going to go there, next.
BERMAN: A whole lot of people's holiday travel plans under threat by a powerful storm that's brewing into a so-called bomb cyclone, and it could be in full force by the end of the week. More than 100 million people across 37 states now under winter weather and wind chill alerts.
Parts of the plains upper and central Midwest are bearing the brunt of the severe conditions tonight as heavy snow, life-threatening wind chills, and ice cover the area. It's also hitting places including Denver that's seeing the most drastic temperature drop in decades.
That's where our Lucy Kafanov who was like embalming conditions a few hours ago now, braving these frigid conditions told us, what, a 52 before and now it's zero. As in zero. Where's it headed?
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, we're good, John, and this is the joy and the glamor of TV news. We will be here on the streets to experience these unprecedented temperatures so that folks at home hopefully don't have to.
Now, Denver actually saw a massive temperature drop, 24 degrees in just seven minutes earlier today. The National Weather Service describing this is a life-threatening cold front that is a once in a generation storm. It is expected to bring temperatures even lower as cold as minus 10 to minus 15 degrees here in Denver by tomorrow morning. This is going to be the coldest day Denver's experience in 32 years.
And of course, it's going to feel a lot colder with the gusty winds, the snow, the windchill, potentially going down to negative 25 or lower. In some parts of the plains, John, we could experience 60 degrees below zero in terms of windchill.
And this is no joke, frostbite, and those kinds of conditions could happen to expose skin in as little as five minutes.
Now, close to a thousand flights have been canceled nationwide with Chicago O'Hare Airport leading the way, but here in Denver, that airport coming in second. And also, Denver's airport seeing a 37- degree temperature drop in just an hour, John. A lot of flights canceled. I have friends that are not able to get home for Christmas as a result of this.
Obviously, a lot of people affected across the nation. Colorado's governor activating the National Guard to help with the extreme cold weather preparations, and also shelters, such as the Denver Coliseum being converted to a 24-hour warming center in order for folks to have a safe place to get warm, John.
BERMAN: Lucy Kafanov, you're a trooper. There's nothing like cold weather live shots because people can't see the rain or the snow. That's not what's happening. You just look cold, right? It's just all about how uncomfortable you are, which has got to be brutal. You're doing a great job, Lucy. Thank you very much. Stay warm.
All right. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy going before the U.S. Congress and declaring that Ukraine is alive and kicking more on his historic visit to the Capitol in a moment.
Plus, a programming note to tell you about, Dionne Warwick is a music icon with 56 worldwide hits, six Grammy Awards, one extraordinary legacy. She brings her exclusive story to CNN in the new film "Don't Make Me Over" premiering New Year's Day at 9 p.m.