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Australian Government Cancels Novak Djokovic's Visa Again; Oath Keepers Leader, 10 Others Charged with "Seditious Conspiracy"; South Korea Says North Korea Fires Unidentified Projectile; UK PM Johnson Faces Another Pandemic Party Setback. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 14, 2022 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett. Christine has the day off. It is Friday, January 14th, 5:00 a.m. here in New York.

We have reports this morning from Kazakhstan, Washington, Beijing, Moscow, Capitol Hill, England, Kiev, Tokyo and Melbourne where we begin with big breaking news overnight.

The Australian government cancelling Novak Djokovic's visa for the second time. That means Djokovic, the number one seed, in all likelihood will not get a chance to defend his Australian Open title or set the all-time grand slam record.

It is the latest twist in a saga of Djokovic's own creation frankly, which started all because he refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Paula Hancocks is live in Melbourne with the big breaking details.

Paula, good morning.

All week we heard that the immigration minister was still deciding Djokovic's case. What finally tipped the scales?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, we know that the immigration minister did decide to revoke the visa once again, and already this case is back in court. It is 9:00 p.m. on a Friday night, and just three hours after the immigration minister made that announcement that Djokovic's visa would be revoked, they are back in court.

It is a directions hearing. Judge Anthony Kelly, the same judge who back on Monday reinstated Dokovic's visa, is now looking at proceedings. This hearing is basically to decide what the next steps will be, and if there is a case to be heard. And if there will be another hearing.

So, what we heard from the immigration minister just three hours ago from Alex Hawke, he said, quote, today I exercised my power under Section 133C(3) of Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr. Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.

Now, usually what would happen in this situation, and this is not a usual situation by any stretch of the imagination, but usually an individual, if they have their visa canceled, will go into mandatory detention. We do not know if that has happened. We do not know where Novak Djokovic is now. We know his lawyers are back in a hearing in the federal court trying to argue his case.

Now, usually after that, they would try and seek a judicial review. They would be questioning the legality, the fairness, the reasonableness of what the immigration minister has decided to do, and then possibly he could get a bridging visa, which would allow him to stay while this is being fought in the court and play at the Australian Open. A lot is still up in the air, Laura.

JARRETT: But if he is barred from that country for three years, this is just a stunning downfall for the number one tennis star.

Paula, thank you for bringing all the breaking details.

Also big breaking news in court today, the first group charged with seditious conspiracy for an attack on the U.S. Capitol. The founder of the far-right Oath Keepers group, Stewart Rhodes, indicted with ten others by a federal grand jury, a major development by the Justice Department in its sprawling probe. The indictment is chockfull of damning evidence in the planning and logistics that began just days after the 2020 election.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): They obviously were armed in lots of different ways. They were well-funded. I hope that this arrest and this prosecution will shut up those of our colleagues who keep saying, well, if it was a conspiracy, how come there are no conspiracy charges? If it was seditious, how come there are no seditious charges?


JARRETT: Many of the Capitol riot defendants were already facing charges for obstructing Congress' duty to certify the vote count on January 6. This new indictment significantly raises the stakes accusing these defendants are continuing to plot after January 6th to block President Biden from taking office.

Joining me live this morning in Washington, CNN crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz and former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin, host of the podcast, "That Said with Michael Zeldin".

So nice to have you this morning. So much to unpack here.

Katelyn, to you first. What is the significant evidence we have here in this indictment on all the planning that went into the attack?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Laura, we are seeing this case -- we've seen this case for many months now, and it is building and it is growing. And what is core to it is what prosecutors are saying was the coordination among this group. All of the evidence that they've gathered on that, not just among the nine of the 11 that were previously charged, but now two additional people, including Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers.


So this coordination, the prosecutors here, they say they have signal chats among the leadership of this group. One of them they found from November 5th. So two months before January 6th, days after the election, Rhodes texting these people: We aren't getting through this without a civil war, too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit.

And then what prosecutors are saying now is that continued. That one of the members of this group came to Washington basically on a reconnaissance mission. He wanted to look at things.

And there was a transportation of guns. They are focusing on that, that these Oath Keepers allegedly brought guns into hotels or a hotel in Virginia to arm themselves, and then also that this coordination continued after. They wanted to stop the peaceful transfer of power, not just the congressional vote on January 6th.

JARRETT: So, Michael, sedition is a notoriously difficult charge to prosecute. It's rarely used. But if there was ever a time to use it -- I mean, just looking at the statutory language itself here, two or more people conspiring to prevent, delay the execution of the laws.

Seems pretty spot on for this.

MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, by force. And that's exactly what they allege in the indictment. That by force, two or more people, in this case multiple people of these Oath Keepers, stormed the Capitol in order to prevent, hinder, delay the execution of the laws. That is, the peaceful transfer of power, the certification of the election. It is spot on as to what the statute provides, yeah.

JARRETT: Katelyn, the other thing that's interesting here is that, you know, we talked about the efforts to oppose the vote certification on January 6. But this is also about actually opposing the lawful transfer of power on January 20th, making Joe Biden president.

What does it signal to you that it's now sort of sweeping all of that in as well?

POLANTZ: Laura, we actually believe from our reporting yesterday, this was a key piece that took this from a conspiracy charge to a seditious conspiracy charge. What happened after January 6.

And what we know is that the feds, they realized that these people, they found evidence these people got together to celebrate after January 6, that night, and then started talking about what to do next. That Rhodes was spending thousands of dollars, almost $20,000 on guns, equipment, the whole way up until January 20th, which was the inauguration. And that another person in this group allegedly was talking about, you

know, if we can't do this, we need to go to the Kentucky mountains and retreat as the oath keepers so that we can figure out how to stop, in her words, the usurper.

JARRETT: Michael, it's two years since the attack on the Capitol. A lot of people had been saying, where are the conspiracy charges? Where is the seditious conspiracy here? They've now done it.

What do you think this means for the investigation going forward?

ZELDIN: Well, two things. First is these cases take time. So all those who were criticizing Merrick Garland I don't think had a full appreciation of how difficult it is to bring a case like this. When you have the oath keepers who are cooperating with the government, you have to then corroborate what they said. You need to prove in court the veracity of what they say. And that's not a quick thing.

Second, though, what this portends potentially is are they going to continue to look to others who were not there at the Capitol, who weren't breaching the capitol grounds, but were part of a planning group.

That, I think, points to the possibility that the people who were at the Willard Hotel may be in the sights of the government as coordinators of this ongoing effort to hinder the delay of the transfer of power.

JARRETT: As you say, these cases take time. They're trying to get it right, build their case. They're not easy cases to make. We will see where this goes.

CNN's crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz, and Michael Zeldin, former federal prosecutor, thank you for getting up this morning. Appreciate your expertise.

ZELDIN: Thank you.

JARRETT: So, that's what's happening in court. At the same time, the January 6 House Committee is targeting giant social media companies with subpoenas after inadequate responses to their voluntary requests for documents and information. The subpoenas were sent to Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and YouTube as well as Twitter and Reddit.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): There were whistleblowers within all of the major social media saying a nightmare is about to transpire in January 6th. We want know exactly what these social media entities did, if anything, to prevent it, or did they simply take the posture that it wasn't their problem. And so, we're going to get to the bottom of it.


JARRETT: Spokesman for the company said they are working with the committee on their requests.

Also breaking overnight, North Korea launching another projectile, the third in recent days. CNN has learned one of those launches caused a brief scramble when early warning systems first suggested it could hit the United States.


CNN's Selina Wang live in Tokyo with more.

Selina, this seems really significant.

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, we just learned new details about the most recent launch, the third one in two weeks from the South Korean military. They're saying North Korea fired two projectiles into the waters off the East Coast, presumably short- range ballistic missiles.

Now, this came just hours after North Korea lashed out at the United States, warning of stronger reaction to U.S. sanctions. The U.S. on Wednesday had imposed sanctions on north Korean and Russian individuals tied to North Korea's missile program. That announcement from the U.S. came after on Tuesday, North Korea claimed it had successfully fired a hypersonic missile. That is what experts say would be a game changer, but they doubt the claims that it was, in fact, that sophisticated.

However, South Korea's military did, in fact, say it was more advanced than the missile North Korea had fired the week before, reaching more than ten times the speed of sound. But that launch on Tuesday, Laura, also briefly caused major chaos in the United States early reading. Sources tell us it could pose a threat as far as California's coast.

Now, later, officials within minutes determined that it did not, in fact, pose a threat. They dismissed the readings which can be inaccurate. In those few moments of chaos, the FAA took the action of grounding some planes on the West Coast for 15 minutes.

What that chaos highlights is the growing concern in the U.S. that the threat for North Korea, the talks have stalled ever since that failed summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in 2019, Laura.

JARRETT: Yeah, we had wondered about that ground stop. It explains a lot.

Selina, thank you for that.

Breaking moments ago, another apology from the U.K. What a former aide for Boris Johnson says was going on while the period was in national mourning. That's next.



JARRETT: Breaking just a few moments ago, another headache for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. A former top aide is now apologizing for more boozy parties. This one while the nation mourned the death of Prince Philip back in April.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz, excuse me, Salma, joins me live from London.

So, it just seems like a drip-drip. Every day another bad story.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely. Boris cannot get this out of the headlines. The prime minister simply has this dizzying rate, dizzying list of parties spanning two years now across multiple lockdowns.

But let's start with the latest chapter of this party gate scandal. I want to start with an image, Laura, that means a great deal to this country. The picture of the queen, sitting alone in the chapel by herself, no one beside her to comfort her on what was one of the most difficult days of her life, the day that she said good-bye to her husband of more than 70 years.

Sitting there by herself because of the pandemic, because of coronavirus restrictions. The night before the allegation is, there was a party at Downing Street, a boozy party at Downing Street for a former communications chief. Alcohol was available. There was dancing according to local media. Dancing, singing, someone was sent out to get even more booze. This is, again, according to local media reports here.

You can imagine, again, that image of the queen sitting alone. The reason why it resonates so much in this country, it's something important to remember, is that restrictions here were enforced, Laura. They were tough.

I mean, police knocked down doors of homes where illegal parties were happening. Funerals had to be minimized to a certain number of people. Many in this country did not get to say good-bye to their loved ones.

This is going to strike the heart of the nation to know that on the night the queen was preparing to bury her husband, there was parties in Downing Street -- Laura.

JARRETT: That's all about double standards. It's the same thing happening with Djokovic. The idea that one standard for those in power and another for others, and it makes people angry.

Salma, thank you.

Still ahead for you, all U.S. flights to China could be put on hold as soon as next week. A new COVID cluster in Shanghai blamed on a U.S. traveler as the Beijing Olympics approach.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

A significant winter storm is bearing down on the east coast. Question is, will it bring rain, snow or ice?

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the forecast for you.


A major winter storm will bring several threats to the eastern third of the country with the potential for crippling ice in some locations, heavy snow, and even heavy rain with coastal storm surge. The exact placement of our low pressure is so critical because a shift west or east means that some people do get snow and some people don't. So that is what we're paying attention to.

Winter storm warnings already in effect across the plains, and right through the southern portions of the Midwest, and now popping up across the southeast with preemptive winter storm watches in advance of this impending storm system.

Here is the evolution from Saturday into Sunday. You can see enough cold air to wrap in some snowfall for the Atlanta metro region. Couple inches expected there, heavier across the Appalachian Mountains. A nose of warmer air will surge ahead of this low keeping our coastal communities mainly rain.

So, New York to Philadelphia, we believe it will be rain for you. We can't forget the crippling ice potential across the Carolinas. We are anticipating a mess right through the holiday weekend.

Back to you.

JARRETT: Derek, thank you.

Novak Djokovic's visa rejected again in Australia. A court hearing underway right now. We have the latest for you next.



JARRETT: Good morning, everyone. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett. It's 29 minutes past the hour here in New York.

We turn back to our big breaking news. Novak Djokovic facing possible deportation after his Australian visa is canceled for a second time.

Andy Scholes joins me now.

Andy, we just got word that Djokovic is not in detention. There had been some confusion about where exactly he was at this moment. So now what happens?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, now, Laura, it all goes through the appeals process once again. In the past hour, Judge Anthony Kelly requested a transfer to the superior court, the federal court of Australia due to the important nature of this case. The issue still being debated in open court. The suggested hearing on this would be Saturday in Australia. This comes after Australia's immigration minister Alex Hawke used his

personal power to cancel Djokovic's visa saying, quote, it was in the public interest to do so.