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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Day Of Defeats Threatens President's Attempt At Year-Two Reset; Extreme Lockdowns And Protocols Tighten As Olympics Near; Prince Andrew Loses Charities And Military Titles Amid Sex Abuse Lawsuit. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 14, 2022 - 05:30   ET



ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Alex Hawke used his personal power to cancel Djokovic's visa, saying that, quote, "It was in the public interest to do so."

Now, Djokovic is now up against the clock as the tournament starts in just three days.

Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, released a statement on Wednesday admitting that his agent provided false information on an immigration form. Djokovic also gave an in-person interview in December while knowingly was infected with COVID.

Now, to get into Australia, you have to be vaccinated. And Djokovic, of course, had received a medical exemption from the Victoria state government and Tennis Australia to play in the tournament and go for that record 21st grand slam. But all of that up in the air once again right now.

And Djokovic, as you mentioned, not currently in detention, according to his lawyers. They requested that he be allowed to remain in his private residence this evening and be granted permission to meet with his legal team tomorrow before potentially going back to that detention hotel while his case is still being heard, Laura.

We'll, of course, have more on these developments in the coming hours.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Andy, please come back to me as soon as you get more information. It feels like this is changing quickly.


JARRETT: Thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: All right.

Back here in the U.S., President Biden just had one of those days he'd like to forget. One setback after another in rapid succession Thursday threatening the president's attempt to pull off a second-year reset of sorts.

CNN's Jasmine Wright joins me live in Washington this morning. Jasmine, the president coming off a powerful, blistering speech on democracy and voting and then he gets hit with SCOTUS, and then he gets hit with Sen. Sinema. It just kept coming.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Look, that is right, Laura, and reality for the president is looking a little grim this Friday morning.

And as you said, he kind of came to this week with a bit of momentum. A well-praised speech on Tuesday after voting rights. Of course, his well-praised speech last week on the January sixth anniversary. And now, he faces major, major roadblocks.

And arguably, one of the biggest setbacks of his administration this new year is when the Supreme Court, yesterday -- it struck down his vaccine mandate that required employers that have more than -- 100 or more employees to get their vaccine mandates.

And, of course, as I've said on this program multiple times that this is the way that White House officials saw that the -- they had -- their tool, really, to manage the pandemic, trying to get more people vaccinated. And, of course, this striking down while officials were bracing for this outcome, it does not help the president's goal of trying to manage the pandemic.

And then, of course, we have voting rights. Now, the White House said yesterday that they had a candid but respectful meeting. President Biden, Sen. Joe Manchin, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema -- the two holdouts -- after they doubled down in their opposition to changing the filibuster rule to pass something on voting rights by party lines -- of course, threatening to imperil the president's promise to do that goal.

And those are only two things. I didn't even mention the fact that he's facing testing shortages when it comes to the pandemic. Cold Russia relations as things start to heat up along the Ukrainian border.

Of course, poll numbers that continue to kind of go down -- really, things that threaten. Right here, you see on the screen, it says 42 approval. That's considerably down from where he started out last year.

So these are things that the president is continuing to face. Of course, this is not how he wanted to start his 2020 (sic) facing a real downturn of momentum at the end of this second week -- Laura.

JARRETT: Yes. No question, they want a course correction from this most recent course correction.

Jasmine, thank you.

So, speaking of voting, as Jasmine mentioned, the majority leader, Chuck Schumer, says the Senate will take up voting rights Tuesday as Democrats face seemingly impossible odds for actually passing some new legislation.

CNN's Daniella Diaz joins me live on Capitol Hill now. Daniella, even President Biden, yesterday, seemed to concede a bit that he does not have a clear path for a win here.


Look, even an hour before he arrived to the Capitol to meet with Senate Democrats, which was the plan they announced earlier this week, Sen. Sinema -- Kyrsten Sinema, a moderate from Arizona, was on the Senate floor reiterating that she would not support a filibuster carveout to pass voting rights legislation.

And that's where her and Sen. Joe Manchin have been from the very beginning. This is not a surprise. But they haven't changed their minds despite countless meetings with their Democratic caucus and with President Joe Biden, himself.

Even after this meeting with Senate Democrats, they met last night. The White House -- a White House official told us that Sen. Sinema and Sen. Manchin were at the White House meeting with President Joe Biden on voting rights.

But really, the bigger picture here is, just as Jasmine said and as we've been saying, is President Joe Biden is acknowledging the fact that he faces an uphill climb to pass any sort of voting rights legislation through the Senate because of Senate rules. And he does not have the support from these two senators, Manchin and Sinema, to change those rules so that they could pass voting rights with a 51- vote -- a simple majority.


Take a listen to what he told reporters after his meeting with Democratic senators yesterday on Capitol Hill.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope we can get this done but I'm not sure. I don't know that we can 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 ways these legislatures have moving.


DIAZ: This was the biggest priority for Democrats starting this 2022 year. They want to pass voting rights legislation, Laura. They want to prove to their voters they can do something on this ahead of the midterms. But the problem here, of course, being that they can't do this without 60 votes and they don't have 60 votes. They don't have Republicans behind this -- any Republicans. And they don't even have Sens. Sinema or Manchin behind changing the rules to pass it with a 51-vote simple majority. But really, the bigger picture here being Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer changed the Senate schedule. The Senate was supposed to be on recess next week. Instead, they're coming back on Tuesday. They're going to try to have a vote on voting rights legislation -- on some sort of rule change as well.

And the bottom line here being it doesn't seem that they're going to succeed as of now but these negotiations, of course, are continuing -- Laura.

JARRETT: That's the reality of where we are right now.

Daniella, thank you -- appreciate it.

This White House also facing a hard reality on COVID with twice as many daily cases as there are vaccinations. Because of that trend, the White House is now ordering an additional 500 million tests. Yes, that's on top of the 500 million announced last month.

But a total of one billion still won't meet the demand we have right now. So, President Biden says more masks are on the way for free.


BIDEN: I know that for some Americans a mask is not always affordable or convenient to get. So next week, we'll announce -- we'll announce how we are making high-quality masks available to the American people -- the American people for free.

I -- you know, I know we all wish that we could finally be done with wearing masks. I get it. But they're a -- they're a really important tool.


JARRETT: In the middle of this surge driven by the unvaccinated and with more than 151,000 Americans how hospitalized with COVID, the healthcare system is stretched to the breaking point. Look at this. These 15 states in blue have less than 15 percent hospital ICU capacity remaining, while the four red states have less than 10 percent ICU capacity left.

In China, the Beijing Olympics are just three weeks away and the Chinese government is dealing with a series of COVID clusters there. The latest one in a major city, Shanghai, linked to infections arriving from the U.S.

CNN's David Culver joins me live from Beijing. David, I understand a number of flights from the U.S. now being canceled because of this cluster.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And this is going to be, Laura, an unprecedented scenario if this happens. It's likely to take place next week that any China-bound flight from the U.S. will not go forward. And the reason is it's something called a circuit-breaker rule that the Chinese aviation regulators have put in place. Essentially, if you have more than five cases, that flight will be suspended for two weeks. If you have anything above that number -- well, it's going to be much longer.

So we're looking like that possibility is going to come into effect about this time next week where there will be no flights from the U.S. into China. It is not good timing, especially when you consider what is three weeks away, as you mentioned, the Winter Olympics.

This was supposed to be that opportunity for Beijing to show that they have COVID under control. They have had strict and harsh restrictions in place -- something that folks have described as brutal at times. I mean, you've got more than 20 million people in this country that are under lockdown, confined in their homes. However, the vast majority of folks are OK with it so long as COVID stays out of their day-to-day life.

And that zero-COVID policy, it's staying in effect. I mean, you were showing the number of cases in the U.S. It looked like daily counts of hundreds of thousands. In Europe -- those nations, tens of thousands. You're in triple digits here, according to the National Health Commission, but one case is one too many.

And certainly, as we're getting closer to the Olympics, they're going to want to maintain this zero-COVID stance because it's about prestige, Laura. They want to show the rest of the world that these strict measures are working. But they might face a lot of issues in trying to do that even here in the fortress that is Beijing, keeping it a COVID-free capital city. It's going to be a challenge.

JARRETT: It's going to be a challenge for sure. You wonder if some of the damage is already done. We've seen how the travel bans worked here in the United States.

David Culver, thank you.

In Kazakhstan, the Russian-led military alliance is withdrawing troops following more than a week of violent protests across the country. But tensions remain high in a country with major U.S. investments in energy and crypto mining at risk.


CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in the largest city, Almaty, the center of this conflict. Fred, 600 American companies operate there? So what happens now?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the authorities here in Kazakhstan, Laura, say they have the situation under control. However, they also did tell us that they were dangerously close to losing control -- and especially, here in the largest city, in Almata -- in Almaty, which is also the commercial hub. I want you to look behind me. You can see this is the city hall of Almaty. And the authorities day here that this is where the street fighting took place in the city. That it was attacked by rioters. They entered the building and they really ransacked it inside.

I was actually able to go inside a little earlier today and see for myself some of the damage that was there. And I can tell you pretty much everything inside there is destroyed. A lot of office furniture also destroyed. And they're really using heavy equipment to now clean it up.

You can see they're putting up a tarp now because they say they want to rebuild this place as fast as possible.

And, you know, it's so interesting that you mentioned those 600 American companies that are investing here. Of course, one of the main reasons why the government is doing that is because they want the confidence of those investors to return and they want to keep that confidence.

One of the things that I've heard a lot from government officials here, actually, that I've been speaking to is they are essentially saying that they are a place that can be relied on for business. And they also say, quite frankly, the businesses that do operate here did manage -- did keep operating here even while these troubles were going on.

Nevertheless, there is, of course, that very harsh crackdown that the government says is going. Around 10,000 people have been detained. Of course, more than 160 were killed in these protests.

The government says that the people who were behind this were terrorists. That they were operating from -- or at least were trained outside of the country. They haven't provided any evidence for that yet. They say they will do that in the future, though.

But right now, they say their main priority is obviously to get a sense of normalcy back here. You can see that here in the city as well. Traffic seems to be going quite normally. People are out in the street. And to really rebuild as fast as possible to make sure that investors like the ones from the United States continue to have confidence here in this country, Laura.

JARRETT: Fred, the charred building behind you is just -- kind of says it all. Thank you for being there for us. Great reporting.

We'll be right back.



JARRETT: Forty-five past the hour here.

And a top U.S. diplomat says Russia is sounding a drumbeat of war against Ukraine. That dire warning follows a week of crisis talks between the West and Russia that wrapped up Thursday with no breakthrough in sight.


JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Our Intelligence Community has developed information which has now been downgraded that Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for an invasion.

We're prepared to continue with diplomacy to advance security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic. We're equally prepared if Russia chooses a different path.


JARRETT: We have team coverage this morning starting with our senior international correspondent Matthew Chance, live in Moscow for us.

Matthew, the Russian foreign minister spoke just a short time ago on diplomacy. What did he say?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was interesting to hear Jake Sullivan there talk about how Russia is using these negotiations as a pretext possibly to invade Ukraine. Because what the Russians are now saying -- Sergey Lavrov, in particular -- they're saying that actually, it's that deployment of Russian forces on Russian territory near the border of Ukraine that it says is a pretext that NATO is using to build up its strength in the region near Ukraine and increasing the strength of its forces in the surrounding countries as well.

Russian officials not happy at all with the outcome of these weeklong negotiations that have taken place in Geneva, in Brussels, and Vienna over the course of the past seven days.

Lavrov saying that he now wants to see a written response from the United States and from NATO about what works, what doesn't work in terms of their core demands. Remember, those demands are pretty far- reaching and have been cast out as unacceptable by the United States -- namely, that NATO should not expand any further eastward and that countries already accepted into NATO after the fall of the Soviet Union should have forces inside them withdrawn.

The Russians have said that there are other compromises that have been put out there but they're not interested in taking a compromise on that issue. They say they're serious about those demands being met and they're not, in the words of Sergey Lavrov, playing a game.

JARRETT: Matthew, thank you.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, the message from Kiev is clear -- Europe must not turn a blind eye to what's happening.


OLGA STEFANISHYNA, UKRAINIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER FOR EUROPEAN AND EURO-ATLANTIC INTEGRATION: If Europe wants to sleep well and to feel that their democracy is safe, they should invest in Ukraine's defense.


JARRETT: CNN's Sam Kiley, who was doing that interview, joins us from Kiev. Sam, we understand there is a cyberattack underway against the Ukrainian government. What is happening there right now?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's been a pretty widespread denial of service attack -- not the sort of thing that the Russian state necessarily would sponsor, although it would be very much at the low end of its capabilities.

This is much more about hacking into websites. A number of government websites -- but not all of them -- not some of the critical websites -- were crashed or were taken offline by the government following a series of attacks attributed to a separatist group backed by Russia in the Donbas region. That's the region of Eastern Ukraine that's already under Russian occupation taken in 2014 when they also illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

So, it's something that's troublesome, indicative perhaps of the needling (ph) efforts that Russia have been conducting. But nothing close to the threatened invasion, which is what the Ukrainian authorities here are most concerned about, Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Sam. Thank you for that.

Now to this. Prince Andrew can no longer use the title His Royal Highness. Buckingham Palace has announced he's been stripped of his military titles and charities, a remarkable fall for the Queen's second son a day after a federal judge in New York ruled a sexual abuse civil suit against him can move forward.

CNN's Max Foster is in Hampshire, England on this dramatic move. Max, who exactly decided that Andrew should be stripped of his title? Is it the queen? Is it, dare I say, the firm?


MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: I think it's the firm. We were told that there were wide family discussions around this issue. Yes, the Queen, as the boss of the firm, makes the ultimate decision. But you can assume that Prince Charles and Prince William, as future monarchs, were intricately involved in this because this was about protecting the monarchy.

Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre, the two key people involved in this case in New York, have both suggested they're not going to pursue, for now at least, a settlement. So it does look as though it's heading towards trial, potentially, in September.

All that salacious detail, all of that awkwardness that will come out of that in the year that the Queen is meant to be celebrating her Jubilee would overshadow the monarchy, and they are in survival mode.

And they basically decided to effectively sack Prince Andrew from the firm -- his royal role. No more military titles, no more royal patronages, no more royal role. He is still part of the family but even at big family events, he won't be able to use the title of His Royal Highness anymore. And that gets you a seat at the top table. It gets you into state dinners.

He's pretty much out of the monarchy as we know it and it was designed to protect the monarchy from any more damage -- reputational damage from this trial in New York.

JARRETT: So, Max, to that point, is the idea here to sort of get out ahead of any sort of rehabilitation campaign that Prince Andrew might have wanted to try to do?

FOSTER: I think it's an acceptance that so much P.R. damage -- reputational damage has been done already by the way he's handled all of this -- going right back to that disastrous interview with the BBC in 2019 -- has caused damage already.

A lot of people saying the Queen acted too late. Others saying actually, she's acting too early because he hasn't been found guilty of anything here.

But this is going to be a very expensive case as well for Prince Andrew. He's currently using public funds in his public role. By losing his HRH, he no longer gets public funding and he's now able to pursue private sources of income. This is a similar sort of story with Prince Harry and Meghan. They wanted private sources of income so they lost their HRHs. So maybe it's part of that as well to fund this massive effort in New York.

JARRETT: Just incredible. Max, thank you.

Let's get a little sports now. The Houston Texans firing Dave Culley yesterday, making him the eighth NFL head coach to be fired this season.

Andy Scholes back with me now for this morning's --


JARRETT: -- Bleacher Report. Andy, he only got one year.

SCHOLES: Yes, Laura. You know, you've got to feel bad for David Culley. He was handed a team that had really very little talent on the roster and he was able to win as many games as the Texans won the year before -- four. But the Texans still decided to move on.

Culley has spent 43 years as an assistant in college football and the NFL before becoming the oldest first-time head coach at age 65. He signed a five-year deal with the team during last offseason and still has three more guaranteed years left so he'll get some money out of this.

Now, Culley's firing and the Dolphins letting go of Brian Flores make Mike Tomlin the only Black head coach in the NFL. All right, to the NBA and a dominating performance by defending champion Bucks against Steph Curry and the Warriors. Milwaukee in control from the opening tipoff. They had a 39-point lead by halftime.

Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way with 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. He's now the first player ever to record multiple 30-point triple-doubles in less than 30 minutes of play.

The final was 118-99.

Another rough night for Steph Curry. He had just 12 points. The Warriors lost four of their last five.

All right, and for the first time ever, we have six games on Wild Card Weekend. Tomorrow, the Bengals host the Raiders, and the Bills will host the Patriots. And you've got a triple-header on Sunday, ending with the Chiefs hosting the Steelers. Kansas City is a 12 1/2 point favorite over Pittsburgh.

This could be Ben Roethlisberger's last game of his career and he says the Steelers have no chance of winning it.


BEN ROETHLISBERGER, QUARTERBACK, PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Yes, I mean, we're probably 20-point underdogs and we're going to the number-one -- the number-one team that's -- I know they're not the number-one seed but they're the number-one team. They won the AFC the last two years. Arguably, the best team in football. We don't have a chance. So, let's just go in and play and have fun.


SCHOLES: Laura, a great way to end up being a hero is set the bar super low and then go over it. I like what Roethlisberger was doing there.

JARRETT: I love it.

All right, Andy, thanks so much. Have a great weekend, my friend.

SCHOLES: All right, you, too.

JARRETT: All right.

Parents out there, I apologize ahead of time. Remember this?


"Baby Shark."


JARRETT: That's going to be stuck in your head all day. I'm sorry. "Baby Shark" -- that song so loved by children and dreaded by parents -- yours truly. Now, "Baby Shark" has hit 10 billion views on YouTube, the first video ever to do so.


Created by South Korea's Pinkfong, it spawned a T.V. show, a cereal -- even a rallying cry for the Washington Nationals when they won their World Series.

Thanks so much for joining me today. I'm Laura Jarrett. Christine is back on Monday. "NEW DAY" is next.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar on this new day. Huge news just moments ago that brings together the pandemic.