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Biden Calls Trump And His Allies A Threat To Democracy; Former Biden Health Advisers Say U.S. Needs To Change COVID Strategy; Democrats Renew Their Push For Voting Rights; Debate Heats Up Over COVID-19 School Safety Measures; Dick And Liz Cheney Are The Only Republicans At House Jan. 6 Event. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired January 09, 2022 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST (voice-over): One year later.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We held the line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a republic if you can keep it and we kept it.
MATTINGLY: President Biden calls his predecessor an ongoing threat to his nation.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can't love your country only when you win. You can't be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.
MATTINGLY: Plus, the Democrats' Hail Mary on voting rights.
SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): Our democracy is in peril. Time is running out.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The American people are not buying this nonsensical talk of Jim Crow 2.0 or a voting rights crisis.
MATTINGLY: And omicron shut down more schools in the days ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I'm so sad because I can't go to school today.
MATTINGLY: INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reports, now.
MATTINGLY: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. I'm Phil Mattingly, in today for Abby Phillip.
Joe Biden takes on Donald Trump. The president was at the Capitol on Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of the insurrection when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the building in an effort to keep him in power. Biden accused his predecessor of attempting to end democracy itself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: His bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution. He can't accept he lost. He's not just a former president. He's a defeated former president. I will defend this nation. I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Now, most top Republicans ignored Thursday's anniversary all together and some mocked Democrats in the media for even talking about it at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: You're going to see the D.C. New York media, I mean, this is their Christmas January 6th. Okay? They are going to take this and milk this for anything they could to try to be able to smear anyone whoever supported Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: One year later, half of Republican voters said rioters were protecting democracy, 7 in 10 say Biden's win by 7 million plus votes was a fraud.
Joining me now with their reporting and their insight, Catherine Lucey from "The Wall Street Journal", Jonathan Martin of "The New York Times", "The Washington Post's" Paul Kane, and CNN's Eva McKend.
And, Catherine, I want to start with you. It was just last month President Biden said, I don't think about the former president. He very rarely speaks about the former president and rarely says his name. Now, privately, I think he thinks about the former president a lot. But the shift in messaging, the shift in going straight at the former president, what's the rationale behind it?
CATHERINE LUCEY, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": You're so right, Phil. This was a real turning point in the way he talked about the president publicly. He really has spent the past year trying to move away talking about him and trying to focus on unity when he could, said he wanted to work with Republicans. And, you know, I -- as I understand it and your reporting shows, the White House felt they couldn't make this speech. He couldn't stand in the Capitol and talk about these events and really not directly address President Trump, former President Trump and his role.
And so, they really felt they had to take him on squarely and I think it's important not just that he talked about Trump but the way he talked about Trump, that he really used very strong language. He talked about his bruised ego as you just saw. He talked about being defeated. He talked about him using words he must know would infuriate the former president and we saw with the responses that we saw from former President Trump, he was frustrated. So it was both taking on this fight and the way he took it on very
directly, very stark terms.
MATTINGLY: Yeah, it was a fight that the president clearly wanted to pick after spending more than a year very clearly not wanting that fight.
Jen Psaki when she was asked about the former president's statements, embraced the fight, as well.
J-Mart, I think it's the reality, though, right? It's kind of the disconnect of what president Biden wants to be and where he wants the country to go and the reality of his presidency was defined by what happened on January 6th and his predecessor.
JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Trump-ism is not over. In fact, Alex Burns and I are finishing a book right now that's called. "This will not pass." Trumpism has not passed. The polarization that is shaping the country's politics, shaping the country really at large has not passed.
You know, over a year after an election, you have chants of "Let's go, Brandon" at sporting events across the country. Politics is still seeping into everyday life in a way it would not have 10, 20 years ago. I think that's the reality Biden is facing.
The campaign has not ended.
We're in a permanent campaign. January 6th was not the culmination, it was one more way station, sadly, on the way south in this country's polarized politics, and Biden is simply recognizing that and he is finally listening to the sort of advice of his party in trying to take it to Trump and trying to create a contrast, trying to present himself as an alternative to Trump and Trump-ism rather than simply somebody that's out there gamely if not terribly successfully trying to heal the country.
MATTINGLY: And, Eva, I think one of the best windows into why this moment presented itself for the president but also where the Republican Party is not the Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greenes that you see all the time, it's somebody that you covered quite closely in your last job, and that's Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Take a listen to what he had to say during the impeachment trial about President Trump's role here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTINGLY: Look at the statement he put out on Thursday. He says, quote: The United States Capitol, the seat of the first branch of our federal government, was stormed by criminals who brutalized police officers and used force to try and stop Congress from its job. But he goes on to accuse Democrats of using the anniversary to push through a voting rights agenda that doesn't have anything to do with January 6th saying, quote, senators shouldn't try to exploit the anniversary to damage the Senate in a different way from within.
The broader point being that McConnell made very clear his feelings on Trump, doesn't really talk about Trump anymore, but doesn't generally talk about it anymore, which I think underscores better than anything else where the party ended up going in the wake of January 6th.
EVA MCKEND, CXNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Phil, listen, the Republican leader knows what he has to do to maintain power and he quickly understood that after those in initial comments were made, that he saw no political benefit to make the comments. He wants to remain leader. His number one priority is to take back the Senate for Republicans to take back the majority and doesn't see the political benefit of continuing to hammer Trump.
He has indicated for instance that he thinks that the outcome of the January 6th investigation will be interesting, but I think that's as far as he is going to go on this issue because he wants to remain leader and he cannot needle the Trump base and keep his caucus in line.
MATTINGLY: Yeah, I'm always intrigued when he slips in his interested in what the January 6th panel is up to.
PK, you know, if you want to understand where the party is, you look at their voters. You look at their constituents. Those are members, even those who don't like President Trump tell me when I ask where they are on things. There was a focus group on January 6th in the "New York Times."
Republican voters talking about kind of where they are, and I think this under scores why GOP leaders where they are, including one Barney, a Delaware Republican says it's not Pearl Harbor, it's not 9/11, it's January 6th, 2021 and it's just another day. Every day if you live in Washington, turn on the news and hear January 6th 100 times a day. You go to Oklahoma you don't hear it.
Gayle, a Florida Republican, they don't talk about it. The issues that we're dealing with right now is COVID, inflation, supply chain issues. So, January 6th doesn't get discussed. It doesn't matter if you're Democrat or Republican.
And I think there's a dissonance here. I got good friends and family members who are sending me text messages on January 6th trying to see if I was okay in the Capitol who now think it wasn't a big deal or was kind of invented. Why -- why does that exist?
PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: It's, you know, a 20, 25-year media technology revolution echo chamber where people live inside silos and just start hearing one side of the coin that just hear from the people that they want to hear from, I think that creates a lot of it.
I think the broader public, you know, at least the public that are tuning in to these shows and on Twitter are really just viewing it not even through an ideological idea, just like sports, you know, I cheer for the Phillies and the Eagles and the Philadelphia team so therefore I will, you know, cheer for them regardless. That's sort of where we have gone to a lot of politics right now.
Looking forward to, you know, the fall and the midterm elections, you know, I think most Democrats their strategy top advisors do realize that January 6th is going to be a motivating issue for their base, for their activists, get them to the polls, but they don't think it going to be a critical battleground issue in a lot of these seats that they need to win and to hold to keep their majorities in the House and Senate.
KANE: I do think that most of the voters will be looking at the pandemic, schools, jobs and the economy.
MATTINGLY: Yeah, no, absolutely. We'll get -- we'll get to that in a couple blocks. PK, It's interesting you would acknowledge rooting for the Eagles after last night.
Catherine, I want to -- I want to close with you. Look, one of the interesting things, again, you talked to Republicans and they'll say quietly or privately they don't agree with former president Trump or the January 6th stuff or election lies but it's so clear the downside to humoring him and letting him go.
Look at the quote from "The Washington Post" on November 9th says what is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? Nobody seriously thinks the results will change said one senior Republican official who sounds like a South Carolina senator. He went golfing this weekend. It's not like he's plotting for Joe Biden to take power in 2020.
Flash forward to now, "The Washington Post", found that supporters are running to help oversee elections, at least 163 in state races, 69 for governor, 55 Senate, 18 secretary of state. 13 state attorney general.
You know, you keep passing this off as a fad at your own risk it seems like inside the party.
LUCEY: That's right, and it's definitely true. You know, shortly after the election, a lot of people around Trump saying, don't worry, he understands what is going on. This isn't going to continue. Just let him cool off. Obviously, that's clearly not what has happened and you're seeing these Trump-supporting candidates, you know, running for these key offices, you know, Republicans in key states weighing new voting laws and passing new voting laws, and there are a lot of folks who are really concerned about what this means in terms of 2022 midterms and the '24 presidential race.
You know, could these various efforts make it? You know, make it harder to trust the process. Make undermining the electoral process and I think that's one thing that electoral watchers will be watching closely going into these races.
MATTINGLY: Yeah, there is already such a trust deficit.
All right. Coming up next, President Biden enters year two of his presidency with a familiar vote, a surging pandemic.
MATTINGLY: Well, two years into the pandemic and normal definitely still isn't here yet. The omicron wave filled hospitals and forced some schools back to remote learning and airlines had to cancel flights and restaurants had to close down because so many people are testing positive. Even the State of the Union speech is delayed until March.
President Biden entered office thinking he would vanquish the virus. Now, that goal seems further away than ever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I don't think COVID is here to stay but having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay but as COVID as we're dealing with it now is not here to stay. The new normal doesn't have to be. We have so many more tools we're developing and continue to develop. That can contain COVID and other strains of COVID.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Now, amid the latest surge, some of former -- President Biden's former COVID advisors are urging a shift. Dr. Celine Gounder told "The Washington Post", quote, I think they pursued a very vaccine-centric approach. No one wants to face up for the reality. You can pay for it with prevention as we've outlined or you can pay for it on the back end, which is the American way. The best way, I guess.
PK, I would start with you. You know, you talk to Democrats about this moment in terms of the pandemic and they've got frustration s about public health decisions, they got frustrations on the policy side, but they've got a ton of frustrations on messaging.
Which is it right now that is the biggest problem given the omicron surge and what we're looking at right now?
KANE: It's the worst kind of problem. They have a policy problem and a messaging problem. The policy side is they went with a vaccine-only approach practically, not entirely but very close. They thought they could vaccinate their way out of this problem and Phil, how many times in 2020 when you were back up on the Hill, how many times did Nancy Pelosi start press conferences by saying testing, testing, testing? Every single time. Every single time she said testing, testing, testing.
And this administration with all the money in the world with the bipartisan deals of 2020 and the unilateral Democratic $1.9 trillion bill in March, all the money in the world for testing and they just didn't focus on it and that was a huge mistake. It's a huge mistake.
They always needed testing to get out of the school issue and now the messaging in terms of what comes out of the CDC is just as confusing as it ever was. So, that's what is really making these Democrats up on the Hill uneasy.
MATTINGLY: You know, Catherine, I was struck in reading your story with Natalie Andrews, you know, the frustrations over school closures are such a prevalent issue now. Eva, you covered this a ton in the governor's race. I'll get to you in a second. The Democrats are trying to figure their way through it.
And you quoted Patty Murray saying, it's kind of rich that Republicans are now going after anybody about not keeping schools open when they didn't even help. Obviously, no Republicans voted for that American Rescue Plan.
There's been a shift from the White House, too, where you see bringing up Republicans didn't vote out for the American Rescue Plan or what they opposed. Does that help them here try and shift I think an issue that has been moving away from them in the last year?
LUCEY: Well, this is a tough issue for Democrats and they know it. You heard the president really lean into the idea of schools need to stay open and they really want to emphasize they have passed money to do that, and there are resources to do that, that the tools are available for schools and school districts to stay open. This is a big issue for them especially after the Virginia governor's race where you really saw that school closures were very motivating and really helped the Republican win.
But Republicans, as we see this sort of wave of some school closures over omicron moment and we'll see how that plays out in the next couple weeks but Republicans really see an opening. They're fund raising on this. They're targeting House candidates in vulnerable districts. They really think that this is a strong issue for them heading into the midterms.
And if it continues, you know, Democrats, you know, this is a hard issue for them. We saw how tough parents took it during the first two years of the pandemic and how much this frustrates people. And so, I think you're going to see how this plays out. But this is something Democrats are nervous about.
MATTINGLY: Yeah, Eva, if you can crystallize that, because it's difficult to extrapolate one statewide race into the broader, national climate. But you saw it. You were on the ground with the Virginia race in terms of the sheer effect this had and every Democrat I talked to continues to point to that when it comes to schools, why?
MCKEND: Yeah, it's a powerful messaging tool. Frustration with school closures isn't a Democrat or Republican issue. There's bipartisan frustration there.
And I would say that people aren't animated by competency, they are animated by fear. And so, if Republicans have found that they can continue to exploit this, they are saying, they're running on a parents' first agenda is their argument. And so, they're able to weaponize this issue. They see that it's been effective and be a feature in the midterms, never mind medical experts advised in the early days of the pandemic closing schools was the best path forward and political leadership we're listening to the science and listening to medical experts.
The decision to close schools has not been a partisan issue but it's certainly will be used as one in the months to come.
MARTIN: Phil, you know, we're talking a minute ago about the January 6th memory and I think a lot of the disappearing among partisans is frankly ranked partisanship, just an inconvenient fact over political history for folks that are Trump apologists.
I think for people less partisan who are more up for grabs, not terribly ideological, I think part of the reason why January 6th has faded in memory is because they're just living still with what we're talking about now, which is just this day in, day out uncertainty about life under COVID, especially if you have kids. That's what you're focused on. That is your lived reality, as they say.
And I think that's what is driving the politics right now and until that cloud is lifted from President Biden, I think he's going to be in tough political straits.
MATTINGLY: It blankets over everything. Robust economic recovery, the pandemic is driving supply chain bottlenecks and inflation coming from that. The mood of the country, the pandemic, Congress, the pandemic, whatever your legislative success is, the pandemic. That's the most important thing, no question about it.
MARTIN: And even small stuff for us sports fans, like is there going to be a game tomorrow because how many of these players are on COVID protocol? What's the roster going to look like?
Look, it's obviously not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but sports is a huge pastime for a lot of Americans and basketball or football, that can be stressful for a lot of folks in this country that like to watch games.
LUCEY: Even non-sports fans, J-Mart, too. You know, Broadway has had a great difficulty in staying open. There is a lot of things.
MARTIN: The arts, culture, sports, schools, everything.
MATTINGLY: Yeah, not everybody is a sports fan, J-Mart. Come on, we have a broader audience here. All right. Coming up next, the war over the ballot box. Can Democrats
muscle through a voting rights law?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We cannot sit on the sidelines. If we are not vigilant, if we do not defend it, democracy simply will not stand. It will falter and fail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Vice President Harris' speech on January 6th was a precursor to a White House full-court press for voting rights. This Tuesday in Atlanta, top Democrats are planning a vote on a filibuster carve-out but not all 50 Democrats back this plan in the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accuses Democrats of trying to break the institution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: The big lie on the other side is that state legislature controlled by Republicans are busily at work trying to make it difficult for people to vote. If you actually read the legislation that's been passed, it's clearly not the case. And so, I think this is an execution to try to break the Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: A comment that I think probably makes a lot of Democrats' head explode which would probably bring glee to Leader McConnell.
Eva, I think what is interesting about the president and vice president on January 6th and in Atlanta on Tuesday is this is what Democrats are calling for, for awhile to amp up efforts. Jim Clyburn called the January 6th speech in the week ahead a turning point. Is it?
MCKEND: Well, it could be and it certainly is what activists are calling for. They wanted President Biden for a long time for this to be his number one issue, his number one focus.
And so the full-court press that they've been asking for, they are going to get it but they also have been asking for something substantive and so it could backfire, right? How many speeches has President Biden given like this, similar to this where he's championed voting rights?
Many. He's given many of speeches but they haven't actually translated into substantive policy changes. And so that is, I think, the fear is that it could backfire. Also, on this issue of filibuster reform, that's something I'm watching closely. I think there has been a dramatic evolution on this. Republicans love to call up (ph) the tape of Senator Schumer talking about the filibuster years ago. Well, that has changed and he has been able to bring along other senators with him. I'm thinking of Senator King (ph), Kaine (ph) and Tester.
So Democrats recognize that they cannot get their policy priorities over the finish line when it comes to immigration, when it comes to climate change, when it comes to union protections as long as that filibuster remains in place.
So how committed is President Biden to actual filibuster reform and how much is he going to take that on in this speech is what I'm looking for.
MATTINGLY: Yes. No, that's a great question. P.K. and JMart, I want to get on to the filibuster in a minute.
But first Catherine, you know, you talked to White House officials over of the course of the last several months and they were always frustrated if not annoyed by the pressure from the outside about voting rights issues. Basically saying we can count. Like what do you want us to do here? We care about this but we don't have the votes.
What changed internally at the White House?
LUCEY: I think what you're seeing is, as you've said, there has been huge pressure campaign. You've seen activists and high-profile figures calling on the White House to do more. And as president, you know, we know that two things the president has that can use at any time are his time and his pulpit to really highlight things.
They'll also argue that the moment is a little different now because this vote is coming in the Senate, there is a sense of urgency because activists are calling really to see, you know, action or see progress, you know, by Martin Luther King Day. That there is a moment now to really highlight this issue, put the pressure on.
But I do think again, as I just said, the key question beyond just how tough is rhetoric is because I think the January 6th speeches show that they're prepared to be vocal on this. They're prepared to call aggressively for these bills to be passed to try to highlight what they see as the problems here and the concerns they have.
But, you know, how tough is he going to be on the filibuster. Is he explicitly going to make a call for filibuster reform or changes. Just where he's going to go there I think remains a really key question.
MATTINGLY: AND P.K., I'm fascinated right now that there is kind of a game of chess going on inside the United States Senate in terms of a there's a bipartisan group that's working on a kind of a more micro effort in terms of the Electoral Count Act, which seems like much Mitch McConnell has kind of opened the door to it, John Thune has opened the door to it a little bit as well on the Republican side which seems like a pretty calculated effort to try ad move Democrats particularly two Democrats: Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema away from any potential changes here. Is that your read on things?
KANE: Yes. Look, to get to the heart of it, this effort this coming week is going to fail. It is not going to succeed.
Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have been very, very clear they don't support gutting the filibuster for any particular reason and voting rights is one of them. Sinema put out a statement making that very, very clear a few weeks back.
Now, what McConnell wants to do is to try and break apart and divide Democrats and, you know, cause chaos inside their caucus so yes, he's giving a little bit of room to say let's reform this other, more modest thing.
The reality is the Trump wing is going to hate the electoral count reform stuff. They don't want to touch anything. And if Democrats eventually do come around to embracing that, it will divide Republicans but I don't think Democrats are going to get there. They're still shooting for the moon on something that is destined to fail.
MARTIN: Yes. But I mean the fact is that they're shooting for the moon while some members of their own caucus are (INAUDIBLE) with Susan Collins and negotiating a backup plan, which kind of undercuts what Schumer is trying -- Schumer and Biden are trying to do right now by going big on voting rights sort of seeing some of their colleagues already prepped for what could be the next turn of this which is a much more modest bill on the Electoral Count Act.
So look, I think a lot of this for President Biden is what he has to do. I was talking to one White House official last week who said look, a lot of this is our voters want to see him being emphatic on this issue. They want to know he's on our side on this issue.
The reality of Manchin and Sinema as P.K. mentioned has not changed. And I think that the most sophisticated voters don't like it but they get that.
MARTIN: I think Biden, I think is facing pressure to show that he is with the side of Democratic voters. And especially those Democrat voters (INAUDIBLE) who got him elected, which is heavily African- American, especially black folks in the south which is why, by the way, he's going to Georgia.
MATTINGLY: Yes. Georgia which two senate seats in a special election gave him the majority in the senate, not 60 votes but 50 votes. They've gotten a lot done, just 50 votes, I would add.
All right. Coming up next, the coronavirus surge in schools. What needs to be done to get children back in school safely.
MATTINGLY: Children are supposed to be back in school the first week of January. But thanks to surging COVID cases, too many were not including in Chicago where a standoff between the city and the teachers' union could cost students a fourth day of education tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: We've got a lot of single parent households, a lot of moms working multiple jobs who cannot afford to miss work.
We need our kids back in school. Remote learning for any period of time is off the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Now, Chicago is not the only city struggling with a return to the classroom. The head of the Milwaukee Teachers' Union said this. Quote, "They can all declare that schools will be open but unless they have hundreds of thousands of people to step in for educators who are sick in this uncontrolled surge, they won't be."
Joining us now dean of Brown University School of Public Health, Dr. Ashish Jha.
And Dr. Jha, I want to get into public policy and kind of what you're seeing with omicron in a minute. But I want to start here because this is such a palpable concern for parents. It's obviously a very complicated issue both politically and on the public side of things.
But given what we're seeing right now, can kids safely go back to school in person with the omicron surge?
DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Good morning. Thanks for having me back.
The short answer is yes. Yes, they can. We have the tools. We've known for a year and a half how to get kids back to school safely, right. Improvements in ventilation, testing, masking, vaccines once they became available.
The issue right now is many school districts didn't put in the ventilation and testing upgrades. What do they do now? If kids and teachers are vaccinated, teachers can all be boosted. If people wear masks, I think people can go back to school now safely in the middle of the surge.
I don't believe that people should be sitting out the surge. I don't think it's necessary. We can run schools and not see a lot of spread within the schools themselves.
MATTINGLY: One of the disputes that I've heard from teachers' unions in particular is the lack of testing. Obviously, the administration has acknowledged they need to do better on this. I think they ordered 500 million tests to be available at some point this week. The first two orders came through about 65 million earlier this week.
Can schools operate and open if they don't have testing for everyone and anybody who wants it?
DR. JHA: Yes, I believe they can. We've seen this in school district after school district. There are large parts of the country where schools are open despite the surge.
Look, each of these is a mitigation effort. Would more testing be helpful? Sure. Is it absolutely essential? No. Like if you can do the other things -- again every school age kid is eligible for vaccination, every adult obviously is.
And if you have good quality masking, that is more than enough to get people back into school safely.
MATTINGLY: It's a great point. Now one thing I want to ask you about. You had a tweet there that was really clarifying for me in terms of where omicron is at this moment. You said, you're seeing things -- two things that appear to be contradictory. Omicron's link between cases and hospitalizations is much weaker. And our health care system is in trouble.
I want to pull up right now, cases on the screen. You see the kind of sharp increase in cases and kind of a disconnect in terms of hospitalizations now and where things stand.
Why is that? And what does that mean for broadly given your concerns about hospitals being overwhelmed?
DR. JHA: Yes. We have two things happening at once. I mean we have cases among vaccinated that are not leading to serious illness, that are not leading to hospitalizations and deaths, thank goodness, particularly among those work (ph) groups there.
And so we see this massive surge of infection, among the vaccinated it's not causing strains on our health care system. Among unvaccinated people and among unboosted high risk people, it is putting a big strain. And given how much infection there is, our hospitals really are at the brink right now.
So cases still matter but particularly because we have so many vulnerable Americans who have not gotten vaccinated and boosted.
MATTINGLY: Yes, one of the questions that I have about this and like the scale is different, right, due to the transmissibility right now. When you look at kind of the next couple of weeks ahead for the country as it pertains to omicron, what concerns you most?
DR. JHA: What concerns me most is really our health care system. Because remember the health care system is not just designed to take care of people with COVID. Of course, it does that. It's just trying (ph) to take care of kids with appendicitis and with people who have heart attacks and get into car accidents.
And all of that is going to be much, much more difficult because we have a large proportion of the population that is not vaccinated and plenty of high-risk people are not boosted. That combination sets up a large pool of people who, as they get infected, will end up really straining the resources we have in the hospitals today.
MATTINGLY: And last one before I let you go. We've been trying to pin this down. I think I've talked to you about it several times in terms of the CDC's messaging as it pertains to isolation, when you come out of isolation, when you're infectious, when you're not. Does it feel like there have been missteps here? Have there been course corrections over the course of the last couple days. Or are you confident with kind of the direction the CDC is headed in terms of messaging in the last couple of days?
DR. JHA: Yes. I think the key message for people to understand is that the first five days of symptoms, that's your most contagious period. Now I think the CDC needs to emphasize over and over again, that that's the period you have to stay isolated.
What happens beyond that, there is a lot of challenges. Should you mask? Should you test? Those are important issues that we should be sorting out. The single biggest message the CDC has got to deliver is first five days you've got to isolate, that's when you're most contagious.
MATTINGLY: It seemed to be what they're going for. They just didn't quite hammer it home as well as you did.
Dr. Ashish Jha, as always, thanks so much for sharing your time and expertise.
DR. JHA: Thank you.
MATTINGLY: All right. Coming up next, ex-vice president Dick Cheney's return to a very different Capitol.
MATTINGLY: This isn't your father's Republican Party, especially if you're Liz Cheney. She and her dad, the former vice president also former congressman, were the only two Republicans on the House floor Thursday for a moment of silence to mark the anniversary of the insurrection.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi came down from the rostrum to shake Vice President Cheney's hand. You see her highlighted there in the center of the screen.
Now, for those of us who remember the Bush years, the idea of Dick Cheney being embraced by Nancy Pelosi and shunned by top Republicans well, it's unthinkable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not a leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for ten years.
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MATTINGLY: So P.K., I want to start with you because we were texting about this when it happened and you were also kind of mind-blown, having covered that moment. What does this say to you about the Republican Party right now?
KANE: Yes. You know, to put it in perspective, Dick Cheney in his eight years as vice president was sort of the most trusted ally of congressional Republicans.
He was often the guy that the Bush team sent up to try and close deals. There was an epic night where they sent him up to try to convince House Republicans to vote for the Wall Street bailout, for TARP. It went terribly, but he was still believed the guy to close the deals with House Republicans having been a House Republican for 10 years in the late 70s and 80s.
You know, he is still who he is and he believes in, you know, a really strong national security and a lot of the traditional conservative Reagan, Bush values. But this party is just no longer that party anymore. It has moved really, really far into a sort of non -- there's an ideology.
KANE: It's basically Trump, anger and grievance. But in terms of policy, there's not a lot of policy behind it, other than building a wall at the border.
And so Dick Cheney doesn't really fit in today's House Republican conference, which is mind-blowing, yes.
KANE: You know. I mean he was the boogeyman of liberal politics back then. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her first year in charge in 2007 had to pull back the reins against the liberals in her caucus who wanted to impeach him -- more than two dozen people.
Dennis Kucinich was the leader of the impeach Cheney ring (ph) of that caucus and he had more than two dozen people. And it wasn't just liberals, I should say there were people from across the ideological spectrum of the Democratic caucus who wanted to impeach him.
Flash forward 15 years he's holding hands with Nancy Pelosi on the House floor.
MATTINGLY: Yes. It's this funny thing where I don't think anybody who was alive during that time would have any knowledge of what was happening, had they been flashed forward to this time.
JMart, it's a window into the Republican Party. (CROSSTALK)
MARTIN: Did you see Rosa DeLauro hugging --
MARTIN: -- Dick Cheney on the House floor?
MATTINGLY: Exactly. Exactly.
MARTIN: Would it come as a surprise?
MATTINGLY: But like to get to the transformation which I actually think is really interesting, listen to Senator Ted Cruz in his interaction with Tucker Carlson, first this was Senator Cruz in a Senate hearing. Take a listen.
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SENATOR TED CRUZ (R-TX): We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week. and it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol.
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MATTINGLY: That's something he said in tweets and in print I think 16 or 17 times.
MATTINGLY: This was what he had to do with Tucker Carlson later on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: By no definition was it a terror attack, that's a lie. You told that lie on purpose and I'm wondering why you did.
CRUZ: Well, Tucker, thank you for having me on.
The way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy, and it was frankly dumb.
CARLSON: I don't buy that. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I don't buy that.
CRUZ: I wasn't saying that the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists. That being said, Tucker, I agree with you. It was a mistake to say that yesterday.
CARLSON: I guess I just don't believe you and I mean that with respect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: That is so rich, the individual who tried to object to the counting of electoral votes for a purely political reason, getting called onto the floor in this particular moment.
But JMart, I think this is more about the party than anything. Tucker Carlson is the power of the party, not a sitting senator who was the runner-up in the presidential primary just a couple of years ago.
MARTIN: No, it's an obvious power shift and you can just see it there in that quick clip. I point to Tucker Carlson. He actually is in the right there. He is correct not to believe Ted Cruz's explanation.
And good for him, because Ted Cruz as you point out, Phil, has said that multiple times. It wasn't just off the cuff in one hearing. He's called it a terrorist attack. What changed is clearly the political memory on the right of the 6th is now shifting so Ted Cruz has to accommodate that and has to alter his language to describe the event of the 6th. That's the reveal.
But just real fast, I want to pick up on what P.K. was saying a minute ago. You know, in the last century or more the biggest schisms in political parties were always over issues and policy, right. Ford versus Reagan in '76, you know, Clinton breaking from the left to run as a sort of a new dem in '92.
What's so different about this moment, speaking of the Cheneys, is it's not about policy. It's not like there's a moderate versus right, you know, real gap in the party. It's entirely about personality more than any set of issues.
You know, The Panama Canal or abortion rights or anything like that. It's just so different now today.
MATTINGLY: Yes. Different might be an understatement to some degree.
All right. Thanks guys. Appreciate it very much.
That's it for INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. Join us back here every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time especially next week when mom extraordinaire Abby Phillip returns from maternity leave.
Up next "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. Jake's guests include Secretary of State Antony Blinken, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Thanks so much for sharing your Sunday morning with us. Have a great day.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Massive consequences? Russian aggression overseas setting up a key test for President Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Once Russians are in your house, it's sometimes very difficult to get them to leave.
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TAPPER: And with democracy in peril at home, does the U.S. have leverage?