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Planning to Mark One-Year Anniversary of January 6th. News Headlines from Around the World; China's Challenges with Olympics; College Football Bowl Season Ramps Up; Jordanian Lawmakers Brawl in Parliament. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 30, 2021 - 06:30   ET



NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Left out of these conversations between the U.S. and Russia because they feel as through their fate is being decided without them essentially. And so the U.S. has really tried to convey to the Ukraines that they are going to be involved in these discussions, that no decision are going to be made without them. And throughout these talks in January, they will be talking to the sidelines and consulting with the Ukrainians about what NATO says, what Russia says, and what comes out of these discussions.

Now, the Ukrainians are still hoping that the administration is going to provide them with that military equipment that they have been asking for, for weeks and months now, that they have yet to receive in order to defend their country. They say that they don't have everything necessary to protect themselves in a event of a Russian invasion. And so they feel as though the U.S. has fallen a bit short in that regard. The U.S. has said, of course, we have sent hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid to Ukraine. The Ukrainians, at this point, saying that's not enough. So it remains to be seen what exactly comes out of these talks and whether the Ukrainians are satisfied by what the two sides decide.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: Natasha and Nic, we know you'll be keeping a close eye on this. Thank you very much.

Up next, planning is underway to mark one year since the attack on our Capitol. Whitney Wild is live with more details.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And why former President Trump wants the Supreme Court to consider this interview by the chairman of the January 6th committee in his bid to block hundreds of documents.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: We are a week away from the anniversary of the January 6th attack on the Capitol.


And House Speaker Pelosi says that planning is underway to mark that day.

CNN's Whitney Wild joins us live here from Washington.

So, Whitney, what are we expecting in just a week from today?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're still waiting for the exact details. But what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says is this will be a day of reflection. Here's what she told her colleagues in a dear colleague's letter. Our nation will soon mark one year since the January 6th deadly attack on the United States Capitol. Preparations are underway for a full program of events, including a discussion among historians about a narrative of that day, an opportunity for members to share their experiences and reflections from that day, and a prayerful vigil in the evening. Certainly, Kaitlan, the tone will be one of reflection. It will be somber. But also a chance to mark the real heroism of police who defended the Capitol.

COLLINS: Well, and this also comes as the former president's lawyers are now telling the Supreme Court that a "Washington Post" interview with the chairman of the House select committee that, of course, is investigating the attack shows that the committee is trying to establish a criminal complaint against him?

WILD: Well, that's right.

So, what they're saying is, take a look at this "Washington Post" interview in which the chairman of the House select committee, Bennie Thompson, says that there's a likelihood that if they find criminal activity, that will result in a criminal referral to the Department of Justice.

The Trump team is making the argument here that this is not an effort for a legislative purpose but it is, in fact, an effort toward a law enforcement purpose, something that Congress doesn't really have any jurisdiction over.

However, what the committee has made clear is that this does have a legislative purpose and that any opportunity for criminal referral would be incidental and would just arise throughout their normal work, again, geared toward this legislative purpose.

And the point here, Kaitlan, is that the Trump team has made multiple times this argument that this is an illegitimate investigation with no real legislative purpose, and twice courts have knocked down that argument.

COLLINS: And we'll see what they do this time.

Whitney Wild, thank you. AVLON: All right, let's bring in CNN national security analyst

Juliette Kayyem.

Juliette, good to see you this morning.

I notice that you tweeted this "Atlantic" article you wrote after the January 6th attacks, almost a year ago, saying this, as we gear up for 1/6 anniversary coverage, reposting my take then. Many criticized this for calling Trump the leader of a terror movement who uses violence or threats as an extension of politics. After a year, I think I was too kind.


AVLON: So if you think you were too kind to call him an extremist leader then, what would you call him now?

KAYYEM: Well, he continues to be the leader of an organization that uses violence or the threat of violence to disrupt democratic processes. That is terrorism. And I think, you know, we tend to focus on different pieces of the post-January 6th world. So we have the election systems and the states and the fights over states and voting rights. We then have the investigation, the January 6th, and then all of the cases that are going on against people who were in the Capitol.

But I think we sometimes forget that what sort of connects everything is violence and the threat of violence that now animates so much of our political discourse coming from Republican leadership, from right- wing media. And it's not just, you know, it's not just sort of random violence. It's something that's targeted against secretaries of state, against various congresspeople. Of course, we even see it percolate into the Covid space, against attacks -- or language against leaders. And so it's that acceptance of violence and the threat of violence as part of a political agenda that I think I underestimated on January 6th last year.

COLLINS: And, Juliette, we were just talking with Whitney about what the committee is doing, what they think January 6th is going to look on the anniversary of it and their work overall.

And so, I'm wondering if now that we are approaching the one-year anniversary, if you've been impressed with the work that they've done so far?

KAYYEM: I have. And I think people are impatient. And I understand that. And a year seems very, very -- like a long time. But let's just put this in perspective. There are 600 or 700 criminal cases against the people who were in the Capitol. Why does that matter? Well, it matters because they did something wrong and they're -- and a lot of them are getting jail time.

It also matters from the counterterrorism perspective, the world that I grew up in, which is, if you view Trump as leading a terror movement, we are -- these cases are undermining his ability to recruit, to raise money. And you're seeing that. You're seeing these organizations, like the Proud Boys, very difficult for them to reform. Trump has been de-platformed by Twitter. He cannot fill a room. Let's

remember that. He is having these rallies. They are not filled up to the -- you know, to the rafters. That's a good thing. You want to minimize his capacity to both engage and incite.

And then the committee is taking its time, and I think rightfully so.


I thought it was interesting that Nancy Pelosi said something about historians. I think if we can get out of the headlines of what's going to happen to Trump and really take a step back, I think Nancy Pelosi sort of has the long view that this is going to be -- this has to be a legacy investigation lest we go down this path every two years.

So, I have been -- you know, I don't -- I don't like the violence that surrounds so much of our political discourse coming from GOP leadership and GOP members. But there are pieces of good news in terms of counteracting that radicalization.

AVLON: Juliette, I've got to ask, what accountability do you think needs to be put in place to break up this movement, as you describe it?

KAYYEM: So, I mean, you know, it's very hard to know whether the party, the Republican Party, is redeemable in the sense -- you see hints of it and you see McConnell now talking about January 6th being of interest -- the January 6th committee being of interest to him. You are seeing other Congress members from the party sort of begin to accept the election. We don't know what's going to happen this election season.

But I think in terms of accountability, people need to view it into two lanes. So one is the criminal accountability of Trump and members who were -- you know, and people who planned a violent overthrow of our democracy. That's what it was. We shouldn't be shy about what they were trying to do. It's clear that's what they were trying to do, and their criminal culpability. The other, of course, trying to minimize the radicalization. That's really key for the long term.

And I think that there are hints that that is happening. These cases are breaking up terror organizations. Donald Trump's ability to gather a crowd that is willing to be violent is now really -- is now much less than it was a year ago. That's good. That's good news. I mean it's not great news given the context, but it is -- that is -- that is the kind of thing that we need to be looking for in terms of trying to bring the temperature down.

AVLON: All right, Juliette Kayyem, thank you very much.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

AVLON: Coming up, for the second year in a row, many European cities are scaling back their new year's celebrations as cases are on the rise once again.

COLLINS: Plus, in China, four people accused of breaching Covid safety laws now being publicly shamed by the police.



AVLON: Major European cities scaling back New Year's Eve celebrations for the second year in a row. Governments are grappling with whether to spoil the holiday or play it safe as new Covid cases spread at a record-setting rate.

CNN has it covered around the globe.



The omicron variant continues its relentless spread across Europe with several European countries seeing records broken in terms of the numbers of new cases these last few days. And with that a much bleaker New Year's Eve on the horizon for many Europeans. Here in Paris, for instance, the traditional fireworks display and the gathering on the Champs-Elysees has been canceled. Elsewhere, in countries like Germany and the Netherlands, the focus has been on limiting the number of people who can get together inside homes and countries like Greece, Austria and Italy, for instance, focusing on closing down the hospitality sector in order to ensure that people don't stay out too late and therefore aren't exposed. This as the World Health Organization warns that as that variant continues to spreads, it is the health systems of Europe that are once again under threat.


And the New Year's Eve of Wonders is still set to take place in Dubai at the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. But if you want to attend, you have to register on an app to prove your negative status or that you've been vaccinated.

Now, 99 percent of the population in Dubai has received at least one dose, which, of course, is encouraging. But you've seen a doubling of Covid-19 cases over the past seven days, which is of concern. But millions of tourists flock to Dubai over the season. It's one of the famous hot spots because of the laser shows and the fireworks. And Dubai is also hosting Expo 2020, which has attracted a lot more tourists than usual.

This is despite the fact that you're seeing so many countries around the world canceling New Year's Eve plans.


Disturbing videos have emerged from a border town in southern China, where four people, in full hazmat suits, with placards showing their photos hanging around their necks, being marched through the streets for allegedly helping others illegally crossing borders into China from neighboring Vietnam. Considered to be a heinous crime by local police because of China's continued border closure and increasingly tightened Covid rules. Local officials have defended their public shaming tactics, saying it's needed to act as a deterrent. But critics say this has, once again, exposes thee dark and a repressive side of China's zero Covid policy.


COLLINS: The Winter Olympics in Beijing are about a month away and China is acknowledging that the gathering could fuel more Covid cases. This comes as China is also facing diplomatic boycotts from the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, and, in large part, Japan.

Our next guest says that China, meanwhile, is trying to establish dominance and bully the United States, but advises the powers that be not to back down.

Joining us now to discuss is CNN political analyst Josh Rogin.

And so, Josh, first on these diplomatic boycotts. They're largely symbolic but they are also a real sore point for China, too.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's right, Kaitlan. Autocratic regimes use international sporting events like these to legitimize their policies. And, in this case, the United States, and some of its partners, have decided to pursue a diplomatic boycott, which means the athletes can go but the diplomats can't, in order to point out that these Olympics that are going on, in a country where genocide is occurring.

And, of course, the Chinese government doesn't like that. They're not supposed to like that. So they're on the attack and they're accusing the American of being hypocrites and they're accusing the boycott of politicizing the games.

But in truth, human rights is not really about politics. It's about humans. So I think what the Biden administration would say is that they're humanizing the games, not politicizing it.

AVLON: Well, look, in the runup to the games, I mean we're seeing China further crack down in Hong Kong against free speech, against any form of dissent.


And in your new op-ed in the "Washington Post," you say that China is trying to establish their dominance in Asia and trying to bully the U.S. into refraining from taking action, specifically against military provocations. Tell us more about that.

ROGIN: Right. Well, all of these things happen in a context. And the context in Asia right now is that tensions are rising, OK, and that's happening in all sorts of arenas, but especially in terms of Taiwan. And what we've seen recently is that the Chinese military has been menacing Taiwan, sends dozens, if not hundreds of planes, over the island. It's a direct threat to the freedom and the democracy that has existed on the island. And that's a conundrum for U.S. policymakers, what do we do? Well, if

we stand up to it, that's going to make China more angry. If we don't do anything, maybe China is going to become more emboldened.

And what the United States and its partners have decided to do is to not back down as to express support and increase support for Taiwan. And, of course, that makes Beijing only more and more angry.

So, we can pretend that we sort of have this month of Olympics where everything's hunky-dory, but the truth is that tensions are rising high and most of that is due to the Chinese Communist Party's aggression.

COLLINS: Yes, and certainly something the White House will not deny.

And, Josh, you also write that basically China and the west are talking to each other with ships and warplanes, leaving both sides unsure of how their messages are coming through. And so this level of communication, you know, what does that entail going forward for what this is going to look like once the Olympics are over?

ROGIN: Right. I think that's the key question, Kaitlan, is, what happens when the Olympics are done? What happens when the cameras turn away? Right now you could say that Beijing is on its best behavior, and it's best behavior isn't that good, actually. But after the Olympics they'll have even less reason to care about what we think and there will be even less cameras pointed at them.

And that's when the danger really begins. That's when you're going to see the Chinese Communist Party ramp up its aggression and its internal repression and its thumbing of its -- of all of the rules and laws that have underpinned the international system all this time. What do we do about that, especially if we can't talk to them about it, especially if they can't -- if they won't talk to us about it. That will be the key challenge in U.S. foreign policy in 2022. That will be the key problem, not just for the United States, but for the whole world. How do you deal with a China that's rich, powerful, aggressive, repressive and doesn't care at all what we say or think about what it does. I don't know how to take that. That's a -- that's the Biden administration's question. I think they're -- they're worried about that but they're thinking about that hard right now.

AVLON: Especially after China gets on the other side of the Olympics, when they're allegedly on best behavior.

ROGIN: Exactly.

AVLON: Josh Rogin, thank you very much for joining us.

ROGIN: Any time.

AVLON: All right, coming up, lawmakers in Jordan, watch this, pushing, shoving and throwing punches at each other. Almost makes you feel good about the American Capitol discussion in Congress. Heated discussions that set off this ugly brawl. That's next.



AVLON: Buckle up and hunker down. Expect some severe weather possibly getting in the way of your plans heading into New Year's Eve. From the southeast to the south plains and onto the West Coast.

Meteorologist Jennifer Gray joins us to tell us all about it.


JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, John, this New Year's is coming in with a bang because we are talking about storms from coast to coast, and several rounds of it as well. You can see showers and storms already through the southeast. These storms roared through the area during the overnight hours. They're going to linger into the southeast as we get into the day today.

Another system developing in the West, bringing very heavy rainfall to the southwest. It's also going to crisscross the country, bringing rain and even snow to the mountain areas and also bring more severe weather to not only the south and Mississippi River Valley, but, again, the southeast as we get into New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

So, this is Friday into Saturday morning. So, New Year's Eve night we're looking at a potential for isolated tornados, damaging wind, large hail through places like Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville. That moves to the east by the time we get into Saturday and Sunday morning. So, we are talking about a lot of rain and even a lot of snow through the Ohio Valley and Midwest.


AVLON: Man, that's a rough entry to the new year for those folks.

Jennifer Gray, thank you very much.

GRAY: Yes.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, the college football playoff is just one day away. If you have not seen my dozens of tweets about it, Alabama is playing tomorrow, kicking off at about 3:30 Eastern. We are already seeing some great bowl action, though, including the return of a Hall of Fame coach to the sidelines.

Coy Wire has more with this morning's "Bleacher Report."

And, Coy, Bob Stoops and Oklahoma reunited, and Oklahoma fans thought it felt pretty good.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes, I love seeing that big old Crimson Tide smile on your face, Kaitlan.

Several bowl games, we know, have been canceled due to Covid issues. But, Kaitlan, those that have gone on are getting people hyped up for the college football playoff which starts tomorrow. Last night it was legendary Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops, back, filling

in at the Alamo Bowl as the Sooners previous head coach, Lincoln Riley, took a job at USC. And it allowed for this awesome moment, Kaitlan. Coach's son Drake Stoops catching just the second touchdown pass of the season. The number 16 Sooners pull away from the number 14 Ducks in this one. Oklahoma blasting the Ducks, 47-32 for Stoops' first win since the 2017 Sugar Bowl. He gets that Gatorade bath and a great father/son moment as he soaks it all in one last time before new head coach Brent Venables takes over.

And one of the wildest touchdowns ever in the Cheez-it Bowl. That's right, the Cheez-it Bowl. Remember that. Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy's pass turns into a game of hot potato that Clemson's Mario Goodrich takes 18 yards to the house. Purdy's pass is tipped at the line. He jumps up. And quarterbacks are taught to knock it to the ground, but that is not how it went down. Clemson wins 20-13.

And at the end of this one, Coach Dabo Swinney gets doused with a bucket of Cheez-its, not Gatorade. He has led his Tigers to their 11th straight season with at least 10 wins.

Now, the big bowl games starting tonight. Here in Atlanta, number 13 Pittsburgh taking on number 11 Michigan State in the Peach Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Then, the college football playoff semi-finals. Number one Alabama facing number four Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl. That's followed by number two Michigan and number three Georgia in the Orange Bowl.

And, Kaitlan, you know, Crimson Tide facing for the first time ever a non-power five team in the college football playoff in those number four Bearcats. How you feeling about it?

COLLINS: I feel pretty good. But, I don't know. I don't like to make predictions. I have learned that lesson a long, long time ago. I do feel good we'll be back in Dallas and that is, of course, a familiar venue for the Crimson Tide.

So, I don't know, I'm hoping.

I have to work tomorrow, though, during the kickoff at the beginning of it. So I'll be starting watching around halftime and I'm going to be mildly stressed out.

AVLON: Well, this is a good time for me to tell you, I'm rooting for Cincinnati because my grandfather went there on a scholarship.

COLLINS: Come on.

AVLON: So, let the lines be drawn.

COLLINS: Come on.

WIRE: Oh, I can't wait for tomorrow's show. This is going to be a good one.

AVLON: I've got to say, that Oklahoma story made me tear up, man. That father/son line is just -- that's a beautiful thing.

COLLINS: Yes, you've got to score a touchdown if your dad is back on the sidelines.


WIRE: Yes.

AVLON: Beautiful.

COLLINS: Coy Wire, thanks so much for this -- joining us this morning.

AVLON: Yes, thanks man.

WIRE: You got it.

AVLON: All right.

Meanwhile, chaos erupting in Jordan's parliament amid a debate on gender equality. The assembly descending into an outright fistfight during a heated discussion on a constitutional amendment that would afford greater rights to women.

CNN's Arwa Damon has more.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was quite a chaotic scene inside Jordan's parliament, to say the least, during what should have been a debate about a proposed constitutional amendment. This constitutional amendment would have seen Jordanian citizens referred to not just in the masculine, but in the feminine as well.


And as part of a package of reforms that is aimed at modernizing Jordan. Reforms that are