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New Day

Biden to Paint U.S. at Crossroads for Future of Democracy; D.C. Schools Reopen Today Amid New Rules, Testing Requirements. Aired 7- 7:30a ET

Aired January 06, 2022 - 07:00   ET




JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: And more former public defenders to the bench than any administration in American history.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would absolutely respect the authority of every Supreme Court justice and all of its precedents without reservation.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): See, I don't believe you. I think you allowed your political beliefs to cloud your judgment.

FOREMAN: Republicans have not made it easy. While they cheered Trump loading the courts for their side and howled but Democratic efforts to stop it, now they are doing the same to Biden's picks.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Did you intend for violent criminals to be released early?

RUSSELL WHEELER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: The Democrats have stayed united. Without that, they would have failed. Because every one of this court of appeals nominees got over 40 nay votes.

FOREMAN: Still, Biden is racing the clock. Polls say elections next fall could hand Republicans a majority in the Senate where they're outrage over what's happening

now --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Federal judges are appointed for life. That is a long time.

FOREMAN: -- could quickly overrule the Democratic Party's so far remarkably successful case for change.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: They really need to have a majority in the Senate to be able to push through these nominees. And if that were to switch, that would really stall Joe Biden's efforts here.


FOREMAN: And, remember, Donald Trump got three Supreme Court appointments out of this. If things don't go well for the Democrats, Joe Biden might not even get one. Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: Yes, that's a really very good point. Tom Foreman, thank you so much.

And New Day continues right now.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. We have special New Day coverage this morning. It is Thursday, January 6th. It has been one year, if you can believe it, since the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol here behind us.

I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman. And it was one year ago, as we said, that the world was watching madness and destruction descending on the steps of this Capitol, democracy under siege, all of it unfolding before our eyes.

We were watching an attempted insurrection, the mob incited by the former president and his lies, weaponized, a weaponized attempt to overturn the 2020 election in favor of Donald Trump, but it failed.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Yes. Inside the Capitol, even more harrowing scenes, sickening attacks on dozens of officers. One nearly crushed in the rush to storm the building. For more than three hours, Trump refused to call off the violent crowd that left many law enforcement officers beaten.

On the House floor, chaos, lawmakers ran and cowered. Many to this day are still living with the trauma. Secret Service agents swiftly escorted then-Vice President Mike Pence out of the Senate chamber. Rioters were calling for him to be hanged and then Trump defended them.

And then the sight of a man photograph carrying a confederate flag inside the Capitol, something confederate soldiers weren't even able to do during the civil war, these are the images that left a stain on the country.

KEILAR: Now, today, more than 700 have been arrested, hundreds more are still at large, and that includes the D.C. pipe bomber. Several others are facing years of prosecution. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who is facing a lot of pressure from some Democrats, vowed to keep following leads.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last. The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators at any level accountable under law.


KEILAR: This morning, the country remains deeply divided, maybe even more so on over this day's significance. Republicans are continuing to push the big lie despite those pictures, those images that you have just seen. Trump supporters still question what happened despite countless debunked conspiracy theories.

BERMAN: All right. In two hours, President Biden and Vice President Harris will mark the first anniversary with a speech. They are going to be inside the Capitol. The president will tell Americans that it is Donald Trump who carries singular responsibility for the Capitol assaults.

KEILAR: right now, we are reliving in a way how the January 6th attack unfolded in real-time that day live on CNN, and it begins, as it should, with Donald Trump.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump, who has been addressing a crowd of supporters in Washington, D.C., I want to play some of what he said particularly about Vice President Pence and what he hopes Pence's role will be today.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president, and you are the happiest people.

REPORTER: This crowd has been building the last couple of hours. And we know it's going to grow significantly in the next couple as people from The Ellipse, where the president has spoken, are going to start making their way up here.


We know there are thousands of people down there on The Ellipse, down near the White House. Many of them are going to make their way up Constitution Avenue to where we are standing right here.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF DOMESTIC CORRESPONDENT: Vice President Pence, he knows he is in a difficult position right now because he is under so much pressure from the president. Basically, he is not going to do the president's bidding and overturn the election results or attempt to overturn the election results.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madam Speaker, the vice president and the United States Senate.

MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The two Houses will withdraw from joint session. Each House will deliberate separately on the pending and report its decision back to the joint session. The Senate will now retire to its chamber.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a tense situation outside with protesters, many of whom were listening to President Trump's speech from this morning near the White House. And they marched down to Capitol Hill right outside the Capitol. There are scores of protesters outside this building right now. And we have been told by Capitol police that the Capitol is in lockdown.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Trump supporters have stormed the U.S. Capitol. There are violent confrontations going on. Members of Congress have been told to shelter in place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In fact, you're actually looking at video right now of these anarchists, these people who are involved in this insurrection. They broke the glass in the United States Capitol and now they are climbing through the window. This happened moments ago on the grounds of the United States Capitol.

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): When we left the House floor, we were taken out through a door where they had tactical teams speaking protesters on their bellies literally outside the House doors. So, people had gotten to the doors of the chamber. Windows had been broken. And as I said, when we left, there were officers with their guns drawn and pointed at the door, obviously indicating that they thought there was a threat about to come through.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's a horrible, horrible situation that's unfolding here in Washington, D.C., and we can't overemphasize how dangerous this is right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president has been watching this all day long. He's watching this and doing nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw a lot of -- heard and saw a lot of flashbangs going off. So, that got very tense as some people, as we've reported on CNN have gotten injured as well, and at least one woman shot in the chest.

BIDEN: At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault, unlike anything we have seen in modern times, an assault on the citadel of liberty.

TAPPER: There is going to be an attempt by the people who were part of this effort, President Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin Mccarthy, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Hawley, et cetera, there is going to be an attempt to whitewash what's going on right now.

President Trump has delivered a message. It has been taped. And we are going to bring that -- are we ready to go with that live right now? Okay. We're going to go that right now. Here's a message from President Trump.

TRUMP: Go home. We love you. You're very special.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: U.S. marshals, the ATF and U.S. park police, as well as FBI agents are headed to the Capitol. Some are already there. All 1,100 members of the D.C. National Guard have been activated.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The situation that we are seeing right here might be best described as a standoff. There is no indication right now that these protesters have any inclination of going anywhere. There's no indication that they had heard the message from the president to go home.

REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): We were actually trapped in the House chamber at that time. The mob had descended and broke through the security cordon of the Capitol. They had already evacuated the leadership and the members who were on the floor. But those of us who were up in the gallery watching the debate have been trapped.

PENCE: As we reconvene, the world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy, for even in the wake of unprecedented violence and vandalism at this Capitol.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: We have never seen a day like today. But America is still standing. The Capitol is still gratefully still standing and the Congress is back to business.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm heartbroken, I'm disgusted and I'm angry. And enough is enough. This needs to stop. It needs to stop right now tonight. We need to end it.



KEILAR: It's really something to see it all together. I hadn't seen it strung together like that.

BERMAN: It really is something to see.

Joining us now, two officers who were part of the resiliency of democracy, who defended the Capitol and the country on January 6th, former D.C. Metro Police Officer Michael Fanone, who was dragged and beaten by rioters that day, he is now a CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, he was repeatedly targeted with racial slurs during the attack.


Mike, thank you for being with us here this morning. I'm sorry. We were re-watching that and it was just remarkable to sort of relive it all. I can't imagine what it is like for you.

MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, it was something else. I mean, it was a difficult day. It was a difficult year. But reflecting on that now, it is a mixed bag for me. In a lot of ways, I'm incredibly proud not only of my actions that day but the actions of countless uniformed law enforcement officers. I'm also incredibly proud of the efforts by the FBI, other agencies who have really pursued justice, not just for us but for the entire country.

But at the same time, I'm incredibly disappointed. I'm disappointed by our lack of progress as a country. We're still engaging in the same violent rhetoric that resulted in January 6th. We are still experiencing a cultural war, deep divisions. And in a lot of ways, I think our politicians have doubled down on the words and actions that led to an insurrection.

KEILAR: Harry, how are you feeling today?

OFFICER HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: Good morning, y'all. Hey, Mike. What's going on? I'm all right. I'm at the point to say this doesn't necessarily feel like an anniversary. There really hasn't been an end to January 6th. So, once accountability has been had, then you can start to heal and then you can start to look forward. And I don't look at today as an anniversary but it's just another day.

BERMAN: Do you feel there hasn't been accountability, Harry? We listened to attorney general, Merrick Garland, yesterday promise to go after whomever was involved no matter how high they are. But do you feel as if there has been enough done? Do you believe in that effort at this point?

DUNN: Well, it's not been enough done because the investigation is still going. And that is their job to go after people responsible. So, I applaud the Justice Department doing their job. That's what they are supposed to do. However, the full story to the American public about what happened that day is not being told. It isn't known yet, not just being not told, not reported, it isn't known yet.

I believe that's why it is important for the individuals that are conducting the investigations, whether that be the Justice Department, the FBI, the January 6th committee to have unimpeded access so they can do their job to put out a full, clear transcript about what happened that day with only facts and not anybody's opinions or talking points.

KEILAR: Mike and Harry, we have spoken a lot here over the last year about the whitewashing that we have seen of what happened on that day. It was very interesting to hear our colleague, Jake Tapper, say on that day that it was going to happen. But I'm struck watching the video, Mike, how anyone can look at that, look at that day as we see it, and still to this day, lie about what happened, people who actually barricaded the door of the House chamber. And they're untruthful about what happened. What is the injury of that?

FANONE: I mean, it was a year out, and I'm just angry. I mean, I went through the whole rolodex of emotions, now I'm just angry. And I would ask anybody who doubts the reality of January 6th to question your own motivations behind that.

It is obvious why some members of our, you know, elected leadership downplay or out and out deny the activities of January 6th. It's because they have placed their own political future above the future of this country and our democracy. But, you know, as Americans, question your own motivations as to why it is that you refuse to accept the reality January 6th and where we are now as a country.

BERMAN: I have to say, I'm struck by something that Harry said, which is that January 6th is still going on. I'm also struck by what you have said, and we heard from members of Congress before, that maybe we're worse off now one year later than we were then, which is really depressing frankly to hear.

President Biden in his speech today is going to say, and is giving the speech at the Capitol in just a few hours. He's going to say, are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people.


He is going to ask that question. But at the same time, Mike, there are 163 Republicans running for offices around the country for offices that control the election apparatus that buy into the big lie and in some ways deny what happened here behind us. So I wonder if the answer to the question that Biden is asking, are we going to be a nation that allows this, the answer might be yes.

FANONE: Yes, I couldn't agree more. I mean, I don't know how to elaborate on that other than the proof is in the pudding. That's what these guys are doing. And that's the reality.

KEILAR: Is there anything, Harry, that you want to hear from the president today? Is there anything that you think he can do to move the needle or even just make you have some comfort on this terrible anniversary?

DUNN: When you were talking about how can somebody watch that tape and not acknowledge what really happened, I've been struggling with that for a long time. And since I haven't been able to come to a reasonable answer, I just say that, you know what, I'm not interesting in communicating, conversing, talking to anybody that isn't even a reasonable person.

You can't look at what happened and just say -- the facts are indisputable about what happened that day, period. There is no -- sure, there may be different motives and everything, but what actually happened that day is indisputable. And for my sanity, I'm not even engaging talking about, thinking about anybody who has any alternate opinions because it is just an opinion. It has nothing to do with facts, alternate opinions about what happened that day.

As far as the president, good luck. This is a tough job. And I'm going to continue just to do my job being a police officer. And I hope and pray our country can come together. But we are a deeply divided nation. And I wish I had the answers on how to fix it but who does, you know?

BERMAN: Harry, when you say January 6th is still happening, what exactly do you mean?

DUNN: Well, the way I handle grief, trauma, moving on solutions from things is you have to fully understand what happened, and especially in something that happened, a traumatic situation, something like January 6th, you can't fully move on until you understand what happened and also correct it and keep it from happening again. To this day, that has not happened, in my opinion. And the people that are saying move on, how can you move on when there's been no accountability for what happened that day? So, that is why it is still going on.

KEILAR: Mike, we all watch and we still watch what happened, but I think that the only people who can truly understand what it was like to be there on the frontlines are folks like you and Harry. And I wonder if you can tell us a little bit about the conversations that you have had with other folks in law enforcement and what you all have been talking about with each other leading up to this day and on this day.

FANONE: I mean, I think a lot of the conversations that I had early on, and many continue to this day, it was important for the officers, myself included, that went to the Capitol to not be viewed as victims. We were American police officers who responded to the Capitol and fought off an insurrection in defense of democracy. I'm incredibly proud of that.

And I'm proud of the officers that continue to this day to uphold their oath to the constitution and defend democracy, specifically my former department and also the U.S. Capitol Police who have to do it and walk the same halls as some of these insurrectionist members of Congress. I couldn't imagine sharing a work space with those jackasses.

KEILAR: You're angry, and it makes sense. It makes sense, Mike.

FANONE: Yes, yes.

KEILAR: Mike, thank you so much for -- look, the conversation that we've been having all year with you, we really appreciate it. Harry, you as well, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us --

DUNN: Thanks for having me.

KEILAR: -- throughout this incredibly momentous year following January 6th.

And you can join Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper -- we appreciate you, Harry. You can join our colleagues Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper for an unprecedented gathering inside the Capitol with the police, lawmakers and leaders, live from the Capitol, January 6th, One Year Later, begins tonight at 8:00 Eastern.


BERMAN: Mike, if I could just say, you're proud of the work you did. You should be proud. We're all proud of the work you did. You held the line for democracy, for this country. So thank you.

FANONE: Thank you. I appreciate that.

KEILAR: And you put it all on the line, and we saw it. Thanks, Mike.

FANONE: Thank you.

A former Trump press secretary just met with the January 6th committee. We'll be asking Stephanie Grisham how that went, coming up.

Plus, back to school in Washington if you're negative for COVID. We're going to get the latest on testing from D.C.'s mayor.

And what's going on with the CDC? Some new confusion over shifting and contradicting guidance.


BERMAN: Schools in Washington, D.C. return to in-person learning this morning after a snowstorm earlier this week. Students and faculty alike are now required to show proof of a negative COVID test to attend. More than 36,000 families and 8,000 school staff have submitted test results, according to D.C. public school officials, with more than 2,500 positive cases among them.

Joining us now Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. Mayor, thank you so much for being with us. We saw that positive number there.


BERMAN: Some 2,900 staff and family members there. What do you think of that as you head into in-person learning?

BOWSER: Well, I think that our D.C. Health, D.C. public schools, our public charter schools and our families have done a herculean effort to collect almost 50,000 samples yesterday using at-home test kits and uploading their results to our centralized website, which gave our chance of the best information about how schools should proceed.

So, what I'm very happy about is that D.C. public schools are open today. We have had only one school that has had to transition totally to virtual learning because of case rates. We have a few classrooms affected. But most importantly, we'll have about 50,000 kids in D.C. public schools and another 50,000 in public charter schools.

KEILAR: So, I want to ask you -- look, I'm a D.C. public school parent myself, sending two little ones off to school, did their little nose tests yesterday, very happy to feel that the students and their classes are going. My kids actually had COVID, unfortunately, over Christmas. But I feel like there is a lot of protection. I look at other school districts where they haven't had the same testing protocols. For instance, in Chicago, it just wasn't as successful, but you have teachers who are at home in Chicago. What do you think about other cities, other school districts where stuff like that is happening?

BOWSER: Well, certainly, this is a tough time, but we have set in our city the goal, and it is our value that learning should happen in person and that we're going to do everything possible to make that happen. We've worked hand in hand with our teachers throughout this pandemic, and we're grateful for their service. We have stood up a gold standard in testing throughout this pandemic, and now, including in our public schools. So, it's our goal to make schools safer than anyplace else.

And we started that early on with ventilation systems, with the best protocols for our schools, and now with testing. And so now we just want to work in partnership with our families to make sure that we're doing everything to keep our kids out of high-risk environments and make sure they can attend school.

Mayor, it is the one-year anniversary of the insurrection of January 6th, it which happened in your city. Are you hearing or what are you hearing in terms of possible threats this morning?

BOWSER: Well, as we look back a year later, I heard a little bit of your earlier conversation with our officers, we are so grateful for their service. What the United States Capitol Police went through and our department, the Metropolitan Police Department did to defend the Capitol, to defend lawmakers and to save our democracy. It cannot be overstated what they went through.

Our commitment has to be now that it never happens again, that our intelligence apparatus for this country takes seriously all domestic threats, that the D.C. government can better assist our federal partners by giving the D.C. mayor full control of the National Guard. But I also think we have to be very, very careful in times of transition.

What I saw, I had a unique perspective standing with my department at a command center looking at the building of people trying to take it over. And I look back and know how vulnerable our nation was with the outgoing president who could not accept the results of the election.

Look, it's really the tale of two parties when you talk to members of Congress up here on the Hill. We're also talking about a lot of members of Congress, Republicans, who live in the city. They enjoy the protection of the Metropolitan Police Department and yet they won't admit. In fact, some of them are lying about what happened that day. What is your message to them?

BOWSER: Well, your eyes aren't lying. Everybody saw what happened. There was no confusion about who caused it. D.C. residents, anti- groups did not flood the streets after our request to stay away from these incidents. And so these were all people who could not accept the results of the election and were spurred there by the president, who launched them from the White House, and it appears from everything that we're learning was part of the organization.


That's why accountability is so important.