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D.C. on High Alert as Nation Marks January 6 Anniversary; Ex- Trump Press Secretary Meets with January 6 Committee; Unvaccinated Athletes Sparking Firestorms around the World. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 06, 2022 - 07:30   ET




MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D-DC): And it appears, from everything we're learning, was part of the organization. That's why accountability is so important. What the committee is doing is so important, that we find out what happened and who is responsible.

People were hurt. People died. People will have lifelong trauma, the people who work there, including the lawmakers but the staff as well. The staff who are at the Capitol have committed oftentimes their entire careers to serving our country.

My residents as well live in Washington, D.C. I told somebody yesterday, I went to the Capitol for the service for one of the officers who perished. And I was just struck by how hurt and traumatized the staff were. And no workplace, especially the United States Capitol, should our workers be put in that position.

KEILAR: Yes. And we're getting to the heart of that. We are hearing that from so many people this morning. Mayor Bowser, thank you so much for being with us. It is a big day in Washington for multiple reasons. And we're thankful you could join us.

BOWSER: Thank you.

KEILAR: Next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta will join us live on the controversies involving the CDC. What to make of this agency already under fire.

Plus the unvaccinated sports superstar who, it appears ,will not be defending his title because he will not get the coronavirus shot.

BERMAN: And she was the first Trump official to resign over the insurrection. Stephanie Grisham talked to the January 6th committee last night and now she's going to talk to us next.




(MUSIC PLAYING) BERMAN: Confused about the CDC's new guidance for people who test


You're not alone. Let's bring in chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, author of "Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age."

You have a new essay about how the CDC is missing the mark on these guidelines.

What do you see as the big missteps here?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I've talked to lots of people in hospitals around the country, who are trying to figure out what makes the most sense. I think there's three issues really.

One is trying to determine when you are contagious and when you are not. I think that is the big question a lot of people will be asking, hundreds of thousands of people will be asking that are now testing positive for COVID.

Let me show you this graph that basically says, look, from day 10 to day 0, how likely are you contagious at any given point?

What you find is about 31 percent of people on day five are still considered contagious at that point. It's a big number.

You add on two other things; one is you don't necessarily need to get a test. So about a third of these, again, hundreds of thousands of people, may not know they're contagious. They feel fine. But they could be out there back in society.

And the CDC is still saying that three-ply cloth masks are OK. Most infectious disease docs are telling us that, maybe with past variants that was the case but with Omicron, which transmits so much more easily, those types of masks just aren't cutting it.

So people are still contagious, they're not getting tested so they don't know it. And they may not be wearing the proper protection to try and slow down the spread. The numbers will come down eventually.

But what we are talking about here is trying to accelerate the end of the pandemic phase of things. And, you know, the strategy just doesn't do it, like we are seeing happening in other countries, for example.

KEILAR: Are you worried, Sanjay, that the new CDC guidance actually kind of backfires, that it discourages Americans from doing what they need to do to stay safe and not catch coronavirus or spread it?

GUPTA: I mean, I do think there's been a bit of a lack of transparency here. You know, so, for example, with regard to the testing, the problem is we still don't have enough tests. That's just the sad truth of things.

And I think the sort of guidance sort of minimizes the value of tests instead of acknowledging that we simply don't have enough still.

So you know, this is the situation that we are sort of left in. If you tell people, hey, look, it's optional to get a test, get the test. But if you come back positive, you have to isolate five more days, I don't think that -- while that may not be disincentivizing testing, it is certainly not incentivizing it.

KEILAR: Optional. It's just so bizarre. Sanjay, thank you so much for being with us.

That is a great essay on today. I encourage everyone to read it there.

BERMAN: So one year after the insurrection, new developments into the investigation of what happened that day.

Former Trump White House press secretary and former close aide to Melania Trump, Stephanie Grisham, met with the January 6th Select Committee last night. You can see her right there, leaving.

On January 6th, Grisham became the first Trump administration official to resign as a result of the insurrection.

Grisham later confirmed in her memoir of her time in the White House that she sent Melania a text, saying, "Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American but there is no place for lawlessness and violence?"

To which Melania Trump replied, "No."

Stephanie Grisham joins us now. She's the author of, "I'll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House."

Stephanie, you met with the Select Committee last night.

What did you tell them?


I'm not going to get ahead of the committee and really talk about what we talked about, what was discussed, what was asked. But I spent about an hour with them, answered every question they asked of me and I will continue to cooperate with them.


BERMAN: Broadly speaking, what areas did they want to know?

Were they interested in what happened inside the White House during that day?

GRISHAM: Yes, yes. That was definitely part of it, planning things that were happening outside, conversations that were had broadly, those are some of the things we talked about.

KEILAR: So trying to understand, in a way, the state of mind of the president, what people close to him were doing?

GRISHAM: Yes. Again, I don't want to go into the details because I don't want to get ahead of the committee or telegraph what direction they're taking. They're doing really, really great work and I don't want to do anything to undermine that.

But certainly any details I had knowledge of, with timelines and conversations that were happening and intentions beforehand and during what was going on.

BERMAN: One of the things that I've heard from people who have gone in there is they have been surprised by how much information the committee already had.

Do you feel like you were telling them things that they did not know?

GRISHAM: There were a couple of things that they didn't know. There were things that I was able to confirm. And I think there were things that I was able to kind of help put together like a puzzle. So it was wide-ranging and all of the above.

KEILAR: Are you confident at this point in time -- I mean, knowing, you're going in there, you feel like in a way you're adding pieces to that puzzle.

Are you confident that the committee is going to be able to paint an accurate and complete picture of what happened that day?

GRISHAM: I am. I have great faith in this committee. It's given me hope for 2022, as we reflect on, you know, today, which was a terrible day for democracy and just for our country. I have great, great faith in them. They are doing a great job.

They've talked to tons of people. They have a lot of information, a lot of detail. And I know that they are working to, you know, get ahead of 2022, so that they can tell the American people exactly what happened.

BERMAN: If you don't mind me asking, what didn't they know that you told them?


GRISHAM: That I'm not going to share right now.

KEILAR: Good try, though.



KEILAR: So you're not going to tell us what they asked you. So we'll ask some questions. Take us back to that time, take us back to that day, to the days preceding. To be clear, just for folks who don't know, you had gone and returned to Melania Trump's staff.

GRISHAM: Correct.

KEILAR: That's where you were on January 6th.

GRISHAM: Correct.

KEILAR: But take us behind the scenes, just in the White House in general, from election time until January 6th, what was the president saying about voter fraud, publicly versus -- privately versus publicly?

GRISHAM: Well, the East Wing was telecommuting completely for COVID. So I was not physically in the White House. As we all know, though, he was surrounded by some extremists, who were telling him that the election had been stolen.

I believe Peter Navarro just laid out some wacky plan that they had. And they kept on telling him that information. So he believed it was stolen.

You know, I was with Ms. Trump, as you said. She, at first, was doing everything she needed to do in terms of packing and getting prepared to leave the White House. I then asked her about having tea with Ms. Biden, as would be tradition. And she even shifted a little bit and told me to follow the lead of the West Wing.

And she didn't have the tea with Ms. Biden, which was very, very unusual for her. So I wondered what was going on behind the scenes or up in the residence in terms of meetings and what was being said to make even Ms. Trump kind of shift her viewpoint.

BERMAN: What, if anything, did she say about January 6th in advance of that moment?

GRISHAM: You know, again, at the beginning, she was very focused on moving her family out. Toward the end, she told me she felt something bad happened. That wasn't anything like what she would normally say. She was very pragmatic.

She was always the one to -- you know, she put out the first statement with Charlottesville. So it was very odd to me. And I wasn't sure where she was getting that information.

KEILAR: So since we last spoke, Stephanie, we've learned some interesting information coming out of the January 6th committee, including texts from Sean Hannity to Mark Meadows, where he said -- and this was on January 5th, the day before the insurrection at the Capitol -- he said he was worried about the next 48 hours.

I think it's clear he was worried about the fallout of what would happen, from the day Congress was going to certify the election.

Was that a widespread sentiment among White House officials that you're aware of, that they were worried ahead of January 6th about violence?

GRISHAM: Yes. I mean, I think you could feel the tension growing in the air. I myself was worried about it, as the planning of this big event was going on. And, again, people like Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro and Rudy Giuliani were feeding the president a lot of information.

And then for that day to happen, everybody went out and who spoke ahead of the president was saying, we're going to go after them, we're going to go get them.


GRISHAM: So I think there was kind of a fear of something going on. And, you know, Sean Hannity, I have got to say, he was like a shadow adviser. I mean, I spoke to him all the time. I sat with him prior to interviews he would do with the president.

And he definitely advised the president on many, many things to do. So it didn't surprise me that he was reaching out to Meadows or anybody else. That was something that was done quite often to try to get messages to the president.

BERMAN: Let me ask about that because there was a different text began with the word "we." Sean Hannity said "we" and then proceeded to say, "we can't have this."

Where was the line between Sean Hannity and FOX and the White House?

Was there a line?

GRISHAM: You know, I can't speak to FOX as a whole. I think there are some good reporters there. But I would say you've got your evening hosts, like Judge Janine, Maria in the morning, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham. They were all definitely acting as advisers oftentimes.

In fact, the night on Election Night, the night before he took the stage, Judge Janine and Laura Ingraham were in the room, trying to tell him what to go out there and say. So I'm not going to say FOX as a whole was advising him or that the line was too blurred there. But certainly, especially in the evening, the evening, more opinion shows.

KEILAR: You know, Stephanie, we've talked a lot. We talked after your book came out about you reflecting on your role in the Trump administration.

You've said things like you're not sure that that you will ever be redeemed for your participation in the Trump administration. And you know, you really have soul-searched in the wake of leaving.

I do wonder what you think is next and if there's anything that you can shed light on about what comes ahead?

GRISHAM: So absolutely. And I'm still not looking for redemption. I'm actually just looking forward. I've been watching this past year, as the president continues to manipulate people and divide our country, because he has a fragile ego. And that's all there is to it.

You know I can say that next week a group of former Trump staff are going to come together.

Administration officials are going to come together and we're going to talk about how we can formally do some things to try and stop him and also, you know, the extremism, that kind of violence and rhetoric that has been talked about and continues to divide our country, I myself am hoping to travel the country and talk to people who are believers, like I once was.

And I want people to understand who he is. He cares about no one but himself. I think a really good example of that is, you know, the people who have been rightfully punished for their role in the insurrection, where is he?

All I know is he's sitting at Mar-a-lago, apparently getting his legal bills paid by the RNC, when this man is a master manipulator. He gets people to do his bidding. I was one of them.

And I want people who believe in him now to talk to me. And I want to explain who he really is. So I'm really hoping for a good fight in 2022. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and do what I can. And I'm really excited to get with these former Trump officials and do some great things.

KEILAR: Which former Trump officials?

GRISHAM: I'm not going to get ahead of that. We will be announcing that in the coming weeks. But it should be very significant. We're really, really excited.

BERMAN: Can you tell me how many of you are going to get together?

GRISHAM: About 15 right now.

BERMAN: And is this people who were working inside the White House itself?

GRISHAM: Some of them, yes.

KEILAR: Senior to you, junior to you?



GRISHAM: Well, I was -- I mean, it depends on what level.

I was chief of staff. So right there would be junior to me. But both.

BERMAN: That is interesting.

How did this come together?

How did this group of former, as you say, administration officials, who are now going to meet to figure out a way to prevent Trump from retaking office, how did this meeting come to pass? GRISHAM: I think that there were a few of us, who, again, have been sitting back, watching him continue to manipulate and spread this Big Lie and continue to harm our country and started some informal chats.

And then started throwing around ideas of what we could do, how we could formalize it, started outreach to other people. Then it will culminate into this meeting next week. And we'll go from there.

KEILAR: So have you been Zooming?

Have you been conference calling?

What has this been like?

GRISHAM: Yes, there have been Zooms, some conference calls. And then next week will be in person and Zoom actually, because some people are not local.

BERMAN: If I can ask you to do something here, write the Trump press release, since you wrote a lot of them, reacting to this meeting that you will be having next week.


GRISHAM: Oh, "This group of losers and RINOs and haters are just coming together because they were so terrible at their jobs. My supporters will stand strong and, you know, we won't pay any attention to them."

It's going to be something like that. But you know, the more statements he puts out with silly names just means he's more and more concerned. So I actually look forward to that statement.

KEILAR: So Stephanie, the chair of the January 6th committee said he would like to hear from vice president Pence. We should be clear, this wasn't a formal overture but they would like the former vice president to participate voluntarily.

Do you expect that to happen?

GRISHAM: I hope it will happen. I think that he has a lot of insight. I'm not going to lie, I know that he's put in a very difficult position politically in order to do that. But I hope he will. I think that the vice president is a good man. And I hope he will, is all I can say there.

BERMAN: You heard Merrick Garland, the attorney general, yesterday promise he'll follow this investigation wherever it takes him. You know there are Democrats who are frustrated that the Justice Department hasn't, at least publicly, been investigating or targeting more senior people.

Do you feel as if that's a missed opportunity?

GRISHAM: Well, I don't know that they're not doing that. To build a criminal case, you have to really be careful and find the facts and put them together. I understand everybody's impatient. I am, too.

But I believe that they're doing things behind the scenes that we don't know about. And I believe in the process. I really do. I think they're just taking their time to make sure they're building cases that could actually go to court and that they could actually win in.

KEILAR: He said that they're going to -- he basically said, they're going to pursue whatever it is. It doesn't have to just be the pawns in all of this; it could be the orchestrators or the masterminds of it -- my words, not his.

But he said within the law, right, within the law -- and therein could be the difficulty because, as you said, they have to be building a case.

What does it mean if, in the end, there is a decision made that, within the law, they can't do that, that they actually cannot get to the heart of the folks who were really the ones behind this?

GRISHAM: I wouldn't be surprised, to be honest, because Donald Trump and a lot of his circle are amazing at getting other people to do things, other people to do the things and then those people get in trouble.

I mean, Michael Cohen is an example right there. They're very, very good at that manipulation, which, again, is something I want to spend the next year really pushing and showing examples of.

You know, I think that, regardless of if they can bring charges against the former president, I think that the Select Committee is going to show, you know, irrefutable proof that he was behind this, he was -- it was these people believing in everything he said.

So perhaps there won't be criminal charges. But morally, I think this country is going to see what went wrong. And then we just all have to come together and never, ever, ever let it happen again.

germ Look, one of the crucial questions of the investigation is what happened during the 187 minutes before Donald Trump decided to ask the people behind us who were behind us here to leave the Capitol.

Do you know specifically who pleaded with Trump to stop the violence during the attack. We've heard Ivanka, Kevin McCarthy.

Who else?

GRISHAM: I don't know specifically. I know that Ms. Trump did not. So there's that. You know, all I know about that day was that he was in the dining room, gleefully watching on his TV, as he often did, "Look at all of the people fighting for me," hitting rewind, watching it again. That's what I know.

KEILAR: And then finally just before we let you go, Stephanie, you're going to have this meeting next week, as you said, with about 15 former Trump officials, as you're trying to combat some of the rhetoric from president Trump. What is that offensive, that information offensive, going to look


Are you talking about going on television?

You said you want to go around the country and talk to people, I guess maybe a listening tour?

What is that going to entail?

GRISHAM: Well, that's part of what we're going to talk about next week, what are the most effective tactics to -- in order to carry that message. And I think everybody will have different roles that they will be more effective at. So that's part of next week, is getting that plan.

I'm really excited about it. And I just think that it will be important for people in this country, who are still supporting him, to hear from people who actually worked with him day in, day out, worked with a lot of people in his inner circle.

We're not going to just talk about, you know, the former president; we're going to talk about the people who are still surrounding him still now and who they really are.

And I just -- I'm hoping that people will talk to somebody like me or some of these other people who really did believe in Trump and understand that, you can be proud of his policies.

You can still be behind a lot of the America first policies that he implemented, which I am.


GRISHAM: But it doesn't have to be him. It just doesn't have to be this man who has caused such chaos and destruction in the country.

KEILAR: All right, Stephanie Grisham, thank you for being with us this morning.

GRISHAM: Thank you, guys, for having me, very, very much.

KEILAR: And just ahead, we're going to speak live with a member of the January 6th committee, a lawmaker who played a big role in getting Grisham in there to speak to the 1/6 committee.

And also voter fraud charges in a MAGA stronghold. Jake Tapper is going to join us live on a pretty ironic situation.




KEILAR: Athletes who are refusing to get the COVID shot, they're really causing a firestorm, not just here in the U.S. This is an international controversy that we have seen.

Unvaccinated nine-time Australian Open tennis champ Novak Djokovic returning to defend his title with a medical exemption to the country's vaccination rules, which some had questioned. However, he is no longer welcome, with his visa canceled.

Unvaccinated Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins testing positive for COVID, missing the biggest game of the season last Sunday when Minnesota got blown out in Green Bay, knocked out of the playoffs.

Unvaccinated Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ripping a sports reporter as a "bum," after the journalist said he would not vote for Rodgers as MVP because he's, quote, "the biggest jerk in the league." You'll recall that he really misled about his vaccination status, saying he was immunized when he was not vaccinated and later caught COVID.

Unvaccinated NBA star Kyrie Irving finally making his season debut on the road with the Nets last night. Brooklyn had benched him because he can't play at home because of New York's vaccine rules.

BERMAN: Joining us now is Cari Champion, she's the former ESPN anchor and host of the podcast "Naked with Cari Champion."

Wow, like a lot of news on the athlete COVID front last night. Kyrie Irving, the Nets won; I don't think they would have won without him against Indiana.

But the Novak Djokovic thing to me is beyond sports. You have the number one tennis player in the world, a tournament that sort of wants him to play but a country that is saying, you know what, no way.

This is getting beyond sports to international relations.

CARI CHAMPION, PODCASTER AND FORMER ESPN ANCHOR: Yes, you all described it and set it up so perfectly because this is the world we live in now. I have this conversation and I've had it several times with some of my colleagues who covered sports.

And you know, we didn't get into this business to be health reporters but that's who we are now at this moment in terms of finding out vaccination status.

Novak Djokovic, by way of background, I used to work at the Tennis Channel and I know Novak very well and I think he's a great human. But he's also been very adamant about being his own person.

He's anti the science and he's talked about that very, very boldly.