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President Biden and Vice President Harris to Speak in Atlanta about Voting Rights Legislation in Congress; Rep. Joyce Beatty, (D-OH) Interviewed on Challenges in U.S. Senate to Passing Voting Rights Legislation; Australian Border Force Investigating Whether Tennis Star Novak Djokovic Submitted False Travel Declaration; Chicago Teachers' Union Agree to Resume In-Person Learning. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired January 11, 2022 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:00:00]

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And I was hired at "The Washington Post."

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Carl, thank you for taking us along for the ride, honestly.

BERNSTEIN: Good to be with you.

BERMAN: It's delightful. I learned so much. I can't wait to ask you much more about this, because there are so many great stories in this book. Carl Bernstein, author of "Chasing History, A Kid in the Newsroom." And he's still a kid when it comes to reporting in journalism.

BERNSTEIN: That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: NEW DAY continues right now.

All right, good morning to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Tuesday, January 11th. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar. And today the battle for voting rights is being taken directly to the voters. President Biden and Vice President Harris speaking in Atlanta this afternoon. CNN obtained a portion of what the president will say as Democrats put forth two new voting rights bills that will require a weakening of Senate filibuster rules to pass. The president will say, quote, "The next few days when these bills come to a vote will mark a turning point in this nation. Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadow, justice over injustice? I know where I stand," the president will say. "I will not yield. I will not flinch. I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies foreign and domestic."

KEILAR: The president's speech will be notable for who will not be attending as well. Stacey Abrams, who has really been at the forefront of voting rights fight, says she has a scheduling conflict. And that's something that a lot of people have raised an eyebrow at. And a coalition of voting rights groups plans to boycott the event. Here's what the founder of Black Voters Matter told us here on NEW DAY just moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLIFF ALBRIGHT, CO-FOUNDER OF BLACK VOTERS MATTER, BOYCOTTING BIDEN SPEECH: We would have loved that the president used the presidency as a bully pulpit for the last seven, eight months while we have been fighting for voting rights, EVEN getting arrested outside the White House begging him to do so. But at this point, we don't need another speech, we don't need him to come to Georgia and use is as a prop. What we need is work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of Ohio. She is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. She will be traveling with the president and vice president on Air Force One today to this event. Congresswoman, thank you so much for being with us. Tell us, first, what you're expecting to hear and why you think this is so important that the president says it in Atlanta.

REP. JOYCE BEATTY, (D-OH) CHAIR, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: I think it's very important that the president is going to be explicitly clear. He has already said that he will not yield and he will not stand up. Vice President Harris has consistently made that same statement. I'm honored to travel there to the cradle of civil rights, home of Martin Luther King Jr., the district that John Lewis, who fought so hard, almost gave his life for voting rights.

And I think it speaks to not only the south, but to the American people that this is step one. This is getting a movement started. And from there, he has been very clear that we will make changes to the filibuster, and that will relax it to allow us to bring this to a vote. The Congressional Black Caucus has been extremely strong in saying that we have done our job in the House. Speaker Pelosi has called for the vote. We've passed it. We've had an incredible meeting with Senator Schumer who has made a commitment to bring it up, to have debate, and to have the vote. And so I think it's important for the nation to know that this is only the beginning of the process.

KEILAR: You've seen the frustration from this coalition of voting rights groups that are boycotting this. We spoke with the head of Black Voters Matter, and he said he doesn't want another photo-op. He wants legislation. What do you say to that?

BEATTY: I don't disagree with him. But what I don't agree with is that this is a photo-op. This is taking some of the most powerful members who have been standing up for voting rights now. If we were only going to Atlanta and that was it, but we have a commitment from the president of the United States that he is about change. He is about voting rights.

So I think it is important that we are doing this. I understand the frustration. We are all frustrated. Frustrated that Democrats have done their job. The House has done their job. And now we are asking those senators who have been in opposition to do their job. It's extremely frustrating because four Republican presidents, Democrat -- the last Democratic president, but four Republican presidents have reauthorized this in a bipartisan way.

[08:05:00]

So there is a lot of frustration that all of a sudden as a result, I believe, of our last president that we are trying to walk this down and not pass voting rights, something that is so important, and something that is our democracy, our right to vote. Maybe the real question is, why are my Republican colleagues not wanting us to have voting rights? Could it be because we vote, we win, and we stand up for the American people?

KEILAR: Well, your Democratic colleagues on the Senate side are giving you problems, certainly when it comes to the filibuster. And I know we may be hearing more details from the president on that today. But do you expect to hear anything from him about the changes he would like to see and changes that would actually be accepted by moderate Democrats in the Senate?

BEATTY: Oh, I think absolutely. He's been very clear. We have options. There could be a car valve for it. We have options that I think he will discuss, and this is not new. We have made changes to the filibuster in the recent past for judges and justices. So I am very hopeful. And that's why it's important to go not only to Atlanta, but for all of our members of Congress on the House and the Senate side to get the people excited. And at the end of the day, I know we will all come together. And there is enough room at the table for everyone.

KEILAR: Are you disappointed Stacey Abrams won't be there?

BEATTY: I'm not disappointed. Stacey is a good friend. She had some calendar adjustments. She has a big job to do. She's running for governor. And certainly, there is no one who has been any stronger than standing up for voting rights. Certainly, as you know, when the president and the vice president are traveling together, there is not a lot of notice you can give to people. So I understand that she has an issue, but she is staying strong, with us, with the Congressional Black Caucus, and fighting for justice. Don't read too much into it. Stacey Abrams is all about the voting rights act.

KEILAR: All right, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, thank you so much.

BEATTY: Thank you.

BERMAN: A new development overnight. A source tells CNN the Australian border force is investigating whether tennis star Novak Djokovic submitted a false travel declaration ahead of arrival in Australia. This is just the latest wrinkle after a judge reinstated Djokovic's visa and ordered him to be freed. CNN's Paula Hancocks live in Melbourne with the latest here.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I know, John. We saw Novak Djokovic on the court today practicing. He is clearly trying to move on and mentally prepare for the Australian Open, which starts next week. But this is not over yet. As you say, a source close to the investigation is saying that the Australia border force is looking into his travel declaration to see if there was false information on it.

Now, what we say is that one of the questions is, have you or do you intend to travel in the 14 days before arrival in Australia? Djokovic ticked the box that said no. But in fact, there have been photos that have emerged of him both in Spain and Serbia in the 14 days before coming to Australia. So this is something that the Australia border force is looking into at this point.

And remember, we still haven't heard from the immigration minister, Alex Hawke, he still reserves the right to personally intervene and to cancel Djokovic's visa. We've heard from his office today, and they say that they are still considering the situation in due process.

Now, it is something that is just continuing to roll here as Djokovic does try and move forward and say that he does want to stay in Australia. There are still many questions. The prime minister of Australia and Serbia spoke by telephone today as well. Prime Minister Scott Morrison talking about the nondiscriminatory policy of the border controls here in Australia due to COVID-19. And he has been very vocal all along saying rules are rules, there are no exceptions. John?

BERMAN: It has gone all the way up to that level, leaders of nations talking about this. It could all still go sideways based on questions of honesty. Paula Hancocks, thank you very much.

Breaking overnight, a reprieve for parents in Chicago. They're waking up to the news that finally teachers in the city reached a deal in their dispute over coronavirus safeguards. Teachers will be back in the classrooms today. Students will return tomorrow after four days off. Actually, it will be five days after tomorrow.

Joining me now to discuss the impact this has had on her family is a mother of a nine and 12-year-old in the Chicago area schools, Xuan-Vu Nguyen. Thank you so much for being with us this morning. Your reaction to the news that there is a deal that your children will be back in school tomorrow?

[08:10:01]

XUAN-VU NGUYEN, MOTHER OF A NINE AND 12-YEAR-OLD IN CHICAGO SCHOOLS: Yes. Naturally, I'm very relieved, and my first reaction was yay. And I think that that says it all about this school closure is that it's purely emotional on my part because there hasn't been any communication about really what's going on and when since last Wednesday we heard that, of course, we hear in the news, but officially it was not communicated to us that school would be closed until 6:30 a.m. of the same day that it was going to be closed.

And so since then every day we hear that school is going to be closed, the afternoon of the day before that it's going to be closed. So there really has been no time to prepare, and so we've had to drop everything to make sure that our children are -- in my case, my child is taken care of and engaged during the day. And it is great news that it is going to be open on Wednesday. At the same time, I'm very anxious, and so is my 12-year-old who goes to Chicago public schools, that we're anxious about if and when this is going to happen again at no notice whatsoever. And so that's very disconcerting.

BERMAN: Look, I'm sure you -- we all are grateful for teachers and the work that they do. But what impact has this had on your family? And what is your desire to see going forward? There is a pandemic out there, but what do you want to see measures being taken here?

NGUYEN: Yes. Well, it had -- just thinking of this immediate school closure, first of all, there was no online learning. It was just, like, oh, we're shutting down. And there is nothing for the kids to do from the schools -- the school district. It's been thoughts about the past year and how hard it was for my 12-year-old who was online, all the time, it was very challenging. He was at the point where he needed more social interaction from his peers. And it was completely isolating.

And since school was on -- it was very unhealthy. Right. We all know as adults what the impact of being on the screen for hours on end is on our lives, let alone a 12-year-old who needs movement and peer interaction. And so, the academic lag is obvious. But the emotional and just social impact is just un-surmounted. It was very difficult on our family. And for this I used to be a teacher, and I think about families where parents cannot afford to stay at home and they have to go to work. So the kids have to take care of themselves. And in many cases take care of their younger siblings, special ed or special needs community. These kids are -- have challenges with regulating their emotions.

And so I think about how hard it was on all of us this year during the pandemic, and you put that on a child who has emotion regulation issues, and it's just terrible.

Going forward, what I -- I stepped back a bit from this sudden closure of schools, and I was, as a parent, left with no power, nowhere to voice my concerns, nowhere to ask questions really about when is this going to end.

And so I had a chance to step back and say, you know what, this is not going to happen again. We as parents and the students as well should be an equal partner in this decision. And I don't -- by all means, I don't want it to sound aspirational. Really, I had a shift in my mindset that if parents expect the three key leaders here, the city, the school district leadership, and the teachers' union.

[08:15:01]

If we expect them to collaborate and keep the show running for our kids to go to school in person, the -- I think that more people would -- I don't know -- figure out a way to stand up to this kind of unprofessional behavior.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, parents take a stand, ultimately people will listen.

Xuan-Vu Nguyen, thank you for being with us. We wish you best of luck going forward.

NGUYEN: Thank you.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: What a game. Did you see this? For first time in more than four decades, the bulldogs are college football's top dog. Georgia defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18 with a fourth quarter comeback, leaving star Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett fighting back tears.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STETSON BENNETT, GEORGIA QUARTERBACK: I love these guys. And then, you know, the tears afterwards, that just hit me. You know, I hadn't cried in I don't know, years, but that just came over me. That's what -- you put as much time as we do into this thing, you know, blood, sweat, tears, you know, it means something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: A parade for the newly minted national champs scheduled for Saturday. I don't mean to sound gleeful, Berman, especially because I know that our Kaitlan Collins is in mourning today, I think it's pretty cool when an underdog turns it around.

BERMAN: Yeah, you know, small school, the plucky kids from Georgia. No, it was a great game. Stetson Bennett played a great game there.

And he does not use a smartphone. He uses a flip phone. I'll throw that out there.

KEILAR: Is that true?

BERMAN: That's true.

KEILAR: Maybe that's the key. He's not distracted.

BERMAN: He says so.

KEILAR: Well, sorry, Kaitlan. I want to make that official. Sorry, Kaitlan.

A Republican senator committing a cardinal Trump sin. Just telling the truth about the election. We'll have the latest on this escalating feud.

Plus, swinging for the fences. Meet the 34-year-old who just made history in professional baseball.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:20:46]

BERMAN: New reporting from the "New York Times" that in plea negotiations, federal prosecutors began asking for defense lawyers for some of those charged in the January 6th cases whether their clients would admit in sworn statements they stormed the Capitol, believing, and this is key, that Trump wanted them to stop Pence, the vice president then, from certifying the election. Joining me now is Ryan Goodman. He is a professor at the NYU School of

Law and co-editor in chief at Just Security, a clearinghouse of information for all things related to the January 6 attacks.

Professor, you find this reporting to be really interesting and perhaps revealing. Why?

RYAN GOODMAN, PROFESSOR, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW: That's right. Up until now we had no public sign that the Department of Justice was in fact investigating former President Trump and this really is the first strong indication that they have in their cross hairs in a certain sense Trump and his activities that they would be in fact asking these lower level individuals, foot soldier and the like, whether or not they would commit in writing and in plea agreements to seeing that they were there at the behest of Trump or they thought the president wanted them there.

That's very significant. It shows that they're really thinking about him in particular as the New York Times reports.

BERMAN: And the connection with Trump wanting them there and the specific act is also important. That specific act would be to block the proceedings that were happening, yes?

GOODMAN: That's right. And it sounds very much like a convergence of the theory that the Select Committee is working with that they're asking that whether or not Trump wanted them there to block the proceedings and to put pressure specifically on Mike Pence.

And that seems to be what the select committee is also looking to as whether or not Trump -- how culpable he was for what occurred that day.

BERMAN: Because there is a law about blocking proceedings. That's -- the issue here, they're trying to get the people to sign statements that would show or might show that an actual law was broken.

GOODMAN: A hundred percent. In fact, a great number of the people who have been charged have been charged with that very law, obstruction of the congressional proceedings. And that's what Liz Cheney has hinted at.

She's raised the question, you know, can former President Trump be found liable under that law for aiding and abetting or -- and inciting or being engaged in a conspiracy as a federal crime.

BERMAN: And not for something you have this Federal Judge Mehta in the civil case now talking in language very similar to that as well, that Trump's words may have sent people to the Capitol and the fact that he did nothing for so long to stop them might lend weight to that as well.

GOODMAN: Yeah. So, I thought it was a remarkable hearing in which the judge is in some sense providing us all a road map for how he may decide, how the select committee may work, and how the Department of Justice may work, that the inaction of the president is not just a failure to act, but it actually is a strong suggestion or indication as a matter of evidence that there was an agreement and that what the people did that day, the rioters, was in agreement with him, and what he wanted them to do.

BERMAN: I'll follow this language very carefully. It may point, everyone, in the direction of where things are going. Ryan Goodman, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

GOODMAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: So convicted fraudster Paul Manafort has landed a book deal, but will selling a book that could be filled with lies be enough to buy him another ostrich jacket?

KEILAR: And a right wing commentator says she would rather die than take the COVID vaccine. John Avlon looks at the sad trend of anti- vaxxers who are doing just that.

(COMMERICIAL BREAK)

[08:28:29]

KEILAR: Former Trump-campaign-manager-turned-convicted-felon-turned- presidential-pardon-recipient Paul Manafort is getting a book deal. The publisher Shimon & Schuster described it as, quote, a riveting account of the hoax that sent a presidential campaign chairman to solitary confinement because he wouldn't turn against the president of the United States.

Joining us now is Brian Stelter, CNN chief media correspondent. He's also, of course, the anchor of RELIABLE SOURCES on CNN.

I just wonder what you think about this. Clearly, Simon & Schuster is targeting a certain audience, but may be one that likes to consume B.S.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They're in a very interesting bind here because they have a relationship with a company called Sky Horse. Sky Horse is going to put this book out and then Simon & Schuster contractually has to distribute it, so the book popped up on the website this week and it raised a lot of eyebrows. What is this book, what is this deal?

It is going to come out this year. I suspect Manafort wants to tell a positive story, try to rebut what he thinks are lies. What I noticed, Brian, about the Trump memoirs, former Trump insiders who write books, these are not huge hits. Mark Meadows' book did not sell gangbusters. Peter Navarro's book did not sell very well.

There doesn't seem to be a big audience for these not really tell- alls, you know? Let Manafort make his case. Let him tell his story. See if anyone believes it.

But so far, these books have not done well. What I do think is notable, is that there is some other books in the works by other reporters. You know how "Peril", Bob Woodward and Bob Costa, these books landed big last year. There is more of them. They haven't been announced yet. They're being worked in secret.