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New Day Saturday

COVID-19 Variant First Seen In U.K. Detected In CO, CA And FL; More Than 125,000 In U.S. Hospitals With COVID As New Year Begins; Fewer Than Three Million Vaccines Administered So far In U.S.; Federal Judge Tosses GOP Lawsuit Asking Pence To Interfere In Election; Senate Votes To Override Trump's Veto On Defense Bill; Strong Early-Voting Numbers in Georgia Put GOP On Edge. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired January 02, 2021 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): "Election Night In America Continued." Coverage starts Tuesday at 4:00 on CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): The bill on reconsideration is passed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): A bipartisan majority surpassing the two-thirds threshold needed in the Senate to override Trump's veto of the National Defense Authorization Act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): They had 81 votes. That means the House and the Senate by wide bipartisan margins have told the President no dice on this one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (Voice over): The U.S. has started 2021 with some disturbing pandemic figures now. The country has surpassed the 20 million mark for coronavirus cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): That new, faster-spreading coronavirus variant now detected in Colorado, California and maybe Florida. LA County officials says hospitals are, quote, "on the brink of catastrophe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like treading water from 100 feet below the surface. You're already drowning, but you just have to keep trying because that's what you can do.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. It is Saturday, January 2nd, 2021. Let me say it again. 2021. I'm Christi Paul.


PAUL: Yes. Welcome to 2021. John Avlon with us. We're so excited to have you here, John.

AVLON: I'm delighted to be here while Victor enjoys a very well- deserved day off. Happy New Year, Christi.

PAUL: Yes. Happy New Year to you as well. So let's just dig right in here together because in the first two days of the new year, we are still seeing ongoing pressure being put on both the U.S. healthcare system and political system at the moment. A more easily transmitted variant of coronavirus first seen in the U.K. is being detected in three states here, California, Colorado and Florida thus far. Now, Dr. Anthony Fauci says vaccines should be effective against the strain.

AVLON: But the U.S. is behind schedule on vaccinations, but Dr. Fauci also says the plan is still not to delay giving second shots in an effort to vaccinate people more quickly. Meanwhile, President Trump seems more focused on trying to undo a simple fact -- Joe Biden will replace him in 18 days, yet the President's now calling supporters to D.C. on January 6th in a doomed effort to pressure Congress into defying the election results. It's an effort dealt yet another legal blow just yesterday.

PAUL: Yes. As his time in office is waning, so does his influence apparently over some lawmakers. The Senate came together in a bipartisan way last night to rebuke the President with the first veto override of his presidency, finally passing that $740 billion defense bill.

AVLON: Now the troops will be paid and much more. A lot to get to this morning, but let's begin with the pandemic. The U.S. is starting off 2021 by topping 20 million total coronavirus cases.

PAUL: Yes. CNN's Polo Sandoval is with us. This is such a disturbing number, Polo. You know, people starting the new year, sadly, in the hospital. What do we know about where we are right now?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. At least -- yes, Christi. At least 125,000 of them started their new year in the hospital. That makes it now 30 days straight that we've seen hospitalization numbers across the country exceeding 100,000.

Now, when it comes to vaccinations at this point, the U.S. certainly not where it wished to be starting the new year off, right behind where it wanted to be on vaccination front. When you look at those CDC numbers, it is clear that there appear to be more of those doses of the COVID-19 vaccine deep stored in medical freezers than are going into arms.


SANDOVAL (Voice over): Friday brought a new year and with it another tragic milestone of the COVID-19 pandemic with the U.S. surpassing 20 million total confirmed infections. It's a reminder that the virus will keep ravaging parts of the country until ongoing vaccine efforts help to slow or stop the spread and there lies the challenge.

Health officials in several states report difficulties in planning a vaccine rollout with no federal mandate in place dictating how to administer the vaccine. The result has been a flawed distribution, leaving vaccination figures far below the Trump administration's goal. Utah Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican critic of the President, called that inexcusable. Texas reports the state has only distributed a third of the vaccine it's received as of Friday and some hospitals are trying to overcome the logistical challenges of administering the shots, says Michigan ER Dr. Rob Davidson.

ROB DAVIDSON, WEST MICHIGAN ER PHYSICIAN: Well, there have been a few hiccups. You know, they're trying to get as many frontline workers, frontline healthcare workers vaccinated as possible. We're doing a little bit of a change up in how they're doing the scheduling so we can get more people and now reaching out to clinics outside the hospital to get those folks vaccinated and then working with local health departments on, you know, the next level, the people over 75.

SANDOVAL (Voice over): Data from the CDC shows New York is over performing on the vaccination front. Friday figures showed 32 percent of New York's allotted vaccine doses have already been given.


That is well above the national average of 23 percent shots administered. But the real crisis point remains out west in California which set a new daily record for COVID-19 deaths on Friday. As one state officials warned that California is on the brink of catastrophe, this New Year's Eve crowd gathered in LA County protesting masks and limits on religious gatherings.

JORGE RODRIGUEZ, INTERNAL MEDICINE AND VIRAL SPECIALIST: It is so heartening to see some of these people that feel over-privileged having parties when so many people are struggling. I just want to take a moment, though, to thank who I consider the unsung heroes of this pandemic and these are the average Americans who have sacrificed their family time and their jobs by doing the right thing day in and day out, by wearing mask and distancing.

SANDOVAL (Voice over): Dr. Jorge Rodriguez tells CNN some medical facilities in his region are using hospital gift shops and their chapels to care for their patients. This weekend, health officials will be watching for more reported cases of a fast-moving COVID-19 variant.

KRISTIAN G. ANDERSEN, SCRIPPS RESEARCH, DEPARTMENT OF IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY: It's still the same virus. It's not different in that. It's just that this new lineage here may be transmitting a little better.

SANDOVAL (Voice over): Early research suggests the new variant spreads the same way, meaning social distancing and masks offer the best protection.


SANDOVAL: Back here in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announcing this week that he hopes to vaccinate close to a million people by the end of this month, Christi. It's certainly an ambitious goal considering that, as of last week, they had only vaccinated about 88,000 people, but nonetheless the governor says that's certainly a realistic goal.

PAUL: All righty. Polo Sandoval, so good to see you this morning. Thank you.

AVLON: All right. Two tough losses for President Trump just yesterday. A federal judge tossed a lawsuit attempting to overthrow the results of the election and the Senate voted to override President Trump's veto of the Defense Authorization Act.

PAUL: CNN's Sarah Westwood is at the White House for us this morning. So we want to start with the GOP, Sarah, and good morning to you and Happy New Year.

AVLON: Good morning.

PAUL: GOP Congressman Louis Gohmert of Texas and several Arizona Republicans trying to force Vice President Mike Pence to choose Donald Trump as the next president. Talk to us about what the judge said here and was there any word from Pence at this point?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Happy New Year, guys. And yes, that judge in the Eastern District of Texas said that the congressmen bringing this case did not have standing to do so. That's the same reason that we've seen again and again with these 11th hour challenges to the Electoral College results and incidentally, this is a judge that was appointed by President Trump saying this to the congressmen who are now trying to do Trump's bidding and overturn the will of the people here.

We heard from Vice President Pence in a filing in that case. He asked the court actually to reject the challenge to the election, saying he does not have the authority as the vice president to decide which Electoral College votes to count and not count.

The DOJ had given the White House a heads up that that filing was coming, but we know that the President has been furious at the Department of Justice for what he perceived as its insufficient action on voter fraud. In fact, he dismissed Attorney General Bill Barr who departed the administration earlier because Barr had broken with him publicly about his baseless claims of voter fraud.

Now, CNN has reported that Pence and others have tried to explain to the President that on January 6th, this week, Pence's role is more symbolic, it's more of a formality than anything, that he does not have the authority to discard votes and that he is there presiding over a historic thing that happens every election, just certifying the results that are already set in stone at this point.

And of course, that's not the only set back that the President has been dealt. As you guys mentioned, Congress dealt him the first veto override of his presidency when they passed again this defense spending bill that the President had attempted to veto.

Trump tweeted about it saying, "Our Republican Senate just missed the opportunity to get rid of Section 230 which gives unlimited power to big tech companies. Pathetic. Now they want to give people ravaged by the China virus $600 rather than $2,000 which they so desperately need. Not fair or smart." Trump's veto of the defense spending bill had been based on his desire to repeal protections for so-called big tech for social media companies. Republicans and Democrats, though, both overwhelmingly rejected that idea, John and Christi.

AVLON: That's right and, Sarah, just quickly, you know, the President circular firing squad continues, going after several GOP senators on Twitter. Tell us more.

WESTWOOD: Yes, John. We saw the President fire a broadside at one of the highest ranking Republicans in the Senate, John Thune, because Thune has been among those saying it is not the role of senators, lawmakers or anyone at this point to challenge the Electoral College results. So Trump is calling on the pro-Trump governor of South Dakota to primary Thune.

He is suggesting that lawmakers who stand in the way of his wishes at this point should be rejected, all the while praising the smaller number of congressional Republicans who plan to object to the certification of the election results on Wednesday.

[06:10:02] That's led in the Senate by Senator Josh Hawley, but also includes dozens of House Republicans and incoming House Republicans who have said they plan to challenge the results at Trump's behest, John and Christi.

AVLON: Sarah Westwood, thank you very much. Now, on Wednesday, as Sarah said, Congress is expected to vote to certify Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election, but that isn't coming without its own challenges. CNN's Phil Mattingly has more.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As the 116th Congress comes to an end, well, the President, with a pretty, pretty sharp rebuke from both Republicans and Democrats. Now, that doesn't mean the relations with Congress are officially over. In fact, Republicans, more than 140 in the House, at least one in the United States Senate, perhaps more, are lining up behind for the President this time around when it comes to trying to overthrow or overturn the U.S. election.

Let's make something very, very clear here. On January 6th when a joint session of Congress convenes to count the electors, Joe Biden will once again be confirmed to be the next president of the United States of America. How long it takes to actually get to that point? Well, that's where the current dynamics are officially throwing things into question.

Those Republicans, when paired with a senator, if they raise an objection to any of the slates of electors that are being counted, that would require both chambers to then recess, have a debate of up to two hours and then have a vote on those objections. That vote will fail. However many times it occurs, however many times it happens, it will fail.

Democrats control the House. Democrats have a decent-sized minority in the Senate and a number of Republicans in the Senate are acknowledging reality, that Joe Biden is the next president of the United States. So tangibly, all these objections mean is that it's going to be a very long day. Politically, it's become a big, big issue inside the Republican party, particularly with Republican senators.

Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made very clear this was not a pathway he wanted Republicans to go down. Just think of the dynamics. You either vote for reality, that Joe Biden is the next president of the United States, or you vote for President Trump. Well, that's against reality and obviously there are political implications there and political incentives, incentives that Republicans who don't want this fight certainly didn't want to have to vote on and yet it looks like that's exactly what's going to happen.

Just another page in these final weeks for President Trump. What it means for the party, what it means for the President himself, what it means for the senators and congressmen that will still be in office when he leaves, everybody trying to figure everything out. The bottom line is this -- Joe Biden will be inaugurated President of the United States on January 20th. What happens to President Trump and what happens to the party that he currently oversees? Well, that very much remains an open question. Phil Mattingly, CNN, Washington.


PAUL: Phil, thank you.

AVLON: Thank you, Phil.

PAUL: So next, another huge story that's defining the start of this year -- vaccinations against COVID-19. The U.K. is about to roll out a brand new vaccine. We're live in London with details on that.

AVLON: Plus, in the coming days, both President Trump and President- elect Biden plan to stump in the Peach State. Just ahead, what impact this could have on an already razor-tight race.

PAUL: Also, the Louisville police officer who shot and killed Breonna Taylor will be fired. Some legal experts say these are positive steps, but it's not enough. That's part of our legal brief ahead.




AVLON: This is how thousands of folks in France rang in the new year, despite the country facing a surge in the virus. More than 2,500 people attended an illegal rave, ignoring local restrictions and a nationwide curfew. Police say they were met with a very un-rave-like violent hostility when they tried to break up the party.

PAUL: Now, France is extending its curfew for some of the hardest hit regions at this time as well. So let's talk about the U.K. because they are preparing for another first in its COVID vaccination program. It's getting ready to administer the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine and that begins on Monday.

AVLON: That's right and CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is in London. Salma, what's different about this vaccine compared to the Pfizer one?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, it all starts Monday, as you all said, starting to roll out and there's a lot of excitement about this vaccine. It was developed, created right here in the U.K. at Oxford University, so there's a bit of national pride about this and there's a lot of advantages to it too. It's cheap, only costs about $4 and most importantly, most crucially, it doesn't need sub-zero refrigeration capacity. A normal fridge will do in my house or yours.

So that means it can reach more people. It is logistically easier to disseminate. So a lot of countries, particularly some countries like India where they've been plagued by COVID-19, but of course it's difficult to reach rural communities and in those areas, there's none of that special refrigeration. So a lot of excitement that this vaccine can solve that problem and get to the most vulnerable people, John and Christi.

PAUL: I want to ask you, if I could, about this variant that's shown up in the U.K.. We know at least 30 countries, including the U.S., have confirmed cases of that variant which is more contagious than what we've seen thus far. What are officials there in the U.K. saying about that? Do we know how expansive it is? Do we know the concern that they have about the potential spread?

ABDELAZIZ: This new variant is extremely concerning and I'm just going to start by painting you a picture with the latest figures. There are now more patients in hospital with coronavirus than at any point before. You had record-breaking infection rates just this last week. Hospital bosses are essentially ringing the alarm. They're saying that the healthcare system could be overwhelmed in a matter of weeks all because of this variant that a new study says was actually tripled in prevalence potentially during a lockdown.

So what's their solution? What are they going to do? Well, they're kind of adopting a very bold strategy here in the U.K.. We were just talking about the vaccination program. Well, the U.K. government has now approved that people can get that first vaccine, that first shot and wait up to three months to get the second one. Why? Well, the country's health officials say that if you get that first jab, it will protect you from any serious illness, essentially keep you out of hospital and that you can wait, again, up to three months to get that second jab.

So it's a way to take a thin resource, the number of vaccines they have, spread it over the population, as many people as they can. Now, this has divided health experts, but if you ask officials, they're going to say, look, we need a bold strategy. We need to take risks if we're going to defeat this variant.

AVLON: No time for small plans. Salma Abdelaziz live in London. Thank you very much. Now, in the Georgia runoffs, better than expected early voting turnout by registered Democrats is putting real pressure on the GOP. Can Republicans turn out the base on Election Day despite President Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud?




PAUL: Twenty-two minutes past the hour right now and in the Georgia Senate runoff elections, more than 3 million people have already voted and that could be making GOP leaders a little bit nervous given the outcome of the November elections. Now, Republicans believe they need a pretty impressive turnout on Tuesday if they want to overcome registered Democrats' early voting numbers.

AVLON: We've got CNN's Ryan Nobles joining us live from Atlanta. Ryan, record-breaking turnout already in this Senate runoff. So what do things look like on the ground and how are the candidates keeping up the momentum in these final days?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, they're hitting the trail today. All four candidates, for the most part, are going to be out engaging with voters here in these closing hours of the Georgia Senate runoff and you're right, this is just an amazing turnout for the early voting section of this runoff. It is breaking records and that is good news for Democrats because Democrats are more open to the idea of voting outside of the traditional window of just on Election Day and in person.

So there have definitely been more Democrats that have returned absentee ballots and shown up at early voting locations to cast their ballots, but while Republicans are concerned that the Democrats are doing so well, they still believe that they've got a real shot to win here because they know that their voters are going to come out in big numbers on Election Day and so that's where they're focusing all their energy, is getting those voters to the polls on January 5th.

Now, there's a bit of a complicating factor for at least one of the Republican candidates. David Perdue, one of the incumbents, was in the same area with somebody who had tested positive for coronavirus. As a result, he's quarantining in these final few days of the campaign. At this point, he's tested negative, but Perdue said that he's going to find a way to reach out to voters here in the closing days of the campaign. Take a listen.



SEN. DAVID PERDUE (R-GA): My wife and I are doing just fine. We tested negative, but we've been testing our team regularly here according to CDC guidelines and our doctor's recommendations. With an abundance of caution, we've decided to go into quarantine these last few days. It's terrible timing, but we ...


PERDUE: ... are not going to miss a step, Jill. We're going to participate in all these events as if I were there.



RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D), GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, there's no question that Senator Kelly Loeffler is running the most negative campaign in Georgia history. She was appointed, the people of Georgia are disappointed. She clearly has no case to make for why she should be elected, which is why she's busy attacking me.


NOBLES: And that was the Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock who you saw there responding to the barrage of attack ads that have come out against him in the closing days of this campaign, the Republicans really forcing most of their fire on Warnock.

Now, most experts here on the ground believe that this is kind of a package deal, that there aren't going to be too many voters that go into the voting booth and vote Republican and Democrat. They're either going to vote straight Republican or straight Democrat. That's important because Democrats need to win both of these seats in order to take back the Senate majority in this next Congress. So there's a lot on the line here on January 5th, John and Christi.

PAUL: Yes. There's been a major effort, too, we should point out, the past few weeks to reach out to youth and minority voters for this runoff. What is the gauge of how effective that's been thus far?

NOBLES: Democrats feel very encouraged by that, Christi. You know, there's this kind of weird scenario here in Georgia where there's a whole group of 18-year-olds who couldn't vote in the November election, but are now eligible to vote in the runoff because they turn 18 during that time frame and Democrats in particular have made a concerted effort to reach out directly to those voters.

And I talked to Stacey Abrams this week. She's of course the former Democratic gubernatorial candidate here in Georgia, almost won back in 2018. She's very involved in these Senate runoffs. She believes that there's 100,000 Democratic voters that didn't vote in November that have already cast a ballot in this runoff and a big portion of them are young voters.

So, you know, Democrats always rely on young voters. John knows this. They don't always deliver, but Democrats believe in a very close race, there's a chance that these young voters could make a difference in this runoff on January 5th.

AVLON: Ryan, just one quick follow. You know, the Republican candidates hugging Donald Trump tight even as he's attacking Georgia's governor, demanding that he resign. What dynamic does that create? You want to turn out the base, but, you know, the last election really swung on Republicans in suburbs voting Democrat. Does that further alienate them? NOBLES: Yes. I think there is a lot of angst among Republican operatives here because Georgia is a very traditional Republican state. Now, there are certainly a lot of Trump supporters in this state, but there are many Republicans that are of more of the Mitt Romney mold and there is a concern that President Trump may be alienating some of them.

And then if you take it a step further, John, and I think this is the real concern for Republicans here, President Trump is basically making the argument here in Georgia that, you know, he wants you to participate in a system that he believes is fundamentally flawed. Just yesterday --


NOBLES: -- he and his campaign were telling his supporters to reach out to Georgia state legislators to tell them to overturn the November election. I mean, it's just a really difficult argument to make. This election system is full of fraud, but you should still vote and again, in a very tight election, if even a small percentage of Trump voters don't show up, that could be very big trouble for the Republican ticket.

AVLON: All right. Ryan Nobles, thank you very much.

PAUL: Yes. So for more on the Georgia Senate runoff elections, let's talk to CNN political commentator Errol Louis. Errol, good to see you this morning. John just made a really good point about Republicans in the suburbs who voted for Democrats. We know early numbers tell us more Democrats are voting, but none of this tells us, one, how people vote or who has yet to vote. So what is your assessment of where we are right now going into this election?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: My assessment is that this is going to follow the pattern that we saw in November where younger voters, black voters, pro-Democratic voters tend to vote early and then it's up to the Republicans to make it up on the date of the actual election and so that remains to be seen what will happen.

One big complicating factor is that this all falls the day before a big showdown in Washington over the ultimate fate of the Trump presidency. He, the President, has been trying to sort of whip up some sentiment for disruption in the Capitol and that might end up being his main message when he comes to Georgia to try and stump. So you've got kind of confusion on the Republican side.


And all the Democrats have to do is try and repeat what they did just a few weeks ago. So, they've got a real shot at winning both seats. We'll see, of course, what will happen.

AVLON: And, of course, COVID really impacting this race, especially in the final days.

Numbers rising in Georgia but also with Senator David Perdue having to quarantine. That really makes it an inescapable issue where Republicans have really tried to focus on the economy rather than dealing with COVID as their primary message.

What impact do you think that could have on the race and turnout?

LOUIS: Well, another wrinkle in that area, John, is that some of the $600 checks have gone out. So that maybe some of those food lines will feel a little bit less pressure in these closing days of the election.

So I think -- look, you're right, COVID has been a disaster. It's the main reason that Donald Trump has been kicked out of the White House.

Those who want to associate themselves with this president are going to have to bear some of that stigma going into this special election. It's not necessarily going to be a great selling point for them.

That's why Perdue and Loeffler have been focusing on socialism, and they've been focusing on trying to stop the Biden agenda, whatever they might mean by that.

Anything except the main issue on everybody's mind which is this horrible pandemic and the failed response to it from Washington.

PAUL: How likely is it, Errol, that Republicans who voted Democrat in the general may vote Republican in this case, just even -- whether they like the candidates or not -- just to keep some sort of balance, some checks and balances at the federal level?

LOUIS: Yes. That would be an argument worth making if only any of the candidates would make it.

Certainly, Perdue and Loeffler are not going to say that in kind of that moderate, measured tone and God knows Donald Trump is not going to say that. So that's not necessarily going to be what the closing argument is.

I think really more what's to be feared by Democrats honestly, Christi, is that you've got a race that was only won by about 12,000 votes. This is a state that Donald Trump won by five points just a few years ago.

Black turnout was up but it didn't necessarily -- it didn't even match 2016 and certainly was far below 2012.

So folks have got to really understand that Georgia is changing, we're going to find out on Tuesday just how much it has changed. It might be less than some people think.

AVLON: Well, and Errol, look, Captain Chaos seems to be at it again. Because recent tweets from President Trump Friday evening falsely called the Georgia runoff elections, quote -- get this -- "both illegal and invalid."

But, of course, he's called for Georgia's governor to resign labeling him an obstructionist. While at the same time, he's supposed to be encouraging his supporters to turn out for Perdue and Loeffler. So the president's calling this upcoming election illegal and invalid,

how do you think that will play, not only with his base but with independent voters and those swing voters --

LOUIS: Well, look, if --

AVLON: -- that made such a difference last time?

LOUIS: -- just as you say, Captain Chaos. If he comes in and tries to upset all of the machinery of the vote that they took in November and the vote that they're taking on Tuesday, it is at a minimum a confused message and one that's not likely to appeal to voters who have to turn out in person.

And again, you're asking pro-Republican voters to sort of bear an extra burden, to actually turn out on the date of the election.

And if you've got a president who's up here settling scores, attacking the governor, attacking the secretary of state, attacking the voting process, it's hard to see how that's going to translate into people saying oh, I know what I'm going to do, I'm going to make sure I go out and vote since my president told me that it's an invalid election.

It's got to be giving them a lot of heartburn.

And frankly, might be one of the reasons that Senator Perdue has decided to stay off the campaign trail for the last few days.

AVLON: Well, Erroll Louis, Happy New Year, my friend. Good to see you. Thank you very much.

PAUL: Thanks, Erroll.

LOUIS: Happy New Year to you.

AVLON: All right. And don't forget, "ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA" continues this Tuesday with special coverage starting at 4.00 p.m. right here on CNN.

PAUL: Well, the Columbus Ohio police chief says the officers that did not offer aid on the scene of the Andre Hill shooting are going to be held accountable.

We have a Legal Brief. Joey Jackson is with us next. Stay close.



PAUL: Well, police officers in Columbus, Ohio, are really feeling some pressure right now over their feeble response to the Andre Hill shooting.

Andre Hill was an unarmed black man. He was shot and killed by a police officer after he was just visiting a family friend days after Christmas. Now the family's attorney says Hill laid on that ground struggling for

life for five minutes and eleven seconds.

The Columbus police chief said few officers offered any aid while they were waiting for a medic to arrive on the scene. He says all of the officers who failed to uphold the department's policies and standards will be held accountable.

Attorneys for the officers say they lacked the proper training and medical equipment.

Criminal defense attorney and CNN Legal Analyst, Joey Jackson with us.

Joey, so good to see you.

So hard to keep having these conversations. The officer we know who shot Hill, he was fired. And an independent investigation by the state as well as U.S. justice department is ongoing.

Were you surprised at how quickly that officer was fired?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I was not. Christi, good morning to you.

It's so difficult to continue to be in this place and there's so many questions we could ask ourselves.

The first, of course, which is, how and why should it happen, right? What was the immediate threat, what was the necessity to use force, what did one officer see that the other one on the scene apparently did not?

And, why, again, is another African American man dead who was unarmed at the hands of the police, right?

So then after we get through that question and that shock then you get through the issue of the whole accountability and transparency. Which is great to talk about, but we don't get to accountability and transparency unless we get to a place where another person is dead.

So, I think, to your question, the firing is the right call. I think you have to look and analyze what precipitated the incident in the first instant.

Why was this man -- why was Andre Hill (inaudible)? What, if any, steps were taken to preserve his life after the fact? We saw none. And so no, there needs to be something done here, something drastic.

And I think the removal from an officer who shouldn't have a gun is a very important first step.

PAUL: You're right. I think a lot of people agree the right thing was to fire him. I think the expeditious nature of it might have surprised people.

Because we've had these conversations before, and we've had to wait for quite a while before some action like that was taken in situations like this.


PAUL: Let me ask you about the Fraternal Order of Police that requested the city provide officers with this necessary training and equipment to more effectively render aid in the future.


Do you believe that those officers were wholly unprepared to do so?

JACKSON: Well, what I believe, Christi, is why are we asking that question now, right? If you have issues as it relates to training, if you have issues as it relates to CPR and what officers should do and the equipment that they have to provide any type of attention and do their job, how about we ask that before we get them on the job to a situation to respond to a call?

And so, the time to really analyze and dissect these issues is not after someone's dead, it's before you put your officers out there to fully equip them with what they need. So, sure --

PAUL: So, who's responsible for that, Joey?

JACKSON: I think everyone's responsible. I think certainly the mayor as it relates to having a police force that's adequately trained. Certainly, the chief in commanding the forces that you have to go out there. Certainly, the officers themselves. If you feel that you're ill-equipped to deal with situations and issues, to speak up and say something about it.

But we have to get from a shoot first, ask questions later to the escalating, right, kind of provisions of force. Stop, freeze, show me your hands, what are you doing? We have to do that before we start shooting and killing people for what seemingly appears here not to be a reason at all.

PAUL: Yes. And speaking of all of this, I want to talk about the Louisville police officer who shot Breonna Taylor -- will be fired as well. Another officer was involved in the planning of that raid will also be outed.

Until now, though, the only officer that's been held accountable in the case was a detective who fired for shooting off -- was fired for shooting off ten rounds from outside the apartment through Ms. Taylor's window.

You had this recent CNN op-ed. In it, you say -- "The enduring legacy of Taylor's tragic loss must be grand jury reform. Breonna Taylor's death should end grand jury secrecy in cases involving police and public corruption."

Where do you think we're going on that aspect, Joey?

JACKSON: Christi, I think we have to get there, there being the place of being transparent with the public.

What are grand jurors doing? And now I get the nature of the secrecy of it, protecting the integrity of the investigation, not wanting to have a stigma if someone, of course, is released by a grand jury and there is no indictment. So many issues as to why there should be secrecy.

But there's many issues why we have to undo that secrecy. And I hope we're getting to a place where we have the public who is informed as to what's happening, informed as to what facts you're presenting a grand jury with, what charges are you asking them to charge?

We always hear, right, Christi -- you and I have talked about it -- a grand jury can indict a ham sandwich. Well, let the public see what you're doing.

And this is particularly true, briefly, Christi, as it relates to Attorney General Cameron in Kentucky. Oh, the grand jurors were presented information, they said themselves that they thought themselves there was justification in the shooting. And the grand jurors said, wait a minute, no, we weren't.

And so, I'm sure Attorney General Cameron didn't think he'd be caught because this would be released to the public.

Let's let people see what we're doing in the grand juries. Let's hold our officials accountable and prosecutors accountable and let's get to the place where accountability means something, transparency means something and we can get justice and justice swiftly when instances like this occur that do not need to, Christi.

PAUL: So, Breonna Taylor's family and activists, you know they've demanded criminal charges. That's a decision that now rests we know with the FBI.

What do you expect the family should expect when it comes to any particular charges or civil rights violations in the future?

JACKSON: It's really difficult, and here's why, Christi. When you have at the state level, state officials who are punting, it really makes a difference in terms of what the federal government does.

Let me explain briefly what I mean.

At the state level you have so many tools in the toolbox to charge officers. " You were negligent in the discharge of your firearm. You were reckless in that you failed to perceive a risk. You discharged it too quickly."

There are so many things at the state level you can do with respect to accountability.

When the state punts and says no, as it did -- "I can't breathe," and Eric Garner, no grand jury action, right, no indictment and the case of the cigarettes, we remember that, in Staten island -- as it does in other instances, when you have a federal government, the only tool they have, Christi, is to say that you intentionally, willfully and purposefully violated someone's civil right. That's a very high standard.

What do I mean, in conclusion? What I mean is if you're not holding them accountable at the state level, it's very, very difficult when you get to the willful standard to hold them accountable there.

So I don't see much, unfortunately, in terms of a federal investigation establishing a civil rights violation.

PAUL: Joey Jackson, always appreciate your expertise and your thoughtfulness. Thank you, sir. And Happy New Year.

JACKSON: Thank you, and to you. Good to see you.

PAUL: You, too.


AVLON: All right. The national championship game is set.

Alabama and Ohio State, two blue blood programs, two shades of red leaving no doubt they're the two best teams in college football this year.

Setting up a clash of college football titans next Monday.


AVLON: And it will be Alabama playing Ohio State for college football's national championship game.

Both teams rolled in the semi-finals. And Andy Scholes is here.

This is bit of a pay back on a couple of levels for the Buckeyes there, Andy, right?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, John and Christi.

Ohio State definitely had revenge on their mind for this game after losing that thriller to Clemson in last year's playoffs.

And on top of that, Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney had kind of been saying that Ohio State might not have really belonged in these playoffs because they didn't play enough games. Dabo had Ohio State ranked 11th in his final coach's poll.

And this one, it was a good game early on. First quarter, both teams trading touchdowns. Second quarter, scary moment for Ohio State, quarter back Justin Fields scrambling, takes a massive hit right there into the ribs from James Skalski, Skalski ejected from the game for that hit.

Fields came out for just one play, returned, rolling right, threw the perfect ball to Chris Olave for the touchdown but you see still in a lot of pain.

Buckeyes scored 21 unanswered in the second quarter and Fields still feeling it in the second half. Six touchdown passes in the game as Ohio State rolls in this one, 49 to 28.

After the game, Dabo said he didn't regret ranking Ohio State 11th and polls don't motivate you to play the game.

Well, it was clearly still on the minds of the Buckeyes afterwards.



UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: What happened? What happened, man?

WYATT DAVIS, OHIO STATE GUARD: Eleven, you ran us 11th?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Eleventh, one, one.

DAVIS: Eleventh? You want to rank us 11th, does that make them 12th?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Does that make them 12th?

DAVIS: Does that make you 12? You're going to rank us 11th? Take that talk back, man.


SCHOLES: All right. Well, the other match up we had Alabama-Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl but the game being played in Arlington, Texas because of COVID restrictions in California.

The crimson tide running back Najee here, as the player of the game right there. The six foot two, 230-pounder just leaping over a defender and going 53 yards. Harris had 125 yards rushing in the game.

And Heisman favorite DeVonta Smith continuing his dominant season. He has three touchdown catches including this one that he took 34 yards for the score.

This one's all Alabama as they win 31 to 14.


NICK SABAN, ALABAMA HEAD COACH: I kind of told the players in the beginning of the season this was going to be a different kind of season. There could be a lot of disruptions and a lot of things that we would have to adapt to and the team that handled it the best would be the team that had the best chance to have success in the end.

And these guys have done a fantastic job of doing that all year.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: What it means to you to be here standing as the Rose Bowl champs and knowing you're headed to Miami next week to play for the National Championship?

DEVONTA SMITH, ALABAMA WIDE RECEIVER: It means a lot, but we not done yet.


SCHOLES: All right. So, it's going to be Buckeyes and the Crimson Tide next Monday, January 11th -- or I should say a week from Monday. 8:00 Eastern, it's going to be from Hard Rock stadium in Miami.

It's Alabama's fifth trip to the title game in six years, Ohio State's first since winning the inaugural college football playoff back in 2015.

And, Christi and John, two teams, two of the most storied franchises -- teams in all of college football. This is only going to be the fifth time they've ever gone up against each other.

So, it should be a good one, hopefully we get an exciting game a week from Monday.

PAUL: Listen, we are a Buckeye house. I was trying to sleep, listening to my kids scream. Just -- finally, one of them actually texted me before she went to bed and said, "Mom, they won." Great way to wake up.

SCHOLES: (Inaudible) the Buckeyes.

AVLON: We got some Ohio roots as well.

PAUL: Same here.

AVLON: Listen, all of America's going to be watching that game.

PAUL: Yes.

AVLON: That's going to be a huge one.

PAUL: Yes.


AVLON: Andy, thank you very much.

PAUL: Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

AVLON: And Happy New Year.

All right. When you're a picture of health, why not share it with the world?

Well, after the break we introduce you to a social media trend that could only have come out of 2020.




PAUL: So, there are new weather warnings for you if you happen to be on the East Coast right now.

Tyler Mauldin is with us. Tyler, what are you hearing?


TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Christi, not the most ideal start to 2021 from a weather standpoint. We have two weather makers that we're watching.

The first one up across the North East and then the second one is a developing system across the Gulf of Mexico.

Both are going to impact us in a big way as we go through the first weekend of 2021.

The system across the North East does have a history of producing severe weather where we have reports of two tornadoes dropping down across central Georgia just south of Atlanta and Monroe County, Georgia. And then on the cold side we saw up to two feet of snow across Texas.

This system is now pushing over New England and you can see that it is producing snowfall also a mixed bag of some ice, some sleet and a little bit of a cold rain for us as well.

Winter weather alerts are up for nearly 11 million of us across the North East for today, your first Saturday of 2021.

And we are going to see an additional up to a foot of snow across this portion of the country and then we have a developing system across the South East, guys, that will produce heavy rainfall. And, yes, a mixed bag of wintry weather across areas that have already seen winter weather thus far.

AVLON: The dreaded wintry mix. Tyler Mauldin, thank you very much. Happy New Year.

PAUL: Yes. Thanks, Tyler. So 2020, we know it's behind us. What a legacy it has, right?

And it's going to live us with for a while here. For example, did you know the year gave us a new word?

AVLON: I did not know that. But apparently, it's the "vaxxie."

CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Famous politicians tend to roll up their sleeves --


MOOS: -- to have their shots shot by the media.


MOOS: Not quite as easy? Taking a selfie while getting your COVID vaccination.

The "New York Times" reported "vaxxies" is the new word for vaccination selfies. Doctors and medical staff in particular are posting them brandishing their band aids, even their scars.

TB on top, COVID in the center, smallpox underneath.

Wrote this doctor, "GotmyFauci#Ouchie," though Dr. Fauci showed no inclination to say "Ouch."

Dr. Jonathan Tijerina got his shot at Jackson Memorial in Miami and posted his vaccination photo while joking the injection gave him superpowers.

DR. JONATHAN TIJERINA, VACCINE RECIPIENT: My left arm is twice as large as my right one, I can see through walls and feeling more alive than ever.

MOOS: A group of neurosurgery residents held up their vaccination record cards. Vaccine card selfies are the new "I voted" sticker selfies, posted with pride.

What's the point?

TIJERINA: I'd like to hope that it's mostly encouraging.

MOOS: Encouraging others to get the vaccine though vaxxies can create vaccine envy.

"Starting to get annoyed by vaccine selfies because all I can think is well, they can go to a concert now."

The hashtag #notthrowingawaymyshot has been shooting around the web.

(To music) "And I'm not throwing away my shot."

MOOS: The words are from a song in the musical "Hamilton."

(To music) "And I'm not throwing away my shot."

MOOS: Even wearing a mask you can tell this Wisconsin doctor is smiling. "Only side effects so far are joy, gratitude and absolute relief."

Who needs a selfie stick when you're getting a needle stick with a life-saving vaccine? Jeanne Moos, CNN.