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New Day Saturday

House Dems Draft Impeachment Article Against Trump; Trump Faces Growing Pressure To Resign Or Face Second Impeachment; Authorities Searching For Missing Plane In Indonesia; Twitter Bans Trump Permanently, Says Tweets Violated Its Glorification Of Violence Policy; CNN Analysis: D.C. Police Made Five Times As Many Arrests At BLM Protest Than During Pro-Trump Riot; Capitol Riot Raises Security Worries For Biden Inauguration; More Than 3,400 COVID Deaths Reported Friday As Virus Surges. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired January 09, 2021 - 07:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This White House has been in crisis management mode. They have been reaching out to outside lawyers about the potential for impeachment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The minimum, it sets the historical record straight, it's accountability.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a historic moment where Twitter has stepped in and said no, that world leader, the United States President is too dangerous to use our platform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Executives in Silicon Valley might have woken up on Thursday morning, and maybe they realized that they were culpable that allowing conspiracy theories and hateful speech to fester on their platforms for years had a role to play.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nation's top infectious disease experts said the government is actively monitoring new variants, including one from the U.K.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Right now, the data indicate that the U.K. mutant is still quite sensitive to the antibodies that are induced by the vaccine.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: A shot of the White House there before the sun comes up. And right now, the president is losing cabinet members and support from GOP lawmakers. He's even losing his own Twitter account this morning as he struggles to hold on to power. He's just got 11 days left in office.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And there's also this bipartisan call for his resignation or for the 25th amendment to be invoked. Both pretty unlikely, but House Democrats they plan to introduce an impeachment resolution on Monday. The latest draft obtained by CNN includes just one article of impeachment for incitement of insurrection.

PAUL: Twitter says, "the risk of further incitement of violence," and that's a quote, is why they're kicking off the platform permanently. His final tweet announced that he will not attend the inauguration on January 20th. And as that critical day approaches, there is a growing call now for accountability after Wednesday's deadly capital riot.

BLACKWELL: We've got it all covered this morning. Let's start with CNN's Sarah Westwood at the White House. The momentum is growing in Congress to accelerate the President's exit with the reaction from the West Wing about this possible second impeachment.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning Victor and Christi, and the White House is already criticizing this as partisan politics from House Democrats. But top aides to the president including his chief of staff Mark Meadows and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, sat the President down on Thursday and warned him that it was a serious possibility that he could be removed from office before January 20th. Whether that be by impeachment, or whether that be by his cabinet invoking the 25th amendment and moving to get him out of office.

So, that pressure is what led to him releasing the more conciliatory video on Thursday. It came a day after he released a video that was his initial response saying he loved the protesters. But he followed all of that up with the tweet yesterday that he does not plan to attend President-elect Biden's inauguration which would make him the first president since 1869 to skip that tradition. It came as no surprise, though, to people who have been speaking with Him and who said he was thinking he wouldn't attend the inauguration and that he hasn't conceded yet.

So, not a big surprise there. Now, the President's attention is turning to what he may do in his final days, what he may do in his post presidency. Sources tells CNN that thinking now is that the President might head to Mar-a-Lago on the 19th. That could of course, all change because right now, looming over the president is this push for impeachment. And I want to read you the White House's statement responding to that. As President Trump said yesterday, this is a time for healing and unity as one nation, a politically motivated impeachment against a president with 12 days remaining in his term will only serve to further divide our great country.

That was a statement that emerged yesterday as the impeachment push was picking up steam on Capitol Hill. The 25th amendment talk is starting to deflate within the president's cabinet, this after two cabinet secretaries and a number of aides resigned in protest over the President's behavior. Victor and Christi, there's still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the President's final 11 days in office and how he will handle what's to come for him.

PAUL: All right, Sarah Westwood. We appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Capitol Hill. Up next. CNN has obtained articles of impeachment drafted by House Democrats. And CNN National Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux s there. Suzanne, good morning to you. 11 days, they've got to move this through quickly. What do you know about the plan?


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor, they're not going to wait. They are going to move very fast, lightning speed, really. I mean, you've heard from House Democrats and even some Republicans calling for the president who to resign, also invoking the 25th amendment, the Vice President, the majority of the cabinet, they realized that's not really realistic. The one tool that they have in the toolbox is for the House to, in fact, impeach the president.

So, this is the timetable Monday is when we're going to see the House Rules Committee assemble, they will go through the terms of the debate. There's something called privilege resolution, which will really escalate this move this very quickly, perhaps a two-day period in which they will discuss the terms of, of impeachment. It only takes a majority in the House, the Democrats have that majority. And so, we do expect that that will be lightning speed.

The one thing that we are seeing it's a single article of impeachment by Representative Jamie Raskin, essentially calling for it, saying it was incitement of insurrection because of the President's role in encouraging the violence, the attack on the U.S. Capitol and over, overturning or stopping delaying the election results. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says they have many options on the table, different pieces of legislation, they will go forward very likely with that article of impeachment. The one option they don't have is to do nothing. She made that very clear on "60 MINUTES."


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Sadly, the person who's running executive branch is a deranged, unhinged, dangerous President of the United States, and only a number of days until we can be protected from him. But he has done something so serious that there should be prosecution against him.


MALVEAUX: And covering the last impeachment of the president back in December of 2019, there was not a single Republican on the House side who supported it. There was just one Senator, Republican Senator Mitt Romney, who had supported the conviction and removal of the President. But this time very, very different situation here. It will require two-thirds of the Senate to actually vote to remove him from office, it will be in the next session of Congress. And that is when the Democrats will control the Senate, but they will need some Republicans on board. We're already hearing from some Republicans who might be willing to

actually cast that vote Representative Adam Kinzinger, being one of the Republicans, Senator Ben Sasse, as well as Senator Lisa Murkowski -- I want to actually read what she said here calling the resignation of the president: "He needs to get out.

He needs to do the good thing, but I don't think he's capable of doing the good thing." What is likely to happen here is if they don't get those two-thirds of the vote that they need, at least at the very least, they feel that this will actually mean that he makes history as the only president who's been impeached twice.

PAUL: And would make history again, if the intention of follows through that an impeachment would keep him from even being able to run again. Suzanne Malveaux.

MALVEAUX: That's right.

PAUL: Yes, I appreciate you so much. Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: With me now is Barry Berke, he served as Special Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during President Trump's first impeachment back in 2019. Barry, good morning to you. Let me start here. Back in 2019, you denied and fought off claims that that impeachment process was rushed. 76 days from the beginning of the formal impeachment inquiry to the vote in the House.

What do you make of this time? They're not even committees for this to go to because the committees have not been formed. There will be no witnesses, I assume based on the schedule. What do you expect that's happened this weekend? Is it happening too quickly?

BARRY BERKE, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL TO THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Yes. Good morning, Victor. I don't think it is happening too quickly. Let's go back. First, a couple things. There are no rules that define what the house has to do. The house votes to impeach, they can do it. And last time there were facts to develop. There's an investigation to conduct. Here, everything the President did that was a constitutional crime is captured on videotape when he made it publicly his statements on Twitter or in his audiotape with the Secretary of State of Georgia.

So, there's really no investigation to do to tap here. And I'll tell you last time, I was on the phone repeatedly with the White House counsel with the President's Council inviting them to come in, make presentations of the house, they had no interest in doing it because there was no defense. They refuse to appear. So, here the conduct is clear.

There is no question the president falsely denied he lost the election that incited violence at the Capitol to interfere with the certification of his laws. So, there really are no facts to investigate. There's no reason to believe the President would want to come and present evidence. If he did, bring it on. It wouldn't take that long. Cross examine whoever he calls. His conduct was clear. So, I don't think it's rushed. And there are many reasons for them to go forward.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about their refusal to appear in a moment but first you said it's clear because it happened on camera. One of the 2019 impeachment lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, who you know, who represented the president told Politico that what the President said is not a high crime or misdemeanor. What he said was protected by the First Amendment. You say to that?


BERKE: Well, I know Alan Dershowitz he was my professor 35 years ago. And that's just not true. You can't go into a movie theater and yell fire. You can't make tape make statements that cause danger as certainly as the leader of the free world, you can't encourage violence at the Capitol.

There's no first amendment right, period. And let me just say the last I saw Professor Dershowitz was when we were both on the floor of the Senate, and he was claiming the President could never be impeached for trying to influence the election if he believed his election was in the best interest of the company's country.

So, I don't believe Professor Dershowitz has any credibility left in defending the president. And ironically, other than him, nobody is denying the president engaged in constitutional crimes, because there could be no question that he attacked the very core of our democracy. The debate is really whether should they go forward? And as I said, I think there are many reasons supporting going forward.

BLACKWELL: So, you brought up a refusal to appear in the last exchange over the 2019 impeachment? Is there a plausible scenario in which the President during the trial, in the Senate, does not send attorneys to defend against the articles? If he's not in office, and he believes that he can pressure or browbeat enough Republicans not decide with Democrats so that he's not convicted, why spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars? He won't have White House Counsel anymore to come and defend against these, why not as a strategy D legitimize them out of hand by not showing up at all?

BERKE: Anything's possible with this president. You can bet whatever he does, will be in to serve his own personal political interest and not the country's interest. But I think what he does doesn't really matter. Because ultimately, if there is a senate trial will be called upon the Republican members of the Senate to see whether they will stand up. And while some of them have recently stood up, it should be remembered that it was their complicity, in support of his false claims about the election, is refusing to concede what everyone knew that he lost, that encouraged his behavior that facilitated it.

So, there is value in requiring the Republican members of the Senate to actually have to speak out to stand up and say whether or not they are going to vote to disqualify both this remove him if it happens before the 20th or disqualify him if it's after, so he can never run again based on what he did on Wednesday with regard to our constitutional system democracy. BLACKWELL: I want to drill down on that point a bit you wrote earlier this year that the 2019 impeachment, acquittal taught the president all the wrong lessons. You said one of them was that Mr. Trump apparently learned from the Senate acquittal, that he could once again get away with putting his personal political interest over the safety of the American people, when confronted with an even more dire crisis. You wrote that in the context at the time of the coronavirus pandemic, but do you see a direct line between that January 2020 acquittal and what we're seeing today?

BERKE: Absolutely, Victor, it's all connected. And what is so scary is every time the President gets away with his assault on the rule of law on our Democratic principles, he accelerates his actions, his conduct becomes worse. When I gave the opening statement at the judiciary impeachment hearings, I said that if the president gets away with this, the only limit to what he might do next is our imagination.

That was both, both predictive because he's engaged in continued assault on our Democratic principles, but also, in some ways an understatement, because I don't think any of us could have imagined that the President would not only deny a peaceful transfer of power, but then would incite violence at the Capitol to try to interfere with the Democratic processes.

And if you look at what happened after the President was acquitted. He immediately then, you know, refuse to acknowledge the pandemic the coronavirus, putting his personal political interests over the safety of the country in a much worse scenario. He, then weaponized even further the Department of Justice to penalize his enemies to reward his friends. He then sought to interrupt the postal service by denying funding to impact the election and made false claims about mail-in ballots during the pandemic to try to interfere with it when he lost.

He then he'd fantastical and false claims which he continues to make about the election, denying the fairness of it that everyone recognizes. So, the President's conduct has only gotten worse. And the concern is now after his conduct on Wednesday, now that he's in such a desperate situation, what could and would he do next with the power that he has over the remaining days, and I think that is the great concern.

BLACKWELL: Eleven days left, the article of impeachment has been drafted and we'll see what happens on Monday. Barry Berke, I enjoyed the conversation. Thanks so much.

BERKE: Thanks so much, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Christi.


PAUL: So, Washington is stalling, the big tech is not. They blocked President Trump after Wednesday's riots. Twitter specifically is permanently banned the president from its platform, and they're not alone. BLACKWELL: Plus, the details on how the incoming Biden administration plans to speed up the coronavirus vaccine rollout, falling way short of expectations.


BLACKWELL: All right, we've got some breaking news coming in. Authorities in Indonesia are looking for a plane that disappeared after taking off from Jakarta. It's a Boeing 737-500 disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff, that's about 3:00 local time. Indonesia search and rescue agency has sent a ship to check the area where the plane is suspected to have lost contact. It's not clear right now how many people were on the flight. CNN reached out to Boeing, and they said in a statement that they are aware of the reports from Jakarta and they are closely watching this situation, so are we, and when we get more, we will bring that to you.


PAUL: So, President Trump is still trying to reach his supporters on Twitter, even after the social media company banned him from the platform.

BLACKWELL: And now, Trump's campaign account @DTrump has been permanently suspended. Twitter said in a statement that using another account to try to evade a suspension is against its rules.

PAUL: And for his remaining time in office, 11 days, tweets from the official POTUS and White House government accounts are going to be limited as well, as we understand.

PAUL: CNN's Donie O'Sullivan is live from Washington this morning. Donie, good morning to you people have been asking for the President's account to be suspended for years now. We're hearing that, you know, some people say this is just too little too late.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor, I mean, from 89 million followers to none. Twitter overnight, releasing an extraordinary statement saying they had permanently suspended the President of the United States, saying they did it because his account posed a risk of further incitement of violence. This sort of banned -- Twitter has not only just shut down that @RealDonaldTrump account, they have totally banned him from the platform. So, if he tries to sign into somebody else's account, if he tries to set up a new account that is going to be taken down as well.

That's what we saw with the Trump campaign account last night. And you know, this sort of action, this is what Twitter normally does to terrorists to terrorism organizations, leaders of terrorism organizations, this type of aggressive ban. And, and you know, you're right, so I think maybe it's possible that some executives in Silicon Valley woke up on Thursday morning, took a look in the mirror, and had thought about the scenes they saw on Capitol Hill and in Washington here on Wednesday and realize, you know, for after allowing misinformation, and hate speech, and such violent rhetoric on their platforms for so many years, that they were culpable here, Victor. PAUL: So, Twitter, we know, Donie, is warning of a potential a possible second attack. They say they've been hearing some chatter, what do you know about that?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes, that's right. That's one of the reasons that they cited last night, saying that, that, that they had seen both discussion on Twitter and also off Twitter on other Web sites about a proposed secondary attack on the U.S. Capitol and other state capitals on the 17th of January. We do know that there's a lot of chatter of pro-gun, Second Amendment protests happening on that day. So, that is obviously something that Twitter and authorities are monitoring very closely.

And I just guess just finally, back to the, the point of what Twitter did last night, you know, Twitter pointed to two of President Trump's sort of final tweets over the past 48 hours or so, saying that they could pose potential incitement of violence, but really, you know, the company could have taken hundreds or thousands of any of Trump's tweets over the past few months or the past few years, and taken that same action. So, obviously, they're doing this in the dying days of the Trump presidency. Trump, of course, also locked out of his Facebook accounts.

PAUL: All right, Donie O'Sullivan, thank you so much for bringing us the latest. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead, we've got some video of that, the mob that attacked the Capitol this week a crushing an officer there in the doorway during the riot. We've got about 90 seconds of it. We're going to let you see this. So, stay with us. We'll be back in a moment.



BLACKWELLL: We've got some new video from the riot on Wednesday at Capitol Hill. I've got to warn you first though that what you're about to watch is disturbing. This shows the moment when protesters at an entrance, this is on the west side of the Capitol tried to force their way in. Watch.


That is just remarkable to watch. Them, trying to push through that line of police for all the rhetoric of back the blue and support that law enforcement. That's what they did on Wednesday at the Capitol. The D.C. police, say they made 61 unrest related arrests on Wednesday.

PAUL (on camera): That's hard to watch. Had -- if anybody had any questions about what was really going on in there that displays it. Those scenes at the Capitol, they do -- as you noticed, Victor, they appear to show a double standard here in the way D.C. police treat protesters though as well.

Look at the police response to Black Lives Matter. PAUL: (voice over): Protesters back in June here. This was during the height of protests following the killing of George Floyd. Military helicopters, the National Guard, tear gas, all of that engaged.

BLACKWELL: A CNN analysis found that D.C. police arrested five times the number of people during that protest than during Wednesday's riots. Now, the Wednesday's riots injured more D.C. police officers and left five people dead.

A D.C. police spokesman says that the numbers are different because the Capitol is outside their jurisdiction where they were in a supporting role. The curfew was not announced ahead of time, giving them less time to stage resources for mass arrests.

All right, live pictures now of the White House. You can kind of make it out there in the overexposed shot.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Capitol building as well, flags are at half-staff in honor of the Capitol Hill police officer who died after Wednesday's riots.

PAUL: Yes, those scenes that we remember in some of these pictures here this week left a lot of people wondering how does this happen inside our nation's capitol?

Joshua Skule is with us. He's a risk assessment and security expert. Formerly the executive assistant director for the FBI. Joshua, we appreciate your service, we appreciate you taking time to talk to us. A lot of people look at this and say this was predictable. What is your assessment of what happened and how it happened?


I think that this was predictable. I think what we're seeing now in the wake of this, a series of reports and information sharing between state and local and federal law enforcement that showed there was going to be an increased presence on the mall, as well as some of those speech towards violence on social media, and that information was shared.

I also think that several organizations provided support, including the Washington Metropolitan Police to help surge resources at the Capitol.

BLACKWELL: So, we know the police are still searching for the people who breached the Capitol, went inside the building. What's your degree of optimism that they'll be able to find them? I know they've already arrested some.

SKULE: So, I think that in conjunction with the FBI, the Washington Metropolitan Police, and 56 field offices across the United States for the FBI, I have high optimism. The FBI and others will need help, and that's the reason they're publishing the pictures to the public. There's rewards out there, but the robust resources of working not only with the joint terrorism task forces but with the violent crimes task forces across the United States, I'm very confident that they will bring those people to justice.

PAUL: I want to listen here to what President-elect Biden had to say about the upcoming inauguration in 11 days.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have great confidence in the Secret Service. I have great confidence in their ability to make sure that the inauguration goes off -- goes off safely, and goes off without a hitch. So, it's a different, so I have confidence in what is going in the planning that's been underway before this and continues with the Secret Service as the lead agency.


PAUL (on camera): Joshua, do you share that same confidence? And what might have changed in terms of security prep for inauguration after Wednesday?

SKULE: I do have confidence. Secret Service has done these events, you know, for decades. They've done other events similar to the inauguration for a long period of time. You have the full resources of the federal government, the Metropolitan Police, and other state and local law enforcement in the area.

I think that what has changed maybe the resources -- the resources deployed. And the construction of different barriers to ensure that the inauguration is protected.

BLACKWELL: So, let's talk about social media. We reported this morning that President Trump's Twitter account, his campaign account --

BLACKWELL (on camera): Conspiracy theorist and lawyer Sidney Powell, her Twitter account. General Michael Flynn, his account down. Steve Bannon, one of his accounts down as well.

A layer or two below those names, as we get to the conspiracy theorists, the QAnon leaders.


BLACKWELL: As those are suspended, do you see those as a hindrance on investigation? Or you all in on this is a good thing to pull those accounts down?

SKULE: So, I -- so, I think when any time that it is determined that somebody is weaponizing social media, social media is a great form of communication when used for good. When used for ad and to incite violence, the social media companies are obligated to remove that content.

This is going back several years when ISIS was weaponizing social media to incite violence. I think that it does not -- won't hinder the investigation at all, but it will help hopefully, keep tension at a -- at a lower level.

PAUL: So, let me ask you this because Twitter has told CNN that they did see chatter about a potential second attack on the Capitol, on other sites potentially. January 17th is a date that stood out in some of what they had seen. What is being done now?

Well, you know, there's obviously the expectation that Twitter is working with law enforcement. But beyond that, what's happening to try to make sure that those sites are secured?

SKULE: So, I -- aside from just the sites, it will be trying to uncover who is responsible for posting that information, what associations do they have? Are they affiliated with any domestic terrorist groups, associated with the attack on the Capitol?

They'll be somewhat ensuring potentially even folks that are predicated are under sort -- some sort of surveillance through law enforcement, making sure that anything that they are articulating that they would want to attack is mitigated.

(INAUDIBLE) of information between the Secret Service, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies that will be surrounding the inauguration as well.

BLACKWELL: 11 days out. Joshua Skule, thanks so much for the insight. We appreciate the expertise, sir.

PAUL: Thank you, sir.

SKULE: Thank you very much.

PAUL: So, there are more people dying from COVID obviously. In fact, the numbers are really horrific. The vaccine rollout in addition to that is much slower than anticipated. So, we're talking to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases. Talking about the process why it's going so slow, and he just received his second vaccine. We'll talk to about that. Stay close.



BLACKWELL: The coronavirus pandemic numbers are going in all the wrong numbers in a lot of communities across the country. But there's this new study that shows that Pfizer's COVID vaccine might be effective against too fast-spreading variants. So, some good news there.

PAUL: And of course, President-elect Joe Biden, says he's aiming to release nearly every available dose of the vaccine when he takes office. That's a change from the current approach which currently reserves half of vaccine production to ensure a later dose for later this year.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): By nearly every measure, it's as bad as it's ever been. The first full week of 2021 brought yet another record average daily COVID-19 death count. More strain on the nation's hospitals and a warning about a possible COVID-19 variant from the U.S.

Reports of the White House coronavirus task force sent to states last week, suggesting the current spike in cases could be partially due to a new mutation of the virus in the U.S. The CDC, however, says there is currently no evidence of that at this time.

The nation's top infectious disease experts said the government is actively monitoring new variants, including one from the U.K. to make sure existing vaccines were made effective.


FAUCI: If anything changes, then we will be able to make a modification in the vaccine. But right now, the data indicate that the U.K. mutant is still quite sensitive to the antibodies that are induced by the vaccine.

SANDOVAL: In California, a sobering sign of the state's staggering death toll. Nearly 90 refrigerated trailers are being dispatched across the state. They'll serve as mobile morgues for storage of those who have lost their COVID-19 battle.

Hard hit L.A. County saw another 318 people die to COVID-19 on Friday, the most ever in a single day. And in some of the nation's hospitals, there is little to no bed space left, with every day this week seeing more than 100,000 hospitalizations.

Much of the country remains behind on vaccine efforts. According to the CDC, these states have administered less than a quarter of their vaccine supplies with only three administering over half of their allotment.

As Michigan prepares to offer shots to teachers, front line workers, and people over 65, the state's governor calling on the government to release more vaccine doses.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): We still need a national strategy. I have been saying for months, whether it was around getting masks at the beginning or getting testing or an economic recovery or relief, now vaccines, there still is not a national strategy. We're building this as states.

SANDOVAL: After weeks of waiting, the elderly and city workers in New York City will roll up their sleeves on Monday. That's also when President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to get his second vaccine dose.


SANDOVAL (on camera): And back to L.A. County, hospital officials at, at least, four public care facilities now preparing to essentially ration health care entering what's called, crisis care mode.

[07:44:59] SANDOVAL: What that means, Victor and Christi is triage officers will now be faced with that very difficult task of deciding who gets what kind of therapy here.

Obviously, going to be very difficult for them, but really it's just the latest desperate attempt to try to keep up with that constant surge of COVID-19 patients out west.

BLACKWELL: Continues to grow. Paulo Sandoval, thank you.

PAUL: Thanks, Polo.

Let's get some more perspective from Dr. Amesh Adalja. He's an infectious disease physician and a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Dr. Adalja, good to have you with us. I understand you just got your second Pfizer vaccine yesterday. How are you feeling?

DR. AMESH ADALJA, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: This is definitely a little bit different than the first dose. I do have achiness in my arm, so, I know that I got a vaccine. It's about the same as after a tetanus shot. The first vaccine dose, I had no symptoms at all. I didn't even have a sore arm.

But this is something manageable. I'm going to be at the hospital later today, taking care of patients. So, it wasn't something that was disruptive to my life.

PAUL: How long did you wait between the doses?

ADALJA: I waited the three weeks that's I had the Pfizer dose. So, I went with the schedule that was approved for the use of this vaccine.

PAUL: And I know this is important to you because you have described this to Axios as a war-like situation that we have to move as fast as possible to get these vaccines into arms. What exactly do you mean by a war-like situation?

ADALJA: We're basically in a race against this virus. And we have these new variants that are likely more transmissible and we have to -- the way that we can stop them is to get people vaccinated and get them protected.

So, the quicker we can do that and the more people we can put on to this task, the faster this pandemic will be behind us. And we've got some dark days coming in the next several -- in the next, next several weeks. And we need to really just not allow that to happen anymore. We have to give these hospitals some breathing room.

And to do that, if we can vaccinate vulnerable populations, nursing home populations, the community dwelling elderly, we will start to see pressure lift off of hospitals and things will get better. So, we have to really put all efforts into doing this.

PAUL: When you say you're expecting dark days, what do you mean by that? ADALJA: Well, we know that there's so much community spread of this virus going on. Basically, in all states, we're seeing too much -- too much infections, too high levels of infections.

That's going to translate to a certain percentage to get hospitalized in a certain percentage that die. And we already have hospitals, for example, in Southern California that are at capacity.

And more and more hospitals are going to be thinking every day about what their capacity is, what care they can provide? Do -- can they do emergency -- non-emergency surgeries?

We don't want to be in that situation and the vaccine is one way out of it. But we have to get it into people's arms and out of freezers.

PAUL: So, Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar said this week that he believed it would be better to move quickly and end up vaccinating some lower priority people than to let the vaccines sit around, you know, in states as they try to micromanage the process. Do you agree with that?

ADALJA: I do agree with that. A vaccine that's in the fridge is of no benefit to anybody. We can't let these priority groups which we have to have a good faith effort to try and stick to. We can't let them be an obstacle to getting the vaccine into people's arms, and I don't endorse anybody that kind of has a dogmatic adherence to these, priority groups, and would rather throw vaccine in the trash can than give it to somebody. That's in phase 1b when they're in phase 1a.

And hospitals are already starting to vaccinate phase 1b. For example, EMTs and paramedics are getting vaccinated in my hometown hospital. And I think that's the right thing to do, and that's what hospitals should do, and that's what we should do. Have that flexibility. These are not mandates, they're guidelines. So, we can't let them become an obstacle.

PAUL: Speaking of flexibility, there are some states that are taking a non-traditional approach to vaccinations. They are recruiting dentists, veterinarians, paramedics, EMTs, and even students, as we understand at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

They say they typically pull nursing students to help annual flu vaccinations. They're doing so now with medical and dental students as well. Good idea in your opinion?

ADALJA: Yes, that's the right approach. Like I said, this is a war- like atmosphere and we need to get as many people that are able and qualified and be -- can be trained to give vaccines -- to give vaccines. Because there was nobody that had a job as a COVID-19 vaccinator a year ago.

So, these people are being pulled from other areas. And many of the nurses and doctors, they're tasked with also responding to the cases that are in their hospital. So, we need to increase the pace of vaccination and a lot of that has to do with the last mile getting vaccines into the arms of people. And I do think it's OK for dentists and veterinarians and anybody that can be trained to be able to do this in this emergency that we're in.

PAUL: We know that there are states including New Jersey, Texas, they're opening up these mega vaccination sites good idea do you think?

ADALJA: I do think that mass vaccination sites are going to be important. We need to be able to have a high throughput and get people vaccinated and have maybe a central area where you can watch people for 15 minutes to make sure they don't have an allergic reaction.

It's hard to do that in a hospital situation, and It's going to be hard to do it in a -- in a waiting room for a -- for a drugstore. So, I do think that countries like Israel, which have had the highest per capita vaccination numbers so far are using mass vaccination centers. And I do think we have to think about that stadiums, convention centers, old high school auditoriums, and gyms.


ADALJA: I got my H1n1 vaccine back in 2009 in an -- in a -- abandoned high school gym. I waited -- I waited in line, it was a mass vaccination site, and it worked. So, I think we can do that.

PAUL: Dr. Amesh Adalja, thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us this morning. Hope you continue to feel well. And thank you for what you're doing.

ADALJA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, some of President Trump's supporters are turning on Republican lawmakers who are not backing the president.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lindsey Graham, you are a traitor to the country. You know it was rigged. You know it was rigged!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know it was rigged!

BLACKWELL (voice over): Yes, that's right. Senator Lindsey Graham, getting an ear full as he walks through Reagan National Airport. And there are others. We'll show you next.



BLACKWELL (on camera): Some backlash for Senator Lindsey Graham, after he criticized President Trump's handling of the riots on Capitol Hill. Watch.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lindsey Graham, you are a traitor to the country. You know it was rigged. You know it was rigged!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know it was rigged! You garbage human being.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be like this forever, wherever you go for the rest of your life.


PAUL (voice over): You see there, the president's supporters surrounding the South Carolina Republican as he walked through Reagan National Airport. That was yesterday.

The senator has been one of President Trump's most vocal allies on Capitol Hill, surrounded there by security as you can see as well. But that backlash came after Graham said the president's accomplishments had been tarnished by the pro-Trump riots at the Capitol.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney had a similar encounter with Trump supporters in an airport and on a flight to Washington earlier this week. Now, unlike Graham, Romney has been one of the president's sharpest critics in the Republican Party.

BLACKWELL: Now, be sure to join Wolf Blitzer tomorrow night for "THE TRUMP INSURRECTION: 24 HOURS THAT SHOOK AMERICA". You're going to look at what happened at the Capitol and what happens next. It's a new CNN special report. Again, tomorrow night at 10:00.

PAUL (on camera): And we have much new news ahead on the next hour of NEW DAY, starts after the break. Stay close.