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New Day Saturday
D.C. Fortifies Security As FBI Warns Of Potential Armed Protests Ahead Of President-Elect Biden's Inauguration; Key Staffers Leave The White House As Trump Presidency Concludes; Biden Outlines Five-Point Plan To Speed Up Vaccine Rollout; Despite Trump Administration Promise, Vaccine "Reserve" Doesn't Exist; Biden Pushes For $1.9 Trillion Plan To Tackle Pandemic And To Rescue The Economy; Democrats Demand Investigation Into Extremism In Military Ranks. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired January 16, 2021 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Welcome to Buffalo in January, Lamar (ph), and to quote the great Steve Tasker, "Be ready, it might be chilly."
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, Coy Wire, good luck.
WIRE: Thank you.
PAUL: I hope it works out for you, buddy.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Coy.
PAUL: Stay close.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): The American Capitol now a fortress. Unprecedented scenes as Washington and the country brace for more violence.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people can be confident we're going to ensure that we have a safe inauguration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): We are seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a guy ripping my mask off. He was practically foaming at the mouth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): More than 2 million people have now died from coronavirus.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: The vaccine roll-out in the United States has been a dismal failure.
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We were a bit too rigid. We were not getting the vaccine doses out in the most efficient manner. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): New warning from the CDC says there's a new, more contagious coronavirus variant that could become the dominant strain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): And we're seeing viruses do what viruses do. You know, they mutate.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Voice over): This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
PAUL: Well, we've been here for an hour waiting for you and waiting for the sun to come up at 6:00 A.M. here on the East Coast. I'm Christi Paul. We're so grateful to have you with us. Right now the U.S. Capitol is bracing for some potential unrest ahead of President- elect Joe Biden's inauguration. We know law enforcement officials say they are tracking dozens of people who may be headed to Washington right now.
The Department of Homeland Security, in fact, along with several others, say domestic extremists pose the most likely threat to that event on Wednesday.
BLACKWELL: And we're learning from federal officials that there were some major security and intelligence failures ahead of January 6th. Investigators have opened at least 275 criminal cases. About 98 people have been charged in connection with those events.
PAUL: And before we get to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, we know that the U.S. coronavirus situation, it is believed that the number of people who could die may reach 400,000. That's a new model from the University of Washington predicting at least 567,000 deaths by May 1st.
BLACKWELL: We're covering the big angles of these stories. Reporters and correspondents are standing by.
PAUL: So we want to begin with CNN's Pete Muntean in Washington. We know that D.C. and several states are really ramping up security, obviously, in anticipation of these armed protests leading up to the inauguration, but what are you seeing there in D.C., Pete?
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi. You know, roadblock after roadblock here in Washington and we have just learned that some of the bridges from Virginia into D.C. will be closed starting on Tuesday leading into Inauguration Day. This is about as close as one can get to the Capitol on foot and we are blocks away. Surrounding the Capitol now is this eight-foot fence. It is also going up around the national mall and then there is this 12-foot fence in front of the Capitol.
Even if somebody did make it onto the other side of this, they would be met by some of the 7,000 members of the U.S. National Guard in Washington right now. I just spoke to Major General William Walker of the D.C. Guard. He says 25,000 members of the guard from all 50 states and U.S. territories could be here by Inauguration Day. He says they are armed with M4 guns and they could be here for at least another week. Here's what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM J. WALKER, COMMANDING GENERAL, D.C. NATIONAL GUARD: So the guardsmen on the ground right here right now, they understand that they'll be here until the end of the inaugural period, which is 24 January. Now, if conditions change, they'll stay here longer. So the bottom line is the National Guard will be here as long as we're required to be here, as long as we're needed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MUNTEAN: Major General Walker spoke to me in his dress uniform, having just spoken to lawmakers on the Hill. He reassured House leadership that this would be a peaceful transition of power, but the flip side here is that this could be a very quiet one. This is Pennsylvania Avenue, the parade route from the Capitol to the White House, now pretty much deserted leading up to this Inauguration Day like no other.
BLACKWELL: Hey, Pete. The investigation into the riot is expanding, but federal prosecutors are walking back this claim that rioters intended to capture and assassinate elected officials. Tell us more about that.
MUNTEAN: Well, it's a pretty big shift of the narrative here, Victor. Whether or not that was the intent in the first place doesn't really get at what is happening here in Washington right now. This is all to prevent against future threats. The FBI and the Pentagon and the Secret Service says more threats are coming in all of the time. Chatter online is off the charts. They are particularly concerned about what could happen on Wednesday.
BLACKWELL: Pete Muntean for us there in Washington. Pete, thank you.
[06:05:00] CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood is up next. Sarah, good morning to you. Listen, the President, he is making this exit, he's not going to inauguration, but we understand that there is a very loyal ally who says do not give up on a second term. Who is it and what's the justification for this lie?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Victor. That would be Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow and a staunch Trump ally who was here at the White House yesterday, was photographed heading into the White House with notes full of suggestions for Trump to do certain things in his final days in office and Lindell said, upon emerging from that meeting, that he presented Trump with what he described as evidence of voter fraud.
Of course, there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud presented thus far, but that is what Lindell said he told the president when he met with him yesterday. It gives you a little insight into what the President is doing behind closed doors in his final days in office because meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence has been taking on more of a public role, more of a presidential role, frankly, here in the last days of the Trump White House.
Pence, on Thursday, called his soon-to-be successor, Vice President- elect Kamala Harris, on the phone, congratulated her, offered his assistance. He also attended a public briefing on inauguration safety at the FEMA headquarters and spoke publicly about the importance of keeping the nation's Capitol safe on Wednesday.
That's not something that we've heard from President Trump over the past few days, but it is a role that Pence has been filling and we know that Pence will be the only one attending the inauguration. Trump, as you guys mentioned, will not be.
Now, we don't expect to hear a whole lot from the White House press shop between now and Inauguration Day either because Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany signed off yesterday. She has completed her final day at her post. Her deputy, Brian Morgenstern, has also left his position. So the press shop here at the White House pretty empty heading into the last four days of Trump's presidency.
Also, a third cabinet member resigned overnight. That would be Health Secretary Alex Azar who submitted a letter of resignation in which he criticized the President's incitement of violence and I want to read you a part of that letter. "Unfortunately, the actions and rhetoric following the election, especially during this past week, threaten to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this administration."
And then he goes on to say, "The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power that the United States of America first brought to the world." So Victor and Christi, the halls going to be a little bit empty in this final week, less than a week of Trump's presidency as he remains behind closed doors and relatively silent.
PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, thank you so much for the update. Want to go to CNN's Jasmine Wright now. Jasmine, good to see you. So we're just days, obviously, before he takes office and President-elect Biden is outlining this plan to get COVID-19 vaccines 100 million strong in his first 100 days. What is he saying about how he's going to make this happen?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN VIDEO PRODUCER: Christi, Biden is pledging this massive federal effort to vaccinate Americans. It's part of his goal to beat coronavirus and also, as you said, to fulfill that initial plan to vaccinate 50 million people in his first 100 days and yesterday in Wilmington, Biden was really candid with Americans about that really large task, that ambitious goal ahead. Take a listen to him here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Some wonder if we're reaching too far for that goal. Is it achievable? It's a legitimate question to ask. Let me be clear. I'm convinced we can get it done and this is a time to set big goals, to pursue them with courage and conviction because the health of the nation is literally at stake. The honest truth is this -- things will get worse before they get better. I told you I'll always level with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: So Biden's plan is really multifaceted and I just want to read you some of my notes here. It includes mass vaccination sites supported by the federal government. That's like arenas and baseball fields solely for the purpose of getting those shots into arms. It includes a public education campaign to reach those Americans who are hesitant to take the vaccine and we know that is some folks in those communities of color who have a valid reason, who have had issues with the medical community in the past.
And it is also a federal push to increase the vaccine supply by using that Defense Production Act and so yesterday Biden called Trump's current roll-out really a dismal failure, a part of that candid talk that he spoke with Americans.
And he said that, you know -- but a lot of the problems -- or excuse me -- a lot of the -- he was missing some details in his plan. He did not exactly say how he would use the Defense Production Act to get those vaccines into arms and he did not say exactly how many of those mass vaccination sites that he would want to see across the country, but again, he said, really ending his remarks optimistically, that his administration will get this operation done, Christi, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Of course, we know the details are most important. Jasmine Wright for us there. Thank you so much.
PAUL: Jasmine, thank you. Let's bring in CNN political commentator Errol Louis. He's host of the "You Decide" podcast. Errol, good morning to you.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Christi.
PAUL: So I want to jump off of that point that Jasmine was just talking about with President-elect Biden obviously being very candid, saying he believes he can get this 100 million shots during the first 100 days out to people. We are now hearing that there are no reserves. Talk to me about the risk versus reward calculation here because he doesn't want to be a president who over promises at this point.
LOUIS: Well, right. The calculation here, Christi, is that he doesn't want to under promise either. A president who comes in, in his first 100 days -- and it's a random period of time frankly, but it goes back to Franklin Roosevelt and what he did in the first 100 days to try and lift the country out of the Great Depression. Look, the reality is he's never going to have a better chance. He'll never have more good will or cooperation from the Congress.
There's no bill that is adding up as far as the expenses that are associated with the recovery. So this is going to be his moment. If he wants to ask for something extraordinary, he knows, he's been around long enough to know, that this is going to be the time to ask for it and the biggest thing that he can do is try and make the biggest dent that he can in this pandemic because if he can't succeed with this, nothing else will work.
The economy won't come back, the death toll will mount, the health will -- the health risks will get worse, not better and his entire presidency could be derailed before it ever gets off the ground. So yes, if you can get 100 million or 50 to 100 people -- 100 million people vaccinated in fairly short order, that's a third of the population. That could make a huge dent. So he's making a gamble here for sure. He's a wartime president just like the last one and so he promised us he would take a bold and aggressive action. This is what it looks like.
PAUL: OK. So speaking of bold actions and what you say he's going to try to get through here, but his stimulus plan. We know that his team announced this $1.9 trillion economic rescue package. It includes direct payments, rental assistance, minimum wage increase, several other key points as well. The Democrats obviously have control of the House and the Senate. How likely do you think it is he's going to get what he wants here?
LOUIS: Oh, I think this is going to happen. I mean, of all of the items and the issues that were clearly on the ballot in November, this is probably the most meaningful. We're talking about stimulus strategies and amounts that were discussed months and months ago and the Republican majority in the Senate refused to even take it up, they certainly didn't want to advance it and that's partly why they are no longer the majority.
The Republicans were pushed to decide by voters ultimately because people wanted to see more. The state and local governments that have been crumbling under the strain here, trying to both fight the pandemic and support their citizens while the economy has continued to crater.
This was really the only strategy. There's really literally, Christi, no other strategy other than to use the spending and borrowing power of the federal government to lift up and help localities and states stand up under the strain, fight back against the pandemic and see if we can get to a point where enough people are vaccinated, get through this get, back to work and start the economy back up. This is the only strategy. There is no plan B.
PAUL: OK. So we have four and a half, five days left for President Trump to be in the White House. We know that he is now asking for this pomp and circumstance once he leaves. Upon his departure, he wants 21- gun salute, he wants a military band. What is the likelihood we're going to see that and it doesn't change his legacy at all. So what is your -- what is your sense of what is to come from this president?
LOUIS: Well, yes. I'm not sure ask is the right word, Christi. I mean, he's the commander-in-chief. if he orders it up, the Pentagon will give him what he wants. That's how the chain of command works. So he's decided to whip up a party for himself.
You know, as far as the appropriateness of it, well, you know, we we'd all be speechless on one level, but this is something that he can do. As has been predicted for a while now, up until the last minute of the last day, up until noon on January 20th, he's going to use all of the powers of the presidency to the absolute fullest.
We expect to see a round of pardons, a few more firings are not out of the question. His dwindling powers are going to be used. That's the nature of Donald Trump and so he has now signaled that he wants to also order the military to make it seem as if he's leaving as a popular president when of course in reality, the presidency has been a disastrous failure and that's why he was voted out of office, Christi.
PAUL: Errol Louis, thank you so much for always sharing your perspective and always getting up early on a weekend for us, Errol.
LOUIS: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: So there's this admission from the Trump administration about this rocky vaccine roll-out. The stockpile that a lot of people hoped would help boost the lag in vaccinations does not exist. One governor calls it deception on a national scale. So what is the plan now?
BLACKWELL: There's a new projection from the University of Washington team that creates the coronavirus models that are used by the White House. 192,000 additional COVID-19 deaths by May. The pandemic, they expect, will peak in February. They also add that more rapid vaccination efforts could bring that number down.
PAUL: Despite more than 31 million doses being distributed thus far, actual shots in arms at this point, number 12 million. Now we're learning the reserve shots that so many people had hoped could be released to boost that rate, the reserve numbers, they don't exist and governors are pretty ticked off.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
GOV. TIM WALZ, (D) MINNESOTA: It is not debatable that the United States did this more poorly than any nation on earth. They were lying. They don't have any doses held back.
GOV. KATE BROWN, (D) OREGON: Let me be very clear. This is deception on a national scale.
GOV. JARED POLIS, (D) COLORADO: What we really need is a new administration. We need President Biden and Secretary Becerra to restore some confidence and sanity to this, to figure out what the hell is going on and if they have extra doses, to get them out.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
PAUL: CNN's Polo Sandoval following this for us. So Polo, talk to us about what we know. I know that these numbers that are being thrown out are very confusing for these governors who expect that they're going to be able to take care of the people in their state.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi and Victor, we know that those Democratic governors that you just heard from are not only frustrated, but they're also confused, many of them not knowing exactly how many additional COVID-19 vaccine doses are heading their way because the Trump administration had just this week announced that they planned on releasing some of those second dose reserves, but then we heard yesterday from newly resigned HHS Secretary Alex Azar who says those don't exist, that the government is no longer sitting on any reserve supplies.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
SANDOVAL (Voice over): Vaccine manufacturer Pfizer hoping to reassure some of the nation's frustrated governors who were told by the Trump administration that COVID-19 vaccines were being held to ensure second doses. On Friday, though, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told "NBS News" that's not the case.
ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: No, there's not a reserve stockpile. We now have enough confidence that our ongoing production will be quality and available to provide the second dose for people. So we're not sitting on a reserve anymore. We've made that available to the states to order.
SANDOVAL (Voice over): Pfizer says second doses are ready and only recently started shipping them at the request of Operation Warp Speed. That's a Trump administration's effort to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine, but nationally, there's still a lot of chaos and a lot of confusion among Americans anxious to get their shots. This week closed with roughly 39 percent of distributed vaccines having gone into arms, according to the CDC.
Over 1.5 million people have already received both necessary doses. Speaking to the nation on Friday, the President-elect promised to push harder on vaccinations after he takes office.
BIDEN: We'll be a partner to the states and cities. So where things are working, we'll help do more of the good work and when things can improve, we'll bring more resources to bear to get folks tested and vaccinated.
SANDOVAL (Voice over): Biden vowing to expand vaccination eligibility, set up more free pop-up sites and give supply efforts a second wind and it can't come soon enough with a fresh warning from the CDC about new COVID-19 variants, including one that was first detected in the U.K., that are threatening to accelerate viral spread by March in the United States.
California, specifically L.A. County, is at a breaking point. That's where the National Guard is backing up the coroner's office, sharing the grim task of handling the dead. In some cases, overwhelmed EMTs are the ones having to decide, in minutes, if a COVID patient is rushed to the hospital or if they remain at home, possibly succumbing to the virus. MICHAEL DIAZ, EMT & UNION PRESIDENT: Now it's gotten to the point where if somebody has coronavirus specifically, we're just basically giving them 20 minutes and if they're not viable after 20 minutes, we're making a rough decision.
SANDOVAL (Voice over): But with more than 2 million people now dead from COVID-19 around the world, the U.S. is on track to hit 400,000 lives lost due to the virus in the coming days. That's about six packed NFL stadiums. Imagine somebody's loved one filling each one of the seats.
(END VIDEO TAPE:
SANDOVAL: And as we let those figures soak in, there is a little bit of hope or at least some promise in some of the numbers that are coming out of California, including test positivity, Victor and Christi.
That number has actually remained on a downward trend in recent days and that suggests that we could be at an -- at an apex out west, but nonetheless, hospitalization numbers are still on the rise here. Consider alone that the entire state, home to about 40 million residents, yet at one point this week, they only had 1,000, roughly 1,000, ICU beds available on one day.
BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval for us in New York. Thank you, Polo.
SANDOVAL: Thank you.
PAUL: Thanks, Polo. So President-elect Biden is optimistic that bipartisanship is going to be resurrected once President Trump is out of office.
The President-elect's push to pass a massive rescue package could be the first big test of that. We're going to talk about that with our political experts next.
BLACKWELL: President-elect Joe Biden is urging Congress to take quick action on his $1.9 trillion rescue package once he takes office just but four days away, but it's not just a looming Trump impeachment trial that could stand in the way. Senate Republican aides tell "Politico" that the plan as is could be dead on arrival. A lot of people are citing the $15 minimum wage push.
GOP senator Marco Rubio questioned the timeline. He tweeted this, "President-elect Biden served in the Senate for more than 35 years.
BLACKWELL: "So, he knows the plan he outlined can't pass quickly and will delay the $2,000 for hard-hit Americans." Let's welcome in now, CNN political commentators Alice Stewart and Maria Cardona. They host the podcast "Hot Mics From Left to Right". Ladies, welcome back.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning --
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Victor.
BLACKWELL: All right, so let me start with you, Alice, and let's put back up on the screen what is in this package. You've stimulus checks for 1,400 to round out, adding the $600 that already went out to 2,000. Billions for rental assistance, eviction moratorium, more for state and local governments, schools, colleges, money for vaccine program. Can Republicans get behind this?
STEWART: I think so, and I certainly hope so. Look, there was bipartisan agreement on the bill not too long ago. And unfortunately, as the bill got to the one-yard line, President Trump pulled the ball out from underneath everyone. So, I think they've gotten there before and they can certainly do so again.
And I actually have pretty strong confidence that Joe Biden will be able to work across the aisle and get things done, because the American people really need this. And a few things that I think Biden has in his favor is that he's done this before, he's been in Congress. He understands how to get things done. And one thing that stood out to me as he was talking about this back in December. He said two things to members of Congress.
I will never mislead you, and I will never embarrass you. And when you are honest with people and you show respect, you're much more able to get things done. So, I do think he has that in his favor, in terms of getting this across the finish line and other pieces of legislation.
BLACKWELL: Maria, the president-elect is optimistic too, but I want you to listen to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about that optimism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I believe that President-elect Biden has a very optimistic view of the Republican Party. He -- you know, he has made past statements on, you know, once Trump is gone, they will see the err of their ways. And I applaud his optimism, but I disagree with his assessment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Acutely on the rescue plan and for the breadth of the legislation he wants to get through. What do you think?
CARDONA: Well, I think, first of all, you should start out these negotiations, especially at this moment in time, where the challenges that are facing the country are unprecedented. And you should start out with optimism. You should start out thinking the best of people.
You should start out putting all of the priorities of the nation first, and that's exactly what Joe Biden is doing. I'm glad he's going big. I'm glad he's being optimistic. But, look, there's no question that there will be challenges. And there's no question that there will be Republicans on the other side who don't want to see him succeed.
We saw it already what happened during the term that he worked in, right, under President Obama where you saw Mitch McConnell saying that the first thing that he wanted to make sure happen was that President Obama was only just a first term, one-term president. My hope is that Republicans can put this aside, and I'm going to throw in my lot with my amiga, Alice Stewart here, and being optimistic that both sides understand the stakes that this country is facing for both parties, and put priorities of the American people first.
And the American people are hurting. We are -- we have massive debts on our hand. We have massive coronavirus infections on our hand. We have massive --
BLACKWELL: Yes --
CARDONA: Problems with vaccine distributions. So, hopefully, both parties can put those priorities first and focus on getting what's -- for the nation.
BLACKWELL: All right, so we talked about the incoming president. Let's talk about the outgoing president. Alice, to you, President Trump has been demanding to know which Republicans voted against him during the house impeachment, and whether those lawmakers could be primaried during 2022 midterms. That's according to a source familiar. Do you expect that Trump as a foe will be as potent two years or I guess a year from now?
CARDONA: I do. Look, Victor, he has made no secret about the fact he does have a war chest and he does have an enemies list. And I intend him to use one for the other because anyone who has spoken out against him or been vocal in criticizing him, he's made it quite clear that they would be primaried. And I believe certainly they will, starting with the constitutional offices in my home state of Georgia, he's made quite clear.
But all across the country, they know full well who voted for and who voted against the impeachment issue. And those people, I have no doubt will face consequences for that. I don't agree with it. I think the reason members of Congress are there to represent the people of their district, not the president of the United States.
But he's made it quite clear that he intends to show consequences for those actions. But more than anything, I do hope that what he does do in his post-presidency is the 74 million people that voted for him, the insurrectionist aside --
BLACKWELL: Yes --
CARDONA: The 74 million people that voted for him, we need to keep them in the fold, under the tent, and let them know that their voices will continue to be heard, whether or not President Trump is involved or not. BLACKWELL: Well, there is a Quinnipiac poll that shows that 70 percent
of Republicans don't believe that Joe Biden won legitimately. So that percentage is not as small as the number of people who showed up at the Capitol. Maria, let me finish with you. We talked about President Trump as foe. What about for Democrats, President Trump as foil? Do you want him out on the campaign trail with these big crowds in 2022?
CARDONA: You know, I actually don't because I think this president has been so toxic and has been so dangerous and has a horrendous legacy. And will leave with a dark mark, not just on his legacy personally, but on American history. So, I really don't think that he will be involved. And, you know, whose call that's going to be? It's going to be all of the Republicans who supported him in these last four years, who enabled him to do all of the dangerous things and say all of the dangerous things, without any consequence.
It's going to be -- a lot of this is going to be up to them as to whether this president is going to be able to play a role, either as a foil for them in their Republican primaries and their Republican political process, and in the future of the Republican Party or in American politics, generally. And I really hope they don't let him do that.
BLACKWELL: All right, last weekend of the Trump administration, ladies, thank you, both.
CARDONA: Thank you so much Victor --
STEWART: Thank you, Victor.
PAUL: So, as arrests related to the insurrection are happening, there's a freshman Congresswoman who wants to know if any rioters are still currently serving in the military. She's going to talk to us about her call for a full investigation. Stay close.
PAUL: So, authorities in Washington are investigating a lot of different angles in an attempt to determine what went wrong leading up to the attack on the Capitol, and they're looking into who these attackers were. Now, in some cases, they found that former members of the military were in the middle of this insurrection, and now the army is moving to root out this extremism with its -- within its ranks.
The running background checks on soldiers, providing security for the inauguration on Wednesday. My next guest is a new house member who was in the chambers when the attacks started. Congresswoman Sara Jacobs is calling on the Defense Department now to investigate whether current service members were involved. Congresswoman, it's good to have you here, thank you for waking up early for us.
REP. SARA JACOBS (D-CA): Of course, happy to be here with you. PAUL: Absolutely. So, I know that you sent this letter to the
Secretary of Defense, demanding an investigation into whether active and former military members are allegedly participating in any of these attacks. We have reports that police officers, even some FDNY members might have been there as well. What did you say in your letter?
JACOBS: You know, we called on the Department of Defense to investigate any current members of the military that might have been involved in the attack on the Capitol, and in some cases they have the authority to investigate former members of the military that they can call back and hold to trial under the military justice code.
And so, I represent a proud military community of San Diego, and I was getting so many calls from my constituents saying that the reports they were hearing of potentially current and former members of the military are part of this attack, really dishonor the oath that they took, the oath that I took to defend the constitution.
PAUL: Have you heard back from the Department of Defense?
JACOBS: We have not received an official response yet. We know that they are working hard to make sure that any -- that they're rooting out extremism in their own troops. We know the Joint Chiefs has sent a letter out to members of the military, and that they're doing background checks on anyone who will be part of security for the inauguration.
PAUL: So, that's when the Defense Department -- we've heard reports of specifically two officers in the Seattle Police Department for example, that are on paid leave, after allegations that they were in D.C. And by the way, just so you know, you're looking at a shot on the right-hand side of your screen there of Capitol Hill, from one of the barriers that's been put up to try to protect the Capitol in that area during the inauguration.
Also, as I mentioned, the FDNY members that were allegedly spotted at what became the Capitol attack. It seems like those are things that would have to be addressed locally. Are there examinations, do you know of, that are going on at these local law enforcement jurisdictions to address any extremists or racists activity within the departments at that level?
JACOBS: You know, I know there are a number of local municipalities that are doing their own investigations. Obviously, the FBI is doing everything they can to identify anyone who was part of this attack and make sure that they are held accountable. And I think that this goes to the larger conversation that our country has been having around race and white supremacy since this past Summer. And I think that it's much needed.
And I think a lot of these investigations are going to show what a lot of our black and brown community members have been saying for a long time. PAUL: I want to listen to something with you that Senator Rand Paul
said on "Fox" last night, criticizing the military presence that is in D.C. right now. Let's listen together here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): You know, government, they either under-react or overreact. So, I think there's too little security, obviously, last week, and now we're going to become a militarized zone. And you know, they're checking congressmen as they come in to see if they have a sharp pencil -- yes, we have to resist this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: What do you think he means by we have to resist this, what is your reaction to that?
JACOBS: You know, I think it's important that we have this strong military posture -- about we have this strong security posture for the inauguration. We know that there are threats that have been made, and I think it's important to deter any potential attack or people who are thinking about coming to try and disrupt the inauguration. With all due respect to Senator Paul, I'm a millennial, most of what we're making members of Congress go through right now is what most millennials have to go through to go to school every single day.
PAUL: Good point, Congresswoman Sarah Jacobs, it's so good to talk with you this morning, thank you, stay safe.
BLACKWELL: For the first time since the Capitol riots, we're hearing the firsthand accounts of what officers were up against as they try to fight off that mob. You'll hear about their experiences next.
BLACKWELL: For the first time since the Capitol riots, we're hearing the firsthand accounts of what officers were up against.
PAUL: Yes, officers talking very candidly right now about what happened inside the walls of that Capitol. I think when you hear, you're going to agree, regardless of what side you're on. This was terrifying for them. And we do want to just forewarn you, give you a heads-up, some of this is quite disturbing. We don't want you be caught off guard. Here is CNN's Shimon Prokupecz.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: In last week's deadly coup attack at the U.S. Capitol, a pro-Trump mob swarm the building, outnumbering and battling police officers fighting to defend it.
MICHAEL FANONE, METROPOLITAN POLICE, WASHINGTON D.C.: You know, it's difficult to offer any resistance when you're only about 30 guys going up against 15,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to close the door!
PROKUPECZ: D.C. Metro police officer Michael Fanone was in this group of officers at the west front entrance of the Capitol as rioters forced their way in. They eventually push him out into the crowd where Fanone says he was tasered several times. While trapped, the 40-year- old says he thought about using his gun to fight back.
FANONE: Some guys started getting hold of my gun, and they were screaming out, you know, kill him with his own gun. At that point, you know, it was just like self-preservation. You know, how do I survive this situation? And I thought about, you know, using deadly force. I thought about shooting people.
And then I just came to the conclusion that, you know, if I was to do that, you know, I might get a few, but I'm not going to take everybody and they'll probably take my gun away from me, and that would definitely give them the justification that they were looking for to kill me if they already didn't have made that up in their minds. So, the other option I thought of, was, you know, try to appeal to somebody's humanity, and I just remember yelling out that I have kids. And it seemed to work.
Some people in the crowd started to encircle me and try to offer me some level of protection. A lot of people have asked me, you know, my thoughts on the individuals in the crowd that you know, that helped me or tried to offer some assistance. And I think kind of the conclusion I've come to is like, you know, thank you -- for being there.
PROKUPECZ: This horrifying video shows the moment the violent mob storms into a tunnel of the building, trapping and crushing D.C. Metro police officer Daniel Hodges by a door.
DANIEL HODGES, METRO POLICE OFFICER, WASHINGTON D.C.: There was a guy ripping my mask off, and he was able to rip away my baton and beat me with it. And you know, he was practically foaming at the mouth. So, just these people were true believers in the worst way. When things were looking better, you know, obviously, I was calling out for all I was worth. And an officer behind me was able to get me enough room to pull me out there. And they brought me to the rear, so, I was able to extricate myself.
PROKUPECZ: Hodges miraculously leaving the attack without any major injuries, saying he was shocked. Some rioters thought authorities would be on their side.
HODGES: The cognitive dissonance and the zealotry of these people was unreal. You know, they were waving the thin blue line flag and telling us, you know, we're not your enemy as they were attacking us, and you know, killed one of us.
Some of them felt like there would be -- quick fat -- like, some of them felt like we would be fast friends because they have -- they've been -- so many of them had been vocal or at least virtually signaling their support for the police over the past year. They say -- they say things like, you know, we've been supporting you through all of this Black Lives Matter stuff, you should have our back. And they felt like entitled.
They felt like they would just walk up there and tell us that they're here to take back Congress and we would agree with them and we'd walk in hand-in-hand and just take over the nation. But obviously, that did not -- that was not the case and it will never be the case.
PROKUPECZ: The insurrection is even using unusual means in their efforts to break into the most secure areas of the U.S. Capitol building.
CHRISTINA LAURY, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON D.C.: The individuals were pushing, shoving officers, hitting officers. They were spraying us with what we were -- are calling essentially bear mace.
It was two to three hours of, you know, heroism and bravery from these officers. I mean, the violence that they -- you know, were -- I mean, they were getting hit with metal objects, metal poles. I remember seeing pitchforks. You know, they're getting sprayed, knocked down. And I remember, you know, just reinforcements. Just officers pulling officers back to heal up, and you know, them stepping in to get to the front line. And then they go down and then, you know, more officers step in.
BLACKWELL: For more details, we get to what happened that day, the clearer it becomes that, that could have been a massacre. And we're grateful for the officers who did their job that day to protect our leaders there in Washington.
BLACKWELL: Shimon Prokupecz, we thank you for that report, and we will be back.