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New Day Saturday
National Guard Members Sent To 16 States To Help Support Hospitals; CA Health Department Allowing Sick Health Care workers To Return "Immediately"; More Than 65 Million People Are Under Winter Alerts This Weekend; Fire Crews Battle Massive 11-Alarm Fire At Chlorine Plant In NJ; Bipartisan Support Grows For Banning Lawmakers From Trading Stocks; Dems Face 2022 Challenge With Key Agenda Items At A Standstill; Oath Keeper Founder, 10 Others Charged With Seditious Conspiracy. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired January 15, 2022 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tragically, Marilyn's life was cut short, just seven years later.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, of course, her early death is a tragedy, but that doesn't overwrite everything that she achieved up until that point.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): Her legacy not just as an actress, but as a feminist Trailblazer lives on.
MIRA SORVINO, ACTOR: She became the biggest actress in the world, and the biggest cultural icon of the 20th century. I mean, she really was truly extraordinary.
CAMEROTA: In New York, Alisyn Camerota, CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Be sure to tune in all new "CNN ORIGINAL SERIES REFRAMED MARILYN MONROE" it premieres with back to back episodes tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. only here on CNN.
We had eight o'clock hour now. Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul and welcome to your "New Day."
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Boris Sanchez.
The Biden administration is responding to a surge of COVID cases across the country by sending out free at home COVID test. We'll tell you how you can get yours and explain some changes in the CDC guidance on masking.
PAUL: And a sprawling winter storm is marching across the country right now. It's slammed the Midwest, we've got some of the newest video for you and it's setting its sights now on the east, bringing heavy rain, snow and ice. SANCHEZ: A message from officials stay inside and close your windows that order in parts of New Jersey as an 11-alarm fire at a chemical plant continues to burn this hour.
PAUL: And Djokovic detained. The tennis stars back in detention after his visa is revoked for a second time. The moves today that could reshape the Australian Open.
You're waking up to Saturday January 15th. And we are so grateful to have your company thanks for being here.
SANCHEZ: And great to be with you Christi.
We start with the Omicron variant pressing U.S. hospitals into crisis mode this morning. Several states are now relying on National Guard personnel to fill the staffing gaps as sick healthcare workers miss work to recover from the virus.
PAUL: The ICU beds across the nation are filling up. More than a dozen states are reporting less than 15% capacity left for patients who need it.
Now to help stop the spread, the Biden administration is planning to make high quality masks available for free, the CDC is now urging everyone to wear the most protective mask they can find saying swapping their cloth masks for those N95 masks will offer better protection against the virus.
CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen says a cloth mask just isn't enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: We have known for over a year that COVID is airborne and our quality of mask really matters that it's best if you wear an N95, K95 or KF94 masks, if you're unable to do that at least wear a surgical mask with a cloth mask on top of that. But a single layer cloth mask just is not enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Testing for COVID-19 remains a major obstacle here in the United States. Democrats in Washington say the White House is being reactive and not moving fast enough to fix the shortage ahead of time.
PAUL: And here's something starting today, a lot of you can get at home COVID-19 tests at no cost through your private insurance. CNN's Jacqueline Howard has more.
JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Christi and Boris this is happening right now. Most Americans with health insurance can now walk into a pharmacy store or go online and get at home COVID-19 tests for free through their insurance. How this works, depending on your plan, you can get an over the counter at home test at no cost upfront, or you may get reimbursed. So you may have to still purchase the test, but submit your receipt to your insurer for that reimbursement. So remember to save those receipts. And another thing, some insurers may set up a preferred network of pharmacies stores or online vendors where you can get your free test if you purchase a test outside of the network ensures must reimburse up to $12 per test. And then for those who don't have health insurance, the Biden administration says that it's launching a website on January 19th, where any American can request a free at home test. The administration says it's limiting orders to four rapid tests per household.
And of course, Boris and Christi with the ongoing spread of the Omicron varian, increasing testing has been a major focus of the White House. Back to you.
PAUL: And obviously we're seeing this all over the country. It's not just the caseload in hospitals that so dangerous, facilities are dealing with critical staffing shortages. In California health care workers who test positive or are exposed to the virus can now return to work immediately without isolation or testing as long as they're asymptomatic and they wear an N95 mask. It's not sitting well with a lot of people on the frontlines.
As you can imagine, in a recent op-ed in the Sacramento Bee, Cathy Kennedy, President of the California Nurses Association writes this, we need more Infectious Disease Controls, not more casualties, surging pandemic numbers are warning to strengthen safety measures now weaken them.
She is with us now, Cathy Kennedy. Cathy, thank you so much for the work that you do. For all that you all have been dealing with in the last couple of years.
I wanted to ask your opinion about the fact that we're hearing so many different things from frontline workers, and you're so stressed out. Help us understand what you're hearing right now, with this information from Governor Newsom, your op-ed in the Sacramento Bee, by the way is titled Government -- Governor Newsom Is Letting Hospitals Make Covid Infected Nurses Work That Will Kill People. Is that a sentiment of most of the frontline workers that you know?
CATHY KENNEDY, PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA NURSES ASSOCIATION: Absolutely. You know, we've been at this for the last two years. And so, when I heard the news, when I was at work last weekend, I -- you know, I was just amazed I thought, you know, this is unconscionable. I mean for, for them to allow asymptomatic healthcare workers that even test positive to come to work wearing an N95, you know, we're guaranteed to cause our patients, visitors and other health care workers to get this virus. And it's just something that never should have happened. You know, that we're moving the goalposts, you know, just to fit the needs of the corporations to make sure that, you know, their revenues keep coming in.
And so, this problem, not allowing healthcare workers, registered nurses to quarantine and isolate and get well is a problem that is amazing to us -- to me. PAUL: So that the L.A. Times is reporting that the California Health and Human Services Secretary says this is not a mandate per se from the Governor, that the guidelines aren't requirements are asking hospitals to rely on us as a last resort. You have all seen so much. Do you feel like there are frontline workers who feel they will do it because of the urgency of the situation they are in even if they don't feel up to the task?
KENNEDY: You know, here's the thing, as a registered nurse, we're there to, you know, make sure that the patients get well. So we expect the employer to really make sure that all those protective measures are in place. This is a public health crisis, we're in a pandemic, and it hasn't gone away. I mean, now we have this highly transmissible variant that's causing so many people to be not only exposed, but you know, die.
And so now, you know, to say that asymptomatic healthcare workers, nurses, even if they test positive, wearing N95, mask and come to work, you know, because we need you. And so, nurses want to take care of patients, they don't want to get sick. And so they're, they don't want to work in unsafe environments. So, you know, it's a big concern to us. We're exhausted.
PAUL: Yes, I know. We, we've heard that and we see it, and we feel for you because you're saving lives. And yet, you're risking your own health at the same time. Regarding --
PAUL: -- this call to have nurses who are positive come in anyway. How did -- do you know how the leadership at many of these hospitals, the executives of the hospitals absorbed this news? And do they plan to really utilize it fully?
KENNEDY: You know, what we had we, it's out there. And so, the hospital that I work at, again, you know, they're saying if you're asymptomatic, you don't have any symptoms, were an N95 mask and come on in. The problem with that is that if you know you're, if you're asymptomatic, right, and you come to work, who's to say that all of a sudden while you're working, that you do become symptomatic? Then that means that you've got to be replaced. Do you need to go home and who have you exposed?
So really, it's it doesn't make any sense, you know, weakening these guidance, confusing people is not what we need to do. We need to strengthen them, making sure that people are vaccinated, boosted, making sure that you know, if you have, you know, patient that are under investigation or questionable COVID positive, making sure that you're isolating them properly. You know, contact tracing, expand the COVID testing, proper quarantining all of those things we've been asking for him for two years. Two years, you know, and --
KENNEDY: -- and here we are.
PAUL: Oh, you also wrote and I only have a couple of seconds left, but you wrote that this is reckless guidance driven by a hospital industry focused on maintaining business operations, revenues, and profits. What evidence do you see of that?
KENNEDY: Well, well, take a look, you know, a lot of these health care corporations have made billions of dollars even during the pandemic. So it's clear, you know, that they are looking at making their profits instead of making sure that patients are getting the care that they need. You know, health care is a human right. And it's very important that we have been sounding the alarm for two years and we will continue to sound the alarm.
We're here to make sure that patients are safe, but also nurses and other health care workers have what they need. If they are infected, they need proper quarantining. Allow us, them to get the rest and that they need so that they can be healthy and come back to work.
PAUL: Cathy Kennedy, we appreciate all that you are all doing. So, so please know that we appreciate it. Thank you.
KENNEDY: Thank you very much.
PAUL: Of course.
SANCHEZ: More than 65 million people ranging from the Midwest to the East Coast are under winter weather alerts as a massive storm plows through different parts of the country. Many states already preparing for what meteorologists warn could be a crippling ice storm. Some regions are going to see rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain all in just 24 hours.
Let's get straight to CNN's Allison Chinchar live from the CNN Weather Center. Allison, what are you expecting?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: A pretty widespread storm. I think that's one of the biggest takeaways is just how many states are really going to be impacted by this particular storm. We take a look at where it is. Now we've started to see that transition from rain over to snow for areas like St. Louis, Kansas City, and that system is going to continue to push down to the south and east as it does, it's going to bring a lot of colder air with it.
So you're going to start to see that changeover for a lot of other cities, Nashville, Knoxville eventually in towards Atlanta. This is where you have all those winter weather alerts even an ice storm warning for portions of the Carolinas and Georgia. But again, it just goes to show you just how many people are expected to be impacted by this particular storm.
Throughout the day today, the low will dive down deep into the South East eventually sliding ever so slowly across the southeast before then shooting back up the eastern seaboard impacting areas of the Mid Atlantic and the Northeast once we get into Sunday and Monday. Ice is going to be hands down the biggest concern we have with this storm. Widespread about a quarter of an inch. Some places could pick up as much as three quarters of an inch of ice which obviously is going to cause huge widespread power outages. Not to mention, not to mention dangerous road conditions as well. Otherwise heaviest snow Boris and Christi between Nashville and Charlotte, those higher elevations in the southern Appalachians could see up to two feet.
SANCHEZ: Yikes. And it's not just what the storm is going to bring when it's around, but also the next few days the effects are going to be lingering, right?
CHINCHAR: Yes, absolutely. Yes. You'll get some melting during the day as temperatures go back up but then a refreeze at night once those temperatures go back below freezing.
SANCHEZ: Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.
PAUL: Thank you Allison.
So this morning firefighters are battling a massive 11-alarm fire. This is a chlorine manufacturing plant in Passaic, New Jersey. I mean look at it that's from miles away. You can see it the fire also led authorities to issue air quality warnings for the region.
SANCHEZ: CNN's Polo Sandoval has been following the story for us. Polo, what's the latest we've learned about the potential cause of the fire.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well guys, just to give you a sense of the intensity of this fire here in New York about 16 miles east of where this fire actually was burning. Folks here advise to basically just or at least told that they could potentially smell and see the smoke here in New York City. So just gives you a big sense of just how intense this fire was. The good news here, no reports of any major injuries thus far here, crews on the scene they're making sure that there are no flare ups.
This facility used to store plastics and chlorine pellets according to the mayor. In fact, just look at these pictures. We can even bring it up full for the viewers so they can actually see them for themselves. And just as crews out there were battling constantly that fire overnight here through the cold. This warehouse run by a company that makes pool treatment products. The mayor there in Passaic, saying that counts on about 100,000 square feet of production space and 11-alarm blaze that force crews to draft water from a nearby river just to try to contain this blaze here. I want you to hear directly from the city's fire chief and the mayor as they offered an update on their social media overnight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK TRENTACOST, CHIEF, PASSAIC FIRE: Fire is still raging. We're going to continue to fall water on it till we have confirmed that the building was vacant, was used for storage of plastics and pellets. Portion of the building did have chlorine in it. That seems to be under control at this time. We'll be monitoring that also throughout the night. But certainly we're far from having this control of the fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: Yes, we're checking back to see exactly how much progress they've made. But at this point, again, the big key here is that the building was making at the time no reports of any major injuries New Jersey's Department of Employment Protection. Boris and Christi, they are on site right now making sure that it doesn't pose any threat for new residents beyond the scene there.
But as you heard from the mayor, just a little while ago, he also was recommending the people who live nearby simply shut their windows overnight because they weren't sure as to whether or not it was actually a threat posing a threat for neighbors.
SANCHEZ: All right, Polo Sandoval. Thank you so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Polo.
Listen, we're following some breaking news. Tsunami advisories issued for the West Coast after a massive volcano eruption in Tonga. The areas that are now under advisory what we know about the eruption, you're actually going to see it. We'll have that play in just a moment.
Also, the U.S. saying it has information that Russia is preparing a false attack to justify invading Ukraine. We'll tell you how Putin is responding now. Next.
SANCHEZ: Breaking now in the CNN Newsroom, the western U.S. Coast under a tsunami advisory. This is after a tsunami hit Tonga's largest island and reportedly sent waves flooding into the capital. Take a look at this video, you can see waves coming in inundating the coastline. This happening after an underwater volcano in the South Pacific exploded in a violent eruption. You can see as the waves get into some parts of the Tonga capital, hitting homes. And here's the massive ash cloud as the volcano erupts sending shockwaves spreading from the center.
PAUL: Yes, how about that we can see that from satellite right now. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar back with us. Allison, when you see this, what do you know about it?
CHINCHAR: Right. I mean, it's very impressive. I mean, you see these things often where you can see a lot of this from space. But this is a pretty impressive when you take a look at the scope of it. So there you can see the initial eruption and then the shockwave you can kind of see that around the edges here that takes place initially afterwards. Again, and it's a pretty large shockwave at that that takes place. Now this volcanic eruption happened early or Saturday evening, local time, about 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday. We've already had several observed tsunami waves so far the highest at this point Norfolk Island at about 4.2 feet. But we've even had a couple observed tsunami waves on Hawaii, which is why they do have a tsunami advisory in place along every single Hawaiian island. It's not just Hawaii, though, we do have a newly issued tsunami advisory for areas of the West Coast. Now, if we do get some unusual wave activity that makes it that far that timing for those waves would be at the earliest about 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time, continuing till about 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time this morning.
Again, that variation being just because of how far away they will be from that original point of where the tsunami initiates. So again, this is you're looking at between 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time up to about 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time for any of that unusual wave activity to finally make it to the West Coast.
SANCHEZ: And we know you'll keep an eye on that for us. Allison Chinchar from the CNN Weather Center, thank you.
New this morning, Ukraine has invited President Biden and President Vladimir Putin to take part in a virtual meeting in part to discuss the security situation in that region. It comes as CNN has learned that Russia may be preparing to conduct an operation in eastern Ukraine, attempting to create an excuse for an invasion of that country.
PAUL: CNN senior international correspondent Sam Kiley following all of this from Kyiv.
Sam, a spokesman for Putin says those reports are unfounded. I don't know that you would expect anything different from that. But what more are you, are you hearing?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So firstly, the false flag as it's called attack that the Pentagon say that they have intelligence has been uncovered in the Donbass region that's in eastern Ukraine area occupied and 2014 by Russian back rebels. Now, false flag attack is you know, is when a government or a agency attacks itself or its own people in order to blame a third party. So, in the past, Russia has been accused of doing this when relating to Chechnya and the war in Chechnya. Russian civilians attacked and blamed in the end, Russia was blamed for attacking its own people and blaming the Chechens.
Similar plot of set appears to have been uncovered according to the Pentagon, their allegation is that undercover operatives in the Donbass region from Russia are planning to attack some kind of target in that area, and then blame the Ukrainians and use that as an excuse for making war. And at the same time, pretty much at the same time, the Ukrainian say they've uncovered a similar plot that they think is unfolding or could unfold in Moldova, also against a Russian troops there that they say that they would then get blamed for. We've got no evidence, of course to support these other than the claims from these two national intelligence agencies in the Russians flatly rejected. But there has been an increasing amount of tension of course, with 120,000 troops, Russian troops gathered on the Ukrainian border, with the Russians taking an increasingly hard line after the failure of a week's diplomacy in which the Russians were demanding that East Europe turn the clock back to 1997 before any of these European countries had NATO forces stationed in them and get written undertaking that Ukraine would never be allowed to join NATO. That's really the crux of the issue and the Ukrainians United States European Union Western allies all agree that that'll be up to NATO and Ukraine, not the Kremlin.
SANCHEZ: Well, Sam Kylie reporting from Kyiv. Thank you so much.
Let's bring in Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger now, she's a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Congresswoman, I appreciate you sharing part of your weekend with us. Let's talk about Ukraine. The administration has vowed crippling sanctions on Russia if it invades that country. Sanctions didn't work in Crimea that the threat of sanctions don't appear to deter Vladimir Putin. So, if you're looking at all the options, how far should the United States go to protect Ukrainian sovereignty?
REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (D-VA): Well, I think first and foremost, the phrase that they're using crippling sanctions against Putin, all of his cronies and counterparts. Certainly, I think there are more aggressive steps as it relates to sanctions that the United States could be taking than what we've taken in the past. But notably, the information that is out in the public is leading to this discussion, is the excellent work of the men and women have intelligence agencies throughout the world.
And so, certainly at this point in time, you know, the men and women of the U.S. intelligence agencies are digging into the information that is available to us, analyzing providing that information, of course, back to the White House, and back to lawmakers and military and diplomatic leaders. And that's going to be incredibly pivotal for us to fully understand the scope of where we are and what the threats are, before making any forward movements on final decisions.
SANCHEZ: Congresswoman, I do want to pivot to a domestic issue that I know you are passionate about. You're one of a growing number of lawmakers backing bills that would bar current members of Congress and their families from trading stocks. You've actually introduced the Trust In Congress Act, along with Republican Congressman Chip Roy. This is a bipartisan proposal that has a lot of support from both sides of the aisle. Why is this issue a priority for you?
SPANBERGER: This issue is a priority for me because it's a priority for the people I represent. It's a priority for the American people. We need to ensure we Congress need to take active steps to ensure that every American knows that we are spending every day working on their behalf, not on behalf of our own financial stock holdings. In the early days of the pandemic, when we saw reports of members of Congress who were buying or selling certain stocks that were, you know, to most people's view, pretty related to the to the early stages of that pandemic. That was just another example. And kind of the American people's eyes of look at those lawmakers, we're in this pandemic and they're buying and selling stocks.
In my own district, we sent out a survey asking my constituents, what do you think, should lawmakers be able to buy and sell individual stocks? And we had more than 3,000 responses in fewer than 24 hours and 93% of people said absolutely not. This is an active step that we can take to ensure that people know that we are working to further gain their trust and not just avoid impropriety and the actions of illegal stock trades or informed stock trades, but in fact, also the even the mere perception of that impropriety.
And so, limiting ourselves in this way not allowing members of Congress, their spouses or dependent children to buy or sell individual stocks is a step that we can take. That's why we see so many members of Congress across the political spectrum, across geographies across lengths of service, getting behind this idea and supporting our bill. It's why we have a companion piece on the Senate side. We've worked with Senator Ossoff and Senator Kelly, and the proposal that they've put forth a companion to our bill. And we see a Republican Senator Hawley kind of mirror that that effort with his own bill.
So, it is certainly a priority that is taking hold across Congress on both the House and the Senate side. And I look forward to continuing to build a coalition until we bring this bill for a vote.
SANCHEZ: And yet Congresswoman, a key member of the House is not supportive of the idea. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has effectively said that, you know, we live in a free market economy and lawmakers should be free to participate in that economy. What's your message to the speaker?
SPANBERGER: My message to anyone who would sort of say but we can do what we want. We're just like everybody else, we're not. We're members of Congress, we have access to information that others don't have access to. We vote on things that could potentially move the markets. And I think we should be held to a different standard, members of the media, members of the intelligence community members of depending upon where your job is.
Stockbrokers, people in different professions have different requirements placed on them based on access to information or based on the idea of ensuring that there's no viewed potential conflict. Members of Congress, we have a lot of responsibility. We have a lot of access to information and we should be held to the highest standard.
Many Members of Congress agree with me on that point. I think it's entirely valid to put such limitations on ourselves and our immediate family, spouses and dependent children. And I hope that over time for those in Congress who have hesitation, they'll see the value in affirming our intent, that our -- the value in telling the American people, we are only working for you. And I hope they'll join our efforts.
SANCHEZ: Why do you think Speaker Pelosi won't put it on the floor for a vote?
SPANBERGER: There's a couple steps to move forward. The bill needs to go through for a markup. Certainly, I've heard from some colleagues who would say, well, you know, I would make -- I would put forth this amendment or I would make this adjustment. And so, there's still time where the bill needs to go for a markup and then get to the floor.
But certainly, the bigger the coalition of members who support this bill, both as co-sponsors and those who intend to vote for it, I think we are moving steadily towards the floor vote. These things don't happen in a day. Certainly, we introduced this legislation more than a year ago, Chip Roy and I. And so we've been steadily building support for it.
I'm grateful for the kind of push from people across the country who've really, you know, recognize this issue as being an important one of trust within the American population. And so we're moving forward. I -- we don't have a date for a floor vote, but there's a couple steps before us. And we're, you know, slow but steady. We'll get there.
SANCHEZ: Please keep us up to speed on that progress.
SPANBERGER: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: I do want to ask you more broadly about Joe Biden's presidency. We're about one year into it as of this coming Thursday. Some of your party's top priorities are gridlock in Congress. National voting rights legislation, the historic Build Back Better spending bill, what do you plan to tell voters if these key items don't pass come the midterm elections in November?
SPANBERGER: I intend to tell voters what we have done in this year with Democrats in charge in the House. And certainly, with the support of my vote and my advocacy, we have passed the American Rescue Plan. That's a bill that delivered billions of dollars locally, to our communities to support our schools, bringing kids back safely, new HVAC systems, new counselors in our schools.
It's a bill that provided billions of dollars across the country for access to broadband connectivity, certainly a priority across the rural communities that I represent. It's a bill that sent money directly to our localities so that they could continue to recover from the pandemic. It's a bill that's sent money directly to businesses in the form of PPP loans.
And so many of the small businesses I represent depended on those PPP loans even in, you know, 2021 to continue to stay afloat. And then there's the bipartisan infrastructure investment and jobs act. A bill that is bringing billions of dollars to the Commonwealth of Virginia to repair our roads or bridges, to continue building out that broadband internet, replacing lead pipes, strengthening our water systems and building up our resiliency, particularly in the area of the Chesapeake Bay, and our coastal regions.
So there is so much that we have done and there is so much that we continue to work on and work for. And so that's the message that I'm bringing to voters across Virginia. And certainly the message that I'm bringing to the people that I represent. We have done so much that has real tangible impact on people's lives. And we continue to work for more progress.
That process at times can be bumpy. But what we've delivered so far has been so deeply meaningful and important to individuals, to businesses and to the larger economy across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
SANCHEZ: Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, plenty more questions to ask. We hope you'll come back when we have a bit more time. Thanks so much.
SPANBERGER: I look forward to it. Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Of course. Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.
PAUL: Well, former Vice President Mike Pence is speaking out about the January 6 insurrection. In a recent op ed piece, he wrote this, "On Washington 6, an angry mob ransacked the Capitol largely to try to get Congress and me as the president of the Senate to use federal authority to overturn results of the presidential election that had been certified by all 50 states."
This is all happening as the Department of Justice is unveiling seditious conspiracy charges for 11 defendants including the leader of the Oath Keepers Stewart Rhodes who pleaded not guilty in court yesterday. And we're learning Attorney General Merrick Garland was initially reluctant to bring the charge.
Let's break down all of this with CNN Legal Analyst and former Federal Prosecutor Elliot Williams. Elliot, so good to have you with us. Talk to us about seditious conspiracy. I know that that is a charge that's -- it's very specific, it's very targeted. What does it mean in this case?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: OK, look, so to find someone guilty of seditious conspiracy, prosecutors would have to prove it two or more people conspired by force to prevent hinder or delay any law of the United States.
Now that sounds obvious because we watch this all play out on camera, right? You saw people breaking into the Capitol Building, what's so hard about it. Number one, you have to prove the agreement, you got to prove that there were communications or text messages or phone messages, whatever it might have been between multiple planners. And number two, that their ultimate goal wasn't just to cause violence but to stop the carrying out of any law. That's actually a really high bar. It's not charged very often. I believe the last time (INAUDIBLE) even charged it was 2010 or 2011. And the Justice Department just didn't want to see these charges get thrown out, I think, that's why it took them so long to bring these.
PAUL: The encrypted app communications are potentially what is important here. How so?
WILLIAMS: Yes, they're potentially damning because number one, it's quite clear that they were using encrypted messages to communicate with each other so as to evade scrutiny, so people wouldn't find them. But the nature of the communications they were having, Stewart Rhodes and other people were quite significant on one on November 5th, 2020. He says, we're not going through this without Civil War.
There's no political or legal way to do this, suggesting that he wanted people to take up arms. And on the morning of January 6th, he was outside. This is Stewart Rhodes, the sort of the ringleader of the Oath Keepers directing people into and out of the Capitol Building via encrypted text messages.
They are -- text messages are a treasure trove in our world today for prosecutors and investigators, the FBI, because they give you a real timer count of what people are doing as they commit crimes.
PAUL: So, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told KERN radio about six days after the insurrection, that President Donald Trump admitted personally bearing some responsibility for the attack. Let's listen here to what he said specifically.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I say he has responsibility. He told me personally that he does have some responsibility. I think a lot of people do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Where does that leave not just McCarthy but the former president?
WILLIAMS: Well, number one, he had -- he makes those comments then he makes comments on the day of from the floor of the House of Representatives, making it quite clear that he thought the President was responsible. But then a few weeks later, he went down to Mar-a- Lago, had a private conversation with the President and then changed his tune. It's quite clear that the President leaned on him on Mar-a- Lago to change his statements and the committee wants to get to the bottom of that.
PAUL: Elliot Williams, thank you so much for taking time to kind of walk us through this. We appreciate you.
WILLIAMS: Thanks. Have a great weekend. PAUL: You as well.
SANCHEZ: Novak Djokovic has been detained for a second time. Up next, why Australia is calling the unvaccinated tennis star a threat to public order.
SANCHEZ: The saga continues. The immigration case against tennis star Novak Djokovic is going to be heard in Australian federal court.
PAUL: Yes, the world number one tennis star back in detention this morning ahead of that hearing. Djokovic is fighting to stay in Melbourne and defend his Australian Open title after his visa was canceled for a second time. CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us live from Melbourne. Walk us through what's happening this morning, Paula, and good morning.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning from Melbourne. It's now the early hours of Sunday morning. Later this morning at 9:30 in the morning, we will hear the beginning of the detailed arguments in this case. So the full hearing will begin. It'll be in front of three judges rather than one that was decided today.
And we know that tonight, right now Novak Djokovic is in detention. He's in the immigration facility. He was in this time last week. So we have heard a little more from court filings. They've been quite open and public with these court filings knowing it's in the public interest about what the immigration minister was thinking when he canceled this visa once again.
He's arguing, Alex Hawke, is that having Djokovic in the country might excite anti-vaccination sentiments. And it might also cause civil unrest. There's an argument he's making also the fact that Djokovic did go out to when he knew he was COVID-19 positive, could others try and emulate that kind of behavior. So these are the sorts of arguments we can expect to hear on Sunday.
Now what happens on Sunday? Both sides will give their arguments. The judges will then make their decision. If they can't make a decision within that site that time, Djokovic will hope for a bridging visa, which can only really be given by the minister which is unlikely.
SANCHEZ: Paula Hancocks, thank you so much for your reporting.
PAUL: Look at this, this underwater volcano, you're seeing it erupting there. This is in the South Pacific, but it could end up being felt on the West Coast of the U.S. today.
PAUL: 53 minutes past the hour right now. I'm going to get you caught up on some of the top stories we're following. First of all, parts of the West Coast are under a tsunami advisory this morning. This is after a volcanic eruption in Tonga.
It happened under this South Pacific Ocean. It sent waves. You can see them there. Those are some of the waves that are spilling into the island nation's capital right now. We're going to continue to follow the story. Bring you the updates as we get them.
SANCHEZ: To New Jersey now where fire crews are battling in 11 alarm fire at a chemical facility in Passaic. Apparently, the fire can be seen from miles away. Authority say they are still trying to get control of it. One firefighter was hurt and they've been transported to a nearby hospital.
We understand that crews are actually drafting water from a nearby river to try to supplement the tremendous amount of water needed to fight this fire. Governor Phil Murphy is asking residents who live in the area to keep their windows and doors closed and to stay inside as a safety precaution.
We're going to keep you up to date on that story and all the rest. We're going to be back just one hour from now.
PAUL: Yes. Smerconish is taken over right now. First, though, if you are a Marilyn Monroe fan, you can discover the life and legacy of her in a new CNN original series, it premieres tomorrow on CNN. Here's a preview.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marilyn Monroe knew that she was more than just a pretty face.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To see a woman that is so in charge of her sexuality as extremely empowering. This woman is so comfortable in her skin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was rolling the dice with her career in very real terms.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marilyn would have been the biggest influencer of all time, creating her own production company, getting films made.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marilyn Monroe is a mirror for people's ideas about women's sexuality and women's power.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Reframed Marilyn Monroe" tomorrow at 9:00 on CNN.
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