Return to Transcripts main page

New Day Sunday

Impeachment Article To Be Delivered To Senate Tomorrow; Biden Team To Meet With Senators On New COVID Relief Bill; Vice President Harris Visible During Biden's First Days In Office; Biden Administration Urges Patience Amid Frustration Over Vaccine Shortages; Twenty Million Doses Of Vaccine Administered, Only Half Of Supply; U.S. Sees Lowest Number Of Hospitalizations In More Than A Month; Washington Monument Closed "Until Further Notice"; Broadcasting Legend Larry King Dies At Age 87. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired January 24, 2021 - 06:00   ET




POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A glimpse of hope with new data showing a downward trend in hospitalizations.

FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: We are now averaging almost a million doses per day. That's a pretty good trajectory.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Biden administration went into its first weekend laser focused on the pandemic.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a wartime undertaking. We will get through this. We will defeat this pandemic.

CEDRIC RICHMOND, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We are going to get it done. We are going to hit our goal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the state of Georgia COVID is overwhelming frontline workers.

DR. DEEPAK AGGARWAL, GEORGIA PHYSICIAN: We haven't had to ration care yet. But if the surge intensifies we will have to make some tough decisions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is now beginning to take shape.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Senators will have to decide if Donald John Trump incited the insurrection against the United States.


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

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Still dark on this Sunday morning because it's early but we're so grateful to have you with us as always. It is Sunday, January 24th, in fact.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good to with be you. We're starting this week in Washington. Now, tomorrow Congress will move to the next step in the impeachment of former President Donald Trump. But that's when the Democrats will take the article of impeachment over to the Senate charging this incitement of insurrection. It's ceremonially walked over to the other chamber.

PAUL: But as agreed by Senate leaders the trial is going to begin in earnest the week of February 8th. Now, this gives House impeachment managers and former President Trump's defense team two weeks of prep. CNN's Daniella Diaz is on Capitol Hill. Daniella, good to see you this morning. Walk us through what we are going to see play out here.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Good to see you, Christi and Victor. Look, we finally have a start date. That's what's important. So tomorrow at 6:55 p.m. is when the article of impeachment will be walked over to the Senate side. Tuesday there will be a judge chosen, the senators will be sworn in. Two weeks later, on February 9th, is when the trial is set to begin.

Now, this was a compromise between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell wanted it toward the end of February. He wanted -- that's when he wanted the trial to start. Senator Chuck Schumer actually is now doing it on February 9th.

Now, this compromise is really important because it gives, as you said, time for Trump's defense to be able to craft their message, time to be able to file their legal briefs as well as the impeachment managers who will work to try to convict Donald Trump. Now, we are watching closely the senators on the Senate side who might choose to vote their conscience.

This includes Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Susan Collins, Senator Mitt Romney, who we are watching very closely. Even as well as Senator Mitch McConnell who has been very critical of the president leading up to this impeachment trial. So, that's where we stand right now -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Daniella, let me -- before you go, let me ask you, the expectation that this additional two weeks will lead to less likely conviction. I mean, it was unlikely from the start that you would get 17 Republicans to vote to convict the president, but the further the jurors, the senators get away from the insurrection of the 6th, is the expectation that will become even less likely?

DIAZ: Look, it's a matter of what is going to happen in the next two weeks, what the impeachment managers say, what Donald Trump's defense says. A lot of these senators, Republican senators, are quietly very upset about what happened on January 6th. They were put in danger. This was a very important moment in history. So it's going to be -- it's going to be important to see how this plays out in the next two weeks.

BLACKWELL: Daniella Diaz there on the Hill for us. Thanks so much. Let's bring in CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Elie, let me start here with you with a different angle of that question about the two weeks. Who does that delay help most?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Victor, it goes both ways. So on the one hand, as a prosecutor, which I was, or whoever has to present the case, generally speaking sooner is better because you still have witnesses' memories are fresh. It's easier to get the evidence. And also it just feels more immediate to whoever your jury is, in this case the U.S. Senate and the American public.

But I will say, on the other hand, every day that passes by we are learning more important details, damaging details for the president, about what happened on January 6th. For example, just yesterday we learned about this threat to assassinate Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. So as that information comes out over the next two weeks that's going to hurt the president's case. So I think it's a double-edged sword.


BLACKWELL: So let's talk more about that because there is also "The Wall Street Journal" reporting that President Trump pushed the Department of Justice to try to take this to the Supreme Court to attempt to invalidate Joe Biden's win. These new details what will be the influence? What will be the carryover into the trial?

HONIG: Yes, Victor, that's another good example of a new piece of information that could be used by the House impeachment managers to make their case. When I heard that story I was trying to figure out if this was more corrupt or just idiotic by the president, his effort to try to get DOJ to go to the Supreme Court. I say corrupt because that's not what DOJ is there for.

I'm a DOJ alum, the DOJ is not there to just do the president's bidding. But I say sort of idiotic or futile because it would not have worked. I mean, DOJ doesn't have the ability to just bring a case to the Supreme Court, make them take it, make them rule in DOJ's favor. I mean, the Supreme Court would have rejected this lawsuit just the same as they rejected multiple other futile, baseless lawsuits seeking to overturn the election.

BLACKWELL: So let's flip this and look at it from the opposite direction. I mean, every day we learn more about how the insurrectionists, the planners, the participants spent so much time, we know, building the bombs and there were -- the gallows and the noose that were erected outside. If the cases that the president incited this insurrection with that speech there in front of the White House on the ellipse, does that weaken the case as we learn more about the preparation long before the president's words that day?

HONIG: Yes. So, that's an interesting sort of counter defense that we may hear from the president's team saying, look, these people came here pre-prepared, right? The president, whatever he did on January 6th, this was already in the minds of the insurrectionists before that. But I think the response is you have to look at the article of impeachment itself.

The way the House phrased that I think was very smart in that they focused on January 6th but they also focused on what came before that. And they cast this as a longer-term effort by Donald Trump to rile up his supporters, to rally them down to the Capitol on January 6th and then to essentially set them off on January 6th. So I think they would be looking for that exact back and forth at the trial.

BLACKWELL: Explain the variable of the disqualification of President Trump ever serving again. Because there is an assumption that the conviction disqualifies him from serving again, but that's a separate vote?

HONIG: It is, Victor. So, let's think of this as three steps. First of all the House has to impeach by a majority. That already happened a couple of weeks ago. Then the Senate has to convict by a two-thirds vote. If that happens, then the Senate can go on to a third vote to disqualify the president, to prevent him from ever holding federal office again in the future.

Interestingly, that third vote only requires a majority of the Senate, which Democrats have on their own. So if the president does get convicted it's very likely he will be disqualified and sort of thrown out of federal politics for the rest of his career.

BLACKWELL: But they cannot disqualify him without the conviction?

HONIG: Yes. So, that's a great question. Some scholars are arguing that they can, a few scholars. I am not onboard with that. I don't think that's the way it works. We had various officials who've been acquitted in the past, but then nobody ever tried to disqualify them.

I think the fundamental sort of principle of fairness in our system is you need a conviction before you go to sentencing, before you go to punishment. And I think if the Senate does not convict him, there's not going to be disqualification.

BLACKWELL: All right. Before we go last one here. This is reporting from "The New York Times" this weekend about President Trump's considering replacing the acting -- then-acting attorney general to invalidate the Georgia results and a Pennsylvania congressman's involvement with that. Now, we know that there are going to be Senate investigations of this. The now leader of -- majority leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, is asking for an I.G. investigation. We know there are political consequences. Is there legal exposure?

HONIG: Yes. Well, again, Victor, it could play into the impeachment case in the way that I laid out before, sort of setting the stage for the argument this was a longer-term effort by President Trump to overturn the election. Also, look, it could potentially factor into criminal charges.

We know that the Fulton County D.A. down by you in Georgia has already said she is taking a look at that call that the president made to the Georgia secretary of state to try to overturn the election. This could sort of go hand in hand with that if you're looking at this from a prosecutorial angle.

BLACKWELL: All right. Elie Honig up early for us this morning. We appreciate it.

HONIG: Only for you guys. Thanks, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Thank you very much, Elie.

President Biden says he is leaving the impeachment trial to Congress and focusing instead on his agenda. Today that focus is on the economy.

PAUL: CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright is with us now. Jasmine, good to see you as well today. We know that President Biden's team is going to meet with senators to discuss the president's coronavirus relief proposal. What have you learned is going to happen on that call?


JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christi, President Biden and his White House wake up this Sunday morning with their focus as you said on this coronavirus relief package. And they are really using this extra week provided to them by this impeachment delay to shore up and hopefully get something really firm that they can start to push around.

So the National Economic Council director, Brian Deese, will as you said have a call with a bipartisan group of senators. And he said that his goal, his mandate from Biden really is to engage with these members, continue these conversations and understand their concerns. This is going to be a time for them to suggest cuts, suggest what doesn't work for them and what does.

Now, as we know, the Biden White House really has a slim majority to get things through right now. They are 50/50 majority with Harris making that tie, breaking a vote if necessary, but they have been adamant that they want to work in a bipartisan fashion. This comes, though, as the Senate has not passed a multi-trillion-dollar coronavirus relief package since the pandemic began.

And, of course, we know that Biden's package is at $1.9 trillion aimed at going to things like funding his national vaccine program, giving more direct payments to Americans as well as a child tax credit and other things that he is looking to do in this very large bill -- Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Jasmine, I know you have some reporting on how Vice President Harris is settling into her role. What do you know?

WRIGHT: Well, Vice President Harris is really going through her first days in office getting accustomed to it as aides tell us. But we have already seen moments where she is starting to shine. Where she is starting to command the spotlight. That is not typical for a VP (INAUDIBLE). It certainly wasn't in her predecessor, Vice President Pence and President Donald Trump's relationship. And one of those moments we can look to first is really that inauguration speech that she gave the night of at the Lincoln Memorial. Take a listen to what she had to say here. Excuse me. Our sound -- we don't have sound right now.

But she spoke really about the American aspiration, the American optimism of going into this year. And it is not usual for a vice president to speak on inauguration day. And aides tell us that that was planned specifically to, one, show her historic -- not that she is a first woman of color vice president, but also to show that she does intend to and the administration does intend to fulfill that public proclamation by Biden that she will be a full partner in his government. That she will be a full governing partner.

Now, she has been by his side for the president's daily briefing for these key meetings as well as when he signed the executive orders as well as doing her own things. Aides tell us calling labor leaders including SEIU, really pushing forward that Biden agenda. Now, she will have no specific portfolio initially.

White House officials tell us, instead she will be focused on those things that the Biden administration is seeking to tackle in these first few days, including their struggle to get a hold of coronavirus and that those, the way that she helps the Biden administration is a way that she will define herself at least initially in these first few months -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: All right. Jasmine Wright, great reporting. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: And this morning be sure to watch the debut of "INSIDE POLITICS WITH ABBY PHILLIP." Senator Elizabeth Warren joins Abby this morning at 8:00 right here on CNN.

PAUL: The country reaches a milestone as far as it comes to coronavirus vaccinations. State leaders say, listen, this isn't enough. More needs to be done to ensure that millions who want the vaccination for COVID-19 can actually get it.

BLACKWELL: Plus, a man who participated in the Capitol riots is now facing charges for threatening to assassinate a congresswoman. Why he says he did it.

PAUL: And a return to normalcy as the Biden White House vows transparency and truth when sharing information with the American people. What does that mean? We are going to talk about it.



BLACKWELL: So there are more people who want the vaccine than vaccines available apparently. Millions are trying to get it but this morning the USDA has crossed a milestone.

PAUL: Yes, more than 20 million doses of vaccine have been administered now. That's the target, remember, set by the Trump administration for the end of 2020. So a little bit behind that, obviously, but we did hit the $20 million mark of those that are administered now. So Polo Sandoval is talking about that.

BLACKWELL: Yes. He is in New York for us this morning. Polo, more people are lining up to get vaccinated, but the question is, is there going to be the supply to make sure they get their shot in the arm?

SANDOVAL: Well, Victor, places like New York, they are basically asking for more supplies. Citi Field behind me here in Queens, it's dark, it's quiet. New York officials though want to see it active. They want to open this up as a vaccine mega site in the coming days. In order for that to happen though city officials say they need more than the roughly 250,000 vaccine doses that are headed their way this week.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): Only half of the roughly 41 million COVID-19 vaccines distributed have actually been administered. The head of the National Institutes of Health says he's seeing progress.

COLLINS: It's not as bad as some people are painting it. We are now averaging almost a million doses per day going into arms. And that's a pretty good trajectory.

SANDOVAL: At that rate, President Joe Biden appears to be on course to meet his target, at least for now.


This despite not inheriting a vaccine distribution plan from the Trump administration according to White House Senior Adviser Cedric Richmond.

RICHMOND: We are going to get it done. We are going to hit our goal of a hundred million doses within the first 100 days. And, look, we are not making excuses.

SANDOVAL: Bu the rest of those 100 days won't be easy for President Biden with demand greatly outpacing vaccination supplies across the country. New York State administered nearly all the doses it received during the first six weeks of vaccine rollouts. Another allotment of about 250,000 doses will be delivered this week, but New York City's mayor says they are ready to take on more.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: The places that can do it fastest really need to get the ball quickly. We need the supply because we can get it into arms, but it's just not there for us.

SANDOVAL: And where there is supply, there is a wait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The line was long and I waited an hour and a half. But, you know, that's OK. If you really want to get this, you'll wait.

SANDOVAL: Lines continue snaking around Dodger Stadium which is serving as a drive-through vaccination center. The death toll which remains alarmingly high is being particularly felt in the state of Georgia.

AGGARWAL: We are dealing with an increasing number of deaths. Our system normally deals with less than 10 deaths per month, and we have already had 169 deaths as of January 21st.

SANDOVAL: And some rare good news. Nationwide hospitalization numbers dip slightly Saturday night to levels not seen since before Christmas.


SANDOVAL: And a sign that things may not go back to normal at least anytime soon in parts of the nation's capital, yesterday federal authorities announcing that the Washington Monument that will remain closed indefinitely due to the pandemic, Christi.

They had previously actually closed that off to public access due to public security concerns and that -- and the situation that unfolded on January the 6th there, the siege on the Capitol. But now authorities saying it will remain closed due to the pandemic at least for now.

PAUL: All right. Good to know. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

Dr. Saju Mathew with us now. He's a primary care physician and public health specialist. Saju, good to see you this morning.

So, let's talk about this question as to why people are not getting vaccinated. Yes, we know that there isn't the supply that they necessarily need, but we have these new numbers in that six out of 10 people say they don't even know where or when to get it. You say pharmacies might be a remedy. How so?

DR. SAJU MATHEW, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Yes. Good morning, Christi. Listen, pharmacies already are an established relationship that a lot of patients already have with the local pharmacy. And, you know, I think especially for our elderly patients to be able to drive to a familiar place, they know where to park.

My parents were so excited when, after six hours, Christi, of the Web site crashing, my sister and niece were able to secure two appointments for my parents. They would rather go to a pharmacy where they don't have to wait long hours than have to wait like in a stadium where some people are waiting three to four hours and still cannot get the vaccine.

But the pharmacies are going to need help, Christi. They are going to need manpower, more vaccinators, maybe pharmacy students, medical students. Hey, let's pay them. Give them incentive to help with the vaccination efforts.

And remember, the elderly patients need to also be spaced out six feet. They have to wait 15 minutes after getting that dose to make sure there are no allergic reactions. But here is another problem. My parents get the appointments after a huge struggle.

But when they left, they did not get a scheduled appointment for that second vaccine in four weeks because they are get the Moderna. And that's a huge problem. We should guarantee everybody who gets the first shot should come back and be able to get that second shot without any delay.

PAUL: So you think that when they leave the first shot, ideally, they would be given a time and a date for the second shot?

MATHEW: That's exactly right. Let's follow the studies. Right.

PAUL: So let -- so let me ask you this about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which we know we are waiting for that. But that is a one-shot vaccine. Would that be a game changer to have something like that?

MATHEW: That would be a huge game changer. Just imagine, number one, we don't have to worry about scheduling that second shot. Number two, already the studies are showing that 90 percent of people are showing an immune reaction to the vaccine.

So I think in the next week or so we should have some really good results from Johnson & Johnson. Also, it doesn't require a cold storage. And we can distribute this to rural counties, small cities where Moderna and Pfizer using the cold would be more challenging.

PAUL: Yes. It does seem that there are some benefits to that one once it comes out. But I'm wondering, do we know how effective that might be in some of these new variants are out there? Because we're wondering how the U.S. can stay ahead of these variants.


I mean, more mutations are certainly expected, yes?

MATHEW: Right. So it's like we are talking about a race against the virus. I am actually retracing that. We are talking about a race against these variants as the virus travels. The fact that the variants can go, increase significantly, and now we know that the South African variant might actually may evade the vaccine. In fact, the vaccine will work, but it may not work as efficiently.

So, really the only way to decrease these variants from popping up is, number one, the U.S. needs to be more aggressive. Christi, we are only doing 0.3 percent of looking at these variants, genomic sequencing in the U.S. The U.K. is doing more than 50 percent of the world's sequencing. So really ultimately the bottom line is we need to be aggressive with the sequencing and vaccinate as many people as possible rapidly.

PAUL: I want to highlight what you said. Did you just say the U.S. is doing 0.3 percent compared to the U.K. at 50 percent?

MATHEW: Yes. So the U.K., if you look at the world, the U.K. does over 50 percent of genomic sequencing. They are extremely aggressive. But the U.S. is only at 0.3 percent. And we should be much higher than that.

But ultimately, we know that this RNA virus is going to mutate. Instead of panicking, the only solution is to vaccinate as many people rapidly, like 2 to 3 million vaccinations per day in the U.S. should be our goal.

PAUL: OK. I only have a couple of minutes left but I want to get this from Dr. Leana Wen, who wrote in "The Washington Post" that she believes Biden is doing -- President Biden's strategy should be applauded because of its comprehensiveness, but the boldness is lacking. She proposed this. "Issuing a national mandate is the clearest signal that the country is in crisis.

This very powerful tool must be used. I believe that Biden can get around the issue of mandates being state prerogatives by tying federal funding to masking requirements. This will force governors' hands. They can issue statewide mandates or forego federal funds."

She says that this may face court challenges, but she thinks it's worth it. Is this the right time though, Saju, to try to order a mandate like that and threaten to take away federal money in the middle of a pandemic and an economic crisis?

MATHEW: Right. So I respect Dr. Wen tremendously, but I don't agree with her almost suggesting that we should give states an ultimatum. We are not a culture that believes in ultimatums. We're not a culture that response well to ultimatums.

Governors are going to do what they want to do and their belief of mask-wearing is not something we can necessarily change. I think that we should encourage all states, really the entire U.S. to wear a mask. I think that President Biden modeling that behavior is significant. We didn't have that in the previous administration.

But I have a problem with tying that to state funding. Ultimately, it's people that are going to lose. If a governor says, hey, OK, fine, take away my state funding, it's the -- the community, the people that are going to lose that battle. So I think it should be more an approach of let's model the behavior and let's all get on the same team.

PAUL: OK. Dr. Saju Mathew, always appreciate your insight. Thank you, sir.

MATHEW: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Coming up, friends, family and former colleagues remember legendary talk show host Larry King.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He absolutely was iconic. He was a legend. That word is tossed around too freely sometimes, but clearly he was a legend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A terrific sense of humor. And he's a New Yorker. A certain kind of New Yorker that's, for me, easy to relate to.



PAUL: It's been a moment, hasn't it, Victor, this weekend?

BLACKWELL: Yes, it certainly has been. This weekend, we had -- CNN lost a member of the family, a treasured colleague, for many a longtime friend.

PAUL: Yes, we're talking about talk show host Larry King, of course. He died yesterday at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 87 years old and his friends and family and former colleagues, they all have something they want you to know about him. Listen to this.


LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: Good evening. My name is Larry King. And this is the Premier Edition of Larry King Live.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For 25 years, CNN was home to Larry King Live, an hour featuring in-depth interviews with newsmakers from around the world. Wendy Walker was his senior executive producer for 18 of those years.

WENDY WALKER, FORMER EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, LARRY KING LIVE: Nothing really fazed him on the air. He never -- he never got flustered. He would say, listen. Listen to -- you know, listen to your guests. Listen to what they're saying so you can react. So, his reactions, I mean, he really never was at a loss for thinking, like what should I ask now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tributes have been pouring in for Larry King.

BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He absolutely was iconic. He was a legend. That word is tossed around too freely sometimes, but clearly, he was a legend.

DICK CAVETT, FORMER TALK SHOW HOST: He was so happy to do what he did. He couldn't really live without it. I almost have the feeling of ghostly figures that we are taking away everything in your life except your show, or we'll take your show and you can have your rest of your life. He would have -- it would have been an easy choice for Larry.

BILLY CRYSTAL, COMEDIAN: I think of Larry as really sort of like a relative. He sounded like a relative. He was funny. He was charming. He was very smart. And he was a regular guy. We could talk about politics. We could talk about comedy. We could talk about bagels. We could talk about anything.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oprah Winfrey said this about the broadcasting legend. It was always a treat to sit at your table and hear your stories. Thank you, Larry King. Here's how Robert De Niro remembered him.

ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: He had a terrific sense of humor and he's a New Yorker, a certain kind of New Yorker that's for me easy to relate to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Dionne Warwick tweeted this. "Larry King will definitely be missed. He was a dear friend of mine and my family. There will never be another that can do what he was able to do. Condolences to his family. Rest in peace, my dear friend."

CNN founder Ted Turner said in a statement, hiring King was one of his greatest career achievements. He said this. "Waking up to the news of the passing of Larry King felt like a punch to the gut. Larry was one of my closest and dearest friends, and in my opinion, the world's greatest broadcast journalist of all time."

Larry King's family released this statement. "We are heartbroken over our father's death. And together with our extended family, mourn his passing. The world knew Larry King as a great broadcaster and interviewer, but to us, he was dad."


PAUL: Now, we do not have word of what caused his death. We know that he battled a number of health problems over the years, separate several heart attacks, and a quintuple bypass surgery. And the source close to the family says King have been hospitalized since December because of Coronavirus, but we do not know the cause of death. We need to be very open about that, right, Victor?

BLACKWELL: Yes, certainly. I mean, the format of the show, I was thinking about this as we got the news yesterday, is that it was designed I think in a way not to get in the way of the conversation over 25 years for that set to stay the same with just a table, the mic there eventually, I mean, just as a prop, I guess. But just face to face, nothing fancy, a conversation which was -- what made that that show great.

PAUL: Yes. And his authenticity, you know, the theme that we were hearing yesterday.


PAUL: Who you saw on T.V. was the same guy that you sat across a breakfast or dinner or wherever you might happen to be. He was the same man. And I think that was also a big part of his appeal.

BLACKWELL: Yes, a legend indeed. All right, still to come, a man from Texas. He's facing some federal charges for his participation in the capital riots and for posting death threats against Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. We've got the full report ahead for you.



BLACKWELL: In the aftermath of the Capitol riots, roughly 5,000 National Guard troops will stay in Washington D.C. through at least mid-March. 25,000 National Guard members came to Washington to secure the city for President Biden's inauguration. They've been working closely with local law enforcement and the FBI since the attack.

PAUL: So, law enforcement authorities have arrested and charged a man from Texas for threatening to kill Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

BLACKWELL: Yes. His name is Garrett Miller and he's facing five criminal charges for his part in the Capitol riots. He's also accused of threatening a police officer. CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider has more for us.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Another major arrest connected to that January 6th Capitol attack, this time against a Texas man accused of posting online death threats not only against Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but also against a Capitol Police officer.

Now, the prosecutor say Garrett Miller of Texas tweeted, "Assassinate AOC" and also said the police officer who fatally shot a female Trump supporter inside the Capitol, "deserves to die" and also said won't survive long because, "it's hunting season."

Now, officials say Miller participated in the Capitol attack and then posted extensively on social media before and after the attack saying a civil war could start and then also next time we bring guns. Now, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has been very vocal in the days after the attack. She's talked about how she and other members weren't sure they'd make it out alive.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die. It is not an exaggeration to say that many, many members of the House were nearly assassinated. It's just not an exaggeration to say that at all. We were very lucky that things happened within certain minutes that allowed members to escape the House floor unharmed. But many of us nearly narrowly escaped death.


SCHNEIDER: This man who posted those threats against AOC is facing five federal criminal charges including for his participation in the attack as well as the death threats. Now, Garrett Miller's attorney is telling CNN his client regrets the threats, and also says this. "He did it in support of former President Donald Trump but he regrets his actions. He has the support of his family and a lot of the comments are viewed in context as really sort of misguided political hyperbole."

Given the political divide these days, there is a lot of hyperbole. And of course, this is yet another suspect who has said they were inspired by the president to attack the Capitol. At this point, more than 120 people have been charged, hundreds more could still be charged as prosecutors now zero in on that next round of charges that will likely be even more serious against those people who have evaded law enforcement so far. And the charges could even include sedition and conspiracy. Those include hefty sentences of up to 20 years in prison. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


PAUL: Thank you, Jessica. So, White House briefings -- press briefings returned in a big way this week with the Biden administration promising to deliver accurate information to the American people. Brian Stelter is looking into this. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: This week, we saw something that we have not seen for quite a long time, consecutive days with White House press briefing.

PAUL: President Biden's press secretary Jen Psaki says she plans to hold daily press briefings and always share "accurate information with the American people." CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter with us now. Brian, I got to tell you, I'm sure those reporters were so happy to be back in those seats.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: At least have a chance to ask questions, even though they don't always get their answers. That's right. And sometimes Jen Psaki is dodging questions just like any other press secretary. What's new now is a return to normalcy, a return to a symbol of a functioning government. And that's really what these press briefings are, they are a symbol of a functioning government.

The Trump administration toward the end was saying every day that Trump was making many calls and having many meetings, but not revealing anything about those calls. Now, the new White House, of course, is announcing his calls, revealing his meetings and making a report -- aides accessible to the press.

I think what's even more important than Psaki back at the podium is actually having aids like Dr. Anthony Fauci at the podium answering questions to the best of their ability. I think the keyword that she's been emphasizing every day is truth and trust. The Biden team clearly says they want to restore trust in this country, restore a sense of truth and accuracy.

They are setting a high bar for themselves given how much distrust existed across the United States, but at least they are trying.

BLACKWELL: So, you mean, no more enemy of the people talk from the White House?

STELTER: Right. No more of those smears that actually hurt everybody. You know, the enemy of the people talk from for President Trump, his hate speech, his hate movement against the media, it actually hurt him as well as the press. It hurt everybody involved. It was like a slow- acting poison that's still working its way through the body politic. And I think we should all be clear-eyed that's not going to go away overnight.

However, the Biden team is at least trying to send signs that it wants to lower the temperature a little bit. And that is a good thing. Of course, look, we're going to have to reevaluate this in three or six or nine or 12 months and see if the Biden team is living up to its commitments. They are promising to tell the truth even when it hurts. They're promising to provide transparency and accuracy.

For example, releasing visitor logs. You know, during the Trump years, we didn't have visitor logs to know who was coming and going from the White House. Those adjustments, those returns to a pre-Trump era, those are positive things for a working functioning government. But now, the press has to hold the Biden team accountable.

PAUL: Yes. And they -- I think, if comfort to the rest of us because we have a little better sense of as you call it, normalcy. Brian Stelter, always good to have you. Thank you.

STELTER: Thanks.

PAUL: All righty. And you can catch him of course. Brian is on "RELIABLE SOURCES" this morning and 11:00 right here on CNN, just a little bit later this afternoon.

BLACKWELL: So, by the end of the day, everyone will know who will be playing in the Super Bowl, four teams with four-star quarterbacks. Why the biggest question mark might be last year's Super Bowl MVP.



BLACKWELL: It is championship Sunday in the NFL. Four teams are fighting for chance to play in the Super Bowl.

PAUL: Coy Wire is with us. I know all eyes are on last year Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes. Even you are going to be watching that closely, I know, even though he's not on your team.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Indeed. Good morning, Christi and Victor. The Chiefs will have their quarterback for the AFC Championship game today against Buffalo. Mahomes was cleared by doctors on Friday, five days after a scary moment in the divisional round where he could barely keep his legs under him as he tried to walk off the field landing him in the NFL's concussion protocol. Mahomes says he is symptom-free now and expect to be at full capacity.

Mahomes and the Chiefs will look to stop my former team, The Bills, from making it to the Super Bowl for the first time in 27 years. Now, the LA Times is reporting that quarterback Josh Allen's father Joe Allen is recovering from COVID and pneumonia. The Buffalo star can be -- can be playing in the biggest game of his career without dad in the stands, but he will have his family on the field.

I spoke with his running back Devin Singletary and asked him what makes the quarterback so special.


DEVIN SINGLETARY, RUNNING BACK, BUFFALO BILLS: He's been filled with ice. You can see it in his eyes. He's not -- he's never shaken. You know what I'm saying? Like I said, he's just cool, calm, and collected. He's that general, you know, when we need him to be. Like I said, by looking in his eyes, you know you're ready. You know, when said, look in his eyes, man, you don't want to let him down. You know what I'm saying. He depended on us like we depended on him. So, you don't want to let your brother down.


WIRE: Now, in the NFC, two of the greatest to ever play the game, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, the combined 80 years old, the oldest Q.B. duo to ever go toe to toe in a conference title game. Rogers front runner to win MVP, 37 years old, leaving the league with 48 touchdown passes this season. He and the Packers look to make it to their first Super Bowl in a decade.

Brady is looking to make it to a 10th Super Bowl in his legendary 21- year career. If he does, Tampa will be the first team to ever play in the Super Bowl in their home stadium. He's already led Tampa to remarkable feat playing in their first NFC title game since 2002. Victor, Christi, we made it, championship Sunday. Trip to the Super Bowl is on the line. But before I go, as a former Bills player, one more thing for you two.


WIRE: Let's go Buffalo.


WIRE: Let's go Buffalo.


WIRE: Let's go, Buffalo.


WIRE: Yes, baby.

BLACKWELL: You got to teach them early.

PAUL: Clearly. And I love that she can't quite say Buffalo yet, and that's what makes it so sweet.

BLACKWELL: What she has though is the spirit.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: That's what she had.

PAUL: Exactly. That's what I mean. I want -- she could be a cheerleader for Buffalo, and I would listen to her all day long.

WIRE: The best part about this, unprovoked. She just started doing it at dinnertime all on her own. Oh, it was a proud dad moment.

BLACKWELL: I'm sure it was.

PAUL: Coy is a proud dad today. Coy, thank you so much. Good luck.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Coy. Next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A glimpse of hope with new data showing a downward trend in hospitalizations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are now averaging almost a million doses per day. That's a pretty good trajectory.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Biden administration went into its first weekend laser-focused on the pandemic.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a wartime undertaking.