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U.S. Marks One Year Since Capitol Riot With Democracy in Danger; Biden Slams Trump's Web of Lies and Dagger to Democracy; DHS Says, Extremist Threats Climb Over Last 48 Hours; Right Wing Media Playing Key Role in Spreading Trump's Lies About January 6 Insurrection. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired January 06, 2022 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now here on Capitol Hill and across the United States, Americans mark one year since the deadly insurrection with the wound still deep and democracy still in danger. on the eve of the January 6th Still in danger. President Biden seizing the moment, directly blaming former President Trump for spinning a web of lies that fueled the insurrection, accusing his predecessor, and I'm quoting now, of holding a dagger to the throat of American democracy.
This as the divided nation grapples with the hard reality that January 6th could be repeated. Tonight, homeland security is warning of a spike in extremist threats over the last 48 hours with lawmakers among the targets again.
We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We're live at the U.S. Capitol on this January 6th, on the historic ground invaded and defiled by rioters one year ago. Our correspondents, analysts and contributors are covering every angle of this day, a day of remembrance and the escalating threats to American democracy.
Let's begin with CNN's Chief National Affairs Correspondent Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, we heard President Biden call out former President Trump today in a way he hasn't done so before. Update our viewers.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the president's toned marked a sharp departure from anything he has said really over the last year when he's essentially tried to move beyond his predecessor, not wanting to him to hijack his administration or simply politics in America. But the president, of course, has been becoming increasingly alarmed by the spreading of these election lies. So, his advisers said on this historic day he intended to mince no words.
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I will stand in this breach, I will defend this facing, not allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.
ZELENY (voice over): Tonight, President Biden opening a fight to preserve the nation's democracy, delivering a blistering rebuke of former President Trump and Republicans who continue to mislead Americans with lies about the 2020 election.
BIDEN: He's not just a former president, he's a defeated former president, defeated by a margin of over 7 million of your votes in a full and free and fair election.
ZELENY: In a stark and somber address on the first anniversary of the Capitol insurrection, Biden stood in Statuary Hall, the very scene of the January 6th attack, and blamed his predecessor for the carnage that day and the fallout.
BIDEN: You can't love your country only when you win. You can't obey the law only when it is convenient. You can't be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.
ZELENY: The president did not mention Trump's name by designed but assailed his predecessor for nothing to stop the violent assault on the Capitol and Constitution, as Congress was certifying the results of Electoral College.
BIDEN: What did we not see? We didn't see a former president who had just rallied the mob to attack, sitting in a private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours, as police were assaulted, lives at risk, and the nation's Capitol under siege.
ZELENY: The morning remarks from the president and vice president --
KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The American spirit is being tested.
ZELENY: -- opened a solemn day to mark one of the darkest periods in the nation's history. Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a moment of silence after reminding Americans of the true heroes from the rampage.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I want to acknowledge our fallen heroes of that day. U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, U.S. Police Officer Howard Levengood, Metropolitan Officer Jeffrey Smith, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans of a later assault.
ZELENY: Only two Republicans stood on the House floor, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a member of the select committee investigating attack, and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. It was a symbolic visit that shined an even brighter light on the deep divide inside a Republican Party still led by Trump. Cheney took aim at the absent GOP leaders.
DICK CHENEY, FMR. U.S. VICE PRESIDENT (voice over): It is a matter of leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for ten years.
ZELENY: Tonight, some Republicans are accusing Democrats of politicizing the Capitol attack, yet many of the GOP rank and file were silent, which Biden pointedly took note of.
BIDEN: They seem no longer to want to be the party, the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, Reagan, the Bushes, or whatever my other disagreements are with Republicans that support the rule of law and not the rule of a single man, I will always seek to work together with them.
ZELENY: As he left the Capitol, Biden said his sharp words were not intended to divide.
BIDEN: You have to recognize the extent of the wound. That is what great nations do. They face the truth, deal with it and move on.
ZELENY (on camera): Now, the president was also asked why he did not mention Trump by name. And Mr. Biden said that was intentional. He said he did not want this to become part of a contemporary political battle, in his words. He said it is much bigger than that. And, Wolf, the next chapter, this will come next week in Atlanta when the president and vice president are traveling to Atlanta, of course, the fulcrum of the civil rights movement to talk about voting rights and election reform.
Now, it is an open question if Mr. Biden will continue this tone against the former president. Aides tell me that is not likely. He does not believe this is helpful to the country to talk like this every day. But on this historic day on this historic moment, he thought it was appropriate to tell the country the truth.
BLITZER: Yes, he was very powerful and very, very blunt. Jeff Zeleny at the White House, thank you very much.
Now, to the January 6th investigation that is underway here in Washington and new information about former President Trump's mindset on the day of the attack. Our Congressional Correspondent Ryan Nobles is joining us up here up on Capitol Hill.
So, what did one of Trump's aides at the times say, what is this aide saying now about Trump's mindset on that day?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the January 6th select committee is so interested in every decision and every movement the former president made on January 6th. And it zeroed in on this tweet that the president said about 20 minutes after rioters broke in the Capitol. The tweet at that time said, quote, please support our Capitol police and law enforcement. They are truly on the side of our country. And then it said, stay peaceful.
And, Wolf, according to this former aide, it is that stay peaceful part that the former president was initially resistant to include in his tweet. Of course, we have a lot of testimony that the January 6th select committee has uncovered about the president's mood and his disposition at that time, how he was watching television and even at sometimes cheering on the rioters and saying that those were his people. The committee believes that is an example of dereliction of duty by the former president. They've talked to a number of former Trump officials about his conduct on that day that its part of this investigation that they're compiling as to what happened on January 6th.
BLITZER: You did some important reporting this week on the committee, the select committee wanting to interview the former vice president, Mike Pence. What are you learning now?
NOBLES: Yes, that is right, Wolf. We, of course, talked to the chairman, Bennie Thompson, and he told us that the committee would like to talk to the former vice president, Mike Pence, about what happened to him on that day and the pressure campaign that was put on him to decertify the election results. Since that interview, a number of committee members have echoed that desire for the committee to talk to Vice President Mike Pence. Listen to what Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, said earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Former Vice President Pence was a hero on January 6th. He refused the pressure of the former president, he did his duty, and the nation should be very grateful for the actions that he took that day. We look forward to continuing the cooperation that we've had with members of former vice president's team and look forward as well to his cooperation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Now, it is important what Liz Cheney said there at the end of her remarks, Wolf, that they have enjoyed the cooperation of many of Pence's former aides. They truly believe that Pence's connection to all of this is a key part of the investigation and they've already learned a lot from people very close to Pence. Still an open question as to whether or not the former vice president will speak to the committee as well.
BLITZER: Yes. His most senior aides are cooperating with the select committee. Thank you very much. Ryan, thank you very, very much, Ryan Nobles reporting for us.
I want to bring in right now our Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash, our Senior Political Commenter David Axelrod and our Senior Law Enforcement Analyst, the former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe.
Dana, what about President Biden's speech today, he laid out the blame squarely directly right at the feet of Donald Trump.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And if you want to ask whether or not that is going to change any minds, the answer came pretty immediately in hearing some high-profile Republican response saying that it was partisan.
And it really strikes me, Wolf, when you see those kinds of responses because it's gaslighting. It is more of the same of what we've seen since a year ago, a year ago-plus, since the last election, which is these lies that are told by the former president to the people around him, then those are bolstered and amplified by a conservative media and then those who dame to call them out are called partisan when what they are doing isn't partisan, just partisan -- it is partisan, but it is not only, it is un-American.
And so they're setting up this straw man by saying if and when the former -- excuse me, the current president did what he did today, which is call out the danger that is eroding democracy, then that is partisan. Well, it is not. It is the antithesis of partisanship.
BLITZER: David, this is certainly one of the toughest speeches we've ever heard from Biden, certainly during his presidency. What does it tell you that Biden felt now was the time for this powerful speech, what does it tell you about the state of our country?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Wolf, I don't know how you could tell the story of January 6th without telling the story of Donald Trump's involvement in it because he laid the groundwork for it months even before the election, through the election, up to the 6th of January.
And the damage that he's done continues. It is not just about what happened on that horrific day. It is about the fact that large numbers of Americans, because he told them, came to believe and have come to believe that there was something fraudulent about the last election in contravention of all evidence.
There is no evidence to support that. And yet he has led people to believe that, that is why so many came to the Capitol and stormed the Capitol. They thought they were doing their patriotic duty because he told them that something untoward was happening there. They thought they were fighting for democracy when they invaded the Capitol on his say so. So, you can't talk about this without talking about him.
And I think the president put it in the right context. It is not over. This is not over. The fact that so many people, a vast majority of Republicans, believe there was something fraudulent about the last election, the fact that there are these efforts all over the country to replace election officials who did their duty with people who were willing to buy into this big lie, suggest that this is only the first chapter in a long-running story here, that is going to really determine the future of democracy.
And when the president talked about a dagger at the throat of democracy, I think that wasn't hyperbole. What he didn't say but what was obvious from the absence of any Republicans but Liz Cheney is that former President Trump also has his hands around the throat of the Republican Party and this was their strategy, to -- because -- and, remember, they all were victims of this. They were there. Many of them stood up at that time and denounced what happened and they laid it at the feet of president, no longer.
Now, the strategy is, as Dana described it, try and make it everything look partisan, so when this committee reports, they can dismiss the results of it, damning as they will be likely, as partisan.
BLITZER: And it may not, Andrew, be the last chapter in the security threats that the U.S. is facing. The Department of Homeland Security, in fact, is now warning that online threats on extremist platforms have actually increased dramatically over the past 48 hours with some threats, once again, targeting lawmakers. How concerning is that?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it is very concerning, Wolf. I think on the positive side, what you're seeing with this release today is what we didn't see in the lead up to January 6th, 2021, and that is a coordinated, timely, widely distributed intelligence bulletin that's based off of -- that shows us that, first, the feds are looking at this stuff, they're taking it seriously and they're sending it out particularly to state and local officials who are in position to try to push back the threat that may very well erupt in places other than the Capitol.
On the concerning side, this is consistent with a massive uptick in threats that we're seeing against political leadership, against the folks up on Capitol Hill. I think the U.S. Capitol Police indicated this week they had 9,600 threats that they worked in the last year, which was a huge increase over the year before, and it has just been going up in the last few years.
So, it is very concerning. It rings also with the attorney general's comments the other day in the middle part of his speech, he spent some time talking about the wave of political violence that we're seeing wash up all across the country, not just on January 6th last year but in school board meetings and in health care centers and places all around the country. So, it is very concerning. It's the new and future aspect of this threat.
BLITZER: I've spoken with several lawmakers who are deeply concerned, they themselves have had to increase their own security over these past several weeks and months given all of these threats that are unfolding right now. Guys, thank you very, very much.
Just ahead, Representative Pramila Jayapal says the threat to democracy is a clear and present danger tonight. She's standing by live. We will discuss.
We're here at the U.S. Capitol and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We're live just outside of the U.S. Capitol right now, where exactly a year ago today, a mob stormed the halls of Congress.
Joining us now to discuss, Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington State.
Congresswoman, thank you so much for joining us. As you know, the president decided it was absolutely necessary to go after Donald Trump directly today, calling out his role in creating this threat to American democracy. Does that suggest to you that at least from President Biden's perspective, the threat to American democracy still exists?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Yes, Wolf, it is good to see you. Thanks for having me. I think it was very important for the president to make the speech that he did and he delivered it beautifully. Because the reality is the danger is clear and present.
The thing that is different about this anniversary, if you will, is we're not marking something that was in the past, we're marking something that continues. The big lie continues. The insurrection and the people who were involved with it are continuing to try to overturn the election of 2020 and to seed people that will do it in the future.
So, I think what the president did today was very important because we cannot ever forget how fragile our democracy is, how close we were to losing it and how critically important it is right now in this moment that we protect it.
BLITZER: You say that the danger is still clear, that it is still present. Are things better or worse today than they were one year ago on January 6th?
JAYAPAL: Well, obviously we're not in the middle of an insurrection today, but the reality of the former president continuing to be out there promoting the big lie and the entire Republican Party, except for just a few courageous people, I saw Liz Cheney on the floor and I hugged her and thanked her, because there are very few Republicans who are willing to even say that January 6th happened, that it was real and that we need to get to the bottom of it.
So, in that sense, it is terrible, because had you had a situation where January 6th happened and then the entire country came together and said we need to get to the bottom of this, we will never let this happen again, that would have been one situation, Wolf. What we have today is really only two members of Congress in the House, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who are willing to say it. And by denying or diminishing what happened on January 6th, that is its own form of violence.
BLITZER: Yes, we saw Liz Cheney, the Congresswoman and her dad, the former vice president, Dick Cheney, on the floor of the U.S. Congress earlier in the day. What does that suggest to you, that Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, they're both Republicans, very conservative, they're there and remembering this day in history?
JAYAPAL: Well, I think they're trying to save the Republican Party. They're trying to bring the Republican Party back to a party that has values and that believes in the Constitution and in democracy, which is not what it is today. The rest of the Republican Party is the party of the cult, of the big lie. There is only one qualification now, it appears, which is to pledge fealty to Donald Trump and the big lie. So, the fact that the Cheneys were there on the floor, Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney were there on the floor to mark this day, sent a very strong signal that this is not a partisan thing. What happened on January 6th is about America, no matter what party you're from. And I think that is an important message that they were sending.
BLITZER: You also said today that January 6th, in your words, is not divorced from the 400-plus pieces of voter suppression legislation introduced in the past 365 days. That is a quote from you. Just how important is it, in your view, that Democrats pass strong voting rights legislation?
That is the top priority, Wolf. Because we just have to be clear that this was a concerted effort to overturn the elections and to suppress the vote and those two things are tied together. You do not have 400 pieces of voter suppression legislation introduced across the country unless it is a concerted plan. And so that is why if we don't recognize that January 6th is deeply tied to that voter suppression, then we are missing the boat.
And if we don't pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, which, of course, we have passed in the House, we're waiting for the Senate, then we really have to answer only to ourselves about why democracy did not survive. It will not survive if we don't protect the core of it, which is the right to vote.
BLITZER: And the White House said the president will be delivering a major speech on this issue next Tuesday. We'll, of course, watch that. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thanks, as usual, for joining us.
JAYAPAL: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Coming up, experts now warn that the threat from domestic extremism has not diminished since attack on the U.S. Capitol one year ago.
Just ahead I'll ask the Washington, D.C. police chief how his department is now responding.
We're live here at the U.S. Capitol and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: You're looking at live pictures right now of the U.S. Capitol exactly one year after the January 6th attack that happened right here up on Capitol Hill. Experts are now warning that the peril posed by domestic extremism is as high as ever.
Our Brian Todd is working the story for us. He is just outside the Capitol building. Brian, I understand CNN has obtained some new homeland security memoranda detailing the threat.
What is the latest?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: CNN has obtained that memo, Wolf, and it is daunting. It warns of a spike in extremist rhetoric just over the past two days leading up to this anniversary. Tonight, we have new information on that warning and on security concerns that remain here at the Capitol.
TODD (voice over): On the anniversary of the Capitol riot, an increase in online extremist content in the past 48 hours, according to a new DHS memo sent today and obtained by CNN. It warns that potential violence could be directed against political and other government officials, including members of Congress or the president and not limited to Washington, D.C.
One recent online video flagged by the FBI and DHS list 93 members of Congress who voted to certify the 2020 election and calls for them to be hanged in front of the White House. The memo says, quote, no indication of a specific and credible plot. But security in Washington has been stepped up amid particular concern about the potential for lone actors.
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The threat is real.
TODD: Administration officials in part blaming today's divisiveness and misinformation.
MAYORKAS: Ideologies of hate, false information, false narratives are primary sources of the threat landscape that we confront in the United States today.
TODD: Experts on extremism say the threat has not diminished.
OREN SEGAL, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: The extremists are not done now that we're a year out of January 6th. They have not been swayed as a group or a movement from stopping their activity.
TODD: U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger says he expects his force to be tested again. To protect the Capitol, he says they have improved intelligence gathering and sharing, streamlined procedures for calling National Guard back-up, conducted joint exercises, are improving equipment and training, and planned to hire 280 officers a year for the next three years. But former D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who was dragged out into the mob and beaten during the riot, says the work is not yet done.
MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: They also have to address the security posture, the training, the equipment that is provided to their officers, and also the physical security of the Capitol complex.
TODD: A former Capitol police chief said one vulnerability that has to addressed, the fact that there are still so many entrances the Capitol building. TERRANCE GAINER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: We still don't have a safe way to get into the Capitol complex. The Capitol police have to be everywhere at once and keep a lot of doors open that are done for convenience.
TODD: Over the last year, threats to lawmakers hit a disturbing high with the U.S. Capitol Police reporting 9600 instances, about 26 a day.
CHIEF TOM MANGER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: The ones that concern us the most are the ones where we have had previous contact with the individual who is making the threat and we're concerned about their actions.
TODD (on camera): And a full year later, another indication of just how intense this investigation remains, a key suspect still out there, the FBI tweeting just a few hours ago, another plea for the public's help in finding the person who placed pipe bombs just outside the Republican and Democratic National Committee offices on January 5th, the night before the attack. There is a $100,000 reward out for that person's -- information on that person. The FBI says video and photos show the suspect wearing a face mask, a gray hoodie, black and gray, Nike Air Max Speed Turf shoes and a yellow logo, that suspect is still out there, the FBI still needing help in identifying that person.
Also, Wolf, new information tonight from a former law enforcement official and a White House official saying that then-Vice President- elect Kamala Harris was evacuated from the Democratic National Committee offices just a few minutes after the pipe bomb there was discovered. Those sources telling CNN they evacuated the then-vice president-elect at about 1:14 P.M., seven minutes after that bomb was discovered and they started investigating it.
BLITZER: Yes, that is new information. Brian Todd reporting for us, thank you very, very much, very disturbing information as well.
Let's get some more now from the head of the Metropolitan Police Department here in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., Chief Robert Contee is joining us right now. Chief, thank you so much for joining us.
I know there has been an uptick in rhetoric leading up to today. Are there any significant, credible threats to the nation's Capitol tonight?
CHIEF ROBERT CONTEE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: Well, thank you for having me, Wolf. We have not received any credible threats that we're aware of. Obviously, we take all of these threats that come in seriously and we want to make sure that we continue to work with our federal partners to investigate those threats, run that information down to ensure that our residents, our visitors and lawmakers are safe here in the nation's capital.
BLITZER: The insurrection, as you know better than I do, took a huge toll on your own police department. [18:35:01]
How are your officers doing right now from a mental health standpoint? I'm concerned.
CONTEE: Yes, I'm concerned about that too, as I was the day that all of this happened. A lot of our officers, I'm sure, as I am today, reflecting on what happened on January 6th, a year ago. We're doing best that we can to make sure that they're getting the treatment and the help that they need.
We have a fantastic employees assistance program that our officers are taking advantage of. We have done de-briefings with all of the members who were assigned on January the 6th. So, today is a day of reflection for them for what happened, this event that happened on January 6th.
BLITZER: Yes, and we're grateful to all of your police officers for all you're doing to help protect us.
I spoke with one of your former colleagues, former Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, yesterday, he joined me in THE SITUATION ROOM, he told me that while he's doing much better both physically and psychologically than he was this night a year ago, this week, specifically this week has proven to be very difficult for him. I imagine that is true for so many of your officers, right?
CONTEE: That is absolutely true. I think a lot of our officers are certainly reflecting on the things that were going on, certainly as all of the media images are out there in the forefront, some of them really kind of seeing some of these images for the first time. I know of many officers who just kind of refused to be engaged, obviously the day of they were not watching the reports, they actually lived through this. But to now see these images played over and over again really brings back a lot of memories from that day.
BLITZER: Chief Robert Contee of Metropolitan Police, thank you so much for what you and all of your colleagues are doing. We are always grateful for what you do. Thank you so much for joining us.
CONTEE: Thank you, again.
BLITZER: Just ahead, we're going to have more on the January 6th anniversary. And another major milestone we're following right now, schools in Chicago shuttered, shuttered once again amid a clash between the teachers union and city officials. I'll ask the city's public health commissioner what it is going to take to get those kids back in the classroom.
BLITZER: We have much more on the January 6th anniversary in just a few moments. But, first, another major story we're following tonight, the omicron surge in the United States now pushing hospitalizations closer and closer to last year's record high and now causing major headaches for the country's third largest school district. 345,000 students in Chicago will be stuck at home for a third straight day tomorrow as city officials and the teachers union are clashing over plans to return to the classroom.
Let's discuss with Chicago's commissioner of public health, Dr. Allison Arwady. Dr. Arwady, thank you so much for joining us.
Why exactly are teachers in Chicago refusing to work in person yet again tomorrow?
DR. ALLISON ARWADY, COMMISSIONER, CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Their worried that the schools are not safe. I get that we are in a COVID surge and that there is a lot of worry in Chicago overall. But when I look at risk/benefit in Chicago, more than 90 percent of our staff fully vaccinated, much higher vaccination rates among children than the national average, we're not seeing, thank God, people who are vaccinated and boosted, if they're adults, getting seriously ill, and we're not seeing schools be the source of spread.
They're looking for additional testing resources, which we're working on getting on a -- in a place there. I'm all in favor of additional testing. There already is ventilation information available at the classroom level each week. There is masks, KN-95s, were in for staff, that first day back. There has been conversations around, for example, decisions to move a school remote, which makes sense if you have a large number of staff and students out, not because of spread in the school, but because there is a lot of COVID.
But the decision to take the whole district remote is one that means we can't count those days toward education, but more importantly we see our kids not do well here. We had 100,000 kids disconnected from school when we tried to do remote learning. If I knew omicron was going to surge -- be done today, it would be an easy decision. But we can't keep pushing this when we know schools are critical to be in- person and essential.
BLITZER: I totally agree. It is really critical for these kids to be in school, not just for the education, and that is priority number one, but for so many of these kids, it is the only good meal they actually get every day.
ARWADY: That is right.
BLITZER: They have to be in school. And we do know that other large cities, New York City, for example, here in Washington, D.C., they have actually figured out how to reopen schools despite the threat of this omicron variant. Why can't Chicago follow these models?
ARWADY: I think we can follow those models. Those are cities with higher positivity and higher case counts. We have got the same and better mitigations in place in many cases. And these schools are safe. It is just helping people come together around understanding that the things are in place even before a vaccine that let schools be open in person. And with a vaccine we think, they are the right place to be here. So, I'm hopeful this will be resolved very soon. Schools are open here for things, like nutrition and COVID testing and COVID vaccination and other activities. But education is not going on. And I hope that this is something that gets done quick as possible. And let me tell you, every Chicagoan feels the same.
BLITZER: I know they do. It's so critically important. So, how do you do it? How do you breakthrough and get these kids back in class?
ARWADY: Yeah, so, I know that the teachers' union and the Chicago public schools officials have been at the bargaining table again all day. I certainly have been weighing in where I can, can I get you additional resources for testing, what else can we do on masks, yes, I agree that is a good metric for closing a school.
I really think at the end of the day, this has been a good, important conversation so that we're all looking at the data to see that schools are not the major source of spread but I just -- you know, recognizing that remote is not likely to be something that we can keep returning to over and over again. I'm hopeful that with all of these ongoing conversations and additional safety measures in place, that teachers will feel comfortable, that we'll get to an agreement here and we'll be back in person soon.
BLITZER: I hope. I hope so as well. I know this is critically important.
Dr. Allison Arwady, thank you so much for what you're doing. Thanks for joining us.
ARWADY: Of course, thank you for having me.
Coming up, we're going to have a closer look at right wing media seizing on former President Trump's lies about the January 6 insurrection. We're live here up on the U.S. Capitol and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Right now, we're just over an hour away from a CNN special report live from the U.S. Capitol marking the anniversary of the January 6th insurrection.
Joining us now for a preview of tonight's coverage, our own Anderson Cooper who's over at Statuary Hall, the historic and beautiful Statuary Hall.
Anderson, this is a truly unprecedented event later tonight here on CNN.
Tell our viewers what we should expect. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, it is unprecedented, and what a
historic setting, National Statuary Hall, the history that has happened right here in this room. When Congress was sacked by the British in 1814, this room was sacked as well. John Quincy Adams right over there, that is where his desk was when he served.
This used to actually be the old hall of the House, the house of Congress, in the 1800s. There's also a desk from Abraham Lincoln in this room.
It's an extraordinary place for our broadcast tonight. We'll be broadcasting for at least two hours tonight, speaking with former House Speaker Nancy -- with the current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We'll talk to Congresswoman Liz Cheney about her efforts on the January 6th commission on this, the one-year anniversary of January 6th. We'll also speak to members of Congress who were barricaded in on that day.
It's not only a night to look back at what happened one year ago tonight on January 6th but also to look forward about the state of American democracy and where we go from here. There's a lot to look forward to. I'm looking forward to it with Jake Tapper, myself, a whole lot of members of Congress, law enforcement officers who were here who defended democracy on that day.
I hope you join us. That starts at 8:00 p.m., Wolf.
TAPPER: Yeah, we will definitely be watching and looking forward to it. Anderson, thank you very, very much.
Once again, this important note to our viewers. Stay with CNN for a special coverage live from the Capitol, "January 6: One Year Later". Anderson and Jake Tapper will be hosting. It all starts, once again, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
Just ahead, we'll have more on the right-wing media universe promoting and amplifying President Trump's lies about the attack on the U.S. capitol one year ago today.
TAPPER: Former President Trump's lies and conspiracies about the January 6th attack here on the Capitol are finding fertile ground on right-wing media channels.
Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The roar of the riot was still echoing when right-wing media started rewriting the story.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: I do not know Trump supporters that have ever demonstrated violence. LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: There are some reports that Antifa
sympathizers may have been sprinkled throughout the crowd.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: There's always bad actors that will infiltrate large crowds.
FOREMAN: And in the year since, those efforts have persisted, through repeated and utterly unproven claims.
First, that it was mainly a peaceful protest. More than 700 who stormed the Capitol have been charged. Dozens of police were injured, some people died. And yet viewers of right-wing media are pushed toward a very different take.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vast majority there were really nice people who came from around the country to simply support a man they loved.
FOREMAN: Second, right-wing hosts have insisted these were not Trump fans. Never mind the chants, the flags and sworn testimony to the contrary from participants.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see video of people going in that are in all black gear. They do not look like Trump supporters to me. You can't even identify them.
FOREMAN: Right-wing commentators have kept promoting conspiracy theories that the uprising was the work of Antifa or undercover federal agents.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER PERSONAL LAWYER TO DONALD TRUMP: Two hundred twenty-six Antifa members were tasked with making what should have been a peaceful protest a riot.
FOREMAN: And third, they have framed this as a reasonable, even necessary response by frustrated voters. A new study of podcasts hosted by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Steve Bannon leading up to the insurrection found more than 50 percent endorsing unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud or related claims. The big lie that Trump won, and it continues.
STEVER BANNON, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: Elections have consequences. Stolen elections have catastrophic consequences, and that's what we see in this country right now. And we need your blood to boil. We need to be in a situation you're not going to back down, okay?
FOREMAN: And through it all, right-wing media figures have dismissed virtually every credible attempt to investigate.
BILL O'REILLY, TV HOST: They're not interested in what happened. They want to hang Donald Trump.
FOREMAN: And that is what many in Trump world take for truth -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Tom Foreman reporting for us, thank you very much. And to our viewers, thanks for watching.
I'm Wolf Blitzer on Capitol Hill.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.