tv Inside Politics With John King CNN January 5, 2022 9:00am-10:00am PST
hello and welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king in washington. thank you for sharing your day with us. omicron reviews a clash in schools. teachers refuse to go to their classrooms and there is a new restriction that is more confusing than ever. sean hannity was saying one thing to outsiders but something very different on the inside.
and republicans think less talk about trump is the path to more midterm election wins. we begin, though, with the coronavirus and what to many is a moment of frustrated covid confusion. the exploding case count is staggering and it is disruptive. yet the numbers also show hospitalizations and deaths are not climbing at the same rate of cases, proving omicron, for the most part, causes less severe illness. you can see that right here. this chart right here from dr. fauci, the yellow is omicron. smaller percentages of people admitted to the hospital, lower percentages of people who need oxygen, lower percentages of severe cases, lower percentages of death. the yellow is omicron. it is lower than delta or beta. get boosted, wear a masks indoors. while that advice is clear and it is constant, there is confusion for changed cdc guidance for those who do get
infected. the isolation period is now cut to five days. they said, if you want to take a test after those five days, fine. but as of today, the director added an important caution. >> after we released our guidance of recommendations early last week, it became very clear that people were interested in using the rapid test not authorized for this purpose. if one is to take an extra step and perform a test at the end of their five-day isolation period, we wanted to make sure people understood how they should be interpreted. if that test is positive, people should stay home for those extra five days, and if that test is negative, people really do need to understand that they must continue to wear their mask for those extra five days. >> senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen. elizabeth, the issue was, is the cdc becoming more helpful or confusing? where are we after that?
>> i think it's still confusing. when you read through those guidelines, and they're online for everyone to see, i think you read them and you go, what? my team and i have been back and forth about them ever since they came out yesterday. we still have questions and we're a relatively bright group of people. there are still things that aren't clear. let's talk about what does seem to be clear and what some of the bottom lines are. so the cdc is saying if you have covid-19, stay home for at least five days. if you're feeling better, you can end your isolation. you can get out of the house after five days, and you should mask up for another five days. now, towards the end of those five days, the end of your isolation, if you want to, if you can find a test, and if you want to take it, go for it. go ahead and take that test and a rapid test before ending your isolation. but it's not part of the guidelines. if you want to, you can do it. if that test is positive, then you should isolate for ten days. so there's been a lot of
explaining, both when they put out one version last week, then when they put out this version this week. this is what dr. walensky said on cnn. last week she was trying to emphasize that the cdc is following the science. >> this decision really from the isolation standpoint had everything to do with the fact that we wouldn't change our guidance based on the result of that rapid test. and you know that it didn't have anything to do with any shortage at all, because we recommend rapid tests for those in quarantine. >> so much back and forth here, but the bottom line, john, if you have covid, stay home for five days. if your symptoms have resolved, then you can get out of isolation. if you want to take a test before you get out of isolation, fine, but you certainly don't have to. john? >> i wish the government were as clear and concise as you are. i get it now. thank you very much for help sorting through it. after that briefing today, the biden administration making
it clear schools should stay open and they're providing billions of dollars in funding to keep them open. but in chicago, students are home today. home because the teachers union says it is not safe for its members to go back into the classroom. the school district calls that union decision, quote, walkout, and the mayor said teachers who do not show up will not be paid. let's get to omar jimenez in chicago. omar? >> reporter: john, the communication sent out by the school district just before midnight last night was that they considered this, one, a work stoppage, but also called this a work decision as they feared for the students. they said the teachers won't be paid for this, as the district announced, but part of what the district was concerned with is they don't think the measures in place at the chicago school district is doing enough to keep students and staff safe amid record numbers of covid-19 cases we've seen among students, staff
and the city of chicago in the past few weeks. particularly the teachers want more access to testing. they want to see students vaccinated at a higher rate. it's currently a little more than a third of students are vaccinated, but bottom line, they don't feel safe going back into the classrooms. take a listen to one school counselor. >> don't keep using us as sacrificial lambs, saying that it's safe to be in schools. it's not. it's not. >> reporter: now, the school district has maintained it is safe and pointed out that there is no evidence of widespread transmission in the classroom and even that transmission rates are lower when students are actually in school. take a list toen to the mayor. >> the schools are safe. we know it because of the hundreds of millions of dollars that cps has invested in our schools from ventilation to hipaa filters to masks to hand
sanitizers to protocols. why are we here again? it doesn't make any practical sense. >> reporter: now, over the last year, the school system has allocated more than a billion dollars to help with this very thing, addressing covid-19 and schooling. and part of it specifically to keep in-person learning active. we've still seen cases, though, and until this dispute is resolved, kids are out of class. john? >> kids are out of class. that is the main point right there. we'll watch the negotiations. omar, thank you. let's go to di dr. dina biscayn. the medical professionals say the schools are safe, the mayor says it's safe. should they believe them? >> i agree with the district, john. when that delta surge started
late summer/early fall, it did coincide with children going back to school. at that time we also saw a record number of children getting infected and children being admitted to the hospital, because being in school in close quarters is a high risk for transmission. now we're introducing an even more trance -- transmissible variant and it will only get worse if students go back to school right now. >> i'm grateful for your time to help us with context because the numbers can be confusing. dr. fauci used a graphic from south african data that does show omicron is less severe. that does not mean when you have so many cases, it is not disruptive. it doesn't mean we have so much less hospitalization, it's not disruptive. he used south africa. we're going to look at u.s. cases. this is cases versus hospitalizations. if you look at the gold line, the gold line is cases. you see it's shooting way up. you see hospitalizations is going up and hospitalizations
are at record levels, but it's not. if you look to the left, hospitalizations are not tracking cases as much as they did during the first wave or the delta wave. now we look at deaths and you see a similar thing in the sense that the cases go way up, but the red line is the deaths -- i want to make sure i'm clear about what we're talking about. there. there you see the coronavirus deaths. you have the same situation where in the past the first wave and the delta wave, death waves were tracking. so omicron is less severe. that is now not in dispute, yet it is still a challenge. what makes it different? >> omicron is less severe, however, i don't want to continue to push that narrative because i think that gives people a false sense of security. cases are rising much faster, but hospitalizations and deaths are also still rising. not only that, but we're seeing a lot of hospital staff members, physicians and nurses that are
getting this more transmissible variant, therefore, we're enco incurring staffing shortages. people who are contracting coronavirus, even if you get a mild case, that still puts you at risk for developing long-haul covid. or children who contract coronavirus, even though they may do fine and don't have any symptoms, weeks later they may develop ultra-respiratory systems. so omicron is not the end of the story. >> they're not saying it's not a threat, it's not saying it's not disruptive, they're just saying it's different. that's fair, isn't it? >> that's fair, but i think we're using "different" and "mild" in context with shorten isolation, get children back in school quicker than we should be. we should have the same amount of vigilance that we did in
march of 2020 when we thought this was a formidable opponent. it is a formidable opponent and it's still killing americans. >> i agree with that, but the white house makes the key point that if you are vaccinated and boosted, you are in significantly, significantly better shape than someone who is unvaccinated. that is correct, right? >> that is absolutely true. one of the houston area chief medical officers recently sent out an e-mail stating that of the hospitals where he is cmo, if you look at the data, only 2% of the patients that are currently admitted are vaccinated and boosted, meaning a vast majority of people were either vaccinated and didn't get their boosters, even though they were eligible, or are completely unvaccinated. so being vaccinated and boosted is definitely protective against severe disease. >> always grateful for your help. thank you. >> thank you. the committee wants sean hannity and mark meadows in the witness share. research shows hannity in
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and voluntarily talk to the committee. you know, everybody there didn't have a security detail, so we'd like to know what his security detail told him was going on and what all went on. >> straight up to capitol hill with cnn's ryan nobles. ryan, clearly they are trying to get everyone in camp trump to play along. >> they are trying to get former vice president pence and his allies. obviously vice president mike pence was a central figure in all of this. he was in the capitol on january 6. he was at the center of this pressure campaign for him to intervene and prevent the
certification of the election results. then, of course, there is sean hannity who is one of the former president's closest advisors and was in regular contact with members of congress, the white house chief of staff, and the committee wants to know if he was in contact with the president himself. hannity's conduct revealed in these text messages that the committee has offered to the public to show he was actually trying to talk trump down from this effort to decertify the election results. this was one text he sent to white house officials. quote, pence pressure, the white house counsel will leave. clearly he was concerned that this whole plan hatched by trump and some of these outside advisors was going to blow up in his face e. even after the fact he was encouraging trump to stop talking about the election results. of course, john, that was a different posture than he was showing on television, showing undying support for the president. keep in mind this is not a subpoena for sean hannity. they are asking him to come
forward voluntarily. hannity has not said how he plans to respond. john? >> let's discuss now. with me to share their report and insights are cnn legal analyst, jeff zeleny. does sean hannity have any shield here to not cooperate with the committee? >> here's the deal, john. ultimately he won't. he was not engaged in news gathering. he was acting as an advisor. the problem is i think it will be a lot like we've seen with these bogus claims of executive privilege. he'll go to court over this or he may go to court over this asserting that first amendment privilege, so without being able to just push forward on him without any privileges at all, it may take them a while to get through that litigation and actually sit down and speak with him. >> if you're a fox news viewer
or a hannity viewer, you have to deal with the hypocrisy. what he was saying to mark meadows and to trump versus what he was saying on television, using his program to stick with the big lie. that was in contrast to what he was saying on january 6. i want to read this text. this is on december 31st. we're in this key period between the election and the 6th. i do not see january 6 mapping -- happening the way he was being told. after the 6th, he'll go to florida, watch joe mess up. so hannity is raising alarms that the president's continued obsession with a coup, with trying to overturn the results of the election, was not going to work, while on television he was giving proponents of the big lie a platform every night. >> we also knew that there is always bad actors that will infiltrate large crowds. those who truly support president trump, those that
believe they are a part of the conservative movement in this country, you do not -- we do not support those that commit acts of violence. >> what might sean hannity be able to tell the committee? he obviously said that in these calls with the president. >> there was this frantic period during the holidays of 2020. he was given misinformation about the election. they were trying to see that. sean hannity appears to be one talking to the president, to tell him a way to try to not only save face but also move on and say move on and try to undermine joe biden's presidency
rather than try to stir up some rebellion about the election results. it is pretty clear sean hannity had some insight in the weeks leading up to january 6 and where trump's head was and what was happening to all the people trying to get into his head both to push the big lie and to push other ways for him to save face as he lost the election. >> right, and it would have been nice if he used his platform and influence with his supporters to make that case on television and the radio, and he did not. he gave the big lie a platform. this is january 10, after january 6. but guys, we have the clear path to land the plane in nine days. you he cannot mention the election ever. i don't know what else there is to do or say and i don't like not knowing if it's clearly understood. that's to a congressman and a white house chief of staff saying, i think the president is going off the rails, what should we do? >> he was clearly right about that but he was wrong about the fact he would never talk about the election again to the former president. i think this text you just read, john, is one of the most
fascinating windows into really the worry that surrounded many of the former president's advisors in the final days and hours of his time here in office, here at the white house. those were very fraught days. there was still broken glass, there was still blood, literally, on the walls of the stone at the capitol, and here at the white house people were very concerned about what former president trump, then-president trump was going to do. having these texts out there has already been done. i agree with jennifer that sean hannity willing to cooperate will not happen, he'll draw this out. any viewer of hannity's show will likely not know any of this. he did not mention this last night on his show, this has not been mentioned at all. it was in the letter he put out. >> there's a new study today that shows steve bannon and sean
hannity on rush limbaugh were perpetuating the big lie, ample flying the big law. they said joe biden was still in the election. that is a big lie. but trump was persuaded not to do that. how does that change the dynamic? >> clearly there are a lot of republicans on capitol hill who are having a sigh of relief. they were dreading this split screen we're having tomorrow where you have folks at the capitol giving testimonials, talking about their experience, about the one time in american history where we had u.s. citizens storm the capitol, but side by side with former president trump down at mar-a-lago, praising the rioters and trying to sort of whitewash the significance of what happened. so a lot of lawmakers on the hill were concerned about this. we were hearing last night at playbook that a number of trump allies, people who are still very close with him, confronted
him and told him this was going to be a really bad media cycle for him if he did this and got him to back down. one less thing republicans have to worry about. i think republicans, as we get close to this anniversary tomorrow, you can see how awkward everything feels for them. obviously for republicans nationwide still behind trump, they're reluctant to speak out, even though a lot of them really condemn privately what happened on the 6th, but they are refusing to do that publicly anymore. so they are sort of swarming in their places right now, not knowing how to handle this, dodging questions about it, or making sure they'll be out of town for this anniversary. the tragedy of it all is when they don't speak about it, people don't listen to their republican leaders. the republican base is still listening to donald trump thinking this was no big deal and they can just move on, or that these people had a patriotic motive. so the more these republicans don't speak out, the less the country -- the republican party
in particular -- will see what significance this was. >> tomorrow is the anniversary, but every day we should be reminded of how big a deal it was, and of the cowardice of those who won't speak out publicly and call it what it was. the representative taking heat. some say the justice department is being too lenient with those responsible for the insurrection. it's not just about getting ahead. or the constant grind. it's about knowing what you want... (car sfx: beep beep) (car sfx: watch for traffic) ...and focusing on what matters. welcome to the next level. this is all-new lexus nx. with available remote park... and our most advanced safety system—ever. ♪
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tomorrow, of course, is the one-year anniversary of the insurrection and of the beginning of what now is the largest investigation in justice department history. take a look. more than 700 people have been arrested, but the feds still have a lot of work to do, and they are asking the public for help to identify at least 350 people involved in the violence that day, including 250 who arrested police officers. they will deliver an update on the investigation today. that case count is impressive, but there are plenty of complaints, too. several judges handling the cases, for example, has asked if the doj is being too lenient. some trump republicans also want to see the doj target the former president. cnn correspondent with us. it's fascinating. >> yeah, it's fascinating that
almost no one was arrested who went into the building on that day, so the doj and law enforcement have been spending the last year hunting people down, as you pointed out, 725 so far. they anticipate it will end up being over 1,000. for the fbi, there are still a couple priorities they're still looking for. i sat down with steve otona. we talked about the challenges of finding people behind the rnc and the dnc and hundreds of people who assaulted police officers. take a listen. >> over 100 police officers were assaulted that day multiple times, not just once. we're not just talking one assault, multiple assaults and by multiple people. we're still looking for 250 people, individuals that assault ld the police officers that day. we have a lot of people still out there we're trying to identify. we need the public's help. >> john, this is expected to go on for years. as you pointed out in the next
couple hours, we're going to hear from attorney general merrick garland and he'll talk about defending american democracy. what a lot of people hope to hear is whether there is an investigation of the former president. >> it tends to be the guidelines of the attorney general. we'll see how that goes. evan perez, thank you for your reporting. jennifer rodgers, i want to start with you. we have 165 guilty pleas, 70 have been sentenced, 31 have received jail sentences. but several of the judges involved have criticized the justice department saying they think the doj prosecutors are being too lenient in what they're asking for here. what's your take? >> i don't know about that, john. these are complicated cases. they do have video evidence but
sometimes it's hard to prove significant violence, so i wouldn't criticize them too much on the work they're doing. these are really, really challenging, complex cases with the violence. i do think garland needs to make a commitment to go after the instigators, the big lie perpetrators. i don't know if he'll do that today, but i hope he does. >> we'll listen to the attorney general later, and of course, are there politics involved in this. there is a legal justice in the house of representatives who think garland has failed the test. listen. >> merrick garland has been extremely weak, and i think there should be a lot more of the organizers of january 6 that should be arrested by now. we have, again, an attorney general who is feckless and has not been helpful in preserving our democracy. >> feckless is a very tough word to hear from another democrat
about a democrat's choice for attorney general. they will be watching very closely at what he says. he fought for our ideals so they will be looking at what they feel are democratic ideals and they don't feel like they've gotten that from merrick garland as of yet. >> the committee referred steve bannon to the justice department. it took a while but the justice department did bring that case. the chairman of the committee says down the road there could be even higher business, you might say, higher priority business referred to the justice department. listen. >> if there's anything that we come upon as a committee that we think will warrant a referral to the department of justice, we'll do that. and that's our oath as members of congress. >> so they're bringing in the whole trump inner circle. many of the committee members say they believe president trump is culpable here. is that a referral that could
come down the road? >> yeah, i think it's a question a lot of democrats have. those comments right there just the tip of the iceberg. democrats, a lot of them, want to see merrick garland do something to investigate donald trump, the top. what was he doing in all of this? we'll have to see if the committee has a criminal referral to the justice department for the former president. look, that would not be an easy case to win, but i think what it speaks to is democrats still trying to find accountability of this former president after they impeached him once. he came back stronger. they impeached him again, he came back and sort of rallied. now they have the january 6 committee but there is still a question of how to hold this guy accountable, something they're still grappling with. >> it's a critical point as we see republicans undermine the democratic system around the country. join anderson cooper on january
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changes from the riot that is one year old tomorrow. >> do you believe that the department would be better able to defend against the type of threat that we saw a year ago today than the department was back then? >> yes. absolutely. today i'm confident that the u.s. capitol police department has made significant progress addressing the deficiencies that impacted the department's response on january 6. and while more work remains to be done, the men and women of the capitol police stand ready to fulfill their mission each and every day. >> security is ramped up on the hill, though the department of security says there are no credible threats as of now against the capitol. let's get more from our correspondent whitney wild. when you hear the department is down more than 400 officers, that's a lot. >> it's a huge amount of officers. when you consider this department is authorized for
2,000, 2,200, about. that is a significant number. the other thing, john, is they continue to work these really extensive, exhaustive hours, and the chief during this hearing told lawmakers, we cannot keep up with the amount of work we're trying to do with the staffing we have. this came up when senator leahy asked, what's going to happen if you can't get this budget passed? what happens if you can't get more money? he said, we can't keep our heads above water. he said they need to not only fill in the ranks of people who have left, more than 130 people have left since january 6, but they want to add officers. the chief wants to add 200 officers every year for three years to try to leapfrog this mass attrition they've seen. 200 officers left, and usually the number is 90. the chief also says they've seen more than 9,000 threats against
members of congress. that takes a long time to investigate out because they need to more fully assess the people who are actually going to cause harm. january 6 showed, it's not always clear based on social media posts, who poses a real threat and who doesn't. so that's ramping up the workload here, too. now cnn analyst michael fanone, talked about one of the key issues, and that's morale. >> until that's addressed, i don't see morale improving, and i certainly don't see the agency retaining officers who feel like they've been abandoned by their command level officials. unfortunately, i think that demands resignations. >> there you have it, john. that is what mike fanone thinks is the level of accountability. as you heard the panel before, throughout washington, people are trying to figure out how to hold these key people
accountable. >> these are people who say they back the blue and watching people who actually will back the blue. next up for us, democrats in the trump debate. a new superpac takes issue with those in the party who want less talk about trump. woman: i have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. now, there's skyrizi.
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they think the lesson of last year is to talk less about trump in this year's election. stopping him right now is the less subtle name of this cnn group. here's what he writes about the new superpac. it's calling attention to trump and his efforts to subvert the 2021 election. these democrats think their party needs to talk about that a lot more and quickly. before you delve into the reporting, let's just listen. we'll see how much they raise, we'll see how much they spend, but here is their first sample of what they want to tell the american people. listen. >> next time they won't just be wearing horns and wielding weapons. donald trump is marshaling another force to take over the u.s. capitol, his army of republican supporters, many running in this year's midterms and intent on helping him return to power.
so you want to risk a return to this? >> i explained the reporting, isaac, in the sense that many democrats said we should talk less about trump. why do you think no? >> for a number of reasons, you see there are a lot of things that democrats talk about that maybe resonate with voters, but so far they have not found anything that connects with the base and revs up the base quite so much as donald trump did in 2019 or 2020. that goes along with a legitimate deep fear that the people involved with this superpac feel that the consequence of republicans winning elections, whether it's state level races or the house or the senate is going to be not only encouraging donald trump to run again but maybe paving the way to subvert the election should he be running in 2024. >> it's the high-level group, also close advisors to president
trump. you spent a lot of time covering the governor's race. grunwald told isaac, no, it's a zero sum game. we either always talk about trump or we never talk about trump. that's nonsense. that's the challenge for the democrats. what's the sweet spot? >> that's what they're trying to find, but one thing terry mcauliffe did was try to compare youngkin to donald trump. he said he was the younger version of that and that didn't stick. but something that resonates are those images from the insurrection, are those just the reminder of the republican base and, really, what's changed over the last year. so many -- more republicans now today than a year ago believe in the big lie. that is what they are trying to bring to the fold. one thing is clear, this democratic party over the last year has fractured. if it's on infrastructure, if it's on policy debates or just
politics, one thing that has always united the democratic party, at least recently, is donald trump and their fear of him. that's what they're trying to get back to, john. we'll see if it works, but in a midterm election of a party in power, it's one of the best things they have. >> the party of power also always has the motivation at the beginning of the campaign. the motivation is how do they get democrats that might be disappointed in some of the biden agenda not passing, for example. how do you get them to come out? >> you can see this debate happening right now on capitol hill and the house. the democrat, sean patrick malone, he is a firm believer that you can rev up the base talking about donald trump and turning folks out. but a lot of these frontliners, and i have talked to these frontline democrats in the house, they don't want to talk
about trump at all, not at all. they don't like this two hoif prhoif -- two-pronged message, and they think it won't sway the swing voters they need. the folks that trump is trying to protect right now, they don't believe it could help the theory of the party. >> we are just lifting the curtain on what could be a fascinating campaign. we'll have more to talk about in the days and weeks to come. thank you, everybody, for coming in. joe manchin said just yesterday he might be willing to change senate rules to deal with party lines. today he is promising, mitch mcconnell, not to change those rules.
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a group aligned with mitch mcconnell is on with joe manchin. >> the gop is so desperate they want to change the senate rules and eliminate the filibuster. senator joe manchin promised he won't let that happen. call senator manchin. tell him to keep his promise. protect the senate filibuster. >> this comes just one day after manchin told reporters he might, might, consider a filibuster. today mcconnell brings that fight to the filibuster floor, accusing democrats of pushing
the line in their voting acts. he said it is beyond distasteful. he said because they broke the law, it does not entitle democrats to break the senate. don't forget, you can also listen to our podcast. download our podcast wherever you get your podcasts. hi, america, erica hill in for ana cabrera. omicron making a rough start to the new year. let's take stock of where we're at. there's been an increase in cases, hospitalizations also increasing dramatically surpassing the delta peak we saw in september. it's important to point out, though, nearly all those patients are unvaccinated. that means the vaccines and the boosters areor