tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 14, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
seditious conspiracy. also breaking, the cdc just released a highly an mticipated update on its mask policies. and where americans can get free at-home rapid tests. and novak djokovic was just detained and faces a hearing after his visa was revoked again. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> we begin with the breaking news. the leader of the oath keepers
appearing in court to face the most serious charges yet in the insurrection investigation. ed lavandera joins us. what happened? >> reporter: stewart rhodes saying he's not guilty. federal prosecutors laying out a 48-page indictment where they accuse him of forcefully plotting to stop the peaceful transition of presidential power. he faces five different charges, including seditious criminal conspiracy. saying he text messaged and organized a plot to bring weaponry into the d.c. area.
sa saying we will have to do a massively bloody revolution against them. that's what is going to have to happen. also going on to say, we aren't going through this without a civil war. prepare your body, mind, and spirit. prosecutors say rhodes and his count counterparts had weapons stashed in a hotel room in northern virginia. but his attorneys say this is being overblown. >> they were quite fixated that trump would activate them. but they left that in virginia. if they were going to do this, they would have brought weapons into the capitol, and they didn't do that. >> after today's country
appearance, rhodes remains in custody, being held in a jail in texas. his attorneys say their focus is to get him out of jail. and there's a detention hearing scheduled for next week to try to get him out. >> if convicted, he could face 20 years in prison. ed, thank you very much. there's new evidence tonight of the top republicans shifting claims about the capitol riot, and former president trump's role in it. ryan nobles is working the story. tell us about this radio interview that kevin mccarthy did earlier last year. >> reporter: he did this about a week after the capitol insurrection, he tells a radio host in california that he spoke to donald trump shortly after the insurrection, and that the former president admitted that he did bear some responsibility for the violence that took place
here at the capitol on that day. this echoes a statement that mccarthy made in a closed-door phone call from members of the republican conference that our team is also reporting out. in his press conference this week, when mccarthy was asked serious questions about the january 6th committee's desire for him to come forward and testify, he said he had no recollection of what he told republican members at that time. but this shows that around that period of time, mccarthy was interested in holding the former president responsible for what happened here. his tone, of course, dramatically changed shortly after. he ended up rejecting the idea of a bipartisan commission to look into the violence on that day. he's also been a huge person that was against the activities that took place here in terms of the committee. let's play a portion of that interview for you now.
>> i say he has responsibility, he told me personally that he does have some responsibility. i think a lot of people do. but what i proposed, which i think history will say i'm right, because it's the right thing to do, i believe, have a bipartisan commission. and get all your facts. actually, work through the grand jury, to find out at the end, instead of predetermining whether someone is guilty or not. >> reporter: that sound a lot different from the mccarthy we heard this week. that's part of the reason the committee wants to talk to him. they believe he has a lot of information about what happened leading up to the capitol insurrection, on that day, and afterwards. but at this point, mccarthy says he's not interested in cooperating. >> ryan, thank you. joining us now, maggie haberman, of "the new york times," and cnn
legal analyst elie honig. maggie, your reaction from what mccarthy said this year compared to what he's saying now. >> it's interesting. we know mccarthy had a phone call with donald trump during the riot that was taking place, mccarthy trying to explain to the then-president that people were coming in his windows, and trump saying i guess they're not as angry as you are. we know that mccarthy was interested in some kind of a censure. but he was putting out not just that trump deserved some blame, but that he admitted some responsibility. trump never did, so mccarthy and other republicans changed their own tunes instead. >> mccarthy claims there's nothing, in his words, that he can provide to the committee. but just listening to his own
words, that's clearly not true. >> it's complete nonsense, and it's simply not true. this new piece of tape, where mccarthy says donald trump acknowledged that he has some responsibility, that's extraordinarily powerful evidence. that's an admission of some culpability by donald trump to kevin mccarthy. and the committee is right to be very much focused on that. that was the old mccarthy, before his voyage down to mar-a-lago, he seems to have emerged as a different person with a different take on the facts and reality. >> do you think this could potentially be a gift from mccarthy, could he use this to try to prove his loyalty to trump? >> i'm sure, wolf. i think we've seen him and other republicans do that in various settings around the january 6th investigations over and over. i think that trump knows that
mccarthy needs trump's help to become the next speaker, i think he wants to be the next speaker, and at this moment the climate looks good for republicans in the midterms. so mccarthy is looking towards the future. yes, it can help him politically, but in terms of trying to record the history of what happened, he's not participating with his own colleagues. and i think that will continue to at least come up among some people over the next couple of years. >> i totally agree. elie, on this oath keepers indictment, we're reporting that merrick garland was reluctant to use this charge of seditious conspiracy. does that reflect how hard this is to prove? >> i think it could be, but it's better late than never. two or more people planned to use force to interfere with a governmental function. if you look at this oath keepers
indictment, the evidence is extremely strong and str straigh straightforward. this is a slam dunk case of seditious conspiracy if we've ever had one. we've had 700 charges from that day, and this is the only one. i think it should be used to apply to more people, including those at higher power levels. >> and former president trump has done more appearances lately. does that say anything to you about his 2024 ambitions potentially? >> to an extent. two things can be true at once. every indication is that he is running for president. i was hearing conflicting things about where he was on this,
everything i'm hearing now is that he's planning to run. in terms of him looking for attention, i don't think it's necessarily his strategy. i think it's about the fact that he misses being in the middle of the conversation, and more people are willing to talk to him now, as we get closer to 2023. >> thank you very, very much to you both. just ahead, the cdc finally releases updated guidance, urging americans to upgrade their masks. we'll have details of the announcement information you need to know, right after the break. so, it's not a problem at all. you guys aren't gonna give me the fake bill fight? c'mon, kev. you're earning 3% cash back. humor me. where is my wallet? i am paying. where is my wallet? i thought i gave it to you. oooohhh? oh, that's not it either. no. no. stop, i insist. that was good though. earn big time with chase freedom unlimited
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we're following breaking pandemic news right now. new mask guidance just released from the centers for disease control and prevention, as nearly 800,000 cases on average of the omicron variant. let's go to dr. leana wen. what do you make of the guidance from the cdc encouraging americans to upgrade their masks for better protection to the n-95 or kn-95? >> i strongly agree, but i wish it had come out sooner. we have known for a year that covid is airborne, and mask quality matters. at least wear a surgical mask with a cloth mask on top of that. just a single layer of cloth
mask is just not enough. if the guidelines have been changed months ago, we may not be where we are with omicron. >> let's get your thoughts on the biden administration announcing that americans will soon be able to order a rapid test online, shipped directly to their homes. is that the best way to distribute these tests? >> i do. i think it's a really big step in the right direction. otherwise, the other plan was to have people go to a pharmacy, find tests, get them reimbursed through an insurance company. this plan will have four tests delivered for free for americans who want them, but it's four per household, which is not enough, and won't be in time to stop the omicron surge. what i want to hear from the
biden administration is a plan going forward, to anticipate the next surge, giving all americans two tests every week if they want them. that should be the moonshot goal. >> and what do you think about the rapid tests' accuracy with the omicron variant? >> they're picking up omicron, but we have to use them the right way. they're not as sensitive and reliable as the pcr tests, if somebody is newly symptomatic. but they're effective right before you do something. if you're getting together with friends and family, somebody who is vulnerable, take it right before you see them to see if you're currently infectious right now. if you have symptoms and the initial test is negative, take
another the next day. if that is still negative, and you still have symptoms, take a pcr test for confirmation. and they're good to see if you're still infectious after an illness. you don't want to take a pcr test, because it will still be positive for a long time. take the rapid test in that circumstance, too. >> excellent advice, as usual. thank you very, very much. coming up, president biden trying to recover from a brutal week of setbacks on multiple fronts. does the white house have a plan to get their agenda back on-track? (music) ♪ so i think to myself ♪ ♪ oh what a wonderful world ♪
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tonight, president biden is closing one of the most brutal weeks since he took office nearly one year ago. includes some significant defeats on voting rules and voting rights. >> there's a lot of talk about disappointments and things we haven't gotten done. >> reporter: tonight, president biden acknowledging a clear reality. >> but this is something we did get done. >> reporter: even as he touted the infrastructure law that served as a cornerstone success of his first year, the white house faced with a week of roadblocks and setbacks. from covid in the courts -- >> it's disappointing to have the court rule this way. >> reporter: to a legislative agenda stuck in the mud. >> right now, we're dealing with the realities of the fact that we have a very slim majority in the house and the senate.
that makes things more challenging than in the past. >> reporter: the omicron pandemic still very much dominating american lives. five senate democrats raising concerns about a white house that has been reactive rather than proactive. despite historic efforts to deploy the covid vaccine -- >> the other way to look at the last year is that 200 million americans are now vaccinated. more than 80% of americans have received at least one dose. >> reporter: the supreme court blocking federal vaccine requirements for large employers. the same day, biden's voting reform push was dealt a fatal blow from senators manchin and sinema. >> i will not support separate
actions that worsen the disease of division in our country. >> he needs to hold a press conference. either you will be with me in getting rid of the filibuster, or i'm gassing up the jet on your behind, and i will be in arizona and west virginia, and let the american people know who is standing in the way of my entire agenda. >> reporter: biden's build back better act, also on ice. a latest in a series of priorities with no clear path forward. overshadowed by consumer prices jumping at the fastest pace in 29 years. the white house vowing to keep fighting. >> the agenda doesn't wrap up in one year. we're continue to fight for president biden's agenda. >> reporter: he will address those issues head on next week,
with his first press conference since last year. it's a day before the one-year mark of his administration, and the same day that senate democrats plan to vote on the filibuster. he will be speaking shortly thereafter. >> phil, thank you. let's bring in david axelrod and abby phillip. welcome back from maternity leave, abby. >> thank you. >> let's start with you, we just heard nina turner suggest biden should, in her words, gas up the jet to remind senators manchin and sinema where their loyalty should lie. is there any appetite for the president to go lobby against
those senators? >> certainly not to west virginia, there's no political reason for joe biden to ever step foot in west virginia. joe manchin is in a state where donald trump won by double digits, by probably more than any other state in the union. he's probably the only democrat who would win in west virginia today. arizona, on the other hand, maybe be a little bit of a different story. there is an appetite among some democrats in that state to challenge kyrsten sinema. the reason we're in this position in the first place is that joe biden doesn't have much political leverage over either of the senators. and i don't think that will change. >> david, you've been in a white house going through tough times during the obama administration. how badly does president biden need a win right now? >> he does need one. wolf, look, i was there in some difficult times in 2009, 2010. i lived by these words.
you're never as smart as you look when you win, and you're never as dumb as you look when you lose. when these things start rolling, and some bad things happen in sequence, a few things follow. one is everyone in washington, on television and off, is very generous with their advice. politicians on the hill begin to panic, thinking about the election that is at hand, which is theirs. and figuring out ways to try to separate themselves from you. and a lot of the things that you achieved are obscured. biden's had some pretty big wins this year. some that defied conventional wi wisdom, like the infrastructure bill. right now, there's not a lot of discussion about them. he does need a win. but more than anything else, he needs to stop setting up losses. i think going to atlanta this week and making the speech he made set expectations at a place that were unrealistic, and they
knew that, and they were trying to speak to a base and signify their commitment. but the result of it is, it ups the ante on the loss that is almost certain to come. so i would be careful of that, and focus on the virus and the economy, things right in front of people. >> abby, i suspect the president's formal news conference next wednesday will be a tough one for him. >> no question about it. this is one of the toughest periods of his presidency. perhaps really only rivaling the period just before the withdrawal from afghanistan. the president is in a difficult spot, and he hasn't been taking these kinds of questions from reporters in a long time. there will be a lot of questions, and i don't know what answers he will have. some of the problems are not easy to be fix, theed, they don
have levers of control. so, what is the plan for build back better, and for voting rights? right now, it seems like both are dead in the water. >> abby and david, thank you very much. to our viewers, please join abby this weekend, this sunday morning, as she anchors "inside politics sunday," 8:00 a.m. eastern, i'll be watching. just ahead, novak djokovic detained in australia, i'll discuss with bob costas. he's standing by live. right after the break. u just ride the wave? (judith) no - we actively manage client portfolios based on our forward-looking views of the market. (other money manager) but you still sell investments that generate high commissions, right? (judith) no, we don't sell commission products. we're a fiduciary,
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after australian officials have revoked his visa once again over covid protocol concerns. let's go to melbourne, phil black is on the scene. i understand he's been formally detained once again for second time. give us the latest. >> reporter: that's right. a court ordered djokovic to present himself, he has been detained. he will be able to spend time with lawyers to prepare his case. but he will be closely supervised, under guard. and tonight, he will once again be sleeping in an immigration detention center. there's a hearing in a courtroom, pointing ahead to the main hearing tomorrow. where it's expected that arguments will be heard, but they will be different this time, because the reasons given
will be changed. nobody will be talking about -- he had recently recovered from covid-19. instead, the focus will be the potential impact that his presence will have in the country, on the community of vaccine skeptics here. the potential risk to the australian public. that is what has been cited by the australian government as its reasons for cancelling the visa here. crucially, this means that we will find out by tomorrow if his appeal is successful, and he could still play in the australian open monday. >> phil, thank you very much. joining us now, bob costas. thanks for joining us. have you ever seen anything quite like this in all your years covering sports? >> well, covid has created unique circumstances going back a couple of years now. so there's always something we
haven't seen before. but in djokovic's case, we're talking about an individual sport athlete, not a team sport athlete. but this is worth noting. counting the women's side, 128 on both sides. 256 competitors at the australian open. if somehow he's allowed to play, he will be the only one who is unvaccinated. and what we have with him, i don't know him personally, i haven't covered much tennis in my career, but i've followed it as closely as most people had. he's shown a continued, and in this episode, a continued pattern of evasions of the truth, and contempt for the rules that apply to everyone else. so, you know, it's difficult to take his side in this. >> you've said in the past, he's said what you've called the contempt for the common good. he really doesn't believe the
rules actually do apply to him, does he? >> evidently not. i'm not going to sit here and analyze him from this great distance. but evidently not. there's a pattern in this. he's the number one player in the world, may be the best player of all time. he's important to the success of the australian open. we understand that. but that doesn't give him carte blanche. and he's learning that. if somehow he should prevail, and if he's permitted to play, it will be at some obvious expense to his reputation because this has played out internationally, and he doesn't look good at all. >> while i have you, i want to turn to a very different subject, my buffalo bills are taking on the new england patriots tomorrow night, saturday night. tell us, you're an expert in this area. what are you expecting from this
game? >> i am expecting a lot of shivers. temperatures in the single digits. it's a night game in january, in buffalo. it's going to be a test against the elements, not just against the opponent. as you know, because you followed this closely, the bills beat the patriots in boston, giving them home field advantage. but rains, heavy wins, the patriots beat them in buffalo. so the road team has won each of the first two meetings. the bills are home, and i know they're favored by four or five points. i know you have your fingers crossed, but i saw john king in a patriots jersey, there's a dispute at cnn. >> bob, thank you so much as usual for joining us. appreciate it very much. coming up, president biden's push to expand voting rights hits a major roadblock in the
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calhope offers free covid-19 emotional support. call 833-317-4673, or live chat at calhope.org today. it's the end of a difficult week for president biden that included an apparent fatal blow to his push for voting rights. let's discuss this and more with the former u.s. attorney general, eric holder. thank you so much for joining us. as we know, the president, at least for now, doesn't have the support for these voting rights bills, he doesn't have the votes to change the rules to try to pass them, either.
where does he turn now? does he have a path forward on this important issue? >> you never want to say never. and i'm confident that the president and the vice president will continue to work with the senators to try to get these bills passed. they're important to the health of our democracy, they would s stop some gerrymandering and other issues. but we need to continue to fight partisan and racial gerrymandering, and we need to keep making sure that people have the ability to get to the polls inspite of these obstacles that republicans have put in place. >> do you want to see senator kyrsten sinema face a primary challenge over her opposition to
filibuster reforms? >> that will be up to the people in arizona to decide. my hope will be that senator sinema will look at the situation, understand what the stakes are, what the negative impact of not passing on these bills will be. my hope is that through continued interaction with these folks, she will reach an appropriate decision and support these bills. >> the white house is clearly on the defensive, after the president compared voting rights opponents to jefferson davis and george wallace. even the number two democrat said perhaps that rhetoric went too far. did it, from your perspective? >> no, i don't think so at all. the consequences of leaving these bills in place, leaving these actions unmet, will result in what we had to confront in the '60s, when there was a
concerted effort to keep people away from the polls, specifically people of color. these people say they're acting in a race neutral way, but the reality is, the steps they've taken make it more difficult for people of color to vote. in atlanta, the time it took to vote in the 2020 election, if you were white, it took about six minutes. it took about 51 minutes if you were a black atlantan. 1,700 poll closures since 2013. disproportionately in states with african-american populations. and we don't like to talk about race in this country. but i think what the president said in atlanta is a harsh reality. and i think his rhetoric was spot-on. >> when it comes to redistricting, the ohio supreme court just rejected the new map
drawn by state republicans. i know your organization has challenged that map as well. but overall, redistricting is not given republicans much of an edge, as of now, is it? >> no, not now. that's because of the work we're doing, filing lawsuits like in ohio, where the supreme court threw out not only the congressional maps but the state legislatiive maps. an independent redistricting commission in michigan did a good job by redrawing the lines. by getting the american people to focus on this issue, and being more transparent. so far, we've been able to pretty much blunt that which the republicans have tried to do. except in states like texas and georgia, where we have lawsuits still pending, and where republicans have gone to town when it came to their
gerrymandering efforts. >> eric holder, thanks for joining us. just ahead, we're learning new information about the north korean missile launch that grounded flights on the west coast, including fears that it could have reached the united states. and mark your calendars, this sunday night, 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific, for the cnn original series "reframed: marilyn monroe." >> 21-year-old marilyn monroe decided to pursue another one of hollywood's biggest players. >> he had a huge estate. and he would just hold saturday night parties. a lot of people from hollywood would be there. and marilyn is invited to his parties. lot of contract girls are. >> it was understood tacitly
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the pentagon says there is intelligence indicating russia is preparing a so-called false-flag operation to justify an invasion of ukraine. let's bring in our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. he is working his skours sources, got new information for us. what is the latest on this u.s. intelligence? >> wolf, what is alarmed the pentagon from the beginning here
is the multilayered approach that the russians have taken from the beginning here. it's not just these soldiers on the border or the tanks, the military equipment. it is propaganda efforts to justify an invasion. it is the presence of intelligence operatives, including teams that have the intention of assassinating ukrainian-political leaders. and now, you have this latest piece, which is the possibility of creating false-flag operations. in other words, sabotaging russia's own pro-russian forces inside ukraine to create a pretext to allow for the russian invasion. and now, we are seeing all of these things play out here. the concern is that at any point, putin, the kremlin, pull the trigger here and then that would bring a full-on invasion of ukrainian territory. >> you know, what's really interesting, and i want you to elaborate on this, jim, it comes as ukraine is now blaming russia for a wide-ranging cyberattack
against ukraine. is that a precursor for a possible russian invasion? >> based on all of russia's war plans, their shadow war plans, hybrid war plans, this is absolutely part of the -- the russian playbook here. we have seen it, before. in other countries that russia has taken territory from. from georgia to maldova, attacks on estonia in the past. this fits the pattern. as you say, the u.s. has not yet attributed this, the ukrainians have, and by the way, the u.s. strongly suspects this cyberattack comes from russia because it fits a pattern. you set the ground for a formal invasion and cyberattacks, often a way to weaken their opponents before they come in. >> this is all so, so worrisome, indeed. a major, major threat on the horizon over there. let's hope it doesn't happen. jim sciutto, thanks as usual. we also following new missile launches by north korea, as we learn how concerned faa officials were by a launch earlier-this week, that
temporarily grounded some u.s. flights on the west coast. cnn's brian todd is joining us right now. he he's got new details on these latest missile launches by kim jong un's regime. what are you learning? >> tonight, kim jong un is continuing his aggressive push to ramp up missile capability and keep the u.s. and its allies on edge. tonight, pentagon officials say the two missiles kim jong un's regime test fired today from a rail car were, quote, ballistic in nature. this is north korea's third missile launch in two weeks. the previous two, in recent days, were what pyongyang claim were successful test firings of hypersonic missiles, which can maneuver in flight making them much harder for u.s. forces and pair partners to shoot down. >> seeing what happened to saddam hussein happening to kim jong un so north korea is investing heavily in both conventional and nuclear missiles so they can both retaliate against u.s. invasion
but also to strike u.s. forces in south korea and japan. part of doing that means being able to defeat u.s. missile defenses. >> reporter: and there is new information tonight on the ground stop issued to some pilots along america's west coast on monday as a result of north korea's missile test that day. >> ground stops, all departures. >> two sources familiar with the matter now tell cnn initial tel tel telemetry readings. or the california coast. within minutes, norad and u.s. northern command correctly assessed the missile posed no threat to the u.s. but in the few minutes of uncertainty, communications weren't clear. and the faa grounded some planes. the faa is now reviewing its response. >> what is really dangerous is the possibility that you get a false alarm when you are already worried about an attack and then a u.s. president or south korean president takes some precipitous action that actually creates a
crisis and turns it into a war, instead of deescalating it. >> reporter: scares like this, some analysts say, likely thrilled the north korean dictator. >> i'm sure he loves it. i'm sure that every time you get one of those false alarms, it's terrifying and that's exactly what he wants to do is to terrify us and show how he can disrupt our society. >> while u.s. officials continue to condemn the recent north korean missile launches calling them destabilizing, and the u.s. just leveled sanctions on north korean individuals for supporting its missile programs, kim's regime spon like it often does, his foreign ministry saying north korea has right to bolster its national defense and using one of the regime's favorite phrases to describe u.s. officials saying they are quote using gangster-like logic criticizing pyongyang. wolf. >> i know u.s. intelligence officials are looking very closely at all this. deep concern among u.s. allies in the region, south korea, for example, japan. they are watching all of this, very closely, as well.
we will see what happens. brian todd reporting for us. thank you, brian, very much. and to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. i am wolf blitzer in the situation room. you can always follow me on twitter and instagram @wolf blitzer. you can always tweet the show @cnn sit room. the situation room is also available as a podcast. look for us wherever you get your podcasts. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. out front next. the president trying to shift the conversation to infrastructure but as he marks one in year office, he is facing dangerous challenges on many fronts tonight. plus, the founder of the oath keepers makesing his first peerns in court after being charged with seditious conspiracy. the latest on what happened in that room today. and the urgent plea tonight to save the restaurant that is again being hit hard by the pandemic. let's go out front. and good evening