tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 21, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
heat. it's time that the country serves its citizens especially those who have been wrongfully detained and held hostage abroad. >> the group says the loved ones for whom their fighting have collectively lost 90 years of their lives by being wrongfully detained. i'll be back with our special coverage of the hearings starting in just an hour. our coverage continues now with wolf blitzer and "the situation room." see you in an hour. ♪ ♪ happening now, president biden tests positive for covid with white house officials reassuring the american public his symptoms are mild. we've got the latest on his condition now and what doctors expect in the days ahead. inaction figure, that's how witnesses of the january 6th select committee final scheduled hearing are expected to paint the former president. for 187 minutes with the u.s.
capitol under siege. also tonight, deadly heat across the globe and in america 100 million people under heat alerts in more than two dozen states. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." ♪ ♪ ♪ tonight, president biden's covid diagnosis and what comes next. his top covid official the president himself sent out a brief video message about how he's doing, and let's go to jeff zeleny joining us from the white house. how is the president feeling tonight. >> wolf, officials tell me tonight that president biden is feeling quite well. he's been working remotely, if you will from the residence of the white house throughout the day making telephone calls holding meetings virtually and this comes, thof course, as the first time he's tested positive
for covid-19 and he's in the first year and a half of his presidency trying to dodge this, and today he did test positive and he was just on his way to traveling to pennsylvania where he was scheduled to give a gun violence speech when he did test positive and that abruptly changed all of his plans. a few hours after that, he recorded this video message outside on the truman balcony offering words of assurance. >> this morning i tested positive for covid and i've been double vaccinated and double boosted, the symptoms are mild, and i really appreciate your inquiries and concerns. i'm doing well. i'm getting a lot of work done. i will continue to get it done. in the meantime, i appreciate the concern. it's going to be okay. >> shortly before he received his first treatment of paxlovid, of course, that is the antiviral medication that doctors rec mended because he is, indeed in a high-risk group and because
he's taking paxlovid he's stopped taking a blood thinner and high cholesterol medication. he stopped taking them temporarily, but wolf, he is spending the next five days in isolation here in the residence of the white house. his top officials here and aides went to great lengths to show that he has mild symptoms, a runny nose, they say, and he's still doing his work. of course, he's a high-risk category, wolf, at age 79. >> he is 79 years old and fully vaccinated and thank god, doubly boosted. do white house doctors have any specific concerns they're monitoring right now? what are they saying? >> wolf, we had a white house briefing this afternoon and i asked the covid coordinator dr. ashish jha specifically about their concerns and his age because he is in a high-risk group and dr. jha said because he is double vaccinated and double boosted and because he office paxlovid this morning that that reduces severe illness
in their view. they are monitoring him and they're testing his oxygen which they say is normal. they say his -- all other signs are normal, as well and he's exhibiting mild symptoms and there are recurring cases and then you have a boomerang, so doctors say they will monitor that. jill biden, for her part, the first lady has tested negative. she'll be isolating separately in their home in wilmington for the next several days, but the vice president xi has deemed a close contact with the president and xi is trashe is traveling a president is working. he just is experiencing minor symptoms and think, so much of a different story since the first chapter of covid when the first president was medevaced to walter reed with vaccinations and antivirals since then, wofrl, this is an entirely different story here tonight.
>> jeff zeleny at the white house. thanks very much. let's get perspective from our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta and also joining us, dr. lena nguyen for the city of baltimore. sanjay, what are you watching with the president's symptoms which we've been told are mild. what is your biggest concern? >> well, i think the biggest concern in the short term is that dueo the symptoms progresst all? they're not likely to because as jeff mentioned the president is vaccinated and received both boosters and he's very well protected and he'll be 80 in november and age in this pandemic is a big risk factor. age is still a risk factor. in the longer term, just how long does it take for him to recover from this? the vaccines are very good at preventing severe illness, but moderate illness can be significant. lots of fatigue and shortness of
breath and your blood oxygenation can drop to 94% and those are the sorts of things that we can worry about. people ask how much more protection is there in someone who is vaccinated versus unvaccinated and there's been some data that's come out now. if you look at people over the age of 50, if you look at may 2022, what was the difference? 29 times lower you received both boosters and the vaccines versus unvaccinated. so significant protection, but those are the things i would watch in particular. >> that's important. you just wrote an op ed for "the washington post" calling the president's diagnosis a teachable moment. can you explain what you mean by that? >> right now the white house seems to be doing everything right from a medical and public health standpoint assuming that the president developed symptoms, and soon as he tested positive he went into isolation.
there was also contact tracing that was done and very importantly, he got paxlovid right away because there is this misconcession out there that you should only get paxlovid when you get severe is imtoms when you should get it to prevent severe symptoms at all. that is the message to the country about what is the right thing you should be doing when you get covid and the fact that president biden keeps on working and is emphasizing the importance of vaccination also really critical. back to sanjay's statistics, we should be making it clear that the point of vaccination is to prevent severe illness. it's not a failure of the vaccines that president biden got covid. it actually is a success he's not in the hospital and that is the entire purpose of the vaccination and keeping up to date on your boosters. >> it could save your life to get vaccinated and boosted.
>> sanjay, all of us remember when former president trump tested positive in october 2020, you and i covered that, he was checked into the walter reed military hospital for several days here in the d.c. area. he went to bethesda. can you talk about why president biden has not been taken there? they have doctors, nurses and medical treatment at walter reed that they don't necessarily have inside the white house? >> i think it really has to do with his level of symptoms. i think we learned in retrospect after president trump's hospitalization that he was quite sick. he got monoclonal antibodies and steroids and his oxygen levels dipped while he was in the hospital, president trump we're talking about. president biden his symptoms are mild so i think they'll be monitoring this and if there's some cause for concern, oxygen lefrms drop or his symptoms worsen, it's a possibility, but the statistics are very much on his side that because of his vks
and the paxlovid medication, it is very unlikely to progress to severe illness. it's a different time. when president trump got covid there was no vaccine at that point, so this is an example of how effective these vaccines are just as you compare these two situations. >> dr. nguyen, when you look at the white house's testing protocol, prsz last tested negative on tuesday and he tested positive, and hoo r he was at afternoon outdoor event. do you think the white house testing is working, considering what happened here? >> well, i think we need to look at where we are at this point in the pandemic. this is a very different point than before we had vaccines in which case you had to rely on things like masks, social distancing and testing in order to prevent people from becoming severely ill. now we have vaccines and now we have treatment, and i also think that there needs to in to a point when we say we'll figure
out how to live with covid and prevention of the disease and prevention of all infection is no longer the goal. in this particular case i think it's really good that president biden tested negative on tuesday because it is unlikely that on tuesday or the preceding days he could have infected other people. so we're looking at the window of yesterday, wednesday, when he could have been infected, in terms of who, and those individuals should follow cdc precautions and get tested and we know the things to do, but i also think that at some point there needs to be a reset of our expectations because we're going to have to live with covid. president biden may get covid once a year or more going forward. some people might want to take precautions and that's totally reasonable, but others have to live with this disease. to both of you, thank you very,
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with cnn's special coverage of the house january 6th select committee's final scheduled hearing had now less than an hour away, we are getting a better idea of what's in store for all of us tonight. earlier today the committee member adam kinzinger provided a preview of some of the testimony which the committee says will demonstrate the former president's inaction as the angry mob he incited ransacked the u.s. capitol. >> it is my understanding he was watching television. >> when you were in the dining room in these discussions was the -- was the violence of the capitol on the screen on the television? >> yes. >> all right. >> again, cnn's special coverage gets under way right at the top of the hour, right after "the situation room." in the meantime, let's go to the u.s. capitol right now.
cnn's ryan nobles is on the scene. what's the latest? what are you hearing? >> i think this is no doubt the most important hearing that the january 6th select committee has had up to this point and it's one of the reasons that they moved it to prime time and they've built it up to this moment and they've laid out where they think donald trump was pushing a lie and they demonstrated how he encouraged his supporters to get here to the capitol on january 6th and what they're going to do tonight is outline how as the capitol was under siege at a moment where the president of the united states needed to be engaged and show action that donald trump did nothing, and they're going to do that with a wide range of interviews and witness testimony from people who are in and around the oval office and the west wing during the crucial 187 minutes of when the capitol was under attack and i'm told that the committee has a lot of information that has
been pouring in and they've been working on this hearing right until the last minute. staff working in some cases 12 to 24 hours a day to make sure that they could pack everything in for what they know will be one of their biggest audiences yet. wolf, the committee truly believes that among the many things that they did donald trump did wrong between election day and january 6th, it was that period of time that they described as a dereliction of duty and it is their aim to lay that out with specific evidence tonight. >> we will see that evidence over the course of the next two hours and the chief of staff and could he also play a role in tonight's hearing? >> what's interesting is we haven't heard that much over the course of the hearings that the january 6th committee, and meadows was very close to donald
trump during this period of time and he was fielding calls from members of congress and other republican officials and we know from his text messages that he was being asked by a great deal of people to try to intervene and get donald trump to do something about what was happening here at the capitol. it is important to point out that he could be subject to any number of criminal charges as to the role that he played in trying to deny the certification of the election results. we asked him about that today, and this is how he responded. >> have you heard from the department of justice as far as january 6th? >> i don't comment on anything about january 6th. >> that's not 100% true. he does answer on conservative media outlets and he did write a book in which he talks about january 6th quite a bit and we'll have to see what role he plays tonight. >> ryan nobles, thank you very, very much. joining me now the january 6th
committee member elaine luria who will lead to not's hearing along with adam kinzinger. thank you very much for joining us. i know you said that watching this violence was part of the plan for the former president of the united states. i'm talking about president trump back on january 6th and it wasn't until he realized that it was going to be successful that he finally stood up and said something, and that's a direct quote from you. how will you and your committee go about laying out your case tonight proving all of that? >> wolf, we will hear both in person and through video testimony from previous interviews from people who were close to the president. they were physically around the president and observed the things that happened in the white house that day, heard conversations from people who were interacting directly with the president and i think putting all of that together and it had the ability of inaction and the president had to walk up
to the microphone and speak to the american people and the world, and he did not do that on january 6th. >> we learned that the former prs's executive assistance had given taped information. what information will we learn from her and other witnesses later tonight? >> as i said, we will go in depth. we kind of break down the events of that day in different phases and there are key phases like what happened when the tweet went out on 2/24. former president trump put a target on the vice president's back. mike pence does not have the courage to do what he needs to do. mike pence was doing exactly what he needed to do was follow the law and the constitution. he had put out a letter that he was not going to succumb to the pressure and he was in the capitol, and going through this process of certifying the election results. you can see a clear shift.
we have testimony and video from rioters and we see them reacting to the press's again, call for mike pence to do something, but in this case it was an attack and you're familiar. we've shown it before the "hang mike pence" chants and the gallows that was set up outside the capitol, and there's a point later on in the day where it's clear that this isn't going to work. mike pence isn't going to change the election results and there will not be a delay and the capitol police, the national guard and everyone is moving in and clearing the capitol of the rioters and the president reluctantly stands up and speaks to the microphone, and i would say even at that point the words that he uttered, they were not a forceful message from the president of the united states. he commiserated with the rioters. he said he loved them. go home in peace. there was just a lot that one expects from the president, the commander in chief and his duty bound in the constitution to make sure that the laws of the
country were faithfully executed. >> he was derelict of duty on january 67th and just like adam kinzinger, when you use dereliction of duty and that's an experience of what people go through. >> inspktor general has told the secret rrs, the u.s. secret service to stop invest gaiting potentially living texts due to an ongoing criminal investigations. >> do you believe the u.s. secret service potentially broke the you in not retaining those text messages. ? important, this is the understanding, and whether they be radio transmissions and in this case text messages to understand what the secret service was doing, saying, what kind of actions they were taking
and there were also responsibilities and there were requirements for federal agencies to maintain records, and you know, we've heard a lot of different things. we don't quite understand the story about whether the text messages were threated. can they be recovered? everybody upgrades their device from time to time, but generally, there's a continuity of data and there's so much more we need to learn and we need to dig into this to get more information about these texts. you see the texts themselves. >> i know you're very busy, congresswoman elaine luria. thank you for spending time with us and we'll be watching your questioning over the course of the next several hours. >> coming up, i'll be joined by the harvard law professor and he taught merrick garland as a student. we'll discuss whether there's enough evidence right now for the u.s. justice department to charge the former president and whether they would do so if there is. we'll be right back.
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hearing about those 187 minutes of presidential inaction is adding to the speculation about whether the former president of the united states will eventually face federal charges. several defense attorneys who were former prosecutors have told cnn that the former president's criminal exposure increased after cassidy hutchinson's dramatic testimony last month. this is what the u.s. attorney general, the current u.s. attorney general merrick garland, actually said on wednesday. listen.
>> no person is above the law in this country. i can't say it any more clearly than that. there is nothing in the principles of prosecution in any other factors which prevent us from investigating anyone, anyone who is criminally responsible for -- for an attempt to undo a democratic election. >> i am joined now by the harvard law professor lawrence tribe who taught merrick garland as a law student at harvard. professor tribe, thank you very much for joining us. i know you are the co-author of the important book "to end the presidency. the power of impeachment" there's the cover right there. the last time we spoke you told me you do expect the attorney general merrick garland will eventually indict former president trump. do these latest comments from the attorney general merrick garland bolster that belief? >> they certainly do, wolf. thank you for having me. the attorney general made very clear yesterday that all of the speculation that if trump
announces for the presidency, the fear of making things look political might deter the attorney general from prosecuting. he made it clear that is not the case. he thinks it is so important that anyone guilty of trying to overturn the democratic election be held accountable. there is no doubt that he is proceeding without regard to any political fallout, and i don't think, by the way, we should call this inaction. i think what we're going to see tonight, although some people talk about it as inaction, it's going to be very much more like what happens like to use a metaphor that i've heard others use, an arsonist sets fire to the building and then watches while it burns rather than turning on the hoese. he was the fire chief, yet he basically aimed a flame thrower
at the capitol, and i think we're going to see tonight that he was gleeful to watch the capitol burn while people died. that's not inaction, and i think the merrick garland that i taught and that i know and that this president appointed is not going to sit by. i think we're going to watch an indictment develop. >> so what charges, professor tribe, would you expect merrick garland and the u.s. justice department to actually bring if it would go down that path? >> to begin with, they could go down the path immediately and bring in the somewhat less serious, but nonetheless, serious charges of attempting to obstruct the congressional inquiry of defrauding and attempting to defraud the united states. the ones that i think the attorney general is building a stronger case for, that's why we're waiting, are the further charges of seditious conspiracy
which is just short of treason and aiding and abetting a violent insurrection. the latter, by the way, carries with it not only a 20-year sentence in jail, but also permanent disqualification from holding any office in the united states. i think what we are witnessing is the building up of those charges while fani willis in georgia is about to charge the president with attempting to steal the electoral votes of that state. i think the walls are closing in and i was quite reassured to hear the attorney general yesterday not to worry. the fact that you don't see the bottom of the iceberg, and the part that's under the water shouldn't make you think that all there is the tip that you see. what he said is that we proceed quietly. that's part of the rule of law. we don't investigate in public, but he made it very clear that no one is above the law and that
includes the president. >> he said that flatly. do you believe the committee has produced enough evidence to set up a successful prosecution of the former president? is there anything left that the committee needs to exhibit or prove for the attorney general to go ahead and act. what do you think? >> i think he could go and act now, but he's trying to build the strongest possible case. the committee has made it much easier for him. the committee, through witnesses like cassidy hutchinson and through the testimony that it has recorded under oath has painted an extremely strong picture of someone who, from the beginning and before the beginning was bound to do anything he could regardless of the law in order to hold on to power and what i think we'll see today is the president who was insisting on doing nothing while the capitol was being sacked. when you add it up i think the
committee has made it much easier for a prosecution to be brought partly because the people of the united states have been more fully informed. you have to get people ready to for something as unusual as a prosecution of a former president and that's part of what the committee has done. >> i think you're right. >> we also learned this week and it's hard to believe that the former president donald trump actually called the wisconsin assembly speaker last week, called the assembly speaker last week asking him to de-certify the state's 2020 presidential election results in wisconsin. can you explain why this is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to a potential criminal case against trump? >> it's important, wolf, because the president's state of mind is important. the fact that he tried to get the election decertified clearly an illegal step. there's no legal way to do it shows that he would stop at
nothing. it shows that the law means nothing to this man. all that he cares about is power. holding on to power. that's the very definition of tyranny. it's the very definition of autocracy and dictatorship and what he is now trying to do and say i'm still trying to seize power and he's even talking about running a new inauguration before the end of president biden's term and all of that goes to his state of mind and shows that he is completely oblivious to the law and he doesn't care about it. he's quite willing to violate it. >> professor lawrence, thank you for joining us. we always appreciate it very, very much. >> thank you. i am joined by senior crime and justice reporter who is outside the courthouse in washington, d.c., where the defense for steve bannon rested after calling no witnesses. bannon is on trial because prosecutors say he has failed to
comply with the subpoena from the january 6th select committee for testimony and documents related to the investigation. caitlin, what happened in court today? >> all eyes were on bannon and his team when they got to court and what happened was they said they would not present anything to the jury who has for two days been listening to the prosecution's arguments and evidence as to why bannon failed to sit for a subpoena for testimony or for documents. and so what happened today was out of earshot of the jury and there were procedural discussions and legal arguments that bannon's team was trying to make just to make sure they were hammering everything out about how this would go as we head into the final stage of this trial, but when the jury came in at 2:30 p.m., all they heard was bannon's attorney stand up and say, your honor, the defense rests and so that was it. the jury was sent home for today and so they will come back
tomorrow morning and then we really are into the final stage here. there will be closing arguments that are presented for the prosecution and for the defense side and then the jury will be set to begin deliberations. we don't know how long that will take and obviously a verdict can come at any time once deliberations will begin. wolf, tonight is the house select committee and this case was about the house select committee and their ability to get information out of steve bannon. they were not able to get that and they did not get a verdict in time for that hearing tonight, wolf? >> bannon's attorney, as you know, katelyn, bannon himself didn't testify. >> this was something that he told in court to the people watching like the media in the courtroom and to the judge, but what he did say that bannon really wanted to testify, but he believed that he could not because all of the things he would have said about his
reasons, his excuses for not going to capitol hill and for not turning over documents, those had all been shut down by the judge. they couldn't become part of this case, and so he would have wanted to explain for himself that he believed he was given attorney advice, advice from his lawyer robert cassella that he was being told a direction from donald trump that there was executive privilege. his perception was that meant he couldn't testify. here's more of what his attorney david schoen after court. >> he's wanted to testify before congress and he told them from the very first letter he would comply if they go before a judge and the judge orders that the executive privilege wasn't valid as simple as that. he's not someone who thought he was above the law ever and not someone who ignored a subpoena and at all times communicated with them. >> so, wolf, that is something
he's laying out as to why steve bannon didn't want to testify and all of that was put before the judge in case of basketball appeals. we are waiting to see if bannon will have it appeal if he's convictsed. back to you. >> we shall find out very soon. the wildfires that ignited in europe and we'll have a live report on the extreme heat and fires right here in the united states and the forecast just ahead. stay with us. like the shot they take. the memories they create. or the spin they initiate. otezla. it's a choice you can make. otezla is not a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla, you can achieve clearer skin. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. otezla can cause serious allergic reactions. it may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or if these feelings develop.
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global heat wave still raging in parts of europe right now. at least 1,000 people have been evacuated due to wildfires in northern tuscany and italy. one local official is the concern temperatures continue to hover above 100 degrees. in neighboring slovenia, european officials say the country is facing, and i'm quoting now, one of the biggest wildfires in its history. cnn's ed lavandera has more on the effects of the extreme heat in texas and across the united states. >> in dallas where temperatures have been in the hundreds this week, this homeless outreach group metro relief is handing out supplies and water to help the homeless stay clean and cool during the relentless heat, heat that can be deadly. ? metro relief. we know of two people that passed, heat exhaustion. this is the hottest it's been in a long time. >> other parts of texas are scorching with heat advisories in effect for off thein and
houston and the brutal weather is making it hard for firefighters to calm brushfires in all of texas. >> all of the trees on our properties are burnt to sticks. >> the chalk mountain fire continues to burn in somerville county, destroying more than 6,000 acres. >> we have a beautiful homestead out there with a lot of different houses on it and it all got burned up in a matter of a few hour. >> in phoenix, an excessive heat warning is in effect. it is forecast to see temperatures of up to 114 degrees, making it hard for people who have to work outside like u.s. postal workers. >> they're working an average of 10, 12 hours a day in this heat. what i'm hearing is lertter carriers they're leaving because of the heat in the day and night. little rock, memphis, jackson, new orleans and birmingham and along the east coast including raleigh, richmond, philadelphia, boston, washington, d.c. and new
york. >> avoid going out in the peak hours. stay out of it. stay hydrated. keep your pets inside. check on your neighbors and be aware of other induced illnesses. >> the heat is the number one cause of weather deaths in the united states. that is why cities all across the country are setting up cooling stations. >> it felt so good. it felt so good. i can't be out in the heat too much because i get really nauseated, and since we've been here it's been really nice. >> the high temperatures are expected to linger. around 275 million americans are expecting to see a high above 90 degrees and more than 60 million people are expected to see a high at or above 100 degrees over the next seven days and with much of the summer still ahead of us, it's hard for some of the most vulnerable. >> it's hard because you don't have enough hotel rooms. sometimes i think the heat is worse than the cold. >> cnn's ed lavandera is joining
us live from dallas. dallas county, i understand, also reported their first heat-related death of the year today. what more do we know? >> well, dallas county reports it's the first official death that you heard from the homeless advocates. they came across two people who had died in the last few weeks and it was a 66-year-old woman and they didn't release the exact circumstances of the death. in arizona, statewide, officials there are reporting 29 deaths and wolf, what is more staggering here is we're seeing cities across the country report so it's getting 80 to 85 degrees at night and it is relentless heat. >> thank you very much. >> up next, weal get to the presidential health and past
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back to our top story tonight, president biden testing positive for covid. he says he's doing well. he's not the first president to deal with covid or other serious health issues. more on that from cnn's brian todd. >> brdonald trump's aides downplayed his bout with covid but later it was revealed trump was so weak at the time he couldn't carry a briefcase to
the helicopter and his oxygen had dipped to a dangerously low level just hours after he announced he had the virus. >> when the former president showed a drop in his blood oxygen level, that suggested strongly that he had pneumonia. and that is one of the ways you die from covid. >> even putting aside the pandemic, analysts say the sheer stress of the job makes a president vulnerable to illness. >> the presidency accelerates whatever weaknesses the human body has. >> reporter: some presidential health scares have been shrouded in mystery. >> the american people were not told how sick he was. they were not told how devastating the stroke was and as a result they were not told that for approximately 17 months the actual operating,
functioning president of the united states was first lady edith wilson. john f. kennedy battled addison's disease. he had serious back pain and intestinal problems, much hidden from the public. ronald reagan was diagnosed with alzheimer's and showed signs of the disease while in office. his aides denied it. wo wilson's stroke made a crucial difference at the end of world war i. >> his massive stroke made it impossible for him to achieve congressional support for the versailles treaty, which meant the united states never ratified it and did not participate in the league of nations. >> reporter: it's debated whether fdr hurt his ability to negotiate with stalin in 1935. >> there's been this concept
that somehow if the president had any kind of medicali issue it's a flaw of vulnerability. i would add obscuring that is. >> it is crucial for them to carve out time for themselves during the day for exercise, even if it only about 45 minutes. and taking those presidential weekends at retreats away very important for mental and physical health. >> brian todd, excellent report. thank you very, very much. up next, new signs that the massive russian assault on ukraine isn't gaining much ground but reminders as well of the terrible toll it's taking on so many innocent lives.
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russian forces in parts of ukraine but ukrainian military leaders say russian forces have failed to gain new ground. the mayor of kharkiv says for the second day in a row russia has targeted public transportation with deadly force. a warning, what you're about to see is heartbreaking. three people were killed in the shelling yesterday at a kharkiv bus stop, including a 13-year-old little boy. the father prayed over his son's body for two hours, holding his hands, saying good-bye. our thoughts are with husband family and all in ukraine. thanks very much for watching. the news continues now. the january 6th select committee returning to primetime. cnn's special coverage of the hearings starts right now. tonight 187 minutes that nearly deraile
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