tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN January 17, 2021 1:00am-2:00am PST
i'm kim brunhuber. this is "cnn newsroom. " from washington, d.c. to every state capitol, the threat of armed protests over joe biden's upcoming inauguration has led to a level of security unlike any in recent memory. now this isn't what you expect to see around the seat of america's government, and it's
not just around the u.s. capitol building. much of official washington is sealed off in all directions by trucks, barricades, troops, armed security. the national mall is closed. up to 25,000 national guard are pouring into washington from all over the country. the fbi warns that all 50 state capitols could be targets. most of them have greatly enhanced their security. for his part, the president-elect has readied about a dozen executive actions as soon as he's sworn in. we'll have more on that in just a moment. but we begin with cnn's shimon prokupecz and the scene right now in fortress washington. >> reporter: roadblocks like this all across washington, d.c. the national guard now patrolling almost every intersection across the district.
this is a checkpoint. this is one of the areas where sometimes cars will come through, the national guard will ask for i.d., will ask for credentials to allow them to come through. this is blocks from the capitol. the perimeter across the capitol, across washington, d.c., is wide. every iconic structure from the white house to monuments to the national mall fenced in. everything around there has fences. authorities here very concerned over the threat that the district faces, and also the threat that much of the country is facing. shimon prokupecz, cnn, washington. authorities in all 50 states are on high alert amid concerns domestic extremists will express their rage at their state capitols. we've got reporters across the country monitoring developments. natasha chen at the georgia state capitol in atlanta, miguel marquez at the capitol in pennsylvania in harrisburg which will close in a few hours.
we're going to start with matt rivers in austin, texas, where demonstrations took place saturday and are expected again today. >> reporter: i'm matt rivers outside the state capitol building in austin, texas, which was the scene for very small protests during the day on saturday. a handful of protesters showed up. all was peaceful. now the attention of the public safety authorities here in austin, texas, goes to sunday. we know the department of public safety is expecting at least two potential events during the day. we still don't know exactly how big those events are expected to be. but what we do know is the capitol grounds and the state capitol building will remain closed at least through the inauguration. >> reporter: i'm miguel marquez in harrisburg, pennsylvania, where authorities say they are prepared for whatever protesters may throw at them. they're not entirely sure protesters will come, but the capitol here in harrisburg will be shut down sunday through thursday. they put up some barriers, but they haven't fenced it off like other capitols around the country.
one thing they will do here is shut these streets in front of the capitol to traffic. they are concerned about people open carrying, bringing long guns and other guns to these protests. pennsylvania is an open carry state. they have had several protests throughout the last year, both against covid restrictions and then against the outcome of the election. one thing authorities are very concerned about is a counterprotest erupting and mixing it up with pro-trump protesters. >> i'm natasha chen in atlanta. there are barriers wrapping all around the georgia state capitol and the sidewalks on many sides of it are closed. you can also see armored vehicles and a strong law enforcement presence. the georgia building authority says no one has requested permits to protest at this time, but that may not stop groups from still trying to gather here. the republican lieutenant governor jeff duncan acknowledged to cnn that president trump's words have made georgia less safe.
he also said he cannot fathom seeing such heightened security to ward off potential threats from people in his own party. >> well, we got a glimpse of the intimidation caused by armed protests last april in michigan. militant demonstrators angry over covid restrictions swarmed into the state capitol, some of them carried firearms. as frightening as that episode was the current threat is worse. cnn's sara sidner is at the michigan capitol. >> reporter: here at michigan's capitol there is a great deal of concern, but you are not seeing the kind of security that you're seeing in washington, d.c. there is, yes, a fence, more of a visual deterrent. there also will not be any legislators in here monday through thursday. that is partly because of a credible threat the police said that they have gotten concerning the capitol. so just out of an abundance of caution the legislators have decided to go to their safer places whether it be their homes or elsewhere. one of the reasons why things
have been taken very seriously isn't just what happened on january 6th in d.c., it is what happened over the summer and this fall here in michigan itself. there was an alleged plot to kidnap the governor, that plot, by the way, according to federal and state authorities had to do with some of the men talking about storming the capitol, getting inside and kidnapping those inside, particularly the governor. and so they've already dealt with what could be said is, you know, an alleged blueprint, kind of what happened in washington, d.c., and there is a great deal of concern that there may be some kind of violence and so out of an abundance of caution there will be no legislators here, this is closed down, but you're also going to see some security, they have called in the national guard, they have accepted that call so we will see national guardsmen, we have already seen state police here. one thing will be clear to people, the experts who have been tracking extremism in years in this country we've talked to a few of them and they said you
have to worry about a slow burn on this. nothing may happen in the next day, week or month, but they believe what happened on january 6 is just the beginning of what could be unrest here in this country. sara sidner, cnn, lansing, michigan. well, as we mentioned, joe biden plans to get right to work the moment he becomes president on wednesday. cnn's arlette saenz has those details. >> reporter: president-elect joe biden is readying dozens of executive actions to sign once he takes office on january 20th. many of these executive actions he outlined during his presidential campaign and on the first day alone he plans to sign roughly a dozen executive actions, some of them undoing policies from the trump administration. one of those executive actions biden will sign will rescind the travel ban on travelers from majority muslim countries, that's something that president trump unveiled early on in his administration that biden plans to undo.
the president-elect is also planning to rejoin the paris climate agreement, something that was negotiated during the obama/biden years but president trump pulled out of. there are also some items relating to the pandemic. biden will be halting foreclosures and evictions, something that's currently happening right now, as well as keeping that pause on payments for student loans and interest. the president-elect will also be issuing what they are calling a 100-day masking challenge, trying to get people across the country to wear masks. while biden doesn't have the authority to mandate masks everywhere, he can do it in federal buildings and interstate travel. now, these executive actions which will be rolled out over the coming weeks are also joining biden's legislative priorities. he will be sending an immigration bill to congress in his first 100 days and he has also unveiled a $1.9 trillion covid stimulus relief package, something he's hoping congress can get to right away, but what the president-elect is making
clear with these executive actions is he's looking to hit the ground running on january 20th. arlette saenz, cnn, wilmington, delaware. when donald trump leaves office on wednesday he will have just about the worst approval rating of any u.s. president after the first term since scientific polling began, just 33% now approve of him and 60% disapprove of his job performance according to a new quinnipiac university poll. he is also facing an unprecedented second impeachment trial which will likely start after joe biden's inauguration. house speaker nancy pelosi is expected to set that process in motion next week, and as trump enters the final days of his presidency he's spending most of his time away from the public eye. cnn's jeremy diamond has that part of the story. >> reporter: silenced on social media and now becoming the only president in american history to be impeached not once, but twice. president trump spent his last weekend in office here at the white house holed up inside the
building behind closed doors with no public events listed on his schedule. what we do know, though, is that president trump was still meeting with some of his advisers, rudy giuliani the president's personal attorney who led the president's efforts to try and overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost, he was spotted at the white house on saturday. that was just a day after mike lindell the ceo of my pillow who has been spreading conspiracy theories relating to the 2020 election was meeting with the president on friday night discussing those debunked allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election. adds the president does that what you are seeing is vice president pence beginning to fill a leadership void that the president has left in this final week in office. while we haven't seen president trump talk about the coronavirus pandemic, we haven't seen him really substantively address security around the inauguration, what you've seen vice president mike pence do is lead coronavirus task force
meetings. on saturday we saw the vice president touting the trump administration's national security achievements as he sees them in a speech at a military base in california and just a couple days ago the vice president also calling vice president-elect kamala harris to congratulate here and offer his assistance as she steps into his role. all of this would be traditional in any transition, peaceful transition between administrations, but president trump has avoided all of those niceties, all of those traditions during this period of transition. no communication between him or president-elect joe biden and, of course, president trump is not planning to attend joe biden's inauguration. instead sources are telling us that the president is expected to leave washington on wednesday morning before -- just hours before that inauguration to head to his mar-a-lago resort in palm beach, florida, but the president has been asking aides for a last taste of the trappings of the presidency, asking for a huge military-style
sendoff. it's not clear whether that will happen at the white house or joint base andrews before president trump steps -- sets foot on air force one for the last time as president, but that is what he is looking to do and he's also to have a large crowd of supporters there to send him off in his final hours as president. jeremy diamond, cnn, the white house. california covid infections surged to new heights but a massive vaccination campaign is bringing hope. how the state plans to get the most vulnerable vaccinated as soon as possible. plus, norway is investigating why 23 elderly patients died after receiving the pfizer/biontech covid vaccine. stay with us. fragrance ntial mist transfos infused with natural essential oils into a mist. to awaken your home with an experience you can see, smell,l, and feel. it's air care, redefined. air wiwick essential mist. connect to nature.
researchers at the u.s. centers for disease control and prevention have a warning, vaccinate the public more quickly or watch the more contagious uk covid variant make the spread of the disease even worse. so this is where things stand right now, nearly 400,000 people dead, close to 24 million cases nationwide.
now, that cdc warning is all the more stark now that we've learned that the u.s. government has no more reserve vaccine doses. the trump administration had promised to release them on friday, but, in fact, they've already been distributed. now, this news has blind-sided many state governors who were making plans to administer those vaccines. >> it is not debatable that the united states did this more poorly than any nation on earth. they were lying. they don't have any doses held back. >> let me be very clear, this is deception on a national scale. >> what we really need is a new administration, we need president biden, secretary becerra to restore some confidence and sanity to this to figure out what the hell is going on and if they have extra doses to get them out. >> the cdc is predicting that the uk variant could become the most dominant form of the virus here in the u.s. by march. los angeles county has now reported its first case of that uk variant, it's also become the
first u.s. county to report more than 1 million total covid cases. california health officials are rolling out a massive vaccination campaign in an effort to stem the spread. cnn's paul vercammen has more. >> reporter: a ray of sunshine in los angeles on this unusually warm day, the mega testing site at dodgers stadium is up and running and business is brisk. you can see behind me the cars are snaking through these cones and these are filled with people who are medical workers, that's the first wave here in los angeles. the cars stop at some point and they get the shots in their arm in their cars, they then wait 15 minutes or more to make sure that they don't have any allergic reactions. down the road they hope to process 12,000 vaccinations a day and it could not come at a better time as lons angeles
county has passed the grim milestone of 1 million covid-19 cases. this has within an ordeal for the medical workers, firefighters, volunteers, all those people behind me down in that parking lot who have been trying to get ahead and stop the virus from spreading. >> they're working nonstop, they're working hard. i talked to a captain who had two hours of sleep trying to set this up, trying to set up the logistics part of this huge on taking here at dodgers. you see him and he has a smile on his face because he's doing everything he possibly can humanly to make a success and to make this efficient. >> reporter: one of the concerns at dodgers stadium is that the supply of vaccine does not get stopped up somewhere in the pipeline. they say they have enough to keep on putting shots in arms until wednesday, but this one glimmer of good news in los angeles county which has been so hard hit by coronavirus.
reporting from los angeles, i'm paul vercammen, now back to you. last hour i spoke with dr. steven parodi an infectious disease specialist about how doctors in california are coping with their soaring number of cases and the importance of vaccination efforts. listen. >> it is very busy right now. we have over 3,000 hospitalized covid patients, 650 are in the icu and it's time to put this to a stop. the mobilization efforts for mass vaccination are critical right now. we're deeply involved with it, numerous other health systems are involved and this is really going to take all hands on deck to put a stop to this pandemic. >> yeah, that's what i want to get to. the national vaccine rollout has been widely criticized as a disaster. your hospital is part -- or your system is part of a huge vaccination effort. i saw on your website that, you
know, your phone centers are overwhelmed with calls about the vaccine, i understand you don't have enough vaccine supply to meet the demand and you're not alone, the federal government, you know, expanded the list of people eligible to everyone over 65, but didn't increase the shipments of the vaccine. so how are you coping with this and do you expect to run out? >> so we've actually been matching the supply to the demand as best as possible. we're working with the state and actually the federal government to inform them about how much we do need, but in the meantime we're asking people and actually proactively outreaching people to wait, and this is actually providing us with some time to set up those mass vac sites. as you referenced in the earlier report it takes a ton of logistics to put this together so we're working and taking that time to be ready for when that vaccine is going to be coming in the next few weeks and hopefully
months and actually the incoming biden administration their national vaccine program that they've outlined in the $400 billion package that they have put together is an encouraging sign at least from my perspective. >> yeah, concretely on that, how will that help? there's billions of funding for vaccine distribution and testing and so on. so how specifically will it help and maybe more importantly even how long do you think it will take for that help to sort of filter through to the system on the ground where you are? >> well, you know, what i'm encouraged by is that they are going to invest in community clinics. they're going to invest in mobile clinics. and that's going to be critical because we want to bring the vaccine to where the people r some of them will be able to come into the health system but some of them are socially disadvantaged patients and they need to be -- actually have the vaccine brought to them. the other big investment here is
the public health infrastructure. we've been talking about this for the past ten months. it's been hollowed out. this program is actually going to invest in getting 100,000 workers on the ground. we the health systems need that help. we need that public health infrastructure. >> our thanks to dr. steven parodi for his analysis there. england's historic salisbury cathedral was transformed into a covid-19 vaccination center on saturday. patients received their shots while organ music played in the background. ♪ >> people aged 80 and over were among those invited to visit the cathedral to receive their first vaccine doses. cnn's scott mclean joins us from london with more on the callout. there have been calls to vaccinate more of uk's elderly
population s opening up more churches as vaccination centers is that part of the initiative? >> reporter: they have definitely gotten creative. on top of the places that you would expect vaccines to be administered, doctors offices, pharmacies, hospitals, there are also, you know, opening up a horse racing track, convention center, even a soccer stadium in manchester in order to get the vaccines out even quicker. the uk is already leading europe in terms of vaccinations, 45% of people over the age of 80 and about 40% of people who are in care homes have already gotten the shot. the health minister, though, yesterday put out a statement really urging british people if they have friends or family who are in that most vulnerable category and eligible for a vaccine right now to actually go and get it. now, meanwhile, in norway health authorities there are investigating the deaths of 23 people who died after getting the pfizer/biontech vaccine. context is important here. the medicine's regulator -- or the vaccine regulator in norway
was quick to point out that all of the 23 people were already elderly and frail to begin with. so of the 23, 13 have been assessed so far and reports indicate that common adverse reactions to vaccines, things like nausea and fever may have contributed to the deaths of their patients. so they're perhaps not expected or that's what the health authorities there are saying. pfizer, the manufacturer of the vaccine said their thoughts are obviously with the families of those who have died. they say that they're working with norweigian authorities to gather all of the right relevant information, but they also pointed out that this incident is not alarming they say and it's in line with expectations. there are going to be adverse reactions. one other thing to point out is that pfizer also says that norweigian health officials are now going to be updating their guidance to make sure that people's health is taken into account more closely before
they're actually administered these vaccines, kim. >> all right. thank you so much, scott mclean, appreciate it. ahead here on cnn, why the assault on the u.s. capitol is part of a right wing extremist movement that some officials say has been growing for years. and joe biden is set to face some familiar challenges from north korea and its nuclear program. so we will talk about how his foreign policy would differ from president trump's. that's coming up ahead. stay with us.
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world, i'm kim brunhuber and you're watching "cnn newsroom." the threat of armed protests over joe biden's upcoming inauguration has turned washington and many state capitols into fortresses. the u.s. capitol and much of washington is sealed off in all directions by trucks, barricades, troops and armed security. the national mall is closed. the fbi warns that all 50 state capitols could be targets. security has been ramped up significantly in most if not all of them. authorities say the immediate threat appears to be from domestic extremists upset by donald trump's election loss who are emboldened by the deadly capitol siege. in fact, the department of homeland security calls right wing extremists the most lethal threat to the u.s. the trump administration has downplayed that assessment. cnn's jim sciutto explains. >> reporter: the deadly assault on the u.s. capitol, the alleged plot to kidnap michigan's governor, just two recent instances of a violent right
wing extremist movement that has been growing on u.s. soil for years. according to current and former counterterror officials, the threat now rivals that from international terrorism. >> there is no debate the facts show that right wing extremists from killed more people and that includes jihadi terrorists. >> reporter: 114 people have been killed in attacks by far right wing terrorists in the united states, 107 by jihadist terrorists and right wing attacks are increase lengthily outpacing jihadi terrorism, responsible for two thirds of attacks and plots in the u.s. in 2019 and more than 90% between january 1st and may 8th, 2020. attacks and plots by such groups have now occurred in 42 states and the district of columbia in the past six years. fueling right wing extremists are the conspiracies propagated by the president of a system
organized against them and two essential ingredients. >> the first is a leader who tells them what to do, who tells them how to feel, who sort of makes them -- makes them believe that they are part of something bigger, right, that this is a mission. the other is a network, whether it's social media or a platform or ways of communication that let's them essentially talk amongst themselves, right? get organized. >> reporter: the growing degree of organization particularly alarms u.s. officials. investigators are pursuing signs the assault on the capitol was planned and not spontaneous, including knowledge of the capitol's layout, radio communications among protest leaders and planting of explosive devices to concert law enforcement. the worry is that the targets could expand along with the planning, from the u.s. capitol to 50 state capitols to soft targets mirror roaring those
attacked by jihadi terrorists. >> infrastructure, hitting soft targets, a disruption of services, those are the sorts of things that every systemically important infrastructure owner/operator, ceos needs to be assembling their crisis management teams yesterday. >> reporter: the fact is the fbi and justice department have been warning about right wing extremism for years and the dhs now identifies it as, quote, the most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland, however, political appointees in the trump administration at times downplayed it. >> the political signals have been that the right wing terrorism is sort of okay, certainly what the president said at charlottesville after the charlottesville terrorist attack, and he continues to some degree. >> reporter: down playing the threat and even echoing extremist rhetoric. >> our country will be destroyed and we're not going to stand for that. >> reporter: that has had consequences. >> the failure to identify it, to name it and to focus resources on the growing threat
of white supremacy terrorism has meant that agencies have not focused on it in the way that they should. >> reporter: january 6th laid that vulnerability bear, despite weeks of chatter online, u.s. authorities were not prepared for a deadly assault in the heart of the u.s. capitol. all right. i want to bring in jessica white who is an expert on terrorism and domestic extremism and she is with the uk's royal united services institute, the world's oldest defense think tank. thank you for coming on to speak with us. you wrote a piece at the end of november called "far right extremism steals the show in 2020." seems prescient to say the least. what surprised you most by what you saw january 6th and what are you expect to go see across the country on january 20th? >> thank you for having me this morning. i think, you know, obviously that piece was written before
the events of january 6th and i can't say that i didn't expect something of that kind to happen, i mean, unfortunately as it was and, you know, i think we should expect to see more of the same kind of protests and potential violence, obviously everyone is gearing up for that. i think, you know, long after the transition happens there will be the need to sort of ratchet back -- ratchet down the polarized nature of the political discussion in an effort to sort of -- to lessen the base of support for far right extremism in the united states. the trust needs to be rebuilt, you know, in the democratic process the public conversation brought back to the discourse of moderates and collaborative politics. i think, you know, that will take some time and i think we should be ready to deal with what might happen before that. >> i mean, who is onus on there
for that? you know, there's i imagine only so much that president biden can do. it is on republicans to sort of dial back and maybe distance themselves from president trump and his rhetoric? >> yeah, i mean, i think onus is on everyone, actually. i think it's on all politicians and it's on the public themselves as well. i think there is a need for everyone to sort of push out the extremist discussion out of mainstream political conversation. you know, in the last several years there's been uptake in how much conspiracy theory and disinformation has made its way, you know, from social media into mainstream political and public conversation. so i think it's onus of everybody, you know, from the president down to the, you know -- the public to make an effort to sort of push the extreme out of the mainstream. >> i mean, the growth of that, you know, extremism it predated president trump, but, you know, it certainly took off and was
emboldened during his administration. do you see that changing with a new president in the white house and how do you think that the new president will confront this? do you think authorities will be sort of better equipped to deal with right wing extremism under a new administration which might be less, you know, liable to undermine them? >> yeah, i mean, i think under -- under the biden administration that he will put more attention and more focus on sort of the resources and the research that's needed to understand how to dial back the base that they have developed over the last several years. like you say, far right extremism is not a new thing but it's been given a new voice and especially with the polarization of u.s. politics and with the pandemic and the racial inequality movements in the last year and before that, you know, these are all feeding an environment that makes it very easy for them to grasp on to narratives that are running. so i think, you know, certainly
there needs to be resources put towards an engagement with national security organizations as well as state and local governments and civil society on how to -- on how to handle this and, you know, to sort of -- to lesson its base of support. and i think that the biden administration will put more attention to that, yes. >> our thanks to jessica white for her analysis there. well, the eyes of the world will be on joe biden's inauguration from north korea to the paris climate deal he faces some major foreign policy challenges and opportunities after four years of president trump. so for more on this let's bring in cnn's will ripley who is live in hong kong. will, i want to start with china. what's been china's reaction to all of this, the political chaos, the fall of the u.s. economy, the continued surge in covid cases here, even the relative failure of the vaccine rollout. how has china benefitted from
the perception that america's international stature has shrunk and what do you expect to change with the biden administration? >> reporter: i think it's safe to say, kim that is correct u.s./china relations are at their lowest level in decades, tensions have ratcheted up over trade and even in the final days of the trump administration there is the threat of new potentially a trillion dollars in tariffs against chinese tech giants, so that is still a very much open question where the trade relationship goes in the new biden administration. president xi jinping of china has been basically drawing a lot of contrast as of late of the american system which is obviously politically divided and dysfunctional, arguably the most divided and dysfunctional of the advanced industrial democracies in the world right now and the chinese model which has an economy that is now rebounding post-covid, life in mainland china is pretty much back to normal even though there
are some restrictions the level of damage to the economy isn't what it is, the disruption isn't at the level that it is right now in the united states because, remember, china early on basically kept nearly a billion people in their homes for a period of three months short-term pain but now we're seeing the long-term gain. that's something that they can do in china, they're even doing it in hong kong, ave 21-day quarantine that i'm right in the middle of where i can't even leave this hotel room with this electronic wris band to make sure i don't leave. i just came back from the u.s. a few days ago and even though quarantines are suggested there is no enforcement. xi is def saying that the covid pandemic is showing the advantage of the chinese system over the american system or at least what he perceives to be the superiority of the chinese system and on top of all of this you have the chaos in washington, the sur recs and militarization in america's capitol and the ban from president trump on twitter and facebook, privately owned social media companies in the united states that under the first amendment are allowed to ban
whoever they want, but the chinese propag gand disses are saying even in the united states there's censorship. not like the imposed censorship in beijing but that's not the spin chinese citizens are getting. >> you referenced the trade war that president trump entered into, we all remember his now infamous tweet that trade wars are good and easy to win. we saw a recent study by a group representing american companies doing business in china saying that the trade war at its peak cost a loss of 245,000 u.s. jo jobs. i know you said we don't know exactly how biden will address this, but surely this has to be a priority to ease some of that economic tension. >> reporter: it is. and i was actually reading an editorial in the global times, a chinese tabloid, very nationalist in china, saying that if this trade war were to continue that the united states would lose hundreds of thousands of more jobs, but if trade
circumstances were to improve the united states would gain jobs by 2025. so that's the spin that china is giving its own people and in this very nationalist tabloid they were expressing hope that with the biden administration there might be some opportunity to push the reset button on u.s./china trade because certainly both countries' economies are arguably more dependent on trade and globalization than they have been in the past because that is the trend that the world is going. from the chinese perspective democrats are certainly more pro-globalization than the america first policies of the trump administration. >> all right. so much on his plate. thank you very much for breaking that all down for us. will ripley, appreciate it. uganda's president took power 35 years ago and he's not looking to leave. the latest on a disputed election ahead. stay with us.
later today as opposition figure alexei navalny is set to fly back to russia. the kremlin critic was taken to a hospital in berlin after nearly dying aboard a flight in russia in august. in a cnn exclusive navalny duped a russian agent into revealing he was poisoned with a nerve agent. navalny is due in court in a fraud case when he returns. russian officials have said they're obliged to arrest him. election officials in uganda say president yoweri museveni has won his sixth term in office. his chief rifle singer turned candidate bobi wine is alleging vote rigging and wants the results dismissed. the internet was blocked ahead of thursday's vote, a day later wine was placed under house arrest. for the latest let's bring in cnn's david mckenzie who is live in johannesburg. museveni claims these were the most cheating-free, in his words, election since independence in 1962, which
seems doubtful to say the least. what can you tell us about the allegations of fraud and vote rigging here? >> reporter: well, kim, there are a lot of serious questions about this election. just look ne pre-election period, you had violence and a crackdown by the security forces in effect the opposition party criminalized lieu multiple arrests of bobi wine the popular singer turned politician. i spoke to him right after this result was announced by the electoral commission. he was still on house arrest. he again claimed there was fraud and intimidation, though didn't provide any evidence of that fraud and the internet is still shut down in the country. so there is a sense there are question marks and international observers were barely present in this election but it seems that museveni is going into a sixth term as president more than 30 years in power, kim. >> all right. so i understand we have a clip from the president.
let's play that. >> i'm not in politics looking for anything for myself. i don't need to be in the government to have a good life because i have a good life already as a farmer, however, my going into -- into leadership was to deal with the number of serious historical challenges. >> all right. so, david, that was the president. what now for bobi wine, you know, what role might he play in -- as opposition if any? >> reporter: well, you heard there from the president that he says he isn't that fussed if he's president or not, but over the years that certainly hasn't borne out in uganda. they have twice adjusted the law to allow museveni to run again, first for term limits, then for
age limits. you did about bobi wine in the future, the next few days will be critical. it's unclear when they might release him in house arrest. there is good news from an opposition point of view, they have made significant inroads in parliament and will become the official opposition, but really, like i said before, many observers of uganda and certain other countries in africa really believe that opposition is being criminalized and that these elections that are occurring in these countries are almost like show elections. of course, there isn't any evidence directly of fraud at this point, but with the internet shut down and biometrics really struggling to work during the votes, you know, that evidence may never really come through, kim. >> all right. so shifting gears now i wanted to take the opportunity to ask you because you're in south africa that south african variant, there's plenty of concern about that spreading across the world.
what can you tell us, what kind of update can you give us here? >> well, currently the country is in the middle of a very dramatic second wave. that as you say the south african covid variant which was discovered here in november has shown to be at least 50% more transmissible. no evidence at this point that it makes people sicker but a uk variant and other troubling variants around the world it has shown to be an even bigger challenge for public health measures. just last week the president here extended a lockdown or sort of a semi-lockdown without giving an end date to that. in the coming days we should hear just how dangerous this variant is, whether antibodies from the previous variants will work or even vaccines. there is some optimism they will, but it is proving very challenge to go south africa. in the last couple days there is a sense that the peak is easing somewhat, probably because of those strict public health
measures. kim. >> a little good news there. thank you so much david mckenzie in johannesburg. and "cnn newsroom" will be right back. please do stay with us. me to d—- without the commission fees and account minimums. so, you can start investing today, wherever you are — even on the bus. download now and getet your first stock on us. robinhood.
now this, just in. we have to end on a sad note here about an admired member of the cnn family. chris cramer has died at age 73. now, he ran cnn international for 11 years and was executive vice president and managing director. cramer also spent 25 years at the bbc. he was head of news gathering and sat on the bbc's news and current affairs management board. his experience in 1980 when he was taken hostage at the iranian embassy in london helped make him a pioneer and innovator in field safety for journalists. chris will be missed here at cnn. and that wraps this hour of "cnn newsroom." i'm kim brunhuber. for our viewers in the u.s. and canada "new day" is next and for everyone else it's connecting africa.
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we now have a 25,000 national guard men and women in washington, d.c., that's ten times the amount of troops that we currently have afghanistan. >> i certainly think that we've done everything possible to prepare for the course of this week. >> a very large part of me grieves as an american that the peaceful transfer of power is not something we are able to take for granted. the new variant threatens to become the dominant form of coronavirus by march. >> this virus is so efficient in transmitting, that's what makes