tv CNN Newsroom CNN January 21, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PST
authorities have released certain information now. there is still a lot they haven't released. a lot of this information remains sealed. experts say that could be the bigger fish we're waiting to see how serious these charges will be as investigators continue to do their work, kate. >> josh, thank you so much. thank you for joining us today. i'm kate baldwin. john king picks up our coverage right now.
> welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm john king in washington. thank you for sharing this very important day with us. it is day two of the biden presidency, and there is big change just about everywhere you look. but also some very big immediate challenges for the new president, too. 900,000 americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week. that report from the government this morning reminding the new president he inherits an economy wounded by the coronavirus pandemic and right now bleeding jobs. a big new stimulus plan is part of the biden solution, and the president is calling congressional leaders to the white house tomorrow in an effort to get right to work and to prove democrats and republicans can work together. but there is still no agreement on how to run the 50-50 senate, and team biden worries something else it inherits. a trump impeachment plan will speed a return to polarization and slow work on the biden agenda. the senate can't set a firm
schedule for that trial until the house sends over the paperwork, which, listen here, still tbd. >> if you can put any finite point on the timing for the articles of impeachment, please do. >> as i said, you'll be the first to know. it's up to them to decide how we go forward, when we go forward. it will be soon. i don't think it will be long. but we must do it. >> proof of the change here. the president's new director of national intelligence was sworn in at the white house this morning. a source tells cnn the fbi director christopher wray will stay on in his post. pete buttigieg is testifying on capitol hill this hour. if confirmed as transportation secretary, buttigieg would become the first confirmed lgbtq secretary. it's been one year after the
first covid-19 case in the united states. today's toll, nearly 4400 new deaths. speeding up the vaccine rollout is a signature biden promised. poll numbers releasing this hour says more americans are ready to roll up their sleeves. two-thirds of americans say they will try to get vaccinated. the president tries new executive orders this afternoon and a speech. dr. anthony fauci joining a world health organization meeting today to signal the united states will now rejoin global conversations about the pandemic. top biden aides complaining team trump left them no vaccine distribution plan. still, dr. fauci says the biden promise of 100 million doses in 100 days is doable. >> the president has made this his top priority. i feel fairly confident that that's going to be want only that, but maybe even better. the amount that will be coming in, we will be able to meet that goal.
>> covid, of course, the new president's biggest focus. let's take a look at several of the changes, not just covid, from the trump administration to the biden administration. other issues to ramp up, supplies, testing, mask wearing. the president wants guidance for schools to safely reopen. the guidance for that, federal property transportation and the like. and to make a covid-19 panhealt equity task force. creating a covid-19 response coordinator in the white house to extend decision making. extending loans that were put in place because of covid.
a lot that we're seeing in the early hours of the presidency, reversing trump policies. again, rejoining or staying in the world health organization. the new president is going to halt the border wall construction, reversing the trump muslim travel ban, cancelling the keystone xl pipeline. new sentences to the policy that many viewed as racist and stopping regulatory changes. the biden team is also looking at those. joe biden in some ways returning. he was the vice president for barack obama, trying to return to an obama-like approach for dreamers. and this is a big tbd. the administration says it is open to resuming the iran nuclear deal.
it's clear he understands covid. how he performs in the first 100 days, speeding the vaccine rollout, proving the government has a new and better approach to covid is a signature block. >> reporter: they do look like they're offering a more streamlined approach than the last administration when it comes to vaccine distribution. we are not where trump officials said we were going to be by the end of the year, certainly not this far into january. i think they're hoping to change that. they're still trying to get a grasp on exactly what the state of play is. when they say they inherited nothing when it comes to vaccine distribution, there was a plan, but maybe it wasn't one they felt set them up for success, so i think we can see that change today. that will be a lot we're going to hear from the president outlining today in these remarks where he's going on about what their national strategy is going to be. it could be more government-controlled than
state-controlled that you saw with the last approach. that was a defense you heard from trump administration officials who were working on coronavirus. they would say, well, it's up to the states to actually distribute the vaccine, we just got them there. i think we're seeing a different approach from the biden administration with that. another thing we're hearing from them and one thing we could get announced from the president this afternoon is about the use of the defense production act. of course, it's not just vaccine distribution, it's everything that goes with that, swabs, testing, reagents, everything that they need more of which, of course, is a question on private sector capacity and whether or not they'll use the defense production act to actually mandate this, to guarantee these companies will have the funding they need depending how this shapes out. i think that overall, those are the granular details, but overall that is their approach, to make sure it looks like, hey, we've got a plan, this is what we're working on, here's what we're going to do to try to achieve that early on in our first days on the job. so i think that is why you're going to see such a focus on
that from biden when he speaks this afternoon. >> the public line from the new administration is, we'll leave it to the senate, we'll leave it to the congress to do the nuts and bolts of the impeachment trial. but we also know, and joe biden during the transition, president biden now during the transition, was very clear he's nervous. the senate impeachment trial could derail. he wants republicans to support the signature trial, the path to citizenship and things like that. is there more to their democratic leadership saying, if you must do this, and we understand you must, do it quickly and get it out of the way? >> i think biden has made it clear that he wants the former president, his predecessor, to be held accountable, but the question is whether that's stepping on his agenda. when there is a senate trial going on on the hill and that's the complete focus of the senate, that's going to impede what he's trying to get done and get done quickly. there is still a lot of focus on what's going to happen with the
trial. and so we did not get a lot of clarity from the house speaker today on when that's going to go forward, but i do think it's a situation where you're seeing the president in this, and he's facing still dealing with the looming presence of his predecessor here in washington given this trial is going on. you heard jen say yesterday, that's the new press secretary, what was going on during this impeachment trial. she said she believes senators can walk and chew gum at the same time, they can work on pushing forward biden's agenda while still handling it is impeachment trial of the former president, but i think you heard a lot of officials say privately what exact that will split screen is going to look like when it happens. >> one of the many, many big tests just ahead around the corner. kaitlan collins, very grateful for the reporting and the insights. on the challenges ahead and soaking in the industry yesterday. but first, president biden gets
an assist from members of a most exclusive club. >> mr. president, i'm pulling for your success. your success is our country's success, and god bless you. >> you have spoken for us today, now you will lead for us. and we're ready to march with you. >> we will be available in any ways that we can as citizens to help you guide our country forward. we wish you godspeed. blam r
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unity, and there are some no doubt will worry he is wasting precious time not knowing if people will come to the table on climate change. let's get some perspective now from a key biden ally in the house, house majority whip, james clyburn. congressman, it's great to see you on this day. what do you say when progressives say, you know what, the republicans are not going to go along, they're not going to vote for a path to citizenship for the undocumented, they're not going to go for a sweep on climate change. why is joe biden even going to try on these issues? what do you say to them? >> that remains to be seen. i would not make assumptions that past history will be any indicator of how people are going to conduct themselves this time. we have to lay out our proposals, give them the opportunity to participate, and if they don't, they vote,
anyway. i think many of these things, especially as it relates to immigration issues, though you're welcome to be bipartisan, if you're not, we just have to go ahead and do it. >> the biden administration is looking to impeach president trump for a second time. president biden is a little worried that the impeachment trial becomes more poison on the well. you have suggested why not hold them a while, let him get started, maybe get out a stimulus relief bill. and they've said lawmakers have discussed the possibility of a three-day impeachment trial for trump, which would be the fastest of any such procedure. would that be a good idea if you're trying to get this out of the way, have a quick three-day
trial, move on, whatever the verdict is? >> i'm in the midst of telling the senate how this would work. i do believe, though, when i look at the schedule of the last impeachment trial, they did it in the afternoons. and so i don't know why we cannot continue that same format. i don't know what they're doing in the mornings or what they might be doing in the evenings. so i think that you can have an impeachment trial and other business taking place at the same time. now, as for the duration, three days or six days, i don't know. but i would hope that they would make the presentations as quickly as they possibly can. for the country's sake, this needs to get behind us, not just for this administration but for the country. and i do believe very strongly
that we cannot just accept what happened here. what happened is a very serious matter, and i've been telling people if i had not studied history as thoroughly as i have, i happen to know that these kinds of internal decays can ruin a democracy or any other country. we talk about rome not being built in a day. no, and it did not -- was not destroyed in a day. but there was some intel stuff like the kind of stuff i'm seeing here that did not help democracy, and before you know it, the whole thing is gone. >> one of the questions that has to be answered is not just what will happen to the president in a senate trial, but other members of the house, a lot of questions have been raised about
senate republicans, who gave assistance or helped. the speaker addressed this a few minutes ago. here's how she put it. >> if people did aid and abet, there will be more than just comments from their colleagues here, there will be prosecution. if they aided and abetted an insurrection in which people died. >> what is your understanding of the process here? is this up to the u.s. attorney here in the district of columbia or the d.a., the city's d.a.? is this up to the ethics committee? is this something johnna wray will be looking at with his members? >> i think we call upon the 9/11 commission to do a serious investigation here. this is one of the most serious things i've seen in the congress. whether or not you are sitting
on the floor with people who invited an insurrection, who were trying to overthrow the government you're supposed to be here to protect and preserve, that's a very serious charge, and it's been made. we need to investigate to find out the extent of any members' involvement, if any. and i believe you cannot be any more serious than that. >> let me close with a little bit of history, a little bit of yesterday. just your perspective being up on that podium yesterday, and i understand because you talked to some reporters back home in south carolina, you had a conversation. former president bush was there. i believe we have some video of you having a brief conversation with the former president, and he said that you were the savior, that you helped -- your helping joe biden in the south carolina primary made the difference here. walk us through this conversation. >> well, you know, president
bush and i were pretty friendly when he was president, and we always talk back and forth when we see each other. i just said what he said to me. and he's not the first one to say something like that. a lot of people believe that what happened in south carolina launched or should i say relaunched the campaign. as you know, joe biden was not doing well after ohio and even after nevada and south carolina. he won by almost 30 points and then went on to win big on super tuesday. so he kept saying, you know, you're the savior here because nobody else could have won this, and so a lot of people felt that joe biden was the one democrat who said to me a few months
before that endorsement. she passed away, but she told me the night of the election the best bet would be to elect joe biden. i was expressing her thoughts as well. >> congressman clyburn, grateful for your time and your insights today. let's continue the conversation as we go through the very challenging days for the new administration's agenda in the narrowly divided house and narrowly divided senate. it's going to be a fascinating time in d.c. i appreciate your time, sir. >> thank you for having me. up next, covid. a giant challenge at the biden white house.
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the new president, president biden, will make clear again today tackling the covid pandemic is priority number one. some new executive orders from the white house, a speech from the president today. we're told dr. fauci will be at the briefing. green is good. green means fewer infections now compared to a week ago. you see a lot of green on the map. 43 states trending in the right direction, meaning fewer new infections now compared to a week ago. somewhat deceptive since they started in the winter months. but the map does look better. 43 states trending in the right
direction, meaning down. six holding steady, virginia reporting more new infections this week compared to last week. on the surface, this map looks good, but again, you're starting from a pretty horrific level when it comes to new infections. the number yesterday, 4,375. hospitalizations were above 130,000, down to 122,000. a little improvement there. still, it's a lagging indicator and a horrible, horrible number. some encouraging numbers if you're joe biden, if you're a public health professional, sentiment toward getting a vaccine is improving. young americans ages 20 to 34, 54 today want to get the vaccine compared to 52 in october.
a small amount, but look at this. age 35 to 49, 58% compared to 48%. over 65, 84% now say, i would like to get a coronavirus vaccine. so if the administration can speed up the plan, how quickly, how quickly until every american gets a shot in the arm? at the current rate, a little just shy of 900,000 vaccines being administered a day. it would take us until next summer. if you paid it up 100,000 more shots a day, you could get it up to spring 2022. a slightly different tone here from dr. fauci and dr. walenski. >> his goal is to get 100 million with vaccines during the first 100 days of presidency.
>> we said 100 million doses in the first 100 days, and we're going to stick to that plan, but i also want to be very cognizant of the fact that after 100 days, there are still a lot of americans who need the vaccine, so we have our pedal to the metal. >> joining us now to discuss, dr. celine gounder, infectious disease inspect or and epidemiologist who was the adviser to president biden during the transition. dr. gounder, it's great to see you on this day. i want to talk a little sense of political spin here. the new team is saying there was no trump vaccination plan and they're coming in essentially blind. you were part of the transition. right now about 890,000 vaccines being administered every day. that's what joe biden inherits. they want to get to a million today. that's 100,000, 110,000 plus more. that doesn't sound like a giant jump. why is there so much trepidation about it? >> john, you just played
segments with dr. fauci and dr. walenski. i don't think there is much of a contradiction with what each of them is saying. i do believe the team is on track to get to 100 million doses in 100 days. i do think we're on target for that. but i do think dr. walenski makes a great point, which is that is only a fraction of americans. we have 33 million americans in this country. 100 million is only a fraction of them. we still have a lot of work to do beyond that. >> you mention aed a lot of wor beyond that. if you want to keep the case count trending down but at least heading in the right direction, you have to be better at just about everything else. today we're going to get from the new president executive orders dealing with supplies for vaccination, testing, ppe, a much more aggressive use of the defense production act, we're told. guidance for safely reopening schools. this is a test the new president
is setting this bar, saying he wants to gradually speed up the reopening of schools. requirement of mask wearing, where joe biden can mandate it. federal transportation and the like, and creating this covid-19 health equity task force. walk us through the transitions to say, okay, here's what we can do in the first week. here's what will take two or three weeks or a month, but walk through what you can do quickly that will have an impact. >> i think a lot of what you can do quickly is with the executive orders which you just listed off many of them. i think the other executive orders we're looking at are around travel, international travel. the current administration is going to reinstitute the requirement that people coming in from overseas have a negative covid test. currently there is a loophole for american citizens and permanent residents of the u.s., so there may be further strengthening of guidance around travel. for example, perhaps requiring
quarantine and testing of american citizens and permanent residents upon return from international travel. so those are the kinds of things you can do with executive orders and do quickly. other things that can be done more quickly are invoking the defense production act, so to scale up production of ppe, of many of the supplies. one major limiting factor has been the production of these plastic tips that we use in the robotic machines in labs that run the tests for covid and the genomic sequencing. things like that we can move on pretty quickly here. >> it's going to be fascinating to watch. it's a whole new set of accountability as we move to the new administration. dr. gounder, thank you for being here. when we come back, the biden administration trying to start a new chapter by erasing a lot of president trump's policies.
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change is the new president's top priority, changes in covid policy, changes in immigration policy, changes in climate policy. joe biden out of the box as president trying to show he is turning the page from the trump administration on many, many big issues. the question is, can he do that, especially here in a very divided polarized washington. take a look. here's the cover of "time" magazine, the new cover out today illustrating the challenge. that's quite a mess you see there. a challenge for the president in the days and weeks ahead as he
works to push his agenda through on the backdrop. on one hand he says unity, and the other he wants to do things republicans oppose. julie, that is the challenge. you wrote about this after the inauguration yesterday. joe biden remembers bipartisan ship. he thinks he can go back to that era. you're right, biden's ability to get that legislation passed will significantly shape his nation's ability to tackle the pandemic and his overall stand in washington. he staked much of the promise of presidency to court lawmakers from across the aisle, touting his long working relationship with republican senators and the reputation he cultivated as a dealmaker while serving as president barack obama's number 2. >> he maintains that he can do
this. he says that he's had conversations with a lot of republicans privately over the last several weeks and feels like in those conversations there is an openness to working with him. i do think that we're going to learn very quickly who is right in this situation. he is going to try to go big on a covid relief package and essentially dare republicans in the middle of that pandemic that is still spiraling in the country to say no to him. he is facing a republican party, though, that is still very much dealing with what their own future is going to be, and that, too, is going to shape his ability to work with him as they sort through whether it's advantageous to working with him in the party going forward. >> and julie, the covid package will be one thing. to test it on specifics, there are a lot of things republicans didn't want to do during trump's administration. but now president biden very early on calling leadership down at the white house to say, let's prove we can work together. you write about this creative
tension, i'm going to call it, where a lot of democrats say they're not going to cooperate, they're not going to give you a path to citizenship. you're going to have to be more aggressive with executive actions. talk about this tension. >> yeah, democrats want to see action early on from president biden, but biden, as julie and you laid out, john, is ever the institutionalist. he's someone who doesn't want to stretch his executive authority, so he has repeatedly said he doesn't necessarily want to tackle big things like student loan debt through executive orders. he wants congress to do that. he said that on his first day in office yesterday. he and the white house said they want to see congress act on that. the question about covid relief, though, for biden and democrats is how quickly are they going to be able to move on this given all the factors in terms of a slim house majority, a 50-50 senate where the terms of this agreement between the two leaders, between the democratic and republican leader and how
they're going to share control of the senate isn't even worked out yet? all of that is pushing things down the road, and whether or not they want to go big early or they just want to get little items done fast, like money for vaccine distribution, is a big question that they're facing right now. >> another great magazine cover on "the economist." we showed you the "time" cover about the mess joe biden inherited. here's president biden with a mop and a pale, the white house soiled behind him. that is some of the mood and the spirit here in washington, but he's the president now, and as he said, you just got to do it. no matter what the climate is, you got to do it. julie, how much does this question of the impeachment and how long it will last, how much does that hang over the biden agenda. you're asking republicans to do something they were previously unwilling to do. with trump on the sidelines, can you get a couple on this issue, a couple more on that issue?
how many more is it if you have an impeachment trial? >> i thought it was notable in jen sacce's press announcement last night that they didn't want to discuss that at all. but this is something they have to deal with within the democratic party, too. you have a lot of democrats saying this is the moment to hold the out going president, the former president, accountable for his actions. we shouldn't just take a pass because he's no longer sitting in the oval office. they want to see some action on this, but you do have other somewhat more moderate democrats who are saying maybe for the sake of the biden agenda that this would not be the smartest move. so pelosi didn't show a lot of leg on this earlier today when she addressed reporters, but this is something they're going to have to make a fast decision on, otherwise the question itself just becomes the thing that hangs over the agenda as much as an impeachment trial actually would. >> and the tone the new
president sets and the president's team sets is very important in the next few days. they had a briefing last night. that's good. laura barron-lopez, a conservative reporter asked jen sacce about taxpayer money. the mexico city policy to keep taxpayer mona way from policies that support abortions. and here's the answer. >> i will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he is a devout catholic and somebody who attends church regularly. he started his day attending church with his family this morning, but i don't have anything more for you on that. >> not an answer to the substance. if you're a progressive watching how this new president, where he's going to plant his flag, so that might be curious. >> it might be curious and it
could also elicit a lot of reactions from the progressives, john. they are going to hold the new administration's feet to the fire, they've made that perfectly clear. that even though there was this pretty much quiet agreement on the campaign trail that they were going to hold their fire, they wanted to see biden elected because progressives didn't want a second term for president trump, but now that he's in office, that honeymoon period, we don't know how long it's going to last. it may not last very long depending on what specific policies and how fast biden pushes on them. progressives are definitely going to be trying to get him to move more to their corner. >> most of the conversations, though, are about policies, not about tweets. that is refreshing. we can air them out, maybe even have some votes on them. laura barron-lopez, julie pace, thankful for your insights today. there is a push from mitch mcconnell and it comes from within his own party.
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mcconnell confronting another test on how closely to stick to donald trump. mcconnell left the door open to convict the former president in an impeachment trial, but that has some members of his own republican family deeply unhappy, some warning they would no longer support him as leader should he follow through on that. on the house side, conflict as well. the number three republican in the house, liz cheney, voted to impeach then-president trump, and she now faces questions about whether she should stay in leadership. today a vote of confidence from republican house leader kevin mccarthy. >> do you want liz cheney to remain as conference chair or no? >> yes. let >> let's go to the hill with manu raju. >> reporter: mccarthy himself has come under criticism about his handling of the run-up to what we saw on january 6th, the deadly violence here on capitol
hill. he signed onto that texas lawsuit seeking to invalidate the results of millions of votes across key battleground states. he refused to acknowledge joe biden's victory until after january 6, and even after the deadly riots he voted to overturn the results of pennsylvania and arizona. just moments ago i asked him if he regretted his whole given the violence that we saw and if he should have asserted that the election fwas free and fair. >> i denounce any violence. i denounced it that day, i denounce it now, i denounced it in the summer with what happened with portland and seattle as well. i'm very consistent. what i voted on was not to overturn an election, because it wouldn't. nancy pelosi said on the floor this is a democracy and we should debate it. >> reporter: which is clearly not happened when the democrats pushed back on results this time.
of course, the outgoing president claimed he won, claimed the election was stolen. kevin mccarthy was one of the republican leaders who did not speak out against donald trump at that time. one republican who did speak out, at least asserted that joe biden had won, was mitch mcconnell after the december 14th time frame when the electoral college voted to make joe biden's victory official. mitch mcconnell asserted that joe biden won the race. he later criticized donald trump's handling of provoking that violent mob coming to capitol hill and questions, john, about whether or not mitch mcconnell could eventually vote to convict donald trump in an impeachment trial. i've talked to a number of republican senators. many say if he does go down that route, he could potentially lose his job as a top republican leader. is to a lot of difficult questions for republicans as they still grapple with donald trump even though he's off the scene here, john. >> one of the giant, giant dynamics here in the very newly realigned washington.
manu raju, grateful for your reporting today. in this hour, new clean-up from the biden. christopher wray will keep his job. that after the white house press secretary raised some doubts and eyebrows last night at a press briefing. >> reporter: do you have confidence in the fbi director? >> i have not spoken with him about specifically fbi director christopher wray recently, but i'll report back if there's anything to convey. >> a little clean-up. she says the president has confidence in the job director wray is doing. wray has more than six years left on his ten-year term leading the fbi. up next for us, what's next? qanon and their conspiracy theories now that trump is gone and president biden is in the white house.
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right up until noon yesterday, some members who followed the qanon conspiracy theory thought somehow donald trump would remain in office, that he would block removing him from office. some dramatic move that trump would stay? nope. >> reporter: some qanon followers are really in shock this morning. they were told the election was stolen. they believed that biden, in some way his inauguration would stop because trump would declare
martial law. in the very early hours yesterday morning, about nine hours before inauguration, i bumped into a trump supporter who was streaming live on youtube and he believed this martial law conspiracy theory. after biden was sworn in, i caught up with him in the afternoon and here's what he had to say. >> i was just kind of in shock, and i had to re-evaluate everything the way my life was going to be now because it's so different than my expectations, and i literally was just kind of walking around like, what now? >> reporter: do you think with joe biden being sworn in, you might be against the whole election rigging thing? >> no, i'm convinced the election was a fraud. >> reporter: he acknowledged he believed one conspiracy theory but would not accept the lies about the election conspiracy theory. he believes it's actually left wing agitators, not trump
supporters, who are response fo -- responsible for the insurrection two weeks ago, and it's something the white house might have to address. >> i hope those followers slowly figure out they've been on the wrong path, but we shall slowly see. donie o'sullivan, thank you for your reporting. brianna keilar picks up right now. have a great day. hello, i'm brianna keilar and i want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. on his first full day as president, joe biden will speak about the first important item on his agenda, the coronavirus response plan. he's doing it as he gets hit with a major setback when it comes to vaccinations. sources tell cnn president biden is inheriting a no