tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 1, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
covid relief package. the president is seeking $1.9 trillion while the senators have offered only about a third of that. we expect to hear from those lawmakers when the meeting ends. meanwhile, this is very disturbing, the u.s. coronavirus death toll has now topped 442,000 people. as the country faces more than 26.2 million confirmed cases. and january is now officially the deadliest month of the pandemic here in the united states. we'll talk about all of the late-breaking developments, the pandemic news in a few minutes with president biden's top medical adviser, dr. anthony fauci. he will join us live right here in "the situation room." >> more breaking news we're following. sources are telling cnn house impeachment managers plan to accuse former president trump of intentionally inciting rioters with his months' long effort to try to subvert the will of the american voters.
first, let's get to the white house right away. chief white house correspondent k kaitlan collins is joining us right now. there's a huge gap between what the president is seeking in covid relief and what these group of ten republican senators are offering. >> reporter: wolf, it's a very wide gap. the white house is downplaying expectations for what's going to come out of this meeting with these ten republicans. happening right now inside the oval office, where reporters are about to go and cameras are about to be there to capture it all. the white house is saying don't expect them to whack out of that room with some kind of bipartisan deal they've struck. there's a wide gap between the $600 billion proposal and what president biden has put forward which, of course, is 1.9 trillion, and the devil is in the details of what republicans are looking at and what republicans are saying they're going to push ahead with. listen to what the white house press secretary said a few hours ago when asked about what we should expect to happen during this oval office sitdown.
>> what this meeting is not is a forum for the president to make or accept an offer. clearly, he thinks the package size needs to be closer to what he proposed than smaller. >> reporter: now, wolf, jerry moran is one of the republican senators that is part of this group led by susan collins of maine. they're in this meeting with president biden right now. he did an interview from the white house earlier on fox news where he was saying what he's going to do is encourage biden to go smaller, less expensive and a more targeted bill. and he encouraged democrats not to use that process called reconciliation where they could go it alone without any republican support. we know democrats are already moving in that direction on capitol hill. what the outcome of this is going to be is going to remain to be seen. we do expect to hear from those republicans outside the west wing once that meeting is over, wolf. >> of course, we'll stand by for live coverage of that, kaitlan. we also know senator joe manchin, a moderate democrat,
was clearly frustrate by an interview is that vice president harris did last week, an interview she did for a local tv station in west virginia. how is the white house handling that? >> reporter: they said they reached out to him. it's not clear who in the white house has reached out to senator joe manchin. what he's unhappy about is that he said he did not get a heads up that the vice president would be doing interviews in his state. we were told by the white house it targeted specifically to west virginia and arizona, she talks about the need to pass this proposal that they are working on, and what manchin said he was so frustrated by was not just that he wasn't told beforehand that it was going to happen but he saw it as an attempt to get him to sign on to this bill, to pressure him to support this bill. he says he has been working behind the scenes trying to get republicans to get on board with the president's support, talking about where they could find middle ground. he said he was frustrated by that. of course, it's not just on this proposal, given we do not think
that manchin is someone who would vote no on the next coronavirus relief bill, but, wolf, democrats have a very slim majority in the senate. they can't afford to lose anyone, certainly not the most moderate democrat in the senate. that's what joe manchin represents. i think the white house is aware of that. they talked about how key he could be to president biden's agenda earlier in that briefing. >> they can't afford to lose even one democrats. 50 republicans, 50 democrats. if they lose one, they lose. clearly, they need joe manchin and kristen sinema of arizona as well. presumably that's why the vice president was giving interviews to those local stations. it was a little awkward to put it mildly. our chief congressional correspondent manu raju is joining us now. you're getting new, important information from your sources about next week's scheduled impeachment trial against the former president. >> reporter: yeah. we'll see the arguments actually begin to come out starting tomorrow when democrats and the former president's defense team offer their first filings in
this trial. the arguments happening next week. democrats will make the case that trump intentionally tried to subvert the will of voters, rile up his supporters that led to the deadly capitol riot. the former president shaping up his legal team, adding two attorneys to his case but there's a dispute over whether they would focus on trump's lie that the election was stolen. and i just asked a top republican senator what he would do if the former president's team focused on that lie, that conspiracy that the election was stolen. he said it would be a great disservice to the former president. tonight, house democrats are preparing a case extensively detailing former president donald trump's actions ahead of last month's capitol riot. sources tell cnn that democrats plan to argue in their first filings on tuesday that trump engaged in an intentional campaign to discredit the election. subvert the will of voters and
rile up his supporter, culminating the january 6th remarks to his rally goers, who then ransacked the capitol in a scene of horrific and deadly violence. >> now it is up to congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy and after this, we're going to walk down, and i'll be there with you, we're going to walk down -- we're going to walk down -- any one you want but i think right here, we're going to walk down to the capitol. >> reporter: five of his attorneys stepped down abruptly on saturday because trump wanted them to focus on his lies about the election being stolen. trump announced two new lawyers, linked to controversial cases. david schoen represented trump's close friend, roger stone, convicted on seven felony charges before trump commuted his sentence. and as district attorney, castor declined to prosecute bill cosby in 2005, arguing the evidence
wasn't strong enough. despite his legal problems, trump remains a potent political force within the gop, raking in more than $30 million in the final weeks of 2020. and he continues to have major influence with house republicans. >> president trump has -- >> reporter: offering a show of support for controversial congresswoman marjorie taylor greene, a freshman under fire for previously espousing conspiracy theories like this one. >> the so-called plane that crashed into the pentagon. there's no evidence for a plane in the pentagon. >> reporter: she said she had a great call with trump thanking him for his support but 2018 comments claiming a massacre at a florida parkland high school was staged could force her off the house education committee. a source tells cnn house majority leader steny hoyer is giving an ultimatum to house gop leader kevin mccarthy, saying if greene is not stripped from her committee assignments in 72 hours, the house will vote to do
just that. today greene tried to walk back her past views. >> these are not red flag incidents, they are not fake. and it's terrible, the loss that these families go through and their friends as well, and it should never happen. >> reporter: some republicans also alarmed by her rhetoric before she won her house seat. >> i'm going to tell you right now, i'm not going to defend crazy. >> reporter: all this, as the ten republicans who voted to impeach trump facing a backlash from the right. tom rice censured this weekend by his party and number three republican liz cheney expected to be at the senator of a storm, preparing to defend her vote to impeach trump when republicans meet behind closed doors on wednesday. also on wednesday, wolf, house rules committee will begin consideration of a resolution that would strip marjorie taylor greene of her two committee assignments house education committee as well as the house budget committee if house gop
leader kevin mccarthy does not take action himself. steny hoyer, the number two democrat in the house, has told him he has 72 hours to act. mccarthy has not said what he would do, but a spokesman tells me tonight, wolf, he plans to have a one-on-one conversation with greene when they return to conversation and we'll see how that conversation goes. >> manu, they don't want her on any committee, is that right, the democrats? >> that's right and the house committee could take action, to try to strip her from those positions. what kind of precedent also could that set for future majorities going after other members of congress, wolf? >> we'll see what happens. manu, thank you very much. joining us, our chief political analyst gloria borger and john king. senators are getting ready to meet in the oval office with the president. current gop proposal is a third of the size of the package that the president is proposing. do you think there's a serious opening round in this negotiation? is this meeting more about
optics? what's going on? >> it's not a serious offer and the white housemaid that quite clear today, jen psaki saying that the president is going to listen, willing to make his package stronger, willing to move some but not anywhere near where they are, wolf. he's at $1.9 trillion and he wants to stay pretty close to that. we look at this through the prism of joe biden saying i want to be bipartisan, trying the unity approach and the republican senators are trying to see if he will blink and move their way. the better way to look at this is joe biden won the election saying he was going to go big on covid relief if he won. he won the election by more than 7 million votes and won it convincingly in the electoral college. the democrats won those two georgia senate seats after the presidential election, when the republicans were saying keep us in power in the senate, because we don't want joe biden to go big. both candidates, the democrats, said we need a big covid relief package. we need checks to individuals. democrats think they have momentum and the voters on their side. republicans are trying to get joe biden to blink out of the
box. i wouldn't bet on it. >> good point. gloria, voters say they want bipartisanship but many of them are very desperate, with good reason, for immediate economic relief right now. what will it stay if biden's first big peach of legislation is passed strictly along party lines with no republicans on board? >> well, i think the white house will probably be disappointed about that, but perhaps they won't be completely surprised. what the white house is talking about right now is that bipartisanship is out there in the country, that there is unity in the country about the need for serious covid relief. and if you look at recent pollings, seven out of ten voters say that a package is necessary. and what the new president is saying to republicans is, look, we have unity in the country. the country is with me. and the white house, i talked to a senior white house adviser today who said to me, look, the country gets what we need to do. and they're not worried about 50
republicans in the senate. they're not worried about whether you pass it with 51 votes on a budget bill or 60 votes. they just want to get it done, and that's the way biden feels. >> you know, john, democrats are also trying to shore up support within their own party. how crucial will it be for democrats to keep the party united, given the very fragile majority, 50/50, that they have in the senate? >> that is the defining challenge of the biden presidency, at least the first few years, until we get to the mid-terms. democrats have no votes to give in the senate unless they're winning over republicans and they simply can't count on that. the democratic unity, again, we focus a lot. it's important to focus. republicans made an offer. joe biden repeatedly said, now president biden in the campaign, i want to be bipartisan. it's important to explore this. the math is the math and the math, we know from recent years, republicans are not in a mood to cooperate on these issues that
joe biden is putting forward. nancy pelosi has to keep discipline in the house. chuck schumer needs to keep it in the senate. they'll have to tend the democratic garden constantly. >> let me add to that. there is going to be some kind of compromise. i think that the administration didn't go into this proposing a package that they thought wasn't going to get changed. for example, something different could happen on the minimum wage. maybe it would be taken out of this package. maybe they're going to be targeting stimulus checks to people who they believe might really need it, as the republicans have proposed. there are some changes that are going to be made to this bill. it's just not going to be everything the republicans want, because the democrats want to go big. >> as you know, john, republicans are also facing some major party divides of their own. how much of that is going to be on full display later this week, wednesday, when the house republican conference actually meets? >> i think, look, the republican "family feud" is one of the
fascinating dynamics before us. there is more anger at liz cheney. of course, her father was the vice president, storied family in wyoming. there is more anger among house republicans at liz cheney because she voted to impeach. she said that was a vote of conscience and believes it was the principle vote to impeach the president. more angry at her than house republicans at marjorie taylor greene, who has said horrific things about these school shootings. it is stunning to think that many republicans are more agitated and animated at liz cheney than marjorie taylor greene, which tells you everything you need to know about the dysfunction in today's republican party, especially among the house republicans. >> how much of this disarray we're seeing within the republican party right now is simply due to the fact that its center for four years, talking about former president trump, is no longer in office, has left a huge potential power vacuum? >> they're all trying to figure out how powerful the king will
be once he's out of office. will he still be the king maker? and we saw that marjorie taylor greene posted a tweet. saying she had a great conversation with the president. we know that the president is anxious to throw liz cheney out of leadership, if not out of congress, and that he has wrapped his arms around this conspiracy theorists. so i think, you know, what donald trump is doing is digging the trench inside the republican party even deeper and deeper and deeper. quite frankly, there are republicans who are afraid to stand up and say enough because they don't want to be primaried on the right. they don't want donald trump, who we know is vindictive and has money in the bank to go against them. so, he is the one still from mar-a-lago, who has decided he's going to divide the party. >> i want both of you to stay with us. we're following breaking news at
the white house, standing by to hear from republican senators, meeting with president biden, emergency covid stimulus funds and with the gop in disarray, one lawmaker is trying to reclaim the party. congressman adam kinzinger. he's standing by. we've got lots to discuss. dr. anthony fauci will be talking with us in the wake of the deadliest month yet in the coronavirus pandemic. so, i did something fun, for me. the elite box from adoreme.com. they send you personalized outfits to try at home. everything from bras and lingerie, to loungewear, to swimwear. they have all sizes, and the fit is great. just go to adoreme.com, take a simple quiz, and your stylist takes it from there. i would have never picked
breaking news. president biden right now is meeting with 10 senate republicans to discuss the counter proposal, $1.9 trillion relief plan. the meeting just got under way over at the white house. starting off what's sure to be a tumultuous month for capitol hill. let's discuss all of this and more. the illinois republican congressman adam kinzinger is joining us now. he is one of ten republicans who vot voted to impeach then president trump. let's talk about your party, the republican party. it seems to be in disarray right now. the fractures will certainly be on full display during the republican conference meeting in
the house later this week. what do you hope? what do you fear? what might come out of this meeting? >> i think the meeting will be kind of a big delineation of where the party goes from here. january 6th, obviously, was a terrible day. it seemed that the party was waking up to embracing conspiracy theories, darkness and lies and the falsity of a stolen election would lead to. and i worry the last few weeks we've started to see it kind of trend back to donald trump and back to this idea that we need to embrace those things again, because winning at all costs is all that matters. liz cheney voted her conscience. she's a very conservative member. voted her conscience. are we going to be the new right-wing gop cancel culture that cancels somebody who doesn't agree with somebody else? and so this will be a big moment, i think, in this party. >> as one of the ten republicans
who voted, in your particular case, your conscience to impeach the former president, are you concerned you might face consequences from your republican party for your vote? >> not really concerned. the party, if there's consequences to me, like with liz, will be making a bad decision if they decide to do that, especially when you have people who run around and espouse conspiracy theories. as much as we want to talk about unity within the party, i think we've gotten to the point where it will be very different to bring these differences out and have this discussion about where did the party come from? how did we get to where we are now and how do we aspire to in the future? yeah, airing some of the dirty laundry. look, i think a lot of the people have seen what the dirty laundry has led to. that's a terrible insurrection on january 6th. >> we understand they just let the white house press pool into that meeting that president biden is having with these ten republican senators. we're about to get the tape.
i want to play this tape for you and for our viewers, congressman. we'll be getting it momentarily now. i want to get your reaction. this is an important meeting because they're trying to see if there is an opportunity for some cooperation between democrats and republicans in the senate to pass this emergency legislation. watch this. >> thanks for coming down. >> thank you. >> no, no, i'm anxious for the oppor opportunity. >> thank you, folks. >> thank you, guys. >> mr. president, what do you want to see -- >> thank you for coming. >> that's it. we heard a few reporters trying to get a question in. maybe later they'll get some
questions. you saw the president and vice president. you saw senator romney, senator susan collins and other republican senators. what do you think, congressman kinzinger? you're in the house, they're in the senate. do you think there's b bipartisanship for passing this emergency covid legislation? >> i think there's room. i don't know if either side will get exactly what they want. obviously the chips are in the democrats' hands. if they want to bring republicans on board i think it would send a good message but ultimately we have to do something. we have to move forward and get this pandemic as much under control as we can, agree to basic things. i think we need to understand that if we don't come to a bipartisan solution it doesn't mean we can't work together. if you're in the opposition party, it's said you have to fight at all costs and there's
loyalty to the country first. >> you're pushing for a reset of the republican party that you're calling country first. i want you and our viewers to listen to part of the message, video message you released over the weekend. >> republicans must say enough enough. it's time to unplug the outrage machine, reject the politics of personality and cast aside the conspiracy theories and the rage. >> how do you suggest the republican party goes about rejecting the politics of personality, conspiracy theorists? >> the first thing i would say is go to country first.com, watch the whole video. the benefit of it is reminding republicans and those that share our values that, you know, where we came from, the great things we achieved, whether it's freeing the slaves, fighting communism, women's suffrage. then look at the moment, insurrection on january 6th. we can accept that's the future
trajectory of this party or we can remember where we came from and have a vision of optimism into the future. that's what i want to do, remind people of that and show folks -- so many have texted me to say i'm not a democrat but i don't belong in this party anymore. to give them a place to say don't just leave. fight to restore the integrity of the republican party and tell people the truth and be honest about our failings in the last few years and how to overcome those. >> very quickly, should republican congressman, education, labor and committee? >> we should do that. if the republicans don't, it appears that the house will. >> congressman adam kinzinger, thank you as usual for joining us. >> stay with us. dr. anthony fauci will be there. answering your questions about the coronavirus vaccine, the availability, what's going on with the new johnson & johnson,
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following the worsening coronavirus pandemic right now. the death toll has now topped 442,000 people and there are more than 26.2 million confirmed cases here in the u.s. joining us now, dr. anthony fauci, director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases and top covid adviser to president biden right now. thank you so much for joining
us. january was the deadliest month of this pandemic. now nearly 100,000 deaths. one expert compares the coming surge in new variants to a category 5 hurricane. if you look at the monthly deaths, there was one in february of last year, then it went up to 5,000 in march. 60,000 in april. then it went down for a few months, 26, 29,000, 23,000. in november, 37,000, in december, 77,000. last month, 95,000. after all we've been through, dr. fauci, is the worst still yet to come? >> well, i hope not, wolf, but it is conceivable that things could get a little worse. what we're starting to see, which is a good sign, is that we're starting to see a plateauing of the numbers of cases, which will always be followed by a dimunition, a plateauing and a diminution of
play toes in deaths. we're still at a very high, disturbing level. hopefully, we'll continue to see a downtrend. if we continue to abide by and use and implement the public health measures together with an increasing number of people who get vaccinated, i hope we can get a trend that will continue to come down lower and lower. so, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it's going to be up to us, wolf, to step to the plate and make sure we implement universally those public health measures that the president himself and the vice president herself has spoken about so cogently. it's up to us to do that. >> the most important most simply, wear a mask. that is so critical. here is an important one. if you've already had covid how worried should you be about
getting reinfected with one of these new, so-called variants? >> well, the variants, for example particularly the south african variant, is obviously here. we know that there have been a couple of cases in south carolina and one in maryland. it is certainly not the dominant strain. but if it becomes dominant, the experience of our colleagues in south africa indicate that even if you've been infected with the original virus that there is a very high rate of reinfection to the point where previous infection does not seem to protect you against reinfection, at least with the south african variant. that's the one that we know the most about when it comes to reinfection. again, that gets to the point that we've said over and over again, wolf, and i want to emphasize it again, vaccination is very important. we need to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we
possibly can. and when vaccine becomes available to individuals, please take the vaccine. even though there is a diminished protection against the variants, there's enough protection to prevent you from getting serious disease, including hospitalization and death. so, vaccination is critical. when it's available, get vaccinated. >> absolutely essential. johnson & johnson, as you know better than anyone, is very close to requesting emergency use authorization for its covid vaccine. that vaccine isn't as effective, we're told, as the moderna and pfizer vaccines. what do you say to americans who are at higher risk, who want the more effective vaccine? >> that's an understandable concern, wolf. and i think it's going to be a messaging challenge. if you say, well, one is 72% effective against all disease and the other one is 94 to 95%,
i think you have to point out the fact that what the j & j has shown to be and the study that just came out is that it is quite effective in preventing severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths. so, it's a single-dose vaccine. and if you want to not get seriously ill or die, that is a good vaccine. so you don't want to get hung up on the differences of the numbers of the total east offices a in it. if you're focusing on not wanting to get seriously ill and getting to the hospital, this is a vaccine, as i mentioned, that's value added to the entire effort of multiple vaccine candidates that are available now and will soon get more
vaccine candidates available to the american public. as we know, there's good data that we're seeing already from other vaccine candidates, albeit tested in other countries, like the novavax had some very nice results in a study that was done in the uk and in south africa. and we have that study ongoing in our own country right now. so there's going to be more vaccines available. >> we're getting a variant of this question from a lot of viewers out there, dr. fauci. once the johnson & johnson vaccine gets emergency use authorization, we expect that to be very soon. should older people at higher risk, should we say, get priority for the pfizer and moderna vaccine? and people who are younger and less risk get the j & j? >> well, we don't know yet, wolf. that's an excellent question. and you're quite correct that people are asking that. and the answer will come -- we know that, as you said, the fda is evaluate youing the data fro
j & j in their emergency use authorization application. when all that data becomes available and is scrutinized in great detail, the advisory committee on immunization practices, which advises the cdc about these things, will come out with a recommendation. so, i don't believe that i have enough information right now, wolf, to answer your question with any great degree of confidence. but we will know reasonably soon when the data become public and available and the acip weighs in on that. >> we'll talk a break and continue our questioning, but very quickly, what if you get two shots of the johnson & johnson, does it become more effective as a result of that? >> we don't know that, but it is likely that it will be. in fact, j & j is already into a study looking at what the effect of a single followed by a boost. we're going to know that information within a period of
time. but you can imagine that if one dose gives you a certain amount that a boost will certainly make that better. >> that's encouraging to hear that. stay with us, dr. fauci. i know you have a lot going on. we have a bunch more questions that are critically important. we'll take a quick break, resume the conversation when we come back. university of phoenix is awarding up to one million dollars in new scholarships through this month, because hope fuels opportunity. see what scholarship you qualify for at phoenix.edu
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we're back with dr. anthony fauci, the top covid adviser to president biden. you know, dr. fauci, there are a lot of frustrated americans shall as you well know, who are out there, who are, in fact, eligible to get a vaccine, but they can't seem to navigate the complicated systems to make an appointment, or they're having appointments canceled when they show up. they just can't get a vaccine. what advice do you have for those folks? >> well, i mean, obviously we are aware of those problems that are existing and, as you know, president biden has made this his really top priority to try
to smooth all of that out with any number of mechanisms, making sure as we get vaccines in, we can get community vaccine centers, get them better allocated to the pharmacies, and even, in some respects, getting mobile units to go out into fully accessible areas. we're aware that there are problems out there. as the president has said, the issue that we're going to do is not complain about them, but try to fix them. so we admit they are there. but we will try to get them straightened out. >> i think you agree with me, dr. fauci, mobilizing fema, mobilizing the u.s. military to get out there and help with these vaccines, that's critically important. i'm surprised it hasn't really happened to a huge degree yet. >> no. that's on the way. that will happen, wolf. that's part of the extrastrateg plan that the president came out with last week. all of the things you're talking
about either are mobilized or will be mobilized literally imminently to make sure we get over these logistic problems that we have right now. but, again, it's just been a few days into this. you'll see it will get better very quickly. >> that's encouraging. today, there was some good news also that you guys announced at your briefing earlier in the day. the biden administration saying that more funding for at-home covid tests now is available, that ellume has a new test that's $30 a test. you can buy it over the counter at the drugstore. not yet but at some point. tell us about this. this, potentially, is very significant. even though $30 for some folks if you need to take a test once or twice a week, that adds up. >> yeah. you know, wolf, this is something that you and i spoke about on your show some time ago. i said what we really need is a sensitive specific, point of care, inexpensive test you can get in a pharmacy with without a prescription and you can just do it yourself.
what you heard andy slavitt mention is that we're going to put some resources, a considerable amount, in it, to get this reved up at scale so we can get many, many more. when that happens, unquestionably, the price will go down. but the reason why that's important, if you put it in the hands of the people, to be able to know quickly, efficiently and accurately if they or members of their family are infected, you can make some important decisions about what you can or cannot do or want to do on any given day, including things like having your family over for dinner, or doing something with regard with your children, things that we're all concerned about, because we want to keep everyone safe. the more you have availability of testing that you can do yourself, the better you'll be able to navigate through this difficulty that we're in right now. so that's really a big plus.
>> we were told today they're about 95% effective. 15 minutes it takes to do the test. when do you think i'll be able to go to my local drugstore, dr. fauci, and get these at-home tests? >> i hope very soon. i can't give you an exact date, wolf. i hope it will be within a matter of weeks to a month or so. >> that's encouraging to hear. that's really going to be important, 15 minutes and you'll know if you have it or don't have it. really important and you can do it at home. your colleague said the administration right now doesn't have enough data on race and ethnicity for nearly half of the country's vaccinations. how do you make sure that the most vulnerable people out there are getting vaccinated without that kind of information? >> well, that's exactly what dr. nunez-smith said. that's exactly what we're going to change. because when you don't have data, you really don't know where you are in a process. and, you know, the second part
of her statement was, a, we don't have enough data, but b, we're on it. we're going to do something to collect that data to get that information you're referring to. >> here is another question we're getting when it comes to masks. all of us should be wearing masks when we're outside, especially when we're with other people. with these more transmissible vari variants on the rise right now, should people be making the change to more effective masks, whether that's double masking or using that n95? >> well, wolf, this is a question. you're absolutely right, i get asked this probably more than any other question. right now the cdc, the last time we checked, which was yesterday, is really going to be looking at the data on the differences in masks, whether you do a kn95 or a cloth mask versus surgical mask, the kinds of information that you want to have. we have some of that information
already. we know that the standard surgical mask for the most part is better than a cloth mask, but it depends on the cloth mask. but that's not the question that people are asking. they're asking, should you wear two masks? that's the easiest thing to do. what the cdc says right now, as you mentioned correctly, the most important thing is everybody should wear a mask. we don't have enough data yet, and the cdc will be collecting this, as to whether or not two masks are going to be better than one mask. you know, if you use common sense and say until we get the data, if a physical barrier with one mask works, it makes common sense that two layers or three layers and you should have a double layer mask in one mask anyway. if you want to put an extra mask on there's nothing wrong with that. we can't formally recommend it, because we don't have the science behind it. but i would not hesitate to tell
someone if they want to wear two masks, go ahead. in fact, wolf, you may have seen me with two masks on. and the reason i do is that when you put a surgical mask on, if you put a cloth mask over, it gives a much smoother fit in the sense of being tight, but not too tight. so, again, although we're not recommending it until we get data, there's nothing wrong with doing that. >> makes sense, common sense. it's just so critical. wear mask one. but if you can, wear two. there's nothing wrong with that. you cautioned that one of the last things to return to normal, dr. fauci, will be full sport stadiums. you and i are big baseball fans. we like going to nats park, watching a baseball game. in december you said we might get there by the end of the summer with the current pace of vaccinations. would you push back that timeline or is that realistic? >> no, i think that's realistic. and the reason i say that, wolf,
is that depending upon the level of virus in the community, as i had mentioned, if we can get past vaccine hesitancy and we efficiently and effectively get people vaccinated to the tune of maybe 70 to 85% of the population by the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall, then we will have gotten herd immunity, i believe. mainly getting that blanket of protection over the community. on the way there, things will get better and better. so, for example, if we get a fairly good proportion of the population vaccinated and the level of virus in the community is low -- so when you look at the numbers, you see a very low number of people getting infected each day, very low test positivity. as we get into the summer, i believe you're going to be able to see that you'll have spectators at the game.
they may not be crowded next to each other, seat by seat. it may be separated by a few seats but i feel comfortable if we do it right, we will be able to get spectators to some degree at sports events that are outdoors, particularly what you and i both love, baseball. >> god willing, you and i will go to a washington nationals baseball game, maybe sit a couple of seats apart but have a good time. god willing that will happen relatively soon. dr. fauci on behalf of all of our viewers in the u.s. and around the world thank you so much for doing what you're doing. thanks so much for joining us. thank your entire team as well. we are all grateful. >> thank you very much, wolf. as always, it's great to be with you. >> thank you. also tonight, important news we're following, including multiple new developments in the wake of the u.s. capitol insurrection, which sources are now telling cnn has become the subject of the fbi's biggest case since the 9/11 terror attacks. let's bring in our justice
correspondent working the story for us. you've got the latest information, jessica. what are you learning? >> we're learning just how carefully investigators are reviewing each person involved in the insurrection. prosecutors are charging one man with assault after video emerged of him knock an officer to the ground. tonight, prosecutors pinpointing one of the first rioters to breach the barricades, ryan steven samsule. he wore a maga hat and white hooded sweatshirt as he moved police behind the bicycle rack barricade. he is seen ripping off his jacket and turning his hat around, prosecutors saying it's a signal that he was ready to fight. part of the crowd that picks up the barricade and backs it up on to police, knocking a female officer to the ground. prosecutors revealed in a court filing the officer's head hit the stairs behind her. he picked the officer off the
ground and allegedly said to her, we don't have to hurt you. why are you standing in our way? that officer later blacked out and was taken to the e.r. with a concussion. prosecutors say samsel was out on parole and is wanted for assault in new jersey. is he now more than 175 defendants facing criminal charges for their role in the riot. of those charged are current or former members of the military. including 37-year-old joseph bigggs, army veteran who spouted enough violent rhetoric to get him banned on several social media sites. >> this is joe biggs. >> reporter: one of the leaders of the far-right proud boys group known for violent clashes with antifa during protests in portland, oregon, and washington, d.c. cnn has sidentified at least eight proud boys charged in the capitol attack so far. it's the first riot related case
to accuse proud boys members of working together to attack the capitol. prosecutors say the alleged conspiracy only began after they got to washington. some law enforcement sources now tell cnn the capitol riot investigation is the largest fbi probe since 9/11, incorporating a massive mobilization of fbi resources, spanning field offices from coast to coast. the investigation also continues into the capitol police officer who was killed during the insurrection, brian sicknick. prosecutors have opened that federal murder investigation into his death. tomorrow night, officer sicknick will lie in honor at the capitol rotunda. wolf, of course, this is the same location that was overrun by that mob less than one month ago. >> hearts go out to his family, of course. jessica schneider reporting for us. thanks. >> more breaking news. republican senators are about to speak following their meeting with president biden as they seek to reach a bipartisan deal on a covid stimulus bill.
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welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're following breaking news on president biden's talks with republican senators as he struggles to get bipartisan support for his $1.9 trillion covid relief plan. at last word, the talks were still under way inside the white house, but we do expect to hear from the republican senators once they walk out. we'll have live coverage