tv Inside Politics With Abby Phillip CNN December 19, 2021 5:00am-6:00am PST
america braces for the next big covid surge. >> we are going to see a viral blizzard over the next three to eight weeks. we could be talking about millions of cases in our communities. >> health officials say the protection needed is readily available. >> if you want to be optimally protected, get boosted.
that's the message. >> plus, biden's year end agenda falls short leaving a 2022 scramble. >> it's healthy that the senators are going home to egg nog and fruitcake. maybe that will improve their attitudes. >> more evidence that the trump coup attack was real. >> how we address this is a moral test of our generation. >> biggest stories sourced by the best reporters now. welcome to "inside politics sunday" i'm phil mattingly in for abby phillip. it is a sobering sunday for what we think could be the biggest covid wave yet. >> it's a tsunami coming. this omicron variant is extraordinarily contagious. it's as contagious as measles and that's about the most contagious virus we've seen. this may be the most contagious
virus that civilization has faced in our lifetimes. >> if you want to get a sense of what the doctor is talking about, look at the cases in the u.k. and denmark. they fear those are what's coming here. the world health organization says omicron can double about every two days. the omicron fueled surge probably giving a lot of people flashbacks to the start of the pandemic. keep this in miend. more testing. more vaccines. most are safer now than then by a long shot. however, if you're among the tens of millions of americans still refusing to take a life saving shot, a grim warning from the president. >> unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death unvaccinated for themselves, their families and the hospitals they'll soon overwhelm, but there's good news. if you're vaccinated, you have your booster shot, you're
protected from severe illness and death. >> joining me now with their reporting and insight, the washington post, sun min kim, jonathan martin, jeremy diamond and kathy lucy from the wall street journal. >> wearing a bow tie. >> ho, ho, ho. >> positive news. you heard there was a very intentional message from the president. we know the president is going to be doing a speech this week. what are they going to try to lay out on tuesday? >> the speech you'll hear on tuesday is going to sound like an extended version from the clip from the president and that is delivering two messages at the same time, one focused on the fact that this omicron variant is extremely serious. if you are unvaccinated, you will face severe illness, hospitalization and death but if you're vaccinated, particularly
if you're boosted, that will be a big point of emphasis for the president on tuesday, you are protected from serious illness and hospitalization. that is the dichotomy that this white house is now dealing with, and at the same time i've also been told that white house officials have been looking at ways to shift the public focus to hospitalization, severe illness and death rather than just this case count which is going to rise astronomically in the weeks ahead. but that doesn't mean the hospitalizations and the deaths will follow in the same way that it did in previous portions of the pandemic. >> that's something i want to touch on. you and kevin liptack did a stellar piece on this. quote, we're getting to the point where it's about severity. it's not about cases, it's about severity. which seemed like a preview of what the white house is going for. katheryn, that message, it's nuanced. can they get that out? how does it apply to day-to-day life for americans?
>> that's the question. we're all dealing with this. what is safe to do? what is not safe to do? should people be canceling small or large gatherings? how are we approaching the holiday gatherings as the new variant crashes into us. i think that's the other piece of what we're hearing is some guidance about how people are thinking about this. but we're also dealing with a public that is exhausted after two years, is overwhelmed by conflicting advice. a lot of people thought as this administration said, this christmas will be different. now maybe it seems like it won't be different. how are people going to take in another set of different information? i think that's a real question. >> real quick because this is a really good point. this is what the president said in february of 2021. take a listen. >> by next christmas i think we'll be in a very different circumstance, god willing, than we are today. a year from now i think that there will be significantly
fewer people having to be socially distanced, having to wear masks, et cetera, but we don't know. so i don't want to over promise anything here. >> yeah. he throws in the i don't know there. the clip is the clip. you know, obviously that's now on tape. it's not ideal for the white house, but part of the change now is that this disease, unlike march of '20 when it first emerged in the states, has become so politicized. so the president, dr. fauci and everybody else in government can say distance, wear a mask, get vaccinated. 1/3 of the country is just not going to do it. you can issue these mandates, but in a lot of states and localities it's not going to happen. that's the real challenge we're going to deal with. this has become part of the tribal political wars. because of that the precautions we're going to take on om kran are going to be dismissed by a lot of people in this country and there's no easy answer for that for policy makers.
>> that's the biggest question. you have to chuckle with pure cynicism when they say the president promised he was going to shut down the virus, he promised he was going to stop the virus and a lot of the same republicans are saying you don't need to get vaccinated or making it clear vaccination isn't necessarily something you have to be doing but you look at the effect on the president's poll numbers as it pertains to the covid numbers, he's taken a hit. >> 54%. >> in april it was 66%. if you talk to white house officials, covid is the net reason his overall numbers have dropped. how does the white house handle that when you're putting the things into motion that would address this but 1/3 of the country isn't taking them snup. >> right. it's been fascinating to watch how much the white house is trying to do in terms of the steps they have taken to get this pandemic controlled but how so much of it is out of their
control. obviously the tribalism in the country with so much of the republican party refusing to get vaccinated or taking mitigation measures or wearing masks indoors has been a major hurdle for the white house. the courts have been a significant hurdle for the white house. they've put forward their vaccine or test mandate. obviously they did have a little bit of a success late last week when an appeals court upheld it. almost certainly going to the supreme court, but the courts -- there's so many factors out of their control that are really hampered the biden administration's responsiveness. they are kind of running out of options beyond just repeating what they have done over and over, telling the public to get vaccinated, putting further mitigation measures in place. like katheryn said, further lockdown measures, further mitigation measures are not going to work for a public that
is tired. >> sadly, tragically, the breakthroughs that we're going to see, people who get covid even if they're vaccinated are going to reinforce this with folks on the right. why bother getting boosted or vaccinated? you're getting covid. the impact's a lot less. you're more likely to have mild symptoms than go to the hospital or die. just that fact we're going to see so many breakthroughs is going to be a real pr challenge. >> you're saying people don't recognize that? shocking. >> jeremy, i want to finish with one thing in particular. we heard vice president kamala harris where she said, we didn't see delta coming. i don't think most scientists didn't see it coming. we didn't see omicron coming and that's the nature of what this is, this awful virus has been and which turns out has mutations and variants. they explained what they thought she meant there, but what it gets there, less than the quote itself and the vice president
herself, in delta they weren't prepared. they did get caught on their back foot. in omicron's case they were much more out front. the warnings have been real. what needs to happen is real. will that have an effect on like the delta? >> i think that's the key. we saw in the very beginning when omicron came out you saw them coming out and talking to the public and saying we don't know everything yet but we will know more soon. that was a stark contrast to what we saw with delta. i think, again, the challenge here for the white house is that so much is still out of their control as sung min was just saying. we'll see whether the president can lay out more tips that will make a difference. it's going to be a huge challenge for this white house. it will determine where the president's approval ratings go from here and in part how the democrats do. >> that quote is fodder for republicans.
saying we didn't see this coming? that's going to go into mail pieces and ads. >> the president ran as someone who would get the economy under control and get covid under control. 2022 is going to be defined whether he can do those things. >> it's the first year, first four years. >> coming up next, the trump allis have pleaded with him as rioters stormed the capitol.
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former president donald trump to stop the insurrection as it was happening. >> all of my colleagues, all of them knew that what happened on january 6th and they knew it at the time. now they are defending the indefensible. we want to defend ourselves against it happening ever again. fox news like laura ingraham, quote, the president needs to tell people to go home. this is hurting all of us. he is destroying his legacy. she responded by downplaying her messages from nearly a year ago. >> both publicly and privately i said what i believe, that the breach of the capitol on january
6th was a terrible thing. the more they talk about january 6th, the stronger trump and the gop are becoming in the polls. >> cool. i don't really care about that or them. what i do care about is what this week meant for the january 6th committee. i'm at the white house. we're at the white house a lot. i admittedly am not totally clear where this committee is going, what the end game is, but it seems like in the last five or six days they are further along than any of the impeachment efforts ever were in terms of getting key documents from key people. >> right. what's so interesting is they have been much more methodical and rolling out their information which is why i think the tech messages that the committee disclosed hit them so strong. we got a couple of hints that something big could be coming in terms of meadows' documents. they have been very strategic in terms of how they have tried to
knit together this narrative to the public about what they know so far about who was doing what on january 6th. obviously they are still running into several hurdles. key witnesses. his own processes, that may mean he never talks to the committee. obviously this commission is working on a very limited timetable. if we were all betting men and women, we would bet that republicans would take back the house majority in 2022 in their first vote. it would be to shut down this commission. i think the members, the staff involvement that they have a limited amount of time and they're trying to make the most of it and trying to make as much impact while they still can. >> how many republicans do you think get swept into this? one of the interesting elements is we -- cnn reported that one of the texts that were released, i'll put it up. it's from rick perry's cell phone which may explain why it's difficult to read. here's an aggressive strategy.
why can't the states georgia, north carolina, pennsylvania agree this bs and send their own electors to vote. and it will go to scotus. from an individual to mark meadows. scott perry is in there as well to some degree. >> a lot more members were not named and i have a strongs feeling those names are going to come out here in the weeks and months ahead. yeah, i think it will further implicate a variety of actors. you're asking me one question. i'll give you a different answer, which is politically i'm not sure how much of that is going to sting them. it depends on their districts. it shadows calendar year 2022. to your point something about clock ticking, how much are they going to want to wram p this up versus how long they want to
wait for the courts. many won't cooperate until the courts. do they move faster or take more time, go towards the end of '22 to get a more comprehensive court. >> jeremy, one thing that stood out and politico did a smart piece on this, the difference between impeachment, which we spent a lot of time covering, oftentimes in the basement near a skiff for hours on end. those committees versus this committee. one of the points made was because there are no republicans like jim jordan constantly trying to gum up the works, stop the process, do x, y, z, they're more dplud doing things. how badly did kevin mccarthy mess up here by not putting republicans on the panel and basically giving nine members a united front to push forward, keep the narrative ahead and not allow leaks. >> i think we were talking about that when he made that decision. hold on, he's missing a big
opportunity to influence the panel. at the same time, because he is expecting republicans will regain control of congress, he wants to shut this down as quickly as possible, this gives him the opportunity to say we weren't even playing ball, we weren't participating. easy for them to shut that down. i think that what's interesting here is that ultimately a lot of this is a big rorschach test for the country. republicans who want to downplay january 6th, who don't believe it's a coup, will continue to believe that and democrats who believe the opposite are only going to be further emboldened by this. in large part what the committee is going to do at the end of the day is going to be interpreted completely differently by different parts of the country and i just think that's important. >> it's through that prism i thought there was an interesting op ed in the washington post, the publication. three retired general officers and part of that op ed is, quote, in short we are chilled to our bones at the thought of a
coup succeeding. the total breakdown of the chain of command from the top of the chain to the squad level is significant should another insurrection occur. the idea of rogue units to support the rightful commander in chief cannot be dismissed. that's chilling to say the least. is that the moment the country is in? >> that's chilling. there are a lot of people concerned about what this means for future elections and what sort of groundwork was laid in 2020 and at the capitol riot. i think one of the things we can see and john mentioned this as we look at the politics around the country, you see a lot of republican candidates backing trump's false claims and won't say biden won the election. so you really see these divergent views really sort of locking in and so what does that mean as we go forward if we don't have agreement on who won elections?
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joe biden and senate democrats wanted to end the year with some new big legislative victories. the reality of the year had slapped them in the face to some degree. there's no way to pass a voting rights bill unless all 50 democrats voted to shift the filibuster and they didn't. there was no way to pass the build back better plan so they
punted. president biden insists he and manchin will make a deal on that social spending and the climate deal but the how remains unclear. democrats, well, they are frustrated. >> you can have one person or two people just stop everything and that is why people in our country should know that a 50-50 senate sucks and we can't get things done. i'm hopeful that joe will change his mind. >> i'm from ohio. no one pressures me either. so there's a couple of ways to look at this that i've been chewing on. a 50-50 senate is better than 48-52 which it very much could have been. in the course of this year they got a $1.9 trillion american rescue plan, a $1.2 million infrastructure proposal. there was no debt ceiling crisis. the government is funded.
those all seem positive. they just locked in 40 judges by hammering a couple of more district noms. however, when you set expectations as high as expectations were set, i want to bring up the build back better plan. $1.75 trillion. the house has passed its version of it. joe manchin has made it clear that it's too expensive. he doesn't like the short termism. child tax credit. $185 million. extend it 10, that would be $1.6 trillion. manchin wants ctc extended for all 10 which would -- >> double the price tag. >> let's take a look at what's in the original build back better plan and what could stick. if you keep the child tax credit you have to get rid of universal pre-k. keep that. maybe half of climate change. community college is already out. subsidized child care and elder
care, medicare expansion probably have to go. paid family leave is already out. maybe higher obamacare subsidies. you have to choose between climate change and obamacare subsidies. ten years of ctc is not something they can do. jeremy, how does this end? >> phil, i'm so glad you came to me. i don't have an answer but what i can tell you is the white house despite all of that somehow keeps having a pretty optimistic take on things and believing that ultimately they will get to a deal. they haven't yet explained the how. they haven't explained it to you yet, phil. we're still trying to get there. i think what is interesting here though is that the white house has spent the last month trying to go after some of the key arguments that joe manchin has been making about why he wants to stall the process on this, on inflation in particular. the white house, whether it's president biden, vice president harris. they are talking about the way
bbb they believe will lower costs for american families. despite that this week joe manchin was continuing to talk about inflation and his concerns about that and expanding the child tax credit. it is hard to see how they are making progress, nonetheless, they're insisting that these talks have been productive and they're moving forward. there's still no roadmap and i think that's what raises a lot of eyebrows. >> manchin was clear months ago. he wanted to have a pause on this and the op ed that came over the summer pushed it to '22. that's what's happening now. the question is did they pare down the bill more significantly to get this through with manchin's vote and 50 votes or do they consider the alternative, which is take some of these bills, these elements out and work on them individually? they don't want to do that obviously but they want this big grand salami but some of this could have bipartisan support if it's taken out and done
individually. that's tough to do in an election year but that may be the only way to do it. >> separating it, you lose reconciliation. >> there's a view there's one vehicle to do this. >> don't come at people who know about parliamentarian procedure here. here's the question, with a 50-50 senate, progressives, their view of management. you've got two people saying if you don't do it my way, i don't care what the president wants, i don't care what 48 of my colleagues want, it's my way or the highway. that i regard as arrogance. >> we did take the president's word he would get 50 votes in the senate. we are trusting his word. he does need to deliver on this because it is 85% of his agenda. >> this is always the balance, how do you keep bernie sanders and joe manchin on the bill
here? how do progressives manage the next couple of months as they try to figure it out? >> you saw a preview with congresswoman's jayapal's comments. it was the president's assurances ultimately that got the progressives to kind of decouple that bipartisan infrastructure bill from this broader reconciliation build back better package, because they felt assured enough to move forward that biden would be able to deliver. now president biden has not been able to deliver just yet, partly because president -- or senator joe man chun just does not feel any urgency. i felt that so much more just chasing around him 30 million times around the capitol this week. this is the man who is not in a hurry. you expect all of this urge against si from key democratic lawmakers, progressives, white house to get this done, get this done as expeditiously as possible. not from joe manchin. he is hearing from people in west virginia who are worried
about inflation. what jeremy said, how build back better would build inflation. they comment and say, in the long run. voters don't care about things in the long run. they want them solved now. i think what manchin is hearing is that and that creates a big problem for the white house. >> the white house has leverage with manchin. >> i want to ask one thing because we're running out of time. voting rights, that was pushed on. the president had closed doors. talked about it in a commencement address. what's the future of it? >> the white house is trying to escalate the rhetoric. you heard the president say this is a top priority but it remains unclear how they're going to move forward with this given the 50-50 senate unless they do something on a filibuster. we've heard some conversations. there are some democrats talking about are there ways to do a
carve out, rules change? the president in a cnn event this fall suggested some openness to that. we haven't heard of that and pressure is increasing on white house and democrats. activists, they don't want to see it come without any action here. they have to wait and see if there's anything they can do. >> they'll lay out what they meant by that soon, four weeks ago. up next, omicron is spreading like wildfire in parts of europe. the u.s. is next.
you're unlikely to get very sick. the problem is one in six americans are boosted. that's the part of the pie in purple that we're seeing there. dr. anthony fauci says we have the tools to get through this if we use them. >> we've got to do the things that are available to us. vaccination, boosting, masking indoor, prudent, careful traveling. i think we need to look at it in the fact that we are at war with a very formidable enemy. we're going to win the war because we're better than the virus. >> we're joined by an e.r. doctor from rhode island. thanks as always. look, cases and hospitalizations have doubled since we had you on the show last month. rhode island's governor has reinstituted a mask mandate. omicron has seemingly barely begun. what are you seeing on the ground in your hospital and does this feel like march of 2020? >> this feels distinctly different from march of 2020 for
a couple of reasons. first, our hospital is completely full. with all the folks that put off care over the last two years and are now coming in with what could have been preventible emergencies. on top of that, we're filling up with new covid hospitalizations but as opposed to march 2020 when we could pull in staff, there is no surge plan, no alternative care sites so our waits in the emergency department are through the roof and although our covid hospitalizations are lower than what they were in 2020 and although we as health care workers are better protected, the system overall is in a much worse spot. >> you mentioned the overall system but i want to focus on you and your colleagues. you've been working last year. 74% of health care workers report symptoms of depression,
34 ptsd, 15% recent thoughts of suicide or self harm. as we confront another wave is can health care survive what's about to come given what everyone has done for the last two years? >> so that is one of my biggest worries on a daily basis. i have new friends from across the country, texting, dming me that they've had enough and ready to leave. the moral injury, the demoralization of our health care colleagues is almost undescribable. i can't explain what it's like to walk into an emergency department, have 60 patients waiting, know that some of them are quite sick but there's inadequate staff and inadequate beds to be able to take care of them appropriately. what it's like to take care of covid patients who are yelling at you that they're not actually infected and what it's like to have your own community attack you for asking for masks or
vaccines. i'm not hearing this just from doctors or nurses but from medics, ambulance drivers, nursing homeworkers, from school nurses and social workers and psychologists who are also burnt out. i worry about the implications not just for the next month but for the next years to come for our system. >> it's both remarkable and sad to hear that. is there something the government can do here? is there a role for the federal government to do? >> there are a number of things they can do and they start today do it in the last announcement. i'm hoping in the biden speech on tuesday this will be addressed head on. we need to increase surge capacities so we don't have folks working overtime and unable to care for the sick. this is the time to bring in the national guard, to nursing homes and clinics across the country. staff up testing sites.
help us provide basic care so that we don't have people sitting in the waiting rooms of our emergency departments. we can also invest in training some of our lower level, more easily trained health care workers, things like certified nursing assistants. the training doesn't take long. we are so universally short on cnas. having more of them would make a huge difference. then things like allowing physicians to work across state lines, increasing reimbursement for tele health, other basic strategies that were used in the beginning of the pandemic that could be used again to stem the overwhelm a little bit right now. >> switching to the pandemic response specifically. a lot of questions about testing. can't go to a supermarket and find tests that you can do at home which everyone wants. take a listen to what jen psaki said earlier this month. >> why not just make them free and give them out and have them
available everywhere? >> should we just send one to every american? >> maybe. >> what happens if every american has one test? how much does that cost and what happens that have? >> look, i get there's nuanced complexities on the testing front. what's the answer. what's the reaction and answer to testing? >> my and most of my colleagues was, yes, we should be sending one to every house along with high quality masks and low cost or rapid free antigen tests available at every drugstore, post office, clinic. these are part of our multi--layered strategy for stopping this tidal wave of omicron that is about to hit us and the ongoing delta surge that is still overwhelming so hospitals. rapid testing are an essential p
part. otherwise they say something and they can access. even at walmart $14 a box for two, it gets real expensive real sick. >> thanks for your time. >> thank you. >> james cargill said it's the economy, stupid. what are the other issues that may make a very big difference at the ballot box in 2022?
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2022 will be the year of the parent at the ballot box. if legislators and hopefuls are watching this, pay attention to parents. >> after the virginia's governor race you can bet the white house is certainly paying attention. democrats are mindful that pandemic parents could be the key swing voters next year. frustrated moms and dads have been dealing with shorter school weeks and covid exposures the entire semester. will 2022 be different? seems unlike lip the cdc director announced new evidence shows tests to stay, kids could stay after covid exposure with testing works to keep children learning safely. i want to walk through a couple potential sleeper issues heading into 202.
when biden took office 46% of the schools were open. now 99% is open but every parent is looking around with trepidation. is that about to change? >> i think it's significant. you'll see a lot of parents more involved in the politics next year. attention on curriculum but i think this is much more about school safety reinvolving around covid and continuity and there's been frustration among parents tends to be taken out by the in party. they take it out on whoever is currently controlling government. >> another issue that i don't think popped yet but definitely about to, the issue of student loans. a harvard poll in december had 46% approval from 18 to 29-year-olds. a lot of us are dealing with student loans. february 1st student lone
forbearance is done. what's the biden administration doing to address that? >> it's a wore iing sign for democrats in mid terms. they look for base issues they can rev their folks up around. how that will impact we w'll se. the white house may take additional steps to help but that is something that could be a potential warning sign. >> it's fascinating to watch, a huge issue i feel like in the '20 election when it came to the youth vote. lawmakers sent him a bill to wipe away $10,000 he'd sign it and the other issue is crime, in and out of news. the biden administration a couple months ago made it a big focus of the president he's the opposite of the defund the
police democrat. listen to what mayor london breed said a mayor who proposed shifting money away from law enforcement budgets and i want to say july of 2020. take a listen. >> it's time the reign of criminals destroying our city to come to an end and it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement, more aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerant of all the bull [ bleep ] that described our city. >> it's an interesting moment because historically, crime rates are not anywhere near their highs but murder rates in big cities are up. you see constant on the news smash-and-grabs, larceny. how big of an issue is this overall? >> it's an issue in the cities and could become a real midterm issue. you know this, an issue that
republicans really utilized in the last cycle and if you see the murder rates stay in the same place you'll see focus from gop about are democrats emphasizing policing enough, investing enough in police, in public safety and so it's something that i think we're going to see them really focus on and you're going to see leaders in the cities, too. >> yes. >> and the jump, too, in the politics of and the example of summer of 2020 to winter of '21 and the change in rhetoric tells you everything about the political assumptions and the democratic mayors are making about the issue. >> this week recent days the in philadelphia the district attorney had to walk back some statements about crime rates in the city, when there was concern he wasn't taking it seriously enough. >> the white house this summer said they need to address it.
>> the issue of abortion everybody is watching the supreme court. there's a quote from julia regensky adviser to governor phil murmur fee. "abortion hasn't moved people to the polls. i wish we will i have had in a world where outrage mattered. voters are affected by only what affects them economy, affordable, cost of living is such a major issue for so many people." the perception if the supreme court strikes down or revises roe versus wade it would be a huge issue for democratic voters. do you think that's the case? >> depends where they are. right after the oral arguments in the mississippi case you saw the democratic senatorial campaign and the democrats running for re-election in the sort of swing center states to
abortion. gary peters think this is a galvanizing issue for female voters. the swing districts in the house this isn't as big of an issue, voters are more focused on the economy affordability issues it may not matter as much. republicans have told me they're waiting for democrats to overreach on abortion replay of the gardner/udall case in 2014, they go too far from what the voters s caring about. >> thanks for joining us on "inside politics sunday." up next "state of the union" with jake tapper and dana bash. guests include dr. anthony fauci, senator bernie sanders and governor chris sununu.
it's free, it's easy, we come out and mark your lines, we provide you the information so you will dig safely. viral blizzard. the winter surge is here as the delta and omicron variants drive u.s. cases to new highs. >> we are looking at a winter of severe illness and debt if you're unvaccinated. >> reporter: dr. anthony fauci and new hampshire republican governor chris sununu are here. and build back later? congress heads home for the holidays with little to show on president biden's key priorities. >> a 50/50 senate sucks and we can't get things done.