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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  December 31, 2021 6:00am-7:00am PST

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greatest names of all time, thank you very much, and happy new year. happy new year to you. >> happy new year. take care. >> to you all. kaitlan, i had a blast being with you this week. i hope you have a wonderful new year. here is to a great 2022 for all of us. >> i was going to make a smart comment about my resolution. i think more people should try to be like turquoise lejeune parker. >> i'm with you. turquoise lejeune parker for us all. happy new year. cnn's coverage continues right now. there is sydney, australia, setting them off. good morning, everyone. i'm poppy harlow. so glad you're with me. jim has the day off. as the world counts down to 2022, the surging omicron variant has forced many cities to cancel or alter their celebrations. cases are higher than they have ever been in the united states and in most of europe.
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in new york state, get this, more than 74,000 new covid infections yesterday alone, that once again breaks the state's record in georgia and metro atlanta hospitalizations are up as much as 200% in the last week. and the cdc is once again warning against taking cruises, even for the vaccinated. still, dr. anthony fauci says he expects the peak of omicron infections to come next month. >> i would imagine given the size of our country, and the diversity of vaccination versus not vaccination, it likely will be more than a couple of weeks, probably by the end of january. >> one piece of good news as we wait for that, the fda is expected to approve covid booster shots for kids ages 12 to 15 very soon. we have a team across the globe covering all of these developments, let's begin right here in new york city, in times square, with polo sandoval.
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good morning. new york state has seen an 82% jump in covid cases since monday yet mayor bill de blasio says there are no plans still to cancel new year's eve celebration in times square. why? >> reporter: and in his final days in office, the mayor also adding that the show will go on, poppy. that's because based on the high vaccination rate that we have seen here in new york, throughout the state, really, then the mayor feeling it is viable to be able to put on this massive event that as we have heard time and time again from health experts, some health experts have some concern about it potentially being a superspreader event. let me go down the list of some of the steps being taken, for example, this only open for the fully vaccinated. they are required to wear masks, even though this is an outdoor event. the crowd you're used to seeing, 58,000 people in the viewing
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areas, only going to be about 15,000 people that are going to be allowed into the area later than usual. that gives you a sense of what steps are actually being taken. and when you hear from organizers they say that they are speaking to those health officials and they feel they are taking those steps to make sure that it is as safe as possible and that at the end of the day, those who do not feel comfortable, it might make sense to watch this from home, including watching coverage here on cnn. >> i'll be on my couch hopefully with some good take-out. i don't get how they're going to enforce social distancing. i have covered new year's eve times square a lot. there is -- people like to hug. >> reporter: yeah, but scaling back those numbers and instead of having close to 60,000 people, having 15,000 people, they hope that will help or give people an opportunity to remain socially distant. but at the same time, yes, not going to be easy to enforce. just a matter of making sure that people have that space to
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move around if they want. >> all right, polo, happy new year, friend. thanks so much. let's turn now to europe. british prime minister boris johnson praising the success of vaccines in his new year's message and urging citizens to get vaccinated. >> i want to speak directly to all those who have yet to get fully vaccinated. the people who think the disease can't hurt them. look at the people going into hospital now. that could be you. look at the intensive care units and the miserable needless suffering of those who did not get their booster. that could be you. >> an important message there. let's go to paris now where cnn senior international correspondent jim bittermann joins me live. omicron is the dominant variant in france, where you are. what is being done for this tsunami of cases? >> i guess the most dramatic thing is this idea that came up in the last few days here, to
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impose a mask mandate, which is to say that you now have to have a mask on, whether you're inside or outside in the streets walking around. you have to have a mask on. the only exceptions are for people who may be practicing outdoor sports, jogging, bicycling or something like that. one of a growing seriries of restrictions that have grown here. it applies to paris and other large cities where the numbers are out of sight. we have an incidence rate of over 2,000, over 2,000 testing positive for every 100,000 in population. so the authorities are struggling to get control of that. and the same thing is happening in many other countries in europe. tonight in paris, for example, the bars and restaurants have to close at 2:00, but in austria, the bars and restaurants have to close two hours before midnight. poppy? >> okay. jim bittermann, thank you very much. stay healthy and happy new year to you. >> happy new year to you.
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>> thank you. the fda is expected to expand eligibility for the pfizer vaccine booster in the coming days, a source familiar with the agency's plans says 12 to 15-year-olds are up next for approval. let me bring in our senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen. i feel like you have children in this age, elizabeth. this is good news. >> i do. i do. our youngest child is in this age group. and there are millions of children like her who are at least six months past their first -- their second shot, so they can now get a booster. rec let's look at those numbers. as soon as they give the green light, as soon as the fda says okay, those children can get a booster, and then there is another 4.7 million who have been fully vaccinated, but later on. so they would be eligible in the coming weeks or the coming months. and i should say you don't have to -- if you got moderna, you can get a pfizer booster for
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your child. that's an important thing to remember. now, here is another number, poppy, actually even more important, that is 39% of children ages 12 to 15 have not gotten even a single shot. not even their first shot of a covid-19 vaccine. that first set of shots is more important than the booster. more children need to get vaccinated, especially as omicron is just spreading so quickly and those children will be going back to school next week. unvaccinated children to a very large extent are driving the number i'm about to show you. back in september, we had the peak of the number of children in the hospital with covid-19 in the u.s. 342 new admissions per day on average back in early september. we have now surpassed that peak with 378 admissions per day on average. and that number unfortunately is just going to go up, up, up, even though it is unusual for children to need to go to the hospital with covid, as more and more children get infected, a
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small percentage of a huge number can still be a very large number. poppy? >> that's exactly right. elizabeth, thanks so much for your reporting. today and all year. you guys have helped inform us every single day. happy new year to you. joining me is dr. paul saks, professor of medicine at brigham and women's hospital and at harvard medical school. thank you for being here. you paint a rather relatively speaking optimistic picture about omicron, despite the numbers. you ultimately believe it will be a more manageable and less deadly strain long-term? >> you know, i want to stress that i acknowledge that things are a mess right now and i actually have written that yesterday because there are so many people as you just described who are getting covid-19 now and that creates huge disruptions in our society. nonetheless, the evidence is pointing to the fact that omicron appears to be leading to
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a milder disease. and that's for two reasons. first, we have a lot of people who already have some degree of immunity, they have been vaccinated hour covid-19 before or both. and they have clearly got some protection from omicron, even though they're getting infection, they're not getting that sick. and the second is very interesting that several labs, now six labs, looked at this virus and found it does not grow as well in lungs. and the lungs is the primary target for severe covid-19 and fatal covid-19. so in some ways we're quite fortunate that this very sort of vaccine evasive virus does not appear to be causing a severe disease. it is important we try to avoid infections, these numbers are very, very striking. but i am optimistic most people who get this infection will not become critically ill. >> i have not heard that before, about it growing less and being less severe for people's lungs.
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we're hearing the fda is going to give the green light to the booster for 12 to 15-year-olds pretty soon. how important is that as we try to get our kids back i in in-person learning in school? >> one thing you stressed, the infection rate among children is extremely high. we know that not just from the numbers. i know this personally because i'm married to a pediatrician. we have never seen so many infections in kids. most are quite rare. but importantly as mentioned, the vaccination rate among children is much lower than among adults. that's something we really can work on. good information yesterday from the cdc on the safety of the vaccine in children. it looks like it is safer, even than expected, which is excellent news. so people should move forward with their vaccine and with their booster. >> that's great. safe for the expected. how long do you believe until boosters then for 5 to 11-year-olds?
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>> most childhood vaccinations are more than two doses. it would not surprise me if that is the recommendation for 5 to 11-year-olds as well. >> what about our littlest ones? that's what's scary for us as parents who have kids younger than 5. >> studies are ongoing for covid vaccines in that age group. if the other studies are similar, then i expect we will see approval this coming year. now, you might have heard earlier that there have been some data that it may not be sufficient to give just two doses to that age group, the immune systems of the little children are very different from older children. and, again, just a reminder, a lot of pediatric vaccinations are already three doses. would not surprise me if that's the recommendation ultimately going forward. >> what about tonight? new year's eve. i'm surprised that new york city is still having a new year's eve celebration. i think we're all crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. i understand both sides of the argument here. what would be your recommendation for people who are trying to figure out what
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they should do, like, even dinner, you know, dinner with friends, party of ten, do you just stay home alone? >> i think it is better to keep the gatherings small. i think it is reasonable to see friends and family. if one can get a hold of the rapid tests, it creates an extra layer of security before you gather. would i go to a new year's eve celebration that is so large? i wouldn't. i think most infectious disease specialists wouldn't. on the other hand, at least it is outdoors and primarily the spread of this virus is indoors. so if i were going to target something to reduce the spread of covid-19, it would be the very crowded bars and restaurants that are present in most of our cities. it is not so much an outdoor event. >> dr. paul saks, thanks so much. good to have you. >> thanks, poppy. happy new year. >> you as well. next, thousands of people forced out of their homes now allowed back, but look at the images. many not even having a home to return to as wildfires tear
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through towns near boulder, colorado. we'll take you there live. also, the january 6th committee asking the supreme court not to take up the case over the former president's efforts to keep more than 700 pages of his white house documents secret. and also we're watching new year's eve celebrations around the world. here is how sydney, australia, rang in 2022. my nunormal? fewer asthma attacks with nucala. a once-monthly add-on injection for severe eosinophilic asthma. nucala reduces eosinophils, a key cause of severe asthma. nucala is not for sudden breathing problems. allergic reactions can occur. get help right away for swelling of face, mouth, tongue or trouble breathing. infections that can cause shingles have occurred. don't stop steroids unless told by your doctor. tell your doctor if you have a parasitic infection. may cause headache, injection site reactions, back pain, and fatigue. ask your doctor about nucala. find your nunormal with nucala. i would've called yesterday.
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state of emergency, look at the images out of colorado, nearly 600 homes destroyed, thousands of people evacuated, incredibly fast moving wildfires fueled in some cases by hurricane-force winds, ripping across the city of boulder, leaving scenes like this one, small towns, near a complete devastation from the flames. lucy kafanov has been following this for us. and it seems so many people, lucy, because of this wind, had very little warning. >> reporter: very little warning. i've been in touch with friends and loved ones over text who still don't know if their homes are standing. this has been one of the most destructive wildfires in colorado state history. more than 500 homes burned to the ground, these winds moving in some cases at 100 to 150-mile-per-hour wind gusts moving faster than firefighters could get to them.
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the governor describing the magnitude of the blaze. take a listen. >> very little time to get out. very little time to even get the most important parts of your life. and, yes, it will be a difficult process for colorado families who are directly affected to rebuild their lives. >> we're all in a group text, do we leave, do we stay, what is everybody doing, everybody is rushing around with their phones taking videos of their home inside just in case. never saw this coming. >> reporter: as of last night, officials say this fire torched more than 1,600 acres. we understand that thousands of families were evacuated, the main affected areas are the towns of superior, and louisville. superior had been devastated, the 500 or so homes we were talking about that burned down largely from that area. that's a town of some 1300 --
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13,000 people. we have yet to learn how many homes were damaged in this -- in the town of louisville, that's more than 23,000 people living there. a lot of folks just hours away from new year's eve, waiting for answers, waiting to find out if they have homes to return to. and this is being described as the most devastating wildfire in colorado state history. the last one in 2013 damaged 511 homes, this one as of last night damaging more than 580 and we're still yet to learn the scale of the destruction, firefighters on the scene trying to figure out what burned, what structures are still standing. the good news, snow is coming in, that should help firefighters with their efforts. >> they could use all the help they could get. what a tragedy. lucy, thank you for the reporting. let me bring in hunt fry, he was in a costco in superior, colorado, when shoppers were told suddenly to evacuate.
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you recorded this video. thank you for joining us. i have to play this for our viewers because the first time i saw it, i was just stunned. this -- walk us through what we're seeing. >> yeah, this is us exiting the costco when i pulled up, it was a normal day, kind of just looked like a fire on the mountain in the background and that's not too abnormal for colorado. and then we were shopping for my sick wife, getting her some soup and the staff told us to evacuate and one of the staff mentioned the store might be on fire and i would like to shout out to the staff to being calm and getting everybody out of there. when everybody walked out the door, they were calm and then started running like an antelope running all over the place. it was pretty scary. it was kind of look a life beyond a dream, it was just apocalyptic feeling. >> that's exactly what it looks like. this actually looks like it is a movie. not reality. is that fire you see at the top
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there? >> i think it is the sun, i'm guessing, but i'm not totally sure. it was -- once we got no our cars, it was scary, i had to surrender to the flow of the traffic and make sure, you know, we were trying to get out of there in a safe manner but people were running from their houses with their pet cats and, you know, everybody was very panic stricken. the thing that struck me was the fear in the police officer's face who were trying to kind of get traffic going. they were legitimately scared. >> sure. right. because this came so quickly. were there moments, if i were driving, i could barely see where i would be going. were there moments you could barely see? >> i can see maybe ten feet in front of me. and luckily in colorado, in boulder in general, people were pretty nice and i think our community is going to rally aroundreally try to help everybody. people were looking out for each other and helping each other.
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i remember a little boy on way out said to me, it is a fire drill. i said, yes, it is. >> prepare the little ones for that. i'm so glad you gave a shoutout to the whole team at costco, doing, you know, really going above and beyond, it sounds like. did the costco make it through? did it burn? >> you know, i'm hearing rumors, i know i heard the target is gone and the superior liquor down the street. i have to assume it burned down. but i have not seen any official reports. i was hoping you could tell me that, poppy. >> i know i should be the one figuring this out. i'll work on that, hunt. okay. i'll let you know. >> thank you. >> our thoughts with everyone. thank you very much. >> thank you, poppy. thank you for having me. >> of course. the governor of colorado stepped into commute the sentence for a truck driver who was sentenced to 110 years in prison for that deadly crash. he is now facing the maximum of ten years in prison for causing the fiery 28-car pileup that
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killed four people in 2019. the governor calling the original penalty highly atypical and unjust. but it was in line with colorado's mandatory sentencing laws. the district attorney had already filed a motion asking the court to reconsider the original sentence and she released a statement saying she was disappointed in the governor's decision to act prematurely. we know that some of the family members of the victims had actually asked the governor not to step in before the court could fully play this out. but he did decide to. the driver could be eligible for parole in five years. next, tough words from russian president vladimir putin. but is his threat to president biden something else other than it seems? where things stand after their phone call yesterday.
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welcome back. president biden again pushed russian president vladimir putin to ease tensions with ukraine on their phone call thursday. the white house shared this photo, taken dure, the 50-minute call, regarding the russian troop buildup on the ukrainian border. u.s. officiales say president biden laid out two choices for putin, diplomacy or severe economic sanctions. let's go to the white house, john harwood joins me from there. what actually did the call accomplish, though, john? >> reporter: not sure it accomplished a whole lot beyond both sides making clear their postures heading into the negotiations, poppy, that take place in geneva beginning the week of january 10th. of course, the goal of the united states is -- and its nato allies, is to deter russia,
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which is amassed 100,000 troops on ukraine's border from mounting another invasion of ukraine as it did in 2014 when it seized illegally the crimea, still in russia's possession right now. what president biden had done on a call a couple of weeks ago was to say to vladimir putin, if you go ahead and invade again, we may unplug you from the global financial system as part of a package of very severe economic sanctions that you have never experienced before. on this call, the russian readout showed that they said to president biden, okay, if you do that, we will unplug our relationship with you, complete rupture in the relationship, so both sides have set where they're coming from, and the united states acknowledges a senior official said after the call, they still don't know what vladimir putin's intention is. is he trying to establish a pretext for invading? or is he looking for some sort of concessions from nato and the united states? we just don't know the answer to that. both sides said the call was
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positive. that's better than the alternative, which would have been if vladimir putin said i laid out my demands, he didn't meet them, so therefore we're going to move. >> great point, john. thank you very much. happy new year, friend. >> reporter: same to you. >> join meg to discuss former u.s. ambassador to ukraine john herbst from 2003 and 2006 and ow certains s now certerves as senior. president biden told putin if the buildup continues, we're going time po going to impose new sanctions. a kremlin official says what john just reported, any new sanctions would be a colossal mistake. d do you read that response from russia as putin being concerned about what the u.s. could do to it with further sanctions and economically? >> putin is huge ly concerned about it. that's what that statement
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represents. the russian threat this will rupture relations between russia and united states means far less to us than it does to putin. >> so when you talk about breakthroughs, the call yesterday did not per se accomplish any major breaks through. but it is telling in the way that you just laid it out. you said something interesting, you said it is time for washington to cut the happy talk. what does the u.s. need to do as diplomats head into those talks on january 10th? >> biden has done a solid job with the russian relationship. it could be better. he's been weak on cyber, i mentioned in that article. but that reaction in the spring and the fall to the russian buildup on ukraine's border has been the best we have seen since putin began to march in irasia, to georgia in 2008 and ukraine in 2014. that's why in the spring putin pulled back. because putin did rather well in
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pushing biden on cyber, he's tried it again now in the fall. and this time it has gone on for two and a half months and will probably continue longer. he's going to see if he can reach some kind of concessions from us in response to this crisis he himself has created. biden's position has been a strong one, that's good. could be stronger, but still good. and i don't think our negotiators are going to hand over what russia wants in the talks coming in geneva. >> yeah. you are one of 24 experts and former senior officials who signed on to a letter published yesterday by the atlantic council and offers ideas on how to deter moscow from escalating aggression against ukraine. let me read part of that letter. a kremlin official said president biden told putin the u.s. does not intend to deploy offensive weapons to ukraine, the letter also says, quote, the most important thing the west can do now is to enhance the
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deterrence strength of ukraine's armed forces. that made me think of the piece you published in the national interests earlier this week in which you said it is time for washington to boost its force posture in the region now. what do you think washington needs to do that it is not? >> first, the weapons to -- we provide ukraine a lot of military support. but the additional weapons that we have been threatening should not wait until russia with 100,000 additional troops. it should happen to deter such an invasion. also, on the biden administration, nato will increase its force posture in the east in the baltic states, in poland, if russia invades. that should happen now. putin should see when he ups the ante, we respond with strength p we are much stronger whether it is from a military or an economic point of view than russia. if we take advantage of that
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strength, we win. without a war. it is when we doddle that putin takes advantage. >> the gas pipeline that is done and full and ready, you know, for the spigot to be turned on if you will, how does that play into all of this? it appears to me listening to the white house, jake sullivan saying, well, it gives us a lot of leverage because if they invade ukraine, the west will cut it off. and russia sees it the other way as it having leverage because the thing is complete. >> i think that the administration's decision to wave sanctions on nord stream two was one of the great foreign policy mistakes. and in fact we have seen an increasingly weak white house position on this subject. sullivan said not long ago, if russia goes into ukraine, they may lose nord stream two. even questioning -- he's quibbling about that.
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we showed weakness throughout on this subject. >> why? sorry to interrupt, i was surprised that the biden administration did not act on nord stream two. i just wonder why you think that was. >> i am surprised as well. i thought he was going to be tough across the board on kremlin nastiness. i believe they did it most importantly because they wanted to improve the relationship with germany. i don't think we needed to do that in order to improve the relationship with germany. that was the principle calculation. but sadly, they also played this as a gesture to moscow. this was a serious additional mistake. the decision on wavers took place the day that lincoln and the russian foreign minister met to plan the geneva summit. that was a signal to the kremlin and they took it as a sign of weakness, which sadly it is. but, again, response to russian aggression, ukraine, by the biden administration has overall been the best we have seen. >> okay. ambassador, it is nice to have
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you. thank you for your insight. up next, the january 6th committee asks the supreme court to deny former president trump's efforts to keep his white house documents secret. but could his inaction on that deadly day make him criminally liable? a former u.s. attorney joins us live to weigh in. i would've called yesterday. but... i could've called yesterday. but... i should've called yesterday, but... would've, could've, should've.
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we hear that a lot. hi. i'm jonathan, an insurance professional and manager here at colonial penn life insurance company. sometimes, people put off calling about life insurance. before you know it, another year has passed. and when they do call, they say, "i wish i'd called sooner." call right now for free information on the $9.95 plan. are you between age 50 and 85? you can get whole life insurance with options starting at just $9.95 a month. do i have to answer health questions to get it? there are no health questions. you cannot be turned down for any health reason, past or present. how long does this policy last? our $9.95 plan is permanent protection. can my rate increase later? never. once you're insured, your rate is locked in for life. you can get whole life insurance with options starting at just $9.95 a month. have you thought about life insurance but put it off? don't regret what you didn't do yesterday. call now and feel great about saying yes today.
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former chief of staff mark meadows. last week a lower c er court ru against trump's lawyers. let's go to our law enforcement correspondent whitney wild. the january 6th committee is asking the supreme court to act quickly. how quickly? >> well, they would like to see at least some resolution in the next couple of weeks, and at a minimum they're asking the supreme court hear these arguments by january 14th. so let's break down everything that is going on here. the newest filing from the house and the biden administration on the same page here. what they're arguing is that lower courts ruled correctly had they pointed out that the trump team has not articulated a specific harm that would arise from releasing these records. the trump team has made a list of arguments, one of them is basically that the former president just has a right to executive privilege and that's basically the end of it. they haven't said why releasing these documents would be specifically harmful, even though judges have sort of tried to lead them there. they questioned them saying,
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okay, if the records get released, what is going to be the result? and they haven't articulated a specific concrete harm that would override the interests from the house select committee in getting these records. the house select committee filing says this, the lower courts were correct when they sided with them, and in their filing they said generalized interest and confidentiality must yield to the select committee's overwhelming need for the records at issue. poppy, further, here is what one of those house select committee members said on cnn on thursday. >> it is clear obviously that the former president's main effort is to delay. he doesn't have a case. if he can delay it, he thinks he will win. so i'm hopeful that the court will see right through that. >> poppy, the impact here could be enormous because there isn't a lot of definitive case law to dictate how this should go. so these will be consequential cases and, again, the house select committee hoping there is
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going to be some signal from the supreme court that they are going to take this by january 14th. >> because they don't have to. they don't have to take it at all. we'll watch very closely. happy new year. thank you so much. >> happy new year to you. joining me to discuss is former u.s. attorney harry lippman. how important is it for the select committee to get an answer either way pretty soon? >> well, what they really want is the right answer, so there is not going to be what they requested is that the court consider the request on the papers on their conference on january 14th. the hope here is the court will just say, the lower courts were right, we don't need to weigh in, and at that point, they're good to go as of, say, january 30th, it is all over for trump and the administrator just turns over the records. even if the court takes the case, there is still barely enough time for them to hear it
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and decide it by june. and then within a very quick scramble, they could use the records if they do receive them. and there are two issues in the case. it is not just what the harm could be, but it is this whole issue of does biden make the call when he has clearly said so here. and that would be the issue that the court would be deciding. but when almost matters as much as when. and the first focus is getting them not to take the case, saying it is not worth their time, it is fairly settled and doing it by, say, four weeks from now. >> yeah. let's talk about more broadly the january 6th house select committee investigation. there is a really interesting op-ed in "the los angeles times" titled do trump's january 6's sins of omission and co-mission make him criminally liable? even if trump anticipated merely a peaceful rally at the capitol on january 6th, his role in
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setting a deadly insurgency in motion arguably means he could not legally decline to intervene as if he were just an acciden bystander. it says trump's caroriminal liability isn't only dependent on the fact that inaction can sometimes break the law. he is vulnerable to an even more potent charge, aiding and abetting criminal behavior. i find this question of aiding and abetting fascinating. what do you think? >> yeah, let me start here. aiding and abetting feels to a lot of us like kind of criminal liability light. it is not. the federal law is really clear. you aid and abet, that's the same as a principle. that's for starters.
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how do you aid and abet? you do it by encouraging with the right mental attitude. when he's there, he's trying to rev them up and then thereafter, right, he goes over three hours when all his closest associates are screaming, screaming at mark meadows, because nobody can get to trump, make him stop this and he does nothing. that under the law, the so-called inaction really is action. and it is action. logically too. the people are there, they're saying trump sent us, they're buoyed by being let loose and nobody stopping them. and that's the real impact of what he was doing. under the law, the criminal charge is solid. now, that big saber has been rattled by the committee starting with cheney, and it means that they would be on solid ground in making a referral. what happened thereafter at the department of justice, that
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would be a huge headache for merrick garland. >> let's talk about what would happen there. i think it is important to note, you don't need a criminal referral to doj from this committee for doj to move forward. they can do it without a referral from the committee. but if there was a criminal referral of the former president to the committee, given the doj so far has not prosecuted any political figures for the insurrection, what does that indicate to you regarding whether attorney general garland would charge trump? >> yeah, so your point is really well taken, poppy, because when the department knows it is getting before the criminal referral arguably the house was the victim. and that made them -- their referral more weighty. here it wouldn't carry any extra weight on paper because they would be saying we have this information, we're investigating, thank you very much. but it would carry extra weight, i think, sort of politically and
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in the whole dynamic. and i just want to say, you know, the new year's focusing event for all of us for the committee who wants to hold public hearings on five separate topics and issue an interim report and litigate all these things and maybe go after their colleagues, they are now having to be in an all-out sprint. and adding to it, the possibility of a criminal referral for the former president, there is not going to be a lot of sleeping by their very big and competent staff over the next few months. >> all right, harry litman, thank you so much. wishing you a good, healthy new year. >> yes, happy new year. >> you too. between the pandemic and the supply chain, the u.s. economy has overcome some serious challenges. still grappling with some serious challenges. still what is the new year going to look like? what are the biggest threats to this recovery ahead? fewer asthma attacks. nucala is a once-monthly add-on injection for severe eosinophilic asthma. not for sudden breathing problems.
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the dow pretty flat this morning, the final trading day of 2021. the u.s. economy is heading into the new year with some momentum, but it could be the fastest year of gdp growth in decades. inflation, though, big concerns, supply chain remains a huge concern. this morning ikea announced it would raise prices 9% on average at its stores around the world to compensate for increased costs. matt egan joins us now. up the five biggest risks to economic recovery in 2022. what are they? >> first we have to acknowledge the economy is ending the year in pretty good shape. jobless claims are near their lowest levels in 52 years.
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unemployment at 4.2%, gdp expected to pick up, and the hope is that the u.s. gets back to full employment in 2022. but it's important to outline some of the risks, not to be pessimistic but cognizant of what could go wrong. covid. hopefully omicron is short lived. if not or a scarier variant emerges, that would cause problems for the recovery. supply chains. the delta variant got workers sick. that added pressure to inflation and supply chains. will omicron do the same? it's too early to say. inflation, the cost of living, is very high. many expect it to cool off next year. let's hope so because it's eating into the cost of living for people and eating into their paychecks. the fed, the fed is taking a training wheels off the economy, raising -- planning to raise interest rates. that makes sense. the risk is that it moves too fast and that endangers the recovery. and then the federal government, washington, after pumping in
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trillions of dollars of help, that help is going away. again, that makes sense. but that is going to be a head wind for the economy. and poppy, lastly, we have to think about the surprise of this, whether that's a massive cyberattack or a natural disaster or something else, because remember, many people -- very few people in 2018 or 2019 were talking about the risk of a global pandemic wrecking the economy. and now that's all we're talking about. >> i'm really interested, matt, in what you think -- how you think this economy and covid over the last year has maybe fundamentally changed our economy. >> well, it has. i mean, i think that it's really forced government and businesses to adapt to just this. it's put more attention on how important supply chains are. it's also -- there's a situation
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where worker ers have so much m leverage in terms of the balance of power between bosses and workers. a record number of people have quit their jobs, wages are going up, and companies are desperate to hire. that's been really good for the jobs market but has also led to some inflation. >> that's true. the year of the worker for sure is what this year has been. 'ing matt egan, thank you. have a happy and healthy new year. >> reporter: thank you, poppy. the boys are back. these guys join anderson cooper and andy cohen. they're hosting cnn new year's eve live from times square tonight. the party starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern on cnn. i would've called yesterday.
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