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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  January 7, 2022 6:00am-7:00am PST

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moments like this, doing nothing is by far the most dangerous option. one year after the attacks of january 6th, we should all know that we cannot take our democracy for granted. basic guardrails must be strengthened. we need to apply the law, fairly, but without flinching, because bullies only respect strength, and without strict accountability, we will only invite future insurrections. >> john avlon, thank you very much. cnn's coverage continues right now. good morning. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we're following breaking news this morning. a major, major miss for the u.s. jobs market. moments ago, the u.s. labor department released the december jobs report. the u.s. economy added 199,000 jobs in the month of december. that number falls far short of what was expected, and it was
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the fewest number of jobs added in any month of 2021. the unemployment rate, however, fell to 3.9%. that's the best it has been since the beginning of the pandemic. we're going to have much more on that in just a moment. and later this hour, i'll break down the numbers with the u.s. labor secretary marty walsh. we're also watching a major courtroom in brunswick, georgia, where in the next hour a sentencing hearing begins for the three men convicted of murdering ahmaud arbery. we're going to bring you that live. stand by for that. and also breaking this morning, cnn has learned the white house is now growing increasingly frustrated with the cdc director dr. rochelle walensky and the confusion her agency's guidelines have created. dr. walensky is set to take questions at a solo news conference later this morning. let's begin this morning with those latest job numbers. our chief business correspondent christine romans is joining us right now. christine, break down all the
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numbers for us. >> sure, these numbers show incredible churn in the american job market. when you look at that overall number, 199,000 net new jobs created or added back in the month, that is as you rightly point out the weakest of the year. but an unemployment rate of 3.9%, that's the best of the pandemic. and that shows you that there is a lot of energy in the job market right now, many, many jobs have been added back over the year. when you look at this year, you can see a lot of hiring in the summer and i'll tell you that a lot of folks have been hoping and many economists hoping you have that kind of momentum continue into the end of the year and it just hasn't happened for a couple of reasons. companies are having a hard time hiring workers. these numbers are probably much higher if they could find the workers they want. instead, you got workers who are starting their own businesses, you have retirements because of record high 401(k) balances and record high equity in homes, home values are very, very high here. you have a lot of people who dropped out of the labor market
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and retired. 1.2 fewer women today in the labor market than where it was before the pandemic began. that jobless rate is really the bright spot here. 3.9%. there is no question that from the near 15% unemployment rate in april 2020, this has been a remarkable improvement to 3.9%. we did see hiring across all sectors. i think this is important in manufacturing, in retail, in professional services, in construction, so there was decent hiring in the month, just not the big, big numbers that so many have been expecting. for the year, wolf, super important, 6.4 million jobs added back total. that is a record. we have never seen a year with so many jobs added back. it follows a record job loss the year before. for the year, the average 537,000 net new jobs added back to the economy, for the year, so a record-breaking year, but it ended with a bit of a whimper. >> some reaction from the u.s. labor secretary marty walsh,
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i'll speak live with him later this hour. christine romans, thank you very much. cnn has learned that dr. rochelle walensky began media training months after she began working as the director of the cdc. cnn white house correspondent jeremy diamond is joining us from the white house right now. jeremy, have officials there, what, grown frustrated with dr. walensky? >> reporter: well, wolf, criticism of the cdc and the -- and dr. rochelle walensky has grown to a fevered pitch after the new isolation and quarantine guidelines were released in recent week and amid the public messaging confusions around the guidelines in the last couple of weeks. this is frustration that dr. walensky is feeling not only from here at the white house, but also from outside public health experts as well as from within the cdc. and we know that messaging has been an issue for walensky and the cdc for months now. and that's why back in the fall, cnn is now learning that dr. walensky sought out media training from a prominent
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democratic media consultant, mandy grunwald, she's been doing that media training for several months now. we know dr. walensky is set to do her first solo press briefing since the summer to address some of the questions that she has been facing. but, really, it is not just about the messaging. it is also about the public health guidelines themselves and the way in which they have been crafted. i spoke with one cdc scientist who said it is also a problem with the process of crafting some of those guidelines that dr. walensky has really crafted many of these guidelines with a small circle of advisers, namely this latest quarantine and isolation guideline, informing other leaders of the cdc's incident management structure, those who really are meant to lead the response to this pandemic at the cdc on the eve before those guidelines were actually released to the public. now, dr. walensky, we know, has acknowledged that there have been some stumbles on the messaging front, but still defended her administration's
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work. listen. >> we work in 24/7, 12,000 people to keep america safe, to update our guidance in the context of really fast moving science and really fast moving epidemiology. we have room, we can improve in our communications of how we convey that science to the american people. we will continue to do so. >> reporter: part of the problem according to the cdc scientist i spoke to is also about the consultative process with outside experts. there wasn't enough work done to read in outside health experts and state health officials, which may have contributed to some of the outrage that we saw in the days after those public health guidelines were released and then a week later after they were also updated once again. wolf? >> jeremy diamond with that reporting, excellent reporting, thank you very much. let's discuss what is going on with cnn's chief medical correspondent, dr. sanjay gupta. thanks for joining us. we just heard from dr. walensky this morning, who says this isn't about messaging, it is about keeping up with the
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changing science. but do you worry the cdc will lose the trust of the american people as a result of these frequent changes because as you and i well know, there is a lot of confusion out there. >> yeah, unfortunately, wolf, i do. i think we have seen some of that erosion of trust over the last couple of years for sure. and it is difficult to be sure to inject certainty into a very uncertain situation. but i think the transparency around these things is what is lacking . people understand that the science is changing, that the pandemic, the nature of the pandemic changes, but to be very clear about why guidelines are changing and be open about that i think is important. most recent thing that jeremy was talking about, you know, when can someone end isolation, if they have covid. it is a pretty basic question, it affects hundreds of thousands of people right now who are in isolation and others -- lots of people who are in quarantine. when can they end that? i think it has been really
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confusing the message that is coming out of the cdc, not the least of which is the idea that you should get a test, you know, before you actually leave isolation. the cdc director unfortunately seemed to really minimize the value of testing, saying, hey, look, they're optional, if you get them, that's great, if it is positive, stay in isolation. maybe it is not disincentivizing testing, but it is not inc incentivizing it. wolf, you know, a couple of weeks down the line from now, how do you then re-establish people's trust in testing if this is the message about testing that is coming out now. i think that's part of the problem that we're seeing with the cdc. i will say one thing, wolf, you know, i've been reporting on these types of things for a long time. if you go back to ebola, there was a study that showed that the trust in public health officials during ebola was around 31%. of americans. it is not unusual during times of big public health challenges for trust to erote.
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but it is really important it to be regained right now. >> i have a good friend who was -- who came down with covid, got a positive test yesterday. he's in isolation at home right now. but here's the question. he asked me this. i'll ask you because you're the expert. after five days, can he go out and about assuming he doesn't have any major symptoms or anything along those lines? does he actually need after ten days to get a test, which shows he's negative right now? because these guidelines from the cdc are confusing about do you need a test to be able to resume your day to day activity? >> right. no. this is a question i think everyone is asking. let me show you some data i think is important for people to see. so let's just say you are diagnosed with covid, and you sort of count down the days after that. and the question is what is the likelihood you're still contagious at any given time? if we have this graph, we can show it. what it shows is that your level
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of contagiousness does go down. you asked about day five, wolf, there. roughly a third of people, 31% are still considered contagious at day five. now, let's say your friend doesn't get a test, so, you know, he or she may not know whether they are contagious. now, that's a pretty significant number, pretty significant likelihood they could still potentially be spreading it to other people. despite the fact they have been in isolation for five days. that's where the testing i think is so important. and these types of tests, these rapid antigen tests, what they do is they answer the question that your friend is really asking. not do i have virus, but am i contagious? and they may feel fine, but they want to know are they contagious? so if they can answer that question by getting one of these tests, that's important. and also the other thing i'll say, wolf, the cdc still says you should wear a mask if you go out in public, but they say three ply cloth masks are okay. unfortunately, with omicron, it
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is just so easily transmissible, those cloth masks probably not doing the trick anymore. these type of masks, the n 95 or kn 95 masks are much more effective at filtrating the virus. why are we not just advocating for that? this -- the numbers will come down, wolf. what we're talking about really is about how quickly we can accelerate that decline and not crowd hospitals in the interim. >> yeah, these tests are really, really important. sanjay, thank you very much. dr. sanjay gupta helping us appreciate what is going on. more than 2,000 flights have already been canceled again today because of a severe and fast moving snowstorm along with the continued impact of the omicron variant causing major staffing shortages for u.s. airlines. our aviation correspondent pete muntean is skjoining us from reagan national airport, from outside washington, d.c. tell us more, pete. what's going on? >> reporter: the cancellations that we have seen already today
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exceed the total number of cancellations we saw just yesterday. look at the numbers from flight aware. 2300 flights canceled today. more than 700 flights delayed. travelers really can't catch a break here. the airlines can't catch a break. they say, sure, winter weather is a major factor here. the big issue is that so many airline workers are calling out sick because they have been exposed to coronavirus or they have become infected with coronavirus. look at the airline by airline break down here. southwest airlines leading the way with the number of cancellations, about one in every five flights canceled by southwest for last few days. its strategy is to get more workers to come in. it is incentivizing flight attendants by giving them double pay for rest of the month. alaska airlines has had to trim back the schedule by 10% for rest of the month, because it says it had to cancel 16% of its flights this month, just needs to push the reset switch. when you look back, the last two weeks, 27,000 flights in total
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have been canceled across the country, just a huge number, wolf. the good news here is now that we're through the holidays, the number of people traveling just goes down a little bit, but still a big inconvenience for a lot of folks, about a million and a half people flying every day, wolf. >> certainly is. pete muntean at reagan national, thank you very much. new details now about former president trump's reluctance to call for calm back on january 6th last year as the panel investigating the insurrection says it won't, repeat, won't rule out the possibility that his action mazs may have been criminal. life in prison, the minimum for three men convicted of killing ahmaud arbery. will the judge allow for the possibility of parole? and the u.s. labor secretary marty walsh standing by. he'll join us live to assess how the white house sees the december jobs report and the state of the u.s. economy. we'll be right back. because after all these emails, my eyes feel like a combo of
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security is still ramped up at the u.s. capitol in washington today, one day after the january 6th anniversary. the department of homeland security warning that threats against u.s. lawmakers online extremist platforms have increased over the past 48 hours. the house speaker nancy pelosi tells cnn progress has been made to secure the u.s. capitol, but more needs to be done. the speaker also says that some of her republican colleagues are culpable for the january 6th attack. >> some of them were perpetrators, some of them were aware, and they're in denial, it doesn't mean we have to meet them halfway.
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no, we're upholding our oath of office to protect and defend. >> meanwhile, the chair, the vice chair of the january 6th select committee congressman bennie thompson and congresswoman liz cheney tell cnn they're not ruling out the possibility of concluding that former president trump's actions may have constituted a crime. here's congresswoman cheney. >> the work that we're doing on the committee now, we know the extent to which he was working to pressure the justice department, to pressure state officials, and then, of course, january 6th itself was a line you can't cross. the committee is looking at that, looking at whether what he did constitutes that kind of a crime, but certainly it is dereliction of duty. >> let's bring in our cnn law enforcement correspondent whitney wild. what are we going to see from the committee next? >> well, next we'll see a series of what we believe to be primetime hearings in which the committee will for the first time publicly lay out their case
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that this election lie prompted the violence. so we think this is going to happen sometime in the first quarter. we don't have a definitive timeline yet. but it will be the first time that the public is actually seeing what they have come up with in their investigation over the last six months. much of the work has been done behind closed doors. now they're letting us in to -- in some ways their conclusions, in some ways their continued fact finding mission. and further, wolf, once the hearings conclude, we expect there to be an interim report in the summer with a final report in november. a lot of work going on. now the public is going to get them -- going to get chance to see them put forth what they think they know and further, you know, i guess build this case against the former president that they say could result in criminal charges, wolf. >> i want to be precise, when you say primetime hearings, these hearings would take place in the evening, 8:00 at night, 9:00 at night, here on the east coast, as opposed it during the daytime when congressional
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hearings almost always take place. is that what you're hearing? >> that's our understanding of how this is going to go. chairman bennie thompson said these will be nontraditional hearings. they won't be the, you know, the daytime typical hearings we see, if you tune into cspan at any time of day. these will not be traditional hearings. they want the chance to show the public with as many eyeballs as possible what they know. >> interesting. whitney wild reporting for us, thank you very much. let's discuss with former deputy director of the fbi, andrew mccabe, author of the book "the threat: how the fbi protects america in the age of terror and trump." >> andrew, what do you make of the chair and the vice chair of the select committee congressman bennie thompson and congresswoman liz cheney telling cnn there is a chance they will be able to find criminal activity by trump and his associates as they probe the insurrection? >> wolf, i think it is important
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that the committee has that on their mind and there is always a chance that they'll turn over evidence or information that the president may have stepped outside the boundaries of federal law. but let's remember that the committee alone can't take any action with that evidence. the most the committee would be able to do in that situation is to make a referral to the department of justice requesting that the department review the matter for potential prosecution. and that would undoubtedly start a long process by the department to determine whether or not charges were necessary and appropriate. >> how difficult do you believe it would be for the department of justice to go ahead and actually prosecute trump criminally? >> well, i mean, that is a very tall task. let's look at what they have done so far with how long it has taken them to respond to the referrals, just for criminal prosecution of a simple subpoena, right in the case of steve bannon, it took several weeks before they decided to
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pursue an indictment, in the case of mark meadows, we have not heard any response from doj. you're talking about a full blown criminal prosecution of the former president of the united states, who would undoubtedly be well represented in that fight. that is something that would go on for literally years. >> yeah. is it fair for the house speaker, andrew, nancy pelosi, to say that some of the perpetrators of the january 6th attack were republican lawmakers, given that there has been no public evidence presented to date that demonstrates house republicans participated in the riot or helped the rioters? >> you know, unless the speaker knows something i don't, which is entirely possible, and maybe likely, i'm not sure that i would have used that word. you know, we tend to look at things from the -- from the investigative and the prosecutive side to look at the evidence before we make comments like that. as you said, i'm not aware of any evidence that has been unearthed yet that a member of congress was actually a
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participant or maybe led to -- was involved in the planning or the execution of that attack. i'm not ruling it out by any stretch, but to my recollection we haven't quite seen that definitive evidence yet. >> what do you make of this department of homeland security intelligence memo obtained by cnn warning there has been an increase in online extremist content over the past 48 hours that could be directed against political or other lawmakers, government officials, the online content includes a video listing 93 members of congress who it says were involved in voting to certify what they call the 2020 fraudulent presidential election, the threats called for the members listed to be hanged in front of the white house. what is your reaction? >> so, wolf, this is a really interesting development. i think it is both good and bad. bad for the obvious reasons, it is going to really task an already overtasked capitol police department.
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we know they are understaffed, even from where they were a year ago, and they're confronting already record high number, over 9600 threats they worked in the last year. they definitely have their plate full and are going to need some help. on the good side, this is the kind of communication and dissemination of intelligence threats that we did not see leading up to january 6th 2021. i think it is a good indicator that the department of homeland security and likely their partners across federal law enforcement, including the fbi, are being much more proactive and better coordinated in their review of this sort of threat information, and their dissemination of it. i know john cohen who is responsible for that at dhs right now say relentless sharer of information. i worked with him extensively a few years ago, and so i definitely see the thumb prints of joe cohen on this proactive dissemination. >> very interesting. andrew mccabe, as usual, thank you very, very much. there is more news we're following. up next, in brunswick, georgia, the family of ahmaud arbery is
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in court for the sentencing of the three men convicted in arbery's murder. we're going there live when we come back. ♪ smooth like butter, like a criminal undercover ♪ ♪ gon' pop like trouble ♪ ♪ breaking into your heart like that ♪ ♪ do the boogie, like ♪ ♪ side step, right-left, to my beat ♪ ♪ high like the moon, rock with me, baby ♪ ♪ know that i got that heat ♪ ♪ let me show you 'cause talk is cheap ♪ ♪ side step, right ♪ ♪ get it, let it roll ♪
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right at the top of the hour, the three men found guilty of murdering ahmaud arbery in brunswick, georgia, will learn
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t if they will spend the rest of their lives in prison. the judge could offer them eligibility for parole after 30 years. travis mcmichael, greg mcmichael and william "roddie" bryan were convicted of murder the day before thanksgiving. their claim of self-defenses with rejected by a nearly all white jury. our national correspondent dianne gallagher is joining us from brunswick, georgia, right now. what is about to unfold. what son the ta-- is on the tab today? >> reporter: whether these three men should get the opportunity to seek parole after serving 30 years. that's because georgia law requires a life sentence with these charges. now, they're going to have the opportunity if they wish to speak in their own defense. they're going to be able to -- their attorneys to call character witnesses, and the family of ahmaud arbery is expected to speak as well. wanda cooper jones, the mother
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of ahmaud arbery, of course, this is coming up on the two-year anniversary of his murder, she is going to speak and give that victim impact statement. she says she doesn't think that the judge should give them the opportunity to seek parole. >> ahmaud didn't get a chance to live. so with that being said, travis should not get a chance to live as a free man. travis should go to prison for life, without parole. and that being said, he should remain in prison forever. >> reporter: once the judge makes that determination on whether or not they should get the chance to seek parole, that would be up to a parole board later after 30 years, he will also have to determine whether or not the other charges that they were convicted of by that jury back in november would be served concurrently or consecutively in those situations. it is not the only charges, of course, that these three men are
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facing. there are also federal hate crime charges, wolf. we learned this morning that the arbery family was approached about a plea deal on those charges. and they said that they rejected it. >> diane, thank you very much. let's discuss what is going on with criminal defense attorney paige pate. thank you for joining us. tell us what you expect from today's sentencing. will these men spend the rest of their lives in prison? >> well, wolf, in georgia, it is really up to the judge to decide if someone who has been convicted of either malice murder or felony murder receives a life sentence with the possibility of parole or a life sentence without the possibility of parole. i think there is a very good chance that the judge sentences travis mcmichael, because he was the man who actually shot ahmaud arbery, to life without the
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possibility of parole. i expect we may see the other two defendants get a life sentence with the possibility of parole. but it is important to note that that's just a possibility. the judge does not give them parole, does not guarantee they will get parole, that will ultimately be up to a parole board decades down the road. >> 30 years, might be eligible for parole after serving 30 years. look at this, travis mcmichael, who actually did the shooting, is 35 years old. gregory mcmichael, his father, 6 66 years old, could age be taken into consideration during today's sentencing? >> it could. the judge can recognize that even a life sentence with the possibility of parole could be an effective life sentence, especially for greg mcmichael, the older of the three defendants. but i think at the end of the day, a judge is going to impose a sentence based on the severity of the crime, which here is obviously very severe, and the
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relative roles of each of these defendants. that's where i think travis mcmichael is probably most likely to receive a life without the possibility of parole. >> do you think we'll hear from the defendants actually today? do you think they're going to give us some sort of statement? >> well, that's a great question. obviously there are two things that might have their lawyers suggest that they not make a statement. number one is this case will be appealed to the georgia supreme court right after the sentences are imposed. and secondly, there is this federal trial that is going to take place next month, right here in brunswick. so anything these guys say in court could later be used against them. and so while they may simply say they accept the verdict of the jury, they regret what happened, i doubt you're going to hear anything more substantial than that from any of these defendants. >> we'll have live coverage coming up in the next hour of that hearing. page pate, thank you very much. still ahead, violent protests right now across
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hello, for the last few years, i've been a little obsessed with chasing the big idaho potato truck. but it's not like that's my only interest. i also love cooking with heart-healthy, idaho potatoes. always look for the grown in idaho seal. today, nato is set to hold an extraordinary virtual meeting to discuss russia's military buildup in and around ukraine and broader security issues. there is also a violent conflict happening right now on russia's southern border. protests in kazakhstan that started over fuel prices have turned deadly. the president says -- the president there says he gave the order to law enforcement to,
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quote, open fire to kill without a warning. and now a military alliance has been deployed as well. let's go to nic robertson, joining us live from moscow. what is the mission of these troops? >> reporter: yeah, the mission is to secure government buildings and to break up any protests. the rules of engagement allow them to shoot what is called armed gangs. this is a massive deployment. there are over 70 russian military aircraft involved in taking what is expected to be about 2,500 troops total to kazakhstan. the situation is complicated. bodies are reported being seen on streets. the military in kazakhstan set up command posts in the center of the city, in the center of almaty. people can't approach because the military is shooting in the air above them.
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but from last night, witnesses on the ground say that the military was shooting all over the city, all night, with live rounds at people. on almaty's streets in hard to verify social media posts, an ugly overnight crackdown. people scream and scurry for cover. panic as well as bullets in the air. they're dead, they're dead, a man says. a motionless body out of safe reach, stretched out on the freezing ground. in the same city, the country's biggest protesters fought battles with uniformed forces, casualties accumulating on both sides. law enforcement appearing to gain the upper hand with arrests and killings. police claim they took deadly action overnight. describing an as yet unverified
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shadowy shoot first, ask questions later crackdown. >> translator: last night, extremist forces attempted to storm the administrative buildings and police department in the city of almaty. dozens of attackers were eliminated and their identities are still being verified. >> reporter: the mayor's burnt out office. without offering proof, the kazakh president claiming protesters are foreign-backed terrorists. a characterization rejected by protesters. we are neither thugs nor terrorists, this woman says. the only thing flourishing here is corruption. we want the truth, this protester says. the government is rich, but all of these people here have loans to pay. we have our pain, and we want to
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share it. but truth and facts here are in short supply. the internet down for a second day. residents reporting a scary quiet, braving government warnings to stay indoors, to go out and search for open shops to buy essentials. russian state media reporting on heavy looting by some protesters and highlighting violence against kazakh law enforcement. as part of a regional security agreement, russian paratroopers began deploying to guard state and military facilities. the fourth consecutive day of protests, gunfire and explosions still rocking almaty. 18 law enforcement officers have been killed, more than 748 of them injured.
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but the numbers when it comes to civilian casualties just don't add up. the police say or the government says 26 have been killed. 18 injured. with so much live fire, with a shoot to kill policy without warning, it seems that casualty toll just cannot stand the test of scrutiny. >> very, very disturbing indeed what is going on in kazakhstan. nic robertson in moscow for us, thank you very much. still ahead, the december jobs report here in the united states turns in the lowest growth numbers of the year. and surprises economists. we're going to get perspective from the u.s. labor secretary marty walsh in just a few moments. at fidelity, your dedicated advisor will work with you on a comprehensive wealth plan across your full financial picture. a plan with tax-smart investing strategies
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this morning, the u.s. labor department released what is being described as a rather disappointing december jobs report. it shows the u.s. added just 199,000 jobs last month. that's well below what was expected, but there is some good news, the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%. let's discuss what's going on with the u.s. labor secretary marty walsh, joining us right now. mr. secretary, thanks for joining us. so 199,000 jobs in december, below what the experts were projecting, the fewest number of jobs added in any month of 2021. give us a sense of how the administration -- how do you feel about the numbers this morning? >> well, certainly, you know, we feel -- i feel it is a good solid report. the expectations are much higher. but when you look at 2021 as a whole, the president's economic plan is working.
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6.4 million jobs have been added since the beginning of the president's office -- since he's been in office. the unemployment rate 3.9%, it dropped almost a full three points in 2021. 84% of the folks that were -- have come back to work. we're seeing some gains across there and clearly we have some work to do in early 2022 as we move forward here. we saw sectors like manufacturing, other sectors improving. we solved issues around child care and elder care and getting people back to work. we have work to do. president biden worked extremely hard and is demanding that same hard work out of myself and all of his cabinet. >> as you know, as you point out, as we pointed out, the unemployment rate did fall to 3.9%, which is good. that's the best it has been since the beginning of the pandemic. is that very encouraging to you or is it as some economists are projecting, a sign that the whole jobs environment is this
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ri shrinking. people are dropping out, looking for jobs. >> it is encouraging. i think it just shows that we all still have lots of work to do. both government and the private sector as we move forward here into 2022. we're still recovering from a pandemic. last time this country got that was 100 years ago. we have some work. we're working on the inflation as well. president biden made a focus of that on working on supply chains and releasing -- easing some burden on supply chain and asking companies not to pass the increases on to consumers. we have work to do, no question about it. overall, the economic -- the american rescue plan to the bipartisan infrastructure law that was passed, the president pushed forward, i see a very positive 2022. >> and certainly as all of us know, the coronavirus surge in the united states, the latest one driven by the omicron variant disrupted businesses, triggered widespread
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cancellations and closures. six of his former health advisers are calling for the president to adopt an entirely in domestic pandemic strategy geared to living with the virus indefinitely. does the administration need to adopt a new strategy to deal with all of this? >> certainly i think every day that goes by we evaluate and adjust to the pandemic. i think that we have gone through a couple -- we went through a surge last year with the delta variant, this year right now the end of last year and the beginning of this year we're working omicron. i think all societies looking at how do we continue to move forward, living with some sort of variation of this virus for a while to come. we had this conversation earlier this morning about people working from home, and telework. so, again, i think that -- we're not going to -- we will return back to prepandemic at some point. but right now we do have to adjust as we continually month by month live with omicron now and potentially other variants
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coming down the road. >> as you know, the u.s. supreme court, all nine justices are hearing arguments this morning over two vaccine mandates, vaccination requirement for workers at facilities funded by medicare and medicaid, and a requirement of businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or test weekly. you told the washington post that president biden's vaccine mandates got caught up in politics. do you think the supreme court will split politically over these very, very critically important issues? >> well, certainly we're looking today and looking forward to what the supreme court will come down with. medical experts are saying this is extremely necessary. legal experts clearly on both sides of the aisle degree with our argument, and this is also about keeping people safe as we move forward here. so certainly i'm looking forward to see what happens after today's court case. but i feel good today. >> you feel good on that issue. what about the build back better -- the president's
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sweeping economic agenda, led by build back better, at least for now has been sidelined. what is going to happen? >> well, there is some great components of that bill and child care, adult care, looking at making sure training programs work, development programs, we look at where we are in society with some people going back to work, some people dropped out because they weren't getting fulfilled or weren't making enough money in their job. having the ability to train more people and working with private sector companies is important. as we move forward here, there will be many more conversations around the build back better bill as we move forward here. the president prioritized other bills in our country now. we're focused on a whole legislative package as we go into 2022. >> a lot going on, critically important assignments. mr. secretary, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. all right, minutes from now, a sentencing hearing will begin for the three men convicted of murder for ahmaud arbery's death. we're also expecting to hear
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from arbery's mother in court. stay with cnn. we're about to start live coverage.
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