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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  January 18, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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tongan officials call it an unprecedented disaster. three deaths, drinking water shortage. follow me on facebook, instagram, twitter or tiktok. our coverage continues now with one mr. wolf blitzer. i think he is next door in the situation room. happening now, breaking news. cnn has exclusively learned of new steps taken by the january 6th select committee that reach deep into former president trump's inner circle. the committee obtaining phone records from two people extremely close to donald trump. also tonight, the lomming threat of russian aggression setting off alarm bells inside the white house. the biden administration weighing additional military support for ukraine. and a british official tells cnn that texas gunman, synagogue
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gunman was on security service's radar in 2020 but was not deemed a threat. tonight i'll speak with the rabbi who survived the terrifying standoff. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> let's start with the breaking news. a cnn exclusive. the january 6th select committee has subpoenaed and obtained the phone records of two key people very close to former president donald trump. our special correspondent jamie is joining us right now. tell our viewers what you are learning. >> what we found out, according to multiple sources, the january 6th committee has obtained phone records from a member of the trump family. this is a first. eric trump, as well as kimberly
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guilfoyle, who is engaged to donald trump jr. as far as we know, this is the first time the committee has issued a subpoena targeting one of the trump children, and it really underscores just how aggressive the committee is willing to be in its investigation. for some context, the records the committee has obtained include eric trump's cellphone and a cellphone number for kimberly guilfoyle. we've confirmed both numbers from multiple sources who know both trump and guilfoyle. for the record, eric trump dough cliend to comment on the subpoena of his call records, but a source familiar with his thinking tells me, quote, he is not losing sleep over it. and an attorney for kimberly guilfoyle said she has not been notified of any subpoena being issued for her records, but the attorney said, quote, it's of no consequence to her because she
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has absolutely nothing to hide or to be concerned about. and just for the record, wolf, the committee declined also to commend on the subpoena. just for some context, what are call detail records, known as cdrs. in effect, these are phone logs, text logs. in case of phone calls, it shows the date, the time, the length of incoming and outgoing calls. same for text messages. but it does not give the substance or the content of those calls or messages. so it's more of a roadmap, wolf. >> do we know why jamie, eric trump and kimber ly guilfoyle's records will be of interest to the committee? >> not yet. in general, the committee has made it a practice, when it comes to subpoenaing someone, a person or their records, that it's for a very specific reason in their investigation.
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they didn't subpoena everybody's records in the family. there is also no evidence that the committee has done the same for trump's other children, ivanka trump, donald trump jr. or his son-in-law jared kushner. i think it's a piece of the puzzle they are put together and the information from call detail records can be a critical investigative tool as they piece together this road march of who was communicating before january 6th, during january 6th, and then the days following. >> i want you to stand by. excellent reporting. there is more breaking news. we are following it in situation room now, the insurrection investigation. i want to bring in our justice correspondent. tell us what you're learning. >> four close allies to donald trump now being subpoenaed by the committee, most notably mere trumperies former attorney rudy
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giuliani. these subpoenas now mark a significant escalation by this committee, especially because they are going after rudy giuliani now. of course, he worked closely with trump for years and was leading the effort to overturn the 2020 election results. of course, he spearheaded several lawsuits that were dismissed in several courts. giuliani also spoke out at stop the steal rally on january 6th. he called for, quote, trial by combat. so he in particular has a lot of information the committee wants to dig into. the committee also issuing subpoenas to three others who were closely involved in the efforts to overturn the election. jenna ellis, a lawyer who reportedly circulated two memos about how vp mike pence could delay or stop the vote count. sidney powell, she was one of the loudest, most outspoken lawyers pushing this big lie. and then boris epshteyn. he attended meetings at that willard hotel war room in washington where trump allies strategized how to overturn the
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election. the committee is saying in their lawyer to boris epshteyn he talked to trump the morning of january 6th. no response from any of these four yet. the stakes could be high here if they don't comply with their subpoenas that have been issued. if the house moves forward on another contempt of congress referral against any of these four, would just add to the mounting pressure that people are facing and possibly court cases here. buffalo. >> significant doefrms. thank you very much. i want to bring in our chief political analyst gloria and jeffrey dubin, jamie also back with us. jeffrey, how significant of an escalation is the subpoena of eric trump and kimberly guilfoyle's phone records? >> i think it's very important because people whose phone records are subpoenaed have no right to object in court. that is a transaction between
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the phone company and the subpoenaing authority. so those records are going to go to the committee. i don't think anyone should get their hopes up that rudy giuliani or sidney powell is going to be testifying. both of them are under criminal investigation in various ways, and any lawyer with any sense, and they do have lawyers with some sense, are going to tell them to take the fifth. and once a witness takes the fifth, that's the end of the story. so i don't think anyone is going to hear from rudy giuliani or sidney powell under oath. >> interesting. gloria, both eric trump and kimberly guilfoyle played prominent roles in trump's stop the steal efforts, speaking at that january 6th rally that preceded the attack on the capitol. they are key players, aren't they? >> they are. and apparently fundraising for the rally, not only speaking at it. and i think what we're seeing tonight is a committee that is trying to tell the story.
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and as jamie was saying, provide the roadmap to the american public about just how january 6th was funded, how it was devised and how it was planned, and when you look at the subpoenas issued tonight of the willard hotel war room group, i think they are trying to piece together the plans for undermining a free and fair election. and don't forget that in these letters that the committee has issued with the subpoenas, they make note of the fact that, for example, in the case of boris epshteyn, that he was on the phone with the president. and so i think they're tryo tel this story. we know that the president was calling into this war room and trying to figure out how to reverse this election. so it's all a part of a big
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narrative they're trying to tell to american public about how this all occurred, how it was planned, and who was a part of it. >> jamie, what is this development telling you about the select committee's path forward? >> i think it's bad news for donald trump. they are being very aggressive. they are now subpoenaing records of family members. and just to clarify something, the committee has these phone records. they have received them. they are in house and they are going through them. i also think it's interesting, in some cases, not all, people whose records have been subpoenaed have received a notice from the phone company, and some people have started lawsuits to fight that. my sense is that eric trump certainly may have had some notice from his phone company, but he did not choose to foyt it with the lawsuit. his call records are now with the committee.
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>> you know, jeffrey, let's get back to the new subpoenas for rudy giuliani and others who were at the heart of trump's failed effort to overturn the 2020 election. just how essential are they in putting the pieces forward? putting the pieces together of this attempted coup? >> well, they are essential, but i think we are learning something else from this round of subpoenas. the committee is getting towards the end of their investigation because these people are the closest people to donald trump that there are. you have family members. you have rudy giuliani. you have sidney powell. th these are people who were in daily interaction with donald trump. there is no one closer. and the committee has been acting in a methodical way, working from the bottom up. we heard many times that they have interviewed 300 people, which lows lower-level people. by issuing subpoenas to these people, it means that they are getting towards the end, which they had better be because given
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the possibility of legal challenges, given the possibility of delay from witnesses who don't go to court, they better start getting the witnesses they need in house because they may not be in congress for that -- they may not be in the majority for that much longer. >> i don't think they believe that these guys are going to come wandering in and say, oh, sure, we are going to testify, no problem. i think they know -- the committee knows exactly what it's doing, which is we are going to spooern you, we are going to tell the story in these letters that we send out, but we understand that rudy giuliani is not just going to wander in there and say, sure, i'll cooperate. >> all right. thank you. excellent reporting. coming up, president biden tries to revive his faltering agenda as democrats make a major push for his voting rights bill. also ahead, officials in the uk now reveal new information
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about the texas synagogue gunman, including whether he was ever considered a threat. the rabbi who endured the grueling 11-hour standoff will join me live here in the "situation room." unlike ordinary memory supplements, neuriva plus fuels six key indicators of brain performance. more brain performance? yes, please! neuriva. think bigger. i always dreamed of having kids of my own. ♪ ♪ now i'm ready for someone to call me mom. at northwestern mutual, our version of financial planning helps you live your dreams today. (vo) this year, t-mobile for business is here to help you hit the ground running. when you switch to t-mobile and bring your own device, we'll pay off your phone up to $800. you can keep your phone. keep your number. and get your employees connected on the largest and fastest 5g network. plus, we give you $200 in facebook ads on us! so you can reach more customers, create more opportunities,
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there he is. only pay for what you need. ♪liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty♪ right now democrats are huddling up on capitol hill as they try to revive president biden's floundering agenda with a long shot bid to pass his voting rights bill. our senior white house correspondent phil mattingly has more. >> we are going to stay at it. >> reporter: tonight president biden approaching a critical marker faced with challenges driving down his approval and imperilling his congressional majorities. >> there has been a lot of progress made. we need to build on that.
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the work is not done. the job is not done. we are certainly not conveying it is. >> reporter: the white house grappling with a persistent pandemic, stalled legislative agenda and growing economic anxiety. biden set to conduct his first formal press conference in 78 days and seeking to turn the page >> what you will hear the president talk about tomorrow is how to build on the foundation we laid in the first year. >> reporter: but facing a legislative roadblock on the same day he meets with the press. the senate democrats still two votes short on their push to change senate rules in order to advance voting reform legislation. >> the eyes of the nation will be watching what happens this week in the united states senate. >> reporter: it's an effort opposed by every republican, making the only path forward a change to those rules. a change opposed by senators joe manchin and kyrsten sinema, despite public and private pleas from biden. >> where do we stand? >> reporter: leaving the white house on the brink of a major legislative defeat and democrats
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facing criticism from advocates who called for a more sustained effort. >> voting rights is a fight. republicans, when they show up, they show up with an axe. democrats show up with a butter knife. >> reporter: but the white house left only to call for a vote destined to fail if only to make the record clear. >> it will highlight very clearly for the american people who stands with them in protecting voting rights and who stands against it. >> reporter: it's the latest in a bevy of biden priorities stuck in the senate, including the $1.75 trillion economic package, as administration officials acknowledge the singular issue most responsible is the pandemic where historic efforts to district woot vaccines are now overshadowed by a scramble for tests, masks and coordinated messaging in the face of the omicron variant surge and as economic oversees an economic recovery that leads the world. >> it was its biggest jyear of
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job growth in history. >> reporter: that's overshadowed by inflation, sitting at the highest level in 39 years. all driving ominous indicators across polling, including a gallop analysis showing a shift towards republicans, leaving white house officials eying a rebound knowing full well midterms are looming. while senate democrats concluded that meeting, chuck schumer emerging saying there will certainly be votes and they will try to change the senate rules proposing a talking filibuster, something manchin is opposed to. schumer saying they are moving forward. he said, win, lose are, or draw, we are going to vote. >> let's discuss what's going on with democratic congresswoman lisa rochester of delaware. thanks so much for joining us. just moments ago when asked about election reform, senator joe manchin of west virginia
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said, what voters are actually worried about is covid and inflation and that democrats need to, and i'm quoting him now, get their priorities in order. how do you respond to that? >> first of all, thank you for having me on. i think it's vitally important to remember that we are not just talking about policies. we're talking about our democracy, the foundation of this country. and so as democrats, as republicans, as americans this is really an issue for all of us, and the reality is that we can do more than one thing at one time. we have to. that's why we're -- that's why the american people hired us. so we must deal with covid, but we also must save our democracy u it's not an either/or. >> are these senate votes, which are all but certain to fail as we well know, essentially just to get on the record with voters and say we tried? >> no, i think that the efforts
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that are being made by the senate leadership are real. there are a lot of different options that have been placed on the table. the reality is, i mean, wolf, you know my middle name is blunt. to be blunt with you, i think the american people really don't care about the process. they want to see progress. they want to see us actually get this done. and the time is now. we haven't an incredible opportunity right now and we have to seize it. >> stevie wonder has a message for senators. he is telling them in his words to cut the bull, the b.s. sports giants, including alabama's nick saban, are putting the pressure on senator joe manchin to pass voting rights. is more sustained pressure from outside the political arena what it will take eventually to shift this dynamic? >> you know, first of all, for me, i don't focus on just two people and i don't depend on just two people to get this done. we know that there are 100 senators, and every one of them
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is going to have to determine what side of history do they want to be on. the president said it very clearly a week ago. what side of history do they want to be on? so, yeah, i think everybody needs to -- my sister, we were talking earlier today, and she was so concerned about the state of where we are. and she said, what can i do? what should i do? and we need to do everything. that's everything from peacefully protesting and marching to contributing to people and causes that you believe in, to stepping up and speaking up. every single one of us needs to reach out because this isn't, again, a democratic or a republican thing. we already know that democrats have committed to passing legislation. we need every member of the house and the senate to believe it and pass these bills to get them on the president's desk. >> very important week indeed. congresswoman lisa blunt rochester, thank you for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. coming up, we have new
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details of what uk officials knew about the man who took four people hostage at a texas synagogue. we are going to talk live to the rabbi who was among them. we'll talk about the dramatic escape. there you see him, rabbi charlie. we'll discuss when we come back. seeing yourself as an artist -legitimate and genuine- can be transformational. daddy! for the best audio entertainment and storytelling. audible. age is just a number. and mine's unlisted. try boost® high protein with 20 grams of protein for muscle health. versus 16 grams in ensure high protein. boost® high protein also has key nutrients for immune support. boost® high protein. why does walgreens offer prescription copays as low as zero dollars? ♪ ♪ so you won't have a medicare in the world. ♪ ♪
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of a brief investigation back in 2020 that was closed when he was no longer considered to be a threat. let's discuss what happened, what's going on now. arab rabbi charlie cytron-walker is joining us, one of the four hostages held in his congregation, beth israel synagogue. everyone calls you rabbi charlie. i'll call you rabbi charlie as well. thank you so much for joining us. first of all, how are you doing? how are you reflecting on this horrible ordeal that you and three other congregants had to go through for 11 hours? how are you processing all of this? >> the process is ongoing. the whole experience, the day o entirely overwhelming. and the message f my congregation and my community last night at our healing service, that was one of recognizing and understanding
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that each of us, every human life, is sacred, and we know this and we agree with it. and it's really about living that value. and we have a lot of work to do, all of us, from every background, from every religious or non-religious background. we all have a lot of work to do as far as living that value that we all hold dear. every life is sacred. >> well said indeed. what goes through your mind, rabbi, when you hear these new details emerging that the man who held you hostage was actually escorted from the property of a local mosque not far away from your synagogue for what was described as erratic, belligerent behavior ten days before he targeted your congregation? >> i guess the idea that he exhibited rerratic behavior is not necessarily a surprise. i'm just -- yeah.
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i really honestly haven't followed -- it's hard for me to catch up on all the news. i'm just trying to focus in on family and my own well being and trying to care for the congregation as best as i can. >> i want you to explain, rabbi, why it's so important for everyone to understand that you weren't rescued or freed, that you and the three others, two others at the time, actually escaped. >> well, what's important is that i don't say this to scare people. we don't take cpr training because we are expecting someone to fall down right in front of us, right? you take cpr training in order to be trained in order to know what to do in case there is an emergency. so the courses that i was able to take with the fbi, the secure communities network,
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anti-defamation league and our local police department, colleyville police department, those courses, that instruction helped me to understand that you need to act in moments where your life is threatened. and so that -- i would not have had the courage. i would not have had the know-how of what to do without that instruction. so i want people to understand that this is something -- it doesn't matter if you are in a synagogue, if you're jewish, if you are muslim, if you're christian, if you're religious at all, it can happen in a shopping mall. unfortunately. unfortunately, this is the world that we're living in, and so that kind of training, i hope that that is not our reality forever. but right now, unfortunately, that's something that is very important for people to take advantage of because we -- it saved my life. it saved our lives.
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t. and what is so sad is that not just you, but rabbis all over the united states and congregants have had to take those kinds of security courses in recent years to prepare, god forbid, for those kinds of situations. when that gunman ordered you to get on your knees, did you think you had the time -- the time had come, basically, he might actually pull the trigger? >> well, he -- when he said that, he was basically yelling at the negotiator, the fbi negotiator who was on the phone, and, but, yes. we were completely terrified. we knew -- i knew that there was something that was happening outside, but we did not know when or if or how much longer we had. we were very much fearful for our lives. and we were looking, and we had been looking, for an opportunity. and thank god, thank god i was
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able to find an opportunity to act, and we were able to get free. >> so you took that chair and you just threw it at him, and then you guys escaped. tell us about that. >> well, so he had been holding his gun all day, and actually i had -- i just gotten him a drink. he went from yelling at the -- yelling at the negotiator. i think that he was losing -- he had lost patience. and so he asked me if we had any juice. so i went to the kitchen and got him a drink in a glass. and as he was drinking the gun was in -- wasn't in the best position and i thought this was our best chance. i needed to make sure that my -- the two people who were still with me, that they were ready to
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go. and so i just -- there was a chair that was right in front of me and i was able to -- i told the guys to go. i picked it up and i threw it at him with all the adrenaline, with -- it was absolutely terrifying. and i -- i wasn't sure if i was go to be shot. and i did not hear a shot fired as i made it out the door. i was the last one out. >> thank god you guys made it out. as you know, the fbi, the department of homeland security here in washington are now warning what are described as faith-based communities, including synagogues, of course, that they will likely continue to be targets for violence. how hard is it knowing that worshippers who simply go to sabbath service or go to the church or to a mosque, for example, may be praying in fear? >> it's horrible.
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it's absolutely horrendous. and the thing is, while this was an anti-semitic attack, while this guy actually thought, he really thought that jews controlled the world and that just calling out, you know, calling up a rabbi, you know, would make oall of his demands, that was his idea. the notion that any community should have to experience this level of fear or to worry, right. the good news though is that there are resources out there for this -- for teachings and trainings, and it's -- look, it's hard during covid. we had four people in person that day. we had a lot more people online. not a lot more, right. i don't want to build that up. we didn't have too many people online, but we had more people
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online for our saturday morning, our shabbat morning worship. and it's hard to know what that balance is, right. h how do you offer hospitality and warmth and love and how do you have security at the same time? and how do you make sure that when people come in that they feel safe? it's a challenge because you only have so many resources to go around. it's a difficulty. and it remains a difficulty. i would say that we need our society to change. we need changes within our society to make sure that that's no longer our reality. we shouldn't just accept it. that's the -- that's the most important piece, this idea with judaism you have the notion of repairing the world, which understands that everything isn't perfect in our world and
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that we have the ability to have an impact. we have the ability to change. and that's something is that all of us can work towards. >> we are so grateful, rabbi charlie, you and the three other c congregants are alive and well right now. good luck down the road. appreciate so much your joining us. >> thank you so much. i appreciate the time. >> thank you very much, rabbi. we appreciate you. we'll be right back. tions, i'm covered for everything. which reminds me, thank you for driving me to the drugstore. earn big time with chase freedom unlimited with no annual fee. how do you cashback? chase. make more of what's yours.
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to give back to younger people. i think most adults will start realizing that they don't recall things as quickly as they used to or they don't remember things as vividly as they once did. i've been taking prevagen for about three years now. people say to me periodically, "man, you've got a memory like an elephant." it's really, really helped me tremendously. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. ♪ my name is austin james. as a musician living with diabetes, fingersticks can be a real challenge. that's why i use the freestyle libre 2 system. with a painless, one-second scan i know my glucose numbers without fingersticks. now i'm managing my diabetes better and i've lowered my a1c from 8.2 to 6.7. take the mystery out of managing your diabetes appreciate so much your joining us. >> thank you so much. i appreciate the time. >> thank you very much, rabbi. we appreciate you. we'll be right back. now you know. try it for free at freestylelibre.us
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we are learning exclusive new details about options the u.s. is considering as russian forces amass along the ukraine border. jim is joining us, cnn's senior international correspondent fred pleitgen as well. jim, first of all, what are you learning about the options the u.s. military is now considering if russia were to invade ukraine? >> the u.s. is considering a range of increased military
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assistance to the ukrainian military, mortars, javelin anti-tank missiles. these are armor pearsers as well as shoulder-fired man pads, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons, increased ammunition, but also, and this is crucial, more special operations forces to train the ukrainian military. the intention here, one, to raise the cost for a potential russian invasion, and when you say raise the cost, that means raise the personnel cost, the cost in both russian hardware and personnel. but also prepare the ukrainian military for the possibility of a long resistance to a sustained russian military occupation of ukrainian territory. why now? because the u.s., after last week, found no breakthroughs in diplomatic talks and increasing pessimism from a number of people i have spoken to in the administration, the pentagon, about a peaceful diplomatic
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off-ramp to the current crisis. >> fred, you are there in mosby. are there signs from russia that an invasion of ukraine may be imminent? >> certainly there aren't any signs of de-escalation. it's interesting. u.s. intel apparently pointed out the pactfact that the russi are thinning out the personnel in the embassy and kiev and other consulates across ukraine and that apparently is ominous sign to u.s. intel, that something could be up. the russians have tdenied that report. they say their consulates and embassy are operating as normal. but you do see a lot of signs in that area around ukraine that things could be escalating. right now the russians are in sniper drills in their southern military district. that's one of those districts that actually borders ukraine. and the other thing is that the russians actually announced today that they have put and are starting to put troops into belarus. they say there is going to be large-scale military exercises
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with the belarusian military in belarus in the middle of february. that also borders ukraine. the ukrainians saying they are increasingly feeling enkirk culled by russia, could they believe a russian invasion is inevitable? >> they are preparing for it. and by the way, wolf, the u.s. looks at a range of possibilities here from a full-scale invasion, that is tanks rolling across the border, airstrikes. something short of that, really an increase of what we have already seen. russia has occupied annexed territory in crimea and occupied and sport military operations in eastern ukraine under the guys guy /* guise of pro-russian -- increased military operations inside ukrainian territory from multiple directions. short of the worst-case
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scenario, a whole host of you might wall them bad-case scenarios as well. >> guys, thank you very, very much. we will stay on top of this story. coming up, new details on a new plan to make rapid testing here in the united states easier. ♪ move your high-interest debt to a sofi personal loan. earn $10 just for viewing your rate — and get your money right. ♪ inner voice (kombucha brewer): i'm dramatically holding this bottle, so the light hits it just right, and people think... wow... ...he knows what he's doing... ...when i'm actually pretty lost with my payroll taxes. intuit quickbooks helps you manage your payroll taxes. cheers. 100% accurate payroll tax calculations guaranteed. chase first banking. a debit card for kids, and a set of tools to help them learn good money habits. by creating allowances and assigning chores, they can practice earning every day. with a debit card just for them, they'll learn smart spending firsthand,
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tonight, the federal government is finally making it very easy for americans to have free at-home covid tests shipped directly to their house. let's discuss with cnn medical analyst dr. leana wen. dr. wen, thanks for joining us. is the rollout of this free at-home test website covid
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tests.gov. very important. covidtests.gov -- a solid step toward getting back to normal? >> absolutely. i just ordered my test, and i would urge everyone to be ordering their free tests, as well. this is exactly what should be happening, which is reducing -- removing any barrier to getting tests. we should be incentivizing tests. every household should stock up on tests. don't wait until you really need it wherefore you start looking for one. every household should ideally have two tests for everym membe of the household before you see high risk individuals to make sure you are not carrying covid to them. >> that website is so easy. just put your name and address in there, your e-mail and that is it basically. you are calling on president biden to lay out his year two covid strategy. you see, we are about to enter year three now. you see potential paths forward. what are they?
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>> americans are confused about where we are in the pandemic and i think it's really important for president biden to lay out the two options. one is to prevent infection as the key goal. two is not just preventing infection, but let's get back to normal. if we are preventing infection, then the goal is vaccines, masking, testing, all these things that we have already been doing. but if the goal is returning to normal, then what president biden could say is that as long as vaccines are still protecting against severe illness, and as long as hospitals are not overwhelmed, we need to be removing restrictions and turning the page on the pandemic. these are two very different goals, two very different strategies and i think as long as the omicron wave is ongoing, we still need to prevent infection. but it's going to subside at some point soon and we need to know what's ahead, and president biden needs to communicate that strategy to the american people. >> as we start thinking about getting back to normal, there are still some legitimate fears about what's called long covid. where symptoms persist for
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months after infection. how justified are those fears? >> they are justified. it is true that long covid exists and may be up to 5% or more of all covid cases. but at the same time, many people are thinking that they cannot put their lives on hold anymore. so i'm certainly not advocating that we throw all caution out the window. but rather, that we start seeing the risk of covid the way that we view risks of other things in our lives. taking to account the potential risk of long haul covid as well. >> dr. leana wen, thank you so much for joining us. and just ahead, wireless carriers abruptly delay plans to launch 5g towers near certain airports here in the u.s. we have details when we come back. hen she moved in with us, a new kitchen became part of our financial plan. ♪ ♪ find a northwestern mutual advisor at nm.com kim is now demonstrating her congestion. save it slimeball. i've upgraded to mucinex.
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major u.s. airlines are now breathing a sigh of relief after verizon and at&t delayed plans to launch their 5g wireless technology near some airports. brian todd is joining us from reagan national. what are you learning? >> wolf, the airlines are worried about the signals the 5g will use potentially endangering planes as they approach airports. two major telecom companies disagree and are fed up with the delays. tonight, part of the much anticipated rollout of the latest generation wireless technology, delayed again. at&t, parent company of warner media and cnn, and verizon, both announcing today that near some airports, they will temporarily delay activating 5g on their cell towers. elsewhere, the rollout will
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continue tomorrow as planned. both telecom giants frustrated with the faa and airline industry for the delay. >> i think they were forced to do it. the outcry from the stakeholders that are directly involved in rolling out the 5g -- the pilots, the flight attendants -- are all speaking out aggressively. >> reporter: and tonight, several international airlines say they will cancel some flights into the u.s. starting tomorrow because of the uncertainty. 5g, which is already started to roll not some places in the u.s., provides faster data and cell service to our phones than the existing 4g capability. the problem? the airlines say the signals from 5g transmitter towers that are near airports operate on a frequency that's too close to the frequency of an instrument that's critical for the safety of passenger and cargo planes, the radar altimeter. >> this is used when aircraft gets closer to the ground on approach. it's absolutely mandatory that one of these things be operating well. as a matter of fact, more than one of them.
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in a very low visibility approach. gives very precise information on the relative distance between the aircraft and the ground. >> reporter: the airlines, concerned that signals from 5g towers near airports will interfere with ray dr altimeters' readings in the cockpit. >> if it fails in low visibility, what happens? >> if a radar altimeter fails in low visibility, you better do a go-around right away or you're in trouble. >> reporter: airline ceos also concerned about the ripple effects, how the safety concerns could disrupt airlines' schedules, which have already been thrown into chaos. >> we don't solve this, if we go back to decades-old procedures and technology for flying a airplanes, cancel thousands flieft flight pers day it will be a catastrophic failure. >> reporter: both at&t and verizon sint the technology is safe. one potential work around? an idea put forth by some airlines for buffer zones near airports where the power from 5g towers near airports would be turned off or down while plains
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approach. >> buffer zones, directed antennas, lower power transmission, all those things make good sense. we have 40 countries that have adopted this and it seems to work fine, so there are ways to do this. >> reporter: meanwhile, president biden has just issued a statement thanking at&t and verizon. and pledging his team is working with the aviation industry and wireless networks to figure out a solution. wolf. >> thank you. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. out front next, breaking news. the january 6th select committee closing in on president trump. tonight, subpoenaing his former lawyers and obtaining the phone records from one of his sons. also, breaking this hour. senate democrats just wrapping up a meeting in a desperate attempt to save president biden's voting rights legislation. ademocrats still hopeful thy can get this passed? >> and troubling new details tonight about the effect pandemic school closures are having on children. let's go out front

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