tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC January 26, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
tonight, breaking news as we come on the air in the west. the major news at the supreme court. justice stephen breyer set to retire. and we have now learned that president biden will make the announcement official at the white house tomorrow. the 83-year-old justice breyer, the most senior member of the liberal wing. tonight, president biden, what he said today about justice breyer and what comes next. the president campaigning on a promise to nominate a black woman to the supreme court. tonight, the short list right here. and how quickly will the senate move? what we're learning already. terry moran at the supreme court. mary bruce at the white house. rachel scott on the hill. also tonight, what could be a dangerous nor'easter. this evening, the two new models just in. the two possible tracks. and how much snow is possible?
from philadelphia up through new york city and into new england. rob marciano timing it all out. tonight, moderna now saying human trials of its omicron-specific booster are now under way, following the news from pfizer on this, as well. tonight, dr. fauci on whether this will be needed. and how soon before a universal vaccine for covid. what he said about that. and news tonight on this omicron subvariant now seen in the u.s. and more than 50 other countries. tonight, your money and the federal reserve signaling a hike in interest rates is coming. how this will effect everything from your credit cards to your car loans to your mortgage. but is it needed to slow inflation? rebecca jarvis breaks it down. the rising tensions in ukraine. the u.s. ambassador to moscow delivering america's official response to russia's demands. that ukraine never be allowed to join nato. the u.s. making no such promise. ian pannell in ukraine. prince andrew fighting back tonight. formally responding to the sex assault lawsuit by virginia giuffre, asking for a jury trial now. a police officer in
philadelphia dragged nearly half a mile during a traffic stop. the officer surviving this. and remembering two well-known actors tonight. and neil young demanding spotify take down his music and why. and what spotify did today. eni to have you with us here on a very busy wednesday night. we begin tonight with the major news from the supreme court today. justice stephen breyer set to retire, according to sources aware of his decision. we await official word from the justice himself, who at 83 is the oldest supreme court justice, the most senior member of the liberal wing. long a staunch defender of a nonpartisan court. tonight, his impending retirement giving president biden his first opportunity to nominate a justice to the high court. and with the midterms coming and
a razor-thin majority in the senate, indications tonight this could move swiftly. justice breyer nominated by president bill clinton in 1994, confirmed by a vote of 87-9. he was known as a consensus seeker with a pragmatic vision of compromise. on the court for 27 years. justice breyer has often spoken of his respect for his fellow justices, no matter their point of view. but his decision to step down, the timing, he surely knows comes in a nation deeply divided. the resident had campaigned on a promise to nominate a black woman to the supreme court. tonight, the names on the potential short list right here. and this evening here, as we're on the air in the west, we have now learned that president biden will announce justice breyer's retirement officially at the white house tomorrow. and then, of course, how quickly could all of this move? we begin tonight with abc's terry moran, who has covered the supreme court for years. he leads us off from the court tonight. >> reporter: justice stephen breyer's surprise decision to leave the supreme court at the end of this term, according to several sources familiar with his decision, marks the end of an era. and his departure will give president biden his first chance
to nominate a justice to the high court, though biden's pick likely won't change the court's solid 6-3 conservative majority. president biden today refusing to comment on breyer's resignation until the justice himself has a chance to speak. >> every justice has the right an opportunity to decide what he or she is going to do and announce it on their own. >> so help me god. >> congratulations. >> reporter: justice breyer is 83 years old and served on the court for 27 years, nominated in 1994 by president bill clinton. on the court, breyer has been a centrist and a pragmatic justice, seeking ways to bridge the ideological divides and focusing on the real world consequences of the court's rulings. and he passionately insisted the supreme court is not a political institution. >> my experience of more than 30 years in the appeals court as a judge has shown me that once men and women take the judicial
oath, they take that oath to heart. they are loyal to the rule of law. not to the political party that helped secure their appointment. >> reporter: among breyer's most important cases, upholding abortion rights by striking down a nebraska law that prohibited late-term abortions. limiting presidential powers over recess appointments. and expanding students' free speech rights by ruling that a cheerleader's offcampus snapchat post deserves first amendment protection. genial and confident, justice breyer admitted to larry king in 2010 that he was once wracked by self-doubts on the bench. >> i do know my own first three years, i was frightened to death much of the time. >> of? >> how do i know i can do this? how do i know i won't make a mistake? i will do my best, but there's no one to correct it, necessarily. >> reporter: in recent years, progressives worried that, like justice ruth bader ginsburg, breyer would stay too long and hand his seat to republicans, pressured breyer to retire. he told "the new york times" just last year that he was reminded of something justice
antonin scalia once told him. "he said, i don't want somebody appointed who will just reverse everything i've done for the last 25 years." and he told george stephanopoulos he looked forward to life after the supreme court. >> there are many different considerations and -- that i do not intend to die there on the court, i hope not. and i'm thinking about them, considering them, and that's as far as i'll go. >> and he's earned this retirement. we remember that interview with george. terry with us tonight. and terry, you reported there that justice breyer spoke of respect for his fellow justices, regardless of their differing viewpoints. he believed that the court obviously should be apolitical. he talked about this over his 27 years on the court. but he also certainly knows the magnitude of this decision, the timing of this decision, just how divided this nation is. >> reporter: and those divisions, david, clearly so central, so important to the timing of justice breyer's decision to retire. that 87-9 confirmation vote he got back in 1994 is unimaginable today. and justice breyer knows it, so, he's trying to give president
biden and senate democrats as much time as possible to confirm his successor. we expect to hear from justice breyer tomorrow. david? >> terry moran leading us off from the supreme court. terry, thank you. and you heard the president there say very little today, saying he would wait until we get official word from justice breyer himself. so, let's bring in abc's senior white house correspondent mary bruce tonight. mary, i want to go back to what we heard from then candidate joe biden, what he said during his campaign about who he would nominate to the supreme court. let's listen. >> i'm looking forward to making sure there's a black woman on the supreme court to make sure we in fact get every representation. >> that was just before he won south carolina. mary, tonight, there's already a short list of potential nominees? >> reporter: there is, david, and the white house today says the president is standing by that promise to nominate the first black woman to be on the supreme court. tonight, the front-runner is believed to be judge ketanji brown jackson, a former clerk of justice breyer's and she's
actually already gone through the senate confirmation process, earning the support of three republican senators when she was confirmed to the powerful d.c. circuit court of appeals. also believed to be on the list tonight, judge leondra kruger of the california supreme court, judge leslie abrams gardner of the u.s. district court of georgia and judge j. michelle childs of the district court of south carolina. david, whomever biden picks, she will be making history. david? >> all eyes on his decision. mary bruce, thank you. one more question on this tonight, rachel scott live on the hill, and rachel, senate majority leader chuck schumer has already signaled he wants to move swiftly on this, with the midterms coming this year, and obviously this very slim majority in the senate. >> reporter: that's right. the senate is split 50/50 and democrats do not want to waste any time. they only need 51 votes in the senate to confirm a supreme court nominee. that threshold was actually lowered by republicans back in 2017 from 60 down to 51. and tonight, democrats are pointing to how quickly justice amy coney barrett was confirmed,
just days before the 2020 election. justice breyer may not retire until the end of the supreme court term, but democrats do not have to wait. they can start the confirmation process as soon as president biden announces his pick, david. >> rachel scott, mary bruce, terry moran, our thanks to all of you tonight on this. our coverage of the court. in the meantime, to other news, and we're going to turn now to the dangerous nor'easter looming for the northeast. the two new models just in tonight. the possible tracks for this nor'easter. senior meteorologist rob marciano timing it all out for us. hey, rob. >> reporter: hi, david. these nor'easters in the winter are certainly tricky forecasts but we have one major ingredient in place, and that is the cold air. and much of the eastern half of the country is feeling that. look at these wind chills in the morning. it will be minus 4 in detroit, below freezing in tuscaloosa and atlanta. friday, our upper level energy gets to the coast, our storm is born. snows from the carolinas through new england. a bomb cyclone likely. snow, high wind, coastal flooding. look at our two computer models tat we look at for snow. the american model has things in eastern new england. the european model, back to the bigger cities of new york and philadelphia. as always, that track is key and we'll have a better idea of it as the weekend approaches. david?
>> i think we're all pulling for the american model this time around. rob, thank you. in the meantime, to the pandemic tonight. moderna announcing their human trials of their omicron-specific vaccine under way tonight, 24 hours after pfizer did the same. it comes as covid-related deaths are on the rise in this country. nearly 2,200 deaths every day. tonight, cdc director dr. rochelle walensky warning that although omicron might be milder than delta, milder, in her worlds, doworld words, does not mean mild. and tonight, what dr. fauci is now saying about the potential for a universal vaccine for covid. here's abc's erielle reshef tonight. >> reporter: just days after pfizer launched trials of an omicron-targeted vaccine, moderna announcing it too has started trials of an omicron-specific vaccine. >> these variant-based vaccines may not play a role immediately, but they will be important as we think about the long-term view and how we begin to live with
covid going forward. >> reporter: it comes as federal health officials said scientists are already working on a universal covid vaccine that could take on current and future variants. but dr. fauci stressing it will take time. >> i don't want anyone to think that pan coronavirus vaccines are literally around the corner in a month or two. it's going to take years to develop in an incremental fashion. >> reporter: despite mounting evidence omicron is less severe, the unprecedented surge in infections pushing the daily death toll to its highest point in nearly a year. >> milder does not mean mild, and we cannot look past the strain on our health systems and substantial number of deaths. >> reporter: and so many hospitals are running out of room. >> this empty bed is now the only empty bed in the hospital and it's already spoken for. >> reporter: 22 more patients at this oklahoma city hospital are just waiting for a bed. the sickest covid patients are unvaccinated. >> they don't go home.
we have about a 50% mortality rate in our icus if you are unvaccinated. these are young patients. >> reporter: and tonight, scientists are tracking that subvariant of omicron called b.a.-2, now in the u.s. and at least 55 countries. b.a.-2, sometimes called the stealth variant, because it can be trickier for scientists to pinpoint its exact version. but for anyone infected with the new subvariant, those pcr and rapid tests will still work at detecting infection. our mireya villarreal is in dallas, where researchers are hunting for b.a.-2. >> we're not sure if it's going to really change the symptoms or change the severity of disease, it seems unlikely. it seems most likely it will just outcompete the original omicron strain and probably continue along in a similar manner. >> reporter: and david, dr. fauci now saying that the hope is that through enough vaccinations, boosting, and infection that we could reach a level of protection in the community that will prevent another variant from disrupting our daily life like omicron has. david? >> let's hope so.
erielle, thank you. now, to the tensions with russia over ukraine. the u.s. delivering today a written response to russia's demands that ukraine would never join nato. the u.s. making no such promise. here's our senior foreign correspondent ian pannell from ukraine again tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the u.s. ambassador to moscow delivering america's official response to russia's security demands. a critical moment in this crisis that could potentially make the difference between war and peace in ukraine. the kremlin's insisted it needed written responses to its demands that ukraine will never join nato. tonight, the biden administration saying there will be no such guarantees. >> we make clear that there are core principles that we are committed to uphold and defend, including ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the right of states to choose their own security arrangements and alliances. >> reporter: tonight, america's chief negotiator in talks with russia warning again that the kremlin could attack at any time. >> we certainly see every
indication that he is going to use military force some time, perhaps now and middle of february. >> reporter: meanwhile, american f-15 fighter jets arriving in the baltic states, as the nato alliance bolsters its defenses against any possible attack. the kremlin denies it plans to attack, but each day, it releases more video of its troops engaged in what it calls military drills. the ukrainian foreign minister telling abc news he doesn't think an invasion is imminent, but admits the country is under pressure. >> at the moment, as we speak, this number is insufficient for the full-scale offensive against ukraine. >> ian pannell back with us from ukraine tonight. and ian, nato is trying to present a united front, but a major member, germany, so far, not willing to go nearly as far as other nato members, in fact tonight, headlines about these helmets germany is giving
ukraine to help? >> reporter: yeah, that's right, david. germany, like much of europe, is heavily dependent on russia for natural gas. and it's saying it won't send weapons to ukraine, but as you say, what it did commit to is supplying the country 5,000 helmets. here in kyiv, the mayor of the city saying the offer left him, quote, speechless. david? >> ian pannell from ukraine again tonight. ian, thank you. back here at home tonight and to your money. today, the federal reserve signaling it will likely raise interest rates as early as march. the dow closing slightly lower today following this news. down 129 points. i want to bring in abc's chief business and economics correspondent rebecca jarvis back with us tonight. and rebecca, i know this is meant to cool down inflation in the long run, but in the short-term, these rate hikes could effect families, their credit cards, their mortgages? >> reporter: absolutely, david, that's right. and they are meant to stabilize prices. everything from your grocery to your gas to your rent bill, but there are also consequences to rate hikes. they can slow down the economy,
cause that turbulence we've seen in the stock market, and they increase the cost of borrowing, making it more expensive to take out a new mortgage, car loan, even the credit card debt. and as you say, the fed has signaled they will take this slowly, do it gradually starting in march. david? >> you'll follow it all for us, as you always do. rebecca, thank you. tonight, president biden has signed an executive order making sexual harassment a crime under the uniform code of military justice. the order comes after the most recent defense authorization bill removed cases from the chain of command, referring them to independent sexual victim prosecutors instead. the family of slain soldier vanessa guillen led the drive to have these changes made. and from the uk tonight, prince andrew formally responding now to the lawsuit from virginia giuffre, saying if the lawsuit survives, he wants a jury trial. here's james longman. >> reporter: in the 11-page document, prince andrew, whose royal titles were stripped earlier this month, formally responds to allegations made by virginia giuffre. she claims andrew sexually assaulted her while she was being trafficked by jeffrey epstein, who died by suicide in jail in 2019. andrew denies these claims, and
in this latest response argues giuffre's lawsuit cannot be brought because she herself allegedly recruited women for epstein, writing, "giuffre's alleged causes of action are barred in whole or in part by her own wrongful conduct and the doctrine of unclean hands." the prince's defense also reasserted a claim that a settlement in 2009 between giuffre and epstein protects andrew from being sued, and suggested that even if the two engaged in sexual contact, which he denies, she agreed to it, writing, "giuffre's claims are barred by the doctrine of consent." giuffre's attorney blasting that allegation, writing, "to claim that virginia giuffre would have consented to this horrific abuse smacks of desperation, and we look forward to putting these matters before a jury in new york." this civil trial is expected to start sometime in the fall. and prince andrew has asked for a trial by jury. but there's no guarantee he'll actually be there for it. foreign citizens aren't actually obligated to appear at civil
trials in the united states. david? >> james longman, thank you. when we come back here tonight, the police officer dragged nearly half a mile today in philadelphia. and remembering two well-known actors tonight. (jackie) i've made progress with my mental health. so when i started having unintentional body movements called tardive dyskinesia... i ignored them. but when the twitching and jerking in my face and hands affected my day to day... i finally had to say, 'it's not ok.' it was time to talk to my doctor about austedo. she said that austedo helps reduce td movements in adults... while i continue with most of my mental health medications. (vo) austedo can cause depression, suicidal thoughts, or actions in patients with huntington's disease. pay close attention to and call your doctor if you become depressed, have sudden changes in mood, behaviors, feelings, or have suicidal thoughts. common side effects include inflammation of the nose and throat, insomnia and sleepiness. don't take austedo if you have liver problems, are taking reserpine, tetrabenazine, or valbenazine. austedo may cause irregular or fast heartbeat, restlessness, movements mimicking parkinson's disease, fever, stiff muscles, problems thinking, and sweating. (jackie) talk to your doctor about austedo...it's time to treat td.
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finally tonight here, the mother, who used to bring her daughter to work. well now look what's happened. america strong. tonight, the photo of a mother and daughter outside the kaiser permanente medical center in oakland, california, and they are america strong. johana pena on the right, her mother cristina pena on the left. her daughter is a medical student working at that hospital, where mom has been a custodian at the hospital for nearly two decades. that daughter writing, "it's crazy how life works sometimes. i get to work with my mom at the same hospital in the same department. she has been a janitor here for 18 years.
she raised a latina physician in the making! i am so proud to be your daughter." there were years when she would visit her mother at the hospital where she worked. now, she's in her fourth year of medical school and she's been accepted into a program at her mother's hospital. >> hi, david! >> another day at kaiser permanente. >> mother and daughter walking into work. >> the reason why i shared that is because i know that i am here today because of my mom and my father's sacrifices. >> and johana telling us where she's hoping her residency will be. >> it really is truly an honor to be able to be here and have the opportunity to come back and walk the floors as a doctor. i love you. >> we salute this mother and daughter. both of their jobs crucial and we can't wait to learn where that medical student ends up. good night >>
moving forward. finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. >> closing schools to cut costs. that is the strategy in -- in oakland, and we know more about it than we should. good evening. dan: when you see on the screen is something the oakland school district didn't think you would see right now. it is a map locating the dozen schools that could be shut down to save money. it wasn't meant to be published. ama: now, it is out there and the district is facing parents and teachers who are outraged. dan: a difficult situation. we have senior education reporter lyanne melendez in the newsroom with more. lyanne: many parents found out this afternoon that their child's school was on that list of possible closures. that was a surprise to many, and
so was how quickly this process is going. there will be a final vote on february 8. mike hutchinson wants everyone to know he is the one who released the list of schools that may end up closing. the oakland school board member first posted it on social media. >> i didn't think anything. it wasn't privileged or confidential information. what i did was my job, reporting to my constituents in the community that information i received about schools being under threat for closure. lyanne: the oakland superintendent then sent out a note saying, to be clear, the information is from a draft, not the final set of recommendations. this is a map with proposed closures for this year, among them an elementary school that today, staff there began distributing flyers to parents interested in having a meeting about this possible closure. lucretia henderson, a grandmother, has a d