Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Court Documents Reveal Brutality Used Against Police; Soon, Biden to Speak on COVID-19 Response Plan; Fauci: U.S. Can Surpass 100 Million Vaccine Doses by End of First 100 Days; Biden Speaks on Coronavirus Response Plan. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 21, 2021 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:32:12]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: We have all seen the pictures of the violence during the attack on the capitol.

Now new federal court documents revealing the full extent of the brutality. Rioters used flagpoles, used fire extinguishers and their fists to attack police.

CNN security correspondent, Josh Campbell, is with us now.

Josh, tell us what you're learning.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, we've seen a lot of images. But as you read through hundreds of these court documents, it really paints a horrifying picture about what occurred at the United States capitol on January 6th for those law enforcement officers who were trying to protect the building.

In one instance, prosecutors say this former firefighter, named Robert Sanford, of Pennsylvania, threw a fire extinguisher that ended up ricocheting off several officers. One of them did not have a helmet. That officer taken to the hospital.

Now the attorney for this person told the Associated Press that his client merely got caught up in mob mentality. Nevertheless, he faces very serious charges.

Another incident, there's this man named Peter Stagger. He's accused of battering a D.C. police officer with a flagpole that was carrying the American flag. Just a truly horrifying scene there.

He later told an informant of the federal government that he thought he was battling Antifa. However, it was clear, prosecutors say, the officer he was assaulting had a police vest.

Finally, who can forget the story, the dramatic details heard from the D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone who was interviewed by our colleague, Mark Morales, describing what he faced in that crowd.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFC. MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: We were getting, you know, chemical irritant sprayed.

You know, they had pipes and, you know, different metal objects, batons, some of which I think they had taken from law enforcement personnel. They were striking us with those.

And then, it was just like the sheer number of rioters. I mean, the force that was coming from that side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMPBELL: Of course, as terrifying as it is to see and hear, to read in these court documents, of course, Brianna, the hypocrisy here lies in what we heard from the president, former president, Donald Trump, beforehand.

Who claimed he -- he was president of law and order, the president of law enforcement. He obviously incited this riot.

And now we're learning these new details about a cause of injures, really great harm to a lot of these police officers who were there on the day at the United States capitol simply trying to protect the building -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Josh, thank you so much.

There are supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory that are now facing the cold, hard truth, that President Trump will not be serving for another four years.

[14:34:59]

The moment that Joe Biden took the oath of office, QAnon followers exploded on message boards. They had a lot of confusion. They had a lot of questions.

And John Avlon has your "REALITY CHECK."

All right. Actually, we do not have that.

But any minute now, President Biden is expected to speak at the White House about his plan to get the coronavirus response. We're expecting to hear the president very soon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Any moment now, we are expecting to hear President Biden's speech about how his administration hopes to turn around the coronavirus response.

This is, of course, a daunting task. More than 4,300 people died from the virus on his first day in office. Another 122,000 are in the hospital.

I want to bring in our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

And, Sanjay, you have a piece on CNN.com about where we are one year from now since the first COVID patient was discovered in the U.S.

[14:40:03]

What did you find? And what do you hope to hear from the president today?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was a really interesting piece to put together, to look back over the last year, Brianna, from the first patient that was diagnosed, confirmed to be diagnosed here in the United States a year ago to some 24 million people.

Those early days where we thought, or it was thought by the president that the numbers would go down to zero from 15 and all of that, and sort of just piece that all together.

You know, I think what I'm hoping to hear today, I think, is what everyone else is hoping to hear as well. We're hearing the right notes. Increasing, actually getting vaccines into people. It's not vaccines that matter. It's vaccinations that matter.

Testing. We used to talk about testing so much, Brianna. But this idea you could have rapid antigen testing in your home. You could take it on a regular, some suggest even daily basis, and know, that day, are you contagious or not.

Then, you know, schools. I have three daughters in school, and this has been topic number one in our households. Are our schools, are they safe enough? The things that should be done to maintain safety in schools? All of those things.

President Biden has been hitting the right notes in the COVID rescue plan in some of the comments he's already made about this.

But what does that translate to? How much easier is it going to be for someone to get a vaccine?

I'm still getting text messages and e-mails from people, can't get a vaccine. I'm in the priority group, still can't get a vaccine. Testing still an issue. Where is that going to translate into?

And what I think the most important question, Brianna, what does it mean in terms of getting back to some sense of normalcy? Right?

KEILAR: Yes.

GUPTA: That's the question everybody asks. I'd be curious what he says about that.

KEILAR: I'm definitely curious about that. I think you sort of hit all points that is affecting everyone's lives in all of these different groups.

Right now, Sanjay, the testing positive rate is actually dipping. It's below 10 percent for the first time in six weeks. There are 43 states trending downward when it comes to number of cases.

Of course, we know deaths lag that. But are we finally headed in the right direction?

GUPTA: Well, you know, another thing I've learned this past year, Brianna, is that even more humility. Because this virus continues to be tricky and can fool you.

I'm encouraged by that. You're absolutely right. You look to see the numbers of new infections going down first. Followed a couple, three weeks later by hospitalizations going down, followed by death rates going down.

Those first two parameters have shown some encouraging signs, number of new cases and hospitalizations. But deaths are still really, I mean, they're tragically high, Brianna.

I just -- I don't think anyone should get used to saying more than 4,000 people are dying every day of this disease. Those typically are a few weeks behind overall new infections.

If you look at the models -- and I look at all of the models -- it really isn't until mid-February when new deaths sort of peak. Some of those models suggest it may peak around 5.5 thousand to 6,000 per day.

But if it's true that new cases are coming down, then we should come off that peak of deaths by the end of February.

I don't say any of this nonchalantly. These are unimaginable numbers. But we could come off that peak by late February if the trend continues. We'll see.

KEILAR: Yes.

GUPTA: There are hopeful signs. But we have to stay very vigilant right now.

I think half of the country now thinks this thing is -- the worse days are behind us. Half of the country thinks the worst days are in front of are us. It's split down the middle almost.

It's still going to get worse in terms of deaths before it gets better.

KEILAR: We can't forget that. You're so right, Sanjay. We think -- that number of people we're losing every day, and then consider the family members that orbit that person.

And then think of the folks who are treating these people. I always think, too, like the kind of trauma they've then through, haven't even been able to process because of doing it day in, day out, month after month. It's incredible. Of course, right now, the other thing we're looking forward to is the

vaccine. And Dr. Fauci says the U.S. can surpass this goal of 100 million doses by end of the first 100 days. Right now, we're just over 16 million.

Do you think that's realistic?

GUPTA: You know, I really do, Brianna. That's based on discussions with people who are helping create these vaccines.

But also, you know, people within the national pharmacy retail space, looking at people who may be responsible for these in certain communities doling out the vaccines.

I do. In fact, we're 800,000, 900,000 vaccines roughly on average being administered now. That's, frankly, without any sort of real plan.

You start to put in community centers. The pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens, were largely tasked with handling long-term care facilities. A lot of that work, hopefully, should be done by end of this month.

[14:45:09]

And then, hopefully, they can turn their attention, with enough resources and with enough funding, to actually getting the rest of the country vaccinated.

I think, as much as the previous administration sort of overpromised and underdelivered, I think, in some ways, this may be under promising and overdelivering.

We need to do more than a million shots per day. If you look at the idea of a two-shot regime, you roughly want 250 people vaccinated, that would be 500 million shots.

You know, if you start getting to two million shots per day, then you starting to look at maybe by the end of the summer, getting to that point of herd immunity.

We've really got to ramp up.

The pharmacies alone -- I was looking at some of this data -- could do about 100 million shots per month. Again, if they had enough resources and funding to do so.

We could get -- I really -- optimistic about that, Brianna. I think we can get to those numbers.

KEILAR: I'm so glad you're optimistic, Sanjay.

And if you wouldn't mind, if you could stand by for us. We're awaiting, of course, President Biden and we want to hear what you have to say about that.

We're going to get a quick break in. And then we will be awaiting this speech on coronavirus from the president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CROSSTALK)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good afternoon.

Before I begin today's announcement, let me take a few moments to thank all the law enforcement folks for all they did, the military personnel from all across the federal state and local agencies to securing yesterday's inaugural activities.

And a special thanks to the members of the National Guard from around the country.

It was an unprecedented situation. Hopefully, it will never have to be renewed again. And handled it with the most professionalism and duty and honor that can be expected.

The president -- as president and commander-in-chief, I always respect and revere their service and that of their families.

But now to today's announcement.

Vice President Harris and I were joined by members of our COVID-19 team, response team, and Dr. Tony Fauci, our chief COVID medical adviser, Xavier Becerra, our nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Vivek Murthy, our nominee for surgeon general.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, she's going to be the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, who will be leading our equity work and the COVID response.

And Jeff Zeints and Natalie Quillan who are managing this whole effort.

Yesterday, yesterday, during my inaugural address, I offered a salient prayer and a silent prayer. It was both salient and silent.

I thought it was important that people understand what had happened, that we all pay tribute to -- our prayers for those 400,000 Americans who have lost their lives in this pandemic.

On Tuesday, Jill and I, Kamala and Doug, we stood at the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial and joined Americans all across the country to remember those 400,000 moms and dads, husbands and wives, children, sons, daughters.

And I said at that moment that to heal we must remember, to heal we must remember. It's important to do that as a nation.

[14:50:06]

We must also act, though, not just remember.

Yet, for the past year, we couldn't rely on the federal government to act with the urgency and focus and coordination we needed. And we have seen the tragic cost of that failure.

Three thousand to 4,000 deaths per day. To date, more than 24 million, 24 million Americans have been infected.

To put that in context, America makes up 4 percent of the world's population. But 25 percent of the world's confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 20 percent of all the COVID-19 deaths and when we have 4 percent of the world's population.

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted on blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans who are about four times as likely to be hospitalized and nearly three times more likely to die from the COVID-19 pandemic than white Americans.

Hospitals are out of beds. Businesses are closed for good. Schools are caught in-between. And while the vaccine provides so much hope, the rollout has been a dismal failure thus far.

So, I understand the despair and frustration of so many Americans and how they're feeling.

I understand why many governors, mayors, county officials, tribal leaders, feel like they're left on their own without a clear national plan to get them through the crisis.

Let me be very clear. Things are going to continue to get worse before they get better.

The memorial we held two nights ago will not be our last one, unfortunately. The death toll will likely top 500,000 next month. And the cases will continue to mount.

We didn't get into this mess overnight. And it's going to take months for us to turn things around.

But let me be equally clear. We will get through this. We will defeat this pandemic.

And to a nation waiting for action, let me be the clearest on this point. Help is on the way.

Today, today, I am unveiling a national strategy on COVID-19, and executive actions to beat this pandemic.

This plan reflects the ideas I set forward during the campaign and further refined over the past three months.

It consists of my transitions team, task force -- Tony Fauci and the team here today, and other experts, put this plan together.

Our national strategy is comprehensive. It's based on science, not politics. It's based on truth, not denial. And it is detailed.

You can review this entire plan, this entire plan by going to whiteHouse.gov. It is so detailed, it's 198 pages. And for complete detail of what we're going to do. Our plan starts with mounting an aggressive, safe and effective

vaccination campaign to meet our goal of administering 100 million shots in our first hundred days in office. We're at day one.

This will be one of the greatest operational challenges our nation has ever undertaken. And I'm committed to getting it done. We're committed to getting it done.

And I explained, as I explained last week, we'll move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated for free and create more places for them to get vaccinated, to mobilize more medical teams to get shots in people's arms, and to increase vaccine supply and get it out the door as fast as possible.

Yesterday, we got started. We directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, to start standing up the first federally supported community vaccination centers with the goal of standing up 100 centers within the next month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will launch the Federal Pharmacy Program to make vaccines available to communities in their local pharmacies beginning early - within -- I think by the 7th or 8th of February, in very early February.

We'll also task the Department of Health and Human Services to prepare and expand the pool of medical professionals who can administer the vaccine, who can administer the vaccine.

And ensure we have enough vaccinators, people doing the vaccines, to meet the nation's needs and quickly.

In addition to this effort, our administration will be asking Congress to fund -- for the funds to grow the public health workforce.

We also are going to take immediate steps to partner with governors, mayors, and other local officials, who we've been talking to all along, who are on the front lines of this fight.

[14:55:03]

We direct -- we directed FEMA to establish a COVID response liaison for each state, which means every state will have a point person at the federal level to maximize cooperation between the federal government and the states. And where it falls short, to be made known about and made known immediately.

This is a model we used to respond to Hurricane Sandy, which I was deeply involved with.

And in just a few moments, I'm going to sign a declaration to immediately begin reimbursing states 100 percent for the use of their National Guards to help COVID relief efforts, something Democrats and Republican governors alike have called for.

But the brutal truth is it's going to take months before we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated. So, while we increase vaccinations, we're going to take steps necessary now to slow the spread of the disease as well.

One of our 100-day challenges is asking the American people to mask up for the first hundred days, the next 99 days. The masks have become a partisan issue, unfortunately, but it's a patriotic act.

But for a few months to wear a mask, no vaccines, the fact is that the single best thing we can do. They're even more important than the vaccines because they take time to work.

And if we do this as Americans, the experts say, by wearing a mask from now until April, we would save more than 50,000 lives going forward, 50,000 lives.

So I'm asking every American to mask up for the next 100 days.

Yesterday, I signed an executive action that requires masks and social distancing on federal property.

Today, we'll be signing an additional executive action to extend masking requirements on interstate travel, like on trains, planes, and buses.

And in light of the new COVID variants that we're learning about, we are instituting now a new measure for individuals flying into the United States from other countries.

In addition to wearing masks, everyone flying to the United States from another country will need to test before they get on that plane, before they depart, and quarantine when they arrive in America.

Our national plan launches a full-scale wartime effort to address the supply shortages by ramping up production and protective equipment, syringes, needles, you name it.

And when I say wartime, people kind of look at me like, wartime? As I said last night, 400,000 Americans have died. That's more than have died in all of World War II, 400,000. This is a wartime undertaking.

Today, I'm signing an executive action to use the Defense Production Act and all other available authorities to direct all federal agencies and private industry to accelerate the making of everything that is needed to protect, test, vaccinate, and take care of our people.

We've already identified suppliers, and we're working with them to move the plan forward.

Now, look, our strategy includes a plan to safely reopen schools and businesses while protecting our workers.

Today, we're directing the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services to immediately provide schools and communities with clear guidance and resources to safely reopen the schools and childcare centers.

We're putting -- and, by the way, when you do that, think of all the people who can get back to work, be able to get back to work, all the mothers and single fathers that are staying home taking care of their children.

We're going to put the full force of the federal government behind expanding testing by launching a COVID-19 pandemic testing board.

This effort will ensure that we get testing to where it is needed and where it is needed most, helping schools and businesses reopen safely, and protecting the most vulnerable like those who live in long-term care facilities.

And for the millions of workers, many of whom are people of color, immigrants and low-wage workers, who continue to put their lives on the line to keep this country going through the pandemic, I'm calling for the enforcement of a more stringent worker safety standard so that you are better protected from this virus while you have to continue to work to protect the rest of us.

[14:59:53]

Our plan also protects those most at risk, and works for everyone of all races, and urban and rural communities alike.

[15:00:00]