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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Sen. Schumer Says Impeachment Trial to Start Week of February 8th; Interview with Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT); Trump Businesses Hit Hard By Pandemic, Toxic Image; U.S. COVID Deaths Top 413,800 With Nearly 25 Million Cases As CDC Reports Biggest One-Day Increase In Vaccinations; Source: Concerns Of Possible Unrest During Impeachment Trial Are Part Of Reason Some National Guard Staying in D.C.; Trump Supporters On Pres. Biden. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired January 22, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Aaron, of course once famously said that people could look at him and say, quote, "He was a great baseball player, but he was an even greater human being." That's what he wanted people to think. And that they do.
Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. He was 86 years old.
Thanks for joining us. It's time for Anderson.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The new President sounds a call to action. But will it only be heard by one set of ears? John Berman here in for Anderson.
Sure, it might have looked like an ordinary pen and a plain old desk as he signed Executive Orders boosting food aid and the minimum wage for some workers. But to hear President Biden describing the huge recovery bill he wants Congress to pass next, he was standing at the plate taking a Henry Aaron sized poke at the nation's economic problems.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The bottom line is this. We're in a national emergency. We need to act like we're in a national emergency. So, we've got to move with everything we've got. And we've got to do it together.
We have the tools to fix it. We have the tools to get through this. We have the tools to get this virus under control and our economy back on track.
We have the tools to help people. So, let's use the tools. All of them, use them now.
Folks, this is one of the cases where business, labor, Wall Street, Main Street, liberal conservative economists know we have to act now.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: And to a surprising extent, non-legislative voices across the
political spectrum do appear to agree on the act now part. As for Republican lawmakers, and the do it together part, well, not so much.
Administration officials tell CNN that the President's preferred route is bipartisan and that he still hopes to bring at least 10 Republicans on board. However, a number of already signaled opposition including moderates like Susan Collins.
So as a result, there's no agreement on that or even on a resolution on something as simple as how the Senate will run day-to-day. And to that, you can add impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The House Managers will come to read the Article of Impeachment at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 25th. Members will then be sworn in the next day, Tuesday, January 26th.
After that, both the House Managers and the defense will have a period of time to draft their legal briefs, just as they did in previous trials. During that period, the Senate will continue to do other business for the American people, such as Cabinet nominations, and the COVID relief bill, which would provide relief for millions of Americans who were suffering during this pandemic.
Then, once the briefs are drafted, presentation by the parties will commence the week of February the 8th. The January 6th insurrection at the Capitol incited by Donald J. Trump was the day none of us will ever forget.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Keeping them honest though it is rather amazing that less than three weeks after a full scale insurrection, targeting some of the very same members who gathered there today, how quickly some lawmakers are trying to push it down the memory hole even if it means shoving their own past statements down or two.
As a reminder, here's House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy a week after the violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The President bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.
These facts require immediate action by President Trump except to share responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President- elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Again, that was a week after the attack. Now, here he is, just yesterday, inside the memory hole looking out. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Leader McConnell has said that President, former President Trump and other important people provoked those folks to come to the Capitol. Do you believe that President, former President Trump provoked?
McCarthy: I don't believe he provoked if you listened to what he said at the rally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Listen to what he said? Kevin McCarthy should listen to what Kevin McCarthy said just a week and a half ago. He might learn something. Or then again, maybe not. All of a sudden for him, it's all so hazy.
Yes. Even now with National Guard troops still garrisoned at the Capitol, in new reporting that thousands will stay at least through the end of the month partly out of concern there could be more unrest during impeachment proceedings. Yet still, there's this urge to put it all in the past.
BERMAN: It was Minority Leader McConnell after all, who first delayed the trial until after Inauguration Day, and now has received his wish to wait until next month. And though there's new reporting, which we'll get to shortly on his private desire to see the ex-President convicted, his public move seemed aimed at dragging things out.
Meantime, and it's hardly a footnote, Americans are dying by the thousands every day. They're losing jobs and going hungry.
A lot to talk about starting with our new chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins and Kaitlan, our colleague, Jeff Zeleny reported earlier today that President Biden, he never had a strong appetite to impeach the former President, but also, he doesn't want this trial to drag out longer than necessary.
So what's the reaction inside the White House to this announcement from Chuck Schumer that the trial will be delayed until February 8th?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think a lot of what we heard President Biden say earlier could have had an effect on this because you heard him say he actually was agreeing with Mitch McConnell about delaying the trial until next month, not having a jumpstart because of course, those arguments could have started as soon as next Wednesday if the agreement had not been struck between Schumer and McConnell.
And so the White House has really tried to steer clear of this and not getting involved in the timing on it. They've been asked several times about it this week and that we were told that President Biden did not have an opinion on the timing. But of course he did, he expressed that today and it's kind of put them in between a rock and a hard place because either they move forward with the trial next week and then it affects the confirmation of their nominees, maybe the passage of that Coronavirus relief bill that President Biden wants, but the longer you delay it, the longer it's looming over his agenda and his first time in office.
BERMAN: So President Biden has talked about the importance of not only getting his Cabinet confirmed, but his agenda through the Senate. That will continue for now. Yes?
COLLINS: Yes, it will. And that is kind of I think how this agreement got struck between the Democrats and Republicans, because they said they are going to meet on Monday, that's likely when you'll see Janet Yellen, his nominee to run the Treasury Department get confirmed. So there will be some time for this to happen.
But then Republicans also have something to tout here by saying we're giving the President and his legal team, he just got a new attorney, more time to get their legal briefs ready and their legal arguments ready for that trial.
So you're seeing both sides kind of tout this agreement, and so we'll see how many of his nominees get confirmed next week, John, so far, he's only gotten two in their positions, and of course, that is critical to carrying out that agenda that he is intent on pushing pretty early on.
So we'll wait to see how many they get through, of course, that impeachment trial is only a little over two weeks away, so not a ton of time.
BERMAN: No. And that too is a much lower number than other recent Presidents. Kaitlan Collins, chief White House correspondent. Great to see you. Thanks so much.
Joining us now Connecticut Democratic Congressman Jim Himes, who played a central role in the ex-President's first impeachment. Congressman Himes, nice to see you. I want your reaction to this announcement of the beginning of the impeachment trial starting February 8th. What do you think?
REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): Well, I think it's the best play against a pretty tough hand here. Right? I mean, nobody -- nobody wants an impeachment at the start of a new administration where you're hoping to turn over a new leaf, you're hoping that maybe you don't have to talk about the old President, but the attack that was committed, you know, and the memories are still quite vivid in my own mind.
The attack that was committed at the urging of the President was so serious that, you know, we just -- we can't as you said, we can't slide the whole thing down the memory hole. We need to make sure that people are held accountable. We need to make sure that the American people know exactly what happened and how the President -- well, ex- President contributed to that.
BERMAN: So the new timeline does give the Senate more time to confirm some of the President's nominees. But it might also give Republican senators more time, those who are sitting on the fence to be swayed not to convict. Is that a concern of yours?
HIMES: Well, John, I'm in the camp of believing that there is very little probability that you're going to get, I guess it's 16 Republican senators to convict. I watched very closely the last impeachment and well, you got one, and I could imagine getting six, I could imagine maybe getting seven.
But you have to remember that behind this, we like to call that in court, you know, the senate court and will he be convicted, the senators are jurors, each and every one of those Republican senators is contemplating the fact that it's a minority of their constituents, but a minority of their constituents are probably okay with what happened in the Capitol.
The Republicans have created this Frankenstein monster. And by the way, you ran a clip of Kevin McCarthy, you ought to run the clip of Kevin McCarthy looking into the camera and saying this election was stolen. And so Republican after Republican after Republican contributed to this fact that there are millions of Americans out there who believe that the election was stolen and they believe it because Donald Trump and congressional Republicans told them that.
So now they've got this Frankenstein monster that is raging in the village and they don't know what to do, but I'm guessing that most of them are not going to choose to put their bodies in front of that monster and take the risks associated politically speaking with doing the right thing.
BERMAN: So the former President is off Twitter, he's off Facebook. And that absence is remarkable and notable. But what kind of oxygen does he still take up in Washington? And how formidable is his base?
HIMES: Well, I'm gratified to see that that hardcore MAGA base and that runs from QAnon to the whole cast of characters that you saw assault the Capitol is in disarray. It's pointing fingers.
They were promised that there was some magical way in which Joe Biden would not become President, and lo and behold, reality happened. And it's hard for people who are living in an alternative universe with alternative facts to be, you know, have their nose rubbed in reality.
So I do think that there's disarray. I think there's finger pointing. I think -- I know, ex-President Trump has approval ratings that are about half of what the current President has.
So you know, this is a group of dead-enders getting smaller, but still very, very important to the Republican primary process. And there are a lot of senators and Members of Congress who would love to do the right thing, but they just know what sort of political massacre could occur if they do the right thing and stand up and speak the truth about what President Trump did.
BERMAN: Congressman Himes, stick around, because I want to bring in former Nixon White House counsel and CNN contributor, John Dean, into this conversation. And, John, the claims from supporters of the former President that a Senate trial is unconstitutional now that he is a private citizen, they state it as a fact. But it's not a fact. What's the truth here?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's a debatable point, but not going to be resolved in favor of the people who claim there's no right to have this trial. In fact, 150 scholars from both the right and the left, including Federal Society scholars weighed in and they said there is clear precedent, there's historical precedent to have this trial, and even the fact that he's out of office doesn't make any difference.
He can't just do an impeachable offense at the end of his term, sadly depart and not be held responsible.
BERMAN: Yes, I mean, it is simply not determined fact that it is unconstitutional. There is some precedent to let this type of thing happen. Nevertheless, Congressman Himes, is it the type of thing that will give Republicans in the Senate an out? For those looking for a way out, they don't have to judge the President's action, they can say, oh, I'm told by some it's not constitutional.
HIMES: Oh, sure. Sure. Look, you know, the fig leaves don't need to be particularly compelling for these folks to find reasons. We saw it in the last impeachment where we actually saw Republican senators saying, yes, it was terrible behavior, that phone call with Ukraine, but I'm not sure it meets my standard of impeachability, or, you know, the fig leaves don't have to be particularly beautifully crafted in an institution where principle is not high on people's lists of things they care about.
So look, it's going to be that. A lot of Republicans are going to hide behind the fact that the House acted very quickly, a lot of Republicans are going to hide behind the fact that I don't think anybody wants to see this trial dragged out for weeks and weeks and weeks, it's likely to go in days.
So a lot of them are just going to point to that and say, hey, it was just a couple of days. Now, don't forget, by the way that in the last impeachment, they voted against witnesses. They voted against, you know, bringing evidence to the Senate, but they're going to say, oh, geez, the due process was not nearly enough for me to vote to convict.
BERMAN: So John, when you look at the former President's defense team, you say you see some parallels to President Nixon's team? How so?
DEAN: Well, the parallel is he has hired an attorney who really has very little Washington experience. My digging around in his background appears that Mr. Bowers spent about a year in Washington at the Department of Justice and a special assignment and that's it. He really doesn't know the ways of Washington.
He certainly knows South Carolina and Republican politics there, but he is playing on a different stage.
This is what happened with Nixon. He hired a Boston attorney who had no experience in Washington, no real feel for the way the Senate and House worked. And it cost Nixon. I think it's one of the reasons he was forced to resign because they really didn't prepare a good case.
I think that's the situation here. This two weeks they have to prepare a case is not very long when he has only been hired for a few days and he is a solo practitioner. He doesn't have a big firm behind him. I don't know who -- are there money or resources that are given be available. So I think the President is handicapped with his counsel at this point.
BERMAN: So, Congressman Himes, I know you were part of the group trapped on the House floor on January 6th, and I mentioned at the top of the program, the plan to keep thousands of National Guard troops in D.C. over concerns of more unrest during the impeachment trial. How concerned are you and your colleagues about your own safety?
HIMES: Well, it was very gratifying to see all those National Guardsmen there for the Inauguration. That made a huge difference. If we'd had a, you know, 15 percent of that presence on January 6th, what happened would never have happened.
So I'm really glad that until this chapter is in the history books in its entirety, that we have that degree of security, you know, it may not be a situation where the President is going to urge thousands of people to march down Pennsylvania Avenue, but you never know when some, you know, group of Proud Boys or Boogaloo Boys or whatever they call themselves is going to decide to come down to the Capitol and raise hell, so I'm glad to see it.
But I'm also going to be so glad to see the back of this whole situation, you know, it just pains me beyond measure to see the Capitol looking like, you know, our embassy in Kabul. You know, I mean, this is the People's House and so the sooner we can get back to making it open and accessible is I think, going to make a lot of us very happy.
BERMAN: Congressman Himes, John Dean, thanks to both of you. Both of you, stay safe. Thank you for being with us.
HIMES: Thank you, John.
BERMAN: Next, exclusive new insight into Mitch McConnell's motivation where the ex-President is concerned as well as the pressure campaign being aimed at Republican senators to convict and put a lid on the former President's political future.
And later, a closer look at the extremist group, the Oath Keepers, whose members came to the Capitol ready for war.
BERMAN: So as we mentioned at the top, on a day when we learned how the second Senate impeachment trial in the space of a year will proceed, there is new reporting on the motives of one of the key players and the pressure being put on him.
He is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Our CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel has the scoop. Jamie, you have this new reporting that is kind of underground campaign going on to lobby Senate Republicans to convict the former President. What can you tell us about this?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So John, let's make no mistake, there are still plenty of Republicans who are scared of Donald Trump. That said, what we've learned is there is this, as you said underground campaign of dozens of influential Republicans who are really lobbying, encouraging, calling, cajoling members of the Senate to say you must convict.
And among those are former Trump White House officials, former Members of Congress, current and former staffers, and also a lot of big G.O.P. donors who have a lot of influence.
Will Mitch McConnell vote to convict? We haven't even started the trial yet and we know that it is a high bar. But one Member of Congress, a Republican said to me, the following, the member said, "Mitch said to me, he wants Trump gone. It is in his political interest to have him gone. It is in the G.O.P. interest to have him gone. The question is, do we get there?"
I think we have to remember that it would take 17 Republicans plus all 50 Democrats. But in the last impeachment, there was only one senator, Mitt Romney, who convicted. Will we get to 17? A lot of people think the chances are very slim. But maybe, as Congressman Himes said a little while ago, maybe we get to five, six or seven.
BERMAN: Which in itself would be significant.
BERMAN: Not enough to convict, but significant. And there is some organization behind this movement. You've obtained a nine-point memo. What does it say?
GANGEL: So what is very odd about this is, it's sort of a grassroots campaign, but these are all influential Republicans. And we obtained a nine-point memo that really goes after Trump and lays the case.
It says the President consistently lied about the election, voter fraud and conspiracy theories. It goes on really to make the case that I think you'll see Democrats put out for the trial. It says, he urged supporters from across the nation to come to D.C. to disrupt the proceedings.
He addressed the crowd, which was widely understood to include people who are planning to fight physically and demanded they quote, "fight like hell." That he tweeted and made other statements against Vice President Pence.
So there is -- we don't know how widespread, widely disseminated it was, but there is a real case being made -- John. BERMAN: Jamie Gangel, thank you. Keep us posted on this. It certainly
adds more to the picture here.
Perspective now from CNN political commentator, Kentucky and former McConnell adviser, Scott Jennings, also political consultant and writer and Alabamian, Stuart Stevens, author of "It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party became Donald Trump."
Scott, first of all, you know, what do you make of the impeachment trial timing that was just agreed upon? And what does it signal to you about Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, what he's doing in his next moves?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he did want to stress today that, you know, an impeachment trial is going to take place, and it should include some fairness and fairness to the person who is being accused, which is in this case, Donald Trump. He fought for that. It looks to me like the timeline that was agreed to was exactly what he had asked for.
So I think for people in the Republican conference that he leads that want to go easier on Trump or who want to side with Trump, this was something that would certainly appease that crowd by giving the President a chance to make a case, prepare a case.
On the other hand, though, he obviously didn't fight to stop the trial and we are going to have a trial and I think if the information is laid out and witnesses are called, it's going to be a pretty damaging case against Donald Trump.
The question is whether you could get the 17 Republicans and I don't know, it seems like a long haul to me. But I also think the senators have to ask themselves, if this isn't impeachable, what is? And can something like this come and go in our nation's capital without any punishment for the chief instigator whatsoever.
BERMAN: So Stuart, first of all, I think I apologize. I think I said you're from Alabama, Mississippi. My apologies on that. Secondly, just on the timing of the impeachment, what do you think the delay is going to do?
STUART STEVENS, POLITICAL CONSULTANT AND WRITER: Look, I think the delay is really not going to be important. The critical thing here is: is Mitch McConnell going to vote for impeachment? So Mitch McConnell has supposedly said we've gotten many reports that he thinks that Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses.
Republicans will follow Mitch McConnell, if he votes for impeachment. I think it would be like walking around with a paper bag full of water. It's not going to leak, but if it goes, it'll really go.
And I hope that Mitch McConnell realizes, he's a man with a sense of history, that this is really how he will be defined. And he had arguably the worst 24 hours of any Majority Leader in the history of the United States last week. He went to bed a Majority Leader and woke up a Minority Leader, and then his office was invaded by his own party.
He has to I think, assert some sort of moral voice here that you can't exist in a democracy with a President who is overthrowing -- advocating overthrowing that democracy, and he has that opportunity.
BERMAN: So Scott, you obviously know him. So what do you make of Stuart's argument here? And will this new campaign that Jamie Gangel just described, what impact do you think that will have?
JENNINGS: Well, I mean, I think it will have some impact because as the leader of the conference, you know, it's his job to absorb all of the information that's coming in from different stakeholders in the party and try to synthesize it and do what's right for the party and explain to the conference what he thinks is right for the party.
And so at the same time, you have this pressure campaign that Jamie was talking about, you also have a lot of grassroots Republicans out there who are calling the senators and pressuring them not to convict Donald Trump, because they want to continue to follow him.
I mean, look, I would just point you to the things he has said on the floor. Number one, the vote to uphold the Electoral College was the most important vote he had cast in 36 years. I mean, think about all the things that have come and gone.
For him to go down there and say that, he is not someone who engages in hyperbole or theatrics. For him to have said that and then the other day, just the other day for him to have directly implicated Donald Trump in inciting the crowd, and then further saying that the crowd was there to interfere with the Congress's constitutional duties. He chooses his words carefully, and I pay very close attention when he makes speeches on the floor.
So ultimately, I do think Stuart is right. He is an institutionalist. He believes in the Senate. And I think he was, you know, if I may be informal, royally pissed that a mob came down to come after the Vice President, come after Members of Congress, ransacked the Capitol and tried to interrupt their constitutional duties. He is clearly unhappy about it.
One final point, any political operative could reasonably conclude that it would be insane for the Republican Party to continue to follow Donald Trump. The limits of his political influence are clear empirically from the election, the ceiling for him is now much lower than it was because of January 6th, and I think McConnell may be thinking about, is this party going to be viable in national elections if we continue to go down this rabbit hole?
BERMAN: So simple, yes or no, you still think it's possible that he votes to convict?
JENNINGS: He said he's undecided, and I wouldn't characterize -- I'd be reticent to characterize anything beyond that. I would just say, I listen very carefully to what he says on the floor in his floor speeches, because he never says things that he doesn't mean and he said some fairly grave things on the floor.
BERMAN: All right. So aside from Mitch McConnell, Stuart, do you think there are really swayable Republicans at this point? Do you think -- you know, Jamie's reporting is that there are influential Republicans in the party pushing these buttons, but it's hard for me to know, besides Donald Trump at this point who these influential Republicans are that could change minds in the Senate?
STEVENS: Look, I think the most influential Republicans are the donors right now. The corporate community that has supported Republicans really has a role to play here and he is exerting that control.
I think a lot of what we're seeing is behind the scenes pressure from major corporations who have supported Republicans, who are appalled at the idea that there was an attempt to overthrow the government.
You know, it's hard to run a good business when you're having a revolution. And I think they know this, and they know they went too far. Plus, there's a whole aspect of this that was about disqualifying primarily African-American votes, and we've just had a year in which every corporation in America really, most of them anyway, looked at how they treat diversity and recommitted themselves to diversity, and how do they turn around and support an effort like this, which is an effort to disqualify black voters.
So I think the most pressure that can be brought in by these donors and I hope that these corporate communities really step up and do the responsible thing.
BERMAN: Stuart Stevens, Scott Jennings, great to see both of you. Thanks so much for being here.
STEVENS: Thank you.
JENNINGS: Thanks, John. Good to see you, Stuart.
BERMAN: So, whatever happens in the Senate judgment is already being passed on the ex-president by forces he may fear more than mere senators, namely, his bankers, his customers, the marketplace. The story is written in page after page of new financial disclosure form. Our story is told by "360s" Randi Kaye.
DONALD TRUMP, FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Being president has cost me a fortune, a tremendous fortune like you've never seen before.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That may be true and his own mismanagement of the pandemic may be partly to blame. Revenues dropped about 40% across the 47 companies listed on Donald Trump's final financial disclosure form. Trump's golf courses and hotels were hit especially hard. Just look at the numbers at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. sales dropped to 63% compared to the year before. In 2019, sales at that hotel were more than $40 million but they've since dropped to 15.1 million.
TRUMP: This is the most coveted piece of real estate in Washington D.C. the best location.
KAYE (voice-over): Coveted perhaps. But keep in mind along with those sinking revenues, Trump still has a $170 million loan on that property and revenues at some of Trumps golf courses are in a freefall. At his Turnberry Golf Resort in Scotland, revenue fell about 62% last year to 9.8 million.
(on-camera): And here a Trump National Doral Golf Resort near Miami revenues have also dried up after a banner year in 2019. With revenues of more than $77 million revenues dropped to just over $44 million last year according to Trump's final financial disclosure. And documents also show Trump has mortgages on this property between 55 and $75 million. Those loans come due in 2023.
(voice-over): Trump's golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey saw revenues slashed by about $3 million down to about 14.7 million last year. On top of that, the PGA canceled its upcoming tournament there delivering another gut punch to the former president.
At Trump's Wollman ice skating rink in New York City. One of the areas hardest hit by the pandemic revenues fell by nearly $5 million year over year. It wasn't all bad news for Trump sales at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, which the former president now calls home increased by about $3 million to 24.2 million. But still, Trump's impeachment for inciting an insurrection sparked a mass exodus as businesses and banks sever ties with the Trump brand.
Beyond the PGA tournament, New York City is looking to end all business relationships with the Trump Organization and canceled contracts with its ice skating rinks and parks. Financial documents show signature bank which ran Trump's checking account is severing ties. Even Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest bank and Trump's largest business lender, has decided to no longer do business with him. The Trump Organization still owes Deutsche Bank about $340 million.
The Trump Organization tells us in a statement, there were places that due to government mandates we were not able to operate, which in some cases means you lose the entire season. We are very proud of our team and how we have continued to navigate this devastating pandemic. We have never been stronger.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Doral, Florida.
BERMAN: Our thanks to Randi for that.
(voice-over): Just ahead, hope for a third vaccine in the coming weeks as states still say they're not receiving adequate amounts and the CDC changes guidelines about how long you have to wait to get that second dose. The details when we return.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:37:19]
BERMAN: January is now the second deadliest month for coronavirus. So far more than 64,000 deaths recorded more than 8,300 in just the previous two days underscoring the need to improve vaccine distribution. And an interview earlier today Dr. Anthony Fauci told me that to find out what's going wrong, quote, we've got to go into the trenches. States frustrated with the pace of the rollout, some saying they don't have enough to administer.
An updated guidance, the CDC now says that the second dose of the two authorized vaccines can be administered up to six weeks after the first. Some trends do appear to be changing somewhat. Today, the CDC said the amount of doses administered this week is 22% more than last week. Today was also the biggest one day increase ever. Also, according to Dr. Fauci, we are perhaps weeks away from the FDA evaluating a third vaccine.
Here to break all this down for us, our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, great to see you again.
Let's start with the good news. Dr. Fauci said today that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine data from it right around the corner, you spoke with one of the scientists who helped develop the J&J vaccine. What did you learn? And what are the advantages of their product?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The data first of all is likely right around the corner. And we know that John, because you remember, the FDA wants two months of safety data. Well, that two month mark is going to be just next week, actually. So that's typically the time where they will start to look at this data.
A couple of big advantages, potentially, of this vaccine. One is that it's a single dose vaccine. So you get 100 million doses, that's 100 million people, as opposed to 50 million with the two doses. It also -- it can be stored at regular refrigerator temperatures and for a few months. So, the people who develop this worked a lot on Ebola, they recognize the necessity, especially in countries in West Africa, for example, that may not have cold storage, that they could store this in normal refrigeration was important. But here's another important thing, John, this trial has been going on in three countries, the United States, Brazil and South Africa, where that other variant is circulating. If this vaccine is effective, against that variant, which has been circulating there, that's going to give us some insights as well in terms of the vaccines overall on these variants.
BERMAN: That would be hugely promising. And when we get this data back, we'll have a sense of the efficacy. Moderna and Pfizer over 90% effective.
GUPTA: Yes, I mean, that's a very high bar. I mean, you remember John early days that FDA said they would have accepted 50% efficacy to grant an emergency use authorization. So in this 95% number game, that's huge. Nobody knows what the efficacy is going to be but I can tell you looking at the phase 2 data, the amount of antibodies this vaccine produces is similar to what you see with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine. So, what to see on the overall efficacy.
BERMAN: Fingers crossed on that. So this is interesting. The New York Times is reporting tonight, if Pfizer plans to count extra doses squeezed out of coronavirus vaccine vials toward its obligation to the U.S. market, and us will shipping fewer vials. You remember, they were getting more vaccine at each vial than anticipated that was actually seen as a boon early on. Now, it seems they're they're skipping a little bit. I mean, what problems could this create?
GUPTA: Yes. I mean, so the vials are supposed to have five doses in them, pharmacists, were realizing they could typically get six doses out. So that was a bit of a surprise, sometimes that's part of what they call the fill and finish process, but they were getting an extra dose out. Now Pfizer says, well, those are no longer considered five dose vials, those are now considered six dose vials. And they're going to count that and they're going to charge for that.
There's two problems. One is that, you know, John, people like to spend money they don't have, right, so they already counted on many of these places that they were going to get six doses out of these vials and started counting on that. So they're not going to get that, they're going to get the original number of doses. It's just that six dose files.
Let me show you this image, John, this is this is one of the other issues. In order to get that six dose, you got to use what's called a low dead volume syringe. This is kind of a busy picture. But on the left is sort of a a what that low dead volume syringes, there's no space really between the hub of the needle and the needle itself. Picture on the right, you got a lot of empty space there at four microliters to be specific, but the relevance of that, John is that you need these low dead volume syringes to get all those doses out of the vial. Many places have them, but not every place. So that's going to be a second problem. Those places that don't have them, they're going to need to have.
In fact, Jen Psaki yesterday mentioned, they may invoke the Defense Production Act to make more of those specific types of syringes I just showed you for this very reason.
BERMAN: I now understand what she was talking about, because you showed me those pictures. Now I know what she was talking about yesterday. So the new guidance from the CDC that you can push your second dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, up to six weeks instead of three or four weeks and that some, quote, exceptional situations, you could do that you can even mix and match both vaccines. What are we supposed to take away from this? Because initially, we were told no to this.
GUPTA: Right. I think what we take away in part is that this is a response to some concerns that maybe they would run into these exceptional situations where they have enough of the first dose of Madonna, but not enough of the second dose, but they got Pfizer. And so, I think they're trying to sort of plan ahead. This is coming from the CDC.
And again, this is not recommended. But in exceptional circumstances, you could mix and match they take the first dose of Moderna, you got to wait at least four weeks if you're going to mix and match at all, for the second dose. But that second dose could be Pfizer, if the first dose was Moderna. So that's one thing. And then and then they say up to 42 days before you take the second dose in exceptional circumstances as well.
John, I'll tell you the data is what it is. It's on the three weeks from Moderna and an (INAUDIBLE) Pfizer and four weeks from Moderna. When they say 95% protective it's based on that. So, this other stuff should work. Mixing and matching, but we just don't know for sure.
BERMAN: Yes. But I think the context there is interesting. It shows you maybe they're anticipating exceptional circumstances and that's something that that maybe we should be ready for. Sanjay, thank you very much. Great to see you.
BERMAN: Just ahead, the fallout and investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Details on three suspects charged two federal prosecutors, they plan their attack on the Capitol in advance. That's when "360" returns.
BERMAN: More now with the breaking news we reported earlier. Plans are being made to keep thousands of National Guard troops in Washington, at least through the end of the month, possibly longer. That's due partly to concerns about the upcoming impeachment proceedings as well as other major political events, attracting violent fringe elements to the nation's Capitol. Today the administration announced measures to refocus the executive branch on fighting domestic extremists, including a comprehensive threat assessment by an intelligence agencies and expanded role for the National Security Council and better coordination among federal agencies.
This week, federal prosecutors filed the first significant conspiracy charge stemming from the attack on the Capitol giving the public a glimpse at three people they say are part of a violent extremist groups who did more than just participate. More from CNN's Sara Sidner.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: USA, USA.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They came to Washington trained in warfare wearing combat gear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us sing the national anthem. SIDNER (voice-over): Forming a line marching up the Capitol steps and then use their training against the U.S. Capitol. These three Americans are some of the first to face the most severe charges in the attack on the Capitol, including conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding and violent entry or disorderly conduct. All three are U.S. veterans. 65-year-old Thomas Edward Caldwell served in the Navy, 50-year-old Donovan Ray Crowl is a former Marine. This is Crowl inside the Capitol building on January 6.
DONOVAN CROW, FMR MARINE: (INAUDIBLE) the Capitol.
JESSICA WATKINS, FMR ARMY: We're in the (INAUDIBLE) Capitol --
SIDNER (voice-over): The person who popped up behind him is Jessica Marie Watkins. She served in the Army as Jeremy David Watkins. On January 6, the former Army veteran riled up her troops in person and on the social media site Parlor. We storm the Capitol today.
Watkins is a member of the Oath Keepers and extremist anti-government group. She also started her own self styled militia in Ohio. We wanted to know more about these Americans now charged with attacking the Democratic transfer of power they claim to support. So we went to their towns. Turns out, Watkins runs a bar with her partner in the village of Woodstock, Ohio.
(on-camera): I spoke with a neighbor who lives down the street from this bar who didn't want to be identified, but he told us that this is the watering hole for this town of about 300 people and that when you would go in to get your beer, Watkins would often try to recruit you to her militia. He said most people didn't bite. But we know at least one person did it, because he was in D.C. with Watkins and they were both arrested. That person was Donovan Crowl who lives just down the street from Watkins bar.
MONTANA SINIFF (PH), PARTNER OF JESSICA WATKINS: She does -- is not a violent person.
SIDNER (voice-over): Montana Siniff (ph) and Watkins run the bar that live upstairs where the FBI showed up last week.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The shots woke us up and the yelling because they were on a microphone yelling it is the FBI and to calm down. And it was crazy.
SIDNER (voice-over): It was flashbangs not gunshots. The blasted out window remains broken. Only Siniff was home and says he was questioned and released. Watkins later turned herself in.
(on-camera): What was her plan?
SINIFF: She was supposed to help protect some VIP members within the Trump rally.
SIDNER (on-camera): There are people calling her a traitor. How would you describe her? Is that fair?
SINIFF: That is very much an unfair statement. She would never try to dismantle the Constitution.
SIDNER (on-camera): So you don't see this as an insurrection or (INAUDIBLE)?
SINIFF: It was only (INAUDIBLE) take their lumps, but it's --
SIDNER (on-camera): Including Ms. Watkins?
SINIFF: What if she is found guilty of anything then she will have to take the consequences of that.
SIDNER (voice-over): Siniff also knows Crowl and says he joined Watkins self-styled militia.
(on-camera): What's he like?
SINIFF: When drunk? The guy you want to shut up. When sober the best man you could have.
SIDNER (on-camera): Well he came to the bar so you saw him both drunk and sober.
SINIFF: That's how I got that barometer and the militia was a good thing to help him. Be like it was a reason to (INAUDIBLE).
SIDNER (voice-over): Crowl has been convicted in Ohio for drunk driving. His mother told CNN by phone that a couple years ago her son said they were going to take over the government if they tried to take Trump's presidency from him. His mother said she didn't think much of it until January 6 happened.
About 400 miles away from Woodstock, Ohio near Berryville. Virginia is where Thomas Caldwell lives.
THOMAS CALDWELL, U.S. VETERAN: Every single (INAUDIBLE) in there is a traitor. Every single one.
SIDNER (voice-over): That is Caldwell at the Capitol calling legislators the traitors. Caldwell was a delegate to the Clark County Republican convention last year. In Washington D.C. authority say he was a co-conspirator with Crowl and Watkins in the assault on the capital.
SINIFF: I do not believe the charges of conspiracy are at all fair.
SIDNER: Now, it is unclear how Caldwell knew Crowl and Watkins, but federal prosecutors say that they were all in Washington D.C. and that Watkins was communicating using the Zello phone application to both communicate and plan the attack on the Capitol. John.
BERMAN: Sara Sidner, phenomenal work. What a report. Thank you so much for hitting the ground for us. Appreciate it.
Up next, we take you back to a small county in Texas whose residents have overwhelmingly supported the former President. "360's" Gary Tuchman visited there in 2017. And is there again tonight to gauge what people think of President Biden. You might be surprised. That when we continue.
BERMAN: President Biden's call for unity has already found some uneven political ground just days into his new administration. So we wonder how it's playing deep inside places where support for the former president is still as strong as ever. Gary Tuchman hit the ground to find out.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Roberts County in the Texas Panhandle.
(on-camera): Do you think he could be a good President Joe Biden.
CHAD BLACK, TRUMP VOTER: Everybody has capability being good. We'll see.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): It's a very small county, roughly 850 people live here.
VICTOR CASTILLO, TRUMP VOTER: I just tell him good luck and do what's right.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Except for the frequent freight trains. Roberts County is quiet. But it's getting a high profile. Because in the last two presidential elections, Roberts county give Donald Trump a higher percentage of the vote than any other county in America.
(on-camera): In this election, Donald Trump got over 96% of the vote in this county. Joe Biden received a grand total of 17 votes.
(voice-over): So we asked these most loyal of Trump voters.
(on-camera): What do you think Joe Biden needs to do to be a good president?
GARY MCFALL, TRUMP VOTER: Well, he's going to have to get everyone together first, get the whole United States together again. And I don't know that he can do that. Because he's got too many people behind him that's against getting the Trump supporters together with him with Democrats.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): You voted for Donald Trump twice. Do you think there's a possibility that you could ultimately believe that Joe Biden is a good president?
BRETT HALL, TRUMP VOTER: Yes, sir.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): What would you have to do to earn that from you?
HALL: He's going to have to keep the people together and quit being so divisive.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Several other Trump voters here told us the same thing. They believe President Biden needs to unite the country, be less divisive, despite the obvious irony.
(on-camera): Do you think Donald Trump has been divisive?
HALL: In certain ways? Sure.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Debbie Howard is owned the family haircare salon in the county seat of Miami for almost a quarter century.
(on-camera): If Joe Biden walked into your salon, and said, Debbie, I'd like an opinion from a Trump voter. So I'm going to vote for Trump twice. What can I do to make you like me and make you think I'm a good president? What would you say to him first thing?
DEBBIE HOWARD, TRUMP VOTER: That's really hard because I'm just go blank right now. Just try to unify this country. Try to try to, you know, listen to both sides. And in -- meet in the middle of compromise with with the Republicans.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Certainly not every Trump voter we met here is willing to give President Biden a chance. Randy Massey works in the heating and air conditioning business.
(on-camera): So is there any chance you could see him being a good president.
RANDY MASSEY, TRUMP VOTER: No.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): So you've given up on him already.
MASSEY: And I had faith in him for seven years and I'm only 44 years old.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But others are hoping they end up being pleasantly surprise.
(on-camera): Do you think you could be happy with him potentially?
HOWARD: Maybe there's potential there. Yes.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, Roberts County, Texas.
BERMAN: The news continues. So, let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME."