tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN November 29, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST
i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm erica hill. right now there are a lot of questions about a new coronavirus variant, omicron. while we wait for some of those answers, u.s. officials hoping to mitigate the spread with a new travel ban. starting today, all non-u.s. citizens and permanent residents traveling from south africa and seven other neighboring countries are barred from entering. >> a lot of protests from those countries there. big questions around the new variant. they include, is it more transmissible? is it more dangerous? and how much do existing vaccines protect against it? we don't know now. it is early and will take some time, they say perhaps weeks before we know answers, but we know a few things. have a listen. >> what we do know, it has a lot of mutations, more than 50. that's a new record, and some of those we've seen before and some we haven't. so this searchly suggests that this is a new kind of virus we have to take very seriously. if you needed one more reason if
you're eligible to get that booster right away, this would be it. >> so, as of right now, no cases have been identified in the united states. the reality, though, dr. anthony fauci says, it's inevitable. the white house officials bracing for it, doing their best to prepare for it. some health officials believe the variant is likely already in the u.s. john harwood is at the white house. nick valencia is at hartsfield-jackson atlanta international airport. john, we know the president will be receiving a briefing from the covid-19 response team. we're set to hear from the president in the next hour. what are we expecting him to say? >> reporter: i think what we expect, erica, is a variant of what he said yesterday after he got his initial briefing on omicron, which is that above all else, this is a cue to the american people who have not been vaccinated to get vaccinated and those who have not gotten their booster shot to
get booster shots. for all the unknowns about omicron, how transmissible and serious it is, if you get it, how resistant you are, if you had covid-19 or boosters, everyone agrees that the more vaccination that you've had, the better off you're going to be. what we heard from the president yesterday before the briefing that he's going to get this morning was that he as a precaution limited travel to south africa and a number of other countries in southern africa where the omicron variant was discovered, and try to figure out as a buying time measure for scientists to figure out what the next steps are and exactly whether drug companies, for example, will have to change their vaccine regimen in order to respond to this variant. a lot of unknowns there, but one thing we know is that the administration, its paramount goal is to get a handle on this pandemic. that's the principle source of
its political problems in the second half of this year sent the delta variant surge. we began to get in recent weeks positive news on the trajectory of the pandemic. some hope that by the middle of next year this would be largely in the rear-view mirror. now omicron has thrown up a big question mark. that's important as a matter of public health. it's important for the health of the u.s. economy. and of course it's very important for the political health of joe biden and the democratic party. so we will hear what he has to say at 11:45, but we know that caution and aggression on -- an aggressive approach to vaccinations is the principal response we'll hear. >> that's what dr. francis collins told us last hour. he says we do believe that this new variant, which will probably come to our shores, will also be something vaccines and boosters can help you with, that is existing vaccines and boosters. that's the clear guidance. nik, the u.s. travel association says the biden administration
should reconsider these travel restrictions as response. i'm curious what case they're making. >> reporter: well, we've heard that from south african officials saying they feel they're being unjustly punished for notifying the world of this new variant strain that was first spotted earlier this week in south africa. what i can tell you here at the atlanta airport is those flights are continuing to arrive here in atlanta as expected. we heard over the weekend despite the anticipation of the travel restrictions now in place, the hometown airline, delta, said they were going to go forward business as usual and continue those flights that were scheduled. earlier this morning at 8:15, a flight did arrive from johannesburg, but just as of about five minutes ago, went down to check, and still no passengers at the arrival gate. we don't know what the holdup is or whether or not they are going to be subjected to additional screenings. but what i can tell you from a conversation i had earlier with the customs and border officials, they say they'll be looking at travel documents,
things like recent pcr tests, vaccination cards. they say the cdc will be the lead in the health screenings, but we reached out to the cdc to see if anything is different now versus the 24 hours ago, and now that the travel restrictions are in place, of course there are exemptions, u citizens, lawful permanent residents, spouses and children of those groups. we reached out to the airport. this is what they're telling cnn this morning. they say as was the case with prior health-related travel bans, hartsfield-jackson is working with the state department of public health and the cdc to prepare inbound flights from nations impacted by monday's expected travel ban announcement. they told passengers to check their latest information. airport officials say they've been through this before, ebola, the start of the pandemic, emergence of the delta variant and with omicron, they believe b they're ready.
delta will continue with those flights to south africa. jim, erica? >> nick valencia and john harwood, appreciate the reporting. thank you both. this morning u.s. markets are rebounding after falling sharply on friday. global markets still reacting to concerns surrounding the omicron variant, but today way different than it was on friday. >> certainly is. matt egan joins us with more. so things decidedly more positive in the early first half an hour or so of trading this morning. >> jim and erica, yeah, the good news is the selling has stopped and markets are rebounding. this rebound is pretty tepid and it's losing a lot of momentum. the dow opened up almost 400 points higher, but as you can see, it's now only up about 100 points. given that the dow lost 900 points on friday, the worst day since october of 2020, this rebound is not all that impressive. we have to look at what's going on in the oil market because the
roller coaster ride has been more extreme there. as you know, oil is a key proxy for confidence in the economy, and oil collapsed by 13% on friday, worst day since april of 2020, up about 4% this morning. another key focus is the travel sector, which is really exposed to omicron. we've seen that some of the travel stocks are rebounding. expedia, united, hilton, carnival all up, but given they were down dramatically on friday, i don't think this is a strong rebound. you know, market experts i talk to, they're inching people not to panic. they say we just don't know enough information to make any dramatic changes to your profile at this point. there are a couple key questions facing the market and the economy. one, how dangerous is the omicron variant? hoi contagious is it? how quickly can vaccines be
updated? and how are governments going to react? how will health policies change? we know that will vary in different places, but tougher restrictions could deal a blow to the recovery. if governments don't change, consumer behavior could. the other big question is what does this all mean for the feld's policy? the fed has been planning to unwind emergency programs, and you wonder if this could change the fed's plans. i think big picture, it peoples like there is a lot more unknown than known at this point, and i want's going to take some time to get the answers to those questions. until then, i think we can expect more market turbulence ahead. >> markets would love the continuation of easy money from the fed. matt egan, thanks very much. joining now, dr. carlos del rio from emery school of medicine in atlanta. great to have you with us. there are a lot of questions this morning that we simply will not have answers to for the next two, maybe three weeks.
that's not a bad thing. this is science at work. but it can understandably for some people maybe be disconcerting they have to wait. bottom line this morning, how concerned are you? how concerned should someone at home be if they're watching about the omicron variant? >> you know, erica, i think we need to have a cautious concern. i think that this variant is of significance and something we need to be worried about. but we also need to be aware that the best defense we have is vaccination, and we have seen continued spread of delta variant in our country, primarily among unvaccinated individuals. my biggest concern is not necessarily omicron, is the fact that only 58% of americans are actually fully vaccinated. so i would encourage people to get vaccinated and get boosted. that is the best source of defense. if you're concerned, get vaccinated, get boosted, and don't worry about it. >> in terms of that booster, we heard from dr. collins with jim this morning that the variants have all responded, or the
vaccines have responded well to any previous variants and that's especially true when it comes to boosters. so that boost really does improve your protection for anybody who may have been thinking i already have my two shots, i'm good. >> absolutely. i think what we see when we get a booster is you get a very enhanced response. you get more antibodies and more protection than just after two doses. not only do you recover any loss of immunity, you actually way overshot that immunity. so my recommendation is definitely get a booster. i've gotten mine and recommended to my family, my patients and friends to do the same. >> we look at some of the efforts being put into place, the travel ban in the u.s., to buy a little bit of time. is that an effective mitigation effort? does the science support that plan, especially when u.s. citizens and permanent residents are going to be allowed in? >> you know, again, travel bans have little impact in a pandemic and frequently we're doing it,
you know, when the cat is already out of the bag. i think i would's very important we do other things, and i think, for example, testing is critically important. testing before you get on a flight. the u.s. continues to request testing before you get on a flight. you know, one of the things we saw on the klm flight that went to europe with 10% of the passengers e are were injected. the your peen union did away with testing before flights and relied on vaccine passports that's not enough. vaccination, testing, testing before you leave, testing after you arrive, quarantine after you do an international trip. there are many strategies you can implement to limit the entry of a virus into a country, but travel bans don't make a difference, quite frankly. >> i've heard other experts say, look, start wearing masks again. when you talk about vaccination rates, we know those in south africa are lower than the u.s. and a number of european countries. do other nations need to do more to improve those global vaccination rates?
is that perhaps a more effective tool at fighting these variants and the spread than, say, a travel ban? >> well, without doubt. if we don't improve global vaccination, we will continue to see variants emerge in different parts of the world. we saw the delta variant in india. we now see this new variant, the omicron variant, likely emerged in south africa. if we don't improve global vaccination, variants will continue to emerge in different parents of the world, so we have to do something about this. this is not a matter of charity. this is really a matter of health and global security. >> as we're all waiting to learn more, really the world is waiting at this point, but do you feel, you know, at emery, are you getting the guidance you need, whether it be from the cdc, the nih? >> we've seen how quickly information is flowing. i'm not only getting information from cdc and the nih, i'm getting information from colleagues in south africa, europe, many other places. the global community is
connected in this pandemic, and the way we're sharing information is unprecedented and great example of how the global community can work together to defeat a virus. >> if there's a positive, that is one to focus on. thank you. >> thank you, erica. still to come, congress could issue criminal contempt charges for mark meadows as soon as this week. we'll have the latest from the january 6th committee. plus, we're learning a second case of the omicron variant confirmed now in israel. as we know, all foreigners have been banned from entering that country. the government says the miss universe pageant, that's still on. okay. and the trial of jeffrey epstein's companion ghislaine maxwell is about to begin.
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the house committee investigating the january 6th ins reconciliation could make a decision this week on whether to seek criminal contempt charges against mark meadows. meadows, the former chief of staff to former president trump, also former sitting member of congress, has so far defied a subpoena from the panel and also did not show up for his deposition. >> earlier this month, former trump adviser steve bannon became the first person criminally charged for defying a subpoena issued by the committee. manu raju joining us now. we hear there could be some
movement with meadows, but meadows and bannon are not exactly the same when we're looking at the facts we're dealing with here. >> reporter: that's exactly why the committee has been grappling with the decision to move forward. some have believed that they would move forward, the referral for criminal contempt charges weeks ago. but because of the fact that mark meadows was in government at the time, he was a former chief of staff, at the time chief of staff to then president donald trump, that is different from steve bannon, outside adviser, who's been indicted on two counts for defying that subpoena and the aftermath of the house referring him for criminal contempt charges. the members of the committee say a decision will be made soon, potentially this week, to refer meadows' case to the whole house on criminal contempt charges. >> i can't go into what communications we're having or haven't had with particular witnesses, but we are moving
with alacrity with anyone who obstructs the committee, and that was certainly the case with mr. bannon, it will be the case with mr. meadows and clark and others. >> reporter: clark did come before the committee but did not answer the committee's questions. it had uncertain how the committee would deal with him as well, but all these officials who have refused to answer questions say they are protected by executive privilege, point to ongoing litigation in a separate court case over that issue as donald trump is fry v trying to prevent the committee from receiving any records and shield former officials from providing any information to this committee, investigating donald trump's role and everything that happened on january 6th. the question ultimately here was what decision did they make, will they refer it to the house, and if the house does refer mark meadows for contempt charges, will the justice department adhere? another question not known to this point. >> manu raju on the hill, thanks so much. let's bring in jennifer rogers,
cnn legal analyst. jennifer, good to have you there. to manu's question, doj did charge steve bannon. do you expect them, given the differences in their cases, to do the same to mark meadows? that is, if the committee as expected goes forward and declares him in contempt? >> well, jim, this is a much tougher call for the justice department, and in the past they have chosen not to charge with criminal contempt folks that have been referred by congress when the person was at the time sitting executive branch official like eric holder and bill barr. it remains to be seen. it is a tougher case. also steve bannon completely thumbed his nose at the committee. he didn't show up, negotiate, didn't do anything. m mark meadows did some of that so there's a better argument he acted in good faith. it's a tough call for doj. i think they'll take time to figure it out. i don't know what they'll do. >> in terms of the committee, what are the chances that the
committee is also waiting to see what plays out in this next legal battle, right, this three-judge panel hearing the latest arguments from former president trump that he did not want those documents released by the national archives? are they waiting that out? >> i think that's right at least as to what happens tomorrow. i don't know if they would wait for an appeal to the supreme court, but tomorrow we may know or in a few days after tomorrow's hearing we may what the circuit will do with this. if they decide not to block the release of the documents from the national archives, that may inform the decision of the committee. >> one sorptt of consistent feature, the way trump has dealt with courts for years, even before in government, delay, delay, delay, run out of the clock in effect. all of these things are moving frustratingly slowly for some people, and you have a political clock in washington with the midterms. democrats may lose majorities and committee chairmanships with
the midterms. is the court system keeping up with this? can trump run out the clock on these various issues including executive privilege? >> yeah, that's exactly right. it's not just trump. all of his followers seem to have learned the same lesson. the courts are frustratingly slow. if this goes to the supreme court, it's something they shouldn't hear, should not get four votes to hear this matter, and if they refuse it, that will move things more quickly. but there's pending legislation that would cause them to move faster. that would be a good fix for this. but our system is broke en in this way. the courts do not move fast enough to keep up with what needs to be done. >> when we look at where we're at, even with steve bannon, he's loving this moment, i think we can say. the chances of him ever talking are slim to none at this point. so given what folks are seeing from his efforts and how that's paying off for him in his own
mind, i mean, is there concern, too, that that is further influencing perhaps others who the committee would like to talk to? >> it could be, although he's differently situated, right. bannon has his radio show. this is kind of his personality, feeding his fans, if you will. i'm not sure jeffrey clark and mark meadows and others want to be charged with a crime and face the prospect of going to prison. they don't have that same kind of public face to put out there. so, you know, i don't know that they will view it in the same way, but you're right. the criminal charges joust punishment for the refusal to cooperate. it doesn't force them to do anything. if congress wants to force them to do it, they need to look at a civil contempt charge to put them in prison until they cooperate, and they have not been willing to do that yet. >> jennifer, thanks. just moments ago, the miss universe pageant confirming one of it contestants who already
arrived in israel for event has tested positive for coronavirus. it's not clear yet whether this is a case of the new variant. officials, though, under fire for moving ahead with that event. we'll take a look at that next. ♪ dad, why didn't you answer your phone? ♪ your mother loved this park. ♪ she did. ♪ new projects means new project managers. you need to hire. i need indeed. indeed you do. when you sponsor a job, you immediately get your shortlist of quality candidates, whose resumes on indeed match your job criteria. visit indeed.com/hire and get started today.
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the coronavirus known as omicron. he'll address the american public on the variant within the next hour. world leaders are working to contain the spread of that variant. in israel, there's a second confirmed case. travel restrictions in place there. the country's tourism minister says they still plan to host the miss universe pageant in a few weeks. in terms of that pageant, we're learning one of the contestants has now tested positive for coronavirus. what more do we know? >> reporter: yeah, just in the last couple hours we learned from the miss universe organization that one of the contestants who had just arrived into the country for the competition has tested positive for coronavirus. now, miss universe says all continue tes tanltss and staff are vaccinated and tested before they leave, but she's been moved to a state-run quarantine hotel. not clear whether she will be able to compete in the
competition that is less than two weeks away. organizers and authorities say the show will go on despite the fact there are two confirmed cases of the omicron variant in israel, and as a result, after the first confirmed case came through the israeli government decided to shut down the borders to foreign nationals for two weeks. in addition to that, all israelis, when they are coming back into the country, no matter where they are coming from, now have to quarantine for at least three days and produce two negative pcr tests before they are released. any jisraelis returning from re countries, most countries in africa besides the northern countries, they have to be take on the state-run quarantine hotels no matter their vaccination status. in addition, anybody with a confirmed or suspected case of the omicron variant will have their locations tracked via their cell phones by the israeli security service. that goes to show you how seriously the israeli government is taking this new variant
despite these new travel restrictions, life is continuing more or less as normal. there are not new restrictions on gatherings, which is important because we're in the middle of the hanukkah holiday in israel. so far there's no restrictions on gatherings. as we noted within less than two weeks, we will have many of these beauty queens in the southern city of ha lat for this competition and they say that competition will go on. >> given how seriously israel has taken every phase of this pandemic, you think of fashion week in milan, how are israeli officials planning on going ahead with the pageant? >> they said they need the next two weeks to understand this variant and how it interacts with a vaccine. of course, there was a major drive for the boosters in israel. i think all the authorities are hopeful they will see that this vaccine is still very effective against the new variant and are able to justify continuing with the competition.
>> thank you. in vienna, the u.s. and ally have resumed talks on the iran nuclear agenda. the u.s. delegation will not be speaking directly with the iranians. >> leaving it to america's european allies. with a newly elected government in tehran, u.s. officials are not optimistic, emphasizing if diplomacy fails the white house is, quote, prepared to use other options. cnn international differentic editor rnic robertson has been covering this. what is the impression as to how the new government will approach the negotiations? are they interested? >> reporter: that's an open question right now around that table. some clues might be being given to u.s. allies. you know, uk, france, and germany sitting down at the table. not the iranian representative yesterday, the deputy foreign minister met with the chinese and russians also around that
table as well. this is a more conservative iranian leadership. it is viewed as being more hahard line, skeptical of the u.s., more than the last round who the assessment is, well, they made a deal but it left us with heavier u.s. sanctions. what the iranian foreign ministry is saying today is we have sent a quality team, his words, a quality team because we are, quote, serious. they're also saying this quality team is known to all. i think that maybe they're trying to sort of create that impression that there's continuity here. their new negotiators will be similar to their old negotiators. but, you know, what's very clear to the united states and its allies, if iran sits down at that table, when the talks stalled back in june, and they don't move the ball forward and they try to regress again, then it will be, you know, the united states has made it very clear,
it will turn to other means, sanctions very clearly, and its partners say they may join in. >> we'll watch it closely. thanks very much. still to come this hour, a pivotal week for the supreme court. lit hear a major case that could overturn abortion rights in this country, something to watch closely. whoo hoo! ensure, with 27 vitamins and minerals, now introducing ensure complete! with 30 grams of protein. and that's just basic wavy guy maintenance, right? next up, carvana. oh, boy. carvana just doesn't seem to understand how the test drive works. they give their customers sevedays. and if they don't like it, they give 'em their money back. wait, they take the car ck? that's crazy what if it was driven by like a zookeeper? or a mud wrestler? or a guy who's on the outs with the missus and he just needs a place to sleep for seven days? yeah.
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will take up an important case that could have major implications for abortion rights across the united states. the justices set to weigh the constitutionality of an anti-abortion law in mississippi which bans most abortions after 15 weeks, no exceptions for rape or incest. >> exceptions. this was passed into law in 2018. it has been struck down by two federal courts. cnn has been following all this from washington. you have multiple tests of roe coming up and abortion rights. start with the mississippi one and the potential implications. >> that's right. good morning. roe v. wade has not been under such a challenge as we have now since 1992 when the justices narrowly affirmed roe v. wade, which had been declared national right for women to be able to end a pregnancy in 1973. that was affirmed about two decades later, and now we have as i said the most serious
threat since then because we have a whole new court with -- now we have six conservative justices, many who have spoken out against roe v. wade, and this challenge that you just referred to that's going to be heard wednesday goes to the heart of roe. it's a 15-week ban on abortions from the state of mississippi. roe v. wade and the 1992 planned parenthood versus casey said women have a right to end a pregnancy before viability. that is at about 22, 24 weeks when the fetus can live on its own outside of the woman. and that's what's at stake now with the 15-week ban. now, jim, you referred to other challenges, and i know you're thinking what is happening in texas where there's a six-week ban on abortion that has been allowed to take effect in that state for the last three months, because the justices have not blocked it.
that case is specific to texas. it involves a very complicated procedural issue in that that ban in texas. but what happens in mississippi, the case to be argued this week, could be affect women, all americans, across the country. >> getting so much attention. what's also interesting is everyone looking at the makeup of this court now. as you mentioned, not since 1992 have we seen this challenge. you wrote about this. there's a lot of focus on chief justice john roberts. is there any sense today of where he is likely to come out specifically on both mississippi and texas? >> reporter: well, in 1992, he was an advocate before the court arguing for reversal of roe, as a matter of fact. but now he's steering the court and trying to probably roll back abortion rights in some way, but not shatter the integrity of this institution. most americans say that the right to abortion should exist still. and he's struggling with five
more conservative justices to his right, only three liberals left on this court to his left. and it's a very fine line he's walking. i think what he would like to do is probably something more incremental. but there's a real tide going here, and i would use what's happened in texas as bit of a signal that at least in one state they've already essentially lifted the right to abortion, and that could be what comes next. but, erica, even though it's going to be argued on wednesday, we probably won't know until almost the last day of june 2022, right as we head into the midterm elections what this court will do. >> with the texas law, i mean, the other thing about this, and you know far more about it than me, is that it provides in effect a legal end-around potentially of a whole host of constitutional rights because it puts the burden on private citizens to enforce rather than on a state actor which therefore
gives you no one to sue. that piece of this sls fascinating because the court has in effect allowed its authority to some degree to be undermin undermined. >> reporter: that's right. i was sure court would not want to be gamed the way texas gamed it. but this new court, three appointees of donald trump, all predictions are off. so that law i think eventually will be suspended in some way just because, as you talked about, jim, the way the state has tried to essentially deputize private citizens to enforce the right to abortion to try to avoid texas being sued. the more consequential case truly is this mississippi one because this likely is a vehicle for the justices to end -- you know, i hate to predict having not heard the oral arguments on
wednesday, but i think there's a good chance given the makeup of this court, that they might lift that viability line that has been in place for nearly half a century that said women with their physicians have the right to decide whether to end a pregnancy before that point. >> we will be watching very closely, but as you point out, we won't know for some time what the ruling will be. but still a lot of interest for obvious reasons. j joan biskupic, always appreciate your insights. >> thank you. still to come, the trial of ghislaine maxwell begins. jeffrey epstein's longtime companion accused of helping him entice minors to engage in criminal sexual activity. we're outside the court next. that's why subway bought time in my shampoo ad. to talk k about the new baja chicken & bacon. body, bounce, and baja. bounce.
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jury selection is expected to begin this morning in the sex trafficking trial against the british social ooit ghislaine maxwell. >> she's accused of grooming girls for sex with her longtime companion jeffrey epstein. epstein died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial. kara scannell is live outside the u.s. district court in new york. this could begin today.
what are we expecting? >> reporter: good morning. they're still in the process of doing jury selection right now. they have winnowed it down to 12 jurors and 6 alternates. one of the jurors had a question involving employers. the judge is trying to work that out. once that issue is resolved, the judge will swear in the jury, instruct them on what to expect during this six-week trial, then we'll move to opening statements. the prosecutors say they need only 25 minutes to make their presentation to the jury. that will be followed by maxwell's attorneys. they're expecting to take a little less than an hour. the issues is prosecutors have charged maxwell with helping jeffrey epstein recruit, groom, and sexually assault young women, some as young as 14 years old. prosecutors say this occurred between 1994 and 2004 in new york, palm beach, new mexico, and in london. the prosecutors are also expect told call as many as four of maxwell's alleged victims. those victims will testify under pseudonyms. we do understand there is at least one alleged victim here
today, not part of this case, but here to support some of the other victims. maxwell's attorneys have not laid out their defense. but one of the big issues here is that jeffrey epstein, because he died by suicide, is not on trial. they're looking to make the point that the only reason why ghislaine maxwell is, is because he's not here. >> kara scannell, appreciate it. thank you. also keeping a close watch on chicago. jury selection begins this hour there in the case against actor jessie smollett. he's charged of making false reports to police after claiming he was the victim of a hate crime. >> chicago police say the actor orchestrated the incident, paid two men to stage it for publicity. cnn's omar jimenez reports. >> reporter: it's been a long road just to get to this moment, jury selection in the trial of j jussie smollett.
he's charged with making false reports that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack as a black and gay man. this goes back to dwooint when smollett told police he was physically attacked in downtown chicago by two men who used those racial and homophobic slurs, that an unknown chemical substance was poured on him, and that they put a noose around his neck. chicago police investigated and said smollett made it all up, orchestrated it with two brothers in the name of publicity. not long after he was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct. several weeks later, though, those counts were suddenly dropped when the state's attorney's office cited a $10,000 bond he'd already paid, community service he had done, and argued that's likely where the case was headed anyway. months after that, a special prosecutor was appointed, and that is where this six-count indictment came from, the six counts of making false police
reports. that's of course where we are now. he's maintained his innocence throughout, pleading not guilty to the six charges. the trial is expected to move quickly, four to five days. and the judge in this case has said he wanted to start hearing evidence right after the jury was selected. >> omar jimenez, thank you. we'll be right back. heartiness? yes! living life to the flavor-fullest? heck yes. panera. live your yes. now $1 delivery. your shipping manager left to “find themself.” leaving you lost. you need to hire. i need indeed. indeed you do. indeed instant match instantly delivers quality candidates matching your job description. visit indeed.com/hire walmart's deals for days isn't over yet. this cyber monday is your last chance to score big online starting sunday night.
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this just in to cnn, officials in new york city are highly recommending that residents wear masks while indoors in public places, this regardless of vaccination status. this in response to concerns about a new coronavirus variant, omicron. while there are no identified cases of the variant in the country, health officials say this is one way to prevent a potential spread. also new this morning, the white house revealing its holiday theme. that theme is gifts from the heart. here's a preview of what things look like inside. more than 100 volunteers helped to put up the 41 christmas trees, 78,000-plus lights, 6,000 feet of ribbon. later tide, first lady jill biden will thank those volunteers and give a tour to the youth commander for the d.c. national guard and her family. it's beginning to look a lot
like christmas, isn't it. >> indeed. >> those songs are already on the radio. thanks for joining us today. i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm erica hill. "at this hour" with kate bolduan starts right now. good morning, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. we begin with the developments on the new omicron coronavirus variant. more countries closing their borders this morning, more fear over how dangerous it might be, yet still no one knows. at this hour, president biden is getting briefed by his pandemic response team, and the president will address the nation this hour about the new variant, what is known, what is not known, and what they are doing about it. it will be a couple weeks before it's known how effective current vaccines are against the variant. right now, it appears this variant may be more transmissible but may not cause any more severe disease. but that's just what's known right now. then there's this -- the