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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  December 21, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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breaking news. president biden just announced new steps to combat the surge in covid cases now dominated here in the united states by the omicron variant. he's warning unvaccinated americans they have good reason to be worried. also tonight, the president insists he and joe manchin can still get something done despite the saenator's rejection of the spending bill. they are about to hold a critical meeting tonight on how to move forward. and the january 6th select
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committee reportedly is considering one of its boldest and potentially most consequential actions yet. a possible criminal referral against former president trump. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> we begin with president biden's response to the new omicron crisis hours after the variant became dominant here in the united states. let's go right to our senior white house correspondent phil mattingly. the president tried to reassure the vaccinated while warning unvaccinated americans of life and death consequences. >> it's a delicate messaging balance no question about it. it's one the white house views as critical in this moment. a moment where the omicron variant is very seriously causing concern. no question about that. however, it also finds the country in a very different
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moment in terms of the tools it has and its ability to manage the pandemic. >> i know you're tired. >> reporter: tonight president biden seeking to reassure an exhausted nation. as it braces for what may be the largest covid wave yet. >> this is not march of 2020. 200 million people are fully vaccinated. we're prepared. we know more. >> reporter: but the remarks marked a complex effort to straddle the line between a dire message to the unvaccinated -- >> the unvaccinated have a significantly higher risk of ending up in the hospital or even dying. >> reporter: and hopeful r resolve for those with the vaccine and booster. >> you have a high degree of protection against severe illness. >> reporter: as the omicron variant now makes up a stunning 73% of new u.s. covid cases. biden urging americans to get vaccinated and boosted and making a point of thanking former president donald trump for doing just that. >> it may be one of the few
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things he and i agree on. >> reporter: while lambasting media outlets and personalities that push vaccine conspiracy theories. >> these companies and personalities are making money by peddling lies and allowing misinformation that can kill their own customers and their own supporters. >> reporter: as the white house rapidly prepares for the possibility of overwhelmed health care workers. mobilizing 1,000 troops to deploy to covid-burdened hospitals with emergency response teams already on the way to six states. all as the administration shifts to address the growing spike in testing need. launching federal testing sites in hard-hit states and purchasing 500 million rapid tests to be mailed at no cost to those who request them starting in january. >> we'll be getting these tests to americans for free. and we'll have websites where you can get them delivered to your home. >> reporter: an abrupt shift from an administration that just two weeks ago said this -- >> why not just make them free and give them out and have them available everywhere?
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>> should we just send one to every american? >> maybe. >> then what happens if every american has one test. how much does that cost and what happens after that? >> but the president rejecting criticism that the administration was unprepared. >> is it a failure that you don't have an adequate amount of tests for everyone to be able to get one if they need one right now? >> no, it's not because covid is spreading so rapidly. i don't think anybody anticipated that this was going to be as rapidly spreading as it did. >> reporter: even as americans face long lines for testing throughout parts of the country. biden urging those vaccinated and boosted to maintain their holiday plans. >> you know, you've done the right thing. you can enjoy the holiday season. >> reporter: and americans listening with the tsa reporting more than 2 million daily travelers for a fifth consecutive day. underscoring the challenge at hand for a white house attempting to assuage the most serious concerns for the
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vaccinated and boosted while delivering dark warnings to the tens of millions who have chosen not to get the shot. >> hospitals are full of people who made that mistake. >> the president was candid about the fact that those who are vaccinated and boosted will still likely have the potential for actually getting covid with this new variant. and he said that would include people in the white house. and he would know. he had a close contact with a white house staffer that did test positive for covid. now when the white house realized that, the president took a pcr test. he has tested negative. because of cdc guidelines, he's still going through his daily schedule. he'll be tested again tomorrow. but at this point, white house press secretary jen psaki says he's showing no symptoms and still has no positive test. >> i want to bring in andy slavitt, former senior adviser to the biden white house covid response team and author of "preventable: the inside story of how leadership failures, politics and selfishness doomed the u.s. coronavirus response."
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also with us, cnn medical analyst dr. leana wen. her book is "lifeline: a doctor's journey in the fight for public health." president biden is defending the state of the country's covid testing but pharmacies all over the country right now are sold out of rapid tests. people are waiting in hours-long lines to get tested. are the new measures he announced today too little, too late? >> well, this is a very good speech from president biden for three reasons. . it was very policy rich, as phil reported. it has everything from fema to the military to more personnel to more sites to more testing to free tests. secondly, it was honest. it acknowledged that even if you've been vaccinated you may get infected but you're safe. and most importantly, i think it reassured americans where we stand today is a very different place than we stood in 2020. kids should still be going to school.
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if you've been vaccinated and taking precautions you can still enjoy time with your family. and this is, i think, the very honest focus but policy rich message that we need to hear. we'll go through a period of a lot of virus but it's going to be very, very quick and put some constraints and some of our resources and that's what i hoped to hear from the president today. >> as you know, it's going to take a few weeks now to get all these new measures in place in the meantime. people are having a very hard time getting tested. >> i think there's absolute holiday rush around tests and i think in many areas because we're going to see such a rapid doubling rate of covid that we're going to be constrainted across almost all of our resources and we should expect that from personnel to testing sites to boosters, particularly in new york and parts of the country. so i think that's why the assistance of new testing sites, new free testing sites in new york and places like that and personnel for the hospitals and fema to build hospitals is really the best thing we can be
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doing. hopefully that means we'll get through this period quickly and we'll be on the back side of omicron before the end of january with any luck. >> well, we can only hope. dr. wen, the president says no one anticipated the virus spreading as rapidly as omicron. but that's exactly what experts have been warning about. how is it that we're nearly two years into this pandemic and the biden administration didn't necessarily prepare fully for this current winter surge? >> right. so i want to agree with andy on some points, which is that i thought this speech was very good in explaining where we are and also specifically reassuring the vaccinated that there aren't going to be more restrictions placed on them. that we're not going to have lockdowns because lockdowns are a blunt instrument that should be used only when there is a -- where there is no other choice. we're having an existential crisis. we're not there yet. but i also think this speech today was reactive. responding to the crisis that we're already facing as opposed
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to acknowledging that we could have predicted and did predict, many of us did predict we'd have a winter surge, even though we didn't know the specifics of omicron that was going to come our way. we did anticipate there were going to be other variants and for more than a year, many of vus have been calling for a significantly ramped up home testing that is -- that we were nowhere near. and even if we did not have omicron coming into this holiday season, just with the delta variant, we would be at this point of having this substantial testing crunch. and what i'm really concerned about is 500 million tests that president biden announced sounds like a lot. it's actually very little. we need to have enough tests for every american family to be able to test twice a week if they so choose. testing should not be the limiting factor here and i'm very concerned that the biden administration has not set that kind of moonshot goal. they did so much around vaccines. we're able to ramp up testing as well but it takes political will and i'd like to hear that from
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president biden going forward as well. >> would you like to respond some. >> sure, dr. wen and others are right. we need to be prepared for all these situations. the difference between the delta wave now and omicron wave now is just the intensity that we'll see all at one moment. that's going to mean in certain places, new york, california, if it comes here quickly, and other places like that, there's just going to be an overpowering result. now the president has done a number of things. didn't just start now. in the summer, he invested $3 billion to help scale up rapid tests. there were no rapid tests as of the summer and spring. now eight fda-approved rapid tests. tens of thousands of testing sites, free testing sites and opening up another several thousand more. so, look, i think we do -- he did acknowledge that we have some places where we're going to have shortcomings and we just have to acknowledge that's the
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case. but more quickly than this, i think even from where we were is a big challenge. these things don't ramp infinitely. >> phil, let me ask you, does the president, the white house staff for that matter, fully understand the level of frustration about lack of testing capacity that's clearly out there right now? >> i think they definitely have a sense of it. that's why you heard the president. he was actually quite candid about the fact that for all they've done on the testing front according to the white house and white house officials they need to do better. they can do better. that was a candid assessment of the reality right now. where white house officials know that due to manufacturing constraints, regulatory constraints and hurdles things have not gone in a similar direction as perhaps other countries have over the course of the last year or so. and that needs to be recognized. that needs to be addressed. that's why you have seen there's been a progression since the president rolled out his winter plan, which had a new policy for those to be able to get reimbursed if you have insurance for take-home rapid tests to now
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moving to this proposal where you can go to a website and have a test sent to you. that's a kind of agility to some degree of recognizing this is a growing issue inside the country and growing frustration. and an attempt to address that, will it work? i think it's an open question but it's definitely an effort to address it, wolf. >> so frustrating to see those long lines, people waiting for hours outside in new york city, for example, simply to get a test. guys, thank you very much. we'll stay on top of this story, obviously. also coming up, president biden says he and senator joe manchin are going to, quote, get something done on his social spending plan, despite the public turmoil surrounding the negotiations. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." ♪ the one desire ♪ ♪ you are, you are, ♪ ♪ don't wanna hear you say... ♪ ♪
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president biden expressing some optimism for his almost $2 trillion spending plan after joe manchin almost thisingle-handed stopped it in its tracks saying he would not vote for it. manu raju is working this story. there are developments unfolding. what's the latest up on capitol hill? >> democrats in the senate plan to have a meeting tonight, a virtual meeting to discuss their path forward. even though it's unclear at this moment whether joe manchin, in
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fact, will participate on that call. and it's also unclear what exactly that path forward is. a number of democrats want to find some kind of consensus on a pared back bill. particularly democrats in the house who voted to approve that bill last month and now are left with nothing to show for it. but there are concerns among progressives they can't get out behind something if they don't know joe manchin will support and there's ongoing back and forth that persisted between the president's staff and joe manchin himself. manchin, i'm told, was concerned, was furious at the white house for calling him out in a statement from last thursday. essentially blaming him for the delay in the negotiations when he thought there was an agreement between him and the president to continue talking next year. but joe biden today answering questions about joe manchin indicated that he doesn't hold a grudge. he still believes a deal can come together. >> maybe i'm not irish because i don't hold a grudge. look, i want to get things done. i still think there's a
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possibility of getting build back better done. >> did senator manch inbreak his commitment to you? >> senator manchin and i are going to get something done. >> even so, there's an effort by the democratic leaders to try to advance this big bill. the $1.75 trillion bill. put it on the floor. put everybody on the record. but that will get a no vote from joe manchin to proceed. and, wolf, it will even take a few weeks to get that large bill together, finish drafting it, finish going through parliamentarian process to get it to a point that it would fail. it is highly uncertain at this point. leading to concern that democrats may head into a very difficult election year without delivering the big ticket item on their agenda while they have other things to point to that they accomplished. this is why they put all their eggs in the bask net the last several months and if it doesn't happen here, the concern they'll end up with eggs on their face. >> manu, thank you very much. manu raju with the latest from the hill.
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let's dig deeper. joining us, evan osnos, staff writer for the new yorker and author of "wildland." also with us, our chief political analyst gloria borger. gloria, president biden says and you just heard him once again, senator manchin and i are going to get something done. but what does that look like after manchin effectively torpedoed months of work? >> hard to say what it's going to look like, but the truth is that joe biden doesn't hold grudges. and he is going to try and work with manchin. if you go back and look at what's happened over the last few days, manchin did put a package in front of joe biden that was $1.8 trillion. what it did not include was the child care tax credit, which is, of course, so important to so many democrats. but he did include universal pre-k, expansion of obamacare, lots of money for climate change provisions.
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so there is a way where they can get together. but as manu was saying, is it going to be a big package which progressives wanted? absolutely not. so would they vote for it? we don't know what the answer to that is. so the question is, would they rather go into the 2022 election with half a loaf or no loaf at all? >> yeah, that's a good point. evan, you've spent some time interviewing senator manchin, reporting on the reaction he's getting in west virginia, his home state. how do they move forward after this fallout, if at all? >> well, you know, exactly as gloria was saying, these two are looking at where they might be able to find something in common. there were some pieces in that bill that joe manchin put forward, that proposal. universal pre-k. significant money toward climate in fact. but the big sticking point is the child tax credit. and he's getting some pressure at home in west virginia. it's interesting. i've been hearing from democrats who say, look, this thing has helped 300,000 kids in this
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state and their estimates are that there are about 50% of those kids who could slip into poverty if those payments dry up. so, yes, there's pressure on joe biden right now to make some headway but the pressure on joe manchin is real and it's not going to go away. that's a piece of this, too. as you heard today from joe biden, he's not holding a grudge. stla to figure out a way to put some points on the board. >> the senate democrats, they are about to hold this key caucus meeting later tonight around 8:00 p.m. eastern to discuss next steps. so what will it say if senator manchin attends or what will it say if he's a no-show tonight? >> well, you know, we can't predict what he's going to do. maybe his zoom will go down and it won't work but everyone knows where he stands on this. i think kyrsten sinema is a person they'd like to hear from. and if he is on the call and he can tell them how he sees a way forward working with the president, i think that would be
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hugely helpful. but it's not as if he's kept his positions a secret here and it's not as if he hasn't put a proposal out there on the table. he has done that. so they kind of know where he is. there are all kinds of rumors flying earlier in the week. oh, maybe he's not going to be a democrat anymore. he's a democrat. >> yeah, he is a democrat. evan, president biden had hoped to pass this transformative legislation. does he need to rethink his legislative strategy heading into the new year? >> he certainly does. he has no choice. look, he's now entering into an election year in which people are going to be holding democrats responsible for what they promised to do in the last election which was to get things done. the watch word of the moment is really now about achievement. achieving some things. not about aspiring or the greatest ambition possible but getting some things done. can take a lot of different shapes. could be some executive actions. could be breaking up legislation but that gets harder. they'll get back, try to figure out a way to get through
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reconciliation and that's where you hear nobody yet willing to take this from what is now a rift and putting it into a rupture beyond reconciliation. they want to find a way back is the goal. >> evan, gloria, thank you guys very much. up next, the select house committee investigating the january 6th capitol riot is considering sending criminal referrals to the u.s. justice department. could this include the former president? the former president trump? stay with us. you're in "the situation room." . a plan with tax-smart investing strategies designed to help you keep more of what you earn. this is the planning effect. every business is on a journey. and along the ride, you'll find many challenges. ♪ your dell technologies advisor can help you find the right tech solutions. so you can stop at nothing for your customers. (burke) this is why you want farmers claim forgiveness... [echoing] claim forgiveness-ness, your home premium won't go up just because of this.
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we're following some new and significant developments in the house investigation into the january 6th capitol insurrection. let's go to our senior justice correspondent evan perez. he's working the story for us. evan, the select committee now says if it uncovers information related to criminal conduct, it would refer that to prosecutors. give us the latest. how would this work? >> that's right, wolf. i think what you have is that some members of this committee are pushing the idea that at the end of this, they are hoping and they certainly believe from what they've seen so far that they'll get to the point where they can make referrals, criminal referrals to the justice department. however, we're also hearing from folks on the committee who say, well, there's still at the evidence gathering phase of this and that the idea of referrals
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is perhaps a little premature but eventually they could get there but they're still a long ways away from that. and we have a committee aide who gave us a comment on this. and they said, quote, the select committee is gathering facts and asking questions about the violence of january 6th. and its causes so we can make legislative recommendations and help ensure nothing like that day happens again. the select committee is not conducting a law enforcement investigation. so if we uncover information that we believe could be related to criminal conduct, we will make whatever referrals are appropriate. wolf, we've heard in the last -- certainly the last few weeks, a steady drum beat from some members of the committee. we heard from liz cheney, one of the fee members of the committee who has talked about perhaps former president trump being -- committing a crime of obstructing the work of the congress on january 6th which was, of course, certifying the election. we've also heard from other
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members who think that at the end of this, they need to show some accountability for the former president and his associates. >> meanwhile, evan, as we approach january 6th, it sounds like former president trump is planning to mark the day in mar-a-lago. tell us about that. >> yeah, he says -- essentially what we're going to have is a little counterprogramming. they know, he knows that people in congress are going to be marking that day with perhaps some events, wolf, so he's planning to have some kind of media event down in mar-a-lago. again, a bit of counterprogramming from the former president. >> evan perez, thank you very much. let's discuss this with democratic congressman jason crow of colorado. a member of the intelligence committee. a veteran of the wars in iraq and afghanistan. thanks for joining us. thanks for all your service. i want to get to what we heard from evan in a moment. i know you just tested positive for a breakthrough case of
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covid. you have been vaccinated. you have been boosted. first of all, how are you doing? >> hi, wolf. thanks for having me. i'm doing pretty well. i feel like i have a cold which actually just illustrates to me how fortunate i am that i did get vaccinated and boosted because had i not, i probably would be in pretty bad shape and obviously don't want to burden our otherwise already overburdened health care system. so i'm doing fine. i'm in my isolation room at home where i'm going to be spending a lot of quality time this week. >> you'll be spending a lot of time in that room and sadly just before christmas. and the holiday season. so good luck to you. but the most important thing is you're doing fine. let's get to this investigation into january 6th. the committee is now weighing whether there's enough evidence to make a criminal referral to the justice department even for former president trump. do you see grounds for a potential criminal referral? >>. >> i do see grounds, wolf.
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there were a lot of crimes committed on january 6th. we have police officers who died. over 140 who were brutally beaten. our nation's capitol, the pantheon of our democracy was sacked and assaulted that day. so a lot of criminal activity certainly and a lot of it was coordinated. this was not an accident. a lot of coordination in advance of that day. so there needs to be truth and accountability and importantly in the united states, justice is blind. we have lady justice that holds the scales and she is wearing a blindfold. it doesn't matter who you are. doesn't matter your title. doesn't matter your position in life. everybody is accountable to the law in the united states of america and it's not just that you're still accountable the higher you go. the higher up you go it's more important that you be held accountable. doesn't matter whether you are the former president, a member of congress or anybody else, if you committed a crime you have to be held accountable for it. >> no one is above the law. what goes through your mind, congressman, when you see a colleague, republican
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congressman perry, serves alongside you in the house, rebuke the select committee, refuse to cooperate and simply answer questions. >> yeah, should we be surprised? there's a reason why these folks don't want to answer questions. because they probably have something to hide. number one, it shows the disdain for rule of law. you can't claim to be in support of rule of law, democracy, if you scoff at it, if you turn your back on basic rule of law. and the checks and balance of our systems. the legislative branch is a co-equal branch to the executive. and that falls, that fails if we don't enforce our subpoenas. so that's number one. number two, it really does raise questions of why don't you want to talk? what do you have to hide? and as we're learning more and more, some folks have an awful lot to hide. but we're not going to stop. we're going to be dogged. we're going to be vigilant. we'll find the information and we're going to hold people accountable and let the american people know what happened. >> would you support a subpoena
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for his testimony? >> i would, yeah. i would support a subpoena for anyone's testimony that's relevant to the investigation. we shouldn't determine whether or not somebody is going to be subpoenaed by what their title or their positioning is. this goes to thesh of justice being blind. we have to find the truth and we will seek that truth and search for it wherever it is. and with whoever it lies. regardless of their position or title. if someone refuses to come forth and voluntarily participate in a lawful process, that's designed to uphold our democracy, then we'll subpoena them. and if they file comply with the subpoena we'll refer them for criminal contempt charges to the doj. >> the former president trump will hold what's being described as a news conference or a speech or something -- some media event on january 6th down in florida, mar-a-lago, the anniversary of the deadly attack on the u.s. capitol. he used that announcement to push his big lie that the u.s. presidential election was rigged. you, of course, survived that
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assault. we all remember the video where you remember, what you were doing. what's your message to the former president just ahead of this anniversary? >> well, we know who you are, right? we know what you stand for. we know you're only out for yourself. that you have no regard for american democracy. the american people know better. we know better. and we will win. we won't stop fighting for democracy. we won't stop fighting for rule of law. we're not going to back down. we won't be intimidated. we're going to keep going. and you will lose. >> congressman jason crow of colorado, thanks for joining us. i'm glad you're feeling better and hopefully you'll get through this covid in your isolation the next few days and get back to your family. thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. just ahead, breaking news in the global fight against omicron. israel now recommending everyone 60 and older be given a fourth, a fourth dose of the covid vaccine.
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the breaking news tonight, president biden announcing new efforts to combat the rapid spread of the coronavirus omicron variant across the united states. there's also breaking pandemic news coming out of israel which has just updated its vaccine recommendations. elliott gotkin is in jerusalem for us with the details. >> reporter: wolf, israel's panel of coronavirus experts has this evening recommended a fourth dose of the covid vaccine
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for over 60s and medical workers making it, the prime minister's office says, the first country in the world to do so. prime minister naftali bennett said this was wonderful news saying do not waste time. go get vaccinated. and this is just one of the measures israel is taking to try to slow the spread of the omicron variant. as of 5:00 p.m. eastern time, the u.s., canada and eight more countries were added to the red no-fly list. they're now no-go areas for israelis unless they get special permission. it's extending the use of the so-called green pass for people to prove they've been vaccinated or have recovered. they are recommending that private sector workers work from home and as of sunday, public sector workers, at least half of them, will be working from home as well. in doing so, israel hopes to slow the spread of the fifth covid wave in the country. it knows it can't stop cases from spiking, but it's doing everything that it can to try to slow that spread. wolf? >> elliott, thank you.
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in israel. the uk, meanwhile, is several weeks ahead in its omicron surge, prompting even queen elizabeth to change her holiday plans. cnn's salma abdelaziz has the latest from london. >> reporter: wolf, many people across this country are simply canceling their christmas plans. the omicron variant has driven record-breaking case numbers in recent days here. even the queen canceling her annual christmas retreat. she generally goes to the estate in norfolk but palace sources say the queen will stay behind as an abundance of caution. many families are choosing to do the same, self-isolate because of this huge surge of cases driven by the omicron variant. the prime minister is also under pressure to announce tougher restrictions, but after an emergency cabinet meeting on monday, he came out and said there would be no tougher rules for now, but that the government would review the data hours by hour. we also reserved the right to
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announce tougher rules if and when necessary. wolf? >> salma, thank you very much. salma abdelaziz in london for us. on the continent, the spread of omicron is prompting new restrictions in multiple countries. cnn's senior international correspondent ben wedeman has the very latest. >> reporter: wolf, across europe, public holiday events are being canceled and lockdown measures coming back into effect. the latest to announce such measures is germany where beginning the 28th of december, private gatherings will be limited to ten people and that's for those who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from covid. and if you're not part of one of those two groups, forget about going to a restaurant in germany. also in germany, spectators will not be allowed to attend sporting events and concerts. and in portugal, starting the day after christmas, working from home will be mandatory.
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schools, clubs and bars will also close. and finally, in rome, beginning this thursday, masks in public will be the rule. wolf? >> ben, thank you. ben wedeman reporting. the rise of the omicron variant is fueling concern about the safety of the upcoming winter olympic games in beijing. cnn's will ripley is working that part of the story for us. >> wolf, we're now just weeks away from the opening ceremonies of the beijing 2022 winter olympics. and china is facing a big challenge. they have a zero covid strategy. if they have a few dozen local cases they shut down a city and impose travel restrictions on millions of people. they aren't allowing people inside china to move around ahead of the lunar holiday. they do not want an outbreak at the olympics. but they have athletes coming in from countries that do not have this zero covid approach. countries like the u.s. where there are thousands move to cases every day. so how are they hoping to keep omicron and covid from breaking
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out at the olympics? well, they are doing away for the most part with commercial flights, bringing in athletes on charter flights hoping that, combined with rigorous testing every day, and a her metcally sealed bubble will stop the olympics from becoming a superspreader event. >> will ripley, thank you. coming up, more on the breaking covid news with the surgeon general of the united states, dr. vivek murthy. he's standing by live. we have lots of questions for him. plus, day two in jury deliberations for officer kim potter. the jury just minutes ago sending a question to the judge. w iphone 13 pro and airpods, and t-mobile is paying for them both! and this is for new and existing customers. upgrade to the iphone 13 pro and airpods both on us. only at t-mobile.
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breaking news in the trial of former police officer kimberly potter. the jury has just cnn is in mins tonight. adrian, what is the jury asking? >> reporter: the jury is with the first question. members of the jury want to know if the jury can't reach a consensus, what is the guidance
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around what steps we should take and how long they should continue to deliberate is essentially what those jurors wanted to know. the judge responded by reading the jury instructions and she said, in part, you should discuss the case with one another and deliberate with a view towards reaching an agreement. the second question focused on exhibit 199. exhibit 199 is the same gun she used to shoot and kill dwaunt wright. the jury wanted to know, can the zip ties be removed from exhibit 1 nain so it can be held out of the evidence box? the answer was yes. and the judge responded with some directions as to how those zip ties would be removed. there is a deputy that remove zip ties. she also told members of the jury if they're concerned about colder as they touch and feel this gun, there are gloves available to them. so two questions coming from the
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jury in the last 45 minutes. the first question, members of the jury wanted to know if they cannot come to a consensus, what steps should they take? what is is the guidance when it comes to moving forward. the judge read those jury instructions and told them to continue to deliberate until they reached an agreement. it has been 13 hours, members of this jury have been deliberating. i spoke with the attorney who represents the wright family. he described those 13 hours in one word. agonizing. >> all right. we'll stay in close touch with you. thank you, very much. the crucial mid-term elections here in the united states are less than a year. according to a new study, republican lawmakers in some states are working rapidly to make it harder for millions of americans to vote. cnn's political correspondent sarah murray has more. >> reporter: after successfully passing restrictive new voting laws in states like georgia and
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texas. >> ensuring the integrity of the ballot box isn't part sand. >> reporter: gop lawmakers are readying another round of bills for 2022, that could make it tough tore cast a ballot a. if you report from the center for justice, shows, gop law makers are allowing more partisan reviews of election results, members vote by mail and establish new voter i.d. requirement. many in the gop side saw former president trump's lead, as he talks about fraud in the 2020 election. >> in other words, the election was fraud. we must pass a complete overhaul of our entire elections system to insure it's free, fair, honest and able to be fully and quickly audited. >> reporter: pointing to those allegations to justify new voting restrictions and post-election ballot reviews. lawmakers in 19 states passed 34 restrictive bills in 2021,
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according to brennan's analysis. waldman says that's a sharp uptick in recent years, driven from trump's red rick. >> the big lie enacted new laws to make it harder for people to vote. somewhere worse than others, but they are invariably targeted at black and brown and asian voters. it's the biggest attempt to rom back voting rights since the jim crowe era. >> reporter: democrats are insisting their stalled national voting rights legislation is top of the agenda in the new year. but state republican lawmakers are already chugging ahead with voting restrictionss. >> if congress doesn't act, it gives a green light to these states to restrict the vote to sabotage their own elections and to turn them over to the anti-partisans. >> reporter: state legislators in missouri, new hampshire, south carolina and arizona filing at least 13 bills for 2022 making it tougher to vote. home of the infamous partisan
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review that still showed trump lost. >> we have a lot of people that have serious questions about integrity, not only in arizona, but in the entire nation. >> reporter: they are requiring stricter requirements, the audit fever appears likely to carry into 2022. >> they want the forensic audits. they don't want the bull -- audits. >> reporter: bills in florida and tennessee would set up partisan reviews. in missouri, new hampshire, south carolina, pre-filed bills are laying out guidelines for conducting future partisan reviews. now, all this law making is not just happening in a vacuum. it's happening at the same time we are seeing republicans running for governor, running for tomorrow, running for secretary of state, causing democracy advocates a lot of opening sight about what could happen in 2022 and 2024. >> sarah murray, thank you very much. breaking news coming up,
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president biden denounces the covid surge. it includes a massive rollout of at-home testing kits and renewed push for vaccinations. so last minute guests are the only thing you'll be waiting on. ♪ joy. fully. ♪ (burke) this is why you want farmemers claim forgiveness... [echoing] claim forgivenesess-ness, your home premium won't go up just because of this. (woman) wow, that's something. (burke) you get a whole lot of something with farmers policy perks. [echoing] get a quote today. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ this is your home. this is your family room slash gym. the guest bedroom slash music studio. the daybed slash dog bed. the living room slash yoga shanti slash regional office slash classroom. and this is the basement slash panic room. maybe what your family needs
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happening now, breaking news, president biden response to the omicron crisis, unveiling new action, while reminding unvaccinated americans the danger they face is urgent and very real. i'll talk live with the u.s. surgeon general. also, former trump national security adviser michael flynn
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is now suing the january 6th select committee and house speaker nancy pelosi to block a subpoena for his phone records. this as we're getting new affe information about a criminal panel against former president trump and frustrated senate democrats are preparing to meet in a few hours about the future of the president's spending plan as many feel stabbed in the back by their colleague joe manchin. president biden claiming he can work with man chin amid evidence of distrust and blame. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world him i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." . >> this is cnn breaking news. >> first this hour, the breaking news on the president's newest pan pandemic action plan targeting the rapid rise of the omicron variant, let's go to our senior correspondent phil


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