tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN December 29, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
major story today, the scramble to contain the rapidly exploding omicron variant. today the white house announced it had deployed federal teams across the country from new york to wisconsin to arizona to new mexico. these paramedics and military health experts are working in overwhelmed hospitals. they are administering vaccines, delivering ventilators, setting up new testing sites. we know cases are growing much faster than hospitalizations or deaths, at least as of now. but health officials worry that those other numbers, those latter numbers will also keep climbing. just in the last week the number of people hospitalized with covid is up 21%. and the average number of people dying per day from covid just over 1500 a day, almost all of them not fully vaccinated. that number is 18% higher. cnn's alexandra field starts us off with the growing concerns about this new surge. >> this was the moment we needed to make that decision. >> reporter: facing the biggest
covid surge we've ever seen, the cdc director defending the decision to cut isolation time in half for asymptomatic infected people. >> it really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate. if we can get them to isolate, we do want to make sure they're isolating in those first five days when they're maximally infectious. >> reporter: the cdc arguing 85% to 90% of transmission occurs in the first five days of symptom onset. still, the new guidance is drawing fierce debate among health experts. >> there is absolutely no data that i'm aware about with the omicron variant that puts people coming out of isolation five days after they were first diagnosed with the virus. >> the purpose was that given the wave, the extraordinary unprecedented wave of infections that we are experiencing now and will certainly experience more of in the next few weeks, that there is the danger that there
will be so many people who are being isolated who are asymptomatic for the full ten days that you could have a major negative impact on our ability to keep society running. >> reporter: new cases skyrocketing to numbers never seen before, but deaths and hospitalizations, key indications at this moment are not climbing as quickly. >> are we seeing lower hospitalization rates because omicron is -- or lower hospitalization rates because we do have a considerable amount of the population that is vaccinated? >> reporter: booster shots for younger teens may now be just weeks away says the cdc, while younger children remain the least vaccinated age group in the country. >> you've got a screaming level of transmission in the northeast in new york city, in washington, d.c., trying to open schools at this point, it's hard to imagine how things will go well. >> reporter: despite the surge, new york city schools, the largest district in the nation,
says they will continue with in-person learning on january 3rd following the winter break with plans to rely heavily on testing. long lines for tests are still snaking through much of the country. and while the biden administration touts the january arrival of half a billion more at-home tests, the fda is raising questions about just how well they detect omicron cases. even so, jake, more and more schools are depending on tests in order to bring kids safely back to the classroom. d.c. schools announcing today that they will now require a negative covid test for both students and staff in order to return after the holiday break. jake? >> alexandra field, thanks for that reporting. let's bring in rick bright, an immunologist, former member of president biden's covid advisory board and the pandemic prevention institute. rick, good to see you. when you led the biomedical advanced research and development authority, an arm of hhs, health and human services, you resigned in protest of the
trump administration's handling of the pandemic. mishandling of the pandemic. how do you think the biden administration is handling the pandemic so far? >> jake, thanks for having me back on. it's really hard to get in front of a pandemic. it's moving really quickly and this virus is moving faster and continually changing its game. it's really important for us to make sure that the biden administration does everything possible to stay in front of this virus. i've seen a lot of efforts made by the biden administration and frankly, a lot more effort probably than we saw with the trump administration. but there are so many opportunities that i believe that biden administration can take on and do more and do it faster and clarify the language that i think would do and be much more effective at stopping this pandemic. we need to be clearer with our messaging, jake. >> in addition to messaging which i agree, it's been confusing at times.
what are some of the areas there needs to be improvement. one which seems obvious to me is testing. i cannot believe that we're in december 2022 and testing isn't prevalent and free everywhere in the country. i mean, that's how you go back to normal. that's how when you have workplaces open, schools open and we're not there yet. and i don't even understand it. >> jake, in my opinion, it's absolutely inexcusable. there is no good excuse for not having the tests we need in america to get in front of this virus. when i look at the lines outside the testing centers today, it does remind me back of march of 2020 with all due respect to president biden, there are many factors that we can look around and ask, have we made progress and where are we going? there are more tools, but they're not available. the test supplies were not ramped up. the support in the testing centers was not ramped up. americans are waiting too long. i described it as a hunger games. i really mean it. personally, i've been traveling during the holiday.
i've had to just rush in store after store after store to try to find a test. exposing myself to people who might be infected with this virus. it's not where we should be going into year three of this pandemic and the biden administration can do a lot more. >> one area where i think we can agree, there has been progress made, are the vaccines. the presence of the vaccines first developed under "operation warp speed" and independently as well during the trump years and now distributed well by the biden team. do you think that at this point, the biden administration should change officially the definition of fully vaccinated to include boosters for the j sg j shot making it two shots or moderna and pfizer making it three? given the surge in cases and so many institutions from companies such as goldman sachs to universities throughout the country, they are requiring people to be fully vaccinated but as of right now that just means two shots for moderna and pfizer and one for j&j. should it be all of the shots, including the booster?
>> well, the data clearly show if you have an additional shot of the vaccine either additional one or two doses for johnson & johnson or third dose for the mrna pfizer or moderna-based vaccine then you fare better. you're better protected against the delta virus which again is still predominant in many parts of our country and you fare better against the omicron variant of the virus. now remember, the antibody response that might protect you from getting infected might still wane from the current vaccine. however, we are seeing that you have that third dose of mrna-based vaccine or second of johnson & johnson and you do get infected, then you are less likely to go to the hospital and you are less likely to die. so with that amount of data, i do think that it is time for the administration to consider calling a fully vaccinated r regimen.
on top of that, though, i would encourage the administration to consider changing the formulation of this vaccine. we're still seeing the vaccine created gans the original strain of sars-cov-2 that came out of wuhan, china. this virus has changed its game three times or more in that period. it's time we up our game as well and make a better formulation that matches the virus that is circulating or that next variant can completely evade our immunity. >> one thing i've talked about with oliver darcy, a media reporter here about the persuasion campaign for people who are skeptical or reluctant to get vaccinated because we need them to be vaccinated. better for them, better for their family members and colleagues and better for the whole country. i am surprised, and i said this to dr. fauci in the previous l hour, that it isn't just automatic if a conservative person goes online, onto fox or whatever there isn't an automatic pop-up add of donald trump talking about how he got boosted and how the vaccines are
great. i asked fauci about it. he said this was a coms issue. can you explain why in your view there isn't this kind of really powerful, aggressive persuasion campaign using people that the individuals that we need to target will find credible. >> we definitely need to do something different, jake. i think that we have probably reached all the people we're going to reach to get vaccinated by our current methodology. the methodology has not changed much over the last year, maybe even two years. we need to change the message and the messengers to reach more people who are hesitant, reluctant or unreached at this point. i actually said i applaud former president donald trump for the positive statements he made about the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine. he encouraged the people who follow him to get vaccinated. we all see and know if -- if we know anything about donald trump, he will do whatever it takes to protect himself. and if it's not safe and it's not effective, he's not going to
do it. i would say if you follow donald trump, follow his lead and get vaccinated. and for the rest of the country, again, this administration should diversify their mess. >>ers. i don't see a lot of america represented on that white house task force. i'd change the messengers and the message. >> rick bright, thank you. breaking news now. a jury has reached a verdict in the sex trafficking trial of ghislaine maxwell, former girlfriend and close associate of sex offender jeffrey epstein. sonia joins me live from outside the court. what exactly are the charges and potential punishments in the case. i understand the verdict has not been read yet. >> yeah, we're still waiting to hear from our colleagues inside of court. the jury is in. ghislaine maxwell was brought in. she's facing six counts right now that include charges including sex trafficking of a minor. she could face up to 70 years in prison if convicted on all of these counts. and, you know, this is the moment we've been waiting for,
for 40 hours. almost 40 hours. just around 5:00. but this jury sent a note just before 5:00 saying they'd reached a verdict. it was, i believe, the 17th note by my count. and these notes have been the window, the only really clear window into what these jurors were doing behind closed doors, jake. it's a very secretive process. and they have asked for multiple transcripts, more than a dozen, nearly one-third of the testimony they heard in trial. so really we know these jurors took this job seriously. they were going through the testimony with a fine tooth comb, it seems. and that they had many questions that it seems they've worked through since they've come up with a verdict together. >> let's discuss with our legal expert, jennifer rogers. and my understanding is that ghislaine maxwell has been found guilty on five of the six charges. jennifer rogers, the information is just coming in right now. what is your reaction to the news and to the charges she
faces? >> well, jake, you know, it's hard to be surprised one way or the other. this jury was working hard. they listened carefully. they went through the evidence very, very carefully. they, obviously, were trying to convince one another to get to a verdict on all six of the counts. so, you know, i'm not surprised that there is a conviction here. the evidence was, you know, i won't say it was overwhelming. obviously, this case was more about jeffrey epstein in some ways in terms of the primary abuser, but they did have evidence putting ghislaine maxwell there during critical moments, including during abuse. i'm curious to know which one they didn't find her guilty of so that that might tell us something about the way that they approached this and how those deliberations went, but a good day for justice. >> joey jackson, let me go to you as well. what -- assuming that some of
the initial reports we're getting that she's been found guilty on 5 of 6 counts, what are the potential punishments for that? >> the potential punishments are significant. there's one count, in fact, that carries a 40-year sentence. let me just say this, though. when you look at sentencing in this regard, you have to really factor in what are called the federal sentencing guidelines. what am i saying in english? you look at a statute with respect to what it is in terms of a conviction for transporting minors, for enticing minors, for conspiracy and there's a statutory, really maximum, whether that be 40 years or 20 years. but oftentimes, jake, that bears no relation to reality. what you do in the federal system is look at somebody's past. you look at, to the extent of have they been convicted previously? do they have a clean record? in the event they didn't, what's the background say? so there's these federal sentencing guidelines and what you do is calculate that guidance with respect to your past history, the conduct that
you engaged in now, et cetera, to come out with a sentence. but notwithstanding all of that, i will say that these are significant charges carrying decades in jail and no matter what the sentencing guidelines are to the extent that you have, right, these serious charges, you have several years that you're facing. final thing, jake, and that's this. there was a struggle in this jury as we saw from the note about whether they should credit the testimony of these then girls, now women. we saw that with regard to them asking for the transcript. we saw that with regard to them asking for other transcripts in terms of who their boyfriends were at the time if there knus corroboration. today they asked for a note as related to a defense witness who wanted to see, the defense witness talked about false memories. they reviewed that. they reviewed the pilot's testimony who did this transporting. the housekeeper's testimony. so what i'm saying at the end of the day with this over 30 hours of deliberation, this is a jury that's done its job.
>> the jury, as joey notes, deliberated for six days. they sent more than a dozen notes to the judge. in the scheme of things, is that a long time? is it a short time? put this into context for us. and also more than a dozen notes to the judge. i'm far from an attorney, but that does seem like a lot. >> it is a lot, jake. that's a lot of requests for a lot of testimony. i think it took a little bit longer than i might anticipate given the length of the trial but what it says to me is that the jury at least initially was not on the same page. there clearly was one or more jurors who were not in the same place as the rest of the jurors and so they spent this time trying to convince one another. and that's how you do it. you ask for the testimony of a particular witness to say, remember she said this and they said oh, but the other guy said this so they get his testimony, too. and they are going back and forth to see if, as a group of 12, has to be unanimous, they
can reach agreement and so that is what they managed to do after this amount of time. so good for them. they never came out and said they were stuck. they worked hard. that's what we ask of our jurors. they did what they are supposed to do. >> "the wall street journal" is now reporting that ghislaine maxwell has been found guilty some of counts in the sex trafficking case. and specifically, just to put this in english for our viewers, joey, epstein is accused. he's dead now, allegedly committed suicide in prison. epstein was accused of sexually trafficking underage girls, young girls. and she is accused of helping him do so, is that right? >> yeah, that's absolutely right. so with respect to the complexities of this, making it rather simple, in the event that you aid, you abet, facilitate, encourage, enable, do any of those things, which make it possible for a predator to engage in predatory conduct and the law finds you responsible as well. and that's what this case was
about. it was about epstein initially as you noted. 2019, he dies in jail. a year later, she gets indicted on these six charges. three of which are conspiracy charges. what does that mean? in addition to what i explained before with respect to enabling, enticing, otherwise luring and assisting and facilitating conduct, if you agree with one other person, right, to engage in criminality, that's conspiracy. and there are three conspiracy counts. we're just getting the news reports on what she was convicted of. but you not only need to be the one who is doing the conduct. if you are the one that otherwise contributes to the conduct, you're liable, too. so we'll go over and see specifically what the jury concluded, but that's what she was on trial for, helping mr. epstein get his prey and there were four specific girls who testified. then they were girls, jake, to be clear. now they are women. and they had a lot of corroboration as noted.
the pilot testifying, et cetera. the housekeeper testifying. >> joey, hold that thought. i want to come right back to you. sonia has some actual reporting from inside the courtroom as to what exactly ghislaine maxwell has been convicted of. sonia? >> yes, that's right, jake. the jury has found ghislaine maxwell guilty on five of the six counts that she faced, including the count of sex trafficking of a minor. now one of the charges that -- one of the counts, the sole count she was not found guilty of, count two, involved a woman who testified under a pseudonym as jane. this count, count two, was enticement of an individual under the age of 17, jane, to travel with the intent to engage in illegal sexual activity. and we heard from these jurors multiple times. they requested jane's testimony. they requested testimony, transcripts from two of epstein's former pilots. so it's clear just from their
notes alone that they had been questioning this and, you know, possibly having discussions at length about this particular count. but there you have it, jake. guilty. found guilty on five of those six counts that she faced. >> all right. thank you, sonia. let's go back to joey and jennifer. and joey jackson, let me bring you back. so there were six counts and apparently the -- she was found guilty of five of them. the one that she was not found guilty of related to one having to do with jane and that had to do with enticing a minor to travel and transport a minor. two charges had to do with jane between '94 and 1997. so now that we know the exact details of it, put it in perspective. sounds like the jury, for the most part, believed the four former girls, now women, accusing ghislaine maxwell and accusing jeffrey epstein of these heinous, horrible crimes. >> yeah, that's exactly what it
sounds like. you know, whenever you have a trial, jake, you have these narratives. the narrative here was she was an enabler, facilitator. mr. epstein was engaged in misconduct and she'd otherwise condition and groom and lure these women so that he could ultimately or excuse me, now women, then girls, so that he could then ultimately engage in misconduct that he did. and with respect to reviewing those narratives, just to be clear to the extent they were a couple of decades ago, when this occurred, the jury had to really evaluate what they said. that is those witnesses. they asked for the transcripts. they not only heard them in court. they looked at the transcripts. they looked at what they told other people, meaning they called the boyfriends to testify for at least two of those then girls, now women. they looked at the pilot, the housekeeper, other people who had relevant evidence and information and they were really struggling because i'll sum up here, but the defense's real theory was this is a case about mistaken memories and
motivations, which are predicated upon all this money that you guys are getting and, of course your memory is going to be such that she was an enabler because you're getting money for it. apparently the jury rejected that resoundingly and has concluded that she indeed was assisting mr. maxwell in this regard and as a result she's guilty of those five or six counts and faces several years in jail as a result. >> let's go back to sonia who has a note from the u.s. attorney who prosecuted this case. so sonia? >> yes, this is from the u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york, damion williams. he sent a statement about the jury finding this verdict today. and he says, quote, the road to justice has been far too long. but today justice has been done. he says i want to commend the bravery of the girls, now grown women, who stepped out of the shadows and into the courtroom. their courage and willingness to face their abuser made this case and today's result possible.
and this is something that we see so often, jake, in these cases where women and girls have to come testify in front of someone who they have accused of abusing them. it is incredibly difficult to do. it is a long road to get to that point, to be able to do that and it's a long road of recovery after. obviously, the u.s. attorney here thanking those women, thanking all of the prosecutors who worked on this case after that verdict came down. >> sonia, let's go back to jennifer rogers. something i asked joey maybe a couple of weeks ago which is jeffrey epstein is accused of these heinous crimes, transporting and sexually abusing, raping dozens of women, not just these four who testified, but dozens. and ghislaine maxwell, obviously, will be found -- will go to jail, it appears. has just been found guilty of five of six charges owing to her role in this heinous evil.
but something i asked joey was, well, where are all the other men that participated in this disgusting criminal activity? how come we haven't had jeffrey epstein's, you know, little black book opened? where are all the other people? joey said, and i'm going to let you talk about this, too, joey said that the prosecutors were wisely focusing on ghislaine maxwell so as to get a conviction. they didn't want to distract with other people. but, a, do you agree with that and, b, is it now time for the u.s. attorney to go after the men who cooperated -- who participated in this evil? >> so a few things there, jake. i think that they wanted to keep it tight and not get too overwhelmed in the weeds of many different people. at least in the initial stages. and so if they can go after more perpetrators, i think they will. we're in federal court, not in state court. so you can't charge people with sexual abuse. the statute of limitations for that is long gone anyway.
but federal crimes are different. to have federal jurisdiction, it can't just be sexual abuse. has to be this trafficking, enticing to cross state lines, traveling across state lines, these are the crimes that have the interstate nexus that allow prosecutors to charge them in federal court. so think about whether there are other men who not just abused these girls but actually were involved in the transportation, in the enticement, in the trafficking. that's what it would have to be in order for the u.s. attorney to be involved. and so i think that's one of the reasons if we don't see follow-on investigations and charges, that's going to be one of the reasons why. >> joey, does that mean that state prosecutors in any of the places where these heinous activities took place, whether florida or new york or the virgin islands or wherever can now work with federal prosecutors and, i don't know, get ghislaine maxwell a better cell or time off for good
behavior, et cetera, if she flips, if she participates and starts naming names? >> so, jake, i'll say something that's not unique, right. where there's a will, there's a way. so i'm not ready yet to pivot from the federal prosecutions. we know that mr. epstein, right, had pilots that worked for him. we know that there were a number of people who traveled extensively with him. and so before we can see that there is no federal viable prosecution, those matters would have to be investigated. who was on the plane? when were they on the plane? who else was with them on the plane? what was their intention and purpose? where were they going? who were they with? and all of that is going to have to be looked at to jen rogers point. pivoting from that issue to particular states, yes, this is a dual type of -- we have a dual system. you can be held accountable for federal crimes and state crimes. so the nature of this specific conduct would have to be identified. the particular state with which
it occurred would have to be identified. when it occurred would have to be identified. and other things of evidentiary value would have to be identified to look at the statute of limitation. but i'm not ready to say there's nothing to see here from the federal level. consistent with what i told you previously, this case was about miss maxwell. let's get our prosecution as to her. if there are other parties to be held accountable, we'll deal with them later. i would not be surprised if later is now. and whether they go now and see whether there is anything they can do federally to hold them responsible and at the states where they can hold them responsible as well. >> jennifer, do you agree with that? >> i do. i mean, i think if there's a further case to be made, they will make it although i also think that ghislaine maxwell instead of going to trial decided to flip and provide testimony and evidence, that would make it a lot easier. >> but one would assume that that was one of the reason yes they were going after her or maybe not. i don't know. i think my view of all of this has been really clouded by that
nonprosecution agreement that the then-u.s. attorney for florida or for a part of florida, who was -- ended up being the secretary of labor, alexander acosta, remember, he was the former trump cabinet official who after epstein was arrested in 2019 was criticized for his role in that nonprosecution deal. and i think my view of this is clouded by how much does the government, prosecutors, et cetera, how much do they protect powerful people? they obviously went after jeffrey epstein and ghislaine maxwell here. but, am i being too skeptical, too cynical, jennifer, about the willingness of prosecutors to go after powerful men who participated in these misdeeds? >> i think so, although i'll also say maybe i'm being too easy on prosecutors.
i think that they go where the evidence leads. i don't think anyone in sdny or current doj is afraid of going after anyone in the world. so i think if the evidence leads there, they would go. there are just a lot of obstacles and no one who knows what happened talking at least as far as we know. and a lot of time has gone by so these possible state charges are likely gone because of statute of limitations issues. so i think there are a lot of obstacles. i don't think they're afraid to do it. if they can, they will but we'll see what happens. >> let's go back to sonia outside the courthouse for more about this breaking news this afternoon. ghislaine maxwell, former associate and partner of jeffrey epstein found guilty on five of six charges relating to her enabling, her participation in the late jeffrey epstein sexually trafficking and abusing underage girls. sonia, what can you tell us about the sixth charge that she was not found guilty of?
>> yeah, jake, that was count two. i'm going to read it. it says enticement of an individual under the age of 17, jane only, to travel with the intent to engage in illegal sexual activity. so this specifically focused on the woman who testified under the pseudonym jane. and let me tell you about her testimony. she testified that she met both epstein and maxwell when she was 14 years old back in 1994 at a summer camp where epstein was a benefactor. and she said that there was sexual abuse from epstein from the ages of 14 to 16. in palm beach, florida, and really graphic details of some of the abuse there that she testified about. and she said that sometimes maxwell would be involved, touching her and epstein, but a lot of this testimony isn't related to that enticement charge. it's about whether or not ghislaine maxwell enticed her to travel with the intent to engage
in these illegal sex acts. so that was the one count where the jury did not convict her. so clearly the jury had some questions, you know, they have to find these counts proven beyond a reasonable doubt and it's clear they had some doubt there. jane testified anonymously in part because, you know, she's trying to move on with her life. she has family. wanted to separate the abuse from her life now. she did receive $5 million from the victim's compensation fund which many of these victims had applied for recently in the past couple of years since epstein died, since he killed himself in that prison that's not too far from this courthouse right now. it's actually closed down now. so again, this is just a moment for a lot of these victims who didn't get that sense of justice back around jeffrey epstein's case. many of them, i anticipate, will
be, you know, speaking out about what this verdict means for them. >> just to be clear, sonia, so there were six charges of sex trafficking of a minor, enticing a minor to travel to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and three counts of conspiracy. the one that she was not found guilty of was enticing? do i have that right? >> that's correct. count two. >> okay. but she was still found guilty -- >> in fact, one -- >> go ahead. >> yeah, one of the questions that the jurors asked was, what's the definition of en enticement. that was one of the notes sent earlier this week. they wanted to know what it meant in the sense of this verdict. so clearly they weren't sold on this count fully. >> but they did think and convict, vote to convict her, ghislaine maxwell, of sexual trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and three counts
of conspiracy. those are all incredibly serious charges of heinous crimes. sex trafficking of a minor, i -- is that the most serious one? >> that is the most serious one, and i can get you a breakdown of how much time she could spend in prison for each of these. obviously, that will be determined at sentencing, but if all of these had been found guilty it could have been up to 70 years in prison. she's 60 years old. just turned 60 on christmas day. you know, you're looking at likely a lot of time behind bars, probably the rest of her life. >> yeah, essentially life in prison in all likelihood, sonia. we'll come right back to you. let's go back to our panel. joey, so basically, assuming that they follow basic sentencing guidelines, ghislaine maxwell will never see the light of day again. >> yeah, i'm not so sure of that, jake. i just want to indicate to you what experience i had at the southern district which is
relevant here. >> okay. >> what happened that after a client was convicted, a few summers ago, which i spent in august at the southern district defending someone, they were convicted of one particular count. in that case. the prosecutor came to me and said, if your client doesn't want to spend any time in jail, perhaps your client could cooperate with respect to two other people he knows about that we're looking about. we didn't go down that route. why do i raise that? because it buttons up a critical question that you asked moments ago. and that is to the extent that there were other men behaving badly, what, if anything, happens to them now? i believe initially, ms. maxwell strongly felt she was not guilty. you heard what she said when the judge sentenced maxwell, would you wish to testify? she said no. the people haven't proven their case, the government hasn't proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt. now that realities are different, before we jump to the issue of sentencing guidelines and what they mean in
practicality, prosecutors if they're looking to go down the route of holding other people accountable will now say, now that you're guilty, perhaps you can speak to us now. and to the extent that you cooperate, maybe we can work out some kind of arrangement where it's not as stiff for you in jail. i want to point that out of one of many possibilities and not just get los lost in the regular, okay, presentence investigation, prior history, what do the guidelines say? this is what your guideline sentence is and this is what you're going to do. what you asked before is a real possibility. we are not done yet. >> yeah. and let's hope that everyone found -- everyone that was guilty in these heinous crimes against underage girls is brought to account and held to account and feels the punishment of the law. jennifer rogers, final thoughts? >> yeah, jake, i agree. i mean, i will say the one thing you don't want to do is cooperate down. jeffrey epstein is dead. ghislaine maxwell is probably the number two in this scheme. she's now facing a long time in prison. do you cooperate to swoop up
peripheral people? that will be a big question for prosecutors if she's willing to talk. but a great day for justice. i hope these victims are pleased with the outcome. >> jennifer rodgers, joey jackson, thanks for your thoughts. we'll take a quick break. a lot of other news to cover. we'll be right back. oven roasted turkey, black forest ham, and hickory-smoked bacon. it's good, hall of fame good. save big. order through the app. ♪ ♪
we're back with our health lead. so many americans thought the authorization of covid shots and then covid boosters would mean a normal holiday season this year. but with just two days until new year's eve, dr. anthony fauci is emphasizing that you should cancel any plans you have for big celebrations in lieu of an at-home gathering with only fully vaccinated and boosted family and close friends. here to discuss, dr. jon nan reiner, a professor at george washington university medical center. we're nearly two years into this pandemic, and being told once again that public celebrations are not safe. do you agree? it does seem like there's two americas here, and i'm talking about people who are vaccinated and boosted. people who live in places like new york or washington, d.c., who are vaccinated and boosted, you know, shunning big celebrations. and people i know from other parts of the country, vaccinated
and boosted, but maybe in like more red states, they are kind of just living their lives. >> right. and the problem is that the virus is living its life also. and the virus doesn't really care what you think. this particular variant is extraordinarily contagious. and if you are in a crowd now, and certainly if you're unvaccinated, you are at great risk of contracting this virus. so what i would say is, first of all, indoor new year's eve celebrations should be out. if you're going to tand a small gathering maybe at a friend's house, then do what everybody should have done this past christmas weekend which is to test everyone before they go. and you can still do that. if you want to get together with some friends and pop a bottle of champagne, that's great but make sure everyone is negative on their way to your house and you're negative if you host them. as for big firework displays or,
you know, outdoor parties, probably less risky outside but if you pack a lot of people, shoulder to shoulder, that increases the risk. so -- but i think in some parts of this country there's a lot of capitulation and people thinking they are resigned to get it and, but that's not the attitude to have. >> what do you say to americans who are frustrated because they have followed all the rules, they stayed home, wore masks, got vaccinated, got boosted, and now they're being told once again to take all these precautions and they're just over it? >> i would say i feel your pain. everyone feels frustrated. but what i would also tell them is, i know they are resilient. and this is temporary pain. this is not going to go on forever. and the important issues now are to maintain, not just the health of the population, which is, obviously, our primary goal. but also to maintain the health of the people who are manning our hospitals. you know, my colleagues across
this country because if our hospital systems go down because so many nurses and techs and docs and respiratory therapists are out with covid and hospitals are seeing this all over the country, if you come in with a non-covid problem, you come in with a stroke or heart attack, or bleeding ulcer, there's going to be no one there to care for you. you need to protect us. the way to protect us is pr protecting yourself. >> in less than a week some kids are returning to school. some being admitted to the hospital of unvaccinated. we talked to a pediatrician in chicago that said most of them were unvaccinated. how do you weigh the risks of kids going to class versus what we know about how damaging virtual education was for kids in terms of academics and psychology and emotions and just general growth. >> yeah, well, i think we know
how to keep schools open and we do it by distancing kids as best as possible, keeping masks on at school. increasing the amount of ventilation in schools. and most importantly now, testing. frequent testing. if a kid in the class comes down with covid, everybody else tests. if they test negative, they stay in class. if they test positive, they go home and they isolate. that's how we keep kids back in school. but we need to flood our schools with frequent testing. and the other piece of this is for kids who are eligible, we have to get kids vaccinated. the biggest block of unvaccinated people in this country are children. some of them are not yet eligible for vaccines. but for those kids over the age of 5 who are, their parents are doing them a great disservice by not taking them to get a shot. >> dr. jonathan reiner, thank you. time to use the red phone. putin wants president biden to give him a call. can they find a way to dial back escalating tensions? we'll go live to moscow. stay with us.
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in our world lead, a critical upcoming phone call for president biden. president biden will speak with vladimir putin tomorrow, we're told. a call we're learning is happening at the request of the russian leader. this comes as moscow escalates its military build up along its border with ukraine. let's discuss with cnn national security commentator and former
republican congressman and house intelligence committee chairman mike rogers. good to see you. what can president biden realistically do tomorrow during his call with putin to deter further aggression and decrease tensions between the u.s. and russia and deter russia from invading ukraine again? >> yeah, i mean, he doesn't have a lot of options available to him. and he took some options off the table early which i thought was a mistake by saying we wouldn't do any unilateral military action if they ramped up and came across the border in a significant way. even if he didn't want to do that, probably shouldn't have taken that off the table. so i think what he would need to do is tell them that he's going to ramp up defensive weapons, things that would cause a lot of pain and allow the ukrainian military to actually defend itself. it's pretty weak in air defense, anti-armor weapons, those kinds of things. if they could turn that around, that would be a calculus that putin would have to factor that
in. bodies coming across the border. and he'll have to ramp up what he talks about is his diplomatic efforts when it comes to sanctions. there are some things that have some bite but you to make putin understand there's a credible deterrent. right now i'd argue he's not factoring that in as credible a deterrent. he's worried about financial sanctions and trying to figure out if that's a deterrent for him. but right now there doesn't seem to be that real deterrent that -- and i think he needs to step up and tell him that pretty directly tomorrow that this is going to be a very painful experience if russia invades ukraine. >> so putin in the last 20 years, a couple of times, he has led these escalations, interventions, invasions and seized territory first during the bush administration. he sees parts of georgia, then during the obama administration, obviously, he sees crimea of
ukraine. were either of those low points or is right now a low point since, obviously, the cold war ended? >> well, if you think about it, he's still society of kazia, in the country of georgia. he still has that territory. by the way, he launched that attack with really debilitating cyberattacks, which i think we all ought to be put on note here what he's doing now to prep the battlefield in cyberspace. that was very disruptive in georgia, even before the troops crossed the border. he still owns that. i think in crimea, there wasn't a lot of consequence there. he still owns that. in his mind, he's factors in -- those were big foreign policy successes when it came to the russian population for their president, putin, because he was able to take back that territory. as he would say, he liberated ethnic speaking --
russian-speaking individuals from those countries. he's using that same rhetoric in what would be the eastern areas of ukraine. you can almost see what he's doing to get there. i think he's seen some of the cyberactivity that happened in ukraine. they want to disrupt norm at operation, command and control for the military, financial systems to your credit cards don't work, you can't get money from the bank, can't get gas. all of that chaos plays into his hand. i think it's important to reset the table for the biden administration and the united states. last but not least, we marked three yesterday yesterday since paul whelan had been taken prisoner by the russian. there's also trevor reed, cases i know you follow and we record on here. the russian embassy in d.c. responded to the u.s. state department, noting the
three-year anniversary, the state department -- under far-fetched pretext, paul whelan and trevor reed were arrested while committing serious crimes, and then a hashtag the what is your take on that? >> listen, we think, like the u.s. government believes a thofs these charge were trumped up. they weren't working for the government, and then the people that they just mentioned in that -- you know, their free hashtag litany are all russian spies conducting activities that were illegal here in the united states, and were caught doing it. i think they're pressuring for an exchange. that's all that is. unfortunately they've got the lives of these americans, innocent americans, marines who are serving the united states probably, and they've got them, you know, really in the darkest parts of their duncans, holding
out that they get this prisoner exchange. that's why there's been a holdoff on the exchange, jake, because you can't allow them to snatch people to try to get their spies back. it just can't work that way. >> former congressman rogers, thank you very much. happy new year for you and your family. finally you'll want to be there at 9:00 p.m. eastern for the premiere of carole king and james taylor "just call out my name." ♪ i'll be there ♪ ♪ because you've got a friend ♪ ♪ you've got a friend ♪ those words from one of their moss famous songs having ringing true for more than 50 years. "you've got a friend" became taylor's first number one hit and became a grammy for both
artists in 1972, validation of their immediate musical connection. they first performed attorney general at the fame trioubadour. >> the very personal songs that they wrote back then beamly helped kick off this singer/songwriter movement that had been jess at a timing in various forms. >> this was just one of that you are hit collaboration, including "fire & rain." and "i feel the earth move. quth ♪ when you tenderly call my name ♪ one of sever hits for carole king as a singer, that inspired a whole range of artist from taylor swift to dionnesh and jax
jackson. despite their intimate musical bond, they never toured together, until the 2010 troubadour tour, that's spotlighted in "call out my name." ♪ it's too late baby ♪ ♪ it's too late ♪ ♪ though we really did try to make it ♪ ♪ make it ♪ james, i have a problem. >> we have a problem, which is an embarrassment of riches. she wrote too many good songs, as did he. >> the tour marked a milestone in the relationship. you couldn't ask for more. >> it was an experience that we had that we shared with every band member, every singer, every crew member, and everything has the same treasure. >> offered up a celebration of one of the most prolific
partnerships in american music history. >> when you left that concert, it made you realize exactly what they have contributed to american music over the decade. bill weir, cnn, new york. the new film "just call out my name" premieres on sunday at 9:00 p.m., only on cnn. a jury has found ghislaine maxwell gild on five of the six counts against her.
happening now, breaking news, a jury just found ghislaine maxwell guilty of five counts related to her role in jeffrey epstein's abuse of young girls. we'll break down the verdict. the other major story, a forecast for rising covid cases, as new cases hit an all-time high, as the the biden administration is on the defensiv