tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN January 4, 2022 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
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has dozens of text messages with the trump white house indicating that he had, quote, advance knowledge regarding trump and his legal team's planning for january 6th. more breaking news the committee saying it also wants to hear directly but voluntarily from former vice president mike pence on what he witnessed during the insurrection. also tonight senator manchin signaling he might be open to some changes in the filibuster. will there be possible movement on voting rights legislation? we'll talk about all of that this evening. i want to get straight to cnn's senior legal analyst and also the author of the new book just pursuit a black prosecutor's fight for fairness. good evening. elie, this text from hannity on janu january 5th says it all right here. i am very worried about the next 48 hours. what do you think hannity knows?
>> what is leerclear from these texts is sean hannity was right in the mix. he was serving as adviser, interested party, cheerleader really for the president and his administration. i think it makes perfect sense the committee wants to ask sean hannity just that question. what did you mean by this text? what was it base on? who did you speak to? one of the interesting things the committee does in its letter to sean hannity is show him we have the receipts, dozens of texts, and they quote them to sean hannity and make very clear why they are and should be very interested in talking to him. >> hannity texted this to mark meadows december 31st, i quote. we can't lose the entire white house counsel's office. i do not see january 6 happening the way he is being told. after the 6th he should announce we'll leave the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity, go to florida, and watch joe mess up daily, stay engaged. when he speaks people will listen. this seems to suggest that january 6th wasn't unexpected
after all. i want to unpack this text with you. because he is acting it seems as an adviser here right? the committee right that hannity is indeed a fact witness who they need to hear from? >> absolutely. let's unpack it a little bit, don. he is essentially saying that in advance of the actual january 6th occurrence he has some information about how the president was briefed on how it might go. the idea of laying out some sort of strategy or thinking about how this might actually come to fruition. that is advanced notice, number one. number two, how he essentially conceded president trump lost to the incoming president joe biden. now the current president of the united states. so he is saying, listen. the jig is up essentially. go to florida because you have influence there. talk about voting reform. talking about a concession at that point in time. also you have the very real statement about the notion of listen. if sean hannity had advance
notice, having this communication with mark meadows or anybody else, at this point in time, it shows you there was some basis for them to know that maybe everything was going to happen -- not everything was going to happen but january 6th was a planned event not some sort of spontaneous notion to it. it is very important for the committee to talk about because being prefaced on the narrative that people just showed up on the lawn, it happened to happen. finally the point about the white house council. there was a plan in place, an infamous memo how you could essentially rely on one person in the justice department to try to overturn the election and give advice and counsel how to do it. he himself did not see that as viable let alone a moral or ethical plan but a viable plan of action. all this is corroborative of what we've already learned from this committee. >> the committee hasn't subpoenaed hannity. they just asked him to talk
voluntarily. do you think there is any chance he'll cooperate with this at least voluntarily? >> no i don't. i thought it was really interesting in your prior segment with representative jamie raskin you asked him what will the committee do if sean hannity does not comply? representative raskin said we have a panoply of options. i know he can't commit at this point but he doesn't really have a panoply. he has two. one if hannity defies this request is let him go. that's it. would is subpoena him. there is really no complexity about it. so the committee has to decide are they going to serve these informal requests and then follow up with subpoenas or are they going to serve the informal requests and if people say no thank you say okay. go on your way now. that is an important decision the committee has to grapple with. >> elie, hannity's attorney telling cnn they are reviewing the letter and will respond as appropriate do you expect hannity will try to use the first amendment as a defense even though hannity himself said he is not a journalist and you heard jamie raskin saying we're not concerned about, not asking
for notes or who his sources are. we are asking as, you saw the analogy he said if you witness a car crash, right, that's what he wants to know. you're still a witness. >> yes. i think sean hannity and his attorney will certainly hide behind the first amendment but there is a distinction. i think representative raskin made the perfect example. if you witness a crime on the way to work you are a witness. no one is going to ask you about your sources or reporting or personal opinions. the committee goes out of its way in the letter and they are cognizant and they say mr. hannity we're not asking about your reporting methodology, your sources, your personal beliefs. you are just a witness. you saw this. you are like somebody who witnessed a robbery or car crash. we need to speak to you. they will try to cloak themselves in the first amendment but i think it is misdirection. >> the committee wants to speak with the former vice president mike pence. we know the top aides on pence's team are already cooperating. how should the committee
approach this, elie? >> well, you know, you want to get your base of information from the advisers from the people who were around mike pence. if i'm on the committee and i can get mike pence to talk you bet i want that opportunity. again, yes, he was the vice president of the united states but in this case he also is a fact witness. i don't know that he is entitled to any greater treatment. i think it is unlikely mike pence voluntarily speaks to the committee though i can see a middle path here where they work out some specific topics that mike pence might be willing to talk to them about. i think it is unlikely they'd go so far to subpoena him though. >> i want you to weigh in. pence is such a key figure in this. trump and his allies were trying to get him to overturn the election results. if you were on the committee what would you ask him? >> i'm be chomping at the bit to ask him one reason is because i wonder if his defiance that he held on to the day they were supposed to certify the election will actually carry through
here. remember one of the things so unexpected and shocking is how fragile our democracy was that it came down to one person, vice president's decision, to essentially hold the democratic line. while members of the police force and the capitol police were holding the physical line outside, many were shocked to find he was the only person who refused to defy or go along with the actual campaign, the big lie campaign of the former president donald trump. and so i would want to know if he was at a complete departure from that essential party line there. i would also look at him and ask the question about who did he call? did he try to reach out to the president of the united states? the person to whom he is second in command. when he reached out was he rebuffed? was there a conversation? now of course the discussion between himself and trump would more likely be privileged than anything else but remember here if he tried to reach out to other people who were not the president, if he was thwarted in some way, was he denied? how did he learn about this? what were his concerns?
were other people trying to contact him in lieu of the president being unable to reach him? all of that is fodder for trying to understand what other members of the congress were looking to, what people who were not having direct contact with the president of the united states were talking about, this all helps. the idea of the subpoenas, we've already seen that people among his own team have been more likely to be compliant. because there has been this great divide as you've seen from trump and beyond. i am most interested in the person for whom gallows were constructed. what his actual take? not the political diatribe or the talking points or talking about they'll never see eye to eye. when you attempted to speak mouth to ear that day what did you learn? that is fact based. we need to know about it because remember if he had been attacked in some way if they had god forbid actually found the vice president of the united states or the speaker of the house you're talking about the presidential succession line.
that is very important to our democracy to know just how fragile it was which is why i ultimately think the supreme court could yield the conclusion of in this cost benefit analysis of whether to be transparent and have records forthcoming or to honor a prior president's claim of privilege which is nonexistent they have to lend themselves toward transparency and vice president pence's testimony could be the very conduit they need. >> you know what i think? i think you are the only other person i've heard than myself, some other people who use the term champing at the bit correctly. that is my pet peeve. when people say chomping at the bit, it is not chomping. it is champing. thank you for getting it right >> i don't even ride horses. you're welcome. a little google goes a long way in this thing we call the lexicon of the english language. thank you. >> thank you.
i appreciate it. joining me now cnn's senior political analyst ron brownstein and kirsten powers and former chief strategist to the romney presidential campaign stewart stevens. they always have perfect grammar. they do everything correctly. good evening to all of you. let's start with you. let's start with the hannity text and the committee wanting more information from him. so this is what he was saying behind the scenes not to his audience. what do you think of this? >> i think the problem we have is we fall back on pleasing about this under the -- thinking about this under the way our sort of political societal structure has existed before which isn't the right one. hannity is not a journalist. fox is not a news outlet. fox are propagandists. the history of how this works is clear. you can look at germany, hungary, venezuela. it is a pattern here and we have to just accept that the republican party is an
authoritarian force. it has financiers. it has propagandists and the propagandists are formed by okay if. it is that simple. let's don't confuse it. he is not a ron brownstein here. >> so fox is an arm of the republican party. basically they use fox, the republican party uses fox to push out their propaganda. >> yeah. he's not a white house staffer but he is more important than 99% of the white house staffers. >> ron, what did you want to say? >> i agree. i think it is not exactly an arm of the republican party in the sense that it has independent agency itself but it kind of a force in the conservative movement that isolates its viewers in kind of you know an artificial world. and the success, overwhelming numbers of republicans who believe despite no evidence that biden was elected only because of massive fraud, 3/4 in polling
a year later after every court in the country laughed out the supposed evidence. i mean, it is testimony to how powerful this is. and it really does create kind of a nation within a nation and enormous pressure on republican elected officials to avoid cooperating with a democratic president on pretty much anything. so, you know, it is not only a subservient kind of arm of the party. it drives kind of a conservative movement agenda to some extent on the party but either way it is just an enormous force toward polarization of american society. >> kirsten is looking here, guys, i know. you guys are explaining everything. i'm joking. i'm sure you're sitting here, look, i know fox news. i used to work there. you worked there. often times with sean hannity. you were on his show.
what is your read on him having such a close relationship with the white house with the administration to be saying things like this? i mean, pretty much behind trump's back saying one thing in text messages behind trump's back and another thing on television. are you surprised by this? talk to us. >> at this point i am not surprised. i mean, it is obviously a very different place than when i left there five years ago. so i don't think these kinds of things would have been so accepted. i don't even think anybody over there seems to even care about this. the language that he was using even in these text messages, the we, right, like they're all part of the same thing. there isn't even pretending that there is any kind of distance between them. now, hannity has said before he doesn't consider himself a journalist. he is a talk show host. so i don't know how he is now playing a journalist invoking the first amendment even though they're not going after sources
and methods here. that is not really what is going on. this is not in any way, doesn't have anything to do with him being a journalist or talk show host frankly. it has to do with what did you know leading up to january 6th? it looks like you knew a lot. and that, you know, even if he was a journalist that wouldn't protect him in this situation because it is not, again, trying to reveal sources and methods or anything like that. it is just trying to understand what did you know about what the president was expecting to happen, wanting to happen, and what he was thinking about it. >> so you don't think this would have happened pre-trump over at the fox propaganda network? >> i have vague memories of people getting in trouble. going like to a campaign rally or something. >> he was on stage at a campaign rally. called him up and sean hannity went up on stage. >> no. i mean in is pre-trump. >> and also the judge, what is
her name did something similar. >> he got in trouble for it. i do think there is a difference. i will say also the arm of the republican party, i actually think it works in the other direction. i think they have much more power over the republican party than the republican party has over them. so they drive everything that's happening, even if we look at what's happening in terms of voter fraud, how supposedly democrats stole the election. well, that has been a story fox news has been pushing for as long as i can remember. so all of these seeds are planted and pushed out through fox news through what they call their entertainment hosts. that would be hannity would be an example of that. fox & friends. they consider that an entertainment show. that is how they kind of play the game. it has gone to a completely different level i think in it current iteration. >> one more question. do you think the text messages came out before i think it was
laura ingraham and sean hannity, there was a whole thing about text messages before and then this. have they been exposed as actors? they get pearl clutching about what happens on the so-called liberal media which is everything they consider liberal media everybody other than them and you have them actually trying to influence what happens at the white house. there's receipts of it. and then now they want to be, you know, they want them to come and talk about an investigation. have they been exposed as the actors and frauds that they are? >> i mean, i guess there are people out there who believe they are sort of on the up and up. that is hard for me to believe. but i guess for those people who were believing that they were on the up and up they've been exposed though those people will probably never hear about it. that the thing. they live in an alternate universe where all they know is what sean hannity tells them and
laura ingraham. so yeah. i think they have shown their willingness to do one thing behind the scenes and then turn around and go on tv and say something completely opposite of that if it is going to keep them in goo stead with their viewers and if it is going to please you know who, donald trump. >> okay. hold your thoughts. we have another, i'll keep you guys over the break and we'll talk, they will also want to talk to the former vice president mike pence as well. so we'll hear from you right after this break.
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before we get to the vice president, do you actually think this is good for sean hannity? >> it's great for sean hannity. his speaking fees will go up. he wants to be a martyr and he want to be a leader of an authoritarian movement. and what better proof than here is someone who is so close to the president of the united states he is helping direct events on 1-6. he has an inside channel. i mean, look. this is a dream come true for sean hannity which doesn't mean they shouldn't subpoena him. of course he should. >> no good for democracy though. >> i think this really shows what democrats are up against in this momentous choice they face the next few weeks on whether to roll back the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation. the last time the senate reauthorized the voting right act republicans were in control of the senate and it passed
98-0. but you see in a fox world how difficult it is to get republicans to kind of cross the line fox is laying out there as we were talking about that there is this systemic fraud rotting american elections for years. when they brought up the voting rights act forget the broader democratic election bill. when they brought up the voting rights act a few weeks only one republican even voted, lisa murkowski, to open the debate as compared to 2006 when every republican voted for the reauthorization. i think what this says to joe manchin and kristie sinema what they are looking for is completely unrealistic. there are not a large number of republicans willing to step across this very deep channel fox and the other conservative media has created. the choice they'll face on martin luther king day or around then is do they act alone or not act? i think what we are seeing is why it is so hard to get any meaningful number of republicans
to resist what trump and fox and others are doing >> i think we know the answer to them and that will probably be to not act. now to the vice president, the committee, the chair of the committee also saying he wants to hear directly from the former vice president mike pence. pence has been slowly distancing himself from the big lie. we don't have to play the sound bite. we know. what do you think? has he distanced himself enough to cooperate with this committee? >> i doubt he will. look, i resist this idea that we're going to praise vice president pence because he actually didn't go along with overthrowing the government of the united states and ending peaceful transition of power. that is a pretty low bar. pence saw all of this. if you go back and read all these books about what happened post election, pence was calling up dan quayle saying, isn't there a way i can do this? pence is no hero here.
he is someone who stood for his entire life for this whole idea of morality, someone who went on radio stations and ran it against adultery, then he teamed up with donald trump. i can't think of a more perfect phony in american politics than mike pence. >> nobody has said that. i've been waiting for someone to say that now for five years. this guy ran on, he was such the perfect oh, adultery and family and anti-gay and all of this and then he ran with the guy who had the affair with a porn star and what have you. i've got to run. go ahead. >> on what? >> on whatever you would like to say. that is dangerous i know. >> yeah. i know. yeah. >> do you think pence is going to cooperate?
>> i don't think so. i mean the truth is, he doesn't really have much to lose. he doesn't have a bright future basically because of him not going in a thousand percent with the whole plan. so this would be a good opportunity for him to do the right thing but i don't think that we should expect that to happen and i agree we shouldn't be lowering the bar for people that if they just do the minimally decent thing that we somehow treat them as heroes. >> we're so happy you're here at cnn, kirsten powers >> i am. >> instead of that other place. you probably are much happier for it as well. >> yes. very happy here >> i was waiting for the yes. thank you all. have a good evening. i appreciate it. see you soon. happy new year to you. senate majority leader chuck schumer wants his party to change the rules to get voting rights passed but not everybody in his party is onboard with that. we'll talk to congressman james
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their focus on voting rights now that the build back better plan is on the back burner for a moment. good to see you. happy new year. thank you sir for joining. >> same to you. thanks for having me. >> let's talk about senator manchin saying he doesn't want to make any changes that would divide the country further. this is what he said this morning. >> i think these are things republicans and democrats both could and should agree on. so we want to talk to everybody. i want to engage everybody. i'm not just going from one side. i think for us to go it alone no matter what side does it, it comes back at you pretty hard. >> so he says his absolute preference is not to change the rules unless there is republican buy-in. isn't that out of touch with where the senate gop is? they have repeatedly blocked democratic attempts to pass voting bills. >> that is quite true. the fact of the matter is that is my preference as well.
that was our preference years ago when we got 100% of the republicans voted in favor of reauthorizing the voting rights act. now we have no republicans in favor of reauthorizing. so if they can make a shift in their position, maybe it is time for us to make a shift in ours. i don't understand why senator manchin feels, we are going to hold on to the position we have when they have change their position. when we are all together and doing this irrespective of party, and talking about voting, as being an american issue, to maintain this democracy, then we are all together. that is my preference. he is talking about what should be and, yes. i agree. that is what should be. that is not what is. so we have to go accordingly. >> he is also proposing rather
than requiring 60 votes to overcome the filibuster he is wanting to make it three fifths of those present meaning if there are absences the threshold would be reduced. would that be an acceptable compromise? >> i don't think so. i think we ought to just decide that voting and other constitutional issues are not to be subjected to the filibuster. that is just the way it ought to be. we do it for the budget. we do this reconciliation process. so that no one person can filibuster the full faith and credit of the united states of america and the same should apply when it comes to constitutional issues. so i think they're nibbling around the edges, that is not the thing to do. if the republicans are not going to be supportive of everybody
having an unfettered vote then let's move on without them. >> what about a lot of people have been talking about the so-called talking filibuster which some proposed. the president mentioned it in an interview with me a couple times. if senator manchin would support that would it be substantive in terms of voting rights? >> you know, it all depends with how you write the rules. if you say one person has to keep the floor, that is one thing. if you say that one person can hand the floor off to another person and they keep doing that and get up to 50 some odd people, that's another thing. so if you are going to modify the filibuster, go back to what it used to be, that would not be anything new. and strom thurmond broke the record back in 1957 it was a talking filibuster. and so if you go back to the
talking filibuster that is one thing but how will the rules be written so as to make voting unencumbered? >> do you think there is, speaking of, value in the filibuster to preserve the rights of the minority or do you believe when the tables are turned and republicans are in power that they will just get rid of it anyway and so democrats should act now specifically for voting rights? >> i believe both of those things are true. there is value in the filibuster. but it should be limited. it should not be unlimited. what we've got now is a person sitting downtown somewhere in a spa making a phone call and the filibuster is on. the person doesn't have to do a thing about it. now if we're talking about giving time for a person to muster support for his or her position to explain to people
why he or she feels the way he or she feels that is one thing but it is unlimited and you can hold it up forever. which is the case now. that to me i am not in favor of. >> congressman clyburn thank you so much. i appreciate your time. happy new year to you. >> same to you. thank you so much for having me. >> facts first. the attack on the capitol was just that an attack. in spite of the pictures and video the lies keep on spreading. our very own daniel dale is here to tell us the truth and he is next.
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with special offers just for movers at xfinity.com/moving. nearly one year since the january 6th attack and some americans are still pushing lies about the insurrection. we're going to knock them down tonight. as we like to say facts first here. i want to bring in cnn's fact checker in chief. let's get right to it. one of the biggest false claims from trump and others is all the rioters at the capitol that day were unarmed. give us the facts. >> that is not even close to true, don. we heard it again from former president trump in december. dozens of rioters at the capitol that day were armed. p fact, so far according to the department of justice last week more than 75 people who
illegally entered capitol grounds have been charged to date with entering with a deadly or dangerous weapon. that includes at least four people accused of bringing guns on capitol grounds and that includes things like knives, batons, tasers, baseball bats, axes, the list goes on and on. whether you are using arms to refer specifically to guns or more broadly talking about weapons, the claim is completely utterly inaccurate. >> another lie some supporters of the former president including some in the right wing media love to spread is the insurrection was a false flag. can you tell us about that? >> yeah. this claim is so completely nonsense it is almost an insult to americans' intelligence. we know for a fact that this insurrection was orchestrated and perpetrated by supporters of former president trump. not only did we see them and hear them that day the fact that they support trump has been exhaustively confirmed in their own social media posts, their own comments to media outlets,
and in their own admissions in court. this was not some attack secretly orchestrated by say left wing antifa to make president trump look bad. trump keeps saying maybe it was antifa. antifa was agitating. we have more than 700 people charged to date. of those more than 700 people not a single one has been shown to be a member of left wing antifa. in contrast, hundreds and hundreds have been proven to be trump supporters. and a number of them have been confirmed to be affiliated with right wing extremist groups like the proud boys and the oath keepers. no this is not a false flag. yes as we all knew from the start this was in fact perpetrated by supporters of trump. >> facts first daniel dale. thank you so much. 1 in 5 hospitals reporting icu beds are nearly all full. doctors and nurses sounding the alarm again. stay with us.
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the omicron variant spreading so fast, the cdc estimating it now accounts for 95% of all new covid infections up from just 8% a month algo ago, and now with the spike in covid cases, 88,000 americans are hospitalized with the virus. i want to bring in dr. robert walker, the chair of ucf medicine, where researchers identified the first omicron case in the u.s. i'm so happy to have you here.
good evening to you. doctor, let's start with the new guidance from the cdc, shortening the isolation period for someone with a positive test but no symptoms to five days. but there's no required test at the end of those five days to end the quarantine. is this the best message knowing how contagious omicron is? >> yeah, i don't think they got this one right, don. i think there is an imperative to try and shorten the length of time people are in isolation, particularly for hospitals and clinics and airplanes and all sorts of reasons, but most people will not be infectious at five days, but some people still will, so i think the better message would have been five days and then a rapid test or better yet, two days in a row to have negative rapid tests before you come out of isolation. they also need to strengthen the message about wearing a mask. the idea is you come out of isolation, but you should still wear a very good mask, and i would say an n95 for another five days just to be absolutely sure you're not infectious.
>> let's talk more about that. we have heard everything from n95s are the best and recommending. cloth masks are still okay. what is your choice for the best given the spread that we are seeing right now? is it n95? >> yeah, i mean, i don't think there is any question the n95 is a better mask or the k n95 or any variations of that theme. it filters out far more virus than the cloth masks. the cloth mask does very very little, and so for much of the pandemic, i was wearing a surgical mask with a cloth mask on top, which isn't bad, and gets you maybe 70% of the way there, but since omicron became the thing, i figure the virus has upped its game in terms of its ability to infect me, i need to up my game to keep it at bay. when i'm wearing a mask, which is pretty much every time i'm in doors, unless i'm in my bubble, i'm wearing an n95 and
equipment. >> er doctors and nurses asking people not to come in for mild covid cases or routine testing, our emergency departments are at a critical capacity, and things will get worse. waiting rooms are over flowing and hospital admission beds are limited throughout massachusetts. in the coming days and weeks we will see more nurses, doctors, and support staff become infected and stay home to isolate and get well. this situation will challenge our emergency departments and hospitals even more. the people and facilities are at a breaking point now. >> that they are. and this is now two years into it. the thrill is very much gone. i think we also know that a fair number of people that are coming in very sick have made some bad choices. they need the care. they deserve the care, but still, it didn't have to happen. much of that was preventable, and we're facing a different kind of crisis than we faced a year or two ago. we never really had the challenge where we had a lot of
nurses and docs and other health care workers who were out sick as well. and it's also happening at the peak of winter when hospitals are already full. we tend to run very full over the winter because of flu and other kinds of seasonal illnesses. so you're talking about very full hospitals with a lot of covid patients on top of it, even though some covid patients are coming in for other things, and they have quote incidental covid, you have to isolate them. it takes time. a lot of health care workers out sick. it really is at the breaking point in many cities. where i am in san francisco, it's not quite that bad, but we're planning for na bad. it could get that way everywhere. >> doctor, thank you so much, i appreciate your time. >> thank you, don. >> thank you for watching, everyone. our coverage continues. ♪ superpowers from a spider bite? i could use some help showing the world how liberty mutual customizes their car insurance so they only pay for what they need. (gasps) ♪
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good evening a lot of breaking news to cover this evening, including new guidance from the cdc on when and how to isolate, and mask use, and the tragedy unfolding on interstate 95 outside the nalgtion's capit. we start with what we learned about the insurrection. two days before the anniversary, the security ramps up in anticipation, the committee has sent a letter to sean hannity asking for his voluntary cooperation in the investigation, and they released more text messages. now, many of these to former chief of staff mark meadows from hannity that were written in the days before and after the attack, according to the committee's letter, they have quote dozens of these texts. many appearing to show that the fox news host was worried about the former president's attempts to overturn the el