tv America This Morning ABC December 22, 2020 4:00am-4:30am PST
have a great tuesday. right now on "america this morning," it's likely already here. that's what experts are saying about the new mutation of the coronavirus, but what does that mean and why hasn't the u.s. stopped flights from london? plus, the big vote in congress overnight on those $600 covid relief checks and amazon shutting down a major warehouse because of covid infections. what the company is saying. also breaking overnight, rudy giuliani's emails under scrutiny. what we're learning from federal prosecutors one day after attorney general bill barr threw more cold water on the trump campaign's election fraud claims. a cheating scandal revealed at west point, the worst in 40 years. what the cadets are accused of doing to get an unfair advantage.
cuffed at the food court. the growing outrage after the wrong man is handcuffed in front of his family. he is now speaking out. plus, poisoned by his underwear? the stunning claim from one of vladimir putin's opponents. and later, joggers, beware. what you don't want to see on your morning run. good tuesday morning, everyone. i'm mona kosar abdi. >> i'm will reeve in for kenneth. we begin with the new mutation of the coronavirus. >> it is believed to be far more infectious and now millions of people are heading to the airport for holiday travel raising fear that a christmas surge in cases on top of the deadly thanksgiving surge will overwhelm hospitals even further. in the meantime, some good news, congress overnight approving that $900 billion covid relief package, which includes $600 stimulus checks for most americans. >> more on those in a moment. but first what we're learning
about that new variant of covid-19. this morning, dr. anthony fauci warns the new coronavirus variant is likely already in the u.s. >> given the travel throughout the world, i would not be surprised if it's already here. >> reporter: the mutation, which could be 70% more contagious, has forced parts of london into a shutdown. more than 40 countries suspended travel to and from the uk. scientists say it's not unusual for viruses to mutate and the covid vaccines are likely effective against the mutation. dr. anthony fauci says a uk travel ban would be premature. >> i don't think that that kind of a draconian approach is necessary. i think we should seriously consider the possibility of requiring testing of people before they come from the uk here, but i don't think that there's enough evidence right now to essentially lock down any travel from the uk. >> reporter: in new york, several airlines have now agreed
to governor andrew cuomo's request that passengers boarding flights from the uk test negative, but cuomo is slamming the u.s. government for not restricting flights. >> the authorities say they haven't found the strain here yet. i believe intuitively it's already here. why don't we act intelligently for a change? >> reporter: in the meantime, more than 500,000 americans have now received the first dose of pfizer's covid vaccine including president-elect joe biden. today health secretary alex azar and dr. fauci will get moderna's vaccine, which began arriving in hospitals monday. it comes as the u.s. breaks another record, more than 115,000 americans are now in the hospital with covid. overnight deputies in los angeles announced 60 arrests stemming from superspreader events. l.a.'s mayor, who is in quarantine after his daughter tested positive, got emotional while pleading with the people to stay home.
>> i know you're cut off from your children or your grandchildren, how much you yearn to just hold them, but we will get through. each individual decision we make is a life saver. >> reporter: and this morning new concerns for an emergency medical technician who performed cpr on a man with covid-like symptoms on a united airlines flight. that passenger later dying. the emt now says he's showing symptoms of covid. >> my cough will be a little bit worse or my headache will be a little bit worse. pretty much i feel like i got hit by a train. >> meanwhile, new trouble for amazon. covid cases among workers have forced the company to shut down a warehouse in new jersey. but amazon insists it won't delay shipments. more on the breaking news, the passage of the long awaited covid relief bill. the $900 billion package was overwhelmingly approved by the house and senate and includes $600 stimulus checkings for most americans. that's $2,400 for a family of
four. payments should arrive as early as next week. there's also a $300 per week unemployment supplement, plus funding for small businesses and renters facing eviction. president trump is expected to sign the bill. protesters angry over covid lockdowns tried to break into the oregon state capitol on monday even kicking through a glass door. police say one protester used chemical agents against officers who fired pepper balls in return. four people were arrested. a major development overnight in the rudy giuliani investigation. sources say his emails are now under scrutiny. it comes as giuliani tries to distance himself from another attorney trying to help president trump overturn the election. attorney general william barr is now throwing cold water on that effort. abc's faith abubey is here with more. good morning, faith. >> reporter: hey, good morning, mona. william barr is now breaking with the president in his final days as attorney general, and it comes as we're learning more details about that federal investigation into trump's
personal attorney, rudy giuliani. as president trump and his legal team try to overturn the election, it appears a federal investigation of rudy giuliani remains active. abc news confirming overnight that prosecutors have discussed pursuing giuliani's electronic emails into his business dealings in ukraine. it's unclear what prosecutors in the southern district of new york hope to find in the correspondence. giuliani under federal investigation since last year when his former associates were arrested trying to leave the country. in the meantime, giuliani now distancing himself from sidney powell, a lawyer pushing some of the most extreme election conspiracy theories. powell made this false claim last month. >> president trump won by a landslide. we are going to prove it, and we are going to reclaim the united states of america. >> reporter: sources say powell has been at the white house twice in the last two days urging the president to make her a special counsel to investigate the election.
a move even giuliani opposes. >> let me say definitively sidney powell is not part of our legal team. she hasn't been for five weeks. she is not a special counsel for the president. she does not speak for the president nor does she speak for the administration. >> reporter: and this morning attorney general bill barr is breaking ranks with the president saying there's no widespread voter fraud, and there's no reason to appoint a special counsel. >> if i thought a special counsel at this stage was the right tool and was appropriate, i would do -- i would name one but i haven't, and i'm not going to. >> reporter: barr also says he will not appoint a special counsel to take over that investigation into hunter biden's taxes. meanwhile, barr's final day with the justice department is tomorrow. mona. >> faith, thank you. the united states is showcasing its military might in the persian gulf amid rising tensions with iran. the u.s. has made a rare announcement that an american nuclear power guided missile submarine passed through the strait of hormuz
between iran and the arabian peninsula. the move follows last month's assassination of iran's top scientist. iran blamed israel and has vowed to get revenge. a major cheating scandal at the u.s. military academy. 73 cadets at west point are accused in the worst scandal in four decades. 59 of them have been admitted cheating on a remote learning exam. no one was expelled, but four of those accused have left the academy. officials say others will be held accountable. a bizarre story from new york's laguardia airport where two people and a service dog escaped from a delta plane just before takeoff by sliding down the emergency chute. officials say the man refused to sit down for the flight to atlanta. he claimed it triggered his ptsd. witnesses say he then opened the cabin door, went down the plane's slide. his girlfriend and dog following. the couple then taken into custody. spectacular lava flows are spewing from the kilauea volcano in hawaii. for now the lava is confined
to the volcano's crater and is not threatening homes, but officials are asking those nearby to stay inside to avoid toxic gas and ash. let's take a look at your tuesday weather. a cross-country winter storm could drop 30 inches of snow in parts of montana. by tomorrow snow is expected in the upper midwest. rain around chicago, thunderstorms in the south. by thursday the east coast will see storms, heavy rain, gusty winds. after the storm moves through, frigid air will drop all the way to florida. as for today's high temperatures, mild in the southeast, around 40 by the great lakes and in the northeast, nice low 70s for phoenix and l.a. coming up, the best views of jupiter and saturn merging in the night sky for the first time in centuries. also ahead, a cold case
cracked. how police finally tracked down the suspect in the 1988 kidnapping of a california girl. and poisoned by underwear? the stunning new claim from one of vladimir putin's fiercest critics. the perfect way to care for you baby is your own way and that inspired our perfect diaper to be the softest ever with plant-based materials huggies special delivery to be the softest ever with plant-based materials gillette proglide and proglide gel.
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narrow to those with a sudden need...for a new gift. meaning, you. you're the one we made mywalgreens for. with pickup in as little as 30 minutes. get 30 minute pickup at walgreens.com that snow moon over miami, the great conjunction, also being called the christmas star. jupiter on the left and saturn appearing close together to brighten the sky, the first time it's happened at night in nearly eight centuries. russian opposition leader alexi navalny has revealed he was poisoned through his underwear. navalny has released a call allegedly with the operative who planted the nerve agent in his underwear back in august before a flight. navalny is one of vladimir
putin's fiercest critics and says the operative told him things would have gone differently had the plane not made an emergency land ago louing him to get medical care. we turn to a cold case potentially solved after more than 30 years involving a missing california girl who went to buy candy in 1988 and never came home. now thanks to a partial handprint, police believe they found her killer. here's abc's megan tevrizian. >> reporter: this morning a murder mystery spanning more than three decades potentially solved. 32 years after little michaela garecht went missing near san francisco, authorities have charged a man with her murder. his name, david misch. a convicted felon already serving time. >> it was so brazen, so ruthless, but clearly planned. >> reporter: the case even appearing on "america's most wanted and unsolved mysteries." >> november 19th, 1988, a 9-year-old girl named michaela garecht
and her best friend were given $5 by the friend's father to spend at a local market in hayward, california. >> reporter: garecht was 9 when she was last seen in 1988 at this store parking lot where she and her friend katrina hogue went to buy candy and soda. >> michaela, she might be just as much a 39-year-old as i am. >> reporter: hogue, the only witness to the kidnapping, says when she left the store, a man threw garecht in his car and drove off. >> she might be somewhere, and we might be able to find her. >> reporter: the suspect, 59-year-old david misch, was already in custody convicted in a previous murder. investigators received new leads in the garecht case earlier this year. >> we had the opportunity to follow those leads patiently as misch has been in state prison since 1989 convicted of murder. >> reporter: authorities say misch left a partial palm print on garecht's scooter, which investigators then compared with their own eyes. garecht's body has never been found. her mother is holding on to hope that the questions surrounding her disappearance will now come to light. >> every possible terrible thing
that could have happened to a child is in my head as a possibility. so if i could find out what did happen to her, at least it would eliminate everything else. >> reporter: authorities are not ruling out that misch could be connected to other cases of missing girls in the area. will, mona. >> megan, thank you. coming up, a shocking sight at the food court. a black man wrongly accused is being handcuffed by police with his family watching. he speaks out next. also ahead, a settlement is reached after a stunt at the circus goes horribly wrong.
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gold bond champion your skin check out this surprise for a florida jogger. an alligator peeking out of a storm drain in venice. it was six feet long, apparently trapped. police eventually came by to free the gator. eight acrobats badly injured in the circus accident in 2014 have reached a $52 million settlement. the women were suspended by their hair at a convention center in rhode island when the rigging snapped sending them crashing to the floor. they sued the arena after suffering broken bones and other injuries. a virginia man is speaking out after a day with his family turned into a nightmare. jamar mackey was handcuffed and arrested at a mall in virginia beach. police say he matched the description of a fraud suspect. the scene played out in front of his fiancee and kids. police calling it now a case of mistaken identity, but mackey says it was more than that.
>> it's just like how has nothing changed? how is everything still the same? how do you still racial profile a black man with dreads in 2020? how do you do that? it's still happening. i been in virginia beach my whole life. >> police apologized and promise to investigate. back now to the coronavirus and the uncertainty over a new mutation. it could already be in the u.s. earlier i spoke with dr. alok patel to answer some key questions. there are a lot of questions surrounding this new mutation of the coronavirus, but let's begin with why is this new variant of covid in the uk being called a new variant and not a new strain, for example? is a new variant less of a concern than perhaps a new strain? >> i think right now we're seeing the two terms being thrown around interchangeably. but what we do know, the reason we're calling it a variant is because this variant is based on mutations that happened in the virus. now, on average a sars-cov-2 virus is getting about one or
two mutations a month, but it has more than that, but we do know that it acts the same way, the same rules apply and the vaccine should pretext us against the new variant. >> the vaccine, how is the vaccine rollout going so far? some respects are reporting they're getting less vaccine than they expected. you're on the front lines. what are you seeing? >> we're seeing the balance between a lot of enthusiasm and pride and you're seeing that in social media with frontline workers with their photos but you're absolutely right. there have been some hiccups in distribution and issues with the actual supply that some states are getting and some questions that need to be answered, but in the end hopefully all the images are telling the public that the vaccine is safe, that it works and all these issues with distribution are sorted out moving forward. >> and lastly, dr. patel, nearly 60,000 people in the u.s. have died since thanksgiving from covid. can our hospitals handle another major surge after christmas? >> i don't think so. over 70% of icu beds in the country are filled. i don't want to fathom
what would happen if we start to see surges from several different holidays all encompassed in a two-week period. our health capacity couldn't handle it and could see a really bad january, possibly the worst month of this pandemic if we're not careful. >> our thanks to dr. patel. in sports a surprising upset on monday night football. the bengals beating the steelers by ten, it's the third win of the year for cincinnati, the third straight loss for pittsburgh. in the nba, the season begins tonight, no bubble this year like there was last season, teams will play on their home courts, strict covid testing, no fans in the stands. coming up, apple getting into the car business. also ahead, how santa was literally left hanging.
>> it's reportedly moving forward. according to reuters, apple wants to build a passenger vehicle in 2024. >> the plan relies on a new battery that could be radically cheaper than today's batteries. next a new holiday treat has hit mcdonald's menu. >> behold the spam burger, and if that's not enough it's topped with crushed oreos and mayo on the menu in china. >> no word if they'll ever make it here in the u.s. >> yum. next a santa who might want to stick to his sleigh. >> santa had to be rescued from high above the ground in a sacramento suburb. he got tangled in power lines while gliding in an aircraft described as a flying go-kart. >> but he did walk away without a scratch. and finally a simple thank you can go a long way. >> neighbors in richmond, virginia, lined up to honor anthony gaskin, a u.p.s. driver who delivered nearly 200 packages every day despite covid lockdowns and the holiday rush. >> hundreds expressed their appreciation with signs and cheers. his supervisor also surprised him with a gift. >> we thank you as well.
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checking the top stories, a manhunt intensified overnight after a police officer was shot near pittsburgh. surveillance video shows the suspect get out of that police suv, shoot the officer, and then take off. the officer is expected to survive. president trump is expected to sign a $900 billion covid relief bill after it was approved by the house and senate last night. most americans can expect a payment of $600 as early as next week. there's also a $300 weekly unemployment benefit and money for small businesses. a statue of general robert e. lee has been removed from the u.s. capitol where it stood for more than a century. it could be replaced by the statue of a civil rights leader. the lee statue is headed to a virginia museum. in today's weather, snow in the rockies could be measured in feet, not inches today. the rest of the country will see
mostly clear skies. mild conditions for the first full day of winter. and finally, sales of christmas lights are soaring. >> will ganss spoke with people going bigger and brighter than ever in 2020. >> reporter: 'twas the end of 2020, and christmas spirit was running low until houses like this and this and this popped up. blazing lights all aglow. ♪ go, go, go, >> it's helped to forget such a tough year. i mean, that's probably the most important thing was that it's been really tough and laughing and smiling makes things easier, and i hope i'm doing that. ♪ everybody dance now >> reporter: frankie from houston becoming a tiktok superstar. his lights racking up millions of views, inspiring fans near and far. >> i know it's big, because the comments on there are now in different languages, you know? >> reporter: christmas light sales are up 20% this year with many realizing 2020 could use an
extra helping of holiday cheer. >> this year, more than ever, you need more happiness and more cheer. >> reporter: lucille has been decorating her house since 1986. now her granddaughter, also lucille, helps her with these holiday tricks. >> so to see other people enjoying what i've enjoyed for 19 years, it means a lot. >> reporter: not pandemic nor quarantine could stop the spattas in nyc from their long-held tradition of decking the halls, the walls, the tree. >> we usually start november 1 and light it up thanksgiving. but this year i put it up way before halloween. >> reporter: for any grinchly neighbors with hearts two sizes too small, here's what lucy has to say before you ask her to undeck the halls. >> if you don't like it, move. go away for 30 days. >> we did ask both of the lucys there in brooklyn about their electricity bill and said it's not bad. you can't put a price on christmas cheer. mona, will. >> and if you don't like it, a
have a great tuesday. right now on "america this morning," it's likely already here. that's what experts are saying about the new mutation of the coronavirus, but what does that mean and why hasn't the u.s. stopped flights from london? plus, the big vote in congress overnight on those $600 covid relief checks and amazon shutting down a major warehouse because of covid infections. what the company is saying. also breaking overnight, rudy giuliani's emails under scrutiny. what we're learning from federal prosecutors one day after attorney general bill barr threw more cold water on the trump campaign's election fraud claims. a cheating scandal revealed at west point, the worst in 40 years. what the cadets are accused of doing to get an unfair