Transcript for ABC News Live Prime: Thursday, January 13, 2021
LINSEY DAVIS: Dramatic moments in the middle of Midtown Manhattan, after police give chase to a carjacker. Thankfully, no one was hurt. But authorities were not able to catch the suspect, who they say sped away in this car. They are now asking for the public's help in finding him.
Tonight, the major move by the Supreme Court, striking down the federal government's vaccine or test requirement on private businesses of 100 or more workers. What does this mean for your employer?
Tonight, the dramatic charge leveled against the Oath Keepers leader and 10 others, allegations of seditious conspiracy. Investigators say the 11 arrested plan to disrupt the peaceful handover of power, and were prepared to use force if necessary. Pierre Thomas is standing by.
"It is pure politics." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy making it very clear he will not cooperate with the House Committee investigating January 6. So what comes next?
The voting rights stalemate in the Senate. President Biden on the Hill today, trying to win over senators Manchin and Sinema, who will not back his plan to carve out the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation. What does one of their colleagues think? We're joined by Senator Tammy Duckworth.
A major snowstorm sent to wallop parts of the country as we head toward the weekend. Cities like Atlanta could see the first recorded snow in nearly 1,500 days. And the Northeast could get slammed. But first, the bitter cold on the way. Ginger Zee will time it all out for us.
And some are calling it this generation's Ellis Island. A rare access inside an Air Force base in New Mexico, where Afghan refugees are adjusting to a new life after they left behind everything they had and everyone they knew to escape the Taliban.
- What do you pack in your backpack to leave your homeland forever?
- I packed just two dresses for me, other than what I had on, and two for my husband.
- One backpack for both of you?
- Looking forward to that report coming up good. Evening, everyone. I'm Linsey Davis. Thanks so much for streaming with us. It is a busy Thursday night. We are tracking a monster winter storm making its way across the country, and the Justice Department upping the ante with sedition charges in connection with January 6.
But we do begin with a day of stunning setbacks for President Biden on Capitol Hill today. Biden failed to convince all the senators in his own party to get on the same page to push his voting rights reform to the finish line. And around that same time, the Supreme Court issued a stay effectively halting his administration's vaccine mandate for large private businesses. Officials had said that the mandate would help 22 million people get vaccinated and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations.
As we've been reporting all week long, hospitalizations in this pandemic are now at a record high. Tonight, we have a team inside a children's hospital in Dayton, Ohio, where parents are just shocked to see their children struggling to breathe. So far, the vaccination rate among children five to 17 is just 35%. And there's still no vaccine, of course, for those under the age of five. All of those factors are reasons why the Biden administration had hoped that its vaccine mandate would proceed. Mary Bruce leads us off tonight from Washington with more on the Supreme Court's decision.
MARY BRUCE: Tonight, in a blow to the White House, the Supreme Court blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine and testing mandate for large businesses. The policy, which would have impacted more than 80 million employees, required they get vaccinated or wear masks and undergo weekly testing. The conservative justices argued the agency overseeing the mandate, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, does not have the authority to regulate public health.
NEIL GORSUCH: OSHA has not traditionally mandated other vaccines for other hazards that could pose a grave risk, some might say. The flu kills people every year. Other grave diseases do, too.
MARY BRUCE: Today, the court ruling 6-3, with liberal justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissenting, writing, "in the face of a still-raging pandemic, this court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed." Many Republicans tonight are celebrating the court's decision to halt the mandate, but the president says he is "disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense, life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law."
But in a victory for the White House, the Court is allowing a vaccine mandate for workers at federally-funded health care facilities to continue a move which impacts more than 17 million workers. The president tonight hailing that decision, saying it will save lives, and that it is now on states and employers to do the right thing, pointing to United Airlines, which prior to putting in place their own vaccine mandate, was seeing an average of one employee dying every week from COVID. The CEO stating, "we've now gone eight straight weeks with zero COVID-related deaths among our vaccinated employees."
- Our thanks to Mary Bruce. And now let's bring in our senior Washington reporter, Devin Dwyer, who covers the Supreme Court for us. Devin, help us understand how the court could uphold one vaccine mandate, but then not the other.
- Well, it really boiled down, Linsey, to how the justices interpreted the intent of Congress when it created these federal agencies. The court said the law creating the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services specifically authorized the Health Secretary to protect the health and safety of patients, including, the law says, infection control protocols to make sure they're in place at hospitals. So that was in place in that law.
On the other hand, all the court's conservative justices said that the 1970 OSHA act that created it was far less clear, and that if Congress at that time had intended to allow a sweeping vaccination mandate, they should have specified that in the law, Linsey.
- And in the meantime, as we've been reporting, the administration has been really racing to try to get a handle on the soaring number of cases and hospitalizations. How much of a setback, then, is this ruling?
- Well, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, who oversees OSHA, said tonight, Linsey, that this is a major setback to the health and safety of American workers. Remember, these two mandates were the cornerstone of the Biden administration's plan to vaccinate millions of more Americans and really get us out of the pandemic. They needed those employers to help with the vaccinations. In fact, by their own estimate, this OSHA rule would have saved 6,500 lives over six months. So grim assessment from them tonight now that that rule is not in effect. The president vowing to keep pushing for this, but no question it's going to be harder, Linsey.
- And what does this mean for the thousands of Americans already subjected to vaccine requirements by their employers? Does the court's decision change that in any way?
- Well, it does not change that. Millions of employees in this country are already required by their employers to be vaccinated. That's true here at ABC News. In fact, Citigroup tonight, one of the largest commercial banks in the country, Linsey, announced that their vaccine mandate, announced back in October, will go into effect at the end of this month, and they will start firing employees who don't get the shot. So those policies are still very much in effect in private workplaces, regardless of this decision.
LINSEY DAVIS: Just not mandated at this point by the federal government.
- By the government, right.
LINSEY DAVIS: Devin Dwyer, our thanks to you. And staying in Washington, where today we saw major new indictments in the Capitol siege, with alleged members of the Oath Keepers militia group charged with seditious conspiracy leading up to the attack. And there are disturbing details in the indictment, including the group's leader allegedly messaging the group just after the election, quote, "we aren't getting through this without a civil war." Here's ABC's chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas.
PIERRE THOMAS: Tonight, in an extraordinarily rare move, the Justice Department charging some of the Capitol rioters with conspiracy to commit sedition, saying some of these men and women seen marching up the steps of the Capitol in tactical gear were allegedly part of a plot to, quote, "oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power."
Those charged with trying to overthrow the government are alleged members of Oath Keepers, an anti-government right wing militia which heavily recruits current and former military and law enforcement officials.
- They're in tactical gear. They have body armor. They're preparing for violence. I think what we saw was really an attempted coup to a certain extent.
PIERRE THOMAS: The FBI's case built on cracking encrypted apps the group allegedly used to secretly communicate with one another. According to the indictment, two days after the election, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes allegedly messaged followers, "we aren't getting through this without a civil war". And days later writing, "we must now do what the people of Serbia did when Milosevic stole their election, refuse to accept it and march en mass on the nation's Capitol."
And the FBI says on January 6, members of the group allegedly moved in search of Speaker Pelosi, while others allegedly staged an armed quick strike force in Virginia, not far from the Capitol.
- Pierre Thomas joins us now. And Pierre, how is the attorney for the founder of the Oath Keepers responding to these charges?
- Linsey, we heard from him tonight, and he's pushing back hard. He's saying that the government's case is built on nothing but lies, Linsey.
- And Pierre, these sedition charges are the first of their kind so far related to January 6. What does that signal about this phase in the investigation?
- Well, Linsey, it's extremely rare. That's the first thing I should say. And I think this is a signal that the government is not focusing just on the people who breached the Capitol in some kind of spontaneous fashion. What they're saying here is that there was planning, a level of developing the resources to go into the Capitol and try to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden. They said it was a conspiracy. That charge of sedition is when you just don't hear very often.
- All right, Pierre Thomas, our thanks to you. Meanwhile, as we reported last night, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has rejected the House Special Committee's request to voluntarily cooperate with their investigation. So now what? Here's ABC's chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl.
JONATHAN KARL: On Capitol Hill today, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy defended his refusal to cooperate with the January 6 investigation.
- It is pure politics of what they're playing.
JONATHAN KARL: The committee wants to ask McCarthy about his phone call with former President Trump, while the Capitol was under attack. A year ago, he said he was willing to talk about that.
- Would you be willing to testify about your conversation with Donald Trump on January 6, if you were asked by an outside commission?
- Sure. Next question.
JONATHAN KARL: But today, McCarthy insisted he has nothing to say.
- My conversation was very short, advising the president of what was happening here.
JONATHAN KARL: In fact, McCarthy's conversation with Trump was much more than that. As I describe in my book "Betrayal", McCarthy became angry after Trump told him the rioters cared more about the election than he did. "Who do you think you are talking to," McCarthy told Trump. "I just got evacuated from the Capitol. There were shots fired right off the House floor. You need to make this stop." "They are more upset than you because they believe it more than you, Kevin," Trump responded. After the riot, McCarthy blamed Trump.
- He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump, accept his share of responsibility.
JONATHAN KARL: But two weeks later, McCarthy went to visit Trump in Mar-a-Lago. And today, he seemed to take it all back.
- What changed from what you said on the floor criticizing him, saying that he was like--
- My criticism went to everyone on that day. Why was the Capitol so ill-prepared that day?
JONATHAN KARL: The top Republican on the committee was blunt.
- I wish that he were a brave and honorable man. He's clearly trying to cover up what happened.
- Cheney really calling it like she sees it there. Jonathan Karl joins us now. Jon, how is this select committee responding to McCarthy's decision? And is there anything that they can do to compel his cooperation?
- Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said he is disappointed that McCarthy would not voluntarily cooperate with the committee, and he said that they are discussing the idea of issuing a subpoena to compel his testimony. But Linsey, the idea of a subpoena for Kevin McCarthy, a member of Congress, leader of the Republican Party in the House, is highly unlikely. For one, it's entirely unclear who would actually enforce the subpoena. The idea that the Justice Department would enforce the subpoena of a committee of Congress subpoenaing a fellow member of Congress seems, to most legal experts, to be unlikely at best.
- All right, Jonathan Karl reporting in for us. Thanks so much, Jon.
- Thank you, Linsey.
- And as we mentioned at the top of the show, it has been a challenging day for the Biden administration. After a noticeably frustrated president bluntly told reporters he doesn't know if he can get federal voting rights legislation passed, but he says he will continue to fight. ABC's Rachel Scott has more on if that fight may ultimately get anywhere.
RACHEL SCOTT: Tonight, a tough blow for President Biden from a member of his own party. Less than an hour before the president was due to arrive on Capitol Hill, to make a direct plea to Democrats to change the Senate rules to get voting rights legislation passed, Senator Kyrsten Sinema declared she's not on board.
- While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.
RACHEL SCOTT: Her announcement undercutting the president's visit. And when he emerged from his meeting with Senate Democrats, the president sounding somewhat defeated.
- I hope we can get this done. The honest-to-God answer is, I don't know whether to get this done. But one thing for certain, one thing for certain. Like every other major civil rights bill that came along, if we miss the first time, we can come back and try it a second time.
- The president suggesting there may be another opportunity to get another bite at the apple. Rachel Scott joins us now. Rachel, some news tonight about senators Manchin and Sinema meeting with the president. What's the latest?
- Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema heading to the White House to meet with the president again face-to-face. This comes after the president was here on Capitol Hill. He made a direct plea to both of those senators. Well, turns out they have not changed their minds. In fact, Senator Manchin only digging in tonight, saying changing the Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation would be an easy way out, Linsey.
- Rachel Scott reporting in from Capitol Hill. Thanks so much, Rachel.
And to continue the conversation on voting rights, we bring in Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth. Senator, thanks so much for coming on the show.
- It's great to be on. Thank you.
- So I want to get your reaction not just to Senator Sinema's speech today, laying out why she will not support changing Senate rules. But also the timing of her statements, coming shortly ahead of Biden's meeting with Senate Democrats. Do you think that her point is a reasonable one?
- You know, I think that she's missing the mark. She said this before, where she thinks that she's preserving the institution, that it's a blunt force that could be used against any party that's in the minority, including the Democrats if we're no longer in the majority. But frankly, we're talking about restoring the filibuster. We're talking about changing the rules for this one vote. And I think that it is critically important to pass voting rights protections.
And you know, we do this all the time. We just did it for the debt ceiling, where we changed the rules for one vote, and she was willing to vote for it then. So I don't know why she wouldn't be willing to vote for it again for an important piece of legislation like protecting Americans' access to the polls.
- And now, as you know, the push for federal election reform was always going to be an uphill battle. And it's been fairly clear for some time now, the Democrats just didn't have the votes to pass it, nor would they have the votes to eliminate the filibuster. In your opinion, have the Democrats and the president lost any political capital as a result of this fight?
- You know, the fight's not over yet. I will tell you that there are many Republicans who actually have given a lot of input into the voting rights bills that we are working on. Joe Manchin is leading one, the For the People Act. Lots of Republicans have given us input on that, but they've come back and said, hey, you know what? Even though we're giving you input and you're taking our input, we can't vote for this because it's a red line. Mitch McConnell has told us this is a red line, we can't vote on this. So this is less about whether or not Democrats have been successful as it is about the fact that Republicans--
And by the way, over a dozen of the Republicans that are in office today voted for voting rights legislation just 15, just a few years ago. And yet they are not willing to vote for the same bill again now today.
- But you say the fight is not over. Where do you see this potentially going, then? Because at the same time, you're saying that the Republicans are saying this is a red line and they can't support it, they won't vote for it. So what could be a possible potential outcome that you would be in favor of?
- Well, I think that we can do some things with the filibuster in order to get both Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema to agree to it. One is to carve out, as the president said today, just allow for this one vote to happen. And we've done this before, where we have a simple majority, where we've changed the rules for a single vote. We did it for the debt ceiling before we broke for the new year, for example. We can do the same thing for voting rights legislation, where we're saying this is so critically important to our nation, we're going to suspend the filibuster the way it is for this one vote, in order to make sure we protect Americans' rights to vote.
- And the president seems like he's been, or potentially about to be, shot down again by members of his own party. While 48 of you agree, two of you don't. Why do you think even appeals from the president at this point haven't been able to get all the Democrats on the same page?
- Well, you're going to have to ask Senator Sinema and Senator Manchin on that. I think that we just come from a different place. My position is, I would rather protect the rights of people to vote, all Americans to vote, versus protecting the right of one senator to prevent them from being able to vote. And that's what we're talking about, changing the Senate filibuster procedures, and basically restoring it to the way it was pre-Jim Crow era.
- And some of your colleagues on the other side of the aisle accuse Democrats of what they call fake hysteria over voting laws, and say that lawmakers should be focused on issues like the economy and national security, and not on what they call breaking the Senate. What do you make of that argument?
- Well, what I make of that argument is that we've tried three different times now to put voting rights legislation on the floor, and not a single Republican was willing to vote for it. Not just to pass it, but were not willing to vote to bring it to a debate. If there's no real issue, then go ahead and let's have a debate on it. And only Senator Murkowski of Alaska, on the last attempt, was the only Republican to vote to open debate on it. If it's not an issue and you want to protect the filibuster so much, then vote to allow us to have a debate on the floor so the Americans could see what the issue is.
But frankly, you see some laws that are being passed around this country that are egregious when it comes to allowing people access to the polls. I'll give you an example. In Georgia, it is now illegal to give someone who's standing in line for 10 hours a drink of water as they're standing in line waiting to exercise their right to vote. What does that have to do with voting? The Republican Secretary of State in Georgia sent out voter registration forms to all of the registered voters, an absentee ballot in the last election. That is now illegal.
- And before you go, just on another topic here, another headline today. Of course, the Supreme Court knocking down President Biden's vaccine mandate for large businesses. How problematic is this, in your estimation?
- Well, I think it is pretty problematic. I don't know how it's consistent with the fact that we do have vaccine mandates in all sorts of other places. You know, I served in the military. I got something like five out of the six anthrax vaccines before I was wounded in combat. But we've had vaccines, we've had all sorts of mandates for vaccines in all sorts of places. So it is a problem. It is an issue.
But frankly, bottom line, the virus doesn't care. The virus is still going to be out there, and you're going to get sick from it. So it is in your very best interest to make sure that you are vaccinated, not just for yourself, but for the people that you love as well.
- Senator Tammy Duckworth. Once again, we appreciate your time. Thanks so much for talking with us tonight.
- My pleasure, thank you.
- Next, to that monster winter storm moving across the country. From the Midwest to the Southeast to the Northeast, it will impact regions throughout the weekend. But first, a new round of bitter cold is on the way. Let's bring in our chief meteorologist Ginger Zee. Time this all out for us if you would, Ginger, including this upcoming bitter, unpleasant cold.
- Well, Linsey, you and I have been talking about this, but winter has really been delayed. And it's not just going to be in temperature that it comes in full force. It is going to be with this storm. Des Moines, Iowa, for example, they are eight-some inches below average for snow, and they're going to make it all up in this storm. It's all going to happen for them, you can see the clock there, through the day Friday. So Mason City down through Missouri, really heavy snow on the top end of this low pressure system.
Here's the deal with this storm. It goes deep enough south that it traverses the areas that do not have equipment to clear things. And yes, I'm talking to Atlanta. Looks like right now winter storm watches have been hoisted in northeastern Georgia, so just to the northeast of Atlanta, for two to five inches of snow, a 1/4 inch of ice. That's the type of ice that takes down power lines, that makes roads an absolute wreck. And that's going to move through Appalachia through the day Sunday.
You see how it tracked up and gets just in the right position to maybe start as snow in a place like New York, but then transition quickly to heavy rain. So it would be coastal rain. And the heaviest snow totals, we're talking in that six to 12 inch range, happen say, Catskills into, say, the Poconos.
So we'll be keeping an eye on that. But before it all happens, we get the coldest air in three years. And earlier this week, we had the coldest high temperatures, like the daytime highs. No, no, no, no, this is the coldest air we've seen in three years. It'll feel like 18 below in Hartford, 19 below for Albany. Burlington feeling like 34 below. That's real winter and beyond for you, Linsey.
- I think a lot of people are planning on trying to just bundle up and stay in the house this weekend as much as they can. Ginger Zee, our thanks to you.
- Thank you.
- And when we come back, the investigation into a deadly police chase after a deputy plows into a car, killing an innocent driver. The royal slap-down. Prince Andrew forced to fight his legal challenges as a private citizen. But up next, what happened to the thousands of Afghan refugees after they arrived in the United States? Our in-depth look at one couple's journey, next.
Take a look at this dramatic video out of Argentina. Police officers springing into action to save a choking girl. They were on patrol when they saw a woman with the 18-month-old in her arms, desperate for help. They immediately tried CPR and rushed her to the hospital, where she did ultimately get help. Both officers are being hailed as heroes tonight.
And switching gears here, we turn next to the tens of thousands of Afghan refugees starting a new life in America. So many of them desperate to flee the Taliban's grip, now trying to acclimate to a new land during a pandemic. Our Juju Chang files this in-depth report about the challenges they now face.
JUJU CHANG: Some here think of this camp as this generation's Ellis Island. Welcome to Aman Omid Village. To Afghans, that means "peace and hope." This tent city popped up in a matter of days back in August at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. More than 5,700 Afghan refugees have been relocated through this base. But it still houses more than 1,500 men, women, and children, starting a life they would not have imagined just one year ago.
What do you pack in your backpack to leave your homeland forever?
- I packed two dresses for me, other than what I had on, and two for my husband.
- One backpack for both of you?
JUJU CHANG: We first met Laila on the cusp of the Taliban takeover last August. We're not using her real name to protect her family.
- It's like we have lost everything. I have lost my job. I have lost my freedom.
JUJU CHANG: She and her husband Youssef were frantically fleeing a crumbling Afghanistan, at moments wondering if they'd even make it out alive. She watched as the Taliban swept into her city, wiping away the life she had built, documenting it all. -
How many times did you go to the airport and fail to get out in Kabul?
- We went to Kabul airport like maybe five times, and sometimes like in the middle of the night sometimes, and leave every morning, and sometimes in the middle of the day. But we didn't make it in.
- And how many days were you waiting in limbo?
- Almost 20 days.
This is the first time it's raining here since I have been here. And this would be the first raindrops on my skin.
JUJU CHANG: Too scared to show her face initially, she recorded these moments to remember leaving her country, where she thrived as an educated and liberated woman. And now, Laila and her husband have been at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico for nearly four months. The majority of refugees living here worked with the US military or government during the nearly 20-year conflict. Laila and Youssef are just two of the nearly 76,000 Afghans able to come to the US after Kabul fell in August.
They were accepted to permanent housing three times, but the pandemic got in the way. They're still here. They, like others, are now learning the building blocks of a new life, an American one. Not just learning English, but learning how to live and work in their new home. From how to find a job or get a driver's license, to learn basics, like crossing a street. For people like Laila, who fled with little more than the clothes on their back--
- This one looks great. I like it. I think it's going to fit me.
JUJU CHANG: The camp tries to fill in the blanks.
This giant warehouse is called the Personal Care Center. It's chock-full of everything from diapers to formula to gently-used clothes, underwear. Everything anyone would need who left their house in the middle of the night with nothing but the shirt on their backs.
It's a massive undertaking, with the help of churches and other nonprofits. But military officials tell us there's a lot of need.
- These folks, they are hungry for skills to get to make it in America. So they're under multiple layers of stress. They're grieving the loss of their country. They're living in a diverse community of Afghans they've never lived in.
JUJU CHANG: Roughly 19,000 Afghan refugees are living in tent villages like this one across the country.
So tell me about the meals here.
- We are trying very hard to make it the Afghan way.
JUJU CHANG: Laila has already found lunch companions to help lift her spirits.
Who are the three musketeers?
- When I came here, I was kind of like depressed from all what happened, and they were the ones that really helped me.
JUJU CHANG: This support, crucial, because Laila is now pregnant.
- One baby, and another right there.
- I went to the clinic here in the airbase, and they did an ultrasound and told me that you're having twins. But when I was in Mazar-i-Sharif, I was like, I don't want to have a baby in Afghanistan, especially if it's a girl.
JUJU CHANG: Laila was just a toddler when the Taliban first came to power. Now, preparing to be a mother at 28, she realizes just how much her mom and father sacrificed for her. Teaching her to read in secret, education made a top priority once the US drove out the militant group.
- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
- I always wanted my voice to be here. So I want everyone to know how life is for a girl in Afghanistan. If I get educated, I'm not going to let my sons to go and join Taliban and be one of them. And that is what every other mom would do. So they are afraid of us.
JUJU CHANG: Laila and her husband have been on this journey together, side-by-side, now about to be parents to children born in the US. They first met 10 years ago the old-fashioned way, through Facebook.
You fell in love?
JUJU CHANG: What was going through your mind as you were dancing on your wedding day?
- When I was in his arms, it was something I had never experienced before.
JUJU CHANG: What's it like starting a family in the United States?
- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
JUJU CHANG: Youssef hopes to earn a better life by pursuing woodworking, like he used to back home. But they can't do it alone. Refugee agencies and charities across the country are scrambling to help jumpstart people's lives.
Why should the DOD, or the American government broadly, spend all this money to repatriate these Afghans?
- Because these are the people that helped us when we were over there, and we owe that to them. And that's what the DOD does.
JUJU CHANG: The debt to those who risked their lives simply for being associated with Americans. This camp offers post-traumatic healing.
- When I see these people, I see a resilient and a tolerant, and a very patient but very strong population that's endured a lot for many decades. And a lot of that sacrifice they've made for our American security. So this sort of payback, as you say, really is a way for us to give back.
- Tell me about the placements.
- The resettlement process.
- How rigorous is that process?
- They've been doing this for a long time, but they've never handled this many people. So it's a hard lift for the resettlement agencies.
- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
JUJU CHANG: Youssef and Laila called their family abroad in the afternoon to share the good news of a possible permanent new home.
- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
- When we were flying out from Mazar-i-Sharif airport, it was like I was happy and also heartbroken at the same time. I was leaving a land that I was born and I was raised.
- She hopes to be in a new home in the coming weeks, starting a new life with a new family. So many like her throughout this country, with the future uncertain.
- Our thanks to JuJu for that. Still ahead here on Prime, the new warning about Apple AirTag sent to law enforcement. The massive settlement involving student loans. One company accused of deceiving borrowers into loans that they knew most would be unable to repay. And how much time do we spend on mobile apps? We take a look by the numbers.
But first, our tweet of the day, Machine Gun Kelly showing off the engagement ring he used to propose to Megan Fox. The ring has both his and her birth stones to form what he calls an obscure heart. Congratulations to the lovebirds.
Welcome back, everyone. It may not be news to you that we're spending more time than ever on mobile apps, particularly during the pandemic. But how long do we stare at our phones? A new study by the app monitoring firm App Annie has some eye-popping data and that's tonight's "By The Numbers".
One third of our waking hours, 33%. That's how much time people spent on their mobile devices in 2021 in top mobile news countries. Here in the US it was, on average, 4.1 hours per day, up from 3.8 hours the year before. Globally, consumers download more than 435,000 mobile apps per minute.
So what apps are we using? In the US, the number one most searched word in the iOS App Store in 2021 was Zoom. Coming in second, Microsoft Teams. TikTok saw 75% year-over-year growth in 2021, with users spending on average 26 hours a month on it. That dwarfed user time on Facebook and Instagram.
Mobile video gaming has also spiked. But what you play largely may depend on your age. The number one game for Gen Z is Roblox. For millennials, it's Project Makeover. And for Gen X and Baby Boomers, it's Candy Crush. Globally, spending on mobile food and drink apps shot up 49% in 2021. The top food apps in the US are DoorDash, McDonald's, and Uber Eats.
And we still have lots to get to here on time tonight. The assault investigation into Kanye West. And weathering not just physical storms, but mental ones. Our deeply personal conversation with Ginger Zee about how she overcame trauma, and how you can, too, if faced with it. But first, a look at our top trending stories on abcnews.com.
REPORTER 1: Late Thursday afternoon, the Supreme Court blocking President Biden's vaccine or test mandate for private businesses with 100 or more employees, saying the administration doesn't have the authority to do that.
REPORTER 2: The court said the Health Department, though, does have the authority to enforce a vaccine mandate for health care facilities that receive federal funds.
REPORTER 1: This as half a billion at-home rapid tests and high-quality masks will soon be available at no cost to Americans.
- We all wish that we could finally be done with wearing masks, I get it. But there is a really important tool to stop the spread.
REPORTER 1: More than 20,000 virus-positive Americans being hospitalized on average every day. 1,000 military doctors and nurses will be deployed to six states next week to help ease the strain for health care workers.
REPORTER 2: With Prince Andrew facing civil sex abuse charges, Queen Elizabeth is stripping her son of his honorary military titles. Buckingham Palace announced today that the Duke of York's military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen. According to a royal source, Andrew will also not use the title "His Royal Highness" in an official capacity.
Yesterday, a US District Judge in New York refused to dismiss Virginia Giuffre's sexual assault civil case. She claims she was trafficked into sexual encounters by Jeffrey Epstein, including an encounter with Andrew in 2001, when she was 17 years old.
REPORTER 1: Police in Los Angeles are now investigating rapper Kanye West for allegedly attacking a fan. The 44-year-old reportedly got into an argument that then turned physical. The victim claims West punched him outside of his private club, Soho Warehouse, around 3:00 AM.
DISPATCHER: Battery suspect, downtown Soho Warehouse, in front of the location. Black male wearing all black.
REPORTER 1: The case is being investigated as a misdemeanor battery, which carries a maximum six months jail sentence.
REPORTER 2: Another case of victims who claimed they were unknowingly tracked by somebody using Apple AirTags. There have been numerous cases nationwide, including Sports Illustrated model Brooks Nader, saying somebody slipped a button-sized AirTag into her coat at a bar, saying on Instagram her phone notified her.
- Someone's tracking you and has been for a while.
REPORTER 2: Now, two women in Orange County, California say somebody hit an Apple AirTag on them while they were out shopping. They never found the AirTag, but their phones alerted that they were being tracked by one.
- There was a map that showed it followed our exact location from Target all the way back to her house.
REPORTER 2: Police around the country have been investigating similar reports of AirTags hidden in cars and elsewhere.
REPORTER 3: Authorities are investigating this fiery crash when a police chase in Houston turned deadly. Police say an innocent driver was killed and two children were hurt when a deputy crashed into their car, and then hit five other vehicles. The deputy was chasing a robbery suspect at the time. Authorities say his lights and siren were on. The deputy and children were hospitalized. One child is in critical condition. The suspect got away.
REPORTER 1: A nearly $2 billion settlement has been reached involving student loans. Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae, settling claims by 39 states. The company is accused of deceiving borrowers with subprime loans it knew most would be unable to repay, burdening students with mounting debt, steering them into expensive repayment plans. Pennsylvania's AG calling it a multibillion-dollar scam. Navient denying the allegations, insisting there is no evidence to support them.
More than 400,000 student loan borrowers could benefit from the settlement, most receiving payments around $260, with an estimated 66,000 borrowers having their burden canceled entirely.
- Welcome back, everyone. Next to that new lawsuit filed in the fatal shooting on the son of Alec Baldwin's "Rust" movie. The armorer is now going after the company that provided the guns and ammunition to the set. In her complaint, she alleges that, unbeknownst to her, the company provided a box labeled "dummies," but that box contained both live and dummy ammunition. ABC's Kaylee Hartung has more.
KAYLEE HARTUNG: The armorer on the set of that fatal movie shooting suing the company that provided guns and ammunition to the "Rust" production. The filing against Seth Kenney and his business, PDQ Arm and Prop, alleges "the ammunition boxes failed to state a material fact, the contents contained both dummy and live ammunition which were deceptively sold."
The suit describing a fallout between Kenney and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed that unfolded overheated text messages after an accidental discharge of a weapon on set, and claims Kenney then told an acquaintance who's also a police officer that he never wanted to work with Hannah again.
Just days later, on the morning of the shooting, Gutierrez-Reed claims she found a new, completely full box labeled "dummy rounds" in the prop trailer, but says no one could tell her where the box came from. Gutierrez-Reed says later that morning, she loaded Alec Baldwin's revolver with four dummy rounds from her pants pocket, then two more from the new box. The suit stating, "to the best of Hannah's knowledge, the gun was now loaded with six dummy rounds. But when the gun went off in Baldwin's hands during a rehearsal, a bullet struck and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza."
The lawsuit claiming that introduction of live rounds onto the set which no one anticipated, combined with the rushed and chaotic atmosphere, created a perfect storm for a safety incident. In December, I spoke with Seth Kenney, who did not want his face on camera.
SETH KENNEY: It's not a possibility that they came from PDQ, or from myself personally.
KAYLEE HARTUNG: Overnight, Kenney telling ABC News, "investigators thoroughly examined the PDQ Arm and Prop LLC inventory, and concluded that PDQ's portion of dummy rounds and blanks supplied to "Rust" were safe. As a result, Seth Kenney and PDQ Arm and Prop LLC are not of interest in the ongoing investigation."
- Our thanks to Kaylee for that. Switching gears now, tackling not only physical storms, but emotional ones, too. ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee takes us a little closer to home in her new book, writing about overcoming several traumas in her life and finding hope through the power of healing and self-love. And just for awareness for our viewers during this segment, we will be touching on topics like mental health, rape, and suicide.
Ginger Zee, of course, no stranger to the show. Of course, we enjoy your "It's Not Too Late" reports for us. And first, I just want to start by saying a huge happy birthday. And congratulations on another book. So much to celebrate.
- Thank you. And so honored to be here, especially to talk about this. Because "It's Not Too Late" is critical. All of our weather reports are as well. But this will hopefully touch so many people.
- Very important on two different fronts here. And you originally wrote "A Natural Disaster", which highlighted your struggle with mental health. But in this new book, no topic is off-limits. You talk about rape, suicide attempts, abortion, domestic violence. Despite all the trauma that you've endured, you say that you consider yourself lucky. You state, "sharing these secrets is power, and gives me an instant jolt of connection to other people who are on their own mental journey." Why was it so important for you to share some of your own personal traumas?
- It was important, personally, for me to share it, because I have gone through most of my life as an executive-level people-pleaser. I am the person who just wants people to see perfection. And my whole life was built around that. I learned how to lie to control my eating. I learned how to use those lies to make sure that people did not see any of the traumas, that I didn't even see the traumas that I went through. Whenever something terrible would happen, I would be able to pack it away, or I thought I did. Run as fast as I could and said, well, that didn't happen.
That type of operation of my life was not working. And after 30 years of doing that, I needed real help. And that's when I went and got real help. And once I did, and I was able to see how powerful it is to be honest with yourself and transparent with others, I can't stop. Because I won't stop healing. And I don't want to stop sharing the tools that have helped me to get here, because I know a lot of other people will need this, too.
- And you say this book is not about healing, but the process of healing and the work that's required. Can you talk a bit about the time that you took to heal, and why it's so important for all survivors of trauma to do the same?
- I think you can relate mental health and the journeys through healing a lot to physical health. It's not easy. It's hard work. You have to go all the time. I go to my personal trainer of my brain, my therapist, once a week. Every single day, I carve out time. You hear people say, I'm going to carve out time to work out. I carve out time to work out my brain.
And when I flipped those priorities and started making mental health a priority, that's when I saw the biggest gains. And that's when I started to feel like healing was sustainable.
- And you've said also that you were inspired to share part of your story after watching the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford accusing current Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Brett Kavanaugh of rape. Let's listen to her remarks.
- I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified.
- What was it about this particular moment that made you say to yourself, I need to share more of my story?
- That testimony was played loudly over the speakers at "Good Morning America" during what we call our cold open. And I was sitting there on the side in the wing where I sit to get ready for my hit and do the weather. And I heard that, it was about a minute of her testimony, which I had read, but I hadn't heard.
And when I heard that woman use those words in my IFB, the thing that we wear in our ear, it was like it drilled into my brain, deep into the trauma that I had not dealt with for 25 years or whatever it had been. And that's when I really had to step back, because I started bawling. And I had been doing such work on feeling and getting into regulating my emotions. But I started crying so hard, my producer and best friend Samantha, she said, are you going to be able to go on TV? Like, should I say something? What's wrong? What's happening? And I shared with her.
And then I realized that, you know, no matter what happened in the Christine Blasey Ford trial and afterward, all of these women in the MeToo movement, they were speaking their freedom, right? They were starting to shed the shame. And once I started to do that, I thought, this can only be more powerful for somebody else.
- And you said that your deep, dark secrets are your secret weapons. What do you mean by that?
- So all of these things that we carry around and we think that, everybody's got those skeletons in the closet. And these things, they're all part of our narrative. They're all part of our history. I talk all the time to my therapist about how we cannot delete trauma. You can't go back and take it out of your story. What you can do is go and process it so that it doesn't keep causing you stress, both in mind and in body. Because it will physically impact you over time.
- And of course while you've been out there on the road, you've met countless survivors of trauma through your job. What have their stories taught you?
- Every time I share a story, somebody else shares twice as much with me. That community of healing is the most beautiful. And you know, I think it's going to change society. I think if we all are able to just reach out to that one person and just start by writing it down, showing it to someone else, speaking it out, those words on something like depression take away its control.
I think of it all the time as kind of like a fog, if I wake up and I have what I like to call a gray day. And as soon as I see it, I say, I see you, and then I write it down. And then I call my team. My husband, my mom, my therapist. And as soon as I do that, 20% of it's gone, because I'm putting words to what I'm feeling.
- It makes so much sense. And of course, in your final chapter, called "The Clouds Don't Last Forever", it shares a message to other survivors of any and all types of trauma. And you write, "the storms don't last forever. They can't and they won't. It's not how the atmosphere works, and it's not how life works." For someone who might be in the midst of their own personal storm right now, what advice might you share based on your own experience?
- I think a lot about what I might be able to go back and tell myself, on those days that I couldn't think of anything else except for taking my own life. And I've talked to parents who have lost their children, and they want to know, what could we have done? And I really hope that the one thing I can get through to people is how temporary everything is. I would go back and I would tell myself that morning, you are not going to feel like this tomorrow.
- Right, and that hope can be the end-all, be-all for so many and that last little shred that they need to hold on to. Ginger, we thank you so much for opening up and sharing such personal stories. And to our viewers, you can buy Ginger Zee's new book, "A Little Closer to Home, How I Found The Calm After The Storm", wherever books are sold.
Before we go tonight, our image of the day. Take a look at this, health care workers trudging through snow as they try to go door-to-door in northern India to vaccinate people. A reminder of the toll and dedication that health care workers around the world are enduring during this pandemic.
And that is our show for this hour. Be sure to stay tuned to "ABC News Live" for more context and analysis of the day's top stories. Thanks so much for streaming with us.
Coming up in the next hour, report on the royal fallout into Prince Andrew. And our conversation with Hall of Fame reporter-- if that's a thing-- Carl Bernstein. He joins us. Stay with us.
Hey, everyone. I'm Linsey Davis. Thank you so much for streaming with us. We're monitoring several developments here at ABC News at this hour. A judge is under fire tonight for reversing the rape conviction of a man found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old in Quincy, Illinois. The man originally faced a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison after the judge found him guilty. But the judge then changed his decision and released him, saying 148 days behind bars was, quote, "plenty of punishment." The victim will be speaking out on GMA tomorrow.
According to the CDC, flu shots dramatically reduce the risk of severe flu in children even when the vaccine doesn't match the strain of the virus that infected them. In fact, they believe the risk of severe flu is cut by up to 78%. Health officials are recommending flu shots for kids six months and above.
And the oceans are the warmest on record for the third year in a row. According to NOAA, the combined heat energy of the oceans is at the highest point in six decades. Ocean warming is linked to extreme weather, rising sea levels, and the changing climate. Scientists say oceans store 90% of the excess heat generated by manmade greenhouse gases.
Major news from the Supreme Court today, which issued a stay effectively halting the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for large private businesses. Officials had said that the mandate would help 22 million people get vaccinated and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations. So how is the White House responding? Here's ABC's Mary Bruce.
MARY BRUCE: Tonight, in a blow to the White House, the Supreme Court blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine and testing mandate for large businesses. The policy, which would have impacted more than 80 million employees, required they get vaccinated or wear masks and undergo weekly testing. The conservative justices argued the agency overseeing the mandate, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, does not have the authority to regulate public health.
NEIL GORSUCH: OSHA has not traditionally mandated other vaccines for other hazards that could be pose a grave risk. Some might say the flu kills people every year. Other grave diseases do, too.
MARY BRUCE: Today, the court ruling 6-3, with liberal justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissenting, writing "in the face of a still-raging pandemic, this court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed." Many Republicans tonight are celebrating the court's decision to halt the mandate. But the president says he is "disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense, life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses, that were grounded squarely in both science and the law."
But in a victory for the White House, the Court is allowing a vaccine mandate for workers at federally-funded health care facilities to continue, a move which impacts more than 17 million workers. The president tonight hailing that decision, saying it will save lives. And that it is now on states and employers to do the right thing, pointing to United Airlines which prior to putting in place their own vaccine mandate, was seeing an average of one employee dying every week from COVID. The CEO stating, "we've now gone eight straight weeks with zero COVID-related deaths among our vaccinated employees."
The president and the White House now plan to keep up this fight. And despite the court's ruling, the White House does believe that this mandate for large businesses encouraged millions of Americans to go out and get vaccinated, and also drove large companies like United to put in place their own protections. Tonight, the president is encouraging other large businesses to step up as well. Linsey?
- Mary, thank you. Now to the toll Omicron is having on children. 870 children are being admitted to hospitals every day right now. Our Kayna Whitworth went inside an ICU for children in Dayton, Ohio, just one of many hospitals at the brink tonight.
KAYNA WHITWORTH: Tonight, President Biden deploying six more military medical teams to six hospitals in hard-hit states-- New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Rhode Island, New Mexico, and Ohio. At least 1,000 hospitals across the country are facing critical staff shortages. Dayton Children's in Ohio says it's short-staffed, and admitting more kids than ever since the Omicron surge.
- Because it is so much more infectious, we are seeing huge volumes of kids who are sick.
MARY BRUCE: Doctors here say 2/3 of the kids admitted for COVID have underlying conditions, many experiencing respiratory distress.
- You can even see it in the faces of kids who can't even talk yet. You know, their eyes get really big, and we watch them struggle to breathe. And then on top of that, we watch their parents struggle.
MARY BRUCE: Jackie Kirby has been in the hospital with her eight-month-old daughter Anisha, who's fighting COVID with a high fever and trouble breathing. Jackie's vaccinated, but her baby is too young.
- Sleeping, she barely can stay awake. She won't eat, that's not her. So yeah, this is just a little life alert.
MARY BRUCE: Born premature, baby Vanessa is underweight and vulnerable.
I bet you're scared.
- Yes, I am very scared. I am terribly scared.
- When you look at her right now, what are you thinking?
- I want her to get better. I want to be able to take my baby home.
MARY BRUCE: Doctors tell us nearly all of their sick patients have been unvaccinated, and many of the parents who didn't get their eligible kids vaccinated are now questioning that decision.
- Many families feel now that they should have vaccinated their children. And many of them have said who have recovered, the children say I would like to get vaccinated before I go home.
MARY BRUCE: Jackie vaccinated her older children, and is now urging other parents to protect their kids.
- Should I wear a mask? You can get it, your kids can get it. And it could be a really, really bad outcome.
- And so many concerned about those potential bad outcomes. Kayna Whitworth joins us now from Dayton. Kayna, of course, we'll have more of your reporting tomorrow night. But I do want to ask you now about what struck you the most about what you saw today inside that children's ICU.
- Well, you know, Linsey, I think you would have a similar response to me. I mean, you're a mother. And so to be inside the ICU and see little kids, little babies that are struggling with COVID, it's scary to see them. It's scary to see their parents. And then when you speak with the doctors in there who say that the parents who had a child that was eligible to be vaccinated, and they made the decision to not vaccinate that child, they expressed regret in that decision.
And you heard in the piece, even the kids themselves are saying that they would like to be vaccinated before they leave. And I think that's a source of frustration for the doctors here. And then as I mentioned, a source of regret for those parents. And that was really striking.
LINSEY DAVIS: Right. And at that point, it's too late, of course. Kayna Whitworth, thank you so much. And we look forward to your report tomorrow.
We turn now to the UK and the rapid fall from grace of Prince Andrew, one day after a federal judge in New York allowed a sex assault lawsuit against him to go forward. The Queen stripping him of his military titles and royal patronages, in a statement from the palace, saying Andrew will defend his case as a private citizen moving forward. ABC's Maggie Rulli has the latest from London tonight.
MAGGIE RULLI: Tonight, Prince Andrew now stripped of his military titles and royal patronages, just hours after a US judge said a civil sex abuse lawsuit against him can move forward. Buckingham Palace saying in a statement, "with the Queen's approval and agreement, the Duke of York's military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen," adding, "he is defending this case as a private citizen."
- But to talk about a royal member of the royal family as a private citizen defending himself, it was clearly saying, this man is no longer an active member of the royal family.
MARY BRUCE: A source telling ABC News the Queen's second son will also no longer use "His Royal Highness" in any official capacity. The prince stepped down from his royal duties in 2019. Yet the monarchy has faced mounting pressure to do more, particularly one day after a judge in New York allowed Virginia Roberts Giuffre to proceed with her lawsuit, alleging the Prince sexually abused her when she was 17, claims Prince Andrew has denied many times.
- There's so much damage being caused by this case and these allegations that the royal family is now being dragged into it. The best thing to do is cut ties.
- Our thanks to Maggie Rulli for that. And joining us now to discuss all of the fallout from Prince Andrew's legal woes is ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy. Victoria, thanks so much for joining us. Let's get right to it. Of course, to state a bit of the obvious, this, of course, is not a good time for the royal family, and they are moving swiftly to distance the monarchy from the scandal surrounding Andrew. Some strong action announced by Buckingham Palace, as you know. Today, Andrew's military titles have been returned to the Queen, and he still will not be taking any public duties. Explain all that Andrew is giving up, and how unprecedented a move like this is by the palace.
- Hi there, Linsey. Well, yes, you know, we are very much in repeatedly unprecedented territory with Prince Andrew in this case against him. This was a very significant announcement from the palace today, I think, because it made it very clear for the first time that they see no way back for Prince Andrew to public life. They've removed pretty much everything that they can from him, put that last bit of distance between him and the monarchy.
This goes further than when he stepped back in 2019, because then he retained his military roles. He wasn't appearing publicly for the military, but he still retained the roles. But that's becoming increasingly controversial. We had a petition signed by veterans, we had members of the military speaking up. So it's not surprising that the royal family felt that they needed to address that.
He's also not going to be using his HRH title, his "His Royal Highness" title. He won't be able to style himself in that way. We understand that multiple members of the royal family have been involved in this decision. Names have not been provided, but we can of course presume that Prince Charles, Prince William, future kings.
And it very much suggests that the family is very much united in how they see this. I think it sends a message that whatever happens with this case moving forward-- because of course it has to still play out legally-- but they feel that these allegations have already been so damaging that they wanted to make this statement, and wanted to publicly further disassociate themselves from Prince Andrew.
- And let's talk a little bit more about the seriousness of Andrew's situation at this. Point a judge rejected his request to have the lawsuit brought against him by Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre dismissed. Epstein's longtime associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, was just convicted of trafficking and abuse of underage girls. How damaging is all of this for Andrew? And has there been any reaction at all from him?
- Well, it's been hugely damaging for him and the monarchy by association. And the legal case is, of course, very far from resolved. But in the background of all of this, we've constantly had the court of public opinion. And it was public opinion that led to him stepping back in 2019, following that disastrous TV interview that he gave about Jeffrey Epstein. He spoke a lot then. He, of course, denied, as we know, Virginia Giuffre's allegations, saying he has no recollection of meeting her.
But since then, he hasn't really said anything publicly. He's left it to his lawyers to make their comments in court documents and in court. And he hasn't said very much publicly. But actually today, when Buckingham Palace announced their decision, a source close to Prince Andrew did say a few words. They said, "given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling. However, it was not a judgment on the merits of Ms. Giuffre's allegations. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and the Duke will continue to defend himself against these claims."
So that statement there making it very clear that he will be challenging these allegations. Some have suggested that he may want to settle. That would obviously depend on both sides agreeing a settlement. But there's very much a lot still to play out here.
- And quickly going back to that statement for a moment, it said that Andrew will deal with his case as a private citizen. What does that mean for Prince Andrew's future as a royal moving forward?
- Well, I think it's very clear that he's been totally erased from the public face of the monarchy, and this statement absolutely emphasizes that, saying outright that he will be fighting this case as a private citizen. But you know, what I've always said is that they cannot remove him from the family. And fundamentally, he is still the Queen's son. So this will absolutely continue to play out as a royal story.
But I think moving forward into this year, you know, we've got the Platinum Jubilee. This is the time when the royal family is supposed to be in the spotlight celebrating. And I think it is completely clear that we won't see Prince Andrew anywhere near those celebrations. And I'm sure the royal family is very much hoping that by not having him present, not having him visible, that he won't be part of the narrative.
But of course, that isn't guaranteed. Because depending on what happens with this case, there's certainly potentially going to be a lot still to talk about.
LINSEY DAVIS: For sure. ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy, we thank you so much for your insight, as always.
- Thank you.
- Now to one of the GOATs of journalism, talking about one of the greatest reporters of all time and a pioneer of investigative journalism. You likely know him as one of the reporters who broke the story of the Watergate scandal, which ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Carl Bernstein joins us now to talk about his new book, "Chasing History, A Kid in the Newsroom", where he recalls his beginnings as an audacious teenage newspaper reporter in the nation's capital. Carl Bernstein, we thank you so much for joining us tonight.
- Good to be with you. It's the first time I've ever been called a goat on television, but I'll go with it for right now.
- It is a fitting title, to be sure. So of course, you began your illustrious newspaper career as a teenager in the 1960s, a pivotal and tumultuous time in our country's history. And you were only in your 20s when you helped break the Watergate story. What drove that early passion for you to be a journalist?
- Well, I was 16 years old. I had one foot in the classroom, one foot in the juvenile court, one foot in the pool hall. And my father decided that I better do something constructive. And he got me an interview for a job at the greatest afternoon paper in the country, the Washington Evening Star, through the government columnist of the paper, whom he knew and had been a source for.
And that interview, after I had been interviewed, the production editor of the paper took me into the newsroom to see what it was. And in that moment, I beheld the most incredible commotion, the most urgent errands in the nation. It looked like the people there were on, they were hollering "copy", and you could feel the rumbles of the press below. And in that instant, looking at that newsroom and the people working in it, I knew I wanted to be a newspaperman.
- And you write about some of your early role models, like Sid Epstein, your editor at the Washington Star. What about his mentorship had the greatest impact on your career?
- Sid Epstein taught me that the most important thing that we do as reporters is the best obtainable version of the truth. And even though this book is between 1960 and '65, it's not the old man looking back in the voice of the book. The book is a matrix of both my experience at the newspaper and growing up in a town, a small Jim Crow town that happened to be the capital of the United States.
But about these mentors in Sid Epstein, you know, I've been blessed by having the two greatest editors I think you could ever have. Sid Epstein, Ben Bradley at the Post. And there's a straight line between what I learned at age 16 through 21 from Sid Epstein, to Watergate.
- And based on the influence of your mentors, based on your own personal experience, what advice would you give to young people who are aspiring reporters, just starting out?
- Well, first of all, even though we tend to use Google and go online, you've got to get out of the office. And that's probably the biggest failing in our journalism today. People are staying in the office using telephones, the old-fashioned instrument, their cell phones. But mainly using email to communicate, going online. You're not going to get the best obtainable version of the truth. But the basic reporting has to be done by going out of the office, sitting down with sources, learning who they are, listening to them, being respectful of them telling their story.
My experience is that, first of all, the reporter's preconception of where the story is going to go when he or she starts out on it is going to be very different after the reporting is done. Watergate's the great example. In the first days after the break-in, I thought the story was going to lead to the CIA, not to the Nixon White House. You follow where the facts take you.
The other thing to a young journalist is be a good listener. Reporters tend to be lousy listeners, especially in television. They stick microphones in people's faces. I've done it myself. Always try not to do it, because I've been in television a long time. But really, what you don't want to do is just stick that microphone in somebody's face, or ask a couple of questions with your notebook out and then run back to the office. Because that's a kind of looking for manufactured controversy with your sources, rather than trying to learn what's really on the mind of the person you're talking to, and where he or she thinks the truth might lie.
- Some great tips and advice there for the new and the seasoned people who are in this field. And Bob Woodward, speaking of the seasoned journalists, he talks about in terms of being the genius of perpetual engagement. Can you explain that concept, and how that in and of itself is essential to thorough and effective and investigative reporting?
- Sure. Perpetual engagement means that you are following that story wherever it takes you. You are seeing one source after another after another after another. If you do the story and it goes on the air or gets in the paper or gets online one day, you then follow it the next day.
Woodward and I did 200 stories in the first year after the break-in in Watergate. It's been 50 years this year. But in that first year, from June of 1972 to 1973, we did 200 stories. One story led to another to another to another. So you never stop. You keep going with the story.
- And with varying degrees, there are certainly many parallels, I suppose, with regard to political divides and racial tension of then and now. I'm curious. How do you compare, contrast the times of being a journalist coming up in the '60s versus today, in terms of just how tumultuous the times were and are?
- Well, it was a tumultuous time when I was at the Star. I covered the inauguration of Jack Kennedy. I covered his assassination at the age of 19. And the beginnings of the anti-war movement. You know, it was very tumultuous. But a different kind of tumult and division than we have today. Today, we have a culture that is divided. And it's not just political. It's about the people of the country themselves are bitterly divided.
And the amazing thing that has happened is the difference in the Republican Party. We have never had a president, a seditious president such as Donald Trump, who tried to stage a coup to stay in office, not to leave through the legal transfer of power. We have an ongoing cover-up by the Republican Party to not allow an investigation to go forward about what really happened on January 6.
We've never had a political party, one of our two parties, that is committed to the disenfranchisement of voters through voter suppression such as we have in the Republican Party today. I feel very strange saying those things. It sounds like opinion, but it's factually, reportorially demonstrable. This is what's going on in the country, and it calls for the greatest reporting that you can imagine.
And I have to say that during the Trump presidency, unlike during Watergate-- during Watergate, we were kind of alone in our reporting for the first few months. But the Trump presidency has seen the greatest White House reporting, I think, of my lifetime, by the greatest number of news organizations.
- Such historical perspective and context, which is just fascinating. I could talk to you all night. I have several more questions, but unfortunately we are out of time. Carl Bernstein, we thank you so much for coming on the show. "Chasing History, A Kid in the Newsroom" is now available wherever books are sold.
And still to come, the Wordle craze. Haven't heard of it? We'll tell you about it. Stay with us.
Welcome back, everyone. We were tracking several headlines around the world. Tensions are still at a fever pitch over a possible Russian attack on its neighbor Ukraine, after talks between Moscow and the West ended inconclusively today. with Russia's demands that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO rejected, a top diplomat floated sending its troops to Cuba and Venezuela, Russia's allies near the US.
US national security advisor Jake Sullivan dismissing those comments as bluster, but he says he does not think Russia has decided to invade Ukraine yet, with the threat of invasion high. He added the US, however, is prepared to continue with diplomacy.
And long lines on the Bolivia-Chile border. 400 truckers are stranded there, waiting for a COVID test before they're allowed through. Temperatures in that region can fall as low as -4 degrees at night. At times, there's only one person available at the checkpoint to conduct those tests. Truckers there have been protesting those conditions. Yesterday, Bolivia reported an all-time high of more than 14,000 COVID-19 cases a day.
Nigeria restored Twitter within the country, after it had been banned for seven months. The social media service was suspended after it removed a tweet from the country's president. The reaction was mixed. Many say that they had been able to stay connected using virtual private networks. Twitter says it was pleased with the restoration, and that it is deeply committed to the country.
Coming up now, it is the must-play word game of the new year, Wordle. What started as a fun gift for his partner is now the latest viral game taking the Twitterverse by storm. ABC's Will Ganss is here to explain.
- "Guys, I am obsessed with Wordle." "Can't stop, won't stop." OK, OK, what is Wordle? It's a free word game. The mission, to guess a five-letter word in six tries or less. After each guess, the tiles change colors. Green means it's the right letter and it's in the right spot. Yellow means the letter is in the word, but in the wrong spot. Gray means the letter's not in the word at all. It's kind of like that old game show, "Lingo".
- Times. T-I-M-E-S.
- It's the same word every day for everybody, and you can only play it once a day. The game was created by software engineer Josh Wardle as a gift for his partner, who loves guessing games. There's no app. It's just a website with no ads, and you don't have to enter your email. Josh telling NPR, quote, "the rejection of some of those things has actually attracted people to the game, because it feels quite innocent and it just wants you to have fun with it."
But recently, in a move that many are calling S-H-A-D-Y, this guy, Zach Shakked, released "Wordle The App", a game with the same concept, and a pro mode with unlimited play for a $30 annual subscription. Twitter wasn't having it. "STEAL is a five-letter word, congrats." Apple removed Shakked's game and similar knockoffs from the App Store on Tuesday. Shakked has since apologized. Meanwhile, Josh Wardle is happy his free, no-frills game is bringing people together in a time like this one.
- Still trying to figure that out. It looks like five, straight across, green is right? I think we got that, Will. Thank you for that. And that's our show for tonight. Stay tuned to "ABC News Live" for more context and analysis of the day's top stories. I'm Linsey Davis. Thanks so much for streaming with us. Have a great night.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.