ABC News Prime: Trump’s bombshell phone call; Final push to GA runoff; Vaccines and the variant | JPNN.us

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>>> GOOD EVENING EVERYONE. I’M LINSEY DAVIS. THANKS SO MUCH FOR STREAMING WITH US. A NEW YEAR, SAME DRAMA. 2021 STILL PAINFUL AND A WHITE KNUCKLE RIDE. POLITICS AS USUAL. PRESIDENT TRUMP’S RALLY IN DALTON, GEORGIA AHEAD OF TOMORROW’S CRITICAL RUN-OFF ELECTIONS WHICH WILL DECIDE WHICH PARTY GETS CONTROL OF THE SENATE AND MORE THAN TWO MONTHS AFTER THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION THE PRESIDENT IS STILL FOCUSED ON HIS OWN FAILED RE-ELECTION AFTER HE CONTINUES TO MAKE BASELESS CLAIMS THAT HE WON. HE TOOK THE CLAIMS TO ANOTHER LEVEL ON SATURDAY WITH AN HOUR LONG PHONE CALL WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE OF GEORGIA WHERE HE IS HEARD AT TIMES PRESSURING, BEGGING, AND THREATENING GEORGIA’S TOP ELECTION OFFICIAL TO CHANGE THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION ASKING HIM TO SIMPLY FIND 11,780 VOTES TO PUT HIM AHEAD OF BIDEN IN THE STATE.

 

TONIGHT THE FALLOUT. OUR CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT STARTS US OFF. >> Reporter: NOW OVER SHADOWED BY WHAT MAY BE THE BIGGEST POLITICAL CRISIS OF HIS PRESIDENCY. A SECRETLY RECORDED PHONE CALL WHERE HE URGED GEORGIA’S SECRETARY OF STATE BRAD RAFFENSBERGER TO OVERTURN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION THERE BY FINDING ENOUGH VOTES TO PUT HIM AHEAD OF JOE BIDEN. >> THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SAYING THAT, YOU KNOW, YOU’VE RECALCULATED.

 

SO LOOK. ALL I WANT TO DO IS THIS. I JUST WANT TO FIND 11,780 VOTES, WHICH IS ONE MORE THAN WE HAVE, BECAUSE WE WON THE STATE. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO HERE FOLKS? I ONLY NEED 11,000 VOTES. FELLOWS, I NEED 11,000 VOTES. GIVE ME A BREAK. >> Reporter: AGAIN AND AGAIN, 19 TIMES, TRUMP MENTIONED THE NUMBER OF ADDITIONAL VOTES HE’D NEED TO WIN GEORGIA, OFFERING UP AN AVALANCHE OF UNFOUNDED CONSPIRACY THEORIES. RAFFENSBERGER BLUNTLY CORRECTED HIM. >> MR. PRESIDENT, THE CHALLENGE YOU HAVE IS THE DATA YOU HAVE IS WRONG. >> Reporter: TRUMP TRIES TO APPEAL TO RAFFENSBERGER AS A FELLOW REPUBLICAN. >> YOU SHOULD WANT TO HAVE AN ACCURATE ELECTION AND YOU’RE A REPUBLICAN. >> WE BELIEVE WE DO HAVE AN ACCURATE ELECTION. >> NO. I KNOW YOU DON’T. NO YOU DON’T. >> HE ALSO APPEARS TO THREATEN THE SECRETARY OF STATE WITH CRIMINAL PROSECUTION. >> YOU KNOW WHAT THEY DID AND YOU’RE NOT REPORTING IT.

 

THAT’S, YOU KNOW, THAT’S A CRIMINAL — THAT’S A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. AND, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN’T LET THAT HAPPEN. THAT’S A BIG RISK TO YOU AND TO RYAN, YOUR LAWYER. THAT IS A BIG RISK. >> Reporter: TO BE CLEAR THE SECRETARY OF STATE COMMITTED NO CRIME. TONIGHT THERE ARE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER THE PRESIDENT DID BY PRESSURING A STATE ELECTION OFFICIAL TO CHANGE ELECTION RESULTS. REPUBLICAN SENATOR PAT TOOMEY CALLED IT, QUOTE, A NEW LOW IN THIS WHOLE SORRY EPISODE. CONGRESSWOMAN LIZ CHANEY ONE OF THE TOP REPUBLICAN LEADERS IN THE HOUSE HAD A SIMILAR REACTION. >> I THINK THAT IT IS DEEPLY TROUBLING. >> Reporter: STILL MORE THAN HALF OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE EXPECTED TO CHALLENGE THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION ON WEDNESDAY WHEN CONGRESS FORMALLY COUNTS THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES. SO ARE MORE THAN A DOZEN REPUBLICAN SENATORS INCLUDING F.

 

BUT TONIGHT SOME LONG TIME TRUMP SUPPORTERS LIKE TOM COTTON OF ARKANSAS ARE SOUNDING THE ALARM. >> JONATHAN CARL JOINS US NOW FROM WASHINGTON. JUST AN EXTRAORDINARY PHONE CALL BY THE PRESIDENT AND SOME LEGAL EXPERTS ARE SAYING THE PRESIDENT’S ACTIONS MAY HAVE IN FACT CROSSED A LINE. COULD THE PRESIDENT FACE ANY POTENTIAL LEGAL REPERCUSSIONS FROM THAT SATURDAY PHONE CALL? >> Reporter: WELL, IT MAY BE A LONG SHOT THAT HE WOULD ACTUALLY BE PROSECUTED OVER THIS BUT IT IS NOT TOTALLY OUT OF THE QUESTION.

 

DEMOCRATS IN THE HOUSE HAVE ASKED THE FBI TO INVESTIGATE AND ALSO THE FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY DID NOT RULE OUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT IT COULD BE A STATE PROSECUTION FOR THIS AS A POTENTIAL CRIME. AGAIN, ATTEMPTING TO TAMPER WITH AN ELECTION. BUT WHETHER OR NOT THERE ARE CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS THERE SEEMS TO BE VERY LITTLE QUESTION THAT IT WAS AT THE VERY LEAST INAPPROPRIATE. >> THANKS SO MUCH. >> Reporter: THANK YOU, LINSEY. >>> THE BATTLE FOR THE TWO GEORGIA SENATE SEATS HAS BEEN HEATED AND OFTEN UGLY IN RECENT WEEKS. HIGH STAKES AS REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS VI FOR CONTROL OF THE SENATE. WE’LL TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT WHAT’S BEEN DRIVING THE RACE AND WHETHER IT WILL DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS. >> Reporter: WHILE THE POLITICAL CIRCUS THAT HAS SURROUNDED THE NOVEMBER ELECTION BECAME MORE AVOIDABLE FOR MANY AMERICANS A WEEK AFTER THEY VOTED IT CONTINUES TO GRIND ON FOR VOTERS IN GEORGIA WHO WILL CHOOSE TWO U.S.

 

SENATORS ON TUESDAY. >> TOMORROW IS GEORGIA’S DAY. >> Reporter: AND IN THE PROCESS, DECIDE WHETHER REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS CONTROL THE U.S. SENATE. >> EVERYTHING IS AT STAKE. EVERYTHING IS AT STAKE. >> Reporter: THE POLITICAL ATTACK ADS FROM BOTH SIDES ARE TO THIS VERY MOMENT INESCAPABLE IN GEORGIA. >> THAT’S THEIR GOAL. TOTAL RADICAL CONTROL TO BRING HORRIFIC CHANGE TO AMERICA. >> Reporter: ON TELEVISION, ON THE RADIO, ON EVERY PHONE IN THE STATE. >> IF YOU WANT SOME OF SENATOR PERDUE’S TIME YOU GOT TO PAY FOR IT. >> Reporter: EVEN TO GET TO THE NEW TAYLOR SWIFT VIDEO ON YOUTUBE YOU HAVE TO FIRST SIFT THROUGH A CAMPAIGN AD IF YOU’RE WATCHING FROM A SCREEN IN GEORGIA.

 

SO MANY HERE ARE SICK OF IT. ALL THE FIGHTING AND NAME CALLING. ON THIS SIDE, SENATOR DAVID PERDUE WHO IS SELF-QUARANTINING TONIGHT AFTER BEING EXPOSED TO THE CORONAVIRUS. HE HAS CALLED HIS OPPONENT DEMOCRAT JON OSSOFF A COMMUNIST AND JOB KILLER WHO HE SAYS PLANS TO BANKRUPT MEDICARE. >> THE CHOICE IN THIS RACE IS BETWEEN GOING TO A SOCIALIST STATE THAT THEY’RE TRYING TO DESCRIBE AND FREEDOM. >> Reporter: OSSOFF HAS CALLED PERDUE A COWARD AND A CROOK SAYING THAT PERDUE ARGUED AGAINST THE SCIENCE DURING THE COVID CRISIS BUT THEN TRADED COVID RELATED STOCKS. PERDUE KEEPS SAYING HE HAS DONE NOTHING WRONG. >> IT’S NOT JUST THAT YOU’RE A CROOK, SENATOR. IT’S THAT YOU’RE ATTACKING THE HEALTH OF THE PEOPLE THAT YOU REPRESENT. >> Reporter: IN THE OTHER RACE SENATOR KELLY LOEFFLER ONE OF THE OWNERS OF THE WNBA ATLANTA DREAM AND ONE OF THE WEALTHIEST LAWMAKERS IN AMERICAN HISTORY WHO SAYS THAT HER OPPONENT REVEREND RAFAEL WARNOCK IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH GEORGIA VOTERS BECAUSE HE IS, QUOTE, A RADICAL LIBERAL.

 

>> IN JANUARY I HAVE WON OF THE MOST RADICAL OPPONENTS ON THE DEMOCRAT TICKET IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY IN RAFAEL WARNOCK. >> Reporter: COLLEGE STUDENTS WHO ARE WATCHING THIS DEBATE WERE PLAYING DRINKING GAMES WITH HOW MANY TIMES SHE USED THE PHRASE. >> RADICAL LIBERAL. RADICAL LIBERAL. RADICAL LIBERAL RAFAEL WARNOCK. YOU’VE JUST HEARD RADICAL LIBERAL RAFAEL WARNOCK LIE AGAIN. >> Reporter: SHE SAID IT 13 TIMES IN THAT ONE EVENING. >> SHE’S CONTINUED TO MISREPRESENT MY RECORD. SHE’S LIED NOT ONLY ON ME BUT ON JESUS. >> Reporter: LOEFFLER’S CAMPAIGN HAS TAKEN CLIPS FROM THE REVEREND’S SERMONS AND USED THEM TO SAY THAT HE IS ANTIPOLICE, ANTIMILITARY, AND ANTI-SEMITIC. >> NOBODY CAN SERVE GOD AND THE MILITARY. >> RAFAEL WARNOCK ATTACKS OUR MILITARY.

 

>> WARNOCK IS THE PASTOR OF THE CHURCH LED BY DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING AND HE FOUGHT BACK WITH VIDEO OF LOEFFLER STANDING AT THE PULPIT IN THE SAME CHURCH, CLEARLY UNOFFENDED BY THE PASTOR SITTING INTOER BY. A PREACHER WHO SHE NOW REPEATEDLY DESCRIBES AS THE MOST RADICAL AND DANGEROUS CANDIDATE IN AMERICA. THE ATTACKS HAVE LIT A FIRE UNDER BLACK VOTERS WHO FEEL THAT LOEFFLER HAS CROSSED A LINE. A GROUP OF BLACK PASTORS WROTE HER AN OPEN LETTER TELLING HER TO STOP. WRITING THAT WE SEE YOUR ATTACKS AGAINST WARNOCK AS A BROADER ATTACK AGAINST THE BLACK CHURCH AND FAITH TRADITIONS FOR WHICH WE STAND.

 

THE TENOR HAS BROUGHT RACISTS OUT OF HIDING WHO HAVE NOW FLOODED THE PHONE LINES OF THE HISTORIC BLACK CHURCH WITH RACIST MESSAGES AND RECORDINGS. >> THAT SON OF A — SAID — SUPPORTERS GOING TO BE BEATEN SO BAD THEY CAN’T WALK. THAT AIN’T A MAN OF GOD. THAT’S A — YOU’RE SO EVIL, EVIL, EVIL, EVIL, EVIL. THE EVILLEST PASTOR I’VE EVER SEEN. >> Reporter: GEORGIA HAS A RUN-OFF SYSTEM WHERE IF A CANDIDATE DOESN’T WIN 50% OF THE VOTE THE TOP TWO CANDIDATES FACE OFF AGAIN IN A RUN-OFF ELECTION. IF IT WEREN’T FOR THE RUN-OFF WARNOCK WOULD HAVE WON IN NOVEMBER AND OSSOFF WOULD HAVE LOST. POLLS PUT THE RACE AS EVEN TONIGHT AND MORE THAN 3 MILLION GEORGIANS HAVE ALREADY VOTED WHICH IS FEWER THAN THE NUMBER WHO VOTED IN NOVEMBER BUT A FAR LARGER TURNOUT THAN WHAT’S TYPICAL FOR A RUN-OFF ELECTION. WHAT IS ALSO TELLING TURN OUT AND EARLY VOTING AND THE MAIL-IN VOTE SO FAR APPEARS HIGHER IN THE BLUE COUNTIES IN AND AROUND ATLANTA WHERE MOST OF THE STATE’S RESIDENTS LIVE.

 

>> GEORGIA PATRIOTS MUST SHOW UP AND VOTE. >> Reporter: THE INCREDIBLY LARGE SHADOW OVER THIS ELECTION IS COMING FROM THIS MAN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, WHO HAS BEEN REFUSING TO ACCEPT THE TRUTH THAT HE LOST THE ELECTION IN GEORGIA IN NOVEMBER BY A SLIM MARGIN OF NEARLY 12,000 VOTES. THIS IS A STATE WITH A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR AND THE SECRETARY OF STATE WHO RUNS THE ELECTIONS IN GEORGIA IS NOT ONLY A REPUBLICAN BUT A TRUMP SUPPORTER WHO WAS ENDORSED FOR OFFICE BY THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF. NOW THE PRESIDENT CAN’T STAND THE GUY BECAUSE HE IS REFUSING TO OVERTURN THE ELECTION RESULTS OVER ALLEGATIONS OF WIDESPREAD VOTER FRAUD WITH NO EVIDENCE. STATE INVESTIGATIONS AND DOZENS OF COURT CASES HAVEN’T FOUND ANY REASON OR EVIDENCE TO CAST ANY DOUBT ON THE ELECTION RESULTS IN GEORGIA. >> MR. PRESIDENT, THE CHALLENGE THAT YOU HAVE IS THE DATA YOU HAVE IS WRONG. >> Reporter: AND NOW THERE IS A RECORDED PHONE CALL WHERE THE PRESIDENT CAN BE HEARD TRYING TO PRESSURE GEORGIA’S SECRETARY OF STATE INTO FINDING VOTES FOR THE PRESIDENT AFTER THE ELECTION HAS ALREADY BEEN CERTIFIED.

 

>> ALL I WANT TO DO IS THIS. I JUST WANT TO FIND 11,780 VOTES, WHICH IS ONE MORE THAN WE HAVE. BECAUSE WE WON THE STATE. >> Reporter: THE PRESIDENT HAS ALSO TALKED TRASH ABOUT GEORGIA’S REPUBLICAN LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WHO HAS DEFENDED THE ELECTION HERE. HE SAYS THE PRESIDENT’S PHONE CALL WAS UNFORTUNATE. DO YOU AT ALL WORRY THAT IT MIGHT HURT THEIR CHANCES TOMORROW? IN ANY WAY? >> IT DOESN’T HELP THEM. I CAN’T THINK OF A SINGLE SCENARIO WHERE THAT PHONE CALL FOR 62 PLUS MINUTES MADE ANY SORT OF DIFFERENCE IN GETTING DAVID PERDUE AND KELLY LOEFFLER RE-ELECTED. >> Reporter: SENATORS PERDUE AND LOEFFLER WERE PUT IN A TERRIBLE POSITION.

 

SIDE WITH THE PRESIDENT OR WITH STATE REPUBLICANS WHO REFUSED TO CAVE TO THE PRESSURE. THEY CHOSE THE PRESIDENT. >> I’M STILL SHOCKED THAT A MEMBER OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WOULD TAPE A SITTING PRESIDENT AND THEN LEAK THAT. THAT IS DISGUSTING IN MY VIEW. >> Reporter: PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN ALSO CAME TO GEORGIA AND RIGHT NOW IN THE EYES OF STATE DEMOCRATS HE WALKS ON WATER. HIS VICTORY HERE WAS SOMETHING THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS UNABLE TO ACHIEVE TWICE, TURNING GEORGIA BLUE. >> I KNOW THESE CAMPAIGNS, THIS CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN EXHAUSTING.

 

IT’S BEEN INTENSE. IT’S BEEN NONSTOP. BUT I’M ASKING YOU TO GIVE EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT ONE MORE DAY. ONE MORE DAY. AND THAT ONE MORE DAY IS NOT HYPERBOLE. YOU CAN CHANGE AMERICA. >> Reporter: IT IS NOT LOST ON GEORGIA VOTERS IN ANY WAY THAT THE REST OF THE COUNTRY IS WATCHING THIS ELECTION CLOSELY. AND THAT THIS DECISION IS SIGNIFICANT. EVERY DAY IN THE MAIL VOTERS HERE ARE GETTING HANDWRITTEN REMINDERS FROM VOTERS ON OTHER SIDES OF THE COUNTRY.

 

IT’S AN OVERWHELMING AMOUNT OF ATTENTION AND PEOPLE HERE CAN’T WAIT UNTIL IT ENDS. FOR ABC NEWS LIVE, ATLANTA. >>> OUR THANKS FOR THAT REPORT. FOR MORE ON THE RACE IN GEORGIA WE ARE JOINED BY CONGRESSWOMAN BORDEAU SWORN IN AS ONE OF THE NEWEST DEMOCRATIC MEMBERS IN CONGRESS. THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AS WELL. >> THANKS FOR HAVING ME. >> YOU REPRESENT PARTS OF NORTHEAST METRO ATLANTA AND SOME OF THE SURROUNDING COUNTIES THAT WERE CRITICAL IN PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN’S NOVEMBER VICTORY. WHAT ARE YOU SEEING ON THE GROUND AS FAR AS INTEREST AND TURN OUT FOR TOMORROW’S SENATE RUN-OFF ELECTIONS. LET’S GET YOU TO LOOK INTO YOUR CRYSTAL BALL. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THE DEMOCRATS ARE ABLE TO PULL OFF TWO VICTORIES HERE TO ULTIMATELY GET CONTROL OF THE SENATE? >> WELL, WE ARE VERY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT HOW THINGS LOOK RIGHT NOW. WE DO HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THIS IS GEORGIA AND WE HAVE TO FIGHT FOR EVERY VOTE. WE HAVE TO FIGHT TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE CAN VOTE. BUT RIGHT NOW YOU CAN LOOK AT THE NUMBERS AND THE DEMOCRATICALLY HELD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS AND TURNOUT IS SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER THAN IT IS IN A GOOD NUMBER OF THE REPUBLICAN HELD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS.

 

SO WHAT WE’RE SEEING IS A REAL SURGE IN DEMOCRATIC VOTER TURNOUT AND WE JUST NEED TO KEEP THAT GOING THROUGH TUESDAY. >> BUT IN THEORY DEMOCRATS OFTEN ARE MORE LIKELY TO VOTE EARLIER THAN REPUBLICANS, RIGHT? >> IN THIS CASE, YES. IN THE PAST FEW ELECTIONS IN GEORGIA THE DEMOCRATS HAVE VOTED EARLIER. THAT HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN THE CASE BUT IT IS NOW AND WE JUST NEED PEOPLE TO KEEP ON TURNING OUT. TO KEEP ON PUSHING ALL OF THE WAY THROUGH THE LINE. BUT WE ARE FEELING VERY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT WHERE WE ARE AT THIS PARTICULAR POINT GOING INTO TUESDAY. >> NOW, YOU WERE THE ONLY DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE TO FLIP A RED DISTRICT BLUE IN 2020. SO WHAT DO YOU SAY TO A REPUBLICAN OR INDEPENDENT IN YOUR DISTRICT WHO MAY HAVE VOTED FOR PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN AND ALSO FOR YOU BUT THEY NOW PLAN TO SUPPORT ONE OR BOTH OF THE REPUBLICAN SENATORS AS A CHECK ON DEMOCRATS CONTROLLING THE WHITE HOUSE, HOUSE, AND SENATE? >> WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS I RAN ON WAS GETTING THINGS DONE FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE AND WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A REALLY SERIOUS CRISIS RIGHT NOW IN GEORGIA.

 

OUR HOSPITALS ARE OVERFLOWING. WE ARE SEEING FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, SO MANY LOVED ONES WHO ARE FALLING SICK WITH COVID. AND WHO ARE FILLING UP OUR HOSPITALS. AND WE NEED PEOPLE WHO WILL ACTUALLY DELIVER RESULTS. WE KNOW THAT THE REPUBLICANS IN THE SENATE HAVE MADE IT THEIR TRADEMARK JUST TO SHUT EVERYTHING DOWN AND TO NOT DELIVER FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND SO THAT WAS WHAT I RAN ON WAS GETTING THINGS DONE FOR THE PEOPLE OF MY DISTRICT IN GEORGIA AND THAT IS WHAT JON OSSOFF AND REVEREND WARNOCK ARE RUNNING ON AS WELL.

 

>> JUST LIKE TO GET YOUR REACTION TO THE PRESIDENT’S CALL THIS WEEKEND PRESSURING GEORGIA’S SECRETARY OF STATE TO, QUOTE, RECALCULATE THE RESULTS IN GEORGIA’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE. FIRST, WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU HEARD THE PRESIDENT’S WORDS ON THAT CALL AND ALSO WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AS FAR AS HOW THE REPUBLICAN STATE OFFICIALS HANDLED IT? >> I WAS STUNNED. BUT OF COURSE IT IS PART AND PARCEL OF AN EFFORT THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR MONTHS FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP TO TRY TO OVERTURN AND SUBVERT THE ELECTIONS IN GEORGIA. BUT TO HEAR THAT SO BALDLY ON THE PHONE, HIM ASKING OUR SECRETARY OF STATE TO FIND HIM SOME MORE VOTES WAS REALLY SHOCKING. AND, YOU KNOW, ALL IN ALL I APPRECIATE THAT THE SECRETARY OF STATE AND THE GOVERNOR HAVE HELD THE LINE AND UPHELD THE RULE OF LAW IN GEORGIA. >> YOU TWEETED YESTERDAY THAT, QUOTE, I WILL USE EVERY POWER IN MY AUTHORITY TO REJECT TRUMP’S ATTACKS ON OUR ELECTION.

 

DO YOU BELIEVE THERE WAS ANY CRIMINAL ACTION BY THE PRESIDENT IN THIS CALL? IF SO, DO YOU SUPPORT STATE OR FEDERAL CHARGES AGAINST HIM OR ANY ACTION BY CONGRESS? >> WELL, I AM WAITING TO HEAR FROM THE ATTORNEYS WHO ARE LOOKING INTO WHETHER THIS WAS A VIOLATION OF STATE AND FEDERAL LAW. I HAVE HEARD SOME EARLY INDICATIONS THAT ABSOLUTELY IT WAS. IT IS HARD FOR ME TO IMAGINE THAT IT WAS NOT. AND WE WILL BE LOOKING FOR WAYS TO HOLD THE PRESIDENT ACCOUNTABLE. >> WE’VE SEEN MANY REPUBLICANS STANDING WITH THE PRESIDENT ON PLANS TO CONTEST THE ELECTION CERTIFICATION ON WEDNESDAY. SO WITH THAT BEING THE CASE HOW DIFFICULT DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE TO WORK WITH REPUBLICANS WHO YOU BELIEVE ARE TRYING TO SUBVERT THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS? DO YOU THINK THIS STARTS TO FADE AWAY ONCE BIDEN IS SWORN IN? OR COULD THIS CAUSE SOME LASTING DAMAGE IN CONGRESS? >> I THINK CLEARLY REPUBLICANS EVEN IN GEORGIA RECOGNIZE THAT THIS ELECTION WAS A FREE AND FAIR ELECTION.

 

YOU SEE RAFFENSBERGER AND THE GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA SAYING BIDEN WON. SORRY PRESIDENT TRUMP. BIDEN WON. AND SO I DO THINK THERE ARE REPUBLICANS WHO RECOGNIZE THAT. THAT IS AN IMPORTANT STARTING POINT FOR ME REACHING OUT TO THEM. I THINK WE REALLY HAVE TO FOCUS ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WE NEED TO GET PAST THIS ELECTION. THE CHARGES THAT THE REPUBLICANS OR A CERTAIN SEGMENT OF REPUBLICANS IN GEORGIA HAVE BEEN RAISING ABOUT THE ELECTIONS ARE OUTRAGEOUS. BUT WE NEED TO MOVE PAST THAT. WE HAVE A PANDEMIC THAT WE NEED TO DEAL WITH. WE HAVE A HEALTH CARE CRISIS. WE NEED TO MAKE INVESTMENTS IN EDUCATION AND TRANSPORTATION AND I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH REPUBLICANS TO SOLVE THOSE REALLY PRESSING NEEDS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. >> REPRESENTATIVE BORDEAU OF GEORGIA WE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME. >> THANK YOU. >> AND OF COURSE THIS POLITICAL UPHEAVAL IS ALL TAKING PLACE AS THE PANDEMIC RAGES ON. NEW YORK IS THE LATEST STATE TO ROAR A POSITIVE CASE OF THE NEW COVID VARIANT OUT OF THE UK.

 

THIS COMES JUST DAYS AFTER FLORIDA REPORTED ITS FIRST CASE BUT THE SCENE OVER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND THERE IS A TALE OF TWO VASTLY DIFFERENT REALITIES. ON ONE END YOU HAVE PEOPLE, THE MAJORITY OF THEM SENIOR CITIZENS, LINING UP FOR HOURS TO GET THEIR VACCINE. THEN ON THE OTHER END YOU HAVE PACKED BEACHES, LARGE INDOOR GATHERINGS WHERE PEOPLE ARE HARDLY WEARING MASKS AT ALL OR PRACTICING ANY SOCIAL DISTANCING. THIS AS THE VACCINE ROLLOUT IS PLAGUED BY CONCERNS ABOUT SLOW DISTRIBUTION. ROUPT TONIGHT THE HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS VARIANT OF THE CORONAVIRUS CONFIRMED IN UPSTATE NEW YORK.

 

THE 60-YEAR-OLD MAN FROM SARATOGA SPRINGS WITHOUT ANY RECENT TRAVEL SUGGESTING COMMUNITY SPREAD. >> HE WAS SYMPTOMATIC BUT HE IS ON THE MEND AND DOING BETTER. >> Reporter: THAT PATIENT CONNECTED TO A LOCAL JEWELRY STORE WHERE THREE OTHER PEOPLE ALSO TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID. CONTACT TRACING IS NOW UNDER WAY. THE UK VARIANT NOW IN FOUR STATES MAKING THE RACE TO VACCINATE ALL THE MORE URGENT. ANOTHER VARIANT FROM SOUTH AFRICA COULD BE EVEN MORE CONTAGIOUS.

 

SCIENTISTS IN BOSTON ARE STUDYING THESE COVID-19 MUTATIONS. >> Reporter: THESE ARE THE HUMAN CELLS THAT WILL BE STUDIED TO FIND OUT IF NATURAL ANTIBODIES OR A VACCINE WOULD BE EFFECTIVE AGAINST A NEW VARIANT. >> THE GENERAL SUSPICION IS THAT THESE CURRENT VARIANTS ARE STILL LIKELY SUSCEPTIBLE TO VACCINES. HOWEVER, WE DON’T KNOW THAT YET. >> Reporter: IN FLORIDA CARS STRETCHING MILES. MANY SENIOR CITIZENS WAITING ALL NIGHT. >> Reporter: VACCINATIONS ARE UNDER WAY HERE IN DAYTONA BEACH BUT THE DEMAND IS SO HIGH, THE LINES ARE SO LONG THOUSANDS HAVE BEEN TURNED AWAY. THE ADVICE FROM COUNTY HEALTH EXPERTS IF YOU CAN WAIT. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU GUYS WOULD WANT TO DO ONCE YOU’RE VACCINATED? >> I JUST WANT TO GO HUG EVERYBODY AND SEE MY FRIENDS. IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME. >> Reporter: IT’S BEEN ROUGH? >> YES. >> Reporter: 4.5 MILLION AMERICANS HAVE BEEN VACCINATED. A FRACTION OF THE 20 MILLION THE GOVERNMENT SAID WOULD BE IMMUNIZED BY THE END OF DECEMBER.

 

OPERATION WARP SPEED TODAY SAYING VACCINATIONS ARE RAMPING UP. >> WE’VE SEEN A VERY RAPID UPTAKE JUST IN THE LAST 72 HOURS OF REPORTING 1.5 MILLION ADDITIONAL ADMINISTRATIONS OF THE VACCINE AND WORKING WITH OUR STATES I’M VERY HOPEFUL THAT WE’LL SEE A CONTINUED RAPID UPTICK IN THAT. >> Reporter: SO FAR 70% OF THE VACCINE DISTRIBUTED IS STILL WAITING TO BE PUT INTO ARMS. GOVERNORS ARE NOW WARNING HOSPITALS. NEW YORK’S ANDREW CUOMO THREATENING FINES UP TO $100,000 IF THEY DON’T USE THEIR VACCINES IN THE NEXT WEEK. >> THEY HAVE TO MOVE THE VACCINE FASTER. >> I’M READY. >> Reporter: TODAY IN NEW YORK NURSE SANDRA LINDSAY THE FIRST PERSON IN THE COUNTRY TO GET THE PFIZER VACCINE TODAY GETTING HER SECOND DOSE TO BECOME FULLY VACCINATED. >> GETTING THAT SECOND DOSE OF THE VACCINE. STEPHANIE RAMOS JOINS US NOW. WHAT IS THE LATEST ON OPERATION WARP SPEED AND MAKING SURE VACCINES GET TO AMERICANS FASTER? >> Reporter: LINSEY, IT IS SUGGESTED TO GIVE HALF THE DOSE TO PEOPLE BETWEEN THE AGES OF 18 TO 55.

 

THAT IS JUST TWO DOSES BUT IT IS JUST HALF THE AMOUNT. HE SAYS IT WOULD INDUCE A SIMILAR IMMUNE RESPONSE TO PROVIDE PROTECTION AGAINST THE VIRUS. >> STEPHANIE RAMOS, THANKS SO MUCH. >>> OF COURSE THE CONCERN AS WE’VE HEARD THROUGHOUT THE HOLIDAYS IS THAT THINGS COULD GET WORSE. NEW SURGES THREATEN TO OVERWHELM HOSPITALS ALREADY BUCKLING UNDER THE STRESS. THAT IS THE SCENARIO OUR MATT GUTMAN ENCOUNTERED INSIDE ONE LOS ANGELES HOSPITAL SOME CONSIDER THE EPICENTER OF THE EPICENTER.

 

>> Reporter: A PATIENT IS DYING. THIS DOCTOR AND TEAM OF NINE RUSH IN TO SAVE A LIFE. STAFF ARE ARMORED IN THE HELMETS AND PPE AGAINST A VIRUS STALKING A HOSPITAL THAT NOW HAS MORE COVID PATIENTS THAN LICENSED BEDS. THE SCENE UNFOLDING AT THE MARTIN LUTHER KING COMNITY HOSPITAL’S ICU. THE PATIENT PULLED THROUGH. >> YEAH, STABILIZED I WOULD SAY. >> Reporter: FOR NOW.

 

THIS LATINO AND BLACK COMMUNITY WITH A STAGGERING 32% POSITIVITY RATE. >> WE’RE RUNNING PROBABLY 300% OF NORMAL CAPACITY. >> Reporter: ACROSS THE NATION A RECORD NUMBER OF AMERICANS HOSPITALIZED. MORE THAN 125,000 AND 50,000 DEATHS IN THE LAST THREE WEEKS. IF YOU HAVE SOMEONE GOING INTO LABOR OR HAVING A HEART ATTACK OR WHO GETS SENT TO A CAR ACCIDENT ON AN ICY ROAD THEY MAY NOT HAVE A BED BECAUSE THE ICUs ARE FULL. MUCH OF THE SPIKE ATTRIBUTED TO THANKSGIVING TRAVEL YET 17 MILLION AMERICANS TRAVELED OVER THE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’S HOLIDAYS. 1.3 MILLION YESTERDAY. THAT’S THE MOST SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN. BACK AT THE MLK HOSPITAL THAT PATIENT WAS SAVED BUT EIGHT OTHERS DIED.

 

IS THIS SOMETHING YOU’VE BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO, SEEING DEATH? >> I MEAN, THE ICU IN GENERAL, YOU KNOW, THERE’S ALWAYS SOME AMOUNT OF DEATH IN THE INTENSIVE CARE UNIT BUT CERTAINLY IT’S ACCELERATED SIGNIFICANTLY WITH THIS PANDEMIC AND PARTICULARLY IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS WITH THIS SURGE. >> WE JUST HEARD ONE OF THE DOCTORS SAY THEY WERE ALREADY AT 300% OF NORMAL CAPACITY. THAT SAYS IT ALL. MATT GUTMAN JOINS US NOW. MLK HOSPITAL WHERE YOU’VE BEEN REPORTING FROM IS IN PART OF L.A. WITH A 90% MINORITY POPULATION IN A TRADITIONALLY UNDER SERVED PART OF THE CITY. TELL US MORE ABOUT THE CHALLENGES THE COMMUNITY IS FACING AND NOT JUST INSIDE THE HOSPITAL. >> Reporter: LINSEY, THERE IS PRETTY MUCH AN INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURAL PROBLEM THERE, RIGHT? THIS PART OF L.A.

 

COUNTY GETS LESS MONEY FOR DOCTORS THAN, SAY, UCLA. ABOUT ONE-THIRD LESS WHICH MEANS IT DRAWS DOCTORS WHO EITHER, OR FEWER DOCTORS OR THOSE WHO ARE NOT AS GOOD. MANY PEOPLE IN THAT COMMUNITY ARE UNDER PUBLIC INSURANCE SO THEY DON’T GET AS MUCH MONEY FOR THEM AS WELL. THE PEOPLE WE ARE SEEING IN THIS HOSPITAL SUFFERING FROM COVID RIGHT NOW, THE VAST MAJORITY ARE ESSENTIAL WORKERS, MANY OF THEM DON’T HAVE GOOD INSURANCE. ON THE ONE HAND YOU HAVE A HIGHER POPULATION OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE COVID AND MORE PRONE TO GETTING IT BECAUSE THEY ARE OUT AND ABOUT MORE AND THEN A LOWER NUMBER OF BEDS TO ACTUALLY CARE FOR THEM. AND THE CEO OF THE HOSPITAL SAYS THIS IS A VICIOUS CIRCLE THAT KEEPS REPEATING ITSELF YEAR AFTER YEAR, GENERATION AFTER GENERATION.

 

RIGHT NOW THERE IS NO WAY OUT. THAT IS WHY WE’RE SEEING A 32% POSITIVITY RATE IN SOUTH L.A. THAT IS WHY PEOPLE THERE ARE DYING AT A VERY FAST CLIP. AND IT EVEN STARTS BEFORE IT BECAUSE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT A POPULATION THAT ALREADY SUFFERS FROM BEING UNDER SERVED BY THE MEDICAL PROFESSION. LOTS OF DIABETES. LOTS OF OBESITY. PROBLEMS THAT PEOPLE COME AND PRESENT THEMSELVES WITH AT THE HOSPITAL AND THEN IT’S HARDER AND HARDER TO TREAT THEM EVEN IF THEY’RE GETTING THE BEST OF CARE, WHICH THEY ARE AT PLACES LIKE MLK BUT AT THIS POINT SO INUNDATED THEY SIMPLY CAN’T GIVE EVERYBODY THE BEST CARE THAT THEY POSSIBLY COULD. LINSEY? >> JUST A VICIOUS CYCLE.

 

THANKS SO MUCH. >> IT IS. >>> WHEN WE COME BACK THE SKIER DANGLING FROM A CHAIR LYFT WHEN SHE SLIPS OUT OF HER JACKET. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? THE PROVOCATIVE MOVES FROM IRAN, SEIZING A TANKER SHIP AND ANNOUNCING AN UPDATE THAT COULD INDICATE HOW CLOSE THEY ARE TO MAKING NUCLEAR WEAPONS. >>> UP NEXT THEY VOLUNTEERED AND TOOK PART IN THE LANDMARK COVID-19 VACCINE TRIALS AND NOW SOME AFTER LEARNING THEY GOT A PLACEBO ARE UPSET THEY MAY HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE REAL THING.

 

WHY? COMING UP. >>> ADMIT IT. THESE DAYS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW SEEMS TO CHANGE EVERY DAY. SO WHAT IS IT THAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW? WANT TO KNOW? TO HELP YOU NOT JUST GET THROUGH YOUR DAY BUT MAKE THE MOST OF IT. FEEL SMARTER. FEEL BETTER. FEEL HAPPIER. WELL, HOW ABOUT A THIRD HOUR OF “GOOD MORNING AMERICA” IN THE AFTERNOON? “GMA 3: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU” LUNCH TIME ON ABC. THIS IS GOING TO BE SO GOOD. >> THE REALITY IS OUR COUNTRY CAN COLLAPSE FROM WITHIN. >> YOU SEE THE WHITE POWER MOVEMENT ON THE MARCH. >> YOU WILL NOT REPLACE US! >> NEO-NAZIS, SKINHEADS. IT IS MEANT TO INCITE WAR. >> FROM THE KKK TO OKLAHOMA CITY TO CHARLOTTESVILLE THE NEW DOCUMENTARY SPECIAL. >> WE JUST NEED TO START TALKING ABOUT RACE. >> HOME GROWN HATE THE WAR AMONG US.

 

>> THIS IS A REAL WAKEUP CALL. >> STREAMING NOW ON ABC NEWS LIVE. >>> WHAT YOUR A HE SEEING RIGHT NOW IS PART OF THE EYEWALL. >> THIS STRETCH OF MIGRANTS GOES BACK TWO MILES. >> THERE IS GOING TO BE CATASTROPHIC DAMAGE. >> THIS FIRE HAS MADE A RUN. YOU CAN SEE THE FLAMES SHOOTING UP INTO THE SKY. >> WE ARE ON THE JAM PACKED RED CARPET.

 

>> TO THE RIGHT, GUYS. >> THIS IS THE FOURTH WEEKEND OF PROTESTS. >> WATCH ABC NEWS ON LOCATION FOR FACEBOOK WATCH. >>> YOUR MOM SAID COMB YOUR HAIR. YOUR DAD TOLD YOU, SMARTEN UP. YOUR DOG IS JUDGING YOU RIGHT NOW. AND YOUR BEST FRIEND JUST CALLED YOU CRAZY. WE ALL NEED SOMEONE WHO WILL PULL NO PUNCHES AND GIVE IT TO US STRAIGHT. NOW IMAGINE GETTING YOUR NEWS LIKE THAT. NO BULL. NO SPIN. JUST GIVE IT TO ME STRAIGHT. STRAIGHT FORWARD NEWS. STRAIGHT TO THE HEART OF THE STORY.

 

ABC NEWS STRAIGHT FORWARD. >>> WHAT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE DAILY NEWS PODCAST OUT THERE TO LISTEN TO EVERY DAY? THE EDWARD R. MURROW AWARDS SAY IT STARTS HERE. THE DAILY NEWS PODCAST FROM ABC NEWS. EVEN THE “NEW YORK TIMES” CALLS US A TOP NEWS PODCAST WORTH LISTENING TO. SO IF YOU LIKE GETTING BEHIND THE BIGGEST NEWS STORIES OF THE DAY, INSIDE ALL THE DETAILS, THE BACK STORY, AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT, THEN LISTEN TO START HERE. THE DAILY NEWS PODCAST FROM ABC NEWS IS LIKE NO OTHER NEWS PODCAST OUT THERE. EVEN THE CRITICS AGREE. LISTEN FREE ON APPLE PODCASTS. >>> WELCOME BACK. AMONG THE MANY HEROES OF THIS PAST YEAR THE COURAGEOUS SOULS WHO AGREED TO BE INJECTED WITH AN UNAUTHORIZED, UNTESTED COVID-19 VACCINE TO SEE IF IT WOULD WORK. THESE VOLUNTEERS HAD A 50/50 CHANCE OF GETTING THE ACTUAL VACCINE. THE REST GOT A PLACEBO. WELL, NOW MANY WANT TO KNOW WHICH SHOT THEY GOT AND IF >>> THE SIGHS OF RELIEF. THOSE HEALTH CARE WORKERS HIGH RISK AMERICANS AND EVEN SOME POLITICIANS GETTING THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED AUTHORIZED COVID-19 VACCINE.

 

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MEN AND WOMEN PUT THEIR FAITH AND POSSIBLY THEIR LIVES INTO THE HANDS OF SCIENTISTS. THROUGH THE COURSE OF THE LAST YEAR THEY OFFERED THEMSELVES UP TO BE IN CLINICAL TRIALS, TO TEST IF THE VACCINES WERE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE. >> THIS IS MY WAY OF CONTRIBUTING. >> WE WANTED TO HELP DEVELOP THE VACCINE AND GET EVERYTHING BACK TO NORMAL AGAIN. >> Reporter: THEIR MEDICAL HISTORIES VARIED >> I AM 65. I HAVE A HISTORY OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, HIGH CHOLESTEROL. >> Reporter: THEIR ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS DIFFERENT. >> WHEN THEY NEEDED NORPTS TO STO — MINORITIES TO STEP UP FOR THE TRIALS, I WAS WILLING TO DO IT. >> Reporter: TO TEST THE VACCINE BEING STUDIED, HALF THE VOLUNTEERS GOT THE VACCINE. THE OTHER HALF GOT A PLACEBO, A SHOT THAT CONTAINED NO VACCINE AT ALL. THE VOLUNTEERS DIDN’T KNOW WHICH GROUP THEY BELONGED TO.

 

>> HOW CAN WE BEST DO THAT WAS THE QUESTION. THE GOLD STANDARD HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CLINICAL TRIAL. >> Reporter: NOW AS MILLIONS OF OTHER AMERICANS GET THE SHOT THEY HELPED DEVELOP SOME VOLUNTEERS HAVE FOUND OUT THROUGH ANTIBODY TESTING THEY WERE POSSIBLY GIVEN THE PLACEBO. >> MAKE SURE WE HAVE A SAMPLE. >> Reporter: THEY WANT THE VACCINE NOW. >> THEY PLAN TO KEEP US AS LAB RATS SO THEY CAN GATHER DATA ON HOW MANY OTHER PEOPLE GET SICK AND HOW MANY DIE.

 

WE’RE NOT LAB RATS. WE’RE HUMAN BEINGS. >> Reporter: JOSE AND LAURA BARBOSA WERE VOLUNTEERS IN THE PFIZER TRIAL AND TOOK CONSUMER ANTIBODY TESTS AND THINK JOSE WAS IN THE PLACEBO GROUP. THE BARBOSAS SAY AFTER NUMEROUS FAILED ATTEMPTS TO GET VACCINATED AT THEIR TRIAL CLINIC THEY WENT AND GOT THE VACCINE OUTSIDE OF THEIR TRIAL. >> SOME PRESSURE HERE? >> THREE MORE WEEKS YOU GO BACK FOR THE SECOND. WE TOOK A FEW MINUTES. IT WAS EASY. >> NO PROBLEM AT ALL. >> Reporter: TYPICALLY TRIAL PARTICIPANTS REMAIN ON A PLACEBO FOR THE DURATION OF THE TRIAL TO HELP RESEARCHERS DETERMINE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF A DRUG OR VACCINE. IN THIS CASE, PFIZER SAYS IT’S ALREADY VACCINATING SOME VOLUNTEERS FROM THE PLACEBO GROUP AND PLANS TO INOCULATE ALL OTHERS THAT WANT TO BE BY MARCH 1st. IN A STATEMENT TO ABC NEWS, THE COMPANY SAYS THE VACCINE TRANSITION OPTION WILL BE IMPLEMENTED IN A PHASED APPROACH STARTING WITH THOSE WHO WOULD QUALIFY FOR VACCINATION IF THEY WERE NOT PART OF THE CLINICAL TRIALS. BUT WITH THE VACCINE NOW AUTHORIZED, SOME ARE FRUSTRATED. THEY SAY PFIZER ISN’T MOVING FAST ENOUGH.

 

>> NO ONE IN A PLACEBO GROUP IS ASKING TO JUMP THE LINE AND GO AHEAD OF ANYBODY IN THE PUBLIC, WITH PUBLIC VACCINE. THE PLACEBOS WISH TO BE VACCINATED USING THE EXPERIMENTAL TRIAL VACCINES THAT ARE LOCATED AT THE CLINICS RIGHT NOW. LET’S VACCINATE THESE OTHER THOUSANDS OF PLACEBOS AND REDUCE THE RISK. >> Reporter: MODERNAA THE MAKER OF THE OTHER AUTHORIZED VACCINE SAID IN A STATEMENT LAST WEEK IT WAS GOING TO UNBLIND ALL OF THEIR VOLUNTEERS AND MAKE THE VACCINE AVAILABLE TO NANYONE IN THE PLACEBO GROUP WHO WANTS IT. >> THEY SEEM TO BE GOING TO BAT. >> Reporter: DRUG MAKERS ARE CAUGHT BETWEEN DOING RIGHT BY THE HEROIC CLINICAL VOLUNTEERS AND COLLECTING MORE SCIENTIFIC DATA THROUGH LONGER TRIALS.

 

TO ANSWER QUESTIONS LIKE WHETHER VACCINES WORK AGAINST ASYMPTOMATIC INFECTIONS AND HOW LONG PROTECTION LASTS. JOHN DAWSON WANTS HIS VACCINE BUT SAYS HE HAS NO SECOND THOUGHTS. >> DO I REGRET BEING IN THE STUDY? NO. I DON’T. IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. >> Reporter: ABC NEWS LIVE. >> THANKS FOR THAT. >>> STILL AHEAD HERE ON “PRIME” THE POLICE SEARCH FOR THESE TWO MEN FILMED JUMPING OFF A HOTEL ROOF TOP BAR AND LEAVING CUSTOMERS TERRIFIED AND STUNNED. >>> IT’S HOLIDAY GIFT RETURN TIME. DID YOU KNOW THAT ALL THE UNWANTED GIFTS COULD ACTUALLY LEAD TO BIG DEALS? WE’LL EXPLAIN. >>> AND THE COVID PANDEMIC IS NOT THE FIRST TIME AMERICANS HAD TO DO MASS VACCINATIONS. WE TAKE A LOOK BY THE NUMBERS. FIRST OUR TWEET OF THE DAY. THIS YEAR MARCH MADNESS WILL TAKE PLACE IN THE HOOSIER STATE AND HOME OF THE NCAA, THE GREAT STATE OF INDIANA EXCLUSIVELY. >> THIS IS WHAT BEING LIVE IS ALL ABOUT. THIS IS ABC NEWS LIVE THE 24/7 STREAMING NEWS SOURCE. ABC NEWS.

 

BREAKING NEWS. LIVE EVENTS AS THEY HAPPEN STREAMING LIVE AS THEY HAPPEN STRAIGHT TO YOU. ORIGINAL ON THE EDGE BREAKTHROUGH STORY TELLING FROM ABC NEWS. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. ESPN. ALL DESIGNED DIFFERENTLY FOR YOU TO STREAM STRAIGHT TO ANY SCREEN WHENEVER YOU WANT FREE. AND IMAGINE THE MOST CELEBRATED, EPIC, MOMENTS ALL PLAYING OUT BEFORE YOUR EYES. >> SEE THE FLAMES BEHIND ME? >> GO DEEPER INSIDE THE GROUNDBREAKING EXCLUSIVES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL ONLY ON ABC NEWS. WATCH ABC NEWS LIVE RIGHT NOW AND ANY TIME STREAMING ON ROKU, HULU, FACEBOOK, AND ABC NEWS.COM.

 

>> STREAMING EVERYWHERE RIGHT TO YOU. >> ABC NEWS LIVE. >>> THE AMERICANS HERE ON THE GROUND AND THE IRAQIS. >> 18,000 TONS. >> ISMAEL? >> YES. >> DAVID. >> DAVID. >> GROUND ZERO FOR HURRICANE MICHAEL. >> YOU CAN SEE JUST HOME AFTER HOME. >> THIS WAS YOUR VIEW. >> MY FAVORITE VIEW. >> THANK YOU VERY MUCH. >> YES, MORNINGS MAY LOOK DIFFERENT THESE DAYS. BUT WHERE YOU START YOUR DAY, WHERE YOU SPEND YOUR MORNINGS, WHERE YOU GET CONNECTED TO EVERYTHING THAT’S HAPPENING. >> AND FACE IT. THERE IS A WHOLE LOT HAPPENING IN OUR WORLD THESE DAYS. >> WHERE YOU GET ALL THE BREAKING NEW INFORMATION OF THE DAY TO HELP YOU NAVIGATE THROUGH THESE TIMES. THAT’S WHY WE’RE HERE. ♪ GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE ♪ >> MAKING SURE YOU START YOUR DAY OFF WITH A SMILE AND SOME SUNSHINE. >> “GOOD MORNING AMERICA.” >> “GOOD MORNING AMERICA.” OH, HOW I LOVE SAYING THAT.

 

♪ WAKE ME UP ♪ >> THE WORLD MAY FEEL OUT OF YOUR CONTROL BUT YOUR HAPPINESS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE. LEARN THE SECRETS TO HAPPINESS. LISTEN TO THE 10% HAPPIER PODCAST FREE ON APPLE PODCAST. >> ABC NEWS HONORED. WINNER FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR WITH THE EDWARD R. MURROW AWARD FOR OVERALL EXCELLENCE IN TELEVISION. ABC NEWS. AMERICA’S NUMBER ONE NEWS SOURCE. >>> THIS IS GMA 3 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. GMA 3. >> A THIRD HOUR OF “GOOD MORNING AMERICA.” >> IN THE AFTERNOON. >> IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU. LUNCH TIME ON ABC. >>> WELCOME BACK. AS THE COUNTRY RACES TO GET COVID-19 VACCINES INTO HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF ARMS WE TAKE A LOOK AT AMERICA’S LONG HISTORY WITH MASS VACCINATIONS BY THE NUMBERS. AT LEAST SIX MAJOR DISEASES WERE ELIMINATED WITH VACCINE IN THE U.S. SMALL P.O. BOX, DIPTHERIA,. >>> IN 1947 NEW YORK CITY WAS ABLE TO VACCINATE 6 MILLION PEOPLE FOR SMALL POX IN LESS THAN ONE MONTH AFTER A SINGLE CASE THREATENED TO SPARK A MASSIVE OUTBREAK.

 

POLIO USED TO KILL OR PARALYZE ABOUT 16,000 AMERICANS PER YEAR. NOW IT’S ZERO. ABOUT 530,000 AMERICANS USED TO CONTRACT MEASLES EACH YEAR BUT AFTER A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL VACCINE PROGRAM THAT DISEASE WAS DECLARED ELIMINATED IN THE U.S. IN 2000 BUT IT RESURGED AFTER SOME COMMUNITIES REFUSED TO GET VACCINATED. THE SEASONAL FLU HAS STUCK AROUND. 174 MILLION DOSES OF FLU SHOTS WERE DISTRIBUTED IN THE U.S. LAST FALL AND WINTER. NOW WE HAVE COVID-19. SO FAR MORE THAN 4.5 MILLION AMERICANS HAVE RECEIVED A FIRST DOSE OF VACCINE ACCORDING TO THE CDC. THAT’S A PACE SOME CRITICS SAY IS FAR SLOWER THAN WHAT THIS COUNTRY IS CAPABLE OF. >>> STILL, LOTS TO GET TO HERE ON PRIME. NOW LEARNING THE IDENTITY OF THE WOMAN WHO ATTACKED A BLACK TEEN FALSELY ACCUSING HIM OF TAKING HER CELL PHONE.

 

WE’RE ALSO GETTING A LOOK AT THE HOTEL SURVEILLANCE FOOTAGE OF THE INCIDENT. >>> AND THE MAJOR LOCKDOWN ANNOUNCED IN THE UK AS THEY TRY TO CONTAIN THE NEW COVID STRAIN. FIRST A LOOK AT OUR TOP TRENDING STORIES ON ABC NEWS.COM. >>> REALITY IS OUR COUNTRY COULD COLLAPSE FROM WITHIN. >> THE WHITE POWER MOVEMENT IS ON THE MARCH. NEO-NAZIS, SKINHEADS. IT IS MEANT TO INCITE WAR. >> FROM THE KKK TO OKLAHOMA CITY TO CHARLOTTESVILLE THE NEW DOCUMENTARY EVENT SPECIAL. >> WE JUST NEED TO START TALKING ABOUT RACE. >> STREAMING LIVE. >>> NOW WHEN IT MATTERS MOST THE STRAIGHT FORWARD FACTS. ABC NEWS IS AMERICA’S NUMBER ONE NEWS. NUMBER ONE IN THE MORNING. NUMBER ONE IN THE EVENING WITH AMERICA’S MOST WATCHED NEWSCAST. NUMBER ONE IN LATE NIGHT VERSUS THE COMPETITION. THE NUMBER ONE NEWS MAGAZINE ON FRIDAY NIGHTS. NUMBER ONE IN POLITICS ACROSS THE HISTORIC ELECTION VERSUS THE COMPETITION. THE NUMBER ONE DAY TIME TALK SHOW. AND NUMBER ONE IN STREAMING NEWS. ABC NEWS IS AMERICA’S NUMBER ONE NEWS. >>> WHAT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE DAILY NEWS PODCAST OUT THERE TO LISTEN TO EVERY DAY? THE EDWARD R.

 

MURROW AWARDS SAY IT STARTS HERE. THE DAILY NEWS PODCAST FROM ABC NEWS. EVEN THE “NEW YORK TIMES” CALLS US A TOP NEWS PODCAST WORTH LISTENING TO. SO IF YOU LIKE GETTING BEHIND THE BIGGEST NEWS STORIES OF THE DAY INSIDE ALL THE DETAILS, THE BACK STORY, AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT, THEN LISTENING AND START HERE THE DAILY NEWS PODCAST FROM ABC NEWS LIKE NO OTHER NEWS PODCAST OUT THERE. EVEN THE CRITICS AGREE. LISTEN FREE ON APPLE PODCASTS. >>> YES MORNINGS MAY LOOK DIFFERENT THESE DAYS BUT WHERE YOU START YOUR DAY, WHERE YOU SPEND YOUR MORNINGS, WHERE YOU GET CONNECTED TO EVERYTHING THAT’S HAPPENING — >> AND FACE IT THERE IS A WHOLE LOT HAPPENING IN OUR WORLD THESE DAYS — >> WHERE YOU GET ALL THE BREAKING NEW INFORMATION OF THE DAY TO HELP YOU NAVIGATE THROUGH THESE TIMES. THAT’S WHY WE’RE HERE ♪ GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE ♪ >> AND MAKING SURE YOU START YOUR DAY OFF WITH A SMILE AND SOME SUNSHINE.

 

>> GOOD MORNING AMERICA. >> GOOD MORNING AMERICA. >> GOOD MORNING AMERICA. OH, HOW I LOVE SAYING THAT. ♪ WAKE ME UP ♪ >> WE MARCH TOGETHER. >> THE MOST POWERFUL STORIES OF OUR TIME ANY TIME. NIGHTLINE. >> FRIDAY NIGHTS. TRUE CRIME. CINEMATIC. REAL LIFE DRAMA. STUNNING. THE UNTHINKABLE. FOLLOW THE CLUES. THE HUNT. TRUE CRIME 2020. FRIDAY NIGHTS 9/8 CENTRAL ON ABC. ♪ >>> GEORGIA IS TODAY’S POLITICAL BATTLEGROUND. PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN AND PRESIDENT TRUMP BOTH CAMPAIGNING THERE TODAY AHEAD OF TOMORROW’S SENATE RUN-OFF ELECTIONS. IF DEMOCRATS WIN BOTH, THEY’LL WIN THE SENATE MAJORITY. PRESIDENT TRUMP’S VISIT COMES TWO DAYS AFTER HE ASKS GEORGIA’S REPUBLICAN SECRETARY OF STATE TO, QUOTE, FIND ENOUGH VOTES TO REVERSE THE RESULT IN A STATE HE LOST. >> I JUST WANT TO FIND 11,780 VOTES. >> BUT THE VOTES IN GEORGIA HAVE ALREADY BEEN COUNTED THREE TIMES INCLUDING AN EXTENSIVE HAND RECOUNT AND SIGNATURE MATCH AUDIT.

 

THE RESULTS ARE UNCHANGED. JOE BIDEN WON GEORGIA. >> THE DATA THAT HE HAS IS JUST PLAIN WRONG. >> THE BACKLASH SWIFT. >> JOE BIDEN WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. >> THAT’S NOT STOPPING 140 HOUSE REPUBLICANS AND AT LEAST 12 REPUBLICAN SENATORS FROM CHALLENGING THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE RESULTS WHEN CONGRESS CONVENES ON WEDNESDAY. >> AS COVID-19 SPREADS RAPIDLY ACROSS THE U.S., VACCINATIONS CAN’T HAPPEN FAST ENOUGH. THE FIRST NURSE IN NEW YORK TO GET HER SHOT THREE WEEKS AGO GOT HER SECOND DOSE ON MONDAY. BUT WITH SUCH HIGH DEMAND FOR THE VACCINE COAST TO COAST, SOME PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GETTING TURNED AWAY EVEN AFTER WAITING OVERNIGHT IN THE THREE MILE LONG LINE IN DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA. THE CDC REPORTS MORE THAN 4 MILLION PEOPLE HAVE BEEN VACCINATED DESPITE THE GOAL OF 20 MILLION BY THE END OF 2020 SET BY OPERATION WARP SPEED. THIS AS A RECORD 125,000 AMERICANS ARE HOSPITALIZED WITH THE VIRUS ACCORDING TO THE COVID TRACKING PROJECT.

 

>> OVERSEAS THE UK IS NOW THE FIRST NATION IN THE WORLD TO USE DRUG MAKER ASTRAZENECA’S COVID-19 VACCINE. IT COMES JUST AS THE BRITISH PRIME MINISTER ANNOUNCED THAT AN EVEN TOUGHER LOCKDOWN THAN THE ONE THEY PUT IN PLACE IN MARCH IS COMING. THE PRIME MINISTER SAYS THE UK IS FACING A CRITICAL MOMENT IN THE PANDEMIC. THE CLOSURE OF SCHOOLS AND BORDERS AMONG THE RESTRICTIONS POSSIBLY ON THE WAY. >>> TENSIONS ARE RISING IN THE MIDDLE EAST AFTER IRAN SEIZED A TANKER FROM SOUTH KOREA IN THE CRUCIAL STRAIT OF HORMUZ. THE ISLAMIC NATION CLAIMS THE VESSEL WAS POLLUTING THE STRAIT. THE SEIZURE COMES AS A SOUTH KOREAN DIPLOMAT WAS SET TO TRAVEL TO THE NATION TO DISCUSS THE RELEASE OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF IRANIAN ASSETS NOW FROZEN IN SEOUL. MEANWHILE IRAN BEGAN TODAY ENRICHING URANIUIM TO LEVELS UNSEEN SINCE THE 2015 NUCLEAR DEAL. A DEAL PRESIDENT TRUMP PULLED OUT OF REMOVING NUCLEAR MONITORS IN THE PROCESS. >>> A JUDGE HAS REFUSED TO GRANT THE U.S. EXTRADITION OF JULIAN ASSAUGE ON ESPIONAGE CHARGES RULING THAT SENDING ASSAUGE TO A U.S.

 

PRISON WOULD BE OPPRESSIVE BECAUSE OF THE 49-YEAR-OLD’S MENTAL HEALTH. >>> CAUGHT ON CAMERA THIS VERY SCARY MOMENT. RESCUERS CAUGHT A SKIER SLIPPING OFF A CHAIR LIFT. THAT IS AN UPSTATE NEW YORK. THE SKIER CAN BE SEEN DANGLING BY HER JACKET. THIS HAPPENED AT THE BRISTOL MOUNTAIN SKI RESORT YESTERDAY. THE SKI PATROL WAS ABLE TO GET TO HER QUICKLY.

 

THE SKIER SLOWLY SLIPPED OUT OF HER JACKET AND THEN FELL INTO A SAFETY TARP STRETCHED OUT BELOW. >>> OH, MY GOD. OH, MY GOD! >> POLICE IN NASHVILLE ARE LOOKING FOR THESE TWO DAREDEVILS. TWO MEN WHO JUMPED OFF A ROOF TOP HOTEL BAR ON NEW YEAR’S DAY. THEY LEPT FROM THE TOP OF A RAILING ON THE 25th FLOOR PARACHUTING TO THE GROUND BELOW WHERE THEY GOT INTO A CAR AND DROVE AWAY. >> OH, MY GOD! >>> AND NOW TO THE LATEST ON A STORY WE FIRST BROUGHT YOU LAST WEEK.

 

THE WOMAN SEEN IN THE VIRAL VIDEO FALSELY ACCUSING A BLACK TEEN OF STEALING HER PHONE HAS NOW BEEN IDENTIFIED BY POLICE. FOR THE FIRST TIME WE’RE ALSO SEEING THE HOTEL SURVEILLANCE VIDEO WHERE SHE IS SEEN CHASING AFTER THE TEEN AND THEN TACKLING HIM. >> THIS IS MY PHONE. >> YOU DON’T HAVE TO EXPLAIN NOTHING TO HER. >> Reporter: THE WOMAN BEHIND THE VIRAL CONFRONTATION IN A NEW YORK CITY HOTEL CAUGHT ON CAMERA ACCUSING A 14-YEAR-OLD OF STEALING HER CELL PHONE IS NOW IDENTIFIED. >> THAT’S MINE. GIVE IT BACK PLEASE. >> ARE YOU KIDDING ME? YOU FEEL LIKE THERE IS ONLY ONE iPHONE MADE IN THE WORLD? >> POLICE TELL ABC NEWS THE 22-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IS SEEN IN THIS VIDEO VIEWED NEARLY 3 MILLION TIMES ONLINE FALSELY ACCUSING A JAZZ MUSICIAN’S SON OF TAKING HER PHONE. SHE CONFRONTED HIM IN THE HOTEL LOBBY THE DISTURBING CONFRONTATION FILMED BY HIS FATHER CAUSING OUTRAGE >> I AM NOT LETTING HIM WALK AWAY WITH MY PHONE. >> Reporter: SHE IS SEEN BRIEFLY ON THE GROUND THEN SURVEILLANCE VIDEO SHOWS HER WRESTLING WITH HIM IN THE LOBBY ATTEMPTING TO TACKLE HIM.

 

HER PHONE WAS LATER FOUND BY AN UBER DRIVER U THE SHAKEN TEEN AND HIS FAMILY SPEAKING OUT RECENTLY ON “GMA.” >> CONFUSED. I DON’T KNOW WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF MY DAD WASN’T THERE. HONESTLY. THESE PAST FEW DAYS, YOU KNOW, STILL KIND OF SHELL SHOCKED. >> Reporter: NOW AS THE NYPD CONSIDERS CHARGES NEW DETAILS ARE EMERGING ABOUT HER PAST RUN-INS WITH THE LAW. IN FEBRUARY SHE WAS ARRESTED FOR PUBLIC INTOXICATION AT A BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL. THEN IN MAY SHE WAS ARRESTED AGAIN. THIS TIME CHARGED WITH A DUI. HER SENTENCE INCLUDED PROBATION, COMMUNITY SERVICE, AND NINE MONTHS OF ALCOHOL COUNSELING. CAMERA CREWS TRACKING HER DOWN IN CALIFORNIA ASKING HER ABOUT THE INCIDENT >> I AM ACTUALLY 22 SO I DON’T KNOW WHAT — >> NO, BUT HE — >> I’M ALSO PUERTO RICAN SO THANK YOU. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. >> OKAY. DOES THAT JUSTIFY WHAT YOU DID? >> THE FAMILY SAYS SHE HAS NOT REACHED OUT TO THEM. >> MY SON ASKED ME WHY ME, MOM? IT JUST HURT. THE TOUGHEST ANSWER A PERSON HAS TO GIVE THEIR CHILD, SON, UNFORTUNATELY, IT MIGHT BE BECAUSE YOU’RE BLACK.

 

>> PRIOR TO PONCETO BEING IDENTIFIED THE FAMILY CALLED FOR RACIAL JUSTICE. >> ALL THAT WE ARE ASKING IS FOR THE POLICE TO DO THE RIGHT THING. FOR THE DA TO DO THE RIGHT THING. TO CHARGE THIS WOMAN WITH ASSAULT. >> THE IDEA OF TRAUMA GOES ABOVE ANY CHARGE THAT COULD BE HAD. I WANT MY SON TO GROW UP WHOLE.

 

THAT’S ALL WE WANT. >> THAT’S RIGHT. >> OUR THANKS FOR THAT. MAYA PONCETO IS DUE IN COURT TO FACE A PUBLIC INTOXICATION CHARGE FROM HER FIRST ARREST IN BEVERLY HILLS LATER THIS MONTH. SHE REPORTEDLY ENTERED A PLEA OF NOT GUILTY. >>> NEXT TO THE POST HOLIDAY RUSH TO MAKE GIFT RETURNS THE AGE OLD TRADITION BUT DID YOU KNOW IT MAY ALSO RESULT IN DISCOUNTS ON POPULAR ITEMS? >> Reporter: THE NEW YEAR IS IN FULL SWING AND SO ARE THE HOLIDAY RETURNS.

 

ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION THIS YEAR ONE IN TEN GIFTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE SENT BACK BUT WITH RESTOCKING FEES COSTING STORES MORE THAN THEY CAN MAKE YOU CAN STILL GET YOUR BIGGEST SHOPPING DEALS YET. HERE IS HOW IT WORKS. IF A STORE THINKS THEY CAN’T TURN A PROFIT ON A RETURNED ITEM THEY’LL SEND THEM TO A RECOMMERCE WEBSITE LIKE BLINK OR SHOREWOOD LIQUIDATORS WHICH WILL INSPECT AND PHOTOGRAPH THE ITEMS AND RESELL THEM AT A FRACTION OF THE RETAIL PRICE. >> RETAILERS DON’T HAVE THE PROCESSING POWER TO RESELL ALL OF THE RETURNS THEY RECEIVE SO THEY WORK WITH COMPANIES TO FIGURE OUT OTHER WAYS TO RESELL THEM. OFTEN TIMES THE PRODUCTS END UP ON THIRD PARTY DISCOUNT SHOPPING SITES WHICH IS A HUGE BENEFIT TO SHOPPERS WHO CAN SNAG POPULAR ITEMS AT A DEEP DISCOUNT. >> SHOPPERS CAN PLACE BIDS ON ITEMS STARTING FOR SALES FROM JUST $1. WE FOUND EVERYTHING FROM AIR MATTRESSES TO COFFEE MAKERS, SPEAKERS, VACUUM CLEANERS AND COVETED HOME OFFICE ITEMS LIKE DESKS AND CHAIRS. >> WHEN THE ITEMS ARE RETURNED THEY GO BACK TO THE RETAILERS’ FACILITIES AND GET MANIFESTED AND THEN PUT ON TRUCKS AND THE TRUCKS COME TO US.

 

>> BLINK IS ANOTHER SITE WHERE YOU CAN SAVE MORE THAN 70% ON RETURNED AND OVERSTOCKED MERCHANDISE FROM RETAILERS LIKE APPLE, FRIGIDAIRE, AND KENMORE. EVEN SAVINGS ON MAKEUP AND DESIGNER HANDBAGS. WE FOUND THIS NEST SECURITY CAMERA SYSTEM FOR $357 HALF OFF THE $700 RETAIL VALUE. THIS USED SAMSUNG GALAXY S20 SELLING FOR ALMOST 60% OFF. THESE BRAND NEW SKIS 78% OFF. >> LOTS OF WAYS TO CASH IN ON THE RETURNED ITEMS. THANKS TO YOU FOR THAT. >>> WHEN WE RETURN REIMAGINING HOW OUR SUPER HEROES WORK. STAY WITH US. >>> NOW WHEN IT MATTERS MOST THE STRAIGHT FORWARD FACTS. ABC NEWS IS AMERICA’S NUMBER ONE NEWS. NUMBER ONE IN THE MORNING. NUMBER ONE IN THE EVENING WITH AMERICA’S MOST WATCHED NEWSCAST. NUMBER ONE IN LATE NIGHT VERSUS THE COMPETITION. THE NUMBER ONE NEWS MAGAZINE ON FRIDAY NIGHTS. NUMBER ONE IN POLITICS. ACROSS THIS HISTORIC ELECTION VERSUS THE COMPETITION. THE NUMBER ONE DAY TIME TALK SHOW AND NUMBER ONE IN STREAMING NEWS. ABC NEWS IS AMERICA’S NUMBER ONE NEWS. >> WE MARCH TOGETHER. >> THE MOST POWERFUL STORIES OF OUR TIME ANY TIME. NIGHTLINE. >> I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. I’M NOT GUILTY.

 

>> WHY THE FASCINATION WITH CRIMINAL TRIALS? TO FIGURE OUT WHAT’S REALLY OUT THERE. >> ADMIT IT. THESE DAYS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. >> WHAT IS IT YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW, NEED TO KNOW? >> TO HELP YOU NOT JUST GET THROUGH YOUR DAY. >> BUT TO MAKE THE MOST OF IT. FEEL SMARTER. >> FEEL BETTER. >> FEEL HAPPIER. >> WELL, HOW ABOUT A THIRD HOUR OF GOOD MORNING AMERICA? IN THE AFTERNOON.

 

>> GMA 3. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW LUNCH TIME. AT 1:00 EASTERN, 12:00 CENTRAL AND PACIFIC ON ABC. IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU. >>> WHAT YOU’RE SEEING RIGHT NOW, THIS IS PART OF THE EYEWALL. >> THIS STRETCH OF MIGRANTS GOES BACK TWO MILES. >> THERE IS GOING TO BE CATASTROPHIC DAMAGE. >> THE FIRE HAS MADE A RUN. YOU CAN SEE THE FLAMES SHOOTING UP INTO THE SKY. >> WE ARE ON THE JAM PACKED RED CARPET. >> TO THE RIGHT, GUYS. >> THIS IS THE FOURTH WEEKEND OF PROTESTS. >>> WATCH ABC NEWS ON LOCATION FOR FACEBOOK WATCH. >> BREAKING NEWS. CONTEXT. ANALYSIS. >> WITH TODAY’S EXTRAORDINARY NEWS CYCLE — >> NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME FOR ABC NEWS LIVE. >> A STREAMING NEWS GAME CHANGER. THE TIME IS NOW FOR ABC NEWS LIVE. GET IT STREAMING EVERYWHERE. >>> THE WORLD MAY FEEL OUT OF YOUR CONTROL BUT YOUR HAPPINESS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE. LEARN THE SECRETS TO HAPPINESS. LISTEN TO THE 10% HAPPIER PODCAST FREE ON APPLE PODCAST. >>> MORE AMERICANS CHOOSE ABC NEWS AMERICA’S NUMBER ONE NEWS SOURCE.

 

>> YOUR MOM SAID, COMB YOUR HAIR. YOUR DAD TOLD YOU SMARTEN UP. YOUR DOG IS JUDGING YOU RIGHT NOW. AND YOUR BEST FRIEND JUST CALLED YOU CRAZY. WE ALL NEED SOMEONE WHO WILL PULL NO PUNCHES AND GIVE IT TO US STRAIGHT. NOW IMAGINE GETTING YOUR NEWS LIKE THAT. NO BULL. NO SPIN. JUST GIVE IT TO ME STRAIGHT. STRAIGHT FORWARD NEWS. STRAIGHT TO THE HEART OF THE STORE U. ABC NEWS. STRAIGHT FORWARD. ♪ ♪ >>> WELCOME BACK. JOHN RIDLEY IS BEST KNOWN AS THE OSCAR WINNING SCREENWRITER OF “12 YEARS A SLAVE” AND FOR TV’S “AMERICAN CRIME” BUT ONE OF HIS FIRST PASSIONS IN LIFE WAS COMIC BOOKS. RIDLEY HAS TEAMED UP WITH D.C. COMICS ON TWO NEW PROEJTS THAT REIMAGINE CLASSIC SUPER HEROES IN DIVERSE WAYS INCLUDING THE FIRST BLACK BATMAN. JOHN RIDLEY JOINS US NOW. HAPPY NEW YEAR AND THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US, MR. RIDLEY. YOU CAME UP WITH THE IDEA TO REIMAGINE THE D.C.

 

UNIVERSE AS DIVERSE. WHEN DID YOU FIRST ENCOUNTER COMICS AND START THINKING ABOUT BLACK SUPER HEROES? >> A LONG TIME AGO. I MEAN, I’M NO LONGER A KID BUT I’VE BEEN READING COMIC BOOKS SINCE I WAS A KID AND I JUST REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME THAT I SAW A BLACK LIGHT IN A COMIC BOOK. ALWAYS LOVED COMICS. NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT REPRESENTATION MUCH. BUT WHEN YOU SEE WHAT IT IS YOU’RE MISSING, YOU SEE A HERO WHO LOOKS LIKE YOU, WHOSE DAY JOB WAS THE SAME AS MY MOM, WAS A TEACHER, YOU REALIZE THAT REPRESENTATION DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

 

AND LITTLE THINGS DO MEAN A LOT. FOR ME THIS HAS BEEN A LONG JOURNEY OF NOT JUST APPRECIATING COMICS WHERE HEROES LOOK LIKE ME BUT WANTING TO BE AN INDIVIDUAL WHO HAD THE CAPACITY TO DELIVER COMICS TO OTHER READERS WHO REPRESENTED THEIR BACKGROUNDS. >> AND THIS IS A BIT OF A LEADING QUESTION BUT HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOUNG KIDS IN PARTICULAR TO SEE THEMSELVES REPRESENTED IN COMIC BOOKS? >> I THINK IT IS HUGE. AS A PARENT MYSELF, YOU KNOW, MY KIDS ARE AT AN AGE WHERE THEY DON’T MERELY INGEST THINGS BUT THEY COMMENT ABOUT IT AND THEY COMMENT ABOUT NOT NECESSARILY SEEING HEROES OR INDIVIDUALS OR FOLKS IN THE WIDER MEDIA WHO LOOK LIKE THEM. INSPIRATION IS ABSORBED A LOT OF TIMES SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT REPRESENTATION. WE CAN EXPRESS HOW IMPORTANT IT IS AS ADULTS TO YOUNGER PEOPLE FOR THEM TO KNOW THAT THEY CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING BUT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO SEE THAT, TO KNOW THAT, TO ABSORB IT ON THEIR OWN, THAT IS HUGE.

 

>> AND YOU ARE OF COURSE A CELEBRATED OSCAR WINNING SCREENWRITER. WHAT WAS IT ABOUT WRITING GRAPHIC NOVELS THAT APPEALED TO YOU AND HOW DIFFERENT, HOW MUCH OF AN ADJUSTMENT WAS THAT? >> WELL, THE BIG DIFFERENCE, IT’S INTRINSICALLY FUN. I APPRECIATE MANY THINGS I’VE DONE, DONE, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, A DOCUMENTARY, I’M DEEPLY APPRECIATIVE OF HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO TELL STORIES LIKE THAT BUT THEY’RE TOUGH STORIES. THEY REALLY ARE. TO BE ABLE TO TELL STORIES THAT ARE LITERALLY FANTASTIC, THAT ARE NOT CONSTRAINED BY BUDGET, MERELY CONSTRAINED BY IDEAS AND ORIGINALITY, THERE IS GREAT JOY THERE. AND I THINK OF MY KIDS. THEY ARE DEEPLY APPRECIATIVE OF THE STORY TELLING I’VE DONE. THEY LOVE THINGS LIKE “BLACK PANTHER” AND THEY LOVE TO GO OUT AND SEE THESE INCREDIBLE STORIES RENDERED ON THE BIG SCREEN. SO TO BE ABLE TO ADD TO THAT MYTHOLOGY ON THE PAGE FOR ME IS A GREAT JOY.

 

>> LET’S TALK ABOUT FUTURE STATE, THE NEXT BATMAN. THE MAIN CHARACTER HAS HIS ORIGINS IN THE ORIGINAL BATMAN COMICS. WHO IS HE AND HOW IS HAVING A BLACK BATMAN DIFFERENT FROM THE ONE THAT MANY OF US KNOW, BRUCE WAYNE? >> WELL, THE INDIVIDUAL IS GOING TO BE PLAYING BATMAN IS ONE OF THE SONS OF LUCIUS FOX. I THINK EVEN PEOPLE WHO JUST TANGENTIALLY, CASUALLY KNOW BATMAN, THEY REMEMBER MORGAN FREEMAN PLAYING THE CHARACTER. TO BE THE SON OF ONE OF BATMAN’S TRUSTED ALLIES, WHAT THAT MEANS IN THE STORY, WHAT THAT MEANS ON THE PAGE, WHAT IT MEANS TO BE PART OF A VERY PROMINENT FAMILY IN GOTHAM CITY, THOSE THINGS TO ME ARE VERY INTERESTING. TO YOUR QUESTION, WHAT MAKES THIS BATMAN OR THIS ITERATION VERY UNIQUE? I KNOW HOW YOU ASKED THE QUESTION BUT I DON’T LOOK AT HIM AS BEING BLACK BATMAN.

 

HE IS A YOUNG MAN, A VERY PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES WHO HAPPENS TO BE BLACK. AND I THINK IF IT WEREN’T FOR THOSE PARTICULAR AREAS OF HIS LIFE, HIS FAMILY, HIS NARRATIVE, THEN, YES, HE WOULD JUST BE A BLACK GUY PUTTING ON THE BAT SUIT. BUT JENKS WILL HAVE HIS OWN STORY AND STRUGGLES SEPARATE FROM BEING BATMAN. A LOT OF THAT IS GOING TO BE ABOUT FAMILY WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME AGAIN AS A FATHER, AS A HUSBAND, TO REALLY LEAN INTO ASPECTS OF FAMILY. ALL OF THAT IS GOING TO MAKE THE STORY VERY UNIQUE. THEN ON TOP OF IT, YES. HE DOES GET TO BE A HERO AND ALL OF THOSE THINGS THAT THESE CHARACTERS DO AS HEROES. THAT IS WHERE THE FUN IS. WHERE THE EXCITEMENT IS. BUT IT’S ALL PREDICATED ON FAMILY. >> THAT IS A GOOD POINT AND A GOOD DISTINCTION YOU MAKE THERE. WHY DO YOU THINK IT HAS TAKEN SO LONG FOR SUPER HEROES WHO HAPPEN TO BE BLACK TO GO MAIN STREAM? THERE WERE SOME BLACK AND OTHER DIVERSE CHARACTERS IN OLDER COMICS BUT THEY NEVER REALLY MOVED TO THE FOREFRONT.

 

>> I THINK IT’S THE SAME AS ANY OTHER INDUSTRY THAT IT HAS TAKEN A WHILE FOR PEOPLE TO ACKNOWLEDGE CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS. SOMETIMES IT’S JUST A MATTER OF BEING HIT IN THE FACE WITH FINANCES AND BUSINESS. AND YOU SEE WHERE THE GROWTH INDUSTRIES ARE. YOU SEE WHERE THE DEMOGRAPHICS ARE. WHO EXCITED, WHO ARE INTERESTED IN SPENDING THEIR MONEY. I DON’T THINK IT IS AN ACCIDENT THAT THE BIGGEST FILMS OVER THE PA YEAR OR YEAR REMOVED WHEN WE COULD STILL GO TO MOVIE THEATERS, “BLACK PANTHER” “WONDER WOMAN” “CAPTAIN MARVEL.” LOOK AT FILMS LIKE “CRAZY RICH ASIANS” WHERE PEOPLE HAD THIS PENT UP DEMAND TO SEE REPRESENTATION, TO SEE THEMSELVES IN THE PRODUCTS THEY’RE SUPPORTING WITH THEIR MONEY. SO I LIKE TO THINK THAT PART OF IT IS JUST PEOPLE SAYING, HEY, WE NEED TO DO A BETTER JOB OF REPRESENTING.

 

EVEN IF IT JUST COMES DOWN TO BUSINESS, SOMETIMES THAT’S WHAT IT TAKES FOR CHANGE TO BE MADE. IRRESPECTIVE OF WHY. I’M JUST VERY THANKFUL THAT IN THE NOW I GET TO BE PART OF THAT STORY TELLING. >> RIGHT. OKAY. PLEASURE TO TALK TO YOU, THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME. AND A REMINDER FOR OUR VIEWERS BOTH FUTURE STATE, THE NEXT BATMAN, AND THE OTHER HISTORY OF THE D.C.

 

UNIVERSE ARE AVAILABLE AT PARTICIPATING COMIC BOOK RETAILERS AND DIGITAL PLATFORMS. >> THANK YOU. >>> BEFORE WE GO TONIGHT OUR IMAGE OF THE DAY. TAKE A LOOK. THIS SURFER LEAPING INTO THE BALTIC SEA LIKE THIS NEWS CYCLE HAS US LEAPING HEAD FIRST INTO 2021. THIS IMAGE WAS CAPTURED FROM A PIER IN GERMANY. THE TEMPERATURE OUTSIDE AT THE TIME, A BALMY 35 DEGREES. THAT IS OUR SHOW FOR THE HOUR. BE SURE TO 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 AND GOOD NIGHT..

credit by: morgancenterlibrary.com and  ABC News on Youtube

 

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