Anti-Vaccine Protesters Rally In New York City NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 05: A group of protesters gather in Times Square in Manhattan to show their opposition to Covid-19 vaccines on December 05, 2021 in New York City. Despite the newly discovered omicron strain of Covid and health officials urging for more people to get vaccinated, many around the world are still resistant to vaccines, mandates and the lockdowns that many countries have imposed after outbreaks. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Spencer Platt / Staff
Spencer Platt/Staff/Getty Images

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NYC Rolls Out Vaccine Mandate For Kids & Private Employers

It’s Tuesday, December 7th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) NYC Rolls Out Vaccine Mandate For Kids & Private Employers

The Topline: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is rolling out a sweeping new vaccine mandate for New York City residents, including mandates for children. 

Quote Of The Day: “It’s Omicron, it’s cold weather which we know presents a real challenge with COVID in every form. It’s the holiday gatherings coming up…”

– New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D)

Alexi Rosenfeld / Contributor via Getty Images

The Mandate

Beginning December 27th, New York City will be the first in America to implement a vaccine mandate for all private sector employees. The sweeping measure, which also includes children ages 5 and older, comes from the office of outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio.  

The incoming mayor Eric Adams has expressed support for previous vaccine mandates, so it’s likely he will allow it to stand moving forward. In addition to mandating COVID vaccines for all private sector workers, the mayor is also requiring proof of vaccination for all indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment venues for children ages 5 to 11. 

Remember: President Joe Biden’s mandate applies to larger companies with over 100 employees, while de Blasio’s mandate will apply to all private businesses, regardless of size. 

Potential Pushback

Based on recent court rulings, there is reason to believe these types of mandates will not stand in the long term. If they are overturned, the ensuing legal battle will largely center on whether those who were fired for not getting vaccinated will be able to take legal action against their former employers. 

There’s also a bill in the Senate that would outlaw vaccine mandates nationwide. It has full Republican support, as well as the support of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, but is not expected to pass in the House. 

Around The World

Only a few countries require children to get the COVID vaccine, most notably Cuba and Costa Rica. China also rolled out a plan in October pushing for every child in the country to be vaccinated by New Years. Chinese officials are calling their children “little inoculated warriors” and say they’re the key to helping the country achieve herd immunity. 

The Chinese Communist Party says the vaccines aren’t mandatory, but there have been numerous reports of parents saying the government has threatened or coerced them into vaccinating their children. 

Mikhail Metzel/MIKHAIL METZEL/Contributor/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

2) Russia Threatens Ukraine 

The Topline: President Joe Biden meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin as U.S. intelligence shows Russia appears to be gearing up for military action against Ukraine.

Quote Of The Day: “In recent weeks, we have deep concerns about Russia’s plans for renewed aggression against Ukraine. That would move us in exactly the opposite direction. … We have a strong, ironclad commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The best way to avert a crisis is through diplomacy.”

– Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Russia

According to the latest reports from U.S. intelligence, Russia is in the process of planning a military offensive against Ukraine, involving 175,000 troops. This attack could be carried out as early as next year.

Russia has been moving troops to the border with Ukraine while simultaneously demanding the U.S. guarantee that Ukraine won’t join NATO, and that NATO will not engage in the region.

Biden Administration

President Joe Biden is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting with Vladimir Putin today.

Biden said he was putting together a set of initiatives which he claimed would make it difficult for a Russian military attack to be carried out, but he has yet to clarify what he meant.

According to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the U.S. has threatened to impose new sanctions. “If the new ‘sanctions from hell’ come, we will respond. We can’t fail to respond,” he said.

Why Ukraine?

Russian leaders have viewed Ukraine and Ukrainians as “one people” with Russians, and Ukraine represents a Western-backed state as part of an attempt to divide and conquer the post-Soviet bloc.

Ukraine, on the other hand, got rid of a president in 2014 who was friendly to Russia, which is just one part of a broader indication that those who live in Ukraine are far friendlier to the west than Putin and Russia across the border.

Many in Russia consider the so-called “loss” of Ukraine a trauma, but Ukrainians generally view this appeal to a supposed shared history as more of a facade to hide territorial ambitions.

Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic

3) Alec Baldwin Addresses ‘Rust’ Shooting For First Time

The Topline: While the investigation continues into how a live round came to be on the set of Alec Baldwin’s movie, Rust, the actor gave a controversial interview to the surprise of many legal experts.

Quote Of The Day:  “I feel that there is – I feel that … someone is responsible for what happened and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.”

– Alec Baldwin

The Interview

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin said he didn’t pull the trigger before the accidental discharge that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was walking him through a rehearsal, instructing him on how she wanted him to point the gun.

Baldwin told Stephanopoulos he had cocked the revolver in Hutchins’ direction, at her instruction in order to set up the scene, but insisted that he never pulled the trigger. He says the gun went off when he let the hammer down, meaning it was a misfire.

In a recent podcast appearance, actor George Clooney said he always personally checks any gun he’s holding to make sure it’s not loaded. Stephanopoulos asked Baldwin about Clooney’s comments, and Baldwin’s response was, “good for him,” before adding, “there were a lot of people who felt it necessary to contribute some comment to the situation, which really didn’t help the situation. At all.” 

Legal Experts React

Nearly every legal expert who has commented on the case has said it wasn’t a good idea for Baldwin to give the interview while the investigation is ongoing, but they specifically pointed to one comment as a risky move. 

For example, Rachel Fiset, managing partner of a firm in Los Angeles, told Fox News, “His admissions that someone is to be blamed – but not him – could also potentially be used against him later in either a civil or criminal case if it is determined that he had some responsibility for set safety as a major producer of the film.”

A former prosecutor told Newsweek that because Baldwin has admitted his memory of the incident is murky, “That’s a strong reason not to make any statements, much less go on national television.”

Lloyd Bishop / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Chris Cuomo

CNN fired host Chris Cuomo Saturday over his involvement with his brother’s defense against a series of sexual harassment allegations. The network cited “additional information” coming to light about the former host, while multiple reports say a “sexual misconduct” claim has been leveled against him by a former coworker. Cuomo’s representative has since responded, stating, “These apparently anonymous allegations are not true. …” Cuomo’s spokesperson has also suggested that CNN President Jeff Zucker knew about his involvement in his brother’s scandal. Sources said Monday that Cuomo is gearing up to sue the network.

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