tv CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta CNN July 17, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
you can sell your policy for an immediate cash payment. visit coventrydirect.com to find out if your policy qualifies. ♪ you're live in the cnn "newsroom," i'm jim acosta in washington. the dream of a care-free, covid-free summer is over. president biden is not mincing words when it comes to who he thinks is partly responsible. >> covid misinformation, what's your message to platforms like facebook? >> they're killing people. i mean, they're really -- look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. and they're killing people. >> in just a moment, dr. anthony fauci joins me live with his reaction. the reality is, vaccinate rates are plummeting in the u.s., down
13% from last week, not even half of the country is fully vaccinated right now, and that is quite a bit shy of the widespread immunity that is needed at the moment. new cases are rising in all 50 states. florida alone is where one in every five covid cases in america was identified this week. but unlike last summer, the uptick now is entirely preventable because it's now a plague mainly among the unvaccinated. in maryland, every single person who died of covid last month was unvaccinated. in new york city, 98.9% of covid deaths from january to june were people who were not fully vaccinated. in l.a. county this week, every single patient hospitalized for covid is unvaccinated. on that note, let's bring in dr. anthony fauci the chief medical adviser to president biden and the director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases. dr. fauci, thanks again so much for joining us. first of all, what is your reaction to the president saying social media platforms like facebook are, quote, killing
people with misinformation? do you agree with that? and what should be done about it? >> well, certainly disinformation and misinformation is really, really a problem. when we go out into the community and ask people why they don't want to get vaccinated, very often they come back with things that are really just not true. so, that's one of the things that the surgeon general, dr. vif ek murphy stressed the importance of countering misinformation with correct information. and that's really what we're trying to do, jim, to get out there with trusted messengers, to get people to understand the facts about vaccine. the numbers that you mentioned, jim, are striking. you can't run away from those. 99.5% of the deaths that occur from covid-19 are among unvaccinated individuals. that's a striking statistic.
>> and yet people don't believe that, though. but dr. fauci -- >> well, it's the truth. >> don't believe it. >> well, unfortunately that's when you get into the misinformation, jim. people don't believe something that is absolute statistical facts that are collected not only by the cdc but by every organization that looks at this. >> and it's not just social media, though. the most-watched television show on fox news right now is outright hostile to the vaccine. and in this environment, do you think we could have defeated the measles or eradicated polio if you had fox news night after night warning people act these vaccine issues that are just bunk? >> well, that is a very good point, jim. if you look at the extraordinary, historic success in eradicating smallpox and eliminating polio from most of the world, and we're on the
brink of eeradicating polio, if we had the pushback for vaccines the way we're seeing on certain media, i don't think it would have been possible at all to not only eradicate smallpox. we probably would still have smallpox and we probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that's being spread now. if we had that back decades ago, i would be certain that we would still have polio in this country. >> and the delta variant is a big factor in this surge, too. let me ask you something the israeli prime minister said in recent days. he says they're finding that the vaccines are significantly less effective against the delta variant. going as far as to say vaccines are not enough to beat back the virus. does that track with the data that you're seeing? what do you think about that? >> you know, jim, we have do be careful to remember when these vaccines were shown to be highly
effective, they were highly effective in preventing symptomatic, clinically apparent disease. not necessarily against preventing infection, which we call sterilizing immunity. they were quite effective in doing that, but not nearly as much as the 93, 94, 95% efficacy in preventing symptomatic disease. so, when you start seeing what's called breakthrough infections, if you look carefully at them, the overwhelming majority of those are people who either have no symptoms or only very mild symptoms. so, the vaccines are still very, very effective in preventing severe disease because if you look at the risk of hospitalization and deaths, we're still well up into the mid to low 90s in efficacy against severe disease, which is very important. people need to appreciate the difference there. >> right. people were making the mistake
in saying because there are break throughout cases there must be something wrong with the vaccines. the point is to prevent people from getting seriously ill and dying. obviously there are going to be infections every now and then. one area of concern for vaccine skeptics has been full approval for a covid vaccine from the fda. you hear that from talking to people and i'm sure you heard that from time to time talking to neighbors or people at the store, that sort of thing. when can we expect full approval for the pfizer vaccine, for example? >> well, jim, again, i don't want to get ahead of the fda, but likely from what we're hearing it's going to be in a matter of a month or so. i would hope by the time we get to the end of august that we have full approval. but you know, even between now and then, people should realize that the data of the efficacy and real world effectiveness of these vaccines is really extraordinary. not only in the united states but in multiple countries throughout the world. so, i would be astounded if we
did not get full approval within that time frame. >> and a time line for vaccines for children under 12, what do you think about that? >> well, we're doing the studies now, jim, of what is called age de-escalation. we're looking at 12 to 9 years old and 9 to 6, 6 to 2 and then 6 months to 2 years. thus far, things look good, but the final decision is going to be up to the fda. and i would imagine that likely will not happen until we get well into the winter towards the end of this year. >> and the white house says florida is home to one out of every five new cases in the u.s. that is remarkable. it is unlikely, though, that the republican governor there, ron desantis, will institute masks and social distancing again. he's very much going in the other direction, as you know. in addition to that, i'm sure you're aware of this, dr. fauci, is pac tied to governor desantis is currently selling merchandise
that says don't fauci my florida. i hate to ruin a perfectly fine saturday afternoon for you, dr. fauci, what do you make of these beer coo sis and that sort of thing that say don't fauci my florida? >> you know, jim, it almost doesn't deserve a comment. it's just -- you know, taking an individual who stands for public health, for truth, for doing the right things, to protect the safety and the health of the public which i have done now for four decades and to use my name in a derogatory way to prevent people from doing things, that's for the benefit of their own health, go figure that one out, jim. i have no idea what that's all about. that doesn't make any sense at all. >> yeah. whoever planned that maybe had too many beers. but let me move on to the next question here. germany and france are having some success, as you know, getting people vaccinated in recent days. they're granting privileges to
people who get the shot. france just said you have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to get into restaurants. that has led to a record number of people signing up for the vaccine over there. is it worth trying something along those lines in the u.s.? create kind of an easy pass or fast lane approach for the vaccinated at restaurants and airports and that sort of thing? can that type of approach work in the u.s.? can we get that kind of a system in place to move some of these people along that are just hesitant to go get vaccinated? >> you know, jim, i'm not going to pick out any specific incentive and endorse it or not except to say that in general we really want to try everything within reason. we've got to get people vaccinated. these are life-saving interventions. and if we could think of some creative ways to incentivize people to get vaccinated, all the better. i'm all for it. >> all right.
let's talk about covid origins. you've been talking about this for some time, fielding questions on it for a while. cnn has learned that some senior biden officials think that the lab leak theory, which has been talked about for a while now, is as least as credible as the natural origins explanation. has your thinking on this changed at all? does that -- >> no. >> align with your thinking on this? >> i keep an open mind and say that we should consider all possibilities until we definitively prove one, but i, together with many highly-qualified vaccinologists and virologists including 21 evolutionary biologists from all over the world, indicate that although we keep an open mind that it is possible it could be, as they say, a lab leak, that
the most likely explanation is a natural evolution from an animal reservoir to a human. once you say that, which i believe is the more likely, you've got to make sure you emphasize that you still keep an open mind for all possibilities, including a lab leak. >> and so you think natural origin of the virus is the more likely, you still believe it's the more likely scenario. >> i do, yeah. right. i'm not alone in that. a recent paper was put out by 21 very well internationally-respected virologist and evolutionary biologists who said the same thing as i'm saying. and i rely on people like that who have great experience in this. that's what they do every single day. who again are open minded and saying it is conceivable that you may have had a lab leak. so you've got to keep an open mind to all possibilities, but they feel that the more likely
explanation is a natural evolution from an animal host to a human. >> and has there been any evidence to merge that would point us in the direction of a lab leak? or does it remain hypothetical-type of scenario here? >> you know, jim, there's been a lot of attention paid to it. a lot of tweeting, a lot of editorializing. i haven't seen any concrete evidence that would make you feel that anything over the last couple of months that's new makes you think it's more likely to be that. again, having said that, we still want to keep an open mind that that is a possibility. but i have not seen anything new in the form of compelling evidence that would make me feel more strongly in that direction. >> and as we know, dr. fauci, there's very little you won't do to get the word out on this vaccine. you even sat down with pop star olivia rodrigo who i did know about before all this emerged. i'm not one of those folks on twitter who did not know about
olivia rodrigo. i want to get that out for the record, sir. but i know you did meet with her to get the message out to young people. let's watch. >> happy man crush monday to this hero. thank you, dr. fauci, for all your hard work. we appreciate your intelligence, honest, bravery, compassion. we love you. well, that's very nice to say that. >> ah. >> do you know what -- >> no idea. >> man crush monday is just like on mondays people post a picture of their boyfriends and then be like, oh, man crush monday. this is why i love you. it's a big compliment. >> whatever it takes. man crush monday makes you get vaccinated, go for it. >> is stuff like this going to work? are we finally going to get some of these teenagers off of their phones and over to a pharmacy to get this shot? i know that's been a big issue. perhaps olivia will help us in this department. >> i hope so. >> what do you think? why are teenagers so hesitant?
do you have a sense of it? >> you know, young people sometimes very often maybe feel that they're invulnerable. they need a little -- i would say a gentle push, not forcing or threatening, but to get them to understand why it's important for their own safety because as we're getting more and more infections with the delta variant, jim, we're seeing more and more young people who are getting seriously ill. still it's statistically much more likely if you're elderly or if you have an underlying condition, but most recently we've seen young people with severe illness getting hospitalized. so it's not only for your own safety, but it's also for the safety of your family because even if you're a young person, you wouldn't want to get infected and even if you get no symptoms at all, inadvertently and innocently pass it on to a
family member or to a friend or to someone who you don't even know and that person might wind up having a deleterious consequence of severe disease. so to get somebody like olivia rodrigo, who by the way has 25 million followers. i was just thrown aback when i heard that. so my interacting with olivia was really, think, besides being enjoyable because she's a charming young woman who really is trying to contribute to society by getting people vaccinated, i think something like that, employing people with the credibility and the reach of an olivia rodrigo is worth doing all the way. >> all right. very good. well, dr. anthony fauci, thank you so much for joining us again. we appreciate it. hope you come back soon. thanks as always. >> thank you, jim. good to be with you. coming up, new york governor andrew cuomo expected to face questions from his state attorney general's office about
the sexual harassment charges against him. what he's likely to be asked next. you're live in the "cnn newsroom." spots? it's not your dishwasher's fault. simply add finish jetdry 3in1 to rinse, dry and shine your dishes. solve 3 problems at once with finish jetdry 3in1. air wick our essential mist transforms fragrance infused with natural essential oils into a mist. to awaken your home with an experience you can see, smell, and feel.
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who are the heroes in your family? ♪ new york governor andrew quo me facing questions about allegations of sexual harassment against him. lawyers hired by the new york attorney general are expected to sit down with the governor today, according to a source familiar with the investigation. the governor has denied ever touching anyone inappropriately and cnn's polo sandoval joins me now from new york. polo what do we know about this interview? and what does it signal for this on going investigation? >> reporter: jim, this is governor cuomo's chance to share his account with two lawyers in albany who are investigating accusations of sexual harassment against him. we just checked in at the capitol city right now and no significant update. but in the meantime, this interview is a big sign that the probe could be almost over after almost five months. remember, new york, tish james was the one who opened this inquiry after two former cuomo
staffers came forward accusing the governor of inappropriate behavior and since then more women have made claims against him. cuomo denied these allegations. he did apologize to anyone who he says may have misinterpreted his remarks as unwanted flirtation. since then cnn also reported that several of these women spoke to investigators already, sometimes even more than once and there's also some reporting that the lawyers have met with members of cuomo's senior staff, so ultimately, jim, the governor seems to be perhaps one of the last people that they actually needed to speak with before compiling a report. the attorney general's office, by the way, says that so far there's no timeline in terms of when we can expect this rosepor to be released. certainly hopeful before the end of the summer. an adviser said we said repeatliedly that the governor want to comment until it's over.
but the continued leaks are more evidence of the transparent political motivation of the attorney general's review. ultimately all eyes on albany to see what's going to come out as this key interview happens today. >> polo sandoval, thanks so much. here now to discuss what's next for the new york governor, cnn political commentator, joe lockhart, former clinton white house press secretary and cnn legal analyst jennifer rogers, a former federal prosecutor. jennifer, let me start with you first. this investigation has been going on for months. this interview of the governor himself could signal that investigators are wrapping things up, i suppose. do you see any potential for criminal liability in this case? do we have any indication as to where this is headed? >> it doesn't look like it's headed for criminal liability, jim, at least as far as the accusations that we've heard about so far. although one of the things the investigators are going to pushing on today is things we haven't heard about but they may
have learned about during the course of their investigation. so that's one of the things i'm really watching for when the report comes out is we know about some of the women that -- whose stories have been released publicly. are there other women who came guard in the last few months that investigators have interviewed and about whom they'll ask the governor today. >> and joe, what do you think? do you think cuomo is going to be defiant at all costs as he has been sort of through all of this even if the results of this investigation are pretty damaging? >> well, yeah. i think he's pursuing a political strategy here that says, look at what i've done as governor and you the voters will decide. now, there's some evidence out there that voters kind of look the other way, look at donald trump. 25 women made credible allegations against him over a period of ten or 15 years. and he got elected. i do think, though, the democratic primary voters are different than republican
voters. i expect after five months if this is as thorough as what's been speculated, it's going to be very difficult for governor cuomo politically to move forward. >> and jennifer, you used to work with june kim, one of the two lawyers hired to lead the investigation for the attorney general's office. what do you think he is looking for in cuomo's responses here? >> well, if june kim is leading the questioning today, he certainly will be very prepared. he will be very thorough. what he is looking to do is to nail down the governor on his positions. we had public statements from the governor, but they shifted a little bit over time. so what june kim is going to do is to just get those down for the record. what exactly happened in his interactions with all of these women? what were the policies of his office? what happened with the complaint of charlotte bennett? why wasn't it treated properly according to the rules? he's going to get the answers to those questions. that's then what investigators will use to determine in their
report whether the governor was credible, whether the women who accused him are credible and what should happen from here. >> joe, at the height of this scandal, new york democrats very loudly called on the governor to step down. he did not, obviously. assuming he continues to hang on, can he still be effective? >> well, you know, albany snot necessarily the most effective place any way. the governor has a number of enemies, high on those list are democrats based on the way he has governored. that's often the case in albany. but i think democrats are split. there are many that called for his resignation immediately. there are others who say he deserves due process. that's what won the day. and i think we're just going to have to wait to see this report. and we'll have a very -- very big clue of whether he can move forward effectively. but i don't have any doubt, no
matter what it says, that he's going to put it to the voters. he's going to keep running. >> it sure seems that way. all right. jennifer rogers, joe lockhaert, nice speaking with both of you. appreciate that. coming up, president biden says, quote, we're facing the most significant test of our democracy since the civil war. that's not hyperbole, since the civil war. tough talk. but what are the president and other democrats prepared to do to defend democracy in this country? you're live in the cnn "newsroom." unlimited today and get 2 linf and 2 free smartphones. plus you'll now get netflix on us. all this for up to 50% off vs. verizon. it's all included. 2 lines of unlimited for only $70 bucks. and this rate is fixed. you'll pay exactly $70 bucks total. this month and every month. only at t-mobile.
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this week president biden took on the big lie and the insurrection. the president warned the nation is still in danger after the events of january 6th. >> the assault on free and fair elections is just such a threat, literally. i've said it before. we're facing the most significant test of our democracy since the civil war. it's not hyperbole, since the civil war. confederates back then never breached the capitol. as insurrections did on january the 6th. i'm not saying this to alarm you. i'm saying this because you should be alarmed. >> you should be alarmed the president said. yet the president did not offer support for removing the legislative block aid in congress, the filibuster, that's standing in the way of laws that would safeguard our elections. the president appears to be holding out hope he can work
with republican leaders, mitch mcconnell and kevin mccarthy. maybe that could happen on infrastructure. but a new bridge is not going to protect the capitol. it's more like the gop has a bridge to sell you. mccarthy just met with the insurrectionists and chief donald trump. apparently they spoke about the upcoming midterms or as some of trump's allies may have on their calendar, the next insurrection. trump is still lying about the last election. >> the media references the election hoax. they say the fraud is unproven. and while there is no evidence -- no evidence? no evidence? there's so much evidence. >> and he's lying about his crowd on january 6th. >> you had over 1 million people there, which the press doesn't like to report at all because it shows too much -- too much activity, too much spirit and faith and love. there was such love at that
rally. the crowd was unbelievable. and i mentioned the word love. the love -- the love in the air i've never seen anything like it. >> given trump's love for lies like that, delivering a speech about saving democracy without passing tough laws to protect elections is not going to be enough. to paraphrase the movie "the untouchables" it's like bringing a knife to an insurrection. texas state house democrats took action leaving austin for washington to avoid voting for a new gop election law. one of those democrats even went on fox to call out the big lie. >> so what i'm asking you to do is to tell your voters right now that donald trump -- >> hey, at least you've resolved the lie that is -- at least you resolved the lie -- >> did you catch what i just asked? >> it's not your show, sir. >> did you -- did donald trump lose the election in 2020? >> real quick -- >> can you answer the question,
did donald trump lose the election in 2020? >> i don't feel any obligation. >> is this an uncomfortable question for you? >> perhaps the prop began douse on fox could read the new trump books out this week. the chairman of joints of chief general mark milli was concerned he would attempt a coup, like adolph hitler. they may try to stage a coup, but they're not going to f'ing succeed, mills will ey told his aides according to the book. milley will not publicly address the issues raised in the book. trump did respond in a statement saying if i was going to do a coup, one of the last people i would want to do it with is general mark milley. as many observed how very oj simpson. i was going to do a coup. sounds like simpson's book, if i did it. can somebody let us know if trump is spotted in a white ford
bronco this weekend? on the run with rudy giuliani? perhaps they'll be heading for the four seasons landscaping company. i can just hear rudy now, if the books don't fit, you must acquit. but i digress. one of the other books reports that trump once told his former chief of staff, john kelly, hitler, quote, did a lot of good things. i'm sorry. hold on. when we have entered the realm of coups and hitler, we have to pause for a moment. this is not one of those situations where trump wants to bomb hurricanes or buy greenland. we're talking about coups and hitler. why is kevin mccarthy meeting with trump when we are talking about coups and hitler? did he not hear president biden's warning about american
democracy? >> we're facing the most significant test of our democracy since the civil war. it's not hyperbole, since the civil war. >> which takes me back to the untouchables. there's a scene in that movie when sean connery plays chicago police officer jim malone poses a key question to kevin costner. what are you prepared to do? ness pursuing the mobster al capone holding his mentor in his arms malone is dying after he is gunned down by one of al capone's thugs. malone's last words are -- what are you prepared to do? like al capone before him, trump doesn't seem too concerned about his past catching up with him. in exile no more, this generation's teflon don appears to be plotting his comeback. and some gop leaders are making that happen.
breathing life into the smoldering ruins of his presidency. last sunday trump said this -- >> i didn't become different. i got impeached twice. i didn't change. i became worse. i became worse. >> i for one believe him. he has become worse. if that's possible. the current president says american democracy is still being threatened. yes, it is being threatened. by the former guy. as jim malone would ask, what are you prepared to do? what is law enforcement prepared to do about trump's actions surrounding january 6th? what are democrats prepared to do to protect our elections? what are you, the voter, prepared to do to hold accountable those politicians who choose trump over american democracy? what are you prepared to do?
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believe this farce. there's a whole right wing media ecosystem dedicated to feeding people that lie, with fox news leading the way. which is why it felt like a glitch in the matrix this week when a texas state democrat called out fox news on fox. >> you have made a lot of money personally and you've enriched a lot of corporations with advertising by getting on here and spewing lies and conspiracy theories to folks who trust you. so what i'm asking you to do is to tell your voters right now that donald trump lost the election of 2020. >> at least you resolved the lie that is -- >> did you catch what i just asked? did you hear what i asked? >> sir, at least you resolve the idea that democrats are not for voter id. >> real quick -- >> can you answer the question, did donald trump lose the election. >> i think i'm asks the questions. i don't feel any obligation to answer any from you. >> that was uncomfortable. and that's texas state democrat representative james talarico joins me now.
representative talarico, now that you and fox viewers have had a few days to digest this moment, do you think it moved the needle at all and what kind of feedback have you gotn? did you hear from pete, for example? >> i haven't. i would be happy to go back on his show and continue this discussion about donald trump's big lie that the election was stolen because that is at the heart of matter. the only reason you andry sitting here and the only reason i'm in washington, d.c. is because of one man's ego, one man's inability to accept factual reality. if it wasn't for that big lie, i would be back home in my beautiful home state of texas working on early childhood legislation, not trying to defend my constituent's sake ret right to vote. >> when you talk to your constituents who say trump won, do you think that they really believe that? is this theeter? is this a spectacle? is this like an own the libs kind of thing? what is your sense down in texas? >> a lot of my constituents watch fox news. a lot of my family members watch fox news. and they have been spoon fed a
series of lies and conspiracy theories primarily for profit. pete and his corporate advertisers benefit when these lies are distributed through the network. and so these voters believe the election was stolen and think these voter suppression methods being pushed in texas are necessary. >> let's talk about you and your colleagues blocking the latest attempt to pass an election law in texas. you face arrest, i suppose. that's why you left texas. we saw governor greg abbott describe it as very untexan thing to do. what was your response when you heard that? >> so today is the one-year anniversary of the death of john lewis. an american hero. he didn't spill blood on the edmund pettus bridge in selma, alabama just to watch from heaven as we let our democracy unravel. we owe it to him and every single brave american who spilled blood for this country to do everything, and i mean everything, to protect the sacred right to vote. congress must pass the john
lewis voting rights act and must do it now. >> but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. as you know the filibuster stands in the way in the senate. you're up on capitol hill with your fellow texas democrats trying to meet with lawmakers like joe manchin and so on to say, you know, you understand if we don't have this filibuster in the way, we can pass some of this legislation. did you make any progress? did you make any headway? how frustrated are you? >> the meeting with senator manchin was productive. i felt optimistic after that conversation. he supports voting rights. now, how we get it done on capitol hill, i'm agnostic to the methods. i'm not a senator. i'm not a congressperson. all i know is that my constituents in the state of texas are having their right to vote, their constitutional rights, their god-given rights undermined as we speak. we are at a time in texas, we're living on borrowed time. and all we're here to do is ask our members of congress to step up and pass this necessary legislation to protect voting
rights in texas, georgia and across the country. >> my understanding is that some of your colleagues tested positive for covid here in washington. you did not. >> negative. all of our -- >> everybody here on hand for this interview. >> i just tested before i walked in here. >> what's happening there? is everybody staying safe, keeping safe? do we know how this happened? >> absolutely. all of our members in our delegation are fully vaccinated. the three members who tested positive are feeling well, not showing symptoms. you had dr. fauci on earlier, it's really important that folks get vaccinated because we know that covid-19 vaccine prevents serious illness, even from these new strains. but, we knew this quorum break would bring risk. we have members of our delegation left behind sick loved ones. >> i'm at risk of losing my seat in the state legislature and brought health risk because there's an active pandemic. many of the members are over the
age of 65. this is so much bigger than one politician. it's so much bigger than you or i. this is about the american experiment and whether it will survive for future generations. >> how long are you willing to stay in washington? >> i packed a giant suitcase to stay here until august 7th, the last day of the special session in texas to kill this voter suppression bill. coincidentally it's also the day before the august recess in congress. so we've got a few weeks here. and i know that congressman lewis is watching us and seeing whether or not we'll step up at this historic moment and save american democracy. >> james talarico, thank you for joining us. we appreciate your time. we'll let our friends over at fox know that you're still available at any moment if you want to come back. >> thank you, jim. we'll be right back. thanks so much. we'll be right back.
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>> i would love to think that it could be a turning point where people are -- about how the system works and the reason behind such a horrible act. [ speaking foreign language ] >> this cannot be. there is not enough change in my vision to contribute to positive development of this nation. it reinforces the reasons of what i'm doing to do everything i can to have the most impact towards the people who need it most. #. >> and to learn more about that last segment, go to
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