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tv   CNN Newsroom Live  CNN  July 24, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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all the same nutritious deliciousness as the original slice but only a little bit smaller. just like timmy here. my name's lucas. ♪ hello and welcome to our viewers here in the united states and all around the world. i'm michael holmes. appreciate your company. coming up here on "cnn newsroom," the olympic games are on, but fans are out. we'll have a live report from tokyo and on the first gold medal that was won. plus as florida leads the u.s. in coronavirus infections, their governor remains steadfast
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in his response. i'll speak with a miami cardiologist who says he's playing politics with floridians' lives. and hungary asking its citizens to weigh in on a controversial new law. we're live in budapest where people fear that law might lead to homophobic attacks. well, the 2020 tokyo olympics are finally under way, albeit a year late of course. japanese tennis champ naomi osaka lit the olympic cauldron inside the shiny jewel of the stadium, the cavernous space nearly empty of spectators. only some of the athletes were present. but even as celebratory fireworks lit up the tokyo skyline, the virus that stopped the games a year ago remains as dangerous as ever. officials have now documented 127 cases connected to the
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games, including 17 in the past day. a dutch rower and a portuguese surfer the latest athletes forced out by a positive test. cnn's blake essig is live in oyama city, japan. patrick snell of cnn world sport is with me here in atlanta. let's start with you, blake. you're at one of the few places japanese people can actually go and watch anything. tell us what they're telling you. >> reporter: you know, michael, despite how unpopular these games remain, there is a curiosity. i get the sense that a lot of people are really mixed about supporting the olympics given the obvious health and safety concerns. but at the same time, there's an excitement that these games are finally under way. and there's also clearly a desire from some to experience the olympic atmosphere any way they can. yesterday that meant battling crowds to take pictures outside of the national stadium ahead of the opening ceremony. and for the people behind me here today, it means sitting in
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an auditorium to watch the games and experience that olympic spirit as a community. now, this is one of the only live public viewing sites in the country. 2,000 people applied, but given social distancing requirements, only 500 received tickets to be here. with covid-19 cases surging in tokyo and rising nationwide, public viewings are incredibly rare. it's for that reason and the ban on spectators at 97% of events that many people here say that even though japan is hosting these games, it's hard to feel that connection. but with the flame lit and competition now under way, people here tell me that that perception is starting to change. take a listen. >> translator: i've really started to feel like the olympics is taking place in my country because i saw the opening ceremony yesterday on tv, and i was lucky enough to come to a live viewing site. >> translator: i think naomi osaka was the best choice to be the last torchbearer because she's one of the world's top
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athletes. she's also mixed race and has faced a lot of challenges. it's amazing she can represent japan like this. it sends out a great message from here to the world. >> now, there was a big moment last night during the opening ceremony when naomi osaka, a mixed race person, lit the olympic cauldron. now, it's a moment that's incredibly significant in a country that's considered one of the most racially homogeneous in the world. but japan is slowly shifting views on identity, and what we saw last night, michael, shows how this society is adapting to changing times. >> all right. blake essig there in tokyo -- in japan. appreciate it very much. good to see you. all right. i want to bring in patrick snell here on set with me. delighted to say. let's talk a little bit about the sports side of things. the first two gold medals to the same country. tell me more. >> yes. it's a great day so far for china. it's the first proper official
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day of competition. earlier this day, yang qian winning gold in the women's ten meter air rifle. a tally of 251.8 points is actually an olympic record for a final too. a terrific achievement for a competitor who at just 21 years of age is really excelling now in her field. russia taking silver and the bronze going to switzerland. and how about this? within the last few minutes, we can tell you china now with a second gold, michael, on this day in the tokyo games, winning the women's weightlifting 49 kilogram final with an olympic record as well. a total of 210 kilograms. she holds the world record she actually set back in april. this day saturday, she set the olympic record in the snatch round. that was at 94 kilos. the clean and jerk, she set another olympic record with 116
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kilograms. a really special day so far for china. what an impact. what else have we got on tap for saturday? a quick glance, we can tell you we've got the 3 x 3 basketball. that's going to be in the men's and the women's and they're in the pool as well for a whole batch of swimming heats. we'll be keeping a close eye on all that. >> it's a lot. you make me excited. i mean a busy saturday already in progress. what's been catching your attention? >> yeah, i'm looking forward to a certain football match in particular, or should i say soccer to be fair? i don't know. we've got the world football champions, the usa, in action. america's women's football team taking on new zealand. they're looking to rebound, the americans, after that loss to sweden, 3-0 victory for the swedes on that occasion. plenty for the likes of megan rapinoe to try and turn that around. it shouldn't be too much. a lot of people consider sweden beating the u.s. as a shock, michael.
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i don't subscribe to that. sweden, former world champions. i do expect the americans, though, to win comfortably today against new zealand when they kick off in just around four hours or so from right now. >> and we're going to leave it there, but we are going to see you in the hours ahead. patrick snell, thanks very much. exciting day. you've got me all excited. now i'm going to have to watch it after the show. >> you are. you're not sleeping tonight. >> no sleeping tonight. good to see you, patrick. patrick snell there. now switching to coronavirus, and covid cases ticking up in the u.s. but the daily pace of americans reaching full vaccination keeps on falling. now, according to cdc data, it is now the lowest it has been since late january when the u.s. had only been vaccinating about six weeks or so. driven, of course, by the delta variant, new infections are soaring, especially, of course, among the unvaccinated.
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they make up the majority, the vast majority of both hospitalizations and deaths nationwide. and because of the low vaccination rates, many experts warn the u.s. is facing another surge. they say even those who are vaccinated need to be concerned. the u.s. state of florida has the unhappy distinction of topping the u.s. with the most new cases of the virus. the sunshine state's seven-day average more than 10,000 cases per day according to johns hopkins university data. cnn's leyla santiago is in miami with more. >> reporter: i'm leyla santiago in miami, florida. florida still leading the nation in the number of covid-19 cases. roughly 48% of residents here are fully vaccinated. many of them coming right here to this cvs saying they've heard the news. they're concerned about the delta variant, so they thought now is the time to come and sit right here to get vaccinated.
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the cdc saying that 20 states have fully vaccinated their residents. again, florida not reaching that yet. the governor saying he does not want any sort of lockdown in the future or any sort of mask mandate. but we have spoken to a lot of doctors and nurses in this area, very concerned about the contagious delta variant and what may be to come for the hospital system here. >> dr. bernard ashby is a cardiologist in miami. he is also florida's state lead for the committee to protect health care. thanks so much for making the time, doctor. i know it's been pretty crazy. florida's covid hospitalizations have tripled since the beginning of july. nearly 20% of the country's new covid infections are in that state. what do you put it down to mainly? >> well, first of all, pleasure to be here, and i appreciate having this platform to express myself on behalf of medical
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professionals and floridians and americans at large. so in terms of the reasons why the rates have jumped, i mean, one, you have to definitely look at the fact that we're dealing with the delta variant, which has a viral load which is 1,000 times higher than the initial variant that we had. and so that's a critical reason why it's so much more efficient at spreading to the entire population. in addition to that, we have basically no mitigation measures. we're wide open, and people are acting as if the virus doesn't exist even though our vaccination rates are not at the point where we would expect a level of protection. i hesitate to use herd immunity given the fact that this is a coronavirus, and there's a lot of other factors there. so that's one. and the last is really the fact that this entire pandemic has been politicized and, you know,
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we're still dealing with individuals who are not taking this pandemic seriously. as a result, we're seeing that reflect in the large amount of folks getting infected, being hospitalized, and eventually we'll see an uptick in our death rates. >> and to that point, there are a few states with governors who have pushed back more on covid precautions than florida's ron desantis. even now he's vowing not to issue any covid mandates or anything like that. do you see his actions -- they're clearly political during this pandemic, but how much responsibility does he bear for these case increases? >> well, i feel he's the biggest reason. i mean as the leader of this state, his job is to protect the citizens. but rather than do that, he's really taken a very political stance, basically following the footsteps of donald trump, acting as though he's his mini me. and from masks to, you know,
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mitigation measures, he has been patently against that. and, you know, furthermore, he just hasn't really had any plan. i mean his plan is for people to get vaccinated, and that's relatively recent, meaning that he really didn't push for vaccinations at the onset of the vaccine distribution. in fact, when he got his vaccination, he did it really undercover so to speak. it wasn't until some media outlets reached out to him and asked him if he was vaccinated that he did confirm that. but he did nothing really to promote the vaccines for individuals who were hesitant at the beginning of the pandemic. >> when you look at the numbers, 97% of covid hospitalizations, 99.5% of deaths are among the unvaccinated. i think to a lot of people, it's just confounding that people would not get vaccinated when they look at those raw numbers. as a medical professional, how frustrating is a statistic like
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that when half the country is still unvaccinated. >> i mean it's incredibly frustrating, i mean to say the least. i mean vaccines are our primary tool or weapon against this pandemic or this particular virus, sars-cov-2. the fact that folks are not taking the vaccine for any number of reasons is incredibly frustrating. but, again, it gets back to the p politicization of this pandemic. if you're looking at tv, certain outlets, if you're on social media, they kind of make the vaccines seem as though it's something that will hurt you instead of helping you. and folks are really making decisions based on a lot of misinformation, but i would take it a step further and call it disinformation. >> we're out of time for the moment. dr. bernard ashby, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> much more to come here on "cnn newsroom," including a look at the efforts in many asian nations to turn back a new tide
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of coronavirus infections. also hungary's annual pride parade just hours away. and it's happening against the backdrop of a controversial law and an upcoming referendum over lgbtq issues. we'll explain. plus. unlike ordinary memory supplements, neuriva plus fuels six key indicators of brain performance. more brain performance? yes, please! neuriva. think bigger. do you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep?
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welcome back. much of asia struggling with case numbers driven by that delta variant. have a look at this map. there's an awful lot of orange and red there. indonesia currently the center of southeast asia's outbreak. our anna coren with more on that and how other nations in the region are handling the latest covid. >> reporter: there are fewer customers these days as new cases of coronavirus in thailand reach record highs. but for those lucky enough to pick up a fare, it's no longer a routine ride. >> translator: we have passengers getting on and off our cars every day, and we don't know if they're at risk or not. we need to protect ourselves,
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and the passengers also need to protect themselves. both sides are just scared. >> reporter: those fears keeping more people at home. volunteers bring food to those isolated along bangkok's canals. the government says there is a shortage of vaccines along with the surge of infections. those supplies just one of the obstacles preventing people from getting the shots. >> translator: i can't go. i only stay like this because if i go for a vaccination, i'd have to take a boat, walk, and commute by car. i have no money to spend for that. >> reporter: experts say vaccines are a critical weapon in fighting this outbreak that has spread across asia. some health care workers in india hiking into the remote country side to dole out the doses. >> translator: they moved door to door in my village, collected swabs for testing, and gave vaccines to the villagers. our village is a tribal village and no one visits here. >> reporter: vietnam is also
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trying to accelerate its vaccination program. as cases sharply rise there too. the outbreak in ho chi minh city so bad that soldiers in hazmat suits hose down the streets with disinfectant. but even as countries across southeast asia tighten their covid-19 restrictions, the virus still seems to be a step ahead. in one of the hardest-hit nations, indonesia, the death toll crossed 1,500 a day for the first time during the pandemic. singapore says even the vaccinated are impacted. government data over the past four weeks showed that vaccinated people made up three-quarters of new infections, though they did not become seriously ill. the empty streets of sydney, australia. a sign a lockdown is in effect. but with cases still rising, some officials say it's not enough. >> we need a ring of steel around sydney so that this virus is not spreading into other
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parts of our nation. >> reporter: but spreading is what this virus does very efficiently. so much so, the state of new south wales asked the federal government for more vaccines, a request that was denied. prime minister scott morrison saying it would disrupt the vaccination program for the rest of the country. anna coren, cnn, hong kong. we'll move on to hundreds of protesters blocking slovakia's parliament on friday as deputies debated a new bill on covid vaccinations. the protesters chanting the word "gestapo" and held a banner that said "stop corona fascism." police later deploying tear gas. the proposed bill would give vaccinated people easier access to public events and spaces. now, hungary is planning to hold a referendum on a newly adopted law that would keep
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schools from discussing homosexuality and transgender issues with children. the announcement of the coming vote came just before the country's annual pride parade, which kicks off in just a few hours. lgbtq activists are expected to speak out against the law as they did a few weeks ago when it took effect. let's bring in cnn's melissa bell joining me now live from budapest. hungary is now actually being faced with infringement proceedings by brussels over this. what is the feeling on the ground? >> reporter: well, it is a substantial propaganda campaign that is under way here across the country, michael. it is considered to be part of viktor orban's strategy ahead of what is expected to be a fairly tight poll next spring. it is straight out of his playbook. if you look back over the last few years, the hatred turned to migrants, to homeless, to the transgender. now he's taking on a bigger group, and this is a campaign
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that is having profound repercussions for families just trying to do their best to raise their kids. it's a picture of family life built on love and surrounded by love. monica and ray ca say they've never faced anything but acceptance raising their two daughters in southern hungary. now they fear they may have to leave the country altogether. >> they act like we are hazard for children so that we are dangerous for children. i think if they say it enough times, some people will start to believe that. >> reporter: on june 14th, they joined thousands outside the hungarian parliament to protest the controversial new bill that would all but ensure that many of the country's youth would never see pictures of families like theirs. the culmination of a gradual campaign of demonization. >> there have always been people that were homophobic and transphobic but with this law they feel encouraged, entitled to attack us.
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>> reporter: christian and laurent say they were victims of homophobic attacks when they were younger. now they fear there may be worse to come. >> i'm like, what's next? so maybe next week they will just put me in a jail because i'm gay, or maybe in one year, they will just kill us on the street. >> the hungarian bill is a shame. >> reporter: brussels announced proceedings against viktor orban's government over the new law. this week he responded by announcing a referendum. >> translator: hungarian law does not allow sexual propaganda in kindergartens, schools, tv shows, and advertisements. >> reporter: what hungarian law does allow apparently is government-funded propaganda and on a massive scale. all over the country right now, billboards like these asking whether people are angry at brussels and whether they're worried that their child may face sexual propaganda. >> people love to hate something, and while the population of hungary is hating
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a group, they don't really care about what the government is really doing. >> reporter: but this prominent entrepreneur believes that viktor orban may have this time picked the wrong target. >> gays are everywhere, ministers are gay and everybody is silent. it's going to come out because the truth will win at the end. who is going to be the next? the gypsies or the jews again? >> hubert is part of the family is family campaign launched in november by a stay at home dad and journalist who is worried about the future his son will face. >> the very existence of rainbow families is not propaganda. this is the reality. and we just want to live in this country like everyone else does. >> reporter: michael, thousands are expected to take part in that gay pride that will be not the usual celebration but a protest as well. >> thank you. melissa bell there in budapest.
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thanks for watching "cnn newsroom." i'm michael holmes. if you're an international viewer, african voices: change makers is coming next. if you're here with me in the united states and canada, i'll be back with more news after the break.
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welcome back to "cnn newsroom," everyone. i'm michael holmes. the cauldron has, of course, been lit at the opening ceremony in tokyo now, and the games of the tokyo olympics are now being played, of course in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, though. organizers announced 17 new covid cases on saturday, adding up to a total of 127 games-related cases already. despite the doubts and the protests in japan, olympic officials are trying to project
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optimism. the international olympic committee president saying in the face of the challenges the world has been facing, friday's opening ceremony was a moment of hope. but not everyone agrees. will ripley with that. >> reporter: the official opening of the tokyo summer games, a ceremony that tried to look familiar but felt so different. hundreds of drones forming a globe over the olympic stadium, celebrating one world united in sport under the shadow of a pandemic. the stadium eerily empty as flag bearers proudly represented their countries. cheering them on, a handful of visiting dignitaries. u.s. first lady jill biden, french president emmanuel macron. among the athletes, some familiar faces and well-oiled physiques. the tongan flag bearer famous from rio.
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baseball-playing, speed skating silver medalist eddie alvarez. outside the ceremony, japanese protesters calling for the games to be canceled, fearing the olympics will become a covid-19 superspreader event. fears fueled by rising cases in the host city. daily numbers hitting almost 2,000 this week, a six-month high. olympic dreams dashed for more than 20 athletes so far, testing positive or being placed in the covid-19 protocol, including five members from team usa. most taking the covid protocols and lack of fans in stride. >> when you're lined up with the best in the world, like you're not worried about the stands. you're not worried about the people there. you're just worried about going out there and competing to the best of your ability. >> reporter: despite the olympics' first ever spectator ban, some are making the most of it. fans watching the opening
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ceremony from outside the stadium. >> i was so moved, my heart. that's so special. >> reporter: closing out the opening ceremony, the reveal of the torchbearer to light the cauldron. four-time grand slam women's tennis champion naomi osaka. in recent months, facing her own very public mental health challenges. perhaps the perfect representative for the xxxii olympiad, overcoming postponement and a pandemic to showcase the triumph of the olympic spirit. will ripley, cnn, tokyo. >> cnn sports analyst christine brennan joins me now from tokyo. she's also a sports columnist for "usa today." i was reading your column today, christine. great to see you. what was it like at the opening ceremony? was there any sense of, you know, real occasion and atmosphere? >> they tried, michael. i'm not sure they succeeded.
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i've covered a lot of these. i've covered every opening ceremony since '84 in l.a. obviously no one in the stands. 1,000 or so dignitaries, media. if there was applause from those dignitaries, it sounds like theater applause. once the music was blaring, you couldn't even hear that. i think it was solemn. it was -- you know, it was fitting of where we are, in the middle of a pandemic. the athletes, i have to give them credit. they certainly -- some of them coming in holding their flags, dancing around, exuberance, giving it a good college try. but i watched many of them, as soon as they made their path and circle around the stadium floor, a lot of those teams just exited out, got out of there. you didn't see that on tv. but we could see it, and got out of there to get away from everybody else and away from the logjam in the middle of the field.
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>> i wanted to ask you, i'm interested in the day-to-day in terms of the covid precautions and procedures. what's it like getting around both for you as a journalist and for the athletes? what's the sort of protocols? >> yes. we had three days, the first three days here, the saliva test. you had to produce the saliva and put it in a little plastic vial and deliver it. there's an app that we have on our phones that every day we need to sign in and give our temperature and how we're feeling and make sure no one around us is sick. if you don't feel that out by a certain time in the afternoon, you get the text message, you've got to fill that out. then otherwise, hand sanitizer everywhere. also when you do that, going into a venue, they take your temperature remotely just within the close proximity. and then masks everywhere. i mean i'm wearing -- we're all wearing masks the way we did in the united states, what, six, eight months ago. and very much we feel like we're
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plunged back in 2020, which is fine because we understand those protocols are necessary as journalists. and the athletes are also dealing with the same. lots and lots of testing. >> and speaking of the athletes, more and more have tested positive since arriving. i think it was a dutch rower just in the last couple of hours. you cover sports. you know these athletes. how devastating would it be to an athlete after all that goes into making the team, years of preparation leading to a moment, and it's gone like that. >> heartbreaking. absolutely heartbreaking, michael. that's the only way to describe it. you know, in the united states and around the world, we've certainly seen teams and individuals have to deal with covid tests. but mostly those are games that you might have a game the next week, or you certainly can go back and compete next year at something. this isn't that. the olympics, of course, once every four years. it has been five years since rio. it will be only three years to paris in 2024. this is the opportunity of a
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lifetime, and if it's gone, it is really gone. i think it's a shock to the system. it's a very sad moment, but there's a finality to it. it's over. your olympic dream is over. only three years to paris. i guess that's the positive, but it's devastating to those athletes. >> i wanted to ask you this too. covid aside, if that's possible, what are you looking forward to in these games? >> actually, i am really looking forward to the sports. i think sports can save these games in the sense that once events start really happening, if people get into it around the world, that is a positive. i'm not saying it overshadows covid. no. these are the covid olympics. they will be known as the covid olympics, first olympics postpones. but swimming in a few hours. aim going to go to the swimming venue and watch the preliminaries. world record holders competing
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and that's going to go on for a good seven or eight days. and gymnastics, you know, the great simone biles. we'll see how she does and if she can indeed win more gold medals as the greatest of all time. so there's a lot of story lines, and it is possible, to be the optimist for a moment, it's possible these stories will catch hold and people around the world will be entranced by these athletes. and maybe for a little while can forget or at least push aside the true, real, awful concerns about covid and focus for a few minutes on sports. >> you'll be telling those stories, we know. i'll be following you on twitter and seeing how much you enjoy it. we'll talk again. christina, always good to see you. >> michael, thank you very much. take care. quick break here. when we come back, a longtime friend of donald trump who is deemed a serious flight risk gets out of jail on bail. the case against tom barrack and whether he might cooperate with investigators against the former
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president. also still to come, a u.s. house committee is getting ready to investigate the deadly insurrection at the u.s. capitol. why the democrats want more republicans to join the probe. we'll be right back.
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a longtime ally of former u.s. president donald trump has been released from jail on $250 million bond. tom barrack must wear a gps monitoring device and return to court on monday. the businessman charged with failing to register as an agent of a foreign government while working as a back channel to the uae. he's also accused of lying to the fbi about his uae activities. senior legal affairs correspondent paula reid with a closer look at the case. >> reporter: federal prosecutors agreed to this quarter billion dollar bail agreement that will keep mr. barrack out of prison
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ahead of an expected trial. this is quite a shift because earlier in the week, these same federal prosecutors were arguing that barrack posed a significant flight risk. they pointed to his enormous wealth, his international network, and the fact that his co-defendant fled the country shortly after being interviewed by the fbi in 2018. so why the change? well, mr. barrack has just about the best lawyers money can buy, and they have been squarely focused for several days on getting their client out of jail. mr. barrack was located in california, but his case is being tried in new york, and his lawyers were very concerned about their 74-year-old client being on the notorious con air, the plane the u.s. marshal's service uses to transport prisoners. apparently they were successful in getting their client out of jail. some people have asked whether this deal signals if mr. barrack will cooperate in any ongoing investigations, especially those involving the former president.
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our reporting indicates there is no indication of that. paula reid, cnn, washington. house speaker nancy pelosi is working to get more republicans on the committee that will investigate the deadly january 6th attack on the u.s. capitol. sources telling cnn she is seriously considering naming republican representative adam kinzinger to the panel to bolster its bipartisan credibility. she may also tap republicans who are not currently serving in the house. the republican house minority leader pulled all five of his picks from the committee after pelosi nixed two of them for their roles in trying to overturn the presidential election results. >> it was wrong having one or two members of your conference join with -- >> look, you know it, and we predicted it back at the very beginning. this is a sham committee that's politically driven by speaker
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pelosi. >> it's my responsibility as speaker of the house to make sure we get to the truth on this, and we will not let their antics stand in the way of that. >> the hearings start on tuesday. now, the cia's inspector general is reviewing how the agency handled cases of so-called havana syndrome. that mysterious illness that sickened diplomats, intelligence officers, and others with debilitating symptoms. cnn national security correspondent kylie atwood with the latest. >> reporter: mysterious health incidents known as havana syndrome for where u.s. personnel first experienced the strange symptoms appear to be on the rise. impacting u.s. intelligence officers and diplomats around the globe. and cnn has learned that the cia inspector general is carrying out a review into the agency's handling of the officers who have been sickened. >> and nothing but the truth.
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>> reporter: cia director bill burns said this week there are a couple hundred cases of these incidents in total, and about 100 of them among intelligence officers. >> i'm certainly persuaded that what our officers and some family members as well as other u.s. government employees have experienced is real and it's serious. >> reporter: the biden administration says they still do not know what or who is behind these incidents that they're calling uhis, unexplained health incidents. just this week, the state department said they're now investigating reports of havana syndrome experienced by u.s. diplomats in vienna. former cia intelligence officer doug wise explains why more cases may help probe this mystery. >> it's kind of like a serial killer where it requires further victims to generate evidence and data. it's an unfortunate fact. >> reporter: at the cia, someone new is in charge of the investigation. an experienced intelligence
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officer who led the successful hunt for bin laden. >> we're throwing the very best we have at this issue because it is not only a very serious issue for our colleagues, as it is for others across the u.s. government, but it's a profound obligation, i think, of any leader to take care of your people. and that's what i'm determined to do. >> reporter: the cia i.g. review comes after deep frustration among those sickened about how their concerns were initially handled, saying they had not gotten the medical and institutional support that they needed. >> i had a really hard time initially at the agency because people didn't necessarily -- the medical staff, the senior medical staff didn't necessarily believe me. >> reporter: but things have changed in the last few months. burns met with victims, visited walter reed where they're getting medical attention, surged agency resources to work on this challenge, and replaced some of the officials viewed as hindering the investigation. his intense focus matters to those who have suffered. >> i believe that the victims
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are now being well served under burns' leadership and the emphasis he's putting on their well-being, which has always been the ethos of cia. >> reporter: now, back to the idea of culpability here. who and what is behind these mysterious incidents? current and former government officials say that they believe russia is behind this. but officially the u.s. government has not identified the perpetrator, and that is one of the main things that they continue to investigate. kylie atwood, cnn, new york. fire crews are battling an uphill battle against a massive wildfire in the u.s., and they say that work is not for the faint of heart. >> is there any fear or adrenaline kicks in? >> adrenaline, sure, yeah. if you have fear of this, this isn't the job for you. >> next up, we'll take you to the fire lines and see the dangerous phenomenon that makes their job even harder. we'll be right back.
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♪ ♪ dad, why didn't you answer your phone? ♪ your mother loved this park. ♪ she did. ♪ all right. we want to take you inside one
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of the massive wildfires now burning in the u.s. but heat and flames and smoke, well, they're not the only dangers created by the so-called bootleg fire. there's also a phenomenon called pyrocumulus clouds. in a nutshell, it means the fire produces so much heat, it literally creates its own weather system. as lucy kafanov reports, it is not making the firefighters' job any easier. >> reporter: a massive wildfire scorching more than 400,000 acres. flames reaching the tops of trees spread by the whipping winds. these videos shot during the height of oregon's bootleg fire so volatile, it created its own weather system. you're looking at a cloud generated by the fire's intense heat called a pyrocumulus cloud. >> i haven't ever been on a fire that has had as many pyrocumulus developments and collapses as this one has. >> reporter: here's how it happens.
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just as the sun heats the air creating clouds, the fire's heat, smoke, and water vapor rise, sometimes creating thunderstorms with lightning, high winds, even tornadoes, spreading the fire. watch this time-lapse video of a pyrocumulus cloud forming in a fire over northern california. the pressure building up inside can be dangerous to firefighters on the ground. >> it falls apart, but it falls apart much more violently than a typical rainstorm. and winds come down right back towards the ground. the winds go every direction, and they could be 30, 40, 50 miles an hour, and that's happened several times on this fire. >> reporter: we joined fire crews deep in the mountains where progress is now being made on containing the bootleg fire. dixon wesley jones is cleaning up spot fires now, but just a week ago, he was caught in the fire's unpredictable weather pattern. this video shows him pulling back as a helicopter drops water over a fire raging out of control. >> you could hear it. it sounds like a train almost.
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it sounds like something crashing through the forest. >> reporter: this is the view from underneath the intense skies created by the bootleg fire. just as firefighter eric west was pulled back for safety. is there any fear in it or adrenaline kicks in? >> adrenaline sure, yeah. if you have fear of this, this isn't the job for you. >> reporter: more humid air and wind shifts are helping firefighters up the containment levels. but the ground is so dry, the fire is still not under control. you can see and hear this little fire behind me. it's one of the many challenges firefighters are dealing with. conditions are so incredibly dry, there is just all of this fuel on the ground. this stump is on fire. then this fire migrated over. it's going to burn this tree, but firefighters aren't concerned because it's already burned so much of this area, there's really not that much more left for it to burn. overnight, the fire jumping the containment line. more evacuations issued. firefighters still working to secure the outbreak.
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in the line of fire, this is part of the defense. crews thinning trees to create a fuel break. the bigger the fire, the more trees they have to remove. it's the new reality of fighting mega fires in the american west. >> i hope it's not our future, and maybe it's just a cyclical event, and things will calm back down. but it doesn't look great. >> reporter: lucy kafanov, cnn, lakeview, oregon. >> you can help the victims of the western wildfires and their families. head over to cnn.com/impact. you will find links there to charitable organizations verified by cnn. again, cnn.com/impact. thanks for spending part of your day with me. i'm michael holmes. you can follow me on twitter and instagram @holmescnn. my colleague, alison kosik picks it up with more "cnn newsroom" after the break. it's a simple fact:
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the first medals of the tokyo olympics have been awarded, and there are more to be won today. we're live in japan. plus this -- anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police in australia as the virus surges in hot spots like the u.s. and the uk. and raging wildfires in the western u.s. it's just one part of the world that's fighting the flames. welcome to all of you watching here in the united states and around the world.

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