tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN August 11, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
> joining me now, john harwood, john avlon, gentlemen, good evening. john, what can you tell us about the testimony of former federal prosecutor bj pak? >> this is part of a series of inte interviews the committee is doing as democrats on capitol hill are trying to gather what they can in addition to what the select committee is doing about january 6 and what they found was that this trump-appointed u.s. attorney was told by justice department officials he would be fired unless he affirmed trump's claims of voter fraud in georgia which he could
not because there was no evidence. and so he resigned without explanation in lieu of being fired. we also know that the replacement that donald trump put in the job, somebody shifted over from the u.s. attorney position in savannah, also found there was no evidence. the picture that's emerging from some of these interviews, including those of jeffrey rosen, former acting u.s. attorney, is that donald trump was pushing across the body politic, looking for soft places where he could work his will. and it is fortunate for american democracy that where he tried and where it was most sensitive, he encountered resistance, from rosen, from people like brad raffensperger in georgia. the challenge of course is what happens next time and are republican officials facing similar pressure willing to do the same thing again that was
done with donald trump. we don't know the answer to that, and the senate judiciary committee led by dick durbin, the chairman, is trying to get some answers. >> jon avlon, we know the president was pushing georgia secretary of state brad raffensperger to push his fraudulent election claims. but luckily the system worked and state officials did their jobs. what happens if there is a next time and those officials aren't there or, you know, if these new voter laws go into effect, they could just overturn the election. >> that's why we need to pay attention to these efforts, not just to voter suppression, but what an election law expert has called election subversion. brad raffensperger stood up, did the right thing, was under direct threat on tape by the president of the united states to find 11,000 votes so he could win the election.
raffensperger was kneekneecappe his own political party and now republican congress men are running to hold that office so the next time, they would do the will of the trumpist figure. that's why we need to keep our eye on the ball because this is not over. what we've learned, it's going the opposite way in some critical states. it's interesting, this is so egregious, what the president did, and the systems republicans are putting in place because of a lie. in many places it's working and who knows what effect it's going to have on elections to come. mr. harwood, we're getting so many new details about just how far the former president went in his attempts to overturn the election. do you think republicans just don't care that he was essentially attempting a coup? are they good with coups now?
>> look, the republican party is gripped with fear that they are not going to be able to win elections fair and square. and so members, maybe not as crudely as donald trump, are willing to tolerate pushing the boundaries. and so that's why you see some of these election laws, as john avlon just referred to, the ability to put partisan figures in charge of election administration. they are comfortable with that, because fundamentally, the republican party is representing a group of people who think that the way the country is changing is overwhelming them. this is principally older, white, rural, evangelical christians. they think they're the majority in america. they are pushing elected officials to do everything possible to keep power.
and the republican party by and large is okay with that. donald trump is the cartoonish extreme. but if you get some of these election laws put nonpin place, won't have to have a cartoonish figure next time, it will be a smoother process if you have an extremely close election. we don't know that that will happen but we know it could happen. >> john avlon, this new piece in "the washington post," it's titled "republicans risk becoming the face of the delta surge." as key gop governors oppose anti-covid measures, some ref governors resisting all mandates to stop the spread, what kind of political strategy is this, to put people's lives at risk? >> it's a strategy designed to play to the base nationally, to gain potentially a foothold in a partisan primary at the expense of the health and safety of their own citizens.
it's a breathtakingly cynical gambit and that is what we are seeing in these states right now. the numbers are spiking. the hospitals are being overwhelmed. but they are looking for opportunity amid that crisis to advance their own political futures over potentially the bodies, unnecessary deaths of their citizens in their states. and it's just reprehensible. >> john, john, thank you both very much, i appreciate it. i want to turn to two health care workers on the front lines of this pandemic. jeremy johnson is a traveling icu nurse for aya health care who has been treating patients in multiple covid hotspots throughout the pandemic, and an obstetrician who has been working with pregnant covid patients, also the author of "high risk stories of pregnancy, birth, and the unsuspected." i really appreciate both of you joining us on this very crucial topic, thanks so much and good evening you to. doctor, i'll start with you.
you wrote a powerful piece in "the atlantic" but unvaccinated americans. you say, people are risking not only their own life but the lives of many of them. what makes me the maddest, one of my doctor friends told me, is that these people will reject science right until the second they need everything i have to keep them alive and then they feel they can come to our door and be entitled to that help and that hard work. you say many health care workers rejecting lifesaving vaccines feels like a giant "f"-you from 29% of adults in this country. tell me about that. >> what we're seeing is that health care is made out of people, right? we're just people. we're devoted people, we're well-trained people, but ultimately we are people going through a really difficult year, now two years. when we feel that most of the country is unable to listen to the science we have, i think it makes a difficult job one that
is draining and impossible and it's hard to connect to your team when you feel like they're not quite on your team. i think it's exhaustion. >> jeremy, you've worked in icus in multiple covid hotspots, new york, arizona, now you're at a houston hospital. last year was different but with lifesaving vaccines so accessible, are you having a hard time sympathizing with patients who aren't willing to protect themselves? >> don, first off, thank you for having me on the show. i really appreciate it. as a health care professional you can't have that outlook on it. anybody that comes into the icu is very critically ill, whether they've got the vaccine or not it's my job to take care of them the best i can with every advancement we have. i wish people were -- more of them were vaccinated. but i don't treat them any differently, i take care of everybody the best i can. >> but to the doctor's point,
though, jeremy, she makes a very good point, people get to the end of their rope and then want every bit of science that will help keep them alive and keep them out of pain to cure them but the one they ignored in the beginning is the one that would have helped. >> absolutely, i mean, the evidence is there. the numbers where delta are spiking. most of the patients in the i felt -- icus, the doctor is absolutely right, you get to that point, you get to the point where you want to repent for that and you want that redemption for not getting it and taking those steps further but at that point, a lot of times, unfortunately, it's too late. >> you point out, doctor, that most people are now choosing to get hospitalized with covid. are health care workers having conversations about how to use limited resources now? it sounds very harsh, but is there an argument to be had that
these people made a decision and now they're facing the consequences? >> that's not how we treat people, right? you come to the hospital, we take care of you, the patient, not your bad decisions or even your decisions, that's not relevant. i don't think it would be relevant, we all worked really hard over the year to provide quality of care. what i think you have is providers who are burned out and unable to muster the compassion they need to do this complex and exhausting work or they're leaving medicine. and i don't think either of those things are good for the country or for the people. >> very good point. what are you hearing -- or points there. what are you hearing from, jeremy, unvaccinated covid patients in the icu? do they regret not getting their shot? >> yeah, because once you get to the ic you met, krchlticu, don,e
the sickest, the most critical patients. a lot of times with covid, they are knocking on death's door, so absolutely, they do have some regret for not taking those steps to potentially prevent that, even i know there's a lot of stuff back and forth about it, but, you know, if there's an option to get it, why not? why not attempt to get that and stop it before it happens? >> doctor, let's talk about the young folks among us who really can't make the decision for themselves. some of them can't even be vaccinated. you're a mom of children who are too young to be vaccinated. in the height of the pandemic, you couldn't kiss them for three months. are you worried you may need to stay away from them again, can you imagine? >> you know, this pandemic was a really big test for us all. and i think i, like many others, considered moving into my mom's basement and not going to work. i didn't do that, i went to work, and i'll do it again, i'll do it for as long as we need us to. but it took a toll, it has a
toll on me and my family. there was about six months of terror where i really worried what would happen if both my husband and myself got sick and left my children without a caregiver. we can do that and we will do that. but we are, as an institution, getting tired and probably a little traumatized. i've heard from multiple people that they're leaving medicine after 25 or 30 years of icu work. that's a lot to us all and we really need to grapple with the hopelessness that's set in in the medical profession after such a big ask for so many months. >> the people on the front lines, threatened by covid at every single moment. you're an obstetrician, doctor. i have to get your reaction, the cdc urging all pregnant women today to get the vaccine as soon as possible. they're warning of a possibility of severe outcomes, and i quote that, severe outcomes for those who don't. how important is this message?
>> i'm so thrilled theshat they were able to use that language. they published more gentle message a while ago that said it should be more available. but frankly, i'm a high risk ob doctor, i've spent patients to the icu, who were on ecmo, delivered preterm babies. not getting a vaccine is a risk. if we learn more about how safe the vaccine has become and the risks of getting the virus, this language is absolutely warranted. i'm thrilled to give such a clear message to my patients. >> thank you, doctor, thank you, je jeremy, i appreciate it, be safe. >> thanks for the opportunity. coronavirus hospitalizations higher than ever in florida this week. the federal government sending hundreds of inveventilators to state to help meet the rising need. one unvaccinated florida man's
family is struggling to keep him alive. we wish him the best and we thank his father kenny for joining us. we're so sorry your son justin is in such tough shape. tell us how he's doing, what's the latest? >> honestly, i haven't been able to find out today, that's one of my biggest challenges. it's a fight to get information. i'm not in florida, i'm 2,200 miles away but if i was in florida i can't even go see him. when i call to get an update, i might get a call back, i might not. whether it's the doctor, whether it's the nurse on duty, very, very, very hard to it any information. it's very frustrating, especially in today's world with the technology that there is that we can't get a text, a fax, an email, a video chat, something, five minutes, two minutes, three minutes, to let
us know the status of my son. let me give you an example. we found out that he needs an ecmo machine. we found out they are working on a flight for him for friday of this week. you know how we found out? from the angel med flight needed paperwork filled out, that's how we found out. my son has covid. he's got a 6-month-old daughter. and i'm doing everything i can to try to help save him. i'll go pay and fly him anywhere. i have the monies to do that, if i have to scrape them up, all do that. but the communication is horrible for the loved ones trying to find out the status of their loved ones. that's got to change. we need to know, you know? is he doing better today or worse?
i don't know. >> can i interject here, kenny? i understand, it's frustrating, trust me, i can't even imagine because i don't have a family member who is in the hospital. i have lost people i know, loved ones, friends, to covid. but you understand that the hospitals are overrun with patients now, many of the hospitals are overrun with patients, health care workers, you heard the folks before us saying their burned out and people are quitting. >> yes. >> so the hospitals are really taxed at the moment. i understand you have questions, concerns about communicating, but doesn't that indicate to you just how bad the situation is right now if you have people who are in the hospital and they can't even find the time to communicate with you? that should say something, no? >> well, it does say something. i know all these wonderful doctors and health care professionals are doing everything they can. but they have to understand too, you know, hey, i'm a business owner, if my customers aren't
being called back, i got a problem, houston. and they have a problem. the switchboard needs to call them back. >> have you been able to communicate with him at all, though? when was the last time you talked with him? >> with my son? >> yes. >> today, a wonderful, wonderful lady facetimed my son for me so i could see him. there's wonderful people that are at this hospital where he's at. and they are trying to hard. but at the end of the day, today i don't know how he's doing. all i did was see him on a ventilator in his room. i said, can i get a status on him. we'll have the nurse call you, we'll try to have somebody get back to you. that's the frustrating thing. an email, a text, so i know. that's what's frustrating for me. >> he is 100% on a ventilator
right now? >> yes, sir, has been. >> but he needs more help. what are you asking the doctors to do? >> well, first thing is to let us know what our options are. now, a couple of days ago, a doctor who i called twice to talk to, who had never got back with me, we found out that they are recommending an eccmo machie for him, which they're in short supply. we found one, when i say "we," the hospital found one in georgia. but then there became a glitch on insurance. and i said, hey, i'll wire money, whatever, don't let's keep him from getting this service. and at the end of the day, we still didn't know where we were at until i got this information on a life flight. that's horrible communication. >> let me just read, kenny, what the hospital says, because we
have a statement from ascension st. vincent hospital where your son is being treated. they say, while privacy laws prohibit us from communicating on a specific patient, we want to emphasize that the health and safety of all of our patients is our top priority. facility transfers are made when a patient requires a higher level of care, however a patient can only be safely transferred when there is an available physician and the facility that consents and has space to receive the patient. we do everything possible to ensure safe, timely patient transfers but some transfers have unfortunately become more difficult due to the increase in covid-19 hospitalizations and limited bed availability across our state. >> i understand that. i've even been on the phone calling hospitals, trying to help. that's not the normal protocol. and we hit brick walls. nobody is willing to help us. in fact we've run across quite
rude hospital personnel that hardly even want to talk to us and that's coming from the hospital that he's in, the people saying, hey, if you're willing to call -- we're willing to help, the parent is willing to help, but they've got to help us. i ask them, can you send me a letter stating, and i'll call every hospital in 50 states if need be. but we're sitting on pensins an needles trying to help also. i know there's a covid pandemic out there and there has been for a year and a half. i had covid last year. i know what it's like to have it. it's horrible. now my son has it. he's doing a lot worse than me. at the end of the day all i'm doing is trying to save my son. >> everyone totally understand that. something that you said, your son is unvaccinated. you said, you just told me you
had covid earlier in the pandemic and didn't want to get vaccinated but that changed with the delta variant, right? >> yes, it did. >> do you want to talk to me about that? >> well, it changed because -- i didn't go to the hospital. i felt like i was going to die having covid, so did my lady that was taking care of me, but i didn't want to be put on a ventilator and not be able to converse with her. so i toughed it through, i made it. my son, we suggested he went. he was put on a ventilator. he's struggling through it. before that, with the delta virus, i said, you know what, it was so hard, the virus i had, i'm going to go get the shot, and that's what i did. and i'm ready to go get the second one, and i'm a little fearful to go get it but i'm going to go get it.
>> i hope people listen to you. the science is clearly the science, and that the vaccine is safe, that the mostly unvaccinated people are becoming sick in hospitals and having a tough time. we wish you the very best with your son. we thank you for joining us. >> thank you so much. what did he say? we'll be right back. don't tip the boat over ♪ here we go. ♪ don't rock the boat, baby rock the boat ♪ see disney's jungle cruise. it's time to rock the boat, america. (sound of people returning to the workplace) (sound of a busy office) (phones ringing, people talking, meeting) the company we've trusted to keep us working remotely, is the same company we'll trust to bring us back together. safely. securely.
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taylor greene both suspended from social media for covid misinformation. that's as a battle between the white house and facebook is heath up. joining me, kara swisher, host of "the sway" podcast and "new york times" columnist. i had the recent pleasure of being on her podcast and i enjoyed it. thank you, good to see you. >> good to see you, don. >> covid is raging again and social media remains awash with disinformation. >> yes. >> have facebook or the other tech giants stepped up their game in any meaningful way to shut down that misinformation? >> they've been trying, obviously. it's a flood that you can't even believe what happens in terms of how much is uploaded every day to each of these systems, billions and billions of pieces of information. and so i think the issue is that it's just too much and they have a hard time keeping track of it and people change, do all kinds of tricks, there's bots and malevolent players. the problem is the system really
does help people who want to push misinformation out the way it's built, as we've talked about many times before. and especially if there's, you know, sort of bad players with bad intent like rand paul or marjorie taylor greene who keep getting kicked off finally because they keep putting up misinformation. there's no incentive not to do so until you get kicked off, essentially. >> rand paul saying some masks don't work on youtube, representative marjorie taylor greene says vaccines were failing and ineffective in reducing virus spread on twitter. a punishment is a week's suspension. is that a slap on the wrist? what do you think? >> they had a system that used to be more opaque because they didn't want people to figure it out, they have these rules internally. but now i think on youtube says the three-strike thing. they have different things that escalate over time. and if you do five or more within a certain period of time, you get kicked off permanently,
essentially. and it's all leading to someday you're going to get kicked off if you keep misbehaving like that, they'll take a record of it. i suspect both of them get kicked off at some point because they enjoy creating trouble and enjoy getting kicked off. >> they fund raise over it. >> i was noticing that greene was having a fit. donald trump was unhappy about getting kicked off of twitter. probably marjorie taylor greene would be permanently removed. >> i can't believe you're torturing yourself with more social media. >> it's okay, there's some very -- you know what, there's always good people, there's a lot of bad people but good people on all these platforms. >> talk about the financial incentives, kara. why is misinformation profitable for them?
>> it's not particularly profitable, it's more profitable, sucoccer teams and things like that, that's where they really want you to be, they want you to be in your community, mark zuckerberg started talking about the m metaverse. this is like the public square and it's not a public square. everybody thinks, if you heard rand paul or marjorie taylor greene, "my first amendment rights are being violated," they're absolutely not being violated. there's a giant food across the street. if i do something bad in there, i get kicked out. that kind of stuff. they have no particular right to be on it, because these services are not public squares. and so it's really difficult to do anything about it because in a lot of ways you can't tell the companies what to do because it violates their first amendment rights. they can make any rules they want on these things. the problem is they don't
execute very well against their rules. the situation is so vast and massive, it's almost impossible to coral. i would say they are working on it but it hardly matters because this stuff gets through. the biden administration i think has a really difficult road ahead of it in order to stop it. >> the best headphones in the business. kara swisher, i haven't seen your ears in almost two years. >> you know what, you're going to have to live with it, okay? this is my podcast studio, what do you want? >> just having a little fun. >> me and howard stern, that's how we are. >> thank you very much, i appreciate it, kara, see you soon. ads spreading across facebook. republicans fundraising by blaming the covid surge on people who don't even live here. the big border conspiracy they're turning into big money, next. i may not be able to tell time, but i know what time it is. [whispering] it's grilled cheese o'clock.
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border are bringing covid into the u.s. and people here should be afraid. >> i can tell you, whatever variants are around the world, they're coming across that southern border. >> reporter: a refrain predictably repeated on fox news. >> allowing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants that we know about every month across the border, many of them with very high rate of covid positive activity. >> what happened yet in la jolla, texas, where it was learned migrants were released by border patrol, found at a what a burger in la jolla with extreme signs of illness. they themselves said they had covid-19. it was learned there was a hotel full of people with covid-19. >> reporter: earlier this year, fear of covid-carrying border crossers was used to attack the biden administration's immigration policies. the top republican in the house led a congressional delegation
to the bo rrder in march. >> how much spread of covid is he creating every single day by his policies at the border? >> reporter: it did not take long for it to morph into a political fundraising appeal. facebook said the ads don't violate its policy on hate speech which it says allows for debate on whether any unvaccinated people should be allowed in shared spaces. experts say there's no doubt that people with covid have crossed the southern border into the u.s. >> there will be migrants with covid just as there are people in every population who have covid. >> reporter: but that's not the point, he says. >> the problem is clearly with unvaccinated people in the united states and not with migrants. >> reporter: experts say the solution to reducing cases is getting more people vaccinated and widespread masking to stop the spread. but republican governors in states like texas and florida are blocking mandates.
bottom line, demonizing migrants is an ugly old habit that could distract attention from what really needs to be done to get covid under control. >> they clearly exploit hateful narratives that we've seen being used by full-on hate actors. but it's also medical misinformation that might persuade people that the way to solve this crisis is not through vaccination and through following public health guidance but instead to somehow restrict immigration. >> reporter: we reached out to the offices of the politicians who used the issue of migrants with covid in their fundraising, including florida governor desantis who is seen as a potential candidate for president and whose state is the american epicenter of the pandemic. his office said the governor's main concern is about the biden administration's policies and how they are executed. a reminder, don. his state currently is overwhelmed by the virus. >> it is. thank you, joe johns, i
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and low vaccination rates in the u.s. are the primary causes. joining me now, cnn political commentators ana navarro and scott jennings. good evening to both of you. a ana, are these guys deflecting from their own responsibilities when it comes to the pandemic, pointing fingers instead of taking the safety measures necessary? >> look, i think they're combining a couple of their favorite things, right? first, we know that along with golf and hunting, demonizing immigrants at the southern border is a favorite hobby of some of the republicans, elected republicans. couple that with this idea that they are freedom fighters against masks and mandates and passports and things that really don't exist, not from the federal government, and you have -- you've got the perfect storm. and they're using it to raise fear, to raise division, and to raise funds.
that is where it gets very irresponsible, because -- and dangerous, because look, i am from florida, i live in florida. you can't tell me that the emergency rooms and icus in alachua county and dade county are full because of what's happening 2,000 miles away at the southern border. and let's talk about the southern border. the same policy the trump administration used, title xlii, is being used because of a health emergency to deport people back to their countries. >> let me get scott in there. scott, you heard the expert in joe johns' story there, yes, there are migrants with covid because there's covid in every population. is it easier for some of these republicans to blame immigrants than to level with their own base about what's needed? >> i think -- i don't think they're demonizing the
immigrants, i think they're demonizing joe biden and kamala harris for what they see as failure to get the border under control. these ads, i don't know why everybody is so upset about it, there's an element of truth in all of it. i talked to one of the campaigns running the ads and they pointed me to mcallen, texas, there were 1,500 people released in mcallen, texas that tested positive for covid. is that the only thing driving covid in the united states? of course not, that's ridiculous. but it's a fact there are migrants coming across, being released, that do have covid. as ana pointed out, immigration is a hot issue for republicans especially in republican primaries and especially among republican grassroots donors so it's not surprising to me that republican campaigns would take facts that are true and use them in their own campaigns to raise money and gather support. >> as ana pointed out, it's the same -- hang on, ana, i just
want to say, it has been a general possible that migrants are tested for covid and given hotel rooms for quarantine if they test positive. "the washington post" reports detained migrants are given masks and required to wear them but the practice hasn't always been enforced. go ahead, ana. >> listen, what's upsetting me as a floridian, i think upsetting some of the people in places like arkansas and louisiana where covid is raging again, but what's upsetting me as a floridian is that while we are suffering over 22,000 cases a day of covid and hospitals are at capacity all over the state, our governor is selling beer cozies against fauci to raise money. and he's at the southern border making a spectacle instead of being in the state taking care of it. why? because he's doubled down on his stupid policies that are not helping one bit, because he is
suing cruise lines, because he's extorting school boards and school superintendents, because he has decided that instead of acknowledging a mistake and backtracking, like asa hutchinson, a republican governor, did in arkansas, he's going to double down, because that is what you do, you don't admit mistakes, you don't admit error, you double down even if people are getting hospitalized and dying. >> cases are up all across the country, i just have a couple of seconds left. do you want to respond, scott? >> look, i think that some republicans are going to continue to focus on the immigration issues that are very exciting to republican donors and republican activists. i am not surprised these ads are being run. to me, if you're upset about these facebook ads you really ought to call the white house and ask biden and harris why aren't you getting the border under control. to me we'll be right back. thank you both.
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dangerous. don't believe the lies being spewed by this clown. it was just two weeks ago, when officer fanone told cnn that he and others in the force felt that the union was not doing enough to call out those who have downplayed the severity of the january-6th insurrection. you have heard officer michael fanone, on this show, tell his story of what happened that day. we have shown you his body-camera footage, which is up, now. he was beaten and tased to the point of having a heart attack. he almost died, protecting the capitol. suggesting anything, otherwise, is certainly clownish behavior. and before we go, i just want to make sure that you know about we love new york city. the homecoming concert. join us, this -- for this once in a lifetime concert event it's saturday august 26th, exclusively on cnn. i'll be one of the hosts. thanks for watching. our coverage continues.
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a good evening. we begin, tonight, with breaking news that is vitally important to the millions of americans who have been vaccinated against covid. but might not be fully protected because their immune system is damaged by illness or suppressed by certain medications. cnn has learned that the fda is expected, within the next-48 hours, to authorize booster shots in some of these cases. third doses of the up till now two-shot vaccines. the cdc estimates about 9 million americans are immunocompromised so it's a very big deal, as well as a first. it would be the first authorization for booster shot for covid. also, late today, u.s. surgeon general murthy offered this hopeful prediction for parents to cnn's wol