tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN December 15, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PST
hello, everyone. >> good to be with you. we just heard the latest from health officials at the white house about the omicron variant. it is spreading, but the current vaccine booster regiment is working. >> dr. fauci shows the latest data says that booster shot rs the key to keeping people from getting severely ill. he said a third shot offers 75% more protection against omicron than just two doses. that's with pfizer vaccine. with the third dose of moderna,
also, that offers substantial improvement and at this point, he does not see the need to adjust the formula. >> our booster vaccine regiments work against omicron. at this point, there is no need for a variant specific booster. and so the message remains clear. if you are unvaccinated, get vaccinated and particularly in the arena of omicron, if you are fully vaccinated, get your booster shot. alexandria field has more. >> the u.s. crosses a terrible threshold. 800,000 covid related deaths. delta's toll continues across the country as omicron cases spread. the variant now in 36 states. >> we expect to see the proportion of omicron cases here in the united states continue to grow in the coming weeks. early data suggests that omicron
is more transmissible than delta, with a doubling time of about two days. >> cornell university shutting down early for the holiday break with more than 900 cases detected on campus. a high percentage of them identified as omicron in fully vaccinated people. some of whom are also boosted. >> i think this is an opportunity to remind people the importance of testing before they visit with family. testing before travel to make sure they're not bringing the omicron variant back to their home states or communities. >> sports leagues yet again suffering covid setbacks. players pulled and games postponed as cases climb among players in vaccinated leagues. the nfl reported dozens of positive tests among players since monday alone. the rams and browns both hit hard. >> the omicron variant is incredibly transmissible. players are still traveling to
go to state to play, so they're being exposed. the delta variant is still ravaging through hospitals. >> one in six hospitals in the u.s. now reporting critical staffing shortages at covid hospitalizations climb. california implementing a month long mask mandate today. >> the last thing we want is to have a loved one need high quality hospital services and not be able to get that because of something we could have prevented. >> new york city's mandate for the private sector set to take effect this month. >> this new variant moves fast. we have to move faster. >> all of these developments coming as so many people are getting ready to gather with family for the holiday season. holiday that feels more normal than last year or the year before. we're learning the health commissioner in philadelphia is advising people not to gather with other households. so she is saying that you're
best off staying with your own household or keeping a gathering small, doing it outside and at a minimum, getting a rapid test before you get people together. >> we'll see if families want to comply with that. thank you very much. let's bring in dr. hotez. if dr. fauci says the booster vaccines work against omicron, why then are officials at nih and cdc not saying this is a three-dose regiment, everyone must get boosted? >> yeah, we've spoken all year, i've always said this is a three-dose vaccine. and the reason is when you get that third dose, you get a 30 to 40 fold rise in virus neutralizing antibodies and therefore, more spillover protection against variants, including omicron. the numbers are not perfect, i have to say that. looking at what we heard from
the uk government, even if you get the third dose, which is absolutely critical, because the two doses don't look like they're doing much of anything versus omicron in terms of symptomatic illness, but the third dose gives you 70 to 75% protection. >> so why aren't officials -- sorry to interrupt. why aren't they saying what you're saying? >> i can't speak for the cdc either, but this is the information from the uk government. we're all hearing about breakthrough infections and symptomatic infections even with three doses. i think it's critical to get the third dose, but even that's not perfect. i think the other big question i'm asking is there's some data out of germany suggesting even after you get the third dose in the immediate aftermath, it gives you 75% protection, but there's some preliminary data out of germany, german labs and
elsewhere suggesting it doesn't stay up long. so it declines after a couple of months. and the reason i bring that up is, the reason i bring that up is because i'm concerned about our healthcare professionals who got, were the first to adopt getting the boosters, which was the right thing to do, but are now two or three months out. if that, if a high percentage of those get symptomatic covid, it won't be severe enough to put them in the hospital, but it will be significant enough to keep them out of the healthcare workforce and so i worry about the perfect storm of delta, plus o omicron cases going to the hospital and hospital workers calling out sick. we already have a very strained health system. that's what we need sint thinks about, how we're going to manage that. for instance, would there ever be a reason to give a fourth dose, specifically for healthcare providers, who are more than two or three months
out from their booster. i think that would be a reasonable consideration. >> so if the booster doesn't offer protection more than a few weeks as you suggested what you're learning from the study in germany, what do you think about the second half of what we heard from dr. fauci? i've got an official from cornell who says of the students who tested positive there, many of them boosted. do you expect that in time, we will need an omicron specific booster? >> well, again, that's very consistent with what i just said, 70 to 75% protection after the third immunization and that it declines. the declining part is not as well documented. this is all preliminary data out of germany. so the omicron specific booster, well, potentially the problem is this. it takes time to make them and they're talking about maybe it will be ready in the next three or four months. this freight train is here, already, right?
this, we, ordinarily, i would have thought based on alpha and delta, that we would have a four to six-week lag between the new peak with this variant in the uk with it showing up in the united states. doesn't look that way. looks like it's going to be here around christmas so there's not going to be time to have that booster in place to make a difference and that may be a reality as well. >> so what are we supposed to do with all of this information you're giving us? particularly around christmas? are families supposed to go see their loved ones or would you recommend against that? >> well, you know, i don't want to be the dr. grinch that stole christmas, but let me tell you what we did in my family. i had plans to have my mother-in-law, sister-in-law come down from new jersey. we had a nice few days planned in houston. museums and some restaurants and unfortunately, i had to ask them not to come because i thought that was a little too risky for
them in terms of travel with all the omicron circulating so we're kind of scaling back our christmas plans to a more modest, just family only gathering and i didn't think we'd be there. i didn't imagine omicron would be here this soon, but that's the way it's looking, unfortunately. >> well, that's sad. >> it is sad. i have one more question, doctor. they're not getting severely sick. i mean, omicron -- >> i'd be careful about that. that's the buzz, right? and the buzz is saying in south africa, in terms of the number of hospitalizations one might anticipate from a big surge in covid cases, we're not seeing as many hospitalized individuals. and i think that's probably true. on the other hand, it's hard to perfectly extrapolate because the population of africa is much, south africa overall is much younger, different genetic background. we don't know about previous vaccinations. i wouldn't throw all of my eggs
in one basket at this point. the other thing i've noticed in south africa is a lot of kids are in the hospital with omicron. and so i think we may start seeing a lot of pediatric cases as well in pediatric hos hospitalizations. no reason to panic. the vaccine, if you get that third dose, if you told us a year ago we had a vaccine with 70, 75% protection, we'd be thrill. still good, but there are still breakthrough illnesses. i'm worried about our hospital staff and personnel calling out sick because they have breakthrough symptomatic covid. >> a lot to take in there. hope you have good holiday any way. thanks so much. right now, the federal reserve is faced with a major task. get inflation under control without starting a recession. >> consumer prices spiked in november at the fastest rate since 1982 and producer prices
soared by nearly 10% suggesting that inflation pressures will not disappear overnight. m m matt is here. what did they say? >> major developments. first, the federal reserve is announcing that they're probably going to be raising sbinterest rates off these rock bottom levels. they're signaling as many as three hikes next year. also, they are speeding up the end of their bond buying program and they are citing two big factors. inflation and progress in the jobs front. let me read you a key line from the statement put out a few minutes ago. the fed said job gains have been solid in recent months and the unemployment rate has declined substantially. supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic and the reopening of the economy have continued to corinntributed to elevated levels of inflation. the fed, they are marking up their expectations for inflation this career. and also marking up their
expectations for inflation for next year. they're also predicting the economy's going to grow faster next year and unemployment will be lower, but clearly, the fed is trying to show they are taking this inflation problem seriously here. >> any indication of when they believe this peak will hit? >> they're calling for their favorite metric for innovation to get back towards their goal. about 2%. they see it getting to 2.1% in 2024. back down to 2.3% in 2023. so trending lower, but we have to take this with a grain of salt because very few people thought inflation would be this high for this long. it's hard to predict how what inflation orrico individual or jobs is going to look like out in 2023. >> thank you. so the department of justice says it has received the criminal contempt of congress referral for mark meadows. now, what will attorney general
mer merrick garland do? >> and a new poll shows americans are gloomy about the state of the economy. we break down the results for you. new vitamin c and the iconic red jar can't top this skin shop now at olay.com ♪ you pour your heart into everything you do, which is a lot. so take care of that heart with lipton. because sippin' on unsweetened lipton can help support a healthy heart. lipton. stop chuggin'. start sippin'.
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. the criminal case against mark meadows is now in the hands of the justice department. last night, the house of representatives voted in favor of this referral holiding him i contempt of congress. he failed to appear for a deposition. >> the justice department will now decide if it will pursue a criminal case against him as it did against steve bannon. here's what president biden said
as he left washington today. >> what's your reaction to congress holding meadows in contempt? >> i don't know enough, just what i've seen. it seems to me he's worthy of being held in contempt. >> evan perez joins us now. so tell us more about what the doj is weighing as they consider these charges against meadows? >> well, i think it's going to be a bit of a tougher call for the prosecutors in the u.s. attorney's office and ultimately obviously the attorney general, merrick garland, has the final say to approve taking this action. look, i think with in comparison to the case against steve bannon, in which you know, he wasn't in the government. he never even bothered to show up. never really engage d with the committee, meadows has engaged. provided 9,000 page, what the committee says, he has turned
over. and he has just decided he doesn't want to sit for for a deposition. close advisers to a president including the former president, have a certain higher level of claim to executive privilege. so all of those things are going to be weighed by the prosecutors who are looking at this. again, it's not a straight shot as steve bannon one was. of course took two weeks before the justice department decided to bring those charges. you can see though that it kind of put, puts all sides in a bind and the ultimate goal i think for this committee is they want information. so we'll see whether just threat might bring, might make meadows budge from his position. >> all right, evan perez for us in washington. thank you very much, evan. let's bring in former federal prosecutor and dana bash.
two charges against steve bannon. one for the testimony, the other for documents. meadows has produced thousands of pages here. is a charge for that, for the documents as clean as it is for bannon, who didn't really supply anything. he's just not giving -- what do you see here as it relates to what garland will do? >> i think evan was on the right track there when he said that this is a different case. i think as for the documents, it's a difficult case for the doj because meadows has had some pressure of cooperation. he's working with his attorney. has a very well-known attorney working on the matter. it's complicated. you can imagine a jury looking at this, if they were asked to convict meadows, i imagine what he would say is i did my best, i gave documents, tried to cooperate, but as evan noted, he's a very close adviser to the former president. there are other issues at stake
and so forth. so i think this would be a more difficult case for the doj to make, but it could potentially provide leverage for congress because the committee, i think, you know, could say that they would, they might recommend that the house withdraw its referral if he starts to cooperate further. >> dana, let's just play this out. let's that merrick garland does do what they did, the blueprint for the steve bannon case, and hold him in contempt. and as we know from bannon, he'll fight it and there will be a course case many months from now. steve bannon's is beginning in july and they're all banking on congress you know the house changing hands in the midterms and so the clock runs out at some point. >> that's the hope. of steve bannon. and if nothing changes right now, it will be the hope of mark
meadows. there's no question about it. and so that is why the, it seems as though this is the point of no return and when i say this, i mean the unprecedented vote last night of members of congress voting to hold in contempt their former colleague for defying a subpoena. but you never know. if there is some way that they can find accommodation with mark meadows and his attorneys in order to try to stop the train from going further down the legal station. one thing i will say about how potentially difficult doj's case could be with meadows because of the idea that he was unlike steve bannon, his actual chief of staff, he was in the executive branch. that's why you heard people like liz cheney and others making the case that it was specifically coming up with examples that
they argue are outside the scope of executive privilege like the whole conversation he had the georgia officials. that's one example. to use your term, the very clear roadmap that they're trying to give doj if they continue down that road. >> the president weighed in not as deeply as he did in the bannon case, but we just played what he said. that mark meadows, he's wor tli of being held in contempt. when a president comments on these cases, is it problematic for doj? does it give credence for the appeals that will come? >> i don't think it's helpful. if i was advising the president, i'd advise him not to make statements like that. the defense raises the issue and says they're not able to get a fair trial because the public
has already been told by the president of the united states that you know, their person is guilty. that their client is guilty. i don't know if there's much you know, much credence that would be given to that. not saying it would be successful, but prosecutors don't want to have to deal with that or litigate those issues so it's really best to have no comment. i understand the former president would go much further, but i think the best practice is for the president to make no comment. >> meanwhile, the committee's work continues and i was so struck by the words of one of the people who has now testified. he was the organizer of the rally. so not the violence and riot necessarily, but the rally. his name is dustin stockton. he spoke to anderson i think last night. he just talked about how hoodwinked he felt by donald trump who made promises that he would be with the crowd then immediately ducked out. here is that sound from this
person. >> we invested our lives and time and in a lot of ways, the warning signs were there. we saw other people come forward from his inner circle. essentially, he abandoned his people when the going gets tough for people and you know, in some ways, it's embarrassing to think that in a lot of ways we bought into what essentially turned out to be a bluff or a con. >> isn't it fascinating, dana, to hear someone who now says they see the light they should have seen before january 6th? >> every time i see that clip and when i watch that interview, i think of wizard of oz when they realize that oz, that the wizard is just a guy behind a curtain and he doesn't have the power or the intention that he claims to have and then all of a sudden, they can see not just in black and white, but in color.
that is what happened with him and the question is whether it's going to happen with more and if not, why. the answer to that, unfortunately, is because they're not listening to facts like we're giving in this conversation. they're listening to the people on fox news and elsewhere. white watching what really happened and perpetuating the lie that the former president started to put into their kind of information pipeline from after election day all the way until as we speak and that is what is so unfortunate and must somehow be remedied and the best way to do it is to have the dustins of the world speak out. >> thank you both. >> thank you. there are some troubling in new numbers for the president and democrats. they say economic pain and anxiety is driving the country's mood. >> and president biden is in kentucky to see the tornado
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mom, hurry! our show's gonna start soon! i promised i wouldn't miss the show and mommy always keeps her promises. oh, no! seriously? hmm! it's not the same if she's not here. oh. -what the. oh my goodness! i don't suppose you can sing, can you? ♪ the snow's comin' down ♪ -mommy? ♪ i'm watching it fall ♪ watch the full story at www.xfinity.com/sing2 less than a year until the midterm elections, a new cnn poll shows how americans feel about the president and the economy. >> president biden's approval rating is 49% right now.
51% disapprove. here to break down the numbers for us is david challeon. >> one of the things we look at is the intensity of how people feel. do you approve strongly, moderately? 16% say they approve strongly, but more than double that, 34%, say they disapprove strongly. so the intensity is on the side of those who disapprove of the way joe biden is handling his job and that intensity can be a driving force in american politics. that's a warning sign. 33% of democrats, only a third of his home team, approve strongly. so that passion issue is something they have to work on. >> let's talk about the economy and some of the biggest concerns there. >> yeah. well, take a look. we asked folks are these various things a major problem or a minor problem in the economy. 80%, major problem rising food
costs. 79% say the supply disruption is a major problem. 77% say housing costs. and these are huge majorities that are agreeing that these problems are major in today's economy and if you look at how biden is seen on the economy, take a look here, guys. we tested his approval rating on a bunch of issues. only coronavirus does he have majority support. 54% approval. everything else he's under water and helping the middle class and the economy, the things he ran on, he's at 45% approval majorities disapprove. >> david, how do the respondents to the poll see biden's policies impacting the economy? >> i think these may be some of the most troubling numbers for the white house. 45% of those in this poll say that biden's policies have worsened economic conditions. 25% say no effect. 30% say they've improved conditions and compare this to barack obama in 2009.
the last time there was a democratic president at the end of his first term. unemployment was more than double than it is now, but we didn't see the inflation we're seeing now. only 28% obama's policies were worsening economic conditions. this is a real delta here. 45% saying that for biden. that is an area of concern. >> how about on the president's leadership? how do americans view that? >> we asked this broad question about how people view him. do you trust biden as a leader or have doubts or reservations? it's 2-1. 66%, two-thirds of americans have some doubt about his leadership. a third trust biden as a leader. in his home team, 36% of democrats say they have some doubts. and when you, oh, there it is. 36% of democrats have doubts. 75% of independents have doubts. 92% of republicans. again, this is, this is the folks that are supposed to be
with you almost blindly. they've got some work to do even in their home turf. >> david, can you give us some h historical context for these numbers? >> if you stack him up against his modern day predecessors, biden's near the bottom. only donald trump was lower at the end of the first year of his presidency. we know what happened in trump's first midterms. this is the concern democrats have and why they'd like to see biden boost his numbers in the weeks and months ahead before people head to the polls next fall. >> very telling. thank you. president biden is in kentucky this hour. he's touring the hardest hit areas hit by the tornados. we're going to take you there to mayfield, kentucky.
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and say hello to the new way at carvana. president biden is in kentucky surveying the aftermath of the state's devastating tornados. his first stop was in mayfield where he met with survivors and local officials. >> next hour, he'll tour the destruction in dawson springs and give a speech on what his administration plans to do to combat severe weather. bryn is in mayfield with more on the president's visit. >> reporter: the president was on the ground here in downtown mayfield for about 20 or 30 minutes.
really just about a block from where we're standing in the business district and everyone sort of stopped what they were doing, lined up and welcomed him here. he walked through the business district with the governor, with other officials including the mayor of mayfield, a long time teacher. so a lot of people really love her. he just talked to them and got a sense of exactly what they had been going through. many people just taking a break from trying to clear all this debris to give him an idea of what these last few days have been like. and really, once his motorcade left mayfield, everyone got right back to work, cleaning up these devastated areas in this town. the governor, in a briefing before the president actually came to mayfield, said that there are 600 national guards members across kentucky in 18 counties helping many efforts but including the clean up effort. he said they are just trying to clear this chaos, the death and depression out of these areas and that's exactly what we're
seeing these guys trying to recover and rebuild from here. and certainly the president's visit helping with that. >> so osha is investigating the amazon warehouse collapse. we know there were deaths there. what more do we know about that? >> reporter: osha is investigating that. we know that amazon says it will cooperate with that investigation and they have six months to complete that investigation. we also know there is a look into the candle factory here where we know at least eight people have died. of course we're learning no one else is expected to be found there alive. we have been hearing conflicting reports about what happened inside the candle factory here. a couple of people telling brian todd they weren't allowed to leave or else they were being threatened of getting fired. i've talked to a few people who work here and i want to get to someone who had a different account. he's someone who survived the
collapse of that building. take a listen to what he had to say about that. >> we don't have a point system or anything like that anymore. you could basically sign out so they know you're gone and leave at any time. so me personally, i never heard anything like that. but that's just me. >> so the accounts that the state labor division are going to be looking into when this investigation picks up and they have a few months to complete that as well, guys. >> thank you, bryn. forecasters are predicting more severe weather for parts of the central u.s. and southern plains. >> tom sader is with us. what are you seeing? >> this is just incredible. this is not normal. let's start with what we're talking about. remember before we had the outbreak in kentucky, we got up to 80 degrees in memphis.
250 plus records will be broke for warmth. to the west, a massive storm that moved into the west coast dropped heavy rainfall in southern california with mudslides, but also the heaviest amount of snow we've seen in the sierra. like 6 to 8 feet. now that storm system moving across the central rockies is going to set the stage for some things that are unprecedent. first, the warnings are in effect. the snow moved into colorado with wind gusts of over 101 miles an hour. i-70 west of denver is shut down. the winds are kicking up. non-thunderstorm winds. strong winds from aloft with come doung to the surface. schools are closed just for the winds. we're going to see a severe weather set up where you typically never, ever see this. in iowa, mississippi, and wisconsin. tornado watch already in effect until 11:00 p.m. this evening. notice the wind warnings. power outages from the desert
southwest to the great lakes. those that lose power will be into the teens and 20s. unprecedented fire risk. never before this time of year. fires firing up northwest of amarillo. fire chiefs are on alert. a level four out of five. this has never occurred in november, december, january, february, for parts of iowa in toward the twin cities. that includes wisconsin and believe it or not, there's still snow on the ground. so again, another unbelievable event. the new normal. we're going to be following this line of severe weather and possibilities of nocturnal tornados this evening. unbelievable. >> it really is. that map you showed us is hard to imagine where are extreme events all happening simultaneously. so unnerving. >> how broad the threat is from so many different cycles. thank you. >> thanks, tom. now to this. a slew of documents were just released this afternoon that may shed light, new light, on the
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the biden administration just released nearly 1,500 previously classified documents related to the assassination of president john f. kennedy. historians and conspiracy theorists alike are now poring through these files searching for new clues about kennedy's assassination. >> and searching for answers about the shooter lee harvey oswald who was murdered after being taken into custody. long time jfk researchers are
not expecting any big revelations. >> joining us now is tim n, do u expect a bomb shell, what are you looking for? >> all intelligence are con spear -- the general public obviously is interested in any grand conspiracy that involves the killing of kennedy. we are learning a lot about smaller conspiracies, about elements of u.s. covert action and u.s. espionage in the 1960s that got caught up in the grand conspiracy thinking of the '70s and '80s and are part of the demand for release of materials in the 1990s, for those of us who study intelligence services and kennedy's approach to covert
action, this is an early christmas present. for those who want a new story, a new narrative regarding lee harvey oswald, i believe they'll be disappointed. >> after all the documents are released, there are some people who are looking for conspiracy and won't believe the documents once they have them. there was this jfk records collection act from '92 after the oliver stone movie, and everybody wants the documents, the act dictated that the documents would be released by 2017. what's your perspective of how the government, irrespective of political party, has handled this release. >> i think this release actually was delayed by covid, but part of the challenge fwas how do yo release materials that our government doesn't tend to release. we're getting down to the bedrock of understanding how the cia sent people abroad, the
nature of their operations and we're talking about operations that had absolutely nothing to do with november 1963. and it's a good thing that our government does make this material available. i would say after 50 years it should be available, but we had no tradition of making this available. let me give you an example, i didn't know until today that the united states had a black site in franco, spain, a place where interrogation was done. i don't believe torture was used, but we had a secret relationship with francisco spain, until it was released today. there were times the u.s. used usia and the voice of america to ascend great propaganda to undermine the cuban regime. our government did not want to acad admit that it used the voice of
america to send materials of political warfare. you can see that in the documents. >> is there anything juicy? is there any juicy nugget? >> is there any juice, tim, where's the juice? >> about the kennedy assassination that we won't have known previously. >> so far, but i've only looked at 20% of it. let me tell you, so far there's some really good juice about assassination plots about other people. i learned more details about how the mafia were used in an attempt to kill castro. i understand much better the technique that would have been involved and why it was a serious effort, which did not actually succeed as we know. >> was it an exploding cigar? >> oh, my goodness. >> no, it was actually pills. we knew there were pills, but how the pills were actually sent to cuba, who it was who had the pills in cuba. why it was the mafia was involved, and what role a mafia run casino in havana played in
1961, those are new details that will make for an excellent series at some point. >> we'll stand by for the executive producer credit you're getting for it. >> he deserves it. dr. anthony fauci says there's no need for a variant specific booster right now to fight omicron. we'll tell you what this means as cases are increasing across the country. hello, for the last few years, i've been a little obsessed with chasing the big idaho potato truck. but it's not like that's my only interest. i also love cooking with heart-healthy, idaho potatoes. always look for the grown in idaho seal.
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it's a brand new hour. happy to be with you. i'm victor blackwell. >> and i'm alisyn camerota. the protocol of two shots plus a booster will protect americans from getting severe cases of covid-19. that's the word today from dr. anthony fauci. >> and for now, he does not see any reason to alternator the vaccines to protect against the fast moving omicron variant. >> our booster vaccine regimens work against omicron. at this point, there is no need for a variant-specific booster. and so the message remains