tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN December 30, 2021 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
>> certainly not. jeffrey epstein obviously was charged first but then died by suicide. he is the one who got away in that sense in terms of criminal liability. she was the number two. you really can't do this without a woman to be honest because she had to groom and find and entice them. she was a big fish here. >> fascinating. thanks so much. i'm jim acosta. thanks very much for watching. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next the new record high for covid and we may be a month from the peak as staffing shortages are already pushing more cities across the country to the brink. plus, breaking news. we're learning new details about president biden's phone call with vladimir putin today and the warning that biden gave the russian president and will the supreme court take up trump's case against the january 6th committee? new filings tonight from the committee and the biden administration asking the court
to reject trump's request to keep hundreds of documents secret. let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm poppy harlow in for erin burnett. tonight breaking news, overwhelmed by omicron. for the third day in a row the united states breaking its own record for its daily average of new covid cases and hitting a very grim milestone. more children now hospitalized with covid than any other point in this pandemic. health and human services secretary becerra acknowledging it is a troubling development. >> we thought for the longest time our kids were safe because they didn't seem to be catching the infection the same way. today i think you're hearing the news. more and more of our children not only contracting covid but being hospitalized. this stuff is real. >> hospitals across the country are pushed to the brink. maryland and washington, d.c. now topping their previous peaks of covid hospitalizations just
days after four other states also reported record high hospitalizations this month. and ohio is now close to its previous record level in december of 2020. connecticut, indiana, missouri, and delaware all approaching their record highs from last winter. and now the defense department is sending medical personnel to eight states to help health care workers there. but there is hope. dr. fauci predicting omicron cases may soon peak. >> i would imagine given the size of our country and the diversity of vaccination versus not vaccination, that it likely will be more than a couple weeks. probably by the end of january. >> alexander field is out front. the end of january feels like a really long time for a lot of folks right now. >> reporter: yes, poppy, a long way to go. there are really big challenges ahead. industries are already feeling the effects of staffing shortages and cities now feeg them, too. here in new york more than 20%
of the nypd out sick. but the city is saying they have contingency plans and say they'll have the force they need to put on a safe and secure new year's celebration. >> not the time to have big new year's celebrations, you know, really dial things back. >> reporter: a new year bringing in new covid records. as for the big party in new york's times square? >> we're in the public health crisis of our life times. frankly it should have been canceled. >> reporter: but this ball will drop despite the highest numbers of new daily cases the city has ever seen and without ll cool jay who called off his performance after testing positive for covid. >> outdoors, vaccination only, masks required, social distanced. we want to show we are moving forward and show the world new york city is fighting our way through this. >> reporter: the city insisting it can party safely even while
navigating staffing shortages affecting ems, fire department, and the subway. >> staff shortages is a real issue both from a prehospital standpoint so from ems, bringing patients into the health care system, as well as with health care workers not just in new york but around the nation. >> reporter: atlanta is canceling its annual new year's celebration, the peach drop. in washington, d.c., the smithsonian temporarily shutting down five of its museums. another thousand flights canceled today with airlines still crippled by staffing shortages. jetblue announcing they're canceling nearly 1300 flights through the middle of january. testing lines are still stunningly long. the pressure only rising for hospitals across the country. ten states and washington, d.c. are seeing some of the highest hospitalization numbers of the pandemic. in georgia six major health systems report collectively seeing a 100 to 200% increase in covid-19 hospitalizations. unvaccinated adults remain the
most likely to be hospitalized but pediatric hospital admissions for covid are now at a record high. >> the vast majority of the children being admitted are unvaccinated. there are small numbers who are vaccinated but the vast majority are unvaccinated. and so being unvaccinated increases your risk for hospitalization significantly. >> reporter: 12 to 15-year-olds could become eligible for a booster shot as soon as next week if the fda signs off according to a person familiar with the agency's plan. that's the same time many students will be heading back to the classroom after the holidays and amid a surge the likes of which we've never seen. princeton university already announcing they're pushing back their return to campus by one week. and, poppy, as we talk about all these delays and cancellations here is another one to consider. the cdc is now advising people not to take cruises, regardless of their vaccination status. they are raising the risk level of cruises up to level four. that is the highest level.
they are citing more cases aboard ships since the initial detection of the omicron variant. poppy? >> alexander field in new york. thank you so much. outfront now the director of the university minnesota center for infectious disease research and policy, also served on president biden's covid-19 advisory board. and the chief of the infectious diseases division at children's national hospital in west virginia, thank you so much and, professor, let me start with you. when you see numbers like this, you see hospitalizations like this, sick outs, critical workers, how worried are you that the country could be days or weeks away from not having essential services like health care or law enforcement staffed and operating properly? >> well, it is going to happen. it is not a matter of if. it is just a matter of how bad it gets. we know over the next five to six weeks we'll continue to see transmission of this virus throughout this country much like a viral blizzard.
and with that, we are going to see a perfect storm in our health care settings where even if 10% to 20% of the health care providers are sick with the virus, whether it's mild or nonmild illness, it means they're still not there. and there's 9.8 million doctors, nurses, and technicians in this country working in our hospitals. if we lose 10% of those 90,000 or if we lose, you know, even 150,000, we could see major challenges trying to at the same time provide care to the increasing hospitalation population. >> doctor, just 14% of children ages 5 to 11 in your state are vaccinated. you just heard more children than of are are in the hospital right now with covid. what is happening in your hospital? >> here as you know in washington, d.c. where children's national is located we are in the top zone of cases per hundred thousand right now. it is swarming our population.
there are many, many cases. if we look at our rates of positivity in d.c. in our personal lab we're getting 41, 42% positive of all of our tests. that is four times higher than we had in any of our prior three waves where we would peak out around 12 or 13%. this is a much, much more contagious virus. i know everyone has heard that. we're talking a significant difference. we've been taking care of these children now for almost two years and this is palpably different. we also see that reflected in the number of children that are admitted to our hospital. that means they come in for care and have to stay because they need support. we used to have in our prior waves up to about 20 kids in the hospital on any given day. today we hit 48, which is a new high. and each day it's gone up. we have not hit a point where it's slowing down. and we've had already a thousand children that have been admitted to children's national here in d.c. over the period of this pandemic. about one-third of them have needed intensive care. it is really important for
people to know that this has always affected children throughout the pandemic but what we're seeing now is that because it's so much more contagious and because young children are not vaccinated, they are disproportionately being affected. >> right. >> by this surge. >> let me just follow up on that because i'm the mother of a 5-year-old who is fully vaccinated and a 3-year-old who can't be vaccinated yet and waiting and waiting like so many parents and it sounds like it's not going to be until at the earliest the second quarter of 2022 until a vaccine is approved for those under 5. is that right? >> well, the kids that are 5 to 11 as you know were approved in november. and we still only have 14% of them. we've got 85% of a very large part of the problem that could be vaccinated. that is the first point i'd make. the second is that in this vaccine studies which our sent hearse been part of with many other children's hospitals the
dose that was chosen was of course to try to find a dose that is very efficacious but minimizes side effects. that smaller dose worked fine in the children that were under 2. it's the 2 to 5 group we think may need an additional dose. that is being studied and that is the reason for the delay. there is not a delay because the study hasn't been done or because there are any problems with the vaccine. i think the cdc and fda will be looking at all the data accumulating now about the rate of hospitalization in these younger kids and making decisions about the timelines for these additional studies. >> professor, israel just approved a fourth dose of the vaccine for people with weakened immune systems. ontario, canada offering a fourth dose. what do you think about the united states? >> again, i think -- >> sure -- i'm sorry. go ahead. >> go ahead, mike. >> looking at the data here, we are basically at this point in a situation where i suspect that it will be considered at the very near term.
and i think just as the third dose which was called a booster which is i believe a three dose prime vaccine is now standard is possible for at least immune compromised and older individuals. the same could happen with dose four. >> we'll be watching very closely. thank you both for being on. we'll be right back. with pronamel repair toothpaste, we can help actively repair enamel in its weakened state. it's innovative. my go to toothpaste is going to be pronamel repair. my family's been devastated by covid-19. and we're not alone. we've all had to find new ways to keep going. and cue has made that easier.
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breaking news, president biden just wrapping up a 50-minute phone call with russian president vladimir putin. the white house says biden made it clear the u.s. and its allies would, quote, respond decisively if russia further invaded ukraine. this is the second time the two leaders have spoken in just over three weeks. what do we know about the call? >> reporter: well, listen, poppy, senior administration officials have made clear the tone of this conversation between these two leaders was, quote, serious and substantive and they also said that the president urged vladimir putin to de-escalate the situation in ukraine. ultimately what president biden was aiming to do today was once again make clear to vladimir putin what the consequences will be if indeed he decides to move forward with an invasion of ukraine making clear that on one side of the equation if he moves to invade there are severe economic consequences. there will be a stepped up nato presence at russia's door step
in some of the former eastern soviet countries and if the russian president chooses diplomacy there will be a meaningful diplomatic engagement from the united states beginning on january 10th with those conversations scheduled between the u.s. and russian officials. one thing a senior administration official said they did not come away with after this call was a clear he sense of vladimir putin's intentions. instead of focusing on his words, this official told us that the u.s.'s focus on actions by the russian government and on continuing to monitor those deployments of russian troops and the movements of those troops, that is why we see in the u.s. step up those u.s. surveillance missions over the last two days, flying two spy planes in just a matter of several days over eastern ukraine to get a better sense of russia's intentions. poppy? >> okay, jeremy diamond, thank you so much. let's talk more about these developments. i'll bring in the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for russia, ukraine, and eurasia during the obama administration. steve hall is also here former
cia chief of russia operations. and our cnn national security analyst. thank you both. two calls in a month between these two leaders. putin requested this call. what does it tell you? >> poppy, i'm a little unsettled by the fact that putin requested this call. i mean, obviously president biden had to accept it's the right thing to do. he said he is putting diplomacy first and if the russian president wants to talk what's better than -- it is better than the alternative. i feel putin was probably at the minimum taking a measure of president biden and the u.s. resolve to counter putin to provide assistance to the ukrainian military should ukraine be reinvaded -- invaded again and also, of course, take measure of our resolve on sanctions at a minimum i said. in addition to that putin could have had other tricks up his sleeve. we don't know whether he made
additional demand which could have been like ultimatums a the united states, or if he used -- if he can use something out of the call as pretext for invasion. >> steve, how do you think biden is handling putin so far? >> you know, poppy, i think pretty well so far. that is an important thing because there are a lot of presidents and it doesn't really matter what party they are associated with who come in and say i'm the new guy and i understand better than anybody else so i can pull this off but i think biden understands better perhaps because of his previous experience. in the not too distant past russia led by vladimir putin invaded ukraine and annexed a big chunk of it. took it and made it part of russia. now you got vladimir putin coming to the west or coming to the president of the united states and saying, hey, i'm really concerned that you guys are building up troops and nato is expanding eastward. >> right. >> it's just stunning that they are doing that when they are really the basis of the problem here. >> when the shoe is on the other
foot, right? >> you know so importantly this is bigger than russia. >> right. >> this is about a threat to the international order. >> exactly, poppy. so americans watching on tv tonight thinking, why should i care whether russia invades ukraine again, it's not really our business. but it is because we set up a whole system after world war ii, an international order that said you can't change boundaries with military force. and that countries have the right to choose their own governments. it hasn't been a perfect system but has worked to make sure you don't have large countries, large powers like the united states and russia fighting each other. if russia succeeds in ukraine, vladimir putin will try to have his way in other parts of the former soviet union and other parts include three nato countries -- the baltic countries. in addition to that, he'll also
try to extend his influence over poland and the former kind of eastern bloc. that will be very dangerous because we have an alliance obligation to defend those countries. >> right. >> again, vladimir putin won't stop with that either because he sees the united states as a threat. he doesn't want democracy as an alternative for the russian people. >> steve, according to the kremlin, putin told biden sanctions against russia would be a, quote, colossal mistake. is this a threat the u.s. should be wary of? >> no, not at all. i mean, it is a good thing that vladimir putin says something that, you know, sanctions -- more sanctions would be terrible because it is a sign they are having some effect. now, there is a lot of debate as to how much effect they are actually having and whether putin just foists that on the russian people which he absolutely does but nevertheless i'm sure he would be happy to get rid of them. but evelyn has it exactly right. this is a big deal. a lot of people think would we actually go to war or would the
west or nato go to war with russia over ukraine, which is, you know, difficult for many people to find on the map. it is not a central place. yet, it is critically important because if russia gets away with this it is going to continue. >> right. >> that is a serious problem, yes. >> you make another really interesting point that you think biden and the whole team frankly have to think hard about what the administration can offer putin as a face saving way out. what is an example of what that could be? >> it takes a lot of creativity. first on arms control the russians have a proud history in this area going back to the soviet times and they continue to be helpful in cases like the iran nuclear deal. so there might be ways we can kind of go back to where we were before or improve on arms control, nuclear or conventional. the other thing is to think maybe outside the box. maybe there is something we can
offer russia in exchange for standing down in the area of climate cooperation, some cleanup or something that would actually help the globe where we wouldn't be forfeiting our values and our interests but we could give russia something. >> evelyn farkas thank you and steve hall great to have both your minds on a day like this. thanks very much. outfront next a new filing from the january 6 committee telling the supreme court that they need trump's white house documents. how will the court respond? in just over 24 hours the expanded child tax credit expires and democrats are still at odds over a key piece of legislation that could bring it back.
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president's interests in confidentiality. and the biden administration's lawyers arguing, quote, allowing a former president to over ride the decisions of an incumbent president would be an extraordinary intrusion into the latter's ability to discharge his constitutional responsibilities. some of the documents in dispute are from the day of the insurrection. white house visitors' logs, call logs, as well as handwritten notes from former chief of staff mark meadows. i want to bring in our cnn legal analyst. you've gone through these new filings. how strong are the arguments? >> poppy, the stakes here are enormous. that said, it doesn't mean this is a close case. this is really a legal blow out in favor of the committee against donald trump. we've already had rulings in favor of the committee from the federal district court and unanimous three judge panel on the court of appeals. the arguments that got made in this today's belief were the same ones that won below. first on executive privilege the argument from the committee is we have congress and the current
president who agree no executive privilege here. the former president has no basis in this case to overturn that. then the second big issue is this question of legitimate, legislative purpose. the committee says look. we're congress. we know whether we have a legitimate legislative purpose. we are looking at changing various laws. trump doesn't have any comeback other than we don't believe them. we think they have bad motives. that is not going to carry the day legally. a couple other interesting points about the new brief the committee confirmed they will be holding public hearings this year, confirmed they'll be issuing a report and show clearly they understand they are on the clock and only have a year to get this done. >> right. that was interesting i thought as well. trump's lawyers filed the new brief just yesterday citing an interview that the chair of the january 6 committee bennie thompson gave to "the washington post." where he said, quote, dereliction of duty causes us real concern and one of those
concerns is that whether or not it was intentional and whether or not the lack of attention for the longer period of time would warrant a referral. he is talking about a criminal referral to the department of justice, which is what trump's lawyers are saying, oh, they're just trying to do that. they have no legislative purpose to do that but doesn't that ignore the fact you can find something that may be criminal referred to doj while also doing legislative business? >> exactly. donald trump's argument here is they have bad motives. they're not really looking to examine legislation or pass new laws. what they are really trying to do is kwausi prosecute me and investigate me and send it to the justice department. it is not necessarily one or the other. it could be they are looking at changing and revising laws. if in the course of that congress discovers evidence a
potential crime they should send that to the justice department. it is not quite as simple as the either/or argument trump is making. it is much more of a political argument than a legal or logical one >> i am really interested in what you think. do you think this court is going to grant cert and take up the president's case? they would be exploring and creating precedent in a place they haven't yet for an ex-president and how much executive power or privilege do they have or not. at the same time the appellate court was really clear and unanimous in their decision to say no to trump you've got to give the documents. >> it is such a difficult and interesting decision coming up for the supreme court. if i had to guess i would guess they will not take it and here is why. on the one hand the reason they should take it and poppy you are learning this i know now in your law classes is this is an unprecedented constitutional issue. that is what the supreme court is there for. on the other hand let's look practically. we don't have a circuit split
with different areas of the country deciding this issue differently from one another. and these opinions are really not controversial. they're pretty air tight. i don't think the supreme court is going to look at what the court of appeals did and say okay. we have to step in and fix that. if i had to guess i'd say the supreme court leaves it alone. >> so interesting. elie, thank you very much. outfront next the chilling words of a gunman accused of killing five people. the books he wrote about murdering people with the same names as some of his real life victims. president biden's agenda still hanging in the balance as the year comes to a close. one senator says january is make or brake. he is my guest next. plus, this weekend do not miss an incredible new cnn film about james taylor and carole king's reunion concert tour. >> friends, collaborators, legends. their music shaped a generation. they came together for the tour of a lifetime. ♪ and it's too late baby now
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tonight the expanded child tax credit a major democratic party priority expires tomorrow morning. because democrats are still at a stand still, former president biden's roughly $2 trillion build back better legislation. outfront now, senator, good evening. happy new year. thank you for joining me. >> poppy, great to be with you. >> you said recently january is, quote, make or break for build back better's passage in congress. do you think the bill is going anywhere as it is or do you think it needs to be broken up as some of your colleagues suggested? >> well, i think major pieces of it are going to get enacted into law. it is not going to look exactly like the bill that came out of the house but will include really important provisions to cut the cost of prescription
drugs, child care, help relieve the squeeze on family budgets, and something many of us have been fighting for for a very long time which is to expand opportunities through universal early education. and then president biden's efforts on climate, fighting climate and dealing with the climate crisis. and there will be other provisions as well. so it won't be identical to the house bill but it will include those major provisions >> i am hearing you say it is going to be broken up and is going to be a little smaller at least. >> it is going to be somewhat smaller than the house bill. i don't know what you mean by broken up. but there will be some things that drop out. >> yes. taken out. >> major initiatives. some -- a lot of the key initiatives will continue. i think we'll get those over the finish line. >> speaking to my colleague phil mattingly you made it seem or indicated that holdout democratic senator joe manchin is maybe more open to changing
his position to supporting the bill noting his support for many of the big pieces. have you personally spoken with senator joe manchin and gotten that indication? >> only joe manchin can speak for himselves. he has been part of our caucus conversations and the last time on a caucus conversation my understanding is he is willing to move forward on some big pieces. he has also indicated his opposition to some of the pieces that came out of the house. but i did sense that there is agreement that we should move forward. and adopt as much as we can that we should not make the perfect be the enemy of the good. >> as a member of the foreign relations committee i want to turn topics and ask you about the phone call that just happened today between president biden and vladimir putin. you've been very supportive of sanctions and increased sanctions against russia to deter its behavior. putin is warning now his words that any new sanctions against russia would be, quote, a colossal mistake that could lead to a complete breakdown in
relations with the united states. what do you think when you hear that? >> well, i think it is an indication that putin is worried that we're going to apply very punishing sanctions as we should if putin takes any further action against ukraine. i think president biden has handled this exactly right. as soon as we saw russia was amassing more forces near the ukrainian border president biden reached out to our allies and came up with a plan where we said to putin in advance if you take further actions against ukraine, you are going to face very punishing sanctions. not pin prick sanctions but very serious sanctions on your economy and you have to de-escalate. in today's phone call it was clear that president biden, you know, indicated there were two paths. one is deescalation and then
diplomacy in early january. the other path is, you know, would be serious punishing sanctions placed on russia. >> cnn recently reported that maryland's two-term governor republican larry hogan is now actually entertaining stepped up republican efforts to consider running for your senate seat if he were to win the primary. one democratic state senator telling cnn that race, quote, would be pretty competitive. you have reportedly told people privately, quote, i'm running as if he's in. is that true? >> well, poppy, i'm very focused on all the issues we've been talking about. i will be prepared for whoever mitch mcconnell and republicans in washington recruit to run for the senate seat. but in the meantime, i'm continuing to focus on things like trying to cut the cost of prescription drugs, cut the cost of child care, deal with these
other pressing issues. >> i hear you but you can do a lot of things at once. i'm smiling because what i asked you is are you running as if he is in? >> i'm running against -- i'm assuming they'll throw everything they can at me, poppy. mitch mcconnell as you know well spends 24 hours a day thinking about how he is going to win that one extra seat in the united states senate so he can win back the gavel. i expect mitch mcconnell to throw everything they can at this maryland seat and i will be fully prepared. >> haven't we seen how powerful one seat is. senator van hollen, thanks very much. again, best wishes for the new year. >> you, too. happy new year to you. outfront next a suspected gunman wrote under a fake name about killing people in chilling detail even using the real names of some of the people that he went on target. were those warning signs just missed? and a baby dies days after her first birthday party.
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experience the power of sanctuary at the lincoln wish list event. tonight chilling new details in a colorado shooting rampage, a suspect killing five people in five different locations on monday. he foreshadowed it all. natasha chen is outfront. >> just a shock to everybody. >> reporter: alfredo cardenas lost his daughter in a denver area shooting rampage that left five people dead across four locations on monday night. it was a shock to families of victims. but clues were left out in the open for anyone who might have seen a series of books the suspect lyndon mcleod had self-published. his books, websites, social media accounts contained extreme views about guns, violence. what he saw as a decline of masculinity, the role of women, and living off the grid.
one book even mentioned a character killing a woman by the same name as cardenas' daughter alysiah. >> she had friends all over the world. she literally has gone all over the world. >> reporter: alicia owned the denver tatoo shop where the shooting began. she was killed. a friend and former colleague said alyssa maldonado was also killed. she was killed but her husband survived. he went to east downtown where he shot and killed a man named michael swinyard. this location and name also came up in the suspect's writings. in one book a character by the same name as the suspect lyndon mcleod dressed in police cleething and went to the same location to, quote, execute michael for his betrayal and take everyone's cash according to a building memo sent to condo residents the shooter arrived at the building impersonating a police officer. police say they tried to pull him over. >> the officers stopped their vehicle and the offender tried
around and began firing at the officers. >> reporter: a different agency in the nearby suburb of lakewood was then called to another tatoo parlor where they say the suspect shot and killed danny scofield. he went to a hotel in a shopping district and shot and killed a clerk sarah steck all before a shootout with lakewood agent ashley ferris who killed the suspect despite being injured herself. >> she was able to not only save others from this terrible tragedy but also neutralize the threat. and i can't say enough about the courage and bravery shown. >> reporter: it is not clear if police had known about mcleod's writings but the suspect was on their radar. >> there was two investigations one taking place in mid 2021, in early 2021. that's all part of this ongoing investigation and it would not be responsible for us to share those details.
>> reporter: we're told no charges were ever filed related to those investigations. what we do know about mcleod's background is he was registered with a business called flat black ink corps now delinquent whose former location was one of the places he went to on monday night. police say he didn't injure anyone there but did set a van on fire in an alley near the spot, poppy. >> natasha chen, thank you very much for the reporting. just tragic all around. outfront next a grieving father caught in the middle of a controversial strategy over shaken baby syndrome. was his little girl's death a homicide or not? #
narrator: on a faraway beach, the generation called "our greatest" saved the world from tyranny. in an office we know as "oval," a new-generation president faced down an imminent threat of nuclear war. on a bridge in selma, alabama, the preacher of his time marched us straight to passing voting rights for every american. at a gate in west berlin, a late-generation american president demanded an enemy superpower tear down a wall and liberate a continent. american generations answering the call of their time with american ideals. freedom. liberty. justice. for today's generation of leaders, the call has come again to protect our freedom to vote, to fortify our democracy by passing the freedom to vote act and the john lewis voting rights act because america - john lewis: we are not going back, we are going forward.
this is elodia. she's a recording artist. 1 of 10 million people that comcast has connected to affordable internet in the last 10 years. and this is emmanuel, a future recording artist, and one of the millions of students we're connecting throughout the next 10. through projectup, comcast is committing $1 billion so millions more students, past... and present, can continue to get the tools they need to build a future of unlimited possibilities. a baby girl dies four days after her first birthday party. her nanny charged with murder after a pediatrician found signs
of shaken baby syndrome, dr. sanjay gupta has this story and spoke with aaron about his years' long investigation into a strategy invading courtrooms across america. >> relatives from around the world gathered in boston to celebrate remma's first year of life. >> both of our parents were here. siblings were here. everything seemed right with the world. >> yet two days later, after her parents left for work, a cascading nightmare for remma began unfolding at home. discovered just as her mother returned. >> i remember walking into the doorway of my apartment building and looking up and hearing ash say, something's wrong. we can't wake remma up. and you know, her eyes were closed and she was jerking. and she was breathing, but she
was struggling. then it was just a rush of memories. there were just policemen in the room and there were crouching by her, and someone -- >> paramedics. >> paramedics, fire department. someone said it's her birthday. someone said oh, my god. >> this was done shortly after she arrived in the hospital. >> in a normal brain, there are hills and valleys. in remma's scans, you can see they are lost. so much swelling, so much damage. right away, her doctor suspected abusive head trauma. you've probably heard it called shaken baby syndrome. here's what doctors think happens. it may be hard to watch. weak necks and large heads make infants especially vulnerable when violently shaken. veins on top of the brain tear. nerves deep in the brain sever. and destruction to the brain stem can stop breathing. leading to irreversible damage, even death, often without any external signs of trauma. >> although remma did have quite
a terrible bruise -- >> child abuse pediatrician dr. alice newton handled remma's case. she showed me remma's cat scan and mri. >> brain was hearniating or swelling so much. >> no room in the skull. >> remma never woke up. she died two days later. >> is this child abuse? >> this is child abuse. >> boston medical examiner, dr. catherine lindstrom, agreed. she found remma died of complications of blunt force head injuries. she said it was quite simply a homicide. remma's irish nanny, who said she had been with remma all day, was arrested and charged with murder and assault and battery on a child. she pled not guilty to all. the tragic tale made international headlines, with the media frenzy not seen since british nanny louise woodward's case catapulted boston and shaken baby syndrome into had
spotlight over 20 years ago jrb just before the trial was to begin, the medical examiner suddenly changed her mind. remma's death was no longer a homicide. charges against mccarthy were dropped, proclaiming her innocence, she immediately left for ireland. we reached out to her through lawyers, her family, even her priest. with no response. and just like that, remma sabir became the touch point of an emotional and controversial debate that pits doctor against doctor. >> there were nine different medical defense experts who wrote varying opinions about why this child didn't die of abuse. when i heard that those were shared with the medical examiner, i felt as if she was being asked to play the role of the judge and the jury. >> cnn obtained the documents given to the medical examiner, including the nine defense reports that at the time, she said, helped change her mind. specifically lindstrom said she
was presented with enough evidence that the bleeding in remma's brain could have been related to an accidental injury in a child with a bleeding risk. >> we came over here to the medical examiner's office to try to better understand why they changed baby remma's diagnosis from homicide to undetermined. but they refused our request for an interview. but in an email statement, they said that if examiners get additional information that is relevant, they factor it into their analysis, which in some cases results in a change in their original opinion. dr. michael goingman was remma's pediatrician. >> this bady did not have a bleeding disorder. >> did not. >> did not. >> there was no reason to be suspicious in terms of her health? >> absolutely not. >> it wasn't just bleeding. the defense witnesses had listed dozens of unusual diseases as possible explanations for what happened to remma. >> i'm going to read you a few of these things that's came up
from the defense. ifthies don't apply, say no. >> hyperig syndrome? >> no. i vitamin d deficiency? >> no. >> middle ear infection? >> no. >> an inflammatory infection? >> no. >> these are all theories. by doctors, by specialists who did not actually care for remma. >> not only by doctors who did not care for her, but by doctors who routinely testify for defense attorneys who routinely provide these alternate explanations in many different settings. >> one of those was british neuropathology squire. she doesn't believe shaken baby syndrome even exists. >> when i started to read into it and to read the literature, i was appalled. it has no scientific basis at all. >> to investigate whether that claim was true, cnn gathered leaders in the field of child abuse who spent years examining and researching abusive head trauma. has there been a backlash at all towards mainstream thinking on
this? >> the scientific literature has become increasingly clear in helping us to distinguish which infants may have been abused and those that may not. >> yet, this small group of defense witnesses have had an outsized impact on shaken baby cases across the country. even the late supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg referenced their stance in a 2011 dissenting opinion on a shaken baby case in which she wrote, doubt has increased in the medical community over whether infants can be fatally injured through shaking alone. >> our courtrooms are being hijacked. that's a big story. a story i think people need to know. >> remma's buried right over here. >> it's a story that samir and neda, remma's parents, want the world to know, before another child falls victim. >> you get caught up in the science and the legal system and all of these other things, but people need to realize that this is what happened. this is the result of shaking a
child. >> remma did not have her day in court. she didn't have her chance at justice. >> and sanjay joins me now. sanjay, it's incredibly powerful reporting, really upsetting. i'm seeing that beautiful child. what has happened in this case since mccarthy, the nanny, left for ireland? >> well, you know, samir and nada, the parents of rehma, they won a wrongful death lawsuit against mccarthy back in 2016. and they told me that the reason they filed that lawsuit was they did not want mccarthy, the nanny, to profit off of rehma's story, to do a book or movie or something like that. mccarthy defaulted on the case by not responding, but she has said to the media in the past that she maintains her innocence. she still grieved for rehma.
the nine defense witnesses you met there, who were responsible in part for sort of reversing what had happened with the case, they told cnn they continue to stand behind their opinions. they don't change their opinions at all. and rehma, she would have been 10, erin, this past january. >> yeah, as i said, really hard to watch her parents talking about that story. so you know, when you became aware of this, how often is this happening that you're seeing this happen in the court system? >> well, the way that i became aware of it was because child abuse experts and people in the world of pediatric neurology and neurosurgery were coming to me saying this was happening more and more. and judges all over the country, they are asking -- they're being asked to review cases even from the past over and over again. they're saying, should we go ahead and put these through another trial again, if you can imagine that, erin. just the emotional impact of that cases that have been
decided, families that have moved on and judges then asked to review the evidence once again. >> wow. all right, sanjay, thank you so much. >> thank you. so important, of course, for everyone and for all of us parents. and i encourage all of you, please, go to cnn.com, also watch sanjay's report and to read the powerful three-part series called justice for rehma. >> ac 360 starts now. back to school meets peak pandemic as millions get ready for better or worse to ring in the new year. jim acosta in for anderson. that's what lies in store in the coming days as covid infections keep climbing. to give you an idea of how quickly, when we left you last night, there seven-day average was approaching 300,000, just four hours, it's close to