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J&J Vaccine Set For Emergency Use Authorization And Roll Out; Three Quarters Of All Vaccine Doses Are Being Held By Ten Wealthiest Countries; Safety Review Ordered Of Road At Tiger Woods' Accident Scene; Capitol Rioter To Give "Alternative Reality" Defense In Court; Private Jets Used By Khashoggi's Hit Team Owned By Saudi Crown Prince; Australian Law Forces Facebook and Google to Pay for News; Biden Orders Review of Supply Chain for Critical Items; U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Expected to Remain High; Trump Family, Associates under Investigation; Beavers as "Ecosystem Engineers"; Viral Creators Let Viewers Control Gun-Wielding Robot Dog. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired February 25, 2021 - 01:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Welcome to another hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Hello, everyone, I'm John Vause.

Coming up here.

The single-dose COVID vaccine that could really be the game changer. Now set for emergency authorization in the U.S.

The long and winding road where Tiger Woods crashed his SUV is now under a safety review after new details of multiple accidents over the last year.

A win-win say Australia and Facebook. But the social media giant really did get significant concessions over the new law asking social media companies to pay for news content. So was this really a win all round?

After so many false dawns, so many false claims of turning the corner from the most senior of elected officials in the U.S., that moment may soon be here for real.

The tide began turning it seems when distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines began in December. And now, add into the mix, a third vaccine.

A panel of experts which advises the Food & Drug Administration has revised (ph) data from Johnson & Johnson and found their vaccine appears to be safe and effective. It also meets the criteria for emergency use authorization and could receive the go ahead within days.

The one shot and done vaccine protects against severe cases as well as asymptomatic affections which means chances of transmission are greatly reduced. This comes as the daily pandemic death toll in the U.S. has fallen


This month alone the seven-day average down by more than a third, hospital admissions down by more than half. Daily cases also falling by almost 60 percent.

And notably, the CDC has lowered its death toll projection for the coming weeks.

More now from CNN's Alexandra Field.


ALEXANDRA FIELDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A third vaccine could be available to Americans as soon as next week.

JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: If authorized, we are ready to roll out this vaccine without delay.

FIELDS: The Biden Administration preparing to ship three to four million doses of Johnson & Johnson's single dose vaccine, which is likely to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA later this week.

The agency today releasing data showing Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is safe and more than 66 percent effective.

DR. ONI BLACKSTOCK, PRIMARY CARE & HIV PHYSICIAN: I think it'll get us to where we need to be in terms of having most of the public vaccinated hopefully by the summer or early fall.

FIELDS: The federal government also unveiling a new plan to send out 25 million masks to people who need them most.

ZIENTS: In the month of March, we will begin to deliver millions of masks to food banks and community health centers around the country. Many low-income Americans still lack affordable access to this basic protection.

FIELDS: This as weeks of the cut lines in COVID cases continue across the country but not as steeply and not enough to eliminate concerns new variants could cause another surge.

TREVOR BEDFORD, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: It could result in more of a wave in say, April or May, than we would've expected otherwise.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND FORMER DETROIT HEALTH DIRECTOR: We are in an arms race between the virus and our ability to vaccinate and shut down the avenues that it has to continue to evolve.

FIELDS: Weekly shipments of vaccines are getting another increase.

ZIENTS: We've nearly doubled weekly supply of doses in just five weeks. FIELDS: States are now set to receive a total of 14.5 million doses

this week, with another 2.1 million doses going directly to pharmacies around the country.

Today, Texas launches its biggest vaccination effort yet. A new FEMA super site in Houston capable of serving as many as 6,000 people a day.

And New York City is opening two of its largest sites. Governor Andrew Cuomo says both aim toward more equitable vaccine distribution.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-N.Y.): COVID preyed on the health disparities and the comorbidities that were existing in communities that didn't have enough health care service in the first place. Because it showed the underlying injustice in society.

FIELDS: New analysis suggests that more nuanced allocation of vaccines targeting more specific vulnerable groups could help states save thousands of lives.

BLACKSTOCK: The disproportionate toll of the pandemic on black Americans as well as the effects of structural racism call for Black Americans to have a lower vaccine cut off. Because often we are getting underlying conditions at much earlier ages than our white American counterparts.

FIELDS (On Camera): And the likelihood of a third vaccine now fueling hope, certainly, but a fourth vaccine may not be too far off in terms of hitting the market here in the U.S.

Drug maker AstraZeneca hoping that their vaccine will also eventually receive an emergency use authorization from the FDA.


They say they would have as many as 50 million doses ready to go by the end of April.

FIELDS (On Camera): In Brooklyn, Alexandra Fields, CNN.


VAUSE: Earlier I spoke with CNN medical analyst, Dr. Celine Gounder, about the worldwide impact from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is really remarkable in that just like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, in clinical trials it has been shown to be 100 percent effective in preventing hospitalization and death from COVID once you wait a 28-day period after vaccination.

And that 28-day period is important because no vaccine is going to take effect instantaneously, it does take time for your immune system to see the vaccine, to respond to it and to develop on immune response. But after that 28 day post-vaccination, it is a highly effective vaccine, 100 percent effective against hospitalizations and death.

And where it's an advance over the prior vaccines is that this is a vaccine that does not require ultra-cold storage, and you only need one dose.

And so this makes it much easier to scale up and deliver around the world.

VAUSE: Well, there are now, what, about a dozen vaccines in use globally. So if someone has a choice, say for example, if say here's the Pfizer vaccine which uses the new mRNA genetic code technology or hey, here's the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is kind of old school. All things being equal, what would you advise them to take?

GOUNDER: My number one message to viewers would be the vaccine that's for you is the vaccine that's available to you first. Whatever you can get your --

VAUSE: What if they both come at the same time?

GOUNDER: Whatever you can get on your hands on first, honestly, is the best vaccine for you.

I think there are some very slight differences. There are certain people who may have had allergic reactions to some of the components, the polyethylene glycol, in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines so maybe that's not an option for them, but that is a very rare circumstance.

So for the vast majority of people, really, it is whatever you can get your hands on first.


VAUSE: The first vaccine from the WHO's COVAX program have now been delivered. 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Ghana on Wednesday.

The COVAX program is aiming to distribute billions of doses of COVID vaccines to poorer countries at no charge.

But with high demand for COVAX aid, two billion doses which is the goal, will only cover up to 20 percent of the population of the countries eligible for assistance.

With us this hour from Durham, North Carolina, is Dr. Gavin Yamey, professor of global health and public policy at Duke University.

Doctor Yamey, welcome back.


VAUSE: OK. Well, some vaccine, I guess, is better than no vaccine. This shipment to Ghana will cover about 20 percent of the population. What happens to the other 80 percent?

YAMEY: Well, first can I say it's obviously fantastic news that the first doses from the global vaccine facility, COVAX, are now shipping and, as you said, have arrived in Ghana.

The idea behind this global mechanism is that it should be able to vaccinate 15 to 20 percent of people in every country and that should be enough to cover health workers and the highest risk people first.

And that's the priority, should be the priority everywhere. It's certainly the priority here in the U.S., as you know. We're vaccinating health workers and the highest risk people first.

Then as the supply expands over the year and into the new year, obviously the facility hopes to be able to vaccinate more and more people.

But vaccinating health workers and the highest risk people first everywhere is the right approach.

VAUSE: Absolutely. And there are a lot of countries, though, which are in need and meet the COVAX criteria and the shipments are arriving in Africa. At the same time there is this new study which says the virus has spread much further than first believed.

For example -- "At least one in five people in Lagos, Nigeria could have contracted the coronavirus by October last year." That's -- "an infection rate far higher than one reported through the national surveillance system."

So now this there is this overwhelming demand for a vaccine which is in short supply in poorer countries, where the coronavirus is actually much worse than official numbers suggest.

YAMEY: So here is the problem. Three-quarters of all the doses of COVID-19 vaccines have gone to just 10 rich countries. Rich nations have been hoarding the supply and that's got to change.

Now, of course, I'm delighted that people in rich countries are getting vaccinated. In Britain, my parents who are at high risk from their age, my sister who's a health worker treating people with COVID- 19, they've been vaccinated. That's fantastic, I can sleep much better at night knowing that they've been protected.


But if we continue to hoard, in the rich world, it's not just unfair and unjust, it's terrible for the local public health because an outbreak anywhere can become an outbreak everywhere.

And, as we know from what we've seen in Brazil, in South Africa, in England when there is uncontrolled viral transmission you increase the chances of a variant of concern, a variant that may be more transmissible, may even potentially be more deadly.

So it makes no sense, from a health point of view, from an equity point of view, to hoard doses.

And the last thing I will say is, it's also terrible economically. One study has shown that in the worst-case scenario the most selfish scenario, if you like, in which rich nations are largely vaccinated by the summer and poor nations are left behind, the global economic loss could be nine trillion dollars.

And get this, half, half, of those costs would be borne by rich nations. Our exports would be down, we wouldn't be able to get machine parts because of supply chain disruptions.

So there is a situation where your health is my health, your economic well-being is my economic well-being. We're all interconnected. And it's time for us to urgently find solutions so that we get global vaccine herd immunity.

VAUSE: Let's just take a look at the map. Because the disparity of vaccines that are being rolled out across the world is stark when you look at it in terms of this.

So if you look at the dark colors here, that's obviously the United States where the vaccine is being rolled out at great numbers and then the lighter colors then there are places where not one single dose of vaccine has been given to one single person.

YAMEY: That's right.

VAUSE: You talk about the moral argument and the self interest argument. But how do you get this across to places like the United States where the Biden Administration --


VAUSE: -- is boasting about securing more and more supplies of vaccine?

YAMEY: So look, I am a realist, I understand the politics of this. But I would say what's really interesting is if you look at public polling in rich nations.

Overwhelmingly, the public wants to see more international cooperation. And a poll in Britain last week found that 60 percent of the public wants doses to go to lower, middle income countries as well. They don't want rich nations to hoard.

And so I think that political leaders in rich nations should be really telling the story to their citizens of why it's so important to share.

And I think that once you've vaccinated the highest risk people, your health workers, that's when you can start to share.

Now look, Norway is doing it. Norway has said that as it starts vaccinating its own citizens it will start donating doses at the same time to COVAX. And so that just shows that it can be done if there's a political will. Other nations have said that they will eventually donate superfluous

doses, Britain has said that. But only after they've vaccinated everybody, and that's not good enough.

Places like Britain and the U.S. and Canada, they've bought enough doses to vaccinate their entire populations four or five times over. That kind of hoarding is -- it's immoral.

VAUSE: Gavin Yamey (pronunciation) , thank you so much -- Yamey -- for being with us, we appreciate it. And it's a Yamen very good point, sir. Something to think about. Thank you, sir.

YAMEY: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: The Los Angeles county sheriff says Tiger Woods appears to have no recollection of the car crash which left him seriously injured.

Officials have now ordered a safety review of a stretch of road where woods rolled his SUV, the scene of 13 accidents in the past few months.

CNN's Nick Watt has more now on the investigation and the latest on the condition of Tiger Woods.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the road Tiger Woods was driving alone early Tuesday morning. He hit that median then the curb, flipped and rolled hundreds of feet.

CARLOS GONZALEZ, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: Mr. Woods wasn't initially reacting to any pain. Unfortunately, I'm sure he's in horrible pain today.

WATT: He suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right leg.

DR. SCOTT BODEN, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: We're assuming that he broke both of those bones somewhere below the knee.

WATT: Open fractures He underwent a long surgical procedure.

BODEN: One of the reasons he probably had emergency surgery was because it was a compound fracture meaning there was a break in the skin, and that means that there's an increased risk of infection.

WATT: His leg was stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia. Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins.

BODEN: For an elite athlete like Tiger, he's got as good a chance from coming back from this as anybody does. And we know never to count Tiger out from a recovery.

WATT: By the end of the day, Woods was awake, responsive, and recovering. Woods was supposed to be filming more content for "Golf TV" and "Golf

Digest" Tuesday teaching celebrities how to play. It was Dwyane Wade Monday.


DWYANE WADE, CELEBRITY: I say the golf (ph). He's not comfortable with it.

WATT: Then this.



UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: He was wearing a seat beat.

VILLANUEVA: Weather is not a factor.

UNKNOWN: The speed limit is 45 miles per hour. When I'm doing speed enforcement, I will sometimes catch people going 80-plus miles per hour.

WATT: No signs of impairment.

VILLANUEVA: He was lucid, no odor of alcohol. No evidence of any medication, narcotics or anything like that.

WATT: It's unknown if Woods was on the phone.

VILLANUEVA: We'll find out on that. I'm sure his phone records might be relevant to that itself. And that's going to be up to the investigators and they will require a search warrant for that.

WATTS: The hill, the turns; this is a known accident black spot. Thirteen accidents on this stretch of road in just the past year and change.

Tiger Woods is not expected to face any charges the county sheriff says. He says we're treating this as an accident and an accident is not a crime.

The real culprit might end up being that road. In fact, a safety review was just ordered on this stretch.

WATT (On Camera): Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles County.


VAUSE: The global outrage may have gone quiet but two big developments are set to put the focus once again on the brutal murder of Saudi dissident, Jamal Khashoggi -- and casting new suspicion on the Saudi crown prince. That's ahead.

Also, the leader of a right-wing group which stormed the U.S. Capitol heads to court. We'll look at her "alternate reality" defense. In just a moment.


VAUSE: Ten years since the start of the Syrian civil war and there appears to be accountability and maybe justice for some of the horrendous acts which have become almost routine.

First the first time, a former Syrian officer has been convicted for crimes against reality. He was a member of Bashar al-Assad's security services.

He's been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison by a German court. He's accused of sending at least 30 anti-government protesters to a place where he knew they would be tortured.

A former high-ranking intelligence officer is also standing trial.

A murder the Saudi Kingdom would very much like to forget is making headlines once again, after a new link emerged between the Saudi crown prince and the slain "Washington Post" writer, Jamal Khashoggi.

Documents from a Canadian court case show the private jets used by the hit team that killed him were owned by Mohammed bin Salman.

The assassins brutally murdered Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 and then botched the cover-up. His remains, though, have never been found.

Meantime, the U.S. intelligence community will soon release its report on the killing. There are long-awaited findings that the Trump Administration chose to keep under wraps.

President Biden says he will read the report and will soon speak to the Saudi king.

In the days and weeks after the murder, a deluge of incriminating evidence was released and it was a massive embarrassment to the Kingdom.

Nic Robertson shows us how it all played out.



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It was October of 2018 when Jamal Khashoggi took these fateful steps into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

A Saudi hit team had arrived a few hours ahead of him. The hit team included intelligence officer, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb in charge; forensic doctor, Salah Muhammed A Tubaigy and more than a dozen others, including Mustafa Almadani, the body double who dressed in Khashoggi's clothes, left by the back door laying a false trail.

In reality, Khashoggi had been killed minutes after entering the building. His last words after being attacked, "I can't breathe, I can't breathe," before he was dismembered by Dr. Tubaigy's bone saw.

His remains were believed to be driven off in black vans shortly after from the consulate to the nearby consul general's residence. His girlfriend, waiting outside, raised the alarm.

Turkish authorities listened to audio recordings from the consulate then rushed to the airport questioning members of the hit team about to leave on private jets and searching some of their baggage -- but found nothing and let them leave.

In the following days, the Saudi government denied killing Khashoggi, the counsel general even taking reporters on a hokey tour of the consulate.

Eventually, 16 days later, Saudi authorities finally gave Turkish investigators permission to search the consulate and the consul general's house. There was evidence of a cover-up but no body.

In the coming weeks, local farms were searched, a consular vehicle recovered from an underground car park but still no leads. All questions led back to Saudi where the hit team fled.

Finally, after more than two-and-a-half weeks, Saudi authorities admitted Khashoggi was killed by Saudi officials.

ADEL AL-JUBEIR, SAUDI MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: He was killed in the consulate, we don't know in terms of details how. We don't know where the body is.

ROBERTSON: They called it a rendition gone wrong, an accident, saying local collaborators had the body although they never provided the names or evidence.

Months later, a U.N. investigation finds credible evidence that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could bear responsibility in the killing. The CIA concludes he personally ordered it. Both accusations, the Saudis flatly deny.

In December 2019, Saudi authorities said they had investigated 11 suspects in the murder, eight are found guilty in a closed door trial. Ultimately, they're sentenced to time in prison.

But the most high-profile defendants see their charges dismissed, among them two close confidants of Mohammed bin Salman. Further distancing Saudi's top royal from the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.

ROBERTSON (Voice Over): Nic Robertson, CNN.


VAUSE: The death toll from bloody riots at four prisons and Ecuador have now risen to 79.

Body camera images show police firing tear gas they storm one of the prisons. Rival gangs apparently coordinated simultaneous attacks. All the dead are inmates.

Families have been gathering outside the prisons to find out if loved ones are among the dead.

In Washington the acting U.S. Capitol police chief says her department knew extremists planned to take part in the pro-Trump rally on January 6th. But the agency's intelligence failed to predict the scope of the attack on the Capitol.

CNN's Tom Foreman has more now on the investigation.


UNKNOWN: Well (inaudible) the Capitol, overran the Capitol.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The radical right-wing Oath Keepers celebrated on social media the violent attack against what they falsely called a stolen election.

But if that was a big day for Jessica Watkins from Ohio --

UNKNOWN: We're in the [bleep] Capitol.

FOREMAN: -- so was her day in court. Asking to be set free while awaiting trial.

CNN has now confirmed 27 current or former members of the military are facing charges. An army veteran, Watkins is accused of conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, destroying property, and more.

She denies it all, says she believes she was answering the call of President Trump and providing security for VIPs.

But the main argument from her lawyer, she fell prey to the false and inflammatory claims of the former president, his supporters and the right-wing media. However misguided, her intentions were not in any way related to an intention to overthrow the government but to support what she believed to be the lawful government.

Those claims have not yet been fully argued in court, another hearing is set for later this week.


They're essentially arguing that she was in an alternate reality. Is that a reasonable defense?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In my judgment, it will not be persuasive. Not only was it insurrection but it also was violence in pursuit of a political objective, which is domestic terrorism.

FOREMAN: Others are showing up in court too. Among them, Douglas Jensen of Iowa, the man in the QAnon shirt seen chasing down Officer Eugene Goodman.

William Chrestman associated with the Proud Boys and implicated in alleged conspiracy.

Houston cop, Tam Pham, who resigned from the force and says he went to the Trump rally to see history.

And Pennsylvania policeman, Joseph Fischer, who's been suspended, accused of fighting Capitol police officers. He allegedly told his boss, no regrets.

FOREMAN (On Camera): The courts do not appear to be applying any consistent standard in terms of who goes free and who stays locked up and some decisions that are made are being reversed just a short while later.

In short, the prosecution so far are very messy. And as the actual trials begin, they could get even messier.

FOREMAN (On Camera): Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: The Tokyo Olympic torch relay set to begin a month from now but with new precautions. Torchbearers will need daily health checks for two weeks leading up to the relay and must avoid public activities that would risk infections.

Spectators can attend but -- (inaudible) begins in Fukushima but they have to wear masks, they can't cheer or shout, just clap politely, quietly.

The games are set to begin July 23rd.

Facebook users in Australia can once again share new stories. The compromise agreement between the tech giant and the Australian government over who pays for news content is now being looked at by regulators around the world.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, I'm John Vause.

Well, the standoff between Facebook and the Australian government is over, both sides claiming a win.

Australia's parliament has now passed its media reform law which originally intended to force social media and tech companies to pay publishers for news content.

But Facebook won some big concessions after banning its users from seeing and sharing news stories. Basically, if tech firms now make a contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry, the government has agreed to stay out of it.

Facebook says the revisions will allow control over which publishers make it onto their platform. Rachel Withers is a columnist for the "Monthly Today" and comes to us

live from the sporting capital of Australia, the great city of Melbourne.


OK, Rachel, thanks for being with us. I want you listen to the Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. He's talking about this great big win for Australia, the government forced Facebook to make some really big concessions. Here he is.


JOSH FRYDENBERG, AUSTRALIAN TREASURER: Well, Facebook has re-friended Australia. And Australia News will be restored to the Facebook platform.

And Facebook has committed to entering into good faith negotiations with Australian news media businesses in seeking to reach agreements to pay for content. This follows a series of intensive negotiations with Facebook.


VAUSE: Am I right? When you look at these watered-down revisions it seems that kind of makes -- essentially lets Facebook off the hook. What did Facebook agree to do in Australia that it's not already doing in other countries in terms of paying for content?

Rachel Withers, columnist "The Monthly Today": Yes. Look, it has agreed to at least pay, which is something that it wasn't doing here before. But it certainly isn't a win for the government in terms of what it was initially proposing which was, you know, a as a code (ph) media outlets would negotiate with the big tech firms and they would sort of be on equal footing I think with the big tech platforms.

But ultimately now all Facebook has to do is make a significant contribution. That's how it's worded and then the code won't apply to them.

Now, significant contribution isn't defined, but Facebook has threatened that if the government does decide to apply the code to them, they will -- they can and probably will pull news again.

VAUSE: You know, this is interesting because, I guess a lot of regulators around the world were looking at Australia to see where they were going to go with this media reform law. I think, you know, the Canadian prime minister spoke to the Australian prime minister recently about it.

So I mean is this now a model that they are going to be looking at in places like Europe and other places around the world?

WITHERS: Well, it's certainly something that a lot of different governments have been considering, but Australia's laws were going further than anyone else's in terms of making the platforms pay even if they're just displaying (INAUDIBLE), even if they were shared by an individual rather than a publication official Facebook page.

And so Australia was going further than anyone else, and that's why Facebook went so hard back against Australia's proposal because they didn't want this to be a model for the rest of the world.

VAUSE: Right.

WITHERS: So now they've really shown that they are willing to, you know, take their ball and go home when it comes to being threatened.

VAUSE: Facebook has announced a $1 billion investment in the Australian news industry over the next three years which is just over half of the revenue Facebook made in 2018 from advertising in Australia. Much of that revenue came at the expense of traditional media there.

Is that a bit like feeding bread crumbs to the chooks before the slaughterhouse?

WITHERS: Look, I mean there is debate going on as to whether Facebook actually owes that money back to publishers certainly in the days after news was taken away.

People were having (INAUDIBLE) today over whether Facebook actually owed money back to the publishers. Clearly Facebook's advertising revenue and Google as well, they're dominance of the market has hurt publishers. But whether or not they technically owe their money back to the publishers is I guess an open question.

The government was insisting that they did. And Facebook was insisting that they didn't. And as you mentioned, what they've ended up with is a much lower amount than they were trying to get.

VAUSE: Interestingly Microsoft which has a search engine Bing took a different approach supporting the Australian government's new law, also working with publishers in Europe for similar regulations.

I just wonder if Microsoft's strategy, at least in Australia had more to do with market share than anything else.

WITHERS: I think so. I think Microsoft saw an opportunity to get in here, and was happily saying we'll play ball, we'll contribute but in the end, Google and Facebook have started striking deals with publishers so I don't think we will start using Bing but certainly Microsoft saw an opportunity, and was reaching out to the government about it.

VAUSE: You had an interesting piece about what life was like without the news feed on your Facebook page. What was it like?

WITHERS: Look, it first, it was a bit eerie and it was chilling to realize that Facebook could do that, but I started to enjoy it. I was enjoying the debates that were going on. I was enjoying seeing what my friends had to say about it.


WITHERS: People actually discussing things rather than just sharing links. You know, people had to write what they thought. But I as a journalist, am glad to see it come back because it is obviously a very, very important publications, you know, a source of advertising and publicizing news.

And, you know, as a citizen, having access to information we're making sure that people have access to news on Facebook is important. But I was enjoying seeing, you know, my friends' faces for once.

VAUSE: Yes. It's -- there are pros and cons to everything, I guess, which is interesting. But yes, maybe a little less information is not necessary a bad thing.

Rachel, thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: I really appreciate it. Take care.

WITHERS: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: Well, the U.S. President Joe Biden has signed an executive order demanding a review of supply chains for critical products including semiconductor chips. The White House says the order will identify gaps in manufacturing as well as disruptions to supply chains comes (ph) with a shortage of chips and other goods that have forced U.S. automakers to slow productions.

CNN's John Defterios live in Abu Dhabi.

This is one of the stories, John, which should have been bubbling along in the background, it hasn't received a lot of attention but essentially a lot of these automakers have had to shutter plans because of these semiconductors -- these chips which are missing.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes, It shows you how dependent we are on computer chips worldwide, even in auto manufacturing, John.

And think about it, if Joe Biden didn't have enough to -- take enough on his plate right now, he has to deal with the fact the U.S. produces only 12 percent of global supplies.

Ford was saying the production is going to drop by a fifth in the first quarter. Similar numbers from General Motors as well. So what this boils down to is Silicon Valley and of course, MIT in the East Coast very good at innovation but we're not very good at the front end manufacturing.

And when we talk about the supply chain, there's a break between the raw materials to make it and then actual production that's taking place, which is dominated by Asia. Yes, mainland China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan especially. And you don't want to become sinister here, but there's some concerns that Beijing is holding back the raw materials for this, and it could get quite nasty.

So the Biden administration wants to pump in $37 billion dollars to have this reinvested into the United States. As you know, this is not going to be solved overnight and it would be good for the U.S. and China to get on the same page. But in the meantime, it is clogging up manufacturing throughout the United States.

VAUSE: Well, I guess the other problem for the U.S. right now, among many, is the jobless claims which will be out later today. This number is staying pretty high, I think around the 800,000 jobless claims.

And we now have the head of the Fed actually urging action on the stimulus plan as well. I mean all this needs to get done but it just seems to be getting stalled.

DEFTERIOS: Yes, and we are in that space in between, John I call it, because the stimulus packages that we've had in the past year are stalling, and they're coming to an end. And we have the vaccines ramping up, but that space in between means that the jobless claims remains stubbornly high.

Let's take a look at the expectations, over 830,000 projected for the week. But look at that long term claims filings that we see today. It's nearly 4.5 million. Historically, both those numbers, about four times higher than they normally were prior to the pandemic. And we almost kind of got lulled in that this is the new normal.

So Jerome Powell, as you suggested, the head of the Federal Reserve is saying if you take a look at it, the top line number of 6.3 percent unemployment is vastly misleading.

Let's take a listen to him.


JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE: We are 10 million fewer people working on payroll jobs than we had just one year ago today, and that the unemployment rate, the reported rate, 6.3 percent.

But if you include people who were in the labor force and indeed working in February and a couple of other adjustments you would get to almost a 10 percent unemployment rate.

So there is a lot of slack in the labor market, and a long way to go to a maximum unemployment.


DEFTERIOS: And why Powell is suggesting that the $1.9 trillion can be justified -- and Joe Biden got a lot of support, 150 CEOs wrote a letter to the White House saying, and to Congress, let's move ahead. And we are talking about technology companies, the auto manufacturers, the airlines, and the banks on Wall Street. There is concern about inflation, but they are saying we have to, at this stage, interrupt this process and jump-start the growth.

VAUSE: Ok. John, thank you. John Defterios for us live in Abu Dhabi.

Well, for three of the Trump siblings, it may be a case of the family that's deposed together, stays together.

Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka have all faced questioning in recent weeks over various investigations. And sources tell CNN prosecutors in New York have subpoenaed financial records relating to Steve Bannon's crowdfunding scam to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.


VAUSE: And Trump's sons, Eric and Don, Jr., have come up in multiple investigations of the Trump Organization's finances.

Earlier this month, the Washington, D.C. attorney general questioned Trump Jr., about alleged misuse of inaugural funds.

Joining me now from La Jolla, California, former U.S. attorney and host of the "Talking Feds" podcast, the one and only Harry Litman. Harry, good to see you.

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Thanks, John. Good to be here.

VAUSE: Ok. The investigation which alleges the 2017 inaugural committee coordinated with the Trump family to grossly pay for bedspace at the Trump Hotel in Washington, payments the D.C. attorney general says not only were blatantly unlawful but also unreasonable and improperly served to enrich the Trump entities and its owners."

You know, in terms of legal jeopardy, this is pretty small beer (ph), right? The problem for Don Jr. maybe that he told the D.A. the truth and contradicted an earlier testimony from the deputy (ph) chairman of the committee.

LITMAN: Yes. So for starters, you are right that the attorney general of D.C. doesn't pack the big punch. It's a civil suit, he's saying maybe $100 million, as much of that was misused, meaning that the inaugural committee, which is a 501-C3, in other words, they can do things without taxes because they serve a public purpose, but you can't then use it to enrich yourselves which they are accused of having done.

The suit just says give it back. But we've just learned that Trump Jr. was deposed, and he said, seems ingenuously, they were friends of mine who were staying at this hotel, whereas the famous Rick Gates, remember him, had testified, oh no, it's all inaugural committee people who gave money to the inauguration.

So somebody is lying, then there is potential of a criminal violation within the federal government.

Otherwise, it's a matter of discouraging, what they say, is in appropriately spent money that should have gone for only nonprofit purposes.

VAUSE: Ok. Well, "The Daily Beast" also reporting the Manhattan district attorney which earlier this week was given access to Donald Trump's tax returns. Expanding an investigation in Trump's business empire, possibly new indictments also focusing on Donald Trump jr.

Potentially, how serious is this for the Trump family? Not just senior and Jr., but also Eric and Ivanka?

LITMAN: Yes. And Bannon. Very. So this and the Fulton County matter and then, of course, depending what happens with the January 6th investigation by the Department of Justice. Of the six or so fires they have to put out, these are the big ones.

And the New York D.A. shows a lot of apparent resolve to push forward. He is now got in his hands, the tax returns that could really, with the proper sort of forensic accounting, can really skewer them.

And not just Trump SR., but he put these properties and the real crown jewels, the Trump family estate, the 40 Wall Street big building, Trump Tower itself, he turned it over to Don Jr. and Ivanka to handle.

Now geez, you've got to imagine that, you know, it shouldn't have been so hard to stay out of committing crimes for a few years, even if it was the Trump family pastime.

But at least the allegations are that there have been a lot of shenanigans and it's broadening. They are now bringing in the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, a 74-year-old man who started out with Trump's dad, and I'm sure has no intention of spending the rest of his life in jail.

He very possibly knows where all the bodies are buried. But it certainly seems as if it's broadened well beyond Donald Trump himself into his children, and maybe his children-in-law.

VAUSE: Ok. So, you know, no one will ever forget the chant from 2016.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will build a great wall along the southern border. And Mexico will pay for the wall.


VAUSE: So that brings us now to Steve Bannon --

LITMAN: Right.

VAUSE: -- who came up with this idea for a crowd funding scam, basically asking people for money so they can go off build that wall. It just that it never happened.

The deal here is that Trump pardoned Bannon for any federal crimes relating to that scam, if you like. But now you've got the, again the Manhattan D.A. subpoenaing banks like Wells Fargo also the GoFundMe Website for financial records.

So they've got to pick up where the federal government basically left off which is incredible.

LITMAN: Precisely. And Bannon was indicted by the federal government for this fraud. He told people I won't keep a nickel, and I guess strictly speaking that was accurate. He only kept $100 million, or something like that. But -- and it was so flagrant.


LITMAN: Again, it's like, what is wrong with these guys if it's true? Can't you just like tamp it down for a few years? And what a brazen fraud this was.

Now there's a dynamic here. It used to be New York law provided that if there was a federal pardon, they wouldn't go after the same conduct. It was their sort of double jeopardy principle.

But when Trump started giving them out to political patrons like hotcakes, New York changed its law expressly for this situation, saying if there is a pardon of a federal defendant, we can still go after that conduct.

And that's what has landed Bannon in hot water. As you say --


LITMAN: -- it's just passing the baton on the very same conduct from feds to state.

VAUSE: Got a very quick question, we are out of time, but it accepting a pardon from a president is an admission of guilt, shouldn't this be an open and shut case?

LITMAN: No -- no. The short answer is it's really not an admission of guilt. People see that as a misnomer. If it's an open and shut case, it's on the evidence. But the feds had already developed it.

VAUSE: Ok. Harry --

LITMAN: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: -- thank you as always. Fantastic to have you with us.

LITMAN: Likewise.

VAUSE: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM, the U.K. finds a natural flood prevention strategy with the reintroduction, yes, of beavers. Beavers are back.

We'll be back in a moment.


VAUSE: "Call to Earth" is CNN's initiative to promote a more sustainable future.

In today's story, we feature the environmental wonders of beavers. On a project in West England, they had the potential to reduce flooding by up to 60 percent.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Pinktag (ph). She's a Eurasian beaver. Pinktag and her family live on the River Otter in Devon, and are they are some of the first wild beavers in England for around 400 years.

Historically, beavers were hunted for their pelts. What people didn't realize is how important beavers are to the landscape. The dams they build regulate water flow, increase biodiversity, and even drive down pollution. In short, beavers are what are known as ecosystem engineers.

JAKE CHANT, BEAVER TRIAL FIELD OFFICER: It's just been shocking how much we missed from this country by not having beavers. There is a climate crisis going on, there's a biodiversity crisis going on and this is a species that could help solve both of those issues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beavers build dams and canals for their own protection. The dams raised the surrounding water which helps them escape from predators. It also slows the water flow, reducing floods downstream in the wet season and drought in the dry season.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the climate crisis worsens, experts warn that areas like Devon are expected to see more flooding. But a recent study on beavers in England showed that their dams can reduce average floodwaters by up to 60 percent. The organization behind re- introducing beavers to Devon is the Devon Wildlife Trust.

CHANT: So this is a three-hectare enclosure that was built in 2010. What can you see?


CHANT: That's right. That's the dam there. That goes all the way across. It's about 40 meters long.

MARK ELLIOTT, BEAVER PROJECT LEAD: When we put them in here and staff see what they did to the water course it was really profound. You know, we all suddenly became much more conscious of just how powerful this animal was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The trust received permission to release beavers into the wild in 2015. It was the first license in England to do so. And the effect on the River Otter basin was dramatic.

ELLIOTT: This pond is being created by the beavers. They built a small dam that has increased the water level in this area.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's also been a huge increase is biodiversity as the wetland habitat attracts (INAUDIBLE) amphibians and birdlife.

But beavers can cause trouble. For one, they're big. Beavers like Pinktag can weigh up to 30 kilograms or 66 pounds.

ELLIOTT: That's quite a big dog. And we've had fishermen telling us stories that they've been a bit scared while fishing close to beavers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They also can waterlog farmland and eat orchard trees. But overall beavers are a huge benefit and nations across Europe are working to restore them to their original range.

ELLIOTT: None of us really, I don't think quite realize the significance of the animal that we were talking about. The opportunity to bring them back is an amazing one.


VAUSE: Let us know what you are doing to answer the call with the hashtag #CallToEarth.


VAUSE: Well, for NASA's new Mars rover, Perseverance is paying off. A treasure trove of 3D images and video are now being sent back to earth. NASA released its panoramic view of the 3.9 billion-year-old dry lake bed where the rover landed last week.

It shows the crater's rim, the cliff face of an ancient river delta is in the distance. Perseverance will spend the next two years on mars, searching for signs of ancient life.

The rover will also assist NASA scientists to decide which rock samples will be sent back to earth on a future mission.

Baa-rack has finally gotten that much needed haircut. We're talking about the sheep, just to be clear.

The sheep was recently found wandering the Australian bush land, so it was rescued by an animal sanctuary. As you can tell it's been quite a few years in between shearings. So post haircut, Baa-rack was 30 kilograms lighter, with before and after photos going viral online.

In case you didn't know, sheep need humans to trim their wool. Left to go unchecked, it can actually harmful to their health. That's a happy sheep.

So, call it Spot's revenge, a robot dog armed with a pink gun and set loose in an art gallery. See Spot go psycho. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.



JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was billed as "Spot's Rampage". Take a paintball gun, attach it to Spot the robodog and let folks at home trigger it using their phones. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The way that a military person might pilot a drone.

MOOS: The head of an art collective called "Mischief" wanted to show how a robodog could sinister, not just lovable. The way Boston Dynamics portrays its $74,500 creation, so lovable, it tugs at our heartstrings.

Then someone tugs on Spot's tail to demonstrate its durability. So the art collective bought one and let viewers control him as he bumped into replicas of art objects, like a drunken sailor at a Brooklyn art gallery.

Viewers took turns shooting paint balls at the walls. Spot trampled an already broken statue in his most wanton display of destruction.

His creators at Boston Dynamics were not happy. "This art fundamentally misrepresents Spot and how it is being used to benefit our daily lives. The art collective says Boston Dynamics suggested they ditch the paintball gun and in exchange made an offer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are ways that we could sweeten that deal. And it could be like giving you two more of these robots.

MOOS: Free. But in the end, the so-called war dog was his zone casualty. Spot wound up sprawled on his side. He kept collapsing.

Be right back, the live stream kept saying but after about an hour, Spot no longer came back and it began running instant replays of his glory moment, instead of this --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He'll just be able to wreak havoc.

MOOS: Spot wreaked havoc on himself. Viewers kept trying to trigger paint balls, but Spot had painted himself into a corner on his side twitching, instead of Spot's rampage it was Spot's Whimper. See Spot drop.

Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching. I'm John Vause.

Please stay with us. CNN NEWSROOM continues with Rosemary Church after a short break.