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Calls For Hate Crime Charges After Atlanta-Area Spa Shootings; CDC Updates Guidance On Physical Distancing In Schools; Asian- Americans Targeted With Attacks, Racial Slurs During Pandemic; CNN Reporter Shares Her Experience Amid Rising Anti-Asian Hate; Interview With Mayor Dan Gelber (D) Of Miami Beach; Former Rep. Jane Harman (D- CA) Discusses Biden Taking Hard Stance With Russia, China & Russian Election Meddling. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 20, 2021 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:00:26]

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being here. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Today, a demand for justice alongside unimaginable heartbreak. In the Atlanta area, three crime scenes are now memorials to the people shot dead this week. Eight people were killed, six of them women of Asian descent. Their lives cut short at the three spas where the lone gunman opened fired.

And CNN's Natasha Chen joins us from Atlanta.

Natasha, you just met with family members of one of the victims. Tell us about that.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I met with Jami Webb, the daughter of Xiaojie Tan, and Tan's ex-husband, Michael Webb. The two of them were so gracious to give us their time as they're grieving, as they're trying to set up funeral arrangements. And what struck me is, you know, their celebration of Tan's life.

She was about to turn 50 years old. She missed her birthday by two days. And, you know, I asked her daughter, who is a recent UGA grad, about the last time she talked to her mother. It turns out that when this all happened on Tuesday, the first indication that something was wrong was somebody abruptly called her daughter, asking, do you know the password to the surveillance cameras?

And she ended up spending hours and hours in the waiting room of an emergency room at a hospital, waiting for information, seeing the headlines actually come through her phone first about the number of people who died at the location of her mother's business, and then finally getting the news by the end of the night -- just an incredibly difficult experience for anyone, really.

Here is her daughter, Jami Webb, talking about the last time she was supposed to see her mom. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMI WEBB, XIAOJIE TAN'S DAUGHTER: We were supposed to meet the Sunday before all this happened. That was the last thing that my mom said, like, we didn't really meet, because I overslept. That was the last thing that was said.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: Tan was described as a woman who really cared about her customers, was a good business neighbor to the other businesses next work, really worked to save all her money. She really times forewent her dinner. She was a very frugal, but sometimes splurged on her favorite things, like an expensive handbag here and there.

But I asked her family as well about her business, and her ex-husband was very adamant that she tried to protect the legitimacy of that spa. She wanted to protect her licenses. She had surveillance footage on her phone that she checked all the time.

And I asked him about that, what possible threats could she have imagined on her business? And here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL WEBB, XIAOJIE TAN'S FORMER HUSBAND: She never gave specifics, but generally, she said that's why she had to be there all the time. She had cameras, and if she did go down the street to go to Costco or something, she brought her phone. She was always looking at it, but she said, look -- she was not naive. She was concerned about the things that could go on if she didn't supervise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: He said that she had no locks on those doors, even mentioned that she sometimes had to throw people out who showed up at that business thinking they could get illicit services.

So, that's how seriously she took her business as a legitimate massage parlor. So, that's something he really wanted to defend. And, of course, we had to ask about the overwhelming support from the community and this feeling from the Asian-American community that there is increased fear and anxiety. Something that Jami her daughter understands, but they wanted to be clear to let the police finish out their investigation.

When I asked them if it made necessary difference whether hate crimes was added to the charges, he was very clear that this is something the investigators should finish working on. They did not want to make a statement about that, Ana.

CABRERA: OK. Natasha Chen, so important to hear from these family members and to really shine a light on the lives that were lost. Thank you for bringing that to us.

I want to bring in Shan Wu now. [17:05:02]

He is a CNN legal analyst and a former federal prosecutor.

Shan, the head of the FBI has said it's too early to say whether what happened in the Atlanta area this week was racially motivated. A lot of people disagree with him, insisting that it is crystal clear. So, what does it take for something like this to be treated as a hate crime?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The problem is that it really does not take any more than any other crime. And for some reason, there's this hesitancy in law enforcement and prosecutors to call a crime a hate crime. It's just probable cause, like any other crime.

They have probable cause to arrest this defendant for murder, to charge him with that, and that same evidence, his selection of female investments and his selection of Asian victims easily meets the four corners of the hate crime statute. And the prosecutors seemed to have a very hard time with that. It's not just them, not just Georgia. Historically, that's been a problem.

But that's an issue, and I hope we get to a point where there's not an extra-high burden. It's almost as though they're afraid to call out the hate.

CABRERA: Is there as extra-high burden when it comes to proving a hate crime?

WU: There's not. It's a crime like any other one. To charge it, you have to have probable cause.

CABRERA: Yeah.

WU: And if proven in the court, it's got to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in court. I think there's an institutional hesitation, because prosecutors feel it's an extra element to prove, but it's really a sentencing enhancement.

So, even if, let's say in this case, they bring the murder charge, the hate crimes charge and they lose the hate crimes charge, they're not going to lose the murder charge with this kind of evidence. And the hate crime charge gives them some extra tools to bring in additional evidence which could actually be useful.

CABRERA: I wonder if the comments from the FBI director, who was answering a question when he said that the attacks don't appear to be racially motivated, does that in some way influence how prosecutors might treat this? Does his opinion ruin the chances of this going forward as a hate crime?

WU: Well, I hope not. The director was careful to say he was deferring to the state and locals, as he should. I actually think, though, his statement is the reflection of the typical thinking of prosecutors, which is they seem to feel that the charge of hate crime, you have to have incredibly blatant, like perhaps the person is yelling some racist phrase at the moment of the crime, or they written some manifesto about it.

You don't have that kind of burden in other crimes. Police keep talking about searching for motives, searching for motive. The motive is right in front of their face. It's the selection of the people. That's my view as a former prosecutor.

CABRERA: And you say they are actually legal advances to charging hate crime. Can you explain more about that?

WU: Absolutely. If they're looking at his computer, social media, let's say it has evidence of him having dislike of women, misogyny, dislike of people of color, Asians, if you're just charging him with murder, you may not get that in, because his defense counsel is going to say, all accounts is, was he there? Did he pull the trigger? All of this you're just trying to injure his character. You're going to try to make him seem like a bad guy.

But if you've got to prove his motive was on account of gender, on account of sex, on account of race, all that will come in. So, there's a lot of tactical advantages, actually, to charging it.

CABRERA: It's not just prosecuting hate crimes that seem to be -- that people seem to stay away from. Research shows that hate crimes are notoriously underreported in both what victims report to law enforcement, as well as how officials are tracking these crimes and reporting out the data. Why is that?

WU: I think it's a complex reason, but in a lot of communities which are vulnerable communities, there are two things going on. First, historically people may come from countries where law enforcement is something to fear, very oppressive part of government, so they don't want to speak out. Secondly, in our own country, of course, there has been a lot of tension with law enforcement, so people may not trust law enforcement.

So, it's important for the federal government, for the locals to make sure they are reaching out to the communities to collaborate with them, to explain the circumstances. Years ago in D.C., there was a rash of crimes against Asian merchants. I worked on this project to go into the community to explain just how the system works, to take away their hesitancy, because police and prosecutors can't do anything if the crimes are not reported. So, we got to start there.

CABRERA: Do you feel like law enforcement is trained in how to handle potential reports that maybe the victim doesn't even recognize as a hate crime to begin with. And so, it's up to law enforcement for them to then investigate it and categorizes it as such?

[17:10:07]

WU: That's a really incredibly important point. And I think the answer is probably no. They may be moving in those directions. There are boxes to be checked, on the forums, if law enforcement thinks is a hate crime. But they are often in a better position to determine whether it's hate motivated than the victim. If you're a victim walking down the street, like that terrible video

in New York, you're stabbed in the back, you don't know what's going on, you've just been stabbed.

But looking at the pattern, looking at who that suspect passed up before, all those things law enforcement has that perspective that a lot of times the victims wouldn't. So, you're exactly right. It's so important that they be better trained to communicate that to victims and to look for the right patterns.

CABRERA: Shan Wu, I really appreciate your expertise. Thank you so much for being here for us and highlighting what we all need to know.

WU: Thank so much for covering this.

CABRERA: And I hope everyone will join us on Monday night, with Anderson Cooper, Amara Walker, Victor Blackwell, and I. We will be anchoring a special report, taking a look at this disturbing trend, violent acts against people of color and what are the solutions?

A new CNN special report "Afraid: Fear in America's Communities of Color" begins Monday night at 9:00, here on CNN.

Parents, don't go anyway. Up next, I'm going to speak to a pediatrician who is here to answer your questions about coronavirus, COVID-19 vaccines, and children.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:15:35]

CABRERA: The CDC updated guidance on physical distancing in schools this week, from six feet to three feet, as long as everyone is wearing a mask, and other prevention measures are in place. The additional guidance includes keep students, teachers in groups of cohorts, maintain six feet of distance and common areas, remove nonessential furniture from the classroom to add one more space, one child per row on school buses, skipping rows, to name some of the new advice.

I want to bring in Dr. Glenn Budnick. He's the chairman of pediatrics for Reliance Medical Group.

Dr. Budnick, so good to have you back with us.

First, what do you make of this update guidance? Do you think it will keep students and teachers safe?

DR. GLENN BUDNICK, CHAIRMAN OF PEDIATRICS RELIANCE MEDICAL GROUP/VILLAGE MD: Well, Ana, I think it's certainly a time for children to go back to school. We've seen a lot of mental health problems in children with anxiety and depression, certainly virtual learning isn't the same across the board for every student.

And with the lower community rate, it's time for go back. I think that the use of a mask, social distancing, even at three feet, which we feel will be fine, hand washing, increased cleaning in the school, increased fresh air through the ventilation systems and contact tracing, is going to make schools certainly passable, and definitely something that all parents should want their children to go back to school. It should be extremely good.

We have used in exact system any New Jersey in several schools -- at least in one school where there's been a large amount of space where you should do six-feet social distancing. We found it worked very well. There were hiccups, there were occasional cases, but we always were able to contact trace them and they're always at least in this school system, were outside from the community rather than inside the school system.

So, yes, it's time to go back to school, and yes, parents should be ready to send their children.

CABRERA: I think the last point I think is very important. The data has shown the infection rates in communities have been much greater than what they have found when they have tested school opportunities specifically who have been in in-person classes. So, I do want to ask about new data that found older children, particularly those between the ages of 12 and 17, are the age group right now with the highest COVID-19 test positivity rate, in at least 34 states. So, higher rates than any other age group.

What do you make of that?

BUDNICK: Well, it's troubling, but we know teenagers aren't rule followers, and we have to we sure we translate what the rules are from parents, from teachers in school, continue the educations, certainly society is trying to let up, but it's not time to let up. It's time to be still within the rules.

And, unfortunately, teenagers don't follow the rules all the time. It's our jobs as doctors and educators to reinforce it that it's time to follow the rules.

CABRERA: And, of course, we don't have a vaccine yet that's been authorized for children. How long do you think we'll have until then?

BUDNICK: Well, it's in testing currently now. The experts say somewhere between six months, but we've seen miraculous stuff with the vaccine during the last year, so hopefully earlier, but some people -- many people are thinking within the six months to a year range.

CABRERA: And for mothers who may be nursing right now, is the vaccine safe for them to take and to pass along in breast milk? Is there an impact there?

BUDNICK: It's safe for nursing mothers to take this. This should always speak to their doctors. But it's safe for them to take it, and there are early studies from Israel that show there have been antibodies in the breast milk that pass to the infant, which, as we know, is a huge benefit of breastfeeding in the first place. So, that's always a great thing to hear.

CABRERA: Dr. Budnick, I have more questions for you as a parent personally and talking to my girlfriends, they were also mothers. We'll have you back so we can continue the conversation another day. Thank you, as always for your insights and expertise.

BUDNICK: Thanks, Ana. Thank you.

CABRERA: A programming note. Join us and our own Miguel Marquez for an emotional hour about loss and survival. The new CNN special report "The Human Cost of COVID" begins tonight at 9:00.

[17:20:02]

Still ahead for us, U.S. tensions with China escalating after an unprecedented and very public confrontation before cameras. What is the message that China is trying to send?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: President Biden and Vice President Harris met with Asian- American community leaders in Atlanta yesterday, a city still reeling from a murder spree this week that left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women.

The horrific event has only further sparked fear across Asian-American communities in this country.

CNN's Randi Kaye has more.

[17:25:01]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In San Francisco last month, on the edge of Chinatown, a 67-year-old Asian man is suddenly ambushed at a Laundromat. Surveillance video shows the terrifying moments, as he is dragged to the ground.

The attack comes just after police increased patrols in the area following attacks in Oakland's Chinatown.

Oakland's Chinatown is where this 91-year-old Asian man was shoved to the ground. Watch as his attacker rushes him from behind. Police quickly identified the male suspect was involved in two other assaults on elderly people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have charged him with three counts of assault.

KAYE: In New York, this Filipino-American believes he was targeted because of his race. His attacker slashing him across the face with a box cutter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He slashed me from cheek to cheek.

KAYE: It all happened on the New York City subway, during the morning rush.

Early in the pandemic, this Asian man was also harassed on the New York subway. And when he didn't move, the suspect sprayed him in the face with Febreze.

In San Francisco, this 84-year-old Thai immigrant died after he was pushed to the ground in the January. He was simply out on his morning walk when an unprovoked attacker charged him from across the street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He never wake up again. I never see him again.

KAYE: A 19-year-old is now charged in his death with murder and elder abuse.

In Los Angeles, 27-year-old Denny Kim (ph) says he was randomly punched in the face by two strangers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two assailants basically approached me. They're hurling racial slurs. They're calling me Yahtzee (ph), Ching-Chong (ph), Chinese virus.

KAYE: While not all have been ruled hate crimes as of now, they do contribute to a disturbing wave of violence against Asian Americans. It spurred on many in the Asian community and beyond to rally in an effort to stop the hate.

At a demonstration in New York City last month, some spoke openly of fear.

WILL LEX HAM, NEW YORK CITY RESIDENT: Many of my family members are living in fear and anxiety.

KAYE: Others pointed fingers.

PEARL SUN, NEW YORK CITY RESIDENT: I think the rhetoric from our previous administration was definitely the catalyst for all of this.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: It's got all different names. Wuhan. Now, Wuhan was catching on. Coronavirus, right? Kung flu, yeah.

KAYE: There have also been attacks on property, Asian-owned businesses have been hit and robbed too.

And out in the open in restaurants, bold faced racism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Asian piece of (EXPLTIVE DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god.

KAYE: In some communities, it's come down to neighbors protecting neighbors.

After some in this California community threw rocks and hurled insults as an Asian couple's home, neighbors set up camp standing guard in shifts to keep the couple safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They see us and they turn around.

KAYE: Standing strong together in the face of hate.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: I want to bring back CNN's Natasha Chen in Atlanta.

Natasha, I think back to what we discussed during this show last May, as you were reporting early on, obviously with the situation. You were at Myrtle Beach.

And I just want to play a clip from that day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: In addition to shouting at us, he said to me to get out of his country, with an expletive, and that I was the reason -- that I was responsible for this, referring to my ethnicity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: That was back in May, Natasha, and so much has happened since then. Tell us about what you have experienced this past year and how you've been processing what's happening right now?

CHEN: Well, Ana, it's interesting in hearing that clip again, and watching that clip again, but I hear in my voice I was a bit shell- shocked in a moment. That's absolutely what it was at the time. I didn't know how to process what was being said to me.

In fact, it was my producer who heard the comments first. I was so focused on the interview I was doing. You know, I didn't really know how to react. I definitely recognized at the time that there were people saying things regarding the virus, connecting it to people who looked like me.

And I have to say, you know, today, this afternoon, I was covering that rally downtown by the Georgia state capitol. All these Asian- Americans and people of all backgrounds coming to support each other. I went live on my Instagram account, and most of the people were super-supportive and very excited to see this outpouring of support.

[17:30:00]

But I still got a comment on that Instagram live saying kung flu hoax. This exists out there. It's still prevalent.

It's annoying, because no matter how we logically explain to people that the origin of a virus and its geographical location has nothing to do with an ethnicity, that won't get through to people who refuse to understand it.

All I can do is try to ignore that, do the work, and actually that's part of the -- you know, I'm Chinese-American, growing up with the work ethic is to ignore people who are the naysayers, that pick on you, put your head down, do the good work and let people recognize you for good work.

That's kind how I have tried to do that, though this year has tested that patience, I think, for a lot of people.

CABRERA: You and I have spoken about how communities of color are not monolithic.

So for you, as an Asian-American, your experience here in this country is perhaps different than others, even other colleagues and co-workers of ours and what they have been through.

How has your background and your experience growing up informed how you're looking at the situation currently?

CHEN: Yes, it is really just heartbreaking for me to hear the stories of my colleagues, of the people I'm meeting all the time in the Asian- American community about the experiences that they've had.

I've been relatively lucky. That clip you played last year is one of the few times in my life, and mostly then instances in my adult life where something has been thrown at me like that.

But I know the elderly members of the Asian-American population, sometimes the way people look at my mother or talk to her in a certain tone or attitude, I have seen it.

But the reason I say I've been lucky is I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, where the Asian-American community is strong. My city had about a third of its population as Asian. And by now it's probably more than a third.

So while I was a minority, I was a strong minority. There were lots of people who looked like me. I had hundreds of other American-born Chinese kids going to Saturday Chinese school with me, developing that sense of pride in community, our history and culture.

I was excited to always share that with the other people who were not Asian, and they were always excited to participate in the multicultural space.

I consider myself lucky. I absolutely am hearing the other experiences of people who didn't grow up with a lot of people who looked like them.

So it's on -- I'm just here to listen at this point, too, as a reporter. If somebody hasn't experienced something like that, and I'm hearing that, if somebody has a horrible experience, then I'm hearing that, too.

CABRERA: I so appreciate you sharing your personal experiences with us.

Stay strong and thank you, Natasha. We appreciate you.

Coming up, spring break gets out of hand, forcing the city of Miami Beach to declare a state of emergency. The mayor is going to join us next, live, in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [17:37:34]

CABRERA: We have this just in. Miami Beach declaring a state of emergency in order to crack down on the maskless crowds that have been partying in the city for spring break.

I want to bring in the Mayor. It's Mayor Dan Gelber.

Thank you, Mayor, for joining us.

Tell us what you just announced, and what brought you to make this decision now?

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH: Thank you for having me on.

You know, our city is one of the few destinations that are open nationally. Most other places are closed. Most other places might be too cold or both. So we're getting in an enormous amount of people here, more than we can handle.

Too many are coming without the intention of following the rules. The results have been a level of chaos and disorder that is just something more than we can endure.

It's gotten worse every single day. We declared an 8:00 p.m. curfew. We also will be closing our causeways, other than local traffic, coming into our island city at 9:00 p.m. every night for the next few nights.

We needed to do it as a safety measure. We're in the middle of a pandemic, which makes it even more challenging.

CABRERA: Paint a picture for us. What have you hearing and seeing?

GELBER: Well, during the day, it's pretty tame. People go to our 6.5 miles of beaches. The restaurants or hotels are doing a pretty good job with outdoor dining.

But at night, in the entertainment district, it becomes a whole different scene. It feels like a rock concert. Wall-to-wall people over blocks and blocks.

Last night, somebody shot a weapon in the air. There was a riot. Other things have happened that are similarly challenging. So it feels like a tinder. It feels like any match could set it off.

We don't want to wait to take these kinds of actions in the wake of a tremendous tragedy. We want to take it now when we've seen enough. We have definitely seen enough.

CABRERA: Your city has been hit with a trifecta of events that brought tourists to Florida, the Super Bowl, Presidents Day weekend, now spring break.

The larger crowd have resulted in more than 900 arrests and the seizure of firearms. At least 50 percent of those arrested reside outside of Florida.

So what is your message to people now perhaps eyeing a summer vacation in Florida?

[17:40:01]

GELBER: Well, listen, we're always going to be one of the best destinations in the world because we have so much to offer. And that's why people are coming.

But right now, if you're coming here because you've been pent up and you want to let loose, you think anything goes, please don't come here.

We have extra police everywhere. We're going to arrest people. And we have been. We're going to keep order. That's the first job of a city government is to keep order. We've got to do that.

If you're coming here to go crazy, go somewhere else. We don't want you.

CABRERA: Mayor Dan Gelber, of Miami Beach, Thank you very much for your time. Good luck with everything. Thank you.

GELBER: Thank you. Take care.

CABRERA: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:45:21]

CABRERA: Welcome back. After riling up the Kremlin by calling Vladimir Putin a "killer," President Biden is now saying he's, quote, "very proud" of his secretary of state for confronting Chinese officials over human rights.

The two sides quarrelling in front of cameras before China's foreign policy chief took the floor for a 16-minute speech, all in Chinese, even though he speaks fluent English, forcing a translation of these comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YANG JIECHI, CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHIEF (through translation): Let me say here that in front of the Chinese sigh the United States does not have the qualification to sea it wants to speak to China from a position of strength.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Jane Harman is with us now. She is the director and president of Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Before that, she served nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, a Democrat from California. She's also the author of the book, "Insanity Defense, Why Our Failure

to Confront Hard National Security Problems Makes Us Less Safe." That book comes out in May.

Congresswoman, thank you for being here.

The dustup we just heard from Tony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart, it may not sound like much to the layman, but as international diplomacy goes, that was like a street brawl, something we don't obvious see.

What was your read on the dynamics there? And what do you see as the impact?

JANE HARMAN, DIRECTOR & PRESIDENT, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR SCHOLARS & FORMER DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSWOMAN FROM CALIFORNIA & AUTHOR. Well, I'm proud of Tony Blinken, too, and Jake Sullivan, who is negotiating in Canada, I think. I guess they both are at this point. I'm not sure.

My point is that that's the public face of what's going on. That's for Chinese consumption. And Vladimir Putin challenging us to a debate is also for public consumption.

There are conversations out of the public eye. Those are the real conversations. What's played about this, as far as I'm concerned, is we have the A-team on the case.

Joe Biden is our first experienced foreign policy president since George H.W. Bush, who ended the Cold War, and that was 30 years ago. He's got an A.G. working for him.

That's why I wrote the book. The book is about how we keep not solving the hard problems since the Cold War and we expect to be doing better, but we're not doing better.

The good news is we have the A-team and we have an experienced president, who I think will solve a lot of the hard problems.

CABRERA: You referenced how things got testy between President Biden and Vladimir Putin as well. The U.S. president referred to Putin as a killer.

This week, Russian officials came back with insults about Biden's age, questioned his mental state. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): What would I answer him? I would tell him, be healthy. I wish him good health. I say this without irony, without jokes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Wishing him good health. Those comments were left open to interpretation. He also challenged Biden to a debate, as you mentioned.

Are these two leaders just sizing each other up like boxers? What's going on?

HARMAN: Well, I think that's a lot of it. I do. They haven't worked together lately. I'm sure Biden is up to this. His health looks pretty good to me.

But, again, I think this is public consumption. The real conversations I think are going on behind closed doors. I applaud that. Diplomacy is complicated. There's the public face. There's the private face.

The good news is this administration is investing in diplomacy, in our soft power, restoring the morale at the State Department, hiring very good people up and down, including at the National Security Council in the White House. And then Biden is supporting the team.

Trump churned his team. And morale was very low everywhere.

If we want to do this right, we have to play three-dimensional chess. We have to have, obviously, confrontations where we need to. But we also have to have cooperation and competition.

Rejoining the Paris Accord, rejoining the World Health Organization, very, very positive moves. Now we have to execute on those things and make both things a lot better.

It's nice to have climate goals, but we have to enforce them. And I know this is a high priority for Joe Biden.

CABRERA: Certainly, the approaches are very different, right? Biden's tone is very different from what we saw from former President Trump. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He will pay a price.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have -- President Putin, he just said it's not Russia.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: You think he's a killer?

BIDEN: Mmm-mmm, I do.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS HOST: Putin's a killer.

TRUMP: There are a lot of killers. We've got a lot of killers.

BIDEN: I looked said, I look in your eyes and I don't think you have a soul.

TRUMP: And I like Putin. He likes me. You know, we get along.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[17:50:01]

CABRERA: I do wonder, could a tougher tone with either Russia or China backfire when it comes to U.S. interests?

HARMAN: Maybe. I don't think so at the moment. Again, I think there's the public part and the private part going on here.

So, a lot of that goes on in Congress, you know, my former employer. A lot of noise, and then some work behind the scenes. A lot of that goes on in life.

But what I think is different here is a kind of personal confidence, competence, which is the team he has, and process he's putting in place.

And empathy. We had no empathy for years. And given the fact that our one, two, and three big problem is coronavirus, we need a lot of empathy, given the huge suffering the country and the world had been through.

And one last thing, Ana, I think a great part of our new foreign policy is to help the world heal from coronavirus. And we can do that.

We can, as we're doing, share vaccines, including with Mexico. And we can share logistics, which we're great at, and get those vaccines into arms all over the place. And I don't think China and Russia can match that.

I'm really bullish on the new start here.

CABRERA: That's a lot of optimistic -- I guess, that's an optimistic perspective for us to perhaps look forward to.

I wonder about cybersecurity and election security, though.

HARMAN: Yes.

CABRERA: Because there was the U.S. intelligence report released this week that indicated that Russia was interfering with the 2020 election the most, not China, as the Trump administration had insisted over and over again.

Specifically, the report said that the Russian government purposefully denigrated Joe Biden, while actively supporting Donald Trump. Biden says they will pay a price.

What do you see as the options?

HARMAN: Well, cybersecurity is the problem from hell. It is going to be a huge challenge, given that the competence and tradecraft of others, not just nation states, but rogue actors.

You know, a lot of what the Russians can do to us is hiring a bunch of kids in a back room. So we have to understand that. And we have to do much more to prevent attacks. We're not so good at that. We are good now, fortunately, with a lot of help from the private

sector, let's understand, not just the government, at finding attacks and at attributing them to a lot of these foreign actors.

I don't think there was election insecurity in 2020. I mean, meaning the election machines and the election counting was not interfered with, regardless of what Donald Trump says.

CABRERA: Right.

HARMAN: But there was disinformation and misinformation. And a lot of it directed, according to these new published intel reports, to help Donald Trump and hurt Joe Biden.

CABRERA: Yes.

HARMAN: And you know, the good news is we know this. And the better news is it didn't work.

CABRERA: Yes.

Jane Harman, great to have you with us. Thank you so much for taking the time.

HARMAN: Thank you.

CABRERA: Look forward to having you back.

Incredible dishes with a heaping side of Italian hospitality. Tomorrow night, Stanley Tucci takes us to Sicily.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STANLEY TUCCI, CNN HOST, "STANLEY TUCCI, SEARCHING FOR ITALY": I'm on the hunt for the perfect Timballo.

Look at that. So pretty.

A baked mold of pasta or rice with rich ingredients. It's a dish I'm obsessed with.

Oh, wow.

Every family has a different way of making it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

TUCCI: And I've heard that Maria, the princess' chef, is a much sought-after authority on Timballo making.

In our family, we have our own version of this dish.

(CROSSTALK)

TUCCI: And it's the centerpiece of a film I made called "Big Night" back in the 1990s. So it's macaroni.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

TUCCI: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Dinnertime, anybody? Be sure to tune in. It's the season finale of "STANLEY TUCCI, SEARCHING FOR ITALY," tomorrow night at 9:00 here on CNN.

I want to introduce you to this week's "CNN Hero," David Flink, who was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia at age 11. And now, as an adult, he's working to make sure children like him are not falling through the cracks of the education system.

His nonprofit, Eye to Eye, pairs college or high school students with learning differences with middle schoolers who have similar differences, unleashing confident, successful learners in the process.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID FLINK, CNN HERO: Eye to Eye provides a safe space constructed around what's right with kids, so they can talk about their experiences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you get scared during tests, like nervous?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I have anxiety. And I shake a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, that happens to me sometimes.

FLINK: People's hearts sing when they're seen.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: This is nice shield.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really cool. I like how you use the duct tape as a handle.

[17:55:03]

FLINK: My moment I'm wishing for is when the problem of stigmatizing kids because they learn differently goes away.

I want them to know their brains are beautiful. I want them feeling like they know how to ask for anything and we can do it. And that's what we give them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Daniel!

(APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Get the full story at CNNheroes.com.

That does it for me this evening. I'm Ana Cabrera. I'll see you back here at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

The news continues in just a moment with my colleague, Pamela Brown.

Have a great night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)