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CNN: White House Sending 160 Additional FEMA Vaccinations To Michigan Amid A Surge Of New COVID Infections; Biden Holds Meeting In First Weekend At White House In Weeks; Rep. Gaetz Defiant Amid Sex Trafficking Probe And Calls To Resign; Myanmar Crackdown Continues, At Least 700 People Killed; Prince Philip's Funeral To Be Held Next Saturday. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 10, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Cases and emergency room visits are up. We are seeing increases in younger adults, most of whom who have not yet been vaccinated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still have high confidence that these vaccines are effective. But we are still urging people to be cautious.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Matt Gaetz adding two New York attorneys to his defense team. Federal investigators are looking into Gaetz's role into an alleged prostitution ring as part of a wider probe of the congressman and his associates.
REP. MATT GAETZ, (R-FL): They lie about me because I tell the truth about them, and I'm not going to stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The funeral, we now know will be next Saturday. The public aren't invited. There won't be any crowds. That's really because of the pandemic.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world on this Saturday. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
And tonight, Michigan is facing a crisis. It leads to nation in coronavirus infections with a positivity rate of 18 percent.
And now, we are learning the federal government plans to help with this surge in new cases. A senior administration official telling me tonight that 160 FEMA vaccinators will head to Michigan. That's people delivering the shots, but more vaccines, a surge of vaccines aren't on the way, even though that's what the governor has been asking for. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is tracking the pandemic.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: The second we let our guard down, it comes roaring back.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As COVID-19 cases soar to alarming levels in Michigan, a warning --
DR. JONEIGH KHALDUN, MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: We are on track to potentially see a surge in cases that's even greater than we saw in the fall.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The state's positivity rate is up to 18 percent and hospitals are climbing. Governor Gretchen Whitmer is asking high schools to go remove, youth sports to pause, and encouraging citizens to skip indoor dining for the next two weeks.
WHITMER: To be clear, these are not orders, mandates, or requirements. A year in, we all know who what works and this has to be a team effort. We have to do this together.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Vaccinations in the state continue, but not fast enough. The governor is pleading for more vaccines from the federal government, as a disruption in the supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccines continues to take a toll across the U.S.
WHITMER: We really should be surging vaccines to states that are experiencing serious outbreaks.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The coordinator of the White House coronavirus response says the federal government will offer states with outbreaks additional personnel, but as of now, will not increase the number of vaccines.
JEFF ZIENTS, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE: The virus is unpredictable. We don't know where the next increase in case could occur. We're not even halfway through our vaccination program, so now is not the time to change course on vaccine allocation.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: This as the CDC is aware of four states that have reported some adverse reactions to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Several states even halting description of that vaccine. The CDC is not recommending health departments stop administering Johnson & Johnson shots at this time, and at least one county in North Carolina plans on resuming doses as soon as Monday.
SYRA MADAD, SPECIAL PATHOGENS PROGRAM, NYC HEALTH & HOSPITALS: Right now, the benefits outweigh the risks.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: And what could be promising news, drugmaker Pfizer asking the FDA for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine to expand to children ages 12 to 15 in the U.S. Currently, it's approved for people 16 and up only. DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I'm optimistic about this. We need
them to get the benefit of the vaccine, but also it will help to reach herd immunity a lot faster.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: And vaccine requirements are becoming part of the new normal. An analysis by CNN finds 16 colleges and universities and counting, the latest, Duke University, will require students to show proof of full vaccination before returning to on-campus classes this fall.
Evan McMorris-Santoro, CNN, New York.
BROWN: And our thanks to Evan for that report.
Joining me now is primary care physician, Dr. Saju Mathew.
Doctor, what do you think? Should the White House be sending more vaccines not just vaccinators to Michigan?
DR. SAJU MATHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN: Yeah. Good evening, Pamela.
Listen, I'm a public health specialist as well and one of the basic tenets of public health is you want to surge vaccines and help where the vaccines are needed the most. Listen, Michigan is going through a fourth surge. We fourth surgery and we don't live in a bubble. What happens in Michigan can happen in any part of the U.S. and I think it's important like the governor mentioned they not only get vaccinators but they got vaccines.
Another thing also, Pamela, is there might be other states where there is potentially a surplus of vaccines, and that can be redirected temporarily to states like Michigan until the surge is under better control.
BROWN: And I will say the administration official I spoke to tonight said Michigan is getting hundreds of thousands more weekly vaccines than they were getting last month, basically making the case that they already are getting a lot more vaccines now, just as every state is, and Michigan has the ability to reallocate those shots to those hot spots.
What do you think about that?
MATHEW: Yeah, I think that is completely appropriate plan. You know, you got to be able to focus. If I was the public health specialist of Michigan, I would look at the entire state, counties, and see where the surges are.
It's really like a forest fire that is burning so greatly that you have to do something immediately. And again, these surges can spread so quickly, Pamela, that not only are vaccinators needed, you have to be able to quickly take a vaccine or surplus of vaccines from one pharmacy and get it to another where patients are showing up. Also, accessibility will be key.
So, a lot of the public health strategies have to go into Michigan to get this under control
BROWN: And as you said, the big concern is that it could spread to other states, what you see in Michigan could happen anywhere else essentially as we've seen with past surges on the pandemic.
Dr. Mathew, stay with me.
I want to discuss this new development that we're learning about today. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. Marines are declining COVID-19 vaccinations. This is according to data provided to CNN Friday by the Marine Corps.
Joining our conversation is CNN military analyst, retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.
General, thanks for coming on.
What is your reaction to this? The military doesn't require the vaccine right now because the FDA has not given it the formal approval. Only emergency authorization. Why do you think so many Marines are declining it?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, first, Pamela, it's always challenging to get an army general to comment on the Marine Corps, but I'll talk about it across the board in the military. There are a lot of reasons why military personnel don't want to get the vaccine.
I talked to a bunch of commanders and they said primarily it's personal choice based on an individual's medical history, military personnel's medical history, unease with the vaccine's approval process, what we call vaccine hesitancy. African-American soldiers with anxiety based on knowing the history of the Tuskegee experiment and wariness about the military medical establishment, just wanting to wait and see how others react to the vaccine is a primary reason.
And then reading or listening to those who are prone to misinformation and disinformation about the efficacy of the vaccine or the seriousness of the virus. And all those things relate to the same thing we're seeing in the private sector, but what I'd add is there's one more, and that's that military personnel may be saying, hey, they can't order me to do this, so I want to rebel against the authority.
Now, that's going to be a few members of the military, but they're out there. And there are some of them. Even with all that, the declination rate within the military is still about the same as the society writ large.
HERTLING: It's the ill-advised anti-vaxx movements that's driving this, and it says as much about our society as it says about the military. BROWN: Yeah, what do you think about that, Dr. Mathew? Is what we're
seeing in the military sort of a microcosm of what we're seeing in the country at large?
MATHEW: Yeah, I agree with the general. Listen, I see about 20 patients a day as a primary care physician, and I make it a point with every patient to address the elephant in the room. The physician also needs to be comfortable talking to the patient if the patient doesn't bring up the vaccine.
I ask every patient, listen, are you planning on getting the vaccine, and I get two concerns every single time. The first one is, Dr. Mathew, this vaccine was developed at lightning speed, and I'm concerned about what this is going to do to my body long term. And I address those concerns immediately because just for our viewers to remember, the mRNA platform for Moderna and Pfizer, Pamela, they have been studied for the last 30 to 40 years.
This vaccine is safe and effective, and now with the variants spreading, the U.K. variant, which is contagious and more deadly, all the more reason that we need to address vaccine hesitancy.
BROWN: So what do you think should be done, General? You say absolutely. How can you get more members of the military to trust the process or trust the vaccine to not be hesitant?
HERTLING: Well, I -- what I first want to address, though, Pamela, is the popular belief that the generals can just order troops to get the shots. That's just not the case. Right now -- and everyone that's been in the military will say, well, wait a minute, I remember lining up for the anthrax vaccination.
The problem is that volunteering for this vaccination is option due it being approved under emergency use authorization. So, I'm sure, Dr. Mathew, will talk about.
Lots of soldiers don't want to take the anthrax vaccine during Desert Storm, but they could be ordered to take it. It will take a presidential order to the secretary of defense to make the vaccines mandatory. And that's what makes this different than any every other shot that military members get.
BROWN: I think that's a really important point to reiterate.
And, Dr. Mathew, is this level of denial something that could harm military preparedness? I mean, what could it mean practically?
MATHEW: Right. I mean, remember, ultimately, there's only one enemy and that's the virus. The most important thing is to share science. Let people know what the percentages mean, what 95 percent means.
And I tell everybody: listen, you want the vaccine to do two things. Number one, you want the vaccine to prevent you from developing severe disease and from being hospitalized and dying. All three vaccines, the J&J, Moderna, and Pfizer do both.
You might get a breakthrough infection when you're fully vaccinated. You might still test positive, but listen f my COVID infection is downgraded to a cold, I would be completely okay with that. I just don't want to go to the hospital and I don't want to die.
And regarding the military, Pamela, they should be focusing on the task at hand. If they're constantly being exposed to other people, they're in close quarters, the marines are, they are a high-risk population and we need to find a way to answer their questions. And a lot of times they're scared. They just want their questions answered.
BROWN: All right. Dr. Mathew and Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, that you can't for indulging on the Marines for us. Thank you, gentlemen. We appreciate it. I appreciate you spending part of your Saturday night with us to educate our viewers. We do appreciate it.
Make sure that you join our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta on a journey to learn why some people are afraid of vaccines. The new CNN special report "The Truth About Vaccines" airs at the top of the hour.
So, should business leaders stay quiet when it comes to political issues? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says they should. I'm going to ask the CEO of CrossFit, Eric Roza, what he thinks, up next.
Plus, new details tonight on how Prince Philip's funeral must be scaled back because the coronavirus, only 30 people will be allowed to attend.
We'll be back.
BROWN: Well, President Joe Biden spending his first full weekend at the White House in more than a month. He's prepping for a full-court press on infrastructure Monday when lawmakers return and look for much-needed support on his $2 trillion plan.
Let's go to CNN's Arlette Saenz at the White House.
So, Arlette, what do we know about the president's weekend meetings?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, President Joe Biden stacked his day at the White House today full of meetings with members of his senior team. I am told that one of those meetings that President Biden and Vice President Harris had focused on climate issues. We also saw the special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, and Secretary of State Tony Blinken arriving here at the White House this afternoon.
And this climate meeting comes as the president is preparing to host a virtual summit on climate later this month with world leaders, initially inviting leaders from around 40 countries, though that list is still having finalized, but Russia and China were included on that list of invitees for their climate summit.
And on top of the meetings that the president is having here at the White House today, his immediate focus heading into next week will be infrastructure as he will soon start hosting those lawmakers here at the White House to talk about his massive $2.25 trillion infrastructure and jobs proposal.
On Monday, there will be a bipartisan group of lawmakers here at the White House with the president to talk about those issues. The White House has not yet released a list of who will be attending.
But what will be watched very closely in the coming weeks is where the president is willing to negotiate in this package. You have heard Republicans who've been swift and fierce in their opposition to the fact that it would raise taxes on corporations. The Biden administration has said that that is a way that they would be paying for this proposal.
But they've also signaled that there is room for compromise there, but that they went Republicans and others who might be opposed to the measure to present some possible alternatives to how to pay for it.
The president also needs to make sure he can keep his Democrats in line with this bill. You heard Senator Joe Manchin say that the corporate tax rate shouldn't go up to 28 percent. He'd like to see something else. So these are all elements of the negotiations that we will see play out with this massive bill in the coming months -- Pamela.
BROWN: It's going to be busy in Washington come Monday. That's for sure.
Arlette Saenz live for us from the White House, thanks so much.
And at the outset of the president's infrastructure pitch, one Biden official said these negotiations will, quote, take some time. Well, it's now sometime later and I'll be following up with her on where the president stands. Tune in tomorrow, Sunday, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern for my conversation with White House principal deputy press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre.
Well, this week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos came out in favor of the infrastructure plan saying the company is, quote, supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate. But yesterday on CNN, a different CEO stopped short of celebrating the proposed hike.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIP BERGH, CEO AND PRESIDENT, LEVI STRAUSS CO.: I wouldn't go so far as to say we support a 28 percent tax hike at this point. I think 28 percent pushes a threshold that a lot of businesses are going to find very difficult to swallow.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: Well, this comes as Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned corporations to stay out of policy debates. A stance McConnell later walked back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I didn't say that very artfully yesterday. They certainly are entitled to be involved in politics, they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And it's worth noting, of course, many corporations donate to different politicians.
So joining me now is CrossFit CEO Eric Roza to discuss this.
Eric, nice to have you on the show.
ERIC ROZA, CEO, CROSSFIT: Thanks for having me, Pamela.
BROWN: So the first question out of the gate, does CrossFit support an increase to a 28 percent corporate tax rate to help pay for Biden's infrastructure plan?
ROZA: Well, I -- we certainly don't have a position right now on the tax increase, but I can tell you we absolutely support the infrastructure bill and there needs to be a way to pay for it.
BROWN: So, I just want to ask a little bit more because you don't want to take a certain position. But the reality is the White House says that corporations need to fork over more in taxes. Corporations have a 35 percent tax rate since 1993. The economy boomed under Clinton. Trump boasted about the economy and stock market even before he slashed that to 21 percent.
Many large companies avoid paying the full rate anyway. So, I mean, can you say anything in terms of why would raising it be a burden?
ROZA: Well, I can speak as CrossFit's leader that we would be willing to pay higher taxes to fund a strong infrastructure plan.
BROWN: And do you know how much higher you would be willing to go?
ROZA: Don't have a -- don't know that yet. I can't give you a position on that yet.
ROZA: It's really -- you know, there's a dependency on what's going to come out of this.
So, what's important to me is when we talk about infrastructure, it's more than roads and bridges, right? We're really focused as CrossFit is what we think of the infrastructure for health and fitness in the U.S. and it's been decimated by the pandemic, Pamela. We had 25 percent of independent gyms shut down over the past year.
BROWN: I want to talk about that because I understand you want the Biden administration to include relief for the fitness industry in the infrastructure bill. So if you would just expand on what you were saying, make the case that that should count as infrastructure, that the fitness businesses should be included in the infrastructure bill.
ROZA: Absolutely. Yes, we've introduced the Gyms Act into Congress, and we have over 80 supporters at this point and it's growing pretty rapidly each week. And the view is essentially that gyms are essential to keeping people healthy.
What we've learned through the pandemic are a few of things. One is we saw the people who were most at risk for the pandemic were folks with obesity and other chronic diseases. We saw that the pandemic decimated people's health so that people gained weight during the pandemic and they came -- also came out with mental health issues.
And all of these things are kind of what we're in the business of doing, those of us who are in the gym and fitness business are in the business of making people happier and healthier, and unfortunately, because gyms were one of the first areas to be shut down in all the local shutdowns, without really any evidence that there's been spreading in gyms. There's been a disproportionate burden placed on them, which is why, again, a quarter of the gyms are out of business already and it could go up to a third if we don't act quickly.
BROWN: And you and contend that essentially gyms and fitness businesses should be treated and be given funding the same way that restaurants and live venue events have been treated by the government in terms of more funding, right?
ROZA: Absolutely. I'm a big fan of restaurants and live events like everyone, but I think gyms are even more essential to people's health and happiness. And this is -- we're all coming out of the pandemic in a really tough situation, personally. And then when we look at the economic impact, it's devastating what's happened in this industry.
BROWN: I want to ask you before we let you go, you have CrossFit gyms in several states where they have passed or attempted to pass controversial laws that would impose more restrictions on voting. Some corporations like American Airlines and Coca-Cola have written statements denouncing these moves.
Does CrossFit have a response to these laws?
ROZA: I'll tell you that CrossFit has not engaged in policy issues, but I'll tell -- I'll speak for myself personally and I'll say I strongly oppose any attempt to restrict Americans' rights to vote.
BROWN: And do you expect CrossFit to take a more public stance like these other corporations in states like Texas and Georgia where we've seen Coca-Cola and Delta and we've seen American Airlines speak out? What more could we see from CrossFit? ROZA: We are -- we are -- we have over 6,000 independent gym operators
in the U.S. who operate under the CrossFit banner. And so we're -- as you can imagine, there's a wide diversity of viewpoints. We're in the process of listening and talking to people.
Again, CrossFit has never taken a policy position outside of the areas of health and fitness, so I can't tell you whether we'll do that here, but I wanted to speak for myself personally. Right now, our primary focus is this Gyms Act. It's absolutely critical that we get gyms back online to help protect Americans going forward.
BROWN: Okay. CrossFit CEO Eric Roza, thank you very much for coming on the show.
ROZA: Thanks for having me, Pamela.
BROWN: Well, despite being under investigation for alleged sex trafficking, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz is fighting back as the scandal deepens. Details on that up next.
BROWN: Embattled Florida congressman, Matt Gaetz, claims that he has not yet begun to fight amid the Justice Department sex trafficking investigation. And now, the House ethics committee is launching a probe into many of the allegations against him. Gaetz denies any wrongdoing. But despite the accusations, Gaetz found a supportive crowd that a conservative women's summit held at a Florida Trump resort last night.
With me now, CNN political commentator and former Republican senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake. Thank you, Senator, for joining us to talk about this. So, we've got the first Republican in Congress calling for Representative Gaetz to resign his colleague, Adam Kinzinger, as you see here in this tweet, but that was nearly 48 hours ago. Why have more Republicans not joined in those calls? Are you surprised?
JEFF FLAKE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I'm not surprised. I mean, you usually wait until some charges are filed or there's an indictment or something happens, but you don't see a groundswell of support on the other side, either. So, he hasn't made too many friends in Congress. And so, he's going to have a rough go when it comes down to an indictment or some charges coming down, then he'll face a lot of calls to resign.
BROWN: Yes, you're right. He hasn't had a lot of outspoken support from fellow Republicans, except for Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene who were down there in Florida. He used to have six terms in the House before moving to the Senate. This health House Ethics Committee statement rattles off a really detailed list of allegations it will explore.
Now, the congressman denies any wrongdoing and blames it all on politics. But should he be worried about the ethics pro? What could come out of that?
FLAKE: Well, obviously, if he wanted to keep serving in Congress, that would be a worry. I would think that this is the least of his worries, right now, is, you know, given the charges and what's out there, his main concern is probably staying out of jail.
So, the ethics committee's jurisdiction ends when somebody resigns, or is forced out of Congress. So that that I would think is the least of his concerns, although it was rather telling the length of the statement and what they said that they were looking into, it's pretty significant.
BROWN: It is. And as we know, he has said he will not resign. He is now fundraising off the DOJ investigation. He is all in on the Trump playbook of blaming the swamp, the Deep State, even though the case started on Bill Barr's watch, the former Attorney General under Trump.
We saw them at Trump's Golf Resort last night headlining a women for America first event of all events. When you see him using the precise and false tactics Donald Trump used to no avail in the last election, should more Republicans be calling him out if only to protect themselves?
FLAKE: Oh, sure. You know, if it didn't work for Donald Trump, certainly not going to work for Matt Gaetz, and it's kind of a tired playbook. You know, they're not going after you because I'm standing in the breach. I'm doing this for you. I think most people kind of just kind of chuckle at that. So, I -- you know, that's not very effective, frankly.
BROWN: But do you think they do? Do you think that -- I mean, you know, that was what Donald Trump did, he still remained so popular in the Republican Party. I know that is something that you think will not last. But Donald Trump's playbook is blame everything on the media and the deep state -- that he did nothing wrong. And now we're seeing that from Gaetz, do you not think that that is effective?
FLAKE: No, not really. It's certainly not going to stave off the Justice Department, or the ethics committee or others. They're going to look at the facts and the investigation. So, you know, I would expect him to do the same. That's what a lot of the Trump acolytes are doing, they are taking that playbook. It's just not very effective.
Actually, if you look at, you know, how effective it was for Donald Trump, we lost the House, we lost the Senate, we lost the White House. We've lost over the last several years, you know, more than 400 seats in legislative -- I'm sorry in state legislatures nationwide. So it's not been a good formula for electoral success certainly.
BROWN: So, then why does he have so much power still in the Republican Party?
FLAKE: He did, because in the -- in the primary. He is still -- you got to bend the knee, basically in a Republican primary, and that explains the predicament that Republicans are in. You really can't win a Republican primary, certainly not here in Arizona, and many other so called purple states unless you're willing to accept the leadership with Donald Trump and not criticize it.
But if you do that, it puts you out of step with the general electorate. So, that's in general the -- you know, the problem that Republicans have. We have a diminishing base. And until we realize that and look for ways to be more inclusive, we're going to continue to lose ground nationwide.
BROWN: Before we go, you and I spoke earlier this year about your discussions with the Biden White House about a possible ambassadorship. You said that there were no specific talks at that point. Where do things stand now?
FLAKE: I'd continued to say that I would like to see some of the Biden administration's foreign policy be bipartisan, that I believe it can be. And so I stand ready to help if I can in that regard, but that's the extent of the discussions.
BROWN: So, are those discussions still taking place?
FLAKE: So, there are still discussions? Yes.
BROWN: OK. We shall see. And I imagine if something does happen, you will let us know on the show.
Jeff Flake, thank you very much.
FLAKE: Thanks, Pamela.
BROWN: Well, Myanmar's bloody coup has left at least 570 people dead since the military seized control the government two months ago, but what lies ahead for the country and what will the international community do? Those are some key questions, and I'm going to speak to the former U.S. ambassador to Myanmar up next. Stay with us.
BROWN: A CNN team's recent trip to Myanmar found a country exploding with anguish over the brutality of its illegitimate leaders. At least 700 people have been killed according to an advocacy group. The conflict ignited on February 1st when the army chief seized control of the country in a coup, overturning that democratic election and detaining government officials.
Security forces have launched a coordinated crackdown against unarmed and peaceful protesters. Internet and communication within the country have been cut. And local journalists and activists have risked everything to show the world what's really going on, signaling resistance to our own CNN crew, even though their every move was being watched.
Joining me now is the first U.S. ambassador to Myanmar in more than 22 years, Derek Mitchell. Ambassador, thank you for joining us.
DEREK MITCHELL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MYANMAR: Thank you, Pamela.
BROWN: When you were sent to Myanmar back in 2012, then President Obama praised and supported the country's pivot to democracy. What changed? How is me Myanmar now and the place it's in?
MITCHELL: Well, in those days, we saw -- we had hope -- we saw a government that was quasi military. It was basically military men who took off their uniforms and formed a new government who showed commitment to reform, they opened up to the opposition party, the National League for Democracy and Aung San Suu Kyi. They relieved the stress on the media, they opened up the internet, they opened up the economy, they established a peace process. They were really on a path that we wanted to support.
But since then, we just -- as you say, recently, the military got frustrated, maybe they felt humiliated, maybe they felt it wasn't working the way they wanted to. And they wanted a controlled democracy. And they may have felt it was getting out of control. So, on the eve of the second term for Aung San Suu Kyi's government, they effected a coup and then now trying to reverse all the gains that we have seen over the past 10 years.
BROWN: And our own Clarissa Ward was reporting from Myanmar, she spoke to some people there who risked jail just to speak to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want to go back to the dark age. We lost our voice. And we had -- we had democracy only for 10 years, because we don't have weapons. We don't have guns.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are shooters and the shooters shoot the children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Some of the people she talked to were later arrested. And as that woman, that brave woman speaking to her said children have been killed. We've heard horrific stories inside there, from indiscriminate killings to bombing their own citizens. Why isn't there more being done to stop this? What more can the international community realistically do at this point?
MITCHELL: Well, that's a really good question. Let me just say first, I thought Clarissa Ward's reporting was just outstanding. And kudos to CNN and to Clarissa for really a great job on the spot to show what is happening there, despite the military's desire to get its propaganda out.
This is a conundrum. I think the U.S. government is doing all it can, first of all, here's targeted sanctions on the military and their families and their money, their businesses. But there's only a certain amount of leverage that we have alone. This really comes down to the neighbors to those in Asia, in particular, to ASEAN, which is the grouping of Southeast Asian Nations, to India, to Japan, and of course to China, to all be working together.
They have been, you know, in the Asian way of working quietly, discreetly, find work discreetly, but there is not enough urgency. There's not enough boldness, there's not enough really assertiveness and really a coordinated joint action, to look at what's happening, which is not just the regression of democracy, and obviously the humanitarian disaster, but the prospect of a failed state in the heart of a dynamic region of Asia. And they really need to step up and get beyond their traditional instinctive, kind of, low key ways really reassert their power and find their voice.
BROWN: I mean, if this doesn't create urgency, all of these children being killed, they're -- all of these people innocently being killed for just trying to speak up and use their voice and fight for democracy, if that doesn't spark a sense of urgency among the surrounding countries, what will? What more would it take?
MITCHELL: It's hard to say what more it will take. But if it -- if we see refugee flows, large flows across borders that affect the security, which it will eventually affecting the security of Thailand or China or India, just the accumulation of a failed state, perhaps that will, but I think it takes a lot more stress on them. It needs to be much more pressure put on those key states.
If it's not ASEAN as a group, because with an ASEAN, of course, you have many non-democratic countries, then other countries within ASEAN like Indonesia, who's tried to step up and exercise leadership, Malaysia, Singapore, where banks are, where the military puts their money and to the hospital -- they have hospitals to which their families go, they can squeeze much more access of the military, their families, their money, and the things they really care about, their prestige, their reputation, they can squeeze that much more to try to get the military to pull back from the brink, because otherwise, these guys with guns going to continue on.
BROWN: Former leader, Aung San Suu Kyi was once a darling in the West, seen as pro-democracy. But in recent years, she turned more -- she turned differently. China has -- she turned more China frankly, China has given thinly veiled support for the military behind the coup. How does that complicate any resolution to the present crisis? And do you think that the U.S. viewed her too generously when you were part of the administration?
MITCHELL: I think -- well, Aung San Suu Kyi, people had reassessment of her publicly for the last 75 years or so. I don't think we had any illusions. I knew her pretty well, and I met her and there are parts of her that clearly were oriented towards human rights and democracy. But there are other parts that I saw that I was concerned about. She very much was a Berman who had desired control of her party and of the country.
But aside from her, I mean, she represents the democratic hopes of the people of the country. Her party has over and over been voted in to represent them for better or for worse. And there are people in the country who are not entirely confident about her, but she represents a singular leader. So, we supported her because she represented the democracy of the country. So, it wasn't simply about her, I would say number one.
Now, he, by the way, we're looking past that, and people are not even talking necessarily about her so much, but more about the movement and the people in the streets.
The second thing about China, they are interested primarily on their own narrow interests, they have economic interests, they consider Myanmar part of their sphere of influence in the region. They don't want the West there, they don't want to have the United States around, they would like to have a privileged position. And they want to have access to the Indian Ocean through road and rail and oil and gas pipelines that run through Myanmar into western China. They want access to the Indian Ocean.
So, all of this is what drives China. They're very practical. I think they're concerned, they're trying to play both sides on this. There's a rumor they've been talking to the opposition to the duly elected parliamentary representatives that are forming a parallel government. So, they're going to watch and wait. And I think -- but we need to get them as well to step up and not look at Myanmar as a strategic competition, but as a place that we all have an interest to see get stable and get developed in coming years.
BROWN: All right. Ambassador Derek Mitchell, thank you very much. And we will be right.
MITCHELL: Thank you, Pam.
BROWN: Well, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was known to be a no fuss kind of man. And his funeral will reflect that. Arrangements are scaled down because of COVID.
Royal correspondent Max Foster joins me now from Windsor Castle. So, Max, what more are you learning about the funeral and who will be there?
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's all going to be contained in the castle, it'll be on Saturday. Saturday afternoon, U.K. time, morning U.S. time, East Coast time, 10:00 a.m. in the morning.
And under current U.K. restrictions, they can only have 30 guests at the wedding. So, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today he's going to give up his place so more family members can go. We're going to get a full list of people attending the funeral on Thursday. But we do know that Prince Harry is going to make his way over. He's going to have to go through quarantine, five days of quarantine minimum. So, he's going to be leaving very soon. The Duchess of Sussex, they won't be coming over. The doctors advised her against that because she's pregnant. So, it's going to be a small affair, but there will be a procession through part of the castle and then there will be this service that lasts about an hour. We'll see the queen, of course, for the first time as a widow so it's going to be a very poignant service, I think.
And there will be some moments within it as well to remember. They're very religious couple. They were a very religious couple and the Queen will be looking at this moment as a -- as a sendoff really for Prince Philip who was her closest aide, her closest confidant. And they've been together, Pam, for 73 years, so it's going to be an incredible scene and people are being discouraged from coming here to try to get involved, but to watch it on T.V.
BROWN: All right. And do you expect we'll see the Queen wearing a mask given the COVID precautions they're taking?
FOSTER: Well, we have asked that question. And what they're saying is it will be in line with all current restrictions. So, the suggestion was they would be wearing masks, all of the guests. There are lots of complications here about the number of people allowed in the church, the clergy, the T.V. cameras, and the crews. And they're working that through, so we'll get those details on Thursday.
BROWN: All right. Max Foster, thank you very much.
And thank you for joining me this evening. I'm Pamela Brown. Have a great night. See you tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.