Return to Transcripts main page


Russia Retaliates, Bans U.S. Officials from Country; Michigan Faces Shutdown Pressure as COVID Cases Surge; Fauci Says Fighting Variants with Booster Shots Is Almost Like Playing "Whack A Mole"; Celebrating Brooke Baldwin's 10+ Years at CNN. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 16, 2021 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Breaking news right now. Russia is retaliating against President Biden's latest sanctions on Moscow for election interference in that massive hack known as SolarWinds. Let's get to CNN's Kylie Atwood on this breaking story. And so Kylie, what is Russia doing and who's on the list?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, so Brooke, we were expecting this, right. Russia said that the United States was going to pay a price for all the tremendous costs that we saw the Biden administration impose on Russia yesterday. And now we're seeing just the beginning, perhaps, of what they're going to be doing here. There are U.S. officials who are being sanctioned by the Russian government. They won't be allowed into the country because they are added onto this list.

I want to go through that list with you because these are some very high-ranking Biden administration officials, right. So, it starts with Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, of course. Michael Carvajal, the director of U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons. Alejandro Mayorkas, of course, the Secretary of Homeland Security. Susan Rice, she's the Domestic Policy Adviser to the President. Of course, she was the former U.N. Ambassador during the Obama administration. Christopher Wray, the FBI Director. And Avril Haines, she is the Director of National Intelligence for the Biden administration.

This a tremendous list here. Brooke. These are some of the highest ranking officials in the Biden administration who are going to be doing things such as looking at U.S./Russia relations. Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, she will be collecting everything and reviewing everything that the U.S. government knows about Russia. She was integral to the process that led up to what we saw the Biden administration do yesterday with those sanctions, with expelling diplomats.

We should also note, Brooke, that the Russians are also saying that they are going to be expelling U.S. diplomats from Russia and they are also suggesting that the U.S. Ambassador there, Ambassador Sullivan, he is a holdover from the Trump administration, they're suggesting that he returns to Washington for consultation.

So, we're waiting to see if he's actually going to do that. We're waiting for a response from the Biden administration -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Let us know about that response when it happens. Kylie, for now, thank you.

Michigan's governor is now facing pressure to put strict COVID restrictions back in place in her state amid this alarming surge in new cases and this increasing number of more transmissible COVID variants fueling the surge. Hospitalizations in Michigan have also increased over the last couple of weeks. Some hospitals near 95 percent capacity.

With me now, Dr. Rob Davidson, emergency room physician there. You know, you live, you practice in more rural Michigan. Tell me the story of your E.R., how bad is it?

DR. ROB DAVIDSON, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Yes, first, Brooke, I want to thank you for the past year that we've been able to have these conversations. You and your team have really helped me to grow as a public health and health care communicator. So I really appreciate what you're doing.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

DAVIDSON: But it's tough. It's tough. I mean I just got done working another shift out first of four. And we are routinely admitting or transferring nearly a dozen patients now in a small hospital, I think we transferred a dozen out yesterday.

You know, at least half of those folks have had COVID are positive right here among the people we're seeing, it's at least 50 percent or more. Some people are reporting like ten out of ten for a shift that they're getting positive for COVID.

And so, it's been a challenge. You know, we are in a fourth wave, no doubt. And here in rural west Michigan, the circumstances make it a little tougher.

BALDWIN: Let me just echo that sentiment and just thank you for all the work you have been doing and are doing. I know it's a long day when I have a Dr. Rob in the car, live shot, all right. So thank you for that. Let's talk about vaccinations. Pfizer is now saying recipients of its vaccine will likely need a booster within six to 12 months after folks are fully vaccinated. So, do you think COVID shots will be needed annually for the foreseeable future?

DAVIDSON: I certainly think at least a booster will be needed. It's hard to say if this is going to become a virus that's with us, that becomes endemic, and then it's just an annual type thing.


We're hopeful that we can stomp this out enough, drive down the transmission enough to eventually wipe out the virus. That's what herd immunity will do for us. If we can ever get to herd immunity, then yes, the folks that do get immunized will have to get something periodically. Maybe every year. And if that's the case, you know. I trust that -- I know myself, my family will be doing that. I hope as many people as possible will do that as well.

BALDWIN: You mentioned, too, a second ago about this just about this -- we're now in this latest surge, but yet just help us understand because we know millions of people now are being vaccinated every day. So why are we seeing this uptick in cases?

DAVIDSON: Well, here in Michigan specifically, we have a ton of variants. The B.1.1.7 that originated in the U.K. That's they think up to 70 percent of the cases that we're seeing when they do all the genomic typing at the state.

The other piece, I mean we have an example here in west Michigan where we have a group of parents protesting at a high school, pounding on the door because they don't want their kids to have to wear masks when they play school sports.

The same groups of people are resistant to getting vaccinations. They don't want any restrictions then, you know, what I say is, that's great. I would love it if none of this were happening, but it is. And so, we have to try to convince people to just do what's right. And our governor has done everything right from the beginning, near as I can tell. And it's just nearly an impossible task here. This state is unique.

We have a Republican legislature that sued her to take away her powers. I know they're doing their best to try to get more vaccines in arms because getting enough people to follow the public health guidelines has proved to be nearly impossible.

BALDWIN: Again, appreciate all that you're doing. Keep fighting. Thank you. Dr. Rob Davidson, great to see you. Great to have you on.

DAVIDSON: Bye-bye.

BALDWIN: As the world prepares to say good-bye to Prince Philip tomorrow, we have new details on the Royal funeral. That is next.



BALDWIN: Britain's Prince Philip will be buried at St. George's Chapel tomorrow at Windsor Castle. The pandemic is putting a real limit on all the pageantry. It will be a toned down affair by royal standards, but Queen Elizabeth's husband of 73 years might have preferred it that way.

CNN's Royal correspondent Max Foster joins us live from Windsor, England. And Max, what are the plans for tomorrow?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting, isn't it, because despite all these restrictions, I think ultimately, as you say, Prince Philip is going to get what he wanted. You know, will get the Order of Service but later on he defined that Order of Service. He defined what military traditions he wanted to be on display tomorrow. And they'll all be there.

But it will all be slimmed down. And he didn't want the big state funeral. So I think, ultimately, it would have suited him. I think one of the most poignant things we'll see tomorrow is the chapel with just 30 members of the congregation for this massive national event.

And you'll see the Queen sitting there in a mask on her own, grieving her husband of 73 years. I think that's going to be a really poignant moment. But it will in many ways feel like a celebration of a really long and rich life -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: So as they tomorrow celebrate this long and rich life, and just given the fact that, you know, you've reported so much recently in the wake of that Meghan and Harry interview and this royal rift, how will the family -- how have they been dealing with all of that?

FOSTER: Well, you know, I think it's there. I think it is a tension, and I think they're trying to deal with it. But what they don't want tomorrow to be is an analysis of the tensions between Harry and William. And they dealt with that in a couple of ways.

Nothing official, but, you know, you can see what's happening here. One of them is they'll all be wearing civilian suits because Harry has been stripped of his titles and he won't be able to wear a military outfit. Is it fair he's one of the only serving -- you know, one of the only -- well, there's two of them with Andrew, but two people who served in conflict not wearing a military suit -- it would have been very odd.

But also, you're going to see William and Harry in the same line in the procession but separated by Peter Phillips. I think that again was a way of dispelling all the attention that would have been on that very tense relationship.

BALDWIN: Max Foster, thank you. I know we'll be seeing you tomorrow. Just a quick programming note for all of you before we leave today. Make sure you watch the CNN original series "The People Versus the Klan." The true story of Beulah Mae Donald, a black mother who took down the KKK after the lynching of her son. Back-to-back episodes Sunday night 9 o'clock Eastern only here on CNN.

All right, here we are. Coming up in my final minutes on my final show here at CNN. I am filled with emotion and gratitude. And so, I am told my team has put together some sort of video, so you and I will be watching this together for the first time. So, oh, boy. And I do have some words for you. That's coming up next.




BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin. It's now. It's urgent. It's happening here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin. CNN equals politics now. The countdown is on. I'm Brooke Baldwin, the news is now.

BALDWIN: Katrina was five years ago. Aren't people saying why, again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just the strength and the testament of these people. They going to come back.

BALDWIN: I want to let you in on a little secret. When I was a kid, I actually didn't grow up to want to be a journalist. In the beginning, I wanted to be an astronaut.

BALDWIN: I'm tumbling in space.

BALDWIN: Bottom of the hour, I'm Brooke Baldwin. Technology, sports, business, health, science and showbiz news. We're hitting it off for you right now.

BALDWIN: We are not just strong. We are Boston strong.

BALDWIN: President Obama's half-sister grew up in Kogelo. She invited me here in an exclusive interview to show me where the Obama family comes from.

BALDWIN: The U.S. Navy granted me rare and exclusive access to the lives of these young sailors deployed in the Arabian Gulf.

Nice to meet you guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How was your trip out here?

BALDWIN: Hi, hi, hi. I love a good hero, right


BALDWIN: What does it feel like to be standing in North Korea, you guys?


BALDWIN: Feels the same.

If and when that call came into you, and you're ready to roll.


BALDWIN: What does the call look like between you and your wife?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brooke, I don't even want to think about that.

BALDWIN: We will pick it up from here. Good to be with you. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN's special live coverage.

BALDWIN: This the moment of the American woman.

BALDWIN: How do young black girls grow up and think I can and I will?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They see Issa. They see me and I feel pretty amplified for life.

BALDWIN: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You are watching special live coverage here of Hurricane Michael.

BALDWIN: We have just now flown over Mexico Beach, and it's gone. It's obliterated, and it's awful. It's awful to look at.

BALDWIN: You don't meet many killer Mikes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All these young men are outstanding, it's like a million, and they come here and talk all the BS they want.

BALDWIN: Team USA now headed to the World Cup finals on Sunday.

BALDWIN: I can barely hear you over Beyonce's "We Run the World." Ticker tape has been following --

BALDWIN: What does these women represent for you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that they show that no matter what women don't have to conform to stereotypes made by society. And I --

BALDWIN: Not conforming to stereotypes of society. And you're how old?



CROWD: Three, two, one.

BALDWIN: I really was a resolutions person.


BALDWIN: I really just, I want to just, I don't know, be my best self.


BALDWIN: Take a moment to breathe.

BALDWIN: Thank you all for being with me. We're going to send it to Washington for some special coverage today.

BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin here in New York. Thank you all for being here with me and that's it for me.

BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being here.


BALDWIN: Wow, you, guys.

OK. I got this. I got this. Deep breath. Deep breath, Brooke. OK. Let me let you in on a little secret. This job, my show here on CNN

was not originally supposed to be mine.

More than a decade ago there was an anchor suddenly departed CNN leaving this gaping hole in the afternoons and the then bosses quickly turned to me and they were like, Brooke, we're going to need you to keep the seat warm just for a week until we actually find the person who will take over this show. OK?

Well, guess what. I've kept the seat warm for nearly 11 years. You and I have witnessed history together from marriage equality to this pandemic from the Women's March to Me Too, from natural disasters to, again, senseless shootings and now we wait.

We wait for the justice in a trial where another black man in America has died at hands of police. This job using my voice for over a decade has been nothing short of a profound privilege so to you at home, thank you, thank you for trusting me. Thank you for holding me accountable and thank you for all of the love. I'm telling you. I'm reading every single one of your DMs, all right, send them on.

And to you, my CNN family, my CNN huddle. This is the hardest part. Thank you for making me better. Thank you for pushing me. Thank you for believing in me and my big backflip off the high dive today.

You know, a decade ago I didn't even know this show would become mine, and now a decade later I find myself in a similar situation, not totally knowing what's next, and I'm OK with that because what I do now is that I am a journalist and a storyteller for life.

And lastly, I'm leaving this place even better than I found it. I'm borrowing a line from the leader of the U.S. Women's National Team as told to me by Megan Rapinoe when I recently interviewed her for my book "Huddle" and she said it started with Mia Hamm and then Abby Wambach.

And eventually it will be her fighting for what's right and fair and equal for the next generation of women soccer players. These women when they left the team, they would urge the remaining players to leave the team better than they found it, and so here I am in relating it to journalism, let me tell you something.


When I saw all of those women recently one after another after another, these White House correspondents for TV and print standing up to ask President Biden a question at his very first press conference, let me just say I was sitting in my office. I was on my feet cheering them on, so many women, black, white, brown, progress.

We do need diverse voices telling our stories from in front of the camera and to the executive suites. We are making progress, so whatever industry you are in, my parting words get a little uncomfortable. Speak up and keep pushing.

I'm Brooke Baldwin here in New York, and I cannot wait to have you join me on our journey together.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. And we start with our NATIONAL LEAD today.