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CNN NEWSROOM

Interview with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Racism in America; Trump-Pence Relationship Not What It Was; CNN Analysis Says 80 Percent Drop in Average Daily Deaths Since January Peak; Chicago After-School Center Becomes Lifeline for Remote Students; "Story of Late Night" Premiers Sunday on CNN. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 30, 2021 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00]

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: And what the president said is accurate about the American people, that the American people I think of call to goodness, that's where they want to be. They want to be in a nation that respects all people.

But our system is such that it then allows Americans, people to act in instances in a racist manner. And I believe that it is important to call that out and to be able to find ways that we can learn more about each other. And, as you well know, I'm carrying the bill H.R. 40, the commission to study and develop reparation proposals.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Yes.

LEE: That study, that commission will be open to all ideas for people to hear the history, understand the history, and I think we will get to a better place. But yes, action by America and actions by people in America have been racist.

BLACKWELL: Congresswoman, let me get you on the record on one last thing here. You serve on House Judiciary with Congressman Matt Gaetz. After the reporting from the "Daily Beast" that an associate of his wrote a letter in which he says that the congressman paid for sex, also had sex with an underage girl -- or girl, underage not necessary there. That Ted Lieu, who is also on the committee, said that he should be removed from the Judiciary Committee. Do you believe that Matt Gaetz should be removed from that committee?

LEE: I believe girls that now are in the limelight should be protected. And if these actions have truly -- I'm always a person that believes that you must get the truth and the facts. And so I think it is imperative that the ranking member, Mr. Jordan, deal with his member and that Kevin McCarthy deal with his member. That's the --

BLACKWELL: What do you think the appropriate way to do that is?

LEE: -- the protocol of the House is for them to act. and if they act in a way that removes him, then that is appropriate that what should happen.

BLACKWELL: What do you think should happen?

LEE: I think that if someone has had that kind of involvement, then it's very difficult to see how they continue to stay.

BLACKWELL: All right. I should also say that Congressman Gaetz has not been charged. He has denied any wrongdoing. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, thank you so much.

LEE: Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: OK, so next we have some new CNN reporting about relationship today between Donald Trump and Mike Pence, as Mike Pence considers a run for president. That's just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:35:00]

BLACKWELL: In his very first speech since leaving office, former Vice President Mike Pence touted the successes of the Trump administration. Now he later tweeted this --

In 48 months of the Trump/Pence administration, it achieved the lowest unemployment, highest household incomes, most energy production, most pro-American trade deals, most secure border and strongest military in American history.

Although there might have to be a little fact-checking on some of those claims.

CAMEROTA: But the language has changed if you'll notice.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And so that's all despite reports that the Trump/Pence relationship has been strained since some, as you'll remember, of President Trump's most ardent supporters wanted to hang Mike Pence.

Let's bring in CNN national political reporter Maeve Reston and CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger. OK, Gloria, you have some new reporting on their relationship. What is it like today?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I would say it is polite but somewhat strained. The president -- the former president called Mike Pence a couple of times after he had a pace pacemaker inserted. And he called him when he became a new grandfather.

But you'll notice in that language that you just quoted, it is no longer, we all stand on Donald Trump's broad shoulders, as he used to say over and over again. It is now the Trump/Pence administration. You're going to be hearing that more and more from Mike Pence. Obviously, he wants to run for president. But I was told by a source that the relationship is not likely to be what it once was.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Polite is better than what it was when the former president called him a coward.

BORGER: Well, that's right.

BLACKWELL: And then people had to chase him out of the Capitol. Hey --

BORGER: And I don't think Mike Pence has forgotten that. He knows that the former president's going around telling friends but how disappointed he is in Mike Pence for not breaking the law, as my source put it.

BLACKWELL: All right. Maeve let's turn to you and President Biden during his joint address to Congress. He said that he was speaking to Americans who he felt were left behind, forgotten in an economy that's so rapidly changing. Your reporting is on who those voters, those Americans are specifically.

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, and I think that's the big question that we are all going to be asking over the next two years, and really four years as we look ahead to 2022 and the midterm elections in 2024. And I think it will be really important to define that audience that he was speaking to.

But talking to some economists yesterday, they were pointing out that's what's been smart about Biden's messaging here is that when he talks about Americans who feel left behind, it's not just those, you know, Reagan Democrats that we tend to think of, who left the Democratic Party and ultimately were attracted to Trump because of both his economic message and his message on cultural issues.

[15:40:04]

But that Biden's message on infrastructure and these big economic plans that he's trying to get through really also can appeal to a lot of those black and brown voters who turned out to vote for him in the cities across the country. And that's in part because so many of the economic gains that we have seen over the last couple of years since the Great Recession have really benefitted the folks on the coast.

You know, particularly the tech boom. And so, it'll be interesting to see whether these economic messages from Biden can overpower Trump's cultural messages -- or the Trump GOP's cultural messages in the next two years and actually persuade voters to switch over.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it will. So Gloria, let's talk about what's going on with Liz Cheney and the rest of GOP leadership in the House. So Steve Scalise, who is the minority whip, does not appreciate what Liz Cheney has been saying. Here he is today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA) MINORITY WHIP: I know the media likes making a lot out of some of the conversations when maybe Liz Cheney takes some, you know, direct swipes at President Trump. President Trump is still a very active part of our party and a vocal leader in our party.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, he's team Trump.

BORGER: Oh, he is. And there are lots of grumbling on the Republican side about Liz Cheney, who is quick to criticize Donald Trump whenever she can. She believes that he should not run for president again, for example.

And their point is that either you're in the leadership and we're with Donald Trump or you're not in the leadership if you're against Donald Trump.

And there is a sense, and I was just talking to one Republican today about it, there is a sense, they like Kevin McCarthy, and there's a sense that she is putting Kevin McCarthy in a tough spot, where he has to choose between Cheney, whom he has defended in the past, and Donald Trump, whom he has also defended in the past, as you know. So, it brings the party's disagreements to the forefront. Of course, they don't want to do this. They have one goal and that's to win back the House.

CAMEROTA: OK, Gloria Borger, Maeve Reston, thank you both very much.

BLACKWELL: All right, moments ago Vice President Harris she weighed in on the new restrictions set to take effect next week on travel from India. And next, the CDC marks a milestone with now 100 million Americans fully vaccinated. We've got details on reopenings around the country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:45:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On the issue of India, we have announced that there's going to be a travel restriction starting on Tuesday on the advice of the Centers for Disease Control, our COVID-19 experts, medical experts, our national security advisers.

It is important to note, as I said earlier, that we have a responsibility as the United States, in particular as it relates to the people that we have partnered with over the years, to step up when people are in a time of need. As it relates to the people of India, we have a longstanding, decades old relationship with India, with the Indian people. In particular, around public health issues. Tonight, in fact, we're going to be sending a plane with supplies that will include oxygen and with an expectation that that will provide some level of relief.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK, that was Vice President Kamala Harris moments ago on those new restrictions on travel from India. This comes as Americans are seeing signs that they may be getting close to the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Roughly 30 percent of the country is now fully vaccinated as of today. A CNN analysis finds a giant drop in coronavirus deaths since the peak

in January. One health policy leader is saying, quote, the worst is behind us. Alex Field is following all of the developments for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A major milestone in America's fight against COVID.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: With 100 million Americans fully vaccinated as of today, we continue to move ahead in our progress to end this pandemic.

FIELD (voice over): As more people get vaccinated, the average daily number of deaths falling, down by 80 percent since the peak in January when 3,000 Americans were dying daily. The spread of infection also slowing nationwide. The average number of daily new cases dropping to its lowest level since October.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D) NEW YORK CITY: What we've seen in the last weeks has been stunning progress in terms of reducing the levels of COVID, greatly increasing the numbers of vaccinations.

FIELD (voice over): New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he's hopeful that one of the country's first COVID epicenters could reopen by July 1st.

Chicago already loosening restrictions that will allow for a return to festivals and bigger events.

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D) CHICAGO: Chicago is safely open for business and play.

FIELD (voice over): Kentucky preparing to welcome 50,000 people to the stands for this weekend's Derby. Delta Air Lines putting passengers back in middle seats and the return of cruising is back on the horizon, as soon as this summer, according to the CDC. Most critically by fall President Joe Biden expressing confidence that all schools should probably be able to open.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's not overwhelming evidence that there's much of a transmission among young people.

FIELDS (voice over): Moderna is aiming to have its vaccine authorized for children, aged 12 and up by summer according to its president. While Pfizer's authorization for the same age group could come soon. The hope of expanding vaccine eligibility intensifying as vaccination averages sink to their lowest level in weeks. An average of 2.6 million shots are still going into arms daily. But a new CNN poll shows 26 percent of American adults still don't plan to try to get a shot at all.

JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We are now increasingly focused on other groups that will take time to reach. And we expect the number of shots administered each day to moderate and fluctuate. (END VIDEOTAPE)

FIELD (on camera): Victor and Alisyn, all the vaccines that we currently have on the market were brought here by Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, but Dr. Anthony Fauci is saying that very soon we could see full FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. And officials are really hopeful that that could help to boost confidence among some who are still hesitant.

BLACKWELL: All right, Alexandra Field for us there in New York. Thank you so much.

Still ahead, Rudy Giuliani, we're hearing from him, denying any wrongdoing and vowing to fight back after federal agents raided his home and office.

CAMEROTA: But first, we want to take a moment to honor this week's CNN Hero. Jennifer Maddox has turned her after-school center on Chicago's south side into a remote learning hub to help parents and students get the support they need during the pandemic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JENNIFER MADDOX, CNN HERO: We don't want them to make the choice, me, earning a living versus my child getting an education. What type of a choice is that?

MADDOX: Good morning.

MADDOX (voice over): If they have to go back to work, we're available for them to bring their kids every day so that they can go to work.

[15:50:00]

MADDOX (voice over): We provide them with a safe space, making sure they are online every morning, on time, making sure that they are in class, they are engaged and able to complete their assignments.

MADDOX: OK. Very good.

MADDOX (voice over): We try to make sure that our doors stayed open. That we were constantly staying involved and connected with the young people because they were really struggling trying to cope through COVID.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: To see the full story about Jennifer Maddox, go to CNNheroes.com, and while you're there you can nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero.

[15:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: For the past six decades late-night television has grown from a shot in the dark experiment to a thriving cultural phenomenon.

And now the new CNN original series "The Story of Late Night" which premieres Sunday night at 9:00 examines how late night TV not only makes us laugh but it shapes how we see the world. Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILLY CRYSTAL, ACTOR, COMEDIAN: Steve Allen was the generator of a lot of ideas that were way ahead of its time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several critics through the years called my father the most imitated man in television because many of the early experiments he made were often used and developed by other comedians to a great effect.

STEVE ALLEN, LATE NIGHT TV HOST: And here he is now, the question man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like the question man where he would provide the question to an answer.

ALLEN: Buffalo bill. The question?

ALLEN: When you buy a buffalo, what do you get at the first of the month?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Johnny did a later version called Carnac, The Magnificent.

JOHNNY CARSON, LATE NIGHT TV HOST: Sis, boom, bah.

ED MCMAHAN, ANNOUNCER: Sis, boom, bah.

CARSON: Describe the sound made when a sheep explodes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Joining us now is Liz Winstead, she's the co-creator of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central. Liz, great to see you.

LIZ WINSTEAD, CO-CREATOR OF "THE DAILY SHOW": Hey, good to see you.

CAMEROTA: So Liz, let's place "The Daily Show" somewhere along the, you know, evolution of late night comedy TV. Is it -- OK, it's my impression, tell me if I'm right, that that's what ushered in the kind of biting political satire that we have now, and before that it was more celebrity interview driven and more kind of benign jokes, and "The Daily Show" was the tipping point. Where do you see fitting?

WINSTEAD: Yes, I think, that you know, I never looked at it as a traditional late night show in the sense of cultivating guests and being silly. It really to me was a reflection of the media and of the news-makers, right, so we did sort of two things. We launched in 1996, and I think a lot of people forget. We launched in July of 1996. CNN was the only game in town. At the end of the month, MSNBC launched and then Fox launched in October. And so we were kind of focusing on the explosion of news magazines and satirizing that and local news, and then all of a sudden there were three cable news channels with time to fill and "The Daily Show" wanted to be as satirical around media presentation as it was around those who were in the media. So I think that was kind of the difference.

BLACKWELL: So where are we going now in late night because so many things have changed because of social media. A lot of people are seeing these clips and sketches from shows the next morning on their phones, and COVID certainly has changed it. Where do you think we're headed next?

WINSTEAD: I mean, it's really interesting because with people being able to get commentary so quickly, how do the late-night shows keep up? You know, it's something that used to live in a 24-hour news cycle, comedy is sort of like news in that way.

It can die in an hour and a half, and so I think where we're going is -- I'm just curious to see how often appointment viewing will last, right. Will late night be late-night be appointment viewing or will it be I'm going to bank a bunch of these and watch them all at the end of week.

I'm going to watch last night's at noon. And then you know people set their own rules especially with the way initial broadcasts then clip and repost. You have the opportunity to have your late night show at 8:00 in the morning if you want, and I think that's the way we consume information now, and I don't know if that's going to change.

CAMEROTA: How about with COVID. I mean you know, Stephen Colbert is doing it from his attic or form his home, what do you think of all those shows now?

WINSTEAD: I miss my (INAUDIBLE). I know.

CAMEROTA: Good point.

WINSTEAD: It's really interesting to see just how it's all going to play out. I think that there has been a real hunger for people to have an audience again and to have people back in the space. And I think that how people consume it might be different than how people initially go and see it. Because even when I watch all the shows that I love, I really want to hear laughter, I really want to see audience cutaways.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

WINSTEAD: It ups the stakes for the host, right?

BLACKWELL: I certainly miss even the laughing, even watching. I know the hosts certainly do. Liz Winstead, thank you so much, and, again, "The Story of Late Night" premieres Sunday at 9:00 right here on CNN.

END