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Countries Rush Aid To Ease India's COVID Emergency; Churchill Downs Open To Limited Capacity For Kentucky Derby; Colorado Sees Most New Cases Since Late January; CDC: 100 Million Americans Are Fully Vaccinated; CNN Poll: Almost Half Of Republicans Will Not Be Vaccinated; Interview With Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS); Sen. Mitt Romney Booed While Speaking At Utah GOP Convention; Airlines Adjust As Vaccinations & Travel Demands Take Off. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired May 1, 2021 - 18:00   ET



DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Certainly, we are headed in the right direction. I think we're going to have a really good summer, but we've just got to be a little bit more careful against the big stuff right now.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I also fear that people are going to get complacent. They're going to see that things are returning to normal.

If we don't reach herd immunity come the fall, and then with the winter, because the coronaviruses are winter respiratory viruses, we have a big resurgence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raids by Federal agents of Rudy Giuliani's apartment and office this week are raising fears among former President Trump's inner circle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are quite overt steps that are being taken by the Justice Department. This isn't just anybody. This is a lawyer to the President, former U.S. attorney in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a late night for SpaceX as a crew and capsule get set for an overnight splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'm Pamela brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world on this first day of May. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Then as we come on the air tonight, several countries are rushing to get desperately needed COVID aid to India. Essential medical supplies are arriving as India's healthcare system buckles under the out of control pandemic. On Friday, India recorded more than 400,000 new cases in a single day. That's a first since this pandemic began.

And India is not alone, symbolic body bags now line the famed beach there in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil now reporting 400,000 COVID deaths. The government's handling of the pandemic now under investigation.

The contrast from country to country grow more stark. Hospitals in India are struggling to provide even the most basic care. Eight patients died at a New Delhi hospital this afternoon because of a lack of oxygen, they couldn't breathe, and there was no oxygen for them.

This, as Disneyland and the U.S. reopens and the nation takes more steps towards some level of normalcy.

But while the C.D.C. announces nearly a third of Americans are fully vaccinated, India has vaccinated just two percent of its population, and as an extreme example of how this pandemic is hitting India, in New Delhi, they are running out of wood to burn bodies.

I want to focus now on the U.S. CNN's Natasha Chen takes a closer look at what has been done to get past the coronavirus.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Even as global daily coronavirus cases reached a new peak pushed by the crisis in India and South America, the United States curve is flattening. The improvement in numbers is helped in part by the more than 100 million people in the U.S., close to one-third of the population who are now fully vaccinated.

TIM SMITH, F.E.M.A. VACCINATION CENTER LEADER: I'm seeing a shift I think, towards that underserved population, so the ones that are maybe on the fence and are thinking about it, we have to do a little bit more effort to get the knowledge to them, and to help them make the correct decision to get vaccinated.

JIM REDICK, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE DIRECTOR: By the time they leave, they have smiles on their faces and then they share with us the reasons why they are getting vaccinated and they share them, they post them on the wall. And it's all about doing it for not only themselves, but most of the time for their family, friends and other loved ones.

CHEN (voice over): Now, the focus turns to vaccinating younger teens once they're eligible, many of whom have also missed routine vaccinations for things like the flu this past year because of the pandemic.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: It's going to take a truly coordinated effort to achieve both the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents and a rapid catch up of routine vaccinations.

CHEN (voice over): Pfizer has applied for an Emergency Use Authorization to allow 12 to 15-year-olds to receive its COVID-19 vaccine. President Biden says school should probably all be open in the fall.

This vision of almost normal is tantalizing. New York City will allow 75 percent capacity for indoor dining starting Friday. MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: I think "The Daily News" has

it right. Here. This is going to be the summer of New York City.

CHEN (voice over): The restaurant reservation website Open Table shows the number of customers dining out is around 20 percent below pre- pandemic levels.

Disneyland Resort in California, the only one of the Global Disney Parks left closed since last March reopened with restrictions to California residents on Friday. C.D.C. Director Rochelle Walensky says falling case rates and rising vaccination rates mean a full reopening of businesses by July 1st is a reasonable target, though she also warns the virus has tricked us before and the U.S. has not reached herd immunity.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Friday designated 15 counties entering extreme risk level with harsher restrictions as the state recorded five straight weeks of at least 20 percent increases in new cases and a near doubling of hospitalizations in the past week, particularly among younger people.


GOV. KATE BROWN (D-OR): Economic relief is something I can do as your governor to help Oregonians impacted by this fourth surge.

What I can't do is bring back someone's life lost to this virus.

CHEN (voice over): With similar caution in mind, the Biden administration will restrict travel from India for non-U.S. citizens starting Tuesday with some exceptions. So with much to celebrate on the cusp of normalcy, there's also the reminder of what can happen with too much too soon.

Natasha Chen, CNN, Norfolk, Virginia.


BROWN: And now to another prime example of how far we've come in loosening COVID restrictions, the Kentucky Derby. The horses will run later this hour, but the gathering of fans has been underway all day. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is at Churchill Downs. And, Evan, first of all, I'm disappointed you're not wearing a fascinator hat. But besides that, fans are there.

So tell us what it's like being there. I grew up going to the Kentucky Derby. It's my favorite sporting event. What's it like there and what's being done to ensure that they don't spread COVID?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me say, earlier, I was wearing a fascinator and another hat, and everybody asked me to no longer, to take it off, and let people who know how to wear a hat, wear hats. So we're going to go with that.

But as I mentioned, like, look, you've been here before, you've seen this before. This is a very different Kentucky Derby. One, trying to get back to that normalcy.

So you know, at its height, you can have up to 100,000 to 170,000 people in the Kentucky Derby watching it. Today, only around 50,000 and that's because they've really done a lot to keep the crowds down, maintain social distancing.

And inside the Kentucky Derby, demand people wear masks when they're not, you know, eating hash browns or drinking mint juleps. We were there all day. That rule is being somewhat followed.

But the idea here is that there's a way to actually make this Derby safe and to prove to people that we can actually get back to outside our houses.

We talked to a bunch of fans who were inside all day and they are really feeling like this is something that they can once again, feel comfortable doing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I definitely feel like it's been exciting. And like almost like the light at the end of the tunnel, kind of, like we're outside, we're gathering, but it's a little different still. But it's been great to get out and do something because we're college seniors and we've been cooped up for quite a while.

So it's been nice to get out and like to see people and kind of socialize.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it's nice to have a little taste of normalcy with everything with COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've had both my shots. So I'm there. But I still like the idea that you've got to wear a mask, and I'm wearing my mask when I am around other people, and I think it's the right thing to do until we get through this thing.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Pam, I can personally say it has been a wonderful day here in Louisville. The question going forward is, can this experiment actually work? We won't know for a little while whether it has or not.

But I can tell you that people are really, really hoping that it does and people are really working hard to make sure that it does. And you know, we're going to have -- those horses are going to run in just about 15 minutes from now and that'll be the end of a big, big day. But it could be the beginning of a summer where you can get back outside our houses and start hanging out again -- Pam.

BROWN: It certainly could and that is what we're going to hang our hat on. All right, Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much. I've got to say, I am -- I'm jealous of your assignment. Although I'm very happy doing what I'm doing.

You know, you're in my home state. Have fun, as much as you can. And don't drink too many mint juleps.


BROWN: All right, and now before I turn to other topics today, take a look at how people are turning out in Cleveland for the NFL Draft. Thousands showing up. Take a look around. There are plenty of masks to be seen in the crowd.

This was not a quick one-day event. The draft began Thursday and ends tonight. And what a difference a year makes? Last year's draft was a virtual event. No fans allowed.

But while we see examples of life returning to normal, the fight is not over. Let's just take a look at Colorado for example. As of Thursday, cases were up 11 percent from the week before; more importantly, a 70 percent hike since late March to about 1,700 cases a day.

Now, they haven't dealt with numbers like that since late January. The good news is that the trend is starting to level off for the moment at least. And with us tonight is the Democratic Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis. Governor, thank you for coming on the show.

GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): Happy Saturday afternoon, Pamela. Good to be with you.

BROWN: Great to be with you. You know this battle as well as anyone. You and your partner got COVID in December. Why do you believe cases have been climbing? Do you believe it is the variants, not enough people getting vaccinated, something else, or all of that combined?

POLIS: Yes, you know, as I say to people, look, I personally I've had COVID and I've been vaccinated much worse getting COVID. Getting vaccinated is nothing. If those out there watching this have not been vaccinated just make a plan and get it done. You know, if you've been putting it off, now is the time to do it.

This is a race against the clock, Pamela. The new variants are more contagious. That's one of the reasons that our health leaders tell us the rates are increasing in Colorado.


POLIS: I just came from Rangeview High School in Aurora, Colorado where 40 high school students that are part of the Social Justice Club put on a vaccination clinic for their fellow high schoolers. For the 16, 17, and 18-year-olds. They had over 400 kids and community members combined, which is so invigorating to see so many people going above and beyond to help protect our fellow Americans.

BROWN: Right, because that is an area of concern that not enough young people are getting vaccinated. But speaking of high school, your state has seen a jump in cases among middle and high school students. But you don't plan any changes in schooling for the rest of the year at last check. Why not? And might there be changes as you continue to look at the data coming in? POLIS: Well, the data that we have continues to show that schools are

a relatively safe place in that they are controlled. There's mask wearing.

It's not that there's zero transmission in schools, of course there is, but the transmission at school seems to be a function of the general community transmission rates. So, when it's high in the community, it's also high in the schools. When it's low in the community, it is lower in the schools. And so that's what we're seeing.

I think another factor of play here is as more parents and grandparents are vaccinated, and their younger children aren't, they're going out, they're doing things, and while the disease may be much more minor for 15 and 18-year-olds, it's still something that that, you know, we should take precautions against and it is not something that anybody should get out of lack of caution.

BROWN: I want to look at this new CNN polling that was out this week and it shows that one in four American adults say they won't try to get a vaccine. I'm curious, what would it mean for your efforts in Colorado, if a quarter of the population there said, no, thanks.

POLIS: So you know, we're at about 55 percent have gotten their first dose. I think it's similar nationally. There's probably another 10 to 15 to 20 percent, where I think it's folks who have just been putting it off. In their minds, they're going to get it, but they just haven't made a specific plan to get it.

And yes, as your polling indicates, and 25 percent might be towards the high end, but there probably is somewhere between 15 and 25 percent of folks who more actively resist it.

So what we really need to get through now, both in Colorado and across the country, is this 20 to 30 percent that haven't gotten it yet. Don't tell -- don't say they're not going to get it, but just you know, are putting it off like you and I might put off going to the dentist or like you might put off getting the flu shot some years.

Let's make it easy. Let's make it convenient. Let's remove the excuses and make sure that they have a plan to get it done in the next week or two.

BROWN: And how concerned are you, though, about those numbers when you see them and convincing those people who may be putting it off, and may be on the fence or may decide they don't want to get the vaccine? How concerned are you about those people in this fight against the pandemic?

POLIS: Well, look, at some level, it's a matter of personal responsibility. Once everybody who wants to be protected is fully protected, if there's folks out there that don't want to get protected, they're doing so at their own peril.

Now, to achieve the herd immunity level that ends the pandemic once and for all, prevents the virus from running rampant, we do need to hit that 75 to 80 percent vaccination range. I think there's enough folks who want it in that range.

But yes, we need to make sure that everybody who is sitting on the sidelines and putting it off and says someday they'll get it, make sure that that day is in the next week or two so they get it done.

BROWN: Let me turn to another major issue in Colorado, of course, that would be guns. You've got three new gun bills by Democrats after the Boulder supermarket attack that killed 10 people. They would allow local governments to enforce their own rules, if they are at least as tough as State Law: expand background checks and create an Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

In your view, would any of those bills have stopped the Boulder shootings?

POLIS: Well, I think probably the most notable one that would have likely stopped it is one that looks at what types of criminal offenses disqualify you from gun ownership. We have universal background checks in Colorado. But unfortunately, the suspect in this case, and I use the word suspect lightly because everybody saw him do it. I mean, you know, he did it. But legally, he is the suspect.

He was able to legally purchase a weapon, even though he had a violent misdemeanor offense within the last five years. So one of the things we're doing is looking at a law to say, look, of course, if you had a violent felony offense, you can't get a gun. That's already the law. But if you had a violent misdemeanor, if you had a physical assault charge, it shows that you probably have some issues with your temper or other issues like that.

So let's look at having a five-year period where you have to have a clean record before you're legally able to purchase a weapon again, that one would have had an impact in this case, and I think will prevent additional gun violence going forward if we can get it passed.

BROWN: And as you well know, Republicans also say, look, it also shows that he has mental -- there are mental health concerns there. Why is there not more focus on that? On the mental health funding? What do you say to that point?

POLIS: I think there's an enormous transformational opportunity in behavioral health. We just are at the end of a year-long process of trying to streamline Colorado's behavioral health system to put patients first and it's one of the areas that we are looking at using some of the Federal stimulus dollars in the American Rescue Act to help really transform mental health and behavioral health in Colorado to help meet people where they are.


BROWN: All right, thank you so much, Governor Jared Polis. We really appreciate you joining us on the show tonight.

POLIS: Always a pleasure, Pamela.

BROWN: And by the way, there's still some time to send us your questions tonight for our conversation with primary care physician, Dr. Matthew. You can tweet them to me @PamelaBrownCNN, or you can send them to me on Instagram.

Well, pre-pandemic air travel is back as Delta becomes the last airline to start selling middle seats again. What scientists are saying about staying safe when you fly?

And -- this is just awful -- politics gets downright dirty in the Texas special election after a malicious robo call alleges one of the candidates killed her husband.

And then later this evening, live coverage of the Crew Dragon spacecraft as it undocks from the International Space Station. Live pics, I should say. It's going to undock and it's going to head back to Earth. We're going to have live pics of it also, don't miss that.

But first, how Donald Trump's allies are sweating over the Rudy Giuliani raid who might be next on the investigator's hit list.

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara joins me next.



BROWN: Well, the raid on Rudy Giuliani's Manhattan home and office this week has put Donald Trump allies on high alert. One Trump adviser telling CNN: "This was a show of force that sent a strong message to a lot of people in Trump's world that other things may be coming down the pipeline."

And we're now learning it all centers on Trump's firing of the U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine. "The New York Times" reports investigators were looking for information about Giuliani's contacts with Ukrainians on this matter.

CNN previously reported that prosecutors want to determine whether Giuliani was doing the bidding of Ukrainians who wanted Marie Yovanovitch gone at the same time that he was working for the President.

CNN senior legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Preet Bharara joins me now to discuss all of this.

So break it down for us, Preet. How worried should people in Trump's orbit be? Or does this case seem to be mainly a Rudy Giuliani problem?

PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the answer, like so many things when we only have reporting and we don't have court documents accessible to you and me, or proceeding in court or a trial is we don't know. You know, what I often say about the question of whether or not people should be worried, people know what they have done, right?

People know that they've engaged in bad actions. They know if they've engaged in crimes. They know if they've engaged in money laundering or campaign finance abuses, or whatever the case may be.

And usually, it's the case when someone asks the question about whether or not people should be worried. It's more about whether or not they think that the Feds are onto them or not. And in this case, look, I think people who know that they have done bad things, or come close up to the line that violates the law, maybe galloped across it, they have to worry about how much information the federal government has gathered, how much they're gathering from other people.

And then eventually, as I'm sure we'll get to, what happens if Rudy Giuliani decides to cooperate? I think we're far from that point right now, but Giuliani himself has been involved in so many of the issues relating not just to the Ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, but also issues relating to the election, and the insurrection and trying to overturn the election.

So there's a potential treasure trove of information from documents in the possession of Rudy Giuliani that many of which are now in the possession of the Federal government.

BROWN: So it's interesting because Trump allies are treating this raid, like it was meant to send a message and that that was part of the calculation here. The Southern District of New York is handling this case, that's where you were.

You were head of that office, is that -- is that something? Is that in effect, a consideration when they carry out a search like this? Would that ever be part of the calculation?

BHARARA: No, they don't send messages when they execute search warrants. They're trying to gather evidence. You know, the messages that they send, are contained in indictments, and in criminal complaints, and in court arguments that they make in the proper setting.

So I don't know what message it would be, I think everyone knows the Justice Department and the Southern District of New York in particular, they mean serious business. They will walk away from a case when it's not appropriate to bring it, but they won't hesitate to do so. And so I don't know what they think was trying to be sent. They don't conduct themselves that way, at least I did not.

BROWN: And what do you say to those who say, well, this is the Biden D.O.J., Biden prosecutors, you know, that are doing this and that this was politically motivated. What do you say to that?

BHARARA: There's zero evidence of that. Investigation was begun before the current administration took office. The level of review, if we're just talking about the search warrant, the level of review that had go through at the line level, which are nonpolitical career prosecutors, at the supervisory level, which is the same up to and including the U.S. Attorney themselves, and also people that mean justice, and given the nature of this probably up to the Deputy Attorney General or the Attorney General, and then, a Federal District Court Judge.

And everyone knows, by the way, that at the end of the day, some of this information is going to be public, perhaps in connection with a charge or in connection with some other motion practice, and so it's not as easy as people think, to have folks decide they're going to harm someone because in Rudy Giuliani's words, they hate him. Nobody hates anybody, nobody builds a case based on hate.

But eventually, the work of the office is going to be subject to scrutiny from the press, from the media, from the public and from the courts. And so you don't go around doing blunderbuss nonsensical things unless you actually have the goods.

And by the way, the other piece of evidence. That is, I think, a good piece of evidence about how unpoliticized this department is, there appears to be a continuing investigation into the son of a sitting President of the United States, Hunter Biden by the Delaware United States Attorney and no efforts to interfere with that.

It's a quaint concept, but you know, those things can be done without politics.


BROWN: All right, Preet Bharara, thank you so much for coming on the show as always spending part of your Saturday night with us. We appreciate it.

BHARARA: Thanks very much.

BROWN: Well, first, it was a supply and distribution issue. But now, with 100 million Americans fully vaccinated, the issue is demand. Our Donie O'Sullivan spoke to plenty of people who are not eager to say the least to roll up their sleeves and he joins me next.



BROWN: Well, the CDC says 30 percent of Americans are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, while another 44 percent have received one dose. That's about 245 million Americans. But the data shows that rate of slowing and vaccine hesitancy could block the U.S. from reaching herd immunity.

CNN Correspondent Donie O'Sullivan has been speaking to some Americans who are skeptical about getting the shot. He joins me now. So what have they been saying, Donie?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Pam. Yes. I want to show you the results of this CNN poll which first found that a quarter of American adults say that they will not get the COVID vaccine shot. But if you break that down by political party, the numbers are even more stark, 44 percent of Republicans, almost half of Republicans say they will not get vaccinated. That's compared to only 8 percent of Democrats.

Over the past few weeks, we have been speaking to some Republicans and to Trump supporters about why they won't get vaccinated. Have a listen.


O'SULLIVAN: Are you getting vaccinated?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I don't need a vaccine. I had COVID last March. Sick for all over five hours. I don't need a vaccine for it.

O'SULLIVAN: The CDC recommends even if you have COVID, you should get vaccinated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, they can recommend stuff.

O'SULLIVAN: Got emergency approval (inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who determine the emergency approval?

O'SULLIVAN: So you think Trump is wrong on this one?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what the situation is on that, but I know I'm not wrong. And we're the independent freedom people of America and we make our own decisions.

O'SULLIVAN: You're not getting vaccinated either, are you?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) vaccine, it is, and I know (inaudible) ...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Biden got it while President Trump was still in office. So yes, it is the Trump vaccine. I have no intention getting it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't blindly follow what President Trump did or didn't do. It's the fact that he promoted individual freedom and your ability to excel.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's why we support the move movement. It was a movement, he just happened to come along at the right time to help (inaudible) ...


O'SULLIVAN: And Pam, it's interesting. I mean, those folks there I spoke to are some huge Trump supporters. But for them, it's a red line. The vaccine is a red line and so even if Trump were to tell them to plead with them to take this, they said that they wouldn't go along with it. And that might be the reason why we haven't seen Trump sort of do a PSA or even when he got vaccinated, he didn't announce that publicly - we didn't find out until after he left office, because maybe he doesn't want to alienate that base.

BROWN: That's a really smart point. Donie O'Sullivan, as always, thank you so much.

O'SULLIVAN: Thanks, Pam.

BROWN: And with Republican voters especially hesitant to get the vaccine, several GOP lawmakers with medical backgrounds are trying to convince skeptics to get the shot. The creator of that PSA, Sen. Roger Marshall, who's also a doctor joins me live to chat about their plan.



BROWN: Well, we just heard from Republicans hesitant to get the coronavirus vaccine in our last segment with Donie O'Sullivan. And joining me now is one Republican lawmaker who is also a physician that is working to get more Americans vaccinated. Sen. Roger Marshall joins me now. Good evening, Senator.

SEN. ROGER MARSHALL (R-KS): Pamela, good evening. I'm excited to talk about this topic.

BROWN: It's an important one. You and several Republicans have actually released an ad campaign that helps to change people's minds. Let's play some of that now.


REP. GREG MURPHY (R-NC): It's obvious to me from a medical standpoint, the only way to protect ourselves and your loved ones ...

REP. LARRY BUCSHON (R-IN): And to end the government's restrictions on our freedoms is to take action and get the vaccine.

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): I look forward to the freedom that I along with my loved ones will regain once the vast majority of Americans are vaccinated.


BROWN: So you actually came up with this idea, my understanding is. As you well know, almost half of Republicans say they will not get the vaccine. How do you think this PSA could change their minds?

MARSHALL: Well, Pamela, we've done focus groups. I talked to, I bet, hundreds of people that fall into this category. And the regardless, before we break down the whys and the how comes, the number one thing we know that would move the needle is if their physician or their pharmacist would chat with them.

And I would just encourage listeners tonight that are hesitant to get their vaccine, that they would reach out to their doctor, their doctors' nurses, their pharmacist and have this same conversation with them as well. But there certainly is a group of people out there that are kind of a libertarian streak down and then unfortunately there are typically Republicans as well.

And regardless of that, I just would encourage them to fall back here and just take consider taking the vaccine so we can throw away the mask and live as free as we did before.

BROWN: I'm curious, have there been - because you had several Republican colleagues, obviously, in this video - have there been other Republican colleagues, though, that you wanted to be part of the PSA you asked them to be and they declined? I noticed your colleagues in the Senate Rand Paul and Bill Cassidy, they are both doctors, they were not in this.

MARSHALL: I think it's coincidental, probably. We send out an email to their staffs and then in a given day, whether the doctors and the senators weren't able to do it that day. It's a busy schedule, so I think that's probably just coincidental.

BROWN: OK. I want to ask about something else regarding PSA since we're on that topic. Former presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush and Obama, they all fell in this public service announcement urging Americans to get vaccinated. Former President Trump did not participate. He also got vaccinated off camera. What message does that send in your view?

MARSHALL: I don't think that this is all about President Trump at this point in time. He and his team did an incredible job getting the vaccine across the finish line, starting distributing it. I really think that this is now just a personal choice and that there's a group of people out there that just feel like they've been talked down to, deceived. They're just, frankly, worried and concerned.


They've been told they need a mask. They don't need a mask. They've been told that even if you've had the vaccine, you have to keep wearing the mask. So they need some type of reward. It's a little complicated. I don't think that that's the right rabbit hole to go down now.

BROWN: So I want to ask you though, because you say it's a personal choice. But also, of course, as you well know, part of the issue with vaccine hesitancy is misinformation. Some of that misinformation has been spread in the Republican Party, your Republican colleague in the Senate, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has downplayed the urgency of vaccinating all Americans. Here's what he said last month.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): The science tells us that vaccines are 95 percent effective. So if you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not? I mean, what is it you. You got a vaccine, and science is telling you it's very, very effective. So why is this big push to make sure everybody gets a vaccine?

(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: So I'm curious what you say to that, especially that last part

where he said why is there this big push to get everyone vaccinated, what do you say to your colleagues in the Senate?

MARSHALL: Well, certainly this isn't about Ron Johnson and Roger Marshall, this is about the American public. It's about getting vaccines into people's arms. And certainly, there's a hundred senators with a hundred a hundred opinions.

But I think that regardless, if we can get people vaccinated, we can get to herd immunity. We're about this close right now. So I don't want to argue with other people, I just want to keep encouraging folks to get the vaccine. Lots of reasons to take it.

Our children probably aren't going to be able to have a vaccine until this fall or next year. I think it's really important, we keep our kids in school and we need to get the adults vaccinated to protect the kids.

BROWN: And I understand you don't want to do a tit for tat, but it's more of just the messaging and the sources of information. As you as you point out with this PSA, people want trusted sources of information. And as a doctor, as a Republican, that would fit in that category for Republicans, but I've also got to ask on the other end of that spectrum, there's Tucker Carlson on his show on Fox News that alleged that the vaccines might not work.

Here's what he said on April 13th. He said if the vaccine is effective, then there is no reason for people who have received the vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact. So maybe it doesn't work and they're simply not telling you that.

As you know, Carlson has a huge audience of mostly Republicans, in your view, what role do Carlson and others like him making these statements play and spreading vaccine hesitancy? Do you think at least some Republicans are skeptical of the vaccine because Fox News and other right-wing media outlets have spread misinformation about vaccine safety?

MARSHALL: I think all of this adds to the confusion of the average Joe public setting out there listening to all this noise out there. There's so much noise and to be frank, the CDC has not been real consistent on some of their suggestions - in their guardrails as well.

So there's no doubt this group of people you're talking about are very confused and that's why I'm just doing my final push here is to talk to your doctor. Don't listen to Tucker Carlson and don't listen to the CDC. Go talk to your own doctor, talk to your own pharmacist, talk to them about the risks and the benefits, the pros and the cons. And if you want to live as free as you did once before, we need to go get the vaccine.

BROWN: But how concerned is it for you that people are already going back to that living as free as they did before without getting vaccinated? They've kind of just been like I'm over this. MARSHALL: Well, and again, it's America, everybody has an individual

right. I think that one of the things we have to be careful about is not shaming people and not talking down to them and objecting to their way of life. Look in Kansas, we just normally physically distance from each other. We typically live six, 10 foot apart normally anyway.

So look, we're really close to herd immunity and I think we have to figure out a way to get to that finish line. I think we're really close, the number of people that have had the virus, the number of people that are vaccinated are getting close. We saw when Israel got to 60 percent, when Great Britain got to 60 percent of their people vaccinated, the numbers plummeted. So let's get across the finish line.

BROWN: Yes. So we were speaking about a misinformation and a recent CNN poll found that 70 percent of Republicans continue to believe in the lie that this election, the last election was stolen. You voted to toss out millions of votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania. You also join on to the Texas lawsuit attempting to throw out votes cast in four states.

I'm curious. Looking back, do you have any regrets about your actions and any concern that they contributed to misinformation about the election?

MARSHALL: Look, Pamela, we're just so ready to move on. I made a decision based upon the facts that I knew at that point in time. I was concerned then and I still am today that six states broke their own laws or their own constitution, but it's time to move on. It's time for this country to heal. It's time for a spirit of forgiveness to be happening. It's time for this country to work together and focus on the goals that we can solve together.


We've got plenty of challenges right now we're making great progress coming out of this COVID virus. The economies bounce back, it's time to move on.

BROWN: A time to move on and I see your point there, but also it's also important to hold people, lawmakers accountable for their actions and this, obviously, was a decision that you had made.

And I'm just curious as we try to move on, but also look at the ripple effect from what happened there with the election, how does those actions, how did those actions square with your Republican values as limited government, states rights, federalism, how does that line up with wanting to throw out millions of votes, the advocating for millions of votes to be thrown out in several states?

MARSHALL: Pamela, we want voting to be easier, cheating to be harder. So I think that by us standing up to our concerns about those elections, about the election integrity is force those states with their problems to come back to the table and have those legislators work together to make sure we had safer elections with higher integrity, again, making it easier to vote, but harder to cheat. So in my heart, I did what I thought was the right thing and I think

the country is moving in a better direction.

BROWN: OK. And I'm just going to press one more time on that and then I know we do have to move on. But the Constitution gives the states rights to certify the results. These states, Arizona and Pennsylvania, did certify the results.

That is what the constitution allows. But you had voted to throw out those votes that they had certified. So again, I'm just curious how it aligns with your view as a Republican on states rights.

MARSHALL: Look, this is not just necessarily Republican issue, Democrats have done the same thing. I think there may be elections since 2000. Look, if I think that a state cheated that they broke their own laws, their own constitution, somebody has to stand up and push back on them.

BROWN: But there was no evidence of widespread fraud as you well know, from both sides of the aisle, people said that there was no evidence of it. So what were you basing that on?

MARSHALL: Based upon that they broke their own laws and their own constitution. So therefore, we don't know how much fraud or cheating there was or wasn't. All I ever asked for is just get all of the evidence into one room at the same time and have this discussion so that elections - so we could restore election integrity once again. And right now America doesn't have much faith in the election process or much faith in the integrity.

BROWN: But do you see why a big reason they wouldn't is because lawmakers, elected officials were coming out and then questioning it and sowing doubt when the courts were the ones - all these laws, as you well know, they have been litigated. They went through the court system and so forth.

So you may not have liked them. You may have said, well, the legislature didn't do that, it was the elected executives in the states that that made these rule changes. I don't like that. But it was all litigated. So does it concern you that so many Americans still don't have faith based on the actions and rhetoric from elected leaders?

MARSHALL: Pamela, we're kind of going in a circular argument and I'm not wanting to make this argument. I stand beside what I said that I thought that there was fraud from the standpoint that the states didn't follow their own constitution and their own laws. Somebody has to stand up and say that's not right and I felt like it was my job to do that.

BROWN: OK. And of course, as you well know, there were other states too that Trump won and those states weren't contested, which also raises the question of why that was done. But sorry, it is my job too as a journalist to look into these things, to ask, hold officials accountable and so I hope that you can respect where I'm coming from as well. But before we let you go, I've got one more question on a different

topic. Axios reported this morning that top Republicans are turning on Congresswoman liz cheney Liz Cheney. Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana said Cheney's continued criticisms are 'an unwelcome distraction and bakes even question whether Cheney would retain her role as the House Republican Conference chair in a month.

Your colleague, Sen. Mitt Romney, was booed by fellow Republicans while making remarks at the Utah Republican party convention earlier today. So I'm just curious and I don't know if we have that sound, but where does this internal - OK, let's play the sound real quick.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I don't have the fact that I wasn't a fan of our last President's character issues and I'm also no fan - I'm too embarrassed. And I'm also no fan of the President's ...


ROMNEY: Yes, sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My friends, this is the moment I was talking about. Please. Thank you. Show respect.


BROWN: So as you watch that, I'm curious what your view is, Sen. Marshall, where does this internal fighting end for the Republican Party?


MARSHALL: So I can't speak to what's going on, on the House side, but I can tell you on the Senate side, we've never been closer. If you go back to the two all-nighters we pulled on the vote-a-rama, the budget reconciliation, I saw our caucus grow closer and closer together.

Now that we're having lunch in person together, two or three times a week, our caucus is growing closer and closer as well. I'm excited where we are as Republican Party moving forward. We have some incredible people out there, Tim Scott delivered just an incredible message this past week, so I'm excited where we're going.

And just remember, reminding America, we had the greatest economy of our lifetime, pre-COVID, thanks to a smaller government, lower taxes and less regulations. And I'm afraid right now, we're being tossed in the other direction. And I see the moderates on both parties coming our direction, so I'm encouraged.

BROWN: But I'm just curious on that point, what do you think of the way Romney was treated there? What's your view of that? What do you think?

MARSHALL: I don't know much of the reference behind all of it. Each one of us have to or are accountable to our own voters and Sen. Romney will be responsible for his votes just like I'm responsible for my votes as well. But there are a lot of Americans out there that are just angry right now.

We've finished three town halls this morning, they're angry that they're being told they have to wear masks despite having the shots. They're angry that the President is threatening to take their land away from them. They're angry about packing the court, raising our taxes.

So there's a lot of anger out there with this far left agenda and I think Sen. Romney is probably feeling some of that anger out there and sometimes you just don't know who to be angry at.

BROWN: So you're saying that they're angry and they're taking it on him, because they're just angry across the board? I mean, he's a former standard bearer of the party, as you well know, and in many ways and he's getting booed. I mean, this is within the Republican Party. This isn't Democrats.

MARSHALL: Right. Certainly, the Republican Party has a big tent. We've come a long way since Sen. Romney was the presidential nominee. It is a different party today. It's much more progressive. I think that the working classes came over to the Republican Party, those people, hardworking Americans are now Republicans, at least they're voting Republican.

So I'm comfortable with where we are as a party. We've got work to do, but I think we're going in the right direction.

BROWN: Just really quickly, when you say progressive, what do you mean by that? More working-class voters? What do you mean?

MARSHALL: Yes. It's a good question, progressive. I think that the focus on just the day-to-day lives of people, the supper table issues of both of folks have focusing on their freedoms of speech, their freedoms of religion and just local control of their future and other government as well.


MARSHALL: So I think just listening to the people, yes.

BROWN: OK. And I just have to quickly factor, because I'm a stickler for facts. On the election, you had said the Democrats had done it almost every election or nearly everyone. It hasn't been every election and the difference here, of course, is that you had the president in office who was saying the election was stolen. But thank you so much.

These are the kinds of conversations that need to be had, Sen. Roger Marshall.

MARSHALL: You bet.

BROWN: I really appreciate you coming on the show and I hope that we'll have you back so we can continue talking to people from all different sides of the aisle.

MARSHALL: You bet, Pamela. And we'll back check it too and put on what ...

BROWN: I bet you will.

MARSHALL: ... the truth what we're trying to communicate. Thank you.

BROWN: That would be great.

MARSHALL: God bless.

BROWN: I welcome that.


BROWN: Thank you so much.

MARSHALL: Thank you. You bet.

BROWN: Well, from Johnny Carson to Jimmy Kimmel, all your favorite late-night legends are coming to CNN. The story of Late Night premieres tomorrow night at 9 Eastern.



BROWN: Well, plan on masking up if you're flying this summer. The TSA is extending its mask mandate through mid-September. And even though you will have to wear a mask on a plane, social distancing may be difficult. Delta is now selling its middle seats again despite the CDC's recommendations. CNN's Pete Muntean has more on that and how the airline industry is trying to get back to normal.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: The era of social distancing on board flights is over. Delta was the last major airline to cap capacity on board, now every seat on every airline can be filled.


MUNTEAN (voice over): The newest changes to pandemic era air travel will make it look more like before the pandemic. Delta Air Lines just resumed selling middle seats starting Saturday something all other major carriers did months ago.


RANJAN GOSWAMI, VP OF IN-FLIGHT FIELD OPERATIONS FOR DELTA AIR LINES: It is safe to get back out there, to go out into the world and see the folks in your life.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MUNTEAN (voice over): Ranjan Goswami heads Delta's in-flight

operations. Its latest estimate that almost 75 percent of Delta passengers have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Airlines say they could not continue capping capacity without a serious increase in fares.


GOSWAMI: The vaccination rate is really helping. We know our customers are feeling confident about it or they wouldn't be booking in such large numbers.


MUNTEAN (voice over): The latest modeling from the CDC says leaving middle seats empty reduces the risk of coronavirus exposure by as much as 57 percent. But the airline industry slammed the report for not considering the impact of mask now mandated on planes by the Biden administration.

Harvard University found mask and heavily filtered air on board makes coronavirus transmission rates very low regardless of where you sit.


LEONARD MARCUS, HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: It's the many things together at the same time to greatly reduce the risk of air travel and in particular provides a safe opportunity for people, given the ventilation, given the wearing of masks, giving the disinfection on the planes, given the individual and personal hygiene attention that does allow for that middle seats to be occupied.


MUNTEAN (voice over): Industry groups think flying will look more like normal as more people get vaccinated. Some airlines are now bringing back in-flight food and drink service, something flight attendants fear could blur the message.


SARA NELSON, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: As these policies are going away and we're seeing fuller aircraft, it is more important than ever that we are vigilant about those mass policies.


MUNTEAN (voice over): New ideas to bring passengers back are coming from all corners of the aviation industry. Planemaker Airbus envisions a future of seats arranged in pandemic friendly pods. This design from the University of Cincinnati imagines a productivity class, part plane, part coffeehouse.


ALEJANDRO LOZANO ROBLEDO, TRANSPORTATION & INDUSTRIAL DESIGN INSTRUCTOR, UNIV. OF CINCINNATI: I'm excited to see the future of where some of these ideas might take us and where the industry might go in the future, so every crisis can also be an opportunity.


MUNTEAN (on camera): Delta says capping capacity on board cost at $100 million in March. That's when pandemic air travel started to surge and the number remain high.


The TSA has screened more than a million people each day in America's airports for seven weeks straight.