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CNN NEWSROOM

Sparks Fly at Senate Briefing on Suspected Energy Attacks on U.S. Intelligence Officials Around the Globe; Mayor Dan Gelber (D- Miami Beach) Discusses Florida Governor Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions; Biden to Announce Goal of Administration: At Least One COVID Vaccine Does to 70 Percent of U.S. Adults by July 4th; Train Overpass Collapses onto Busy Road in Mexico. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 4, 2021 - 13:30   ET

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


[13:33:49]

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: OK, listen to this. A classified CIA briefing over mystery invisible attacks on U.S. intelligence officials erupting into one of the most contentious of its kind.

According to officials familiar with what happened, Senators on the Intelligence Committee were baffled and frustrated that they were just learning key details about ongoing attacks or simply not getting enough information from the CIA about these suspected attacks, including two possibly on U.S. soil that reportedly used microwave energy to harm the victims.

CNN national security correspondent, Kylie Atwood, joins us from the State Department.

So what did this hearing reveal about these attacks, Kylie?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the most significant aspect that was covered in these briefings is the belief that these incidents are ongoing, and potentially increasing.

Now, we are reporting on previously unreported cases of these incidents that have happened against U.S. intelligence officials earlier this year in Europe.

That underscores just how pressing and urgent this matter is for all of U.S. government. It is one of the reasons that Senators were demanding more answers, wanting more information during that CIA briefing last week.

[13:35:04]

And I want to remind folks what happens to people who are hit by these suspected microwave attacks. Some of them have experienced traumatic brain injury, fatigue, severe headaches, loss of hearing, and sleep insomnia. Essentially, Ana, these are things that have ruined people's entire

careers, this is the fact that the U.S. doesn't know who's carrying this out and doesn't know what's going on here is a real live issue.

Now, I want to point out that the Senate Intelligence Committee didn't get back to us with any details about the briefing. But they did put out a statement last week saying that the attacks appear to be increasing.

They committed to getting to the bottom of who is to blame and holding them accountable.

And that the CIA referenced us to Director Burns' comments he's given in testimony committing to really focusing on this, put a priority on this issue, getting to the bottom of who is to blame, getting medical care to those needed.

But there are questions remaining about how the CIA task force has handled this, and if there's truly accountability for those who may have mishandled the early cases -- Ana?

CABRERA: You've got to worry about the health of people with this mystery ongoing.

Kylie Atwood, at the State Department, thank you.

Florida's governor suspending coronavirus restrictions across that state but what does that mean for cities still bracing for crowds of tourists?

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[13:41:22]

CABRERA: As of today, Florida has stripped away all of its remaining local COVID restrictions. Governor Ron DeSantis signing an executive order that also makes any emergency mandate across the state illegal after July 1st.

Here was the justification given by the governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I think folks that are saying that they need to be policing people at this point, if you're saying that, you really are saying you don't believe in the vaccines. You don't believe in the data. You don't believe in the science.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Now, the city of Miami Beach has its own emergency order in place right now, including among other measures, a requirement to wear masks in public.

Dan Gelber is the Democratic mayor of Miami Beach, Florida and is joining us now. Mayor, it's good to see you.

Your reaction to the governor's order, is Miami Beach ready to drop COVID mitigation rules, including wearing masks indoors?

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D-MIAMI BEACH): Absolutely not. I mean, hundreds of people are dying every single few days in the state of Florida. There are over 500 families praying for their relatives who are hospitalized in just our county here in Miami-Dade.

I don't know what evidence the governor is relying on. The virus is still here.

And I think what is so inexplicable to me is that we can open up safely by simply encouraging people to wear masks in places where all the scientists and doctors say they should be wearing them, namely inside, in venues, in restaurants, things like that.

But he seems to be wanting to make a political or ideological point at the expense of the health of our residents and it's really going to have repercussions.

CABRERA: But you heard him there. He's saying you're the one who doesn't believe in vaccines or isn't believing in the science by trying to maintain these restrictions.

GELBER: It's nonsensical. People are still dying on a daily basis. People are still being hospitalized in my own county. Upwards of 100 a day are being hospitalized.

He's creating this absurd race between getting people vaccinated or allowing the infection to spread through the community. I mean, he's been really doing this for some time under this very absurd theory of letting herd immunity spread.

But it has real repercussions for people. People -- people are dying, still, and they're still going to the hospital, and they're still sick.

So the vaccine, in our county, and in most places, isn't really even over 50 percent of the population yet.

CABRERA: Right.

GELBER: You've got to get more people vaccinated but it doesn't make any logical sense that you would say I'm not going to even let you require masks indoors because masks indoors does not stop opening up the economy. It just makes it safer to open up the economy.

CABRERA: And just so our viewers have the facts and the data at their fingertips right now, just 30 percent of Florida is fully vaccinated.

And according to the "Palm Beach Post," after large crowds flock to Florida for spring break, coronavirus infections surged. More in the hot spots for vacationers than elsewhere in the state. Your county in particular saw a big spike in infections.

You believe the governor's order puts Floridians in danger?

GELBER: Of course, it does. And he's doing it for ideological reasons. The governor has been following an ideology, not a science.

He quotes doctors affiliated with Libertarian think tanks. And I've never gone to a doctor based on their political persuasion. I've gone to doctors because they give me good advice.

[13:45:04]

He seems to have taken a whole different tact. And it really is dangerous. We've seen it.

And, you know, my residents have been, by and large, really great about this.

But because we're a hospitality area, we bring a lot of people here. They come here to gather, to see one another, to see our beautiful venues and go on our great beaches.

And then they go out to other areas, nearby, or to other communities in the country or the world.

And we have a variant -- the variants here are large, as everybody knows. And the idea that we can't -- or that he doesn't want us to just get people to wear a mask indoors is nuts, frankly.

And I think it's -- it really is harming our residents and, frankly, our visitors.

CABRERA: Mayor Dan Gelber, I appreciate your time. Thank you for sharing with us.

GELBER: Thank you.

CABRERA: Moments from now, President Biden will give an update on the nation's fight against the coronavirus. And CNN is learning he is going to set an ambitious new vaccination goal.

CNN's chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, has the breaking details.

Kaitlan, what have you learned?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You've seen President Biden time and time again, Ana, set these vaccine goals, what does he want to hit. He did it before he got into office with 100 million shots in 100 days.

And we are expecting President Biden to roll out a new vaccine timeline. This one is centered around that date that he has set before July 4th when he's hoping by then the country can start to look somewhat back to normal with small gatherings allowed. He's talked about how he hopes the country to look. But now we're actually getting hard numbers from President Biden. He says he wants to have 160 million adults with their second shot or one shot of Johnson & Johnson, by July 4th.

That does not mean fully vaccinated. To be fully vaccinated you have to be two weeks past a second shot if you're getting Moderna or Pfizer or two weeks past that first dose of J&J.

That's what they're hoping right now. In addition to that, Ana, the 160 million adults, they want to have 70 percent of adults living in the United States with at least one shot of the vaccine by July 4th.

They are hoping that is going to be what starts to get the U.S. on that pace to get back to normal, of course to get to where you can have those gatherings that the president has talked about on July 4th.

And the thing about this goal is that this is all more notable because we are reaching a phase where the White House feels like they are dealing with vaccine hesitancy.

You know, before they had people waiting in line, constantly refreshing browsers online to get a vaccine appointment, that is starting to change. They're starting to see a shift in that.

And so right now, where we are, it's 105 million adults in the United States that are fully vaccinated. They say about 147 million have gotten at least one shot of the vaccine. A lot of people are still doing the two-dose regimen with the Moderna and Pfizer.

That's where we are right now. This is where they're hoping to go.

The questions about how they're going to get there, the White House really says, is going to involve them dealing with vaccinating Americans who live in rural areas.

That may not have as much access to the vaccine or aren't going to wait in line to get it and have maybe one shot for them to go and actually get the vaccine.

And so that's what they're going to be focusing on, we're told, by officials, until July 4th, until that deadline.

And so they're saying behind the scenes they don't think this is going to be an easy goal for them to meet. But that's going to be the big question of whether or not they actually meet it.

One other thing we should note, we reported on earlier, is the White House has told governors, if they don't order their full allocation of vaccine doses each week, they are going to start to redistribute them.

So they can try to put them in areas of the United States that might have higher demand than other areas as they are still dealing with people who have not actually tried to get the vaccine yet.

CABRERA: OK, Kaitlan Collins, a lot there. We appreciate it. Again, a new goal for the Biden administration, get your vaccine if

you haven't done so already.

[13:48:52]

All right, this is a tragedy unfolding right now in Mexico. Cars crushed after a train overpass collapses onto a busy road in Mexico City. We go there live.

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[13:53:27]

CABRERA: At least 24 people are dead after a subway overpass suddenly collapsed in Mexico City.

Watch the surveillance video, and you see the moment the structure gives out, sending train cars plunging on to the busy road below. There it goes.

CNN's Matt Rivers has the latest now from Mexico City.

What are you learning, Matt, about what might have caused this?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, those images are startling, to say the least. And I want to show you what that left us with.

It happened at 10:30 last night. And yet, right now, midday, the following day, that is the scene here. And frankly, it looks like something out of a disaster movie scene.

You can see one of the train cars still basically suspended between the overpass and the ground below where that overpass collapsed, too.

And a little bit further back, they managed to remove one of the train cars involved in this. But clearly, there's a long way to go in this clean-up effort.

In terms of the casualties here, you said it off the top. At least 24 people have been killed so far.

That number has steadily ticked up throughout the day, in part, because there's so many people hospitalized. Nearly 70 people hospitalized as a result of this accident.

After this happened, hundreds of first responders arrived here on scene, digging through the rubble. They did pull out several bodies, as we saw firsthand after we arrived.

And at this point, though, we're told that there's no one left trapped inside. This is no longer a search-and-rescue operation.

It's merely cleaning up what is left over, you know, attending to the people who were injured.

[13:55:03]

And of course, now, the shifts a bit, Ana, into, how did this happen? This was a catastrophic failure of infrastructure here. How did this happen?

That's going to be the big outstanding question for investigators over the next weeks, months, and, well, frankly, days -- Ana?

CABRERA: OK, Matt Rivers, in Mexico City, thank you for that update.

And thank you for being with me today.

A reminder. Soon, we will hear from President Joe Biden, who will update the nation on the fight against the coronavirus and is expected to set a new and ambitious vaccination goal. We'll bring it to you live.

Stay right there.

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