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Biden Sets Goal of One Vaccine Shot to 70 Percent of Adults by July 4th. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired May 5, 2021 - 09:30   ET

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


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[09:32:39]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Just one week from today, a vote among Republican House members could strip the number three ranking Republican in that chamber of her position, while Congresswoman Liz Cheney has no intention of stepping down from that post. Republicans already eyeing her replacement.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy giving a boost to New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. This as he blasted Cheney in a hot mic moment just before Fox News interview.

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REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R-CA) MINORITY LEADER: She's got real problems I've had with -- I've had it with her. That's you know, I've lost confidence. Well, someone just has to bring emotion, but I assume that will probably take place.

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JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: We should note those comments were edited. Do not include questions from the host.

CNN's Lauren Fox joins us now with more.

Lauren, you've been speaking to Republican members of Congress. Cheney's spokesperson says she'll have more to say in the coming days. Tell us what we expect her to say?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, I mean, this is moving rapidly over the last 48 hours. What you have seen is not just Republicans getting frustrated with Cheney, but now really open conversation about who should replace her. You had Steve Scalise, who is the Republican whip coming out saying in a statement from his spokesman that he supports Elise Stefanik to step into this number three role as conference chairwoman.

Now that is a significant thing that has happened over the last 24 hours, in part because you have not even seen a vote yet to get rid of Cheney in this role. Certainly, there is a lot of conversation happening that this is going to be moving very quickly, that potentially next week they could have this voted, just as the simple, you know, action in this conference meeting that McCarthy could bring up a motion to strip her of her role as conference chairwoman.

And I think this is significant because what you started seeing last Friday was some frustration in the comments that Cheney kept making about what happened January 6, what she has said about the former president. You also know now that there are conversations happening between McCarthy and the former President Donald Trump about Elise Stefanik, about Cheney, about what's going on.

Now, I have been told from members of the Freedom Caucus that there is support for Stefanik but certainly if the president were to come out in support of her, that would probably help boost her further with conservatives in the conference.

So a lot of moving pieces right now. But I would not be surprised if in just a little bit of time we could see this all unfold. And I think what you might expect is that McCarthy is trying to line up a replacement quickly because he doesn't want this infighting to continue beyond really next week, they want to be focused on those 2022 midterms. And that's where we are right now. Jim and Poppy.

[09:35:25]

HARLOW: There's such an interesting division between McCarthy and Cheney in terms of power and truth. Cheney is willing to give up power to speak truth. And McCarthy is willing to not support truth to say the least, to potentially gain more power as House Speaker if they take over the chamber.

FOX: Well, in the wake of January 6, Poppy, what you saw is this conversation about what was the Republican Party going to be? And I think that was an open question a couple of months ago. I think it's become apparently clear at where the party is going at this point. They are the party of former President Donald Trump. He is still the de facto leader of this party.

I think it's interesting what you've seen from McCarthy versus what you've seen from someone like the top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who has really kept his powder dry when it comes to the former president. He doesn't like to talk about Trump. They have not been in conversation since January. So, I think that that is something that is so fascinating when you think about the future of the Republican Party, Cheney and McCarthy very divided here. But McConnell and McCarthy also on very different pages when it comes to Trump.

SCIUTTO: That's fascinating and disturbing, right, because the party of Trump but also the party of Trump's continuing lie about the election, it's there. It's become a loyalty test.

Lauren Fox, good to have you on Capitol Hill.

Next, President Biden revamps his vaccination goal. It's bigger, it's bolder. We're live ahead.

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[09:41:14]

SCIUTTO: Today, President Biden will speak from the White House about his administration's ongoing COVID relief efforts and goals. This after announcing an ambitious new vaccination goal yesterday. He wants 70 percent of American adults to have received at least one shot by July 4. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky offered more details to CNN just in the last hour.

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DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: We are getting vaccines into pharmacies, over 40,000 pharmacies. Ninety percent of people will be within five miles of a vaccine, are within five miles of the vaccine.

We have walk in appointments that are becoming available. We have rural clinics where we're shipping vaccines straight to rural clinics and providing resources to do outreach in these rural areas.

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SCIUTTO: Joining me now is Dr. Philip Keiser. He's local health authority for the Galveston County Health District in Texas.

Dr. Keiser, good to have you on this morning.

DR. PHILIP KEISER, LOCAL HEALTH AUTHORITY, GALVESTON COUNTY HEALTH DISTRICT: Thank you for having me.

SCIUTTO: So, previously, in this effort to vaccinate the country, really the barrier, the obstacle was supply, right, in a lot of desire and people just fighting to get those appointments, get them in. Now we're in a different stage, because it's a heck of a lot easier to get those appointments. But it's really a battle of desire here because you're starting to hit up against a portion of the population around 30 percent, there's just less interested. And I wonder, in your view, how to get over that?

KEISER: Yes, well, that's a good question. I mean, we knew this was going to happen based on polling data that we had done earlier that about half the population really wanted it, and that the next 25 to 30 percent, we're going to be reluctant or hesitant.

What we're finding is that there are many reasons why people don't want to get vaccinated. It's not a simple demographic issue. It's not something simple, rural people who supported the President, or African Americans who distrust the government, or poor people who don't have access. For every person it's a different story.

And so, what that means is that we have to broaden our messaging and try and address people where they are. So, what we're doing is we're actually actively going out into communities, going out into churches with community groups, working with local community leaders. We're going into businesses and offering vaccine. We're starting to vaccinate cruise ship workers here in Galveston Garrison's, one of the biggest ports for cruise lines.

And we're just trying to get that message out there that one, it's available. And two, you can have it. The other thing we're asking people to do is to bring a friend. A lot of people will be more likely to come if someone that they know encourages them to do it.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Well, you mentioned the cruise industry for states like Florida, Texas, Alaska, right? I mean, you know, getting those boats back in the water with people on them, you know, lots of their economies.

People trust their GP (ph), their personal doctor, there's so much disinformation out there that is scaring people away, outright lies, false information. But the data seems to show that they will listen to their doctor. And this is part of the Biden ministration strategy is to use doctors as that kind of point of contact. And I wonder if you think that's a smart strategy.

KEISER: I mean, I think it's a smart strategy. But there are a lot of logistical problems in terms of doing that because of the way that these vaccines need to be handled. And so, we're currently working on some plans to try and get this into doctor's offices, but it's not easy. And we may face a situation where we're actually wasting vaccine. So, we're focusing right now on community efforts to try and get it out there.

The other thing that we're doing is we're put -- starting to put it into our emergency care centers. So that way, people can walk in or if people are there for another reason it can be, hey, would you like a vaccine? And we think we can manage the vaccine supply a little bit better in that scenario.

[09:45:05]

SCIUTTO: So you're basically going to people where they are now rather than saying, hey come to us this mass vaccination site, we're going to go to you, we're going to go to your church, we're going to go, you know, elsewhere.

I wonder what you think about incentives, because you've seen a lot of states experimented with this, West Virginia offering $100 savings bonds to young people. I mean, we've seen ads for, you know, get a shot, you get a beer. I just wonder if you think that that is -- that's a smart way to go forward.

KEISER: Yes, I, you know, I don't know about the incentive part of it. I mean, you know, once you start it becomes a, you know, it becomes a deep hole and where do you stop. We certainly have no problems with employers offering incentives for their employees. And I think that would be a, you know, a very positive thing for people to do. But I think for the state of the government to do it, it's kind of problematic.

SCIUTTO: So herd immunity was always the goal, the necessity really, since we've been covering this pandemic in the beginning, we got to get to herd immunity to get enough of the population vaccinated and then you've truly ended this pandemic as we have with other, you know, diseases pandemics, et cetera. But now you have this question due to this hesitancy and reluctance among a number of people whether we will get there. And I wonder if you feel that's a lost battle and the significance of it?

KEISER: You know, it's a good question. You know, herd immunity, it's almost become sort of like a mythical creature like a unicorn and except no one knows what it looks like. Right? And so, I think for us, our goal is to get as many people vaccinated as we can, and get it to the point where we can really start controlling the numbers of infections.

I mean, for me, what I envision this looks like over the next six months to a year is that we will get more people vaccinated, our case rates will go down, but we'll continue to have outbreaks. And as the number of these outbreaks decrease, what we then can do is actually respond to them in a classic public health sense, you know, it's occurs in a school or apartment building on a family. We can go to that family, we can quarantine the family, we can vaccinate everybody around them. And I wouldn't be surprised ultimately if that's how the sense.

SCIUTTO: All right. Well, let's keep an eye on it. Dr. Philip Keiser, we appreciate the work you're doing there. It's important work.

KEISER: Thank you for having me.

HARLOW: Up next, Derrek Chauvin wants a new trial after being found guilty on all counts in the murder of Jordan Floyd. What his lawyers are arguing and how the prosecution is responding, next.

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[09:52:00]

HARLOW: A lawyer for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is asking for a new trial just two weeks after the ex-Minneapolis police officer was convicted on all three counts in the murder of George Floyd.

SCIUTTO: This involves, among other things, a photo taken, we should note, six months before trial, a photo that surfaced online showing one of the eventual jurors wearing a black lives matter hat and shirt. CNN's Omar Jimenez is following the latest.

Omar, tell us what else is in the court filing and what folks are telling you there about what this may lead to.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, for starters, today was the deadline for Derek Chauvin to file motion for a new trial. So we always knew that this was going to be a likely attempt. But when you look at what the defense is arguing here, they're arguing vague allegations of juror misconduct, allegations of errors made by the judge, prosecutorial misconduct, witness intimidation, impact of publicity on the trial, and more.

Now, some of the latter portions, they specifically argue that the publicity of this trial impacted its ability to be fair. And when you dig deeper on that they list out reasons, including that the chance or the wants to change the venue was denied. And that the -- there was just so much publicity that impacted sort of the ability of this trial to be fair moving forward.

Now, some of these things were addressed by the judge over the course of the trial. And at the time, he ruled there wasn't enough there to grant these concerns by the defense. But nonetheless, we'll see what he rules this time around as we await his ruling there. Separately, sentencing is still set for June 25.

HARLOW: Can we talk a little bit more, Omar, I don't know if we have the photo that you're able to show people or not, but of what Jim mentioned, which is -- there you go. Can you talk to us about this photo?

JIMENEZ: Yes, so in this photo, this is Brandon Mitchell. He's seen in this photo saying, get your knee off our necks. That was the rallying cry for the March on Washington back in August of 2020, which he said he attended, but not as any sort of protest against police, but in more so for a supportive voter registration and in support of a larger black movement. And those are movements that he is still defending today when asked about this particular picture. And here's a little bit more of what he's been saying on it.

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BRANDON MITCHELL, JUROR IN DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL: Either way, I was going to D.C. for this event, even if George Floyd was still alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just happened to be there as a teacher chair because it was in 2020.

MITCHELL: Correct.

Yes, both attorneys and the judge asked me all the questions they needed. I answered them as truthfully as I could.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there was nothing that you did that would have been protest interpreters of protest to George Floyd or something like that?

MITCHELL: Not even close, not even close.

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JIMENEZ: And to be clear, it's not 100 percent certain that the filing of the new motion is connected to these images because there were no specific mentions of juror misconduct. And I should also mention during the juror questioning portion of this trial, he's only asked specifically about protests in the Twin Cities area. Poppy, Jim. [09:55:15]

SCIUTTO: Understood Omar Jimenez, those details matter. Thanks very much.

Well, the NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force is now investigating after two American -- Asian American women were attacked with a hammer in New York City.

Once again, it's so often with these incidents, I need to warn you the video is disturbing. The women were walking in Manhattan on Sunday when the attacker approached them from behind order them to take their masks off because you could see there started swinging with a hammer unprovoked. Clearly they tried to fight the suspect off before walking away. One of the woman did go to the hospital with a head injury. The suspect that has not yet been arrested but the NYPD is looking for the suspect.

It is unclear if the suspect used any anti-Asian rhetoric, or mentioned anything other than their masks. Asians have been targeted in at least 80 hate crimes from the start of this year through May 2, this according to NYPD data.

HARLOW: Well breaking news, the Facebook oversight board just upheld the decision to keep Donald Trump suspended from Facebook and Instagram accounts. But this decision apparently is not over. We'll explain ahead.

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