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Colonial Pipeline Resumes Operation After Cyberattack; House Republicans Oust Rep. Cheney from Leadership Role; Stefanik Being Groomed for Republican Leadership Role; House Lawmakers Hold Hearing About Capitol Riots; Biden Speaks with Netanyahu as U.N. Warns of War; CDC Recommends Pfizer Vaccine for Kids as Young as 12. Aired 4-4:30a ET
Aired May 13, 2021 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This pump right here is not working. The pump on the other side is working fine. I just need some gas, man. This is terrible.
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KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: The Colonial Pipeline is pumping gas again after a six-day shutdown but it's still misery at the pumps for millions of Americans.
Exclusive body cam footage shows an officer being attacked by a pro- Trump mob at the Capitol on January 6th.
And President Biden speaks with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu as violence in Israel and Gaza turns the White House focus back to the Middle East.
Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
U.S. gasoline supplies that dried up over the past several days should be back to normal soon. Colonial pipeline which provides nearly half the fuel to the U.S. East Coast says operations have resumed. Colonial was knocked offline for six days following a ransomware attack, there's no indication the company paid the $5 million the hackers were demanding.
In recent days panic buying has led to crippling gas shortages from Florida to Washington, D.C. Colonial says drivers should expect their local gas stations to be fully restocked in the next few days. CNN's Pete Muntean found one gas station outside of Washington that did have fuel. He also found plenty of frustrated drivers as they waited in line to fill up.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gas Buddy says 53 percent of all stations here in Virginia are now without gas.
This is not one of them, at least for now, although the line here has been pretty long and those in line tell me this is one of the few places nearby here in Alexandria, Virginia, that does actually have gas. Folks tell me their relatively annoyed, they're just trying to get gas because they are the ones who need it and that this is not a panic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My daughter called, she said, dad, they have gas down the street. This pump right here is not working, the pump on the other side is working fine. I just need some gas, man. This is -- this is terrible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I think it's probably a partial mixture of people who actually just need gas and people panicking. I don't know to what degree it's panic, probably 50/50.
MUNTEAN: How hard is it to find gas around here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very difficult. This is the first gas station I have seen in the last couple of hours with gas.
MUNTEAN: Things have been pretty calm here although down in North Carolina the Attorney General says there are 300 reports of people price gouging because of this rush on gas. There have not been people here filling up container after container, although we have seen some images of that down in Alabama. You know, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning people to not fill up plastic bags with gasoline because that would just be too dangerous. It even earned a warning from the White House.
Pete Muntean, CNN, Alexandria, Virginia.
BRUNHUBER: Liz Cheney is making it clear her fight against Donald Trump isn't over. Republicans kicked the Wyoming representative out of her party leadership role yesterday for speaking out against the former president. CNN's Ryan Nobles has more on how Republicans plan to fill her spot.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the big lie casting a shadow over House Republicans who are overwhelmingly choosing to side with Donald Trump moving forward.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We cannot be dragged backward by the very dangerous lies of a former president.
NOBLES (voice-over): After weeks of fallout and public bickering, the end of Liz Cheney's tenure as conference chair came with a simple voice vote in a meeting that lasted less than a half-an-hour. Cheney, who never backed down from her criticism of President Trump's role in the January insurrection, says, despite the ouster, she's not going anywhere.
CHENEY: I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.
NOBLES (voice-over): The end of Cheney's tenure came because of her calls for Republicans to tell the truth about the 2020 election.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): What happened today was sad. Liz has committed the only sin of being consistent and telling the truth.
NOBLES (voice-over): Today, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy trying to rewrite history again. After orchestrating Cheney's removal, he's now claiming his conference is not questioning the results of the 2020 election.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election. I think that is all over with. We're sitting here with the president today.
NOBLES (voice-over): But, despite McCarthy's claim, CNN confirmed he recently spoke with Trump and has also gone down to see the former president in Florida. And many Republicans, including Trump, continue to claim, without evidence, that there were problems with the 2020 election.
Trump even writing on Monday: "If a thief robs a jewelry store of all its diamonds, the 2020 presidential election, the diamonds must be returned."
And McCarthy's handpicked replacement for Cheney, New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, is among them. In addition to voting to object to the certification of the election results, she supports a controversial ongoing fourth audit of the votes in Arizona by a private company.
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): I fully support the audit in Arizona. We want transparency and answers for the American people.
NOBLES (voice-over): Stefanik, meanwhile, is hoping to move past this controversy and unite her fellow Republicans, with an eye toward winning the majority in 2022.
In a letter to her colleagues, Stefanik writes, quote, today, I humbly asked to earn your vote for House Republican Conference chair to unify our message as a team and win the majority in 2022.
NOBLES: So the big question is, will Stefanik be able to unify the Republican Party for her candidacy for conference chair? She attempted to begin that process in a meeting here with the House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday night. There have been conservative members that have raised questions about her voting record, especially given that her voting record is less conservative than Liz Cheney, the person she hopes to replace. Members leaving that meeting did not tip their hand but said it was a good, open and frank conversation. Stefanik said after leaving the meeting that she believed that she had what it took to unify the party going forward.
Ryan nobles, CNN, Washington.
BRUNHUBER: Some Republicans sympathized with those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. House Republican Adam Kinzinger said there is no place for extremism if the party has any chance of unifying. Here is part of her conversation with CNN's Chris Cuomo.
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KINZINGER: This is that moment where defending the Constitution -- you know, things like saying I heard some of my colleagues today imply that January 6th really wasn't what it was or that Ashley Babbitt, for instance, was murdered. Well, she actually, by the way, was about to breach on to the floor where there were almost 100 members of Congress still vulnerable. The reality was it was a really violent day. We can't wash past it. We can't just move on. The only time we can move on as a party is if we come to full grips with what we did, what we caused and what we allowed to happen.
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BRUNHUBER: And new video exclusively obtained by CNN shows exactly how violent the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was. We want to warn you some of the footage you might find disturbing.
It was taken by the body camera of police officer Michael Fanone as he was going assaulted by the mob outside the Capitol on January 6th. One rioter bragging "I got one." The officer can be heard screaming in pain as the rioters attacked and tased him. Fanone even pleads with attackers to let him go saying he has children. Some of them did try to hold the crowd back but the officer was still knocked unconscious. He suffered a heart attack and concussion and is still dealing with brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder.
But despite all the evidence, some Republican lawmakers are still pretending the insurrection was much ado about nothing. They downplayed the event during Wednesday's House hearing that focused on the riots. Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller was grilled about the slow military response to protect the Capitol. One Democratic lawmaker zeroed in on whether he and former President Donald Trump talked that day.
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REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): Did you speak with President Trump at all as the attack was unfolding?
CHRISTOPHER MILLER, FORMER U.S. ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY: On January 6th? MALONEY Yes.
MILLER: No, I did not. I didn't need to. I had all the authority I needed and knew what had -- I knew what had to happen.
MALONEY: Well, I think the evidence is clear, the president refused to lift a finger to send aid after he incited a violent rebellion against our Republic.
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BRUNHUBER: A top United Nations diplomate is warning the Israeli- Palestinian conflict could lead to full scale war. Hamas fired another barrage of rockets from Gaza toward the Jewish state overnight, mostly aimed at Tel Aviv. Israel says seven people have been killed since Monday.
And in Gaza Israeli air strikes toppled more buildings with a deafening boom. Palestinians say at least 67 people have been killed including 17 children. Israel insists it's targeting Hamas offices and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, things have turned violent in mixed Arab-Jewish communities across Israel with reports of lynch mobs, arson and riots. One local mayor says 70 years of peaceful coexistence has been trampled.
As the calls to deescalate are ignored, innocent people on the ground continue to suffer the worst consequences. Ben Wedeman has the scene from Gaza, and we want to warn you some of the images are disturbing.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Once more, hell is unleashed in a small, crowded place. As Israel's fire and brimstone rained down on Gaza and Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets roar out of Gaza into Israel, a conflict left to fester again has burst into flames.
"We heard an explosion, two rockets, one after another," says Gaza resident Khaled Zabarqah. "I found my 18-year-old granddaughter dead. My son was injured in the head and his other daughter had a broken leg."
By Wednesday midday, more than 50 people had been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, among them, at least 14 children.
Hundreds have been wounded. In Gaza where 80 percent of the population are refugees or descendants, once more, they're made homeless.
"At 6:00 in the morning we were told to leave because they were going to bring down the building in front of us," says Abdelaziz Abu Sharia (ph) this man. "We ran out and waited in the street for four hours and, and in the evening, went back and found everything destroyed. There's nothing left." Neither the militant factions nor Israel show any signs of backing down. Israel has mobilized reserves and is moving tanks toward Gaza, while Hamas has put out videos of its rocket teams, the message clear.
Escalation appears inevitable and all the death and suffering that go with it.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Jerusalem.
BRUNHUBER: Just months into his term Joe Biden joins the list of U.S. presidents faced with a potential war in the Middle East. He has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Phil Mattingly reports on the crisis now facing the Biden administration.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: When President Biden came into office he made clear while the administration would certainly still be engaged in the Middle East, it was no longer going to be the focus, the focus that so many administrations had been drawn into for decades. The president wanted to move away from, shift the focus to the Indo-Pacific region, most notably China.
However, once again, reality seems to have gotten in the way of best laid plans, the president now fully engaged, his team in constant contact over the increasing violence, the escalation of the feud in Israel. The president speaking by phone for the first time with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This was what he said after that call.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory.
MATTINGLY: Now the president also making clear that while top administration officials have engaged with their Israeli counterparts they are also engaged with Egyptian counterparts, with the Saudis, with the Emirates trying to figure out if there's a regional solution to something that only seems to be getting worse by the day. But one thing is definitely clear going forward as the administration continues to try and figure out if there is a path forward that they can play a role in. They are not getting away from the Middle East, they're not getting away from this region and the violence that often percolates in that region anytime soon.
Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.
BRUNHUBER: Straight ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, American children as young as 12-years-old are now eligible to receive a COVID vaccine. We'll bring you the CDC's plea to parents when we come back. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: More Americans are now officially eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended the Pfizer vaccine be given to children as young as 12-years-old. The CDC also says it's OK to get a COVID shot simultaneously with other types of vaccines. Before it had advised people to avoid doing that for at least two weeks after getting a COVID shot, but now doctors say there's plenty of data to back up its safety.
Now, even with mounting evidence COVID vaccines are safe and effective, vaccine hesitancy is still a major issue in the U.S. And health officials are now trying to convince parents to let their children roll up their sleeves to receive the COVID vaccine. CNN's Erica Hill has more.
ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new dose of hope and normalcy.
SARAH JAMES, ARIZONA MOTHER: Knowing that my kids are going to have friends that are vaccinated, and they can have sleepovers again and, you know, we can feel safe about our interaction.
HILL (voice-over): A CDC advisory panel voting unanimously Wednesday to recommend Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12 and up.
BIDEN: This is one more giant step in our fight against the pandemic.
HILL (voice-over): Kids in Georgia began rolling up their sleeves on Tuesday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your first dose of Pfizer, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Awesome.
HILL (voice-over): The head of the CDC appealing directly to mothers, to boost vaccinations.
DR ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Mother to mother, I am asking you to do everything you can to vaccinate those people who are eligible in your household, yourself as well as your children.
HILL (voice-over): Six states have already hit President Biden's July 4th goal of at least one dose for 70 percent of the adult population, more than 30 are at 50 percent or more including Michigan.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Cases are down more than 60 percent and Hospitalizations have fallen over 30 percent since our mid-April peak. HILL (voice-over): Nationwide things are looking up as those critical
markers go down. In early January average daily new cases hit 250,000, now the average is just over 38,000. Numbers we haven't seen since September. Hospitalizations have plummeted 74 percent since the January peak and for the first time in more than a year not a single COVID death was reported Tuesday in Massachusetts.
Meantime, the push intensifies to get more kids back in school, especially with millions now eligible for the vaccine.
MIGUEL CARDONA, EDUCATION SECRETARY: Every day that passes is a wasted opportunity. The resources are there, the science is there, we have great examples across the country where it can be done.
HILL (voice-over): As science helps more of the country reopen, big news out of California, masks inside? Not after June 15th.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Only in those massively large settings, otherwise we will make guidance recommendations, but no mandates.
HILL (voice-over): Another sign that 2021 is feeling a lot more like 2019.
HILL: As of Wednesday at least 60 percent of the population has had now at least one dose and the CDC is expecting these current trends to continue. It's most recent ensemble forecast projecting cases, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to decline over the next four weeks.
In New York, Erica Hill, CNN.
BRUNHUBER: And the director of the CDC is also pushing for children to get back to school and even summer camps in the coming months. She tells CNN with rising U.S. vaccination rates and the opportunity for most children to get vaccines there is no excuse. Listen to this.
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WALENSKY: So let me be very clear, I think we should be five days a week, everybody present in school in the fall. That is -- I think our guidance has reflected that. I think we will be in a place in this pandemic that we will be able to do that. I think we should all be leaning in, we have over 80 percent of our teachers and educators vaccinated at this point. We now have this incredible news today that 12- to 15-year-olds can also be vaccinated along with their 16 and 17- year-old -- with 15- and 17-year-olds, and I think we should all plan to be full school reopened in the fall. We should all lean into that.
We clearly have to update our camp guidance. We, just this afternoon after 4:00 signed off on the vaccination between the ages of 12 to 15 so our camp guidance hasn't yet been updated to handle that, but it will be. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Still to come, people in India are lining up for COVID vaccinations only to be told there are no shots available as the country battles a deadly second wave.
Plus, a firsthand look inside Ethiopia's embattled Tigray region. A crew documents their harrowing journey to Ethiopia's most sacred city while encountering tense standoffs at military check points.
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NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello. CNN. CNN. We're CNN. Journalists. We are journalists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's impossible.
BRUNHUBER: And welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
India's coronavirus death toll approached 260,000 Thursday with 35 of the country's 36 states now under lockdowns or other restrictions. The number of deaths has exceeded 3,000 a day now for more than two weeks. And after the scenes of desperation we saw in Indian cities, well the virus is now rampaging through rural areas where medical care is limited.
The situation is leaving families grief stricken as they struggle to get oxygen for their loved ones. Two Indian dates and the union territory of Delhi are suspending vaccinations for people aged between 18 and 44 due to shortages.
India's neighbor Nepal is also drowning under a surge of COVID cases, almost all the country's districts are under either a full or partial lockdown.