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Israeli Airstrike Destroys Gaza Building With AP, Al Jazeera Offices; Biden Speaks With Israeli And Palestinian Leaders Amid Gaza Violence; House Strikes Deal To Create Independent Jan. 6 Commission; Businesses End Mask Mandates For Fully Vaccinated Customers; Should Masks Be Required In School If Kids Are Not Vaccinated?; Guests On Fox News Call Out Network For Allowing Misinformation. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired May 15, 2021 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:20]

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.

And we begin with breaking news. More explosive violence today between Israeli forces and militants in the Palestinian territories. President Biden personally talking to leaders of both sides today as the attacks and counterattacks sharply escalate in Gaza.

The Israeli military bombing an office building in Gaza City from the air today, sending it crashing to the ground. The building was used by several major media outlets including "The Associated Press and Al- Jazeera.

And CNN's Ben Wedeman is in Jerusalem with the very latest.

Ben, a few pressing things here. What happened with this massive airstrike in Gaza City today and how are world leaders trying to break the cycle of violence. You have seen so many of these cycles over and over again, Ben. What can you tell us?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this particular strike was the latest in a series of Israeli airstrikes that have brought down entire buildings under the pretext that some office in each of those buildings was somehow affiliated with Hamas. This latest occurred in the early afternoon Gaza time when there was an Israeli airstrike on the al Jalaa building in central Gaza City.

That's a 12-story building where, as you mentioned, "The Associated Press", the most prestigious and prominent American news agency, and the al-Jazeera network have their offices. And the entire building fell into rubble and dust.

Now, we did get a statement, rather a statement was issued by Gary Pruitt, the chief executive of the Associated Press, and I will read it here. He said: We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP's bureau and other news organizations in Gaza. They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there.

For its part, an anchor for al Jazeera English had this to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL JAREEZA ENGLISH ANCHOR: This channel will not be silenced. Al Jazeera will not be silenced. We can guarantee you that right now.

(END VIDSEOI CLIP)

WEDEMAN: Well, al Jazeera and Associated Press will not be silenced, but they're now homeless. It is going to -- it is already difficult enough to function in Gaza, and now, of course, they will have to do it somewhere else.

Now, the Israeli military has said that the reason why they struck that building was that it contained some sort of offices affiliated with a Hamas research and development unit. But, as I said in the previous hour, it is well-known Israel has the technology, the military technology to target a specific office or room in a building. It does not have to bring down the entire building.

But this seems to be their new tactic in Gaza, which is sort of the Israeli version of shock and awe. Keep in mind, Jim, when you destroy an entire building, this is Gaza. There are buildings full of people all around it, and we spoke to somebody the other day who lived across the street from one of those buildings that was totally collapsed, and his flat was, even though the walls were still there, everything inside was destroyed.

But, of course, this is just one small aspect of what is going on today. The death toll continues to rise. There's lots of talk of some sort of cease-fire, but the fighting continues -- Jim.

ACOSTA: It certainly does, Ben Wedeman. We heard what sounded like some activity behind you just a few moments ago. Please stay safe over there, Ben. We always appreciate your reporting. Thanks so much.

And congressional leaders have now struck a deal for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. That news coming after a week that saw Republicans try to down play the event of what happened that day.

CNN's Ryan Nobles has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The House Republican conference overwhelmingly picking New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik as their new conference chair and presenting a united front.

REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY), REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIR: The Republican Party is a big tent party and my district is the story of the growth of the Republican Party.

NOBLES: But it may not be that easy.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): There have been things worse than people without any firearms coming in to a building.

[16:05:04]

NOBLES: Rank-and-file hard right members are now attempting to rewrite the history of what happened during the January 6th insurrection.

Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert did so Friday from the House floor.

GOHMERT: There's no doubt people came here on January 6th to cause trouble. Most did not come here to cause trouble. Most came here to protest.

NOBLES: This despite harrowing stories of violence and chaos from that day that continued to emerge from police officers. Some of whom were beaten and had their own weapons turned on them.

OFFICER MICHAEL FANONE, DC METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: I believe that violent group would have killed individuals inside of the Capitol complex.

OFFICER HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: For people to contradict that, it's insulting. It's a slap in the face.

NOBLES: This growing move to rewrite history comes on the same day a bipartisan deal was hatched to form an independent commission to look into what went wrong on that day. The commission will be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. They will have equal subpoena power and the scope will be limited to January 6th and the events that led to the attack.

While the negotiations were bipartisan, the top House Republican, Kevin McCarthy, has yet to sign off. But Democrats say that won't be a problem.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: So we tried to take the politics out of it because the public deserves nothing less.

NOBLES: With a handful of far right Republicans painting a different picture of what happened that day, drawing a clear conclusion as to what went wrong is now imperative. Liz Cheney, who lost her leadership post for telling the truth about the election, said GOP leaders cannot ignore this trend.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): It is very important for people to understand that the ongoing danger of a former president attempting to undermine the system in the way he is, and as Republicans we have a particular responsibility to stand up against that.

NOBLES: But the conservative provocateurs are only getting louder.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): We are going to visit Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, crazy eyes. NOBLES: New video uncovered by the CNN KFILE team shows Marjorie

Taylor Greene before she was elected to Congress shall taunting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outside her office door. This after Greene confronted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outside the House chamber. AOC saying that MTG needs professional help.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I'm concerned about her perceptions of reality.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: And joining me now, two people who served as speechwriters during George W. Bush's administration, knows something about the Cheneys. David Frum is now as senior editor for "The Atlantic." Michael Gerson is an author and opinion columnist for "The Washington Post".

Gentlemen, thanks so much for being with us on a Saturday afternoon.

David, I just want to pay you a little bit more of that newly uncovered video of Marjorie Taylor Greene outside the office of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and get your response. Let's play it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREENE: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I'm an American citizen. I pay your salary through the taxes that you collect from me through the IRS, because I'm a tax paying citizen of the United States. So you need to stop being a baby and stop locking your door and come out and face the American citizens that you serve. If you want to be a big girl, you need to get rid of your diaper and come out and be able to talk to the American citizens instead of us having to use a flap, little flap. Sad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: David, you worked in Washington for so many years. Have you ever seen anything like this before?

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Well, there are a lot of crazy people wandering around the halls of Congress, but usually they are taxpayers, not future members of Congress.

That is an example of the kind of thing that many Republicans are going to try to put off limits for the January 6th commission. I think the Republican idea for how the commission is going to work is they want to make an investigation for the short comings of the Capitol Hill police and to look only at them and not at any of the context in which this -- of this event.

Like, for example, the strange appointments and promotions at the Pentagon in the weeks before and this question of did Donald Trump, President Trump in some way strip the Congress of defenses to make it vulnerable and to leave it dependent on the Capitol Hill police who always have their limits. ACOSTA: Yes, those are huge questions. I remember being at the White

House covering Trump at those final days, and we all had those questions. They need to be answered.

Michael, you also have Republicans like Louis Gohmert downplaying what happened at the Capitol, falsely claiming there was no evidence rioters were armed and so on.

How do you explain this detachment from reality?

MICHAEL GERSON, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, the problem -- one of the problems here is that these are not fringe figures in the Republican Party. Liz Cheney is now a fringe figure in the Republican Party. I mean these people are the logical consequence of Trumpism. They taunt.

[16:10:00]

They threaten. They've normalized violence and intimidation in American politics, which is, you know, deeply dangerous.

But it really does remind me of Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union in a certain way, where you have an obvious lie that in order to be loyal you have to affirm. And that is now true in the Republican Party. An obvious lie is an entry level commitment, and it is really saying that you are suspending your own judgment, your own critical judgment and saying that the leader is going to determine what I believe. And that is authoritarian and dangerous to democracy.

ACOSTA: It certainly is.

And, David, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, let's talk about Liz Cheney. She was ousted from her leadership role for telling the truth about the big lie. She talked to our Jake Tapper about it.

Let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I almost think that you have more members who believe in substance and policy and ideals than are willing to say-so. And in some cases, I mean if you look at the vote to impeach, for example, you know, there were members who told me that they were afraid for their own security, afraid in some instances for their lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Yeah, David, how do we get to this point where members of Congress are saying they're afraid for their lives?

FRUM: Well, we got to that point in a brief moment of candor after the Georgia election, the day before the January 6th attack. There was a moment where Donald Trump looked expensive to many congressional Republicans who after all who's first concern is their own futures. After the loss of the Georgia two Georgia Senate seats on the same day, after Republicans lost control of the Senate, there was a brief moment of interest in maybe doing something about it. And so, you saw some space open up during the impeachment vote, the vote of the impeachment trial.

I think the party's coalesced around a view that the better strategy, whatever misgivings individuals members may have, the better strategy is to try to control the voting system and to see whether that's their way to retake the House in 2022, maybe the Senate as well.

So a lot turns in 2022 on that election, not just what happens in Congress but whether or not the methods that Republicans are using work. If Republicans have a good year in 2022, that will be taken as validation, vindication of everything that's happened until now. If they have a bad year, that forces the kind of rethink that Liz Cheney is talking about.

ACOSTA: And, Michael, a Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, she was elected to fill Liz Cheney's leadership role.

But here's the irony, Stefanik's ranking from a leading conservative group, the Club for Growth, perhaps you've seen this, compared with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, one of the most liberal members of Congress, Stefanik's lifetime score is lower than Omar's. Omar is more conservative than Stefanik or perhaps equally as conservative as Stefanik in the eyes for the Club for Growth.

What is going on? How can it possibly be that the party would elevate Elise Stefanik when she has that kind of voting record? She has clearly not voted like a Trump conservative.

GERSON: I think the simple reality is the Republican Party is no longer united by policy or ideology. It's united by the central illusion of Trumpism or delusion of Trumpism, which is really this idea that the election was stolen, the president is the legitimate leader.

You know, that sets up a whole ideology. It's the Democrats and establishment Republicans who are depriving the people of their essential rights and dignity, and there's only one man who can solve the problem and defend them and that's Donald Trump.

Now, that's a personal politics. That has nothing to do with whether you support school choice. This has become support for a single man.

ACOSTA: All right. David Frum, Michael Gerson, you always write great stuff. I enjoy your work many. Thanks for coming on this afternoon. We'll bring you back.

FRUM: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Appreciate the conversation, gentlemen. Thank you.

Coming up, potential new legal trouble for Congressman Matt Gaetz as his friend strikes a deal with prosecutors in a sex trafficking probe. What could it mean for the Florida Republican?

Our cross exam segment with Elie Honig is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:18:31]

ACOSTA: A former close associate of Congressman Matt Gaetz has now struck a deal with federal prosecutors in a sprawling sex trafficking investigation. Joel Greenberg is expected to plead guilty on Monday to six federal charges, including sex trafficking of a child. He potentially had faced decades in prison on dozens of counts.

According to the plea agreement, Greenberg plans to admit in court that he, quote, introduced the minor to other adult men who engaged in commercial sex acts with the minor. The plea agreement does not identify the other adult men, and Congressman Gaetz is not mentioned in the 86-page plea deal.

The Justice Department is investigating whether the Florida Republican broke sex trafficking and prostitution laws. Gaetz says he is innocent.

And CNN senior legal analyst and former assistant U.S. attorney in the -- for the southern district of New York, Elie Honig joins me now to answer your legal questions.

A ton on this case, which is still unraveling as we speak, just incredible details. But people want to know, Elie, how prosecutors know about a defendant like Joel Greenberg before they give him a cooperation agreement? You know, how do they know that this is a good idea?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, Jim, the short answer is prosecutors had better know everything about Joel Greenberg, especially given how heinous his crimes are before they give him this kind of deal.

I've been through this process many times. You spend days, weeks in a conference room with the cooperator going through everything they know, every crime they've committed, every crime they know, anybody else may have committed.

And the key here is corroboration. You have to find other evidence to back him up. You do not take a cooperating witness, especially one as bad as Joel Greenberg, at his word. You need to find financial documents, travel documents, credit card records, photos, texts, e- mails, anything you can, and you need to do that before you enter into the cooperation agreement, which is the point we are at now.

Now, those agreements require Greenberg to give what we call substantial assistance, meaning he has to testify and his information has to be useful to prosecutors.

And, Jim, in my experience, there is no way that prosecutors would cooperate with somebody as bad as Joel Greenberg unless they fully intended to use his information to make cases against other people.

ACOSTA: Yes, it sounds like there's a lot of pressure on Greenberg.

Let's switch over to the Derek Chauvin case, getting so many questions still about that. Former Police Officer Derek Chauvin awaiting sentencing for the murder of George Floyd. Recently, a judge said multiple aggravating factors were found in the case, and a viewer asks, what sentence is Chauvin likely to receive given the judge's findings about these aggravating factors? A lot of viewers out there who want to see a harsh sentence obviously here.

HONIG: Yes, a lot of people watching this one, Jim.

So, Chauvin faces a maximum sentence of 40 years. However, Minnesota has these sentencing guidelines that recommend a sentence starting only at 12-1/2 years. However, that sentence can go significantly higher if the judge finds these aggravating factors.

Now, prosecutors had argued for five of those factors. This week the judge found that four of them do apply. Derek Chauvin abused his power as a police officer, obviously. There were minors present, obviously. We saw them testify.

That Chauvin was particularly cruel in the way he committed this crime. He choked out a man who was begging for his life. And, finally, most interestingly, the judge found that the crime involved at least three people total, meaning those other officers.

Now, we know those officers are still facing a trial in front of this same judge. He made a point in his ruling to say, I'm not making any decision about whether they're guilty or not guilty, but there's no way to spin that for the cops other than it's really bad news.

So, how high will the judge go above that 12-1/2 years? He certainly has the ability now to go substantially higher. We'll find out at Chauvin's sentencing, which is on June 25th.

ACOSTA: And, Elie, a COVID question. One viewer wants to know can the government legally require people to get COVID vaccines. There's so much fear and hysteria about this. What do you think about that question?

HONIG: Yeah, Jim, so there's no particular indication that any unit of government is considering requiring COVID vaccinations. However, the Supreme Court told us back in 1905 in a case involving smallpox vaccinations that states actually do have the power to issue laws requiring mandatory vaccination.

Now, states can't do just any old thing they want. It has to be reasonable. It depends on the nature of the disease, how it spreads, how the vaccine works.

But if it is necessary to protect the public health, then it is within state's legal power to require mandatory vaccines. In fact, every state does this already to some extent. Every state has mandatory vaccine laws relating to students who attend public schools. So, again, we've not seen any indication that this is in the works.

Obviously, there would be a complex political and medical decision that needs to be made. But legally, if a policymaker wants to go this way, the basis is there.

ACOSTA: All right. That's fascinating.

Elie Honig, thanks so much.

And, remember, you can submit your own questions for Elie at CNN.com/opinion. We always appreciate the insights and see you next time.

If we --

HONIG: Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: -- if you want to answer or understand the Republican Party today and how shocking and bizarre conspiracy theories have moved from the fringe to the heart of the GOP, you need to explore the roots of where that kind of thinking came from, and those roots are very deep.

That's what CNN's Fareed Zakaria is exploring in his latest documentary, "A Radical Rebellion: The transformation of the GOP."

Here is a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST (voice-over): Let me give you some snapshots of the Republican electorate today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to stop watching media and start getting the facts.

CROWD: Four more years!

ZAKARIA: In a CNN poll conducted after January 6, 70 percent of Republicans said that they did not believe that Joe Biden won the election legitimately.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's too much evidence of fraud.

CROWD: Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!

ZAKARIA: Over 40 percent believe Bill Gates is planning to use the COVID-19 vaccine as a pretext to implant micro chips in people's brains in order to track them.

And roughly one in four Republicans agree with the key tenet of the QAnon conspiracy, that a group of Satan worshipping elites who run a child sex ring are trying to control our media and politics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joe Biden is the biggest pedophile on the face of the planet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not a conspiracy.

[16:25:01]

It's fact.

CROWD: Fight for America! Fight for America!

ZAKARIA: It becomes impossible to deny, the Republican Party today has been infected by a series of crazy conspiracy theories. Why?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: Why indeed. Very disturbing stuff.

Be sure to tune in. Fareed's special airs tomorrow night at 8:00, right here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:30:00]

ACOSTA: Right now, millions of Americans are experiencing their first maskless weekend in more than a year after the CDC's sudden announcement that fully vaccinated people no longer have to cover up.

That's more than 121 million people who can currently go mask free.

Businesses are already tossing their mask requirements for vaccinated employees and customers.

Here's the thing, though. These companies either don't say how they're going to verify someone's vaccination status, like Publix, or they admit they'll use an honor system, like Trader Joe's and Costco.

This means we'll just have to trust that 64 percent of Americans are truthful on whether they've been vaccinated.

That part has people a little hesitant to celebrate and a little nervous to put aside this piece of cloth that they've been wearing for so long.

I want to bring in Dr. Paul Offit. He's the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and a member of the FDA's Vaccine Advisory Committee.

Dr. Offit, thanks always.

You're also the co-inventor of the roto virus vaccine.

We've been very cautious for a year now, wearing these masks, being cautions going indoors, and so on.

Do you agree with the CDC's call on this?

DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR, VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER & DIRECTOR OF PEDIATRICS, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: I agree with this as the first part of washed have been a two-part system.

If I'm indoors and around people who are vaccinated, I feel comfortable not wearing a mask.

If I'm indoors, with 50 people in the grocery store, and I see 25 people who aren't masked, I have to assume their vaccinated. I think that's a big assumption.

I wish the government would try to provide a way to verify how I not those 25 maskless people have all been vaccinated. That didn't happen. It's too bad.

Now we're asked to trust other adults in a situation where there's every reason not to trust a lot of people right now.

There's such denialism out there. There's so many people who don't wear masks, don't get vaccinated because either they don't believe the crisis is real or they don't care.

ACOSTA: Right. Many businesses plan to operate on the honor system, that we hope the maskless person is being honest about being vaccinated.

You can have a situation where you're going to the shopping center and big box office has a mask policy, the other one at the other end, you can walk in without a mask on.

Is there a better way to deal with this?

OFFIT: I think the best way would be that -- to ensure that everyone who is in that room, that indoor space is vaccinated.

It's not that hard. You know, I have on my iPhone my vaccination card. I'm happy to show it when I walk in. You can do that. I any it's burdensome at some level to business, but it's possible.

It's -- the solution is simple. If you've been vaccinated, you don't have to wear a mask indoors or outdoors. If you haven't been vaccinated, you should wear a mask indoors.

It would be that simple. The problem sending a way to see that.

We have a lot of situations in which we have people show evidence that they've been vaccinated. They do that in school all the time. So let's do it here. Let's have the vaccination certificate.

ACOSTA: We know that 12- to 15-year-olds can get vaccinated in this country, which might be a huge step.

What do you say to parents who might be nervous getting that 12- to 15-year-olds vaccinated at this point?

There might be parents out there who might, OK, I understand 16 and up, but twelve to 15, that's getting awfully young?

What do you think? OFFIT: Well, we have abundant evident now in teenagers. More than a

million 16- to 18-year-olds have been vaccinated with these mRNA vaccines safety. We know it's affective. It's excellent in responses.

It's not a leap to go down to the 12- to 15-year-olds.

Plus, we have a study of 2,300 12-to 15-year-old children, half got the vaccine, half didn't. The vaccine was effective, safe. And there were 18 cases of COVID in that study, all in the placebo group.

I'm sure the parents whose children were in the vaccine group were happy they were in that group. And those in the placebo group were upset to watch their children suffer the disease.

Now you can do the coin flip. You can choose to get the vaccine and you know that you're going to be protected and safe.

ACOSTA: If kids under 12 still can't get vaccinated by the fall, what do you think? Should masks be required in school?

That will be a flash point, I suspect, for a lot of parents and school officials in the fall.

OFFIT: I think the solution is simple. If you're indoors and vaccinated, you don't have to wear a mask. If you're indoors, you have not been vaccinated, you have to wear a mask.

So I think that will apply to school children less than 12 years of age, yes.

ACOSTA: The administration should probably make that clear to folks. They have plenty of time to plan for the upcoming school year.

I mean, that's what the Biden administration received some criticism for, that this wasn't laid out in a way that explained it to everybody, in a way that everything got it.

I suppose, this time around, it needs to be clearly laid out before kids go to school.

OFFIT: I think it's a fair criticism. The rules need to be clearer here. Otherwise, we're being asked to trust the honor system and there's every reason not to trust the honor system.

[16:35:02]

ACOSTA: All right, Dr. Paul Offit, thank you so much. Great as always. We appreciate it.

OFFIT: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Coming up, remember this bombshell moment?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN BASHIR, FORMER BBC RELIGION EDITOR: Do you think Ms. Parker- Bowles was a factor in the breakdown of your marriage?

PRINCESS DIANA, FORMER PRINCESS OF WALES: Well, there were three of us in a marriage, so it was a bit crowded.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Now, more than 25 years later, the man behind the interview has quit the BBC ahead of a report about that interview. What's behind his departure? We'll answer that's next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: Developing right now, we're monitoring a 50-car train derailment in Minnesota. The derailment happened about 10 miles north of the Iowa state line.

Police have asked residents to shelter in place. But there are no evacuations. It's not clear how many cars left the tracks or whether any hazardous material was onboard.

Police video of the derailment appears to show at least one tanker overturned along with a freight car carrying lumber.

[16:40:06]

And he was the man behind an infamous 1995 interview with Princess Diana. Now, more than 25 years later, journalist, Martin Bashir, has left the BBC.

Remember this bombshell revelation?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASHIR: Do you think Ms. Parker-Bowles was a factor in the breakdown of your marriage?

PRINCESS DIANA: Well, there was three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The news of Bashir leaving the BBC comes ahead of a report into allegations that he used forced documents lure Princess Diana into doing that interview.

With me now is CNN's chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter. He's also the author, "Hoax" -- great book -- "Donald Trump, FOX News and the Dangerous distortion of Truth."

Brian, what do we know about Bashir's decision leaving the BBC? Pretty abrupt.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST "RELIABLE SOURCES": This has been a media ethics stories for the ages, ever since revealed that possibly Bashir's team used forged bank documents to basically coerce Princess Diana into this interview.

That allegation came out last year. It's now under investigation. And we're expecting the results of the investigation pretty soon.

The BBC said it's been taking these allegations very seriously.

All the while, Bashir, right now, the religion editor for the BBC, has been having real health problems. He suffered COVID-19, through heart problems.

So now he's leaving. And it makes you wonder if he's leaving in advance of what is revealed why Princess Diana gave that interview so many years ago?

ACOSTA: We'll be watching that one.

I wanted to talk to you about this trend we've been seeing all week long. Guests on FOX News calling out the network for giving air to election disinformation.

Let's listen.

STELTER: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: I would hope that FOX would be just as focused on let's get rid of the misinformation about what happened in this election. This election was --

(CROSSTALK)

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX HOST, "THE STORY WITH MARTHA MACCALLUM": Oh, come on, Randi. This is not the topic we're here to talk about. We've talked about that before.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We all have an obligation. I would say FOX News, especially FOX News, has a particular obligation to make sure people know the election wasn't stolen.

(CROSSTALK)

CHENEY: FOX News -- FOX News --

(CROSSTALK)

BRET BEIER, FOX HOST, "SPECIAL REPORT": You've said that numerous times.

CHENEY: Bret, I'm going to answer your question.

FOX News needs to make sure that the American people --

(CROSSTALK)

BEIER: But you have to know this show has said that numerous times.

CHENEY: Bret, you're doing the interview. I'm answering the question.

BEIER: Congresswoman --

CHENEY: We had need to make sure that the American people recognize and understand that the election wasn't stolen, that we shouldn't perpetuate the big lie. And that there's real danger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Brian Stelter, your thoughts on this?

STELTER: It's remarkable. It's so rare to see anybody on FOX do this, to challenge the network for its involvement in promoting conspiracy theories about the election.

Now, Cheney is back on FOX tomorrow. We'll see if she tries to bring this up again.

But she's doing it for a very good reason, and Randi Weingarten as well.

Numerous polls have shown that the FOX base is largely convinced the election was stolen or rigged or something to that effect.

So it's important to get the truth out wherever possible, even on FOX.

You have to wonder if the guests get invited back after doing that. Cheney is back tomorrow. We'll see if she brings it up again.

ACOSTA: Right. She's a big guest right now so I guess they'll look the other way.

The other thing, Brian, that is interesting is this is happening during news programming when you have guests where they have the ability to do it.

Perhaps not so much during primetime programing where it's almost like professional wrestling between the hosts and the guests.

The hosts know, by and large, what the guests will say and perhaps they know they won't be called on the carpet for that.

But let's also talk about these --

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER: I think the opinion programs, you're absolutely right, they are largely propaganda.

I was going to add these programs, whether it's about COVID and vaccine misinformation or election misinformation, one of the biggest ways this company can get to a truthier place is if FOX grows up. If FOX shows responsibility.

But as you know, Jim, largely, they have not.

STELTER: Yes. We haven't seen any signs it will happen yet.

This is an important segue, Brian, because we want to talk about these important developments coming out of the Gaza.

Israeli airstrike leveling a building housing the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and other media offices.

I'm having a tough time thinking of when this has happened before. I mean, a building being blown up with, you know, with a media outlet having been housed in that building.

It also had a Hamas research and development unit operating technological equipment, we understand.

But both the A.P. and Al Jazeera are furious about this.

[16:45:04]

STELTER: Yes. The closest thing to this is when Al Jazeera was hit by a U.S. strike, I believe, in Iraq many, many years ago. There have been cases in the past of Israel targeting media in Gaza.

But more often with pinpoint -- so there's some history there.

But this is extraordinary today, the leveling of this building. Israel is being very clear, saying the journalists were being used as human shields, that it was being used by Hamas and, thus, it was an international clear target, a clearly fair target by the laws of war.

But in the past few minutes, Jim, we've had heard from the Foreign Press Association in Israel, which represents hundreds of journalists in the country, saying they're gravely concern by this, quote, "the safety of other news bureaus in Gaza in now in question."

There are real concerns and a demand for additional information from the IDF, the Israel to provide proof, basically the burden of proof on Israel and why they needed to target and level this entire building.

Ben Wedeman brought this up an hour ago, why not a pinpoint strike?

ACOSTA: Right.

STELTER: Why not a pinpoint strike within this building? That's a question the Israelis will have to answer.

ACOSTA: They will, I suppose. Other journalist organizations, Brian, are also speaking out. We know you'll be following it and will have more to talk about tomorrow on "RELIABLE SOURCES."

STELTER: Right.

ACOSTA: Make sure you tune into Brian Stelter's show "RELIABLE SOURCES." That is tomorrow morning at 11:00.

And we'll be back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:51:11]

ACOSTA: From the earliest stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, a desperate race was on: How to protect a vaccine that would protect every person on earth.

Now the CNN film, "THE RACE FOR THE VACCINE," gives you a behind-the- scenes look at the scientists tasked with creating a vaccine that would stall COVID in its tracks.

CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has a look at the latest group of people to get access to the fruits of their labor.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ready?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is 15-year-old Ben Dropick (ph). He's about to get the COVID-19 vaccine as part of a clinical trial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ready?

GUPTA: That's to Ben and about 2,000 other teens like him, 12- to 15- year-olds all across the United States are now able to be a COVID-19 vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One, two three.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just trying to beat the virus, trying to get everything back to normal.

DR. ROBERT FRENCK, DIRECTOR, VACCINE RESEARCH CENTER, CINCINNATI CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: The kids have been leading the charge on a lot of this.

GUPTA: Dr. Robert Frenck has been research vaccines on kids for 40 years. He now oversees COVID-19 vaccine trials in kids at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

FRENCK: One of the things that people have said is that teenagers they only care about themselves and they're just looking out for themselves. And I have found that to be totally wrong.

GUPTA: They've also found another piece of good news.

Just one month after getting the second dose, Pfizer's trials found that teens age 12 to 15 had even higher levels of antibodies than 16- to 25-year-olds who had also received the shots, making them far less likely to get sick.

FRENCK: Eighteen cases of COVID in the 1,500 adolescents that had placebo and zero in the group that got vaccine. GUPTA: Since the pandemic began, the CDC estimates more than 26

million children have been infected with COVID-19 and around three percent have been hospitalized.

The agency says kids under 18 make up around 23 percent of all cases, representing just .1 percent of all of the deaths.

The agency has found more than 3,700 children have developed a hyperimmune response to the virus, known as MISC.

(on camera): I imagine that a lot of parents will say, look, I don't think that my kid or kids in general are that at risk of getting sick in the first place.

What is the real reason that we need to get kids vaccinated?

FRENCK: So they have a runny nose. They have a cough. They don't seem like they are that sick. Mom or dad is not going to take them to the doctor. But they actually have COVID.

And they end up then going to grandma and grandpa and accidentally infecting them or others and that those people get very sick.

And the other thing I guess to remember is that we have 75 million people under 18 years of age in the United States.

If we don't immunize that group, that's going to leave a big population that's susceptible to the virus.

GUPTA: Now, remember, in order to stop transmission, we want to reach herd or community immunity. And you get there through a combination of vaccination as well as antibodies from previous infections.

The threshold of community immunity is based on how contagious the virus is.

For example, measles, which is really contagious, requires around 90 percent herd immunity. For the novel coronavirus, somewhere around 70 percent to 85 percent.

The FDA's expanded authorization for 12- to 15-year-olds now makes 85 percent of the U.S. population eligible for a shot.

But even then, surveys show about one in eight adults aren't planning on getting the vaccine.

About one in five parents say they won't vaccinate their kids, either. Which is why the focus is now on going even younger.

Trials have now begun in kids like seven-year-old Naomi.

LORI, NAOMI'S MOTHER: Naomi after seeing a friend of our family participate in the study said that she wanted to do it. It will give me a lot of peace of mind because I know that she'll be protected.

[16:55:07] I'm really proud of you.

NAOMI, 7-YEAR-OLD TRIAL PARTICIPANT: I'm going to tell them that they should get the vaccine so they can protect themselves, their family and everyone around them so that -- and that would be a great way to keep the world safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good job.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: What a brave little girl. And our thanks to Sanjay for that effort.

The all-new CNN film, "RACE FOR THE VACCINE," premieres tonight at 9:00, only on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)