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White House Says, Biden Ramps Up Public Pressure on Netanyahu to De-Escalate Violence; Arizona Auditors Now Say Voter Data is Intact after Sparking GOP Feud; CNN Analysis Shows States with Higher Vaccine Rates have Fewer Cases. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 19, 2021 - 10:30   ET

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


ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: And some type of clear view on the incident instead of a bias view is maybe the only alternative the family has for justice at this point.

[10:30:12]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: We'll see how they respond to that. I did want to ask another question, again, about police procedure and the law. Is actively resisting arrest by itself enough to justify the use of deadly force? So, does that vary from police department to police department or jurisdiction to jurisdiction?

BARSKDALE: The rules and regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I know that the D.A., he cites that as soon as he turns the car on or whatever, it's a weapon. To me here in Baltimore, and in many other jurisdictions, that's a stretch.

If you look at the situation again, tactically they did a horrible job. It was poor planning, poor preparation and we saw the results of their lack of professionalism.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM: The video that we saw, and maybe the control room can -- I don't know if they can bring it up. But these were a number of police officers and they had long guns. And I just wonder about the approach from the start, Commissioner Barksdale. Like I get that there was a warrant, but this is not how everyone with an outstanding warrant is treated in America. Is it an overreaction from the start?

BARKSDALE: Poppy, it is -- what we saw was what you don't want to see in policing. If you're going to approach a vehicle, you want to be at a tactical advantage. So you stand in front of it? How smart is that. It's not smart. It's dumb. It's stupidity.

So I did see that they are talking about changing their training and doing some type of discipline. Guess what? Mr. Brown is dead. And part of policing the dealing with individuals who don't want to go to jail. So you have to be smarter. You have to be ready. You have to train. You have to prepare for different scenarios, and they failed. And the D.A. trying to defend this failure is sickening.

SCIUTTO: The circumstances of each of these shootings we've discovered are very different. Each one has its own circumstances and details. But one consistent issue it strikes me that we run into watching these, right, is the posture, right? As you say, how you approach this going in, whether it's a case like this with an arrest warrant or a traffic stop. What is the posture of the police going in? Are they looking to escalate or deescalate.

And, of course, that can be difficult in the heat of the moment sometimes in these things. But I wonder, in what's being discussed now on Capitol Hill in terms of making changes here, is there anything in there that's helping to resolve these questions?

BARKSDALE: I think that anything that we can do to move towards more transparency is a good thing. Let's go back to Daunte Wright, the Daunte Wright incident. It was a tragedy. But look how fast that jurisdiction released body cam footage of an officer saying taser but then shoots and kills Mr. Wright with her service weapon.

We're at a new level of transparency with these body cams and the public is absolutely right to want to see it. So, any steps, the George Floyd laws, the legislation, push it through, because these incidents like we're seeing in Elizabeth City have to stop.

HARLOW: And, by the way, the public is, at this point, not going to see all the video. I mean, you have got the governor of North Carolina asking for full transparency. There is no, as I understand it, legal argument anymore to make because the investigation is concluded.

BARKSDALE: Poppy, Jim, it's just unbelievable that that may be the reality. From beginning to end, we all, especially the Brown family, especially the citizens of Elizabeth City, deserve to know from beginning to end what transpired that day, and we know they have the video, but they won't share. So, once again, the federal government hopefully intervenes and does something about this.

HARLOW: Commissioner Barksdale, thank you very much.

BARKSDALE: Thank you.

HARLOW: President Biden is turning up the pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do what he can to deescalate the violence in the region, but still not publicly calling for a ceasefire. We'll have more details, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:35:00]

SCIUTTO: President Biden is turning up the heat on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he expects a, quote, significant de-escalation in violence by the end of the day, as well as a path to a ceasefire.

HARLOW: Our Jeremy Diamond has more from the White House. Jeremy, this was the fourth phone call between the two leaders in a week. This is still though not a public call for a ceasefire, and there's a key difference there. JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's for sure. This is a dramatic shift in tone, not just in terms of the conversation happening behind the scenes but in terms of the way the White House is characterizing it, which in the world of diplomacy is so, so important. These words carry a lot of weight.

And when the White House says here that the president, quote, conveyed to the prime minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire, that is a change in the approach that we have seen thus from President Biden and from this White House.

[10:40:01]

Yesterday, we saw that the president, according to the White House readout, expressed his support for a ceasefire and this is now a ratcheting up of that.

Now, we do know that behind the scenes, the president in his phone calls with the prime minister, he has been making clear privately that the pressure is growing, as he told the prime minister in their phone call on Monday. He said that the pressure is growing both internationally and also within the United States.

And while President Biden has given Israel a lot of room to maneuver in this conflict with Gaza and to carry out the military operations against the terrorist organization, Hamas, that they believe they need to carry out to degrade their capabilities, the U.S. is reaching its limits in terms of how much it can continue to publicly support and back the Israeli government in what it is doing here.

So we will have to see how this goes going forward. But, clearly, a shift in tone here and a shift in approach from what the White House has said so far is really quite an intensive approach behind the scenes. Now, we are starting to see this pressure grow in public as well.

HARLOW: Jeremy, thank you very much, at the White House. Well, while this push for diplomacy is underway from washington, CNN confirmed that Israeli Defense Forces tried twice to kill the military leader of Hamas, failing both times over the past ten days. This as a senior IDF officials says they are preparing for more day of conflict.

SCIUTTO: CNN's Nic Robertson joins us live now from Ashdod, Israel. You hear there that the American president, President Biden, believes he'll see a significant de-escalation today. I'm curious what you're hearing on the ground.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, nothing here from the prime minister here or the prime minister's office. The last we heard from the prime minster was when he was talking to diplomats this morning. Benjamin Netanyahu saying that he is not running a clock on operations in Gaza at the moment, quite simply because he said on previous conflicts with Hamas there, it's taken some time to achieve the goals they want to achieve.

I mean, I think we've had a certain amount of indication over the past few days that the military begins to feel here that it's targeted and achieved a lot of the targets, even though they said there are another sets of tunnel networks they went to go after. They went after the fifth phase of tunnel networks mostly in the south end of Gaza overnight. They talk about reducing the weapons-making capacity of Hamas by 80 to 90 percent.

The idea that they can take out the military commander of Hamas, symbolic and important, perhaps more so for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who could very well be headed into new elections, the fifth round of elections coming up potentially in the near future. But in terms of military militarily taking out the commander of Hamas, he'll be replaced by somebody else.

So I think at the moment, we're waiting to see what the political direction is going to be set by the prime minister at the hearing. This public now statement from the White House and, therefore, the implication of public pressure more put on Prime Minister Netanyahu.

SCIUTTO: We'll see the effect there. Nic Robertson, thanks so much.

Republicans behind the bogus election audit in Arizona are dropping one of their wildest claims. Despite all that, QAnon conspiracy theorists are hanging their last hopes on that claimed audit. We're going to have more on this ahead.

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[10:45:00]

HARLOW: Many of the same conspiracy theorists who pushed the big lie ahead of the insurrection now have their sights set on the Republican- led so-called audit of the election in Arizona.

SCIUTTO: And now, auditors hired by the Arizona state senate are backtracking from baseless claims that a key database have been deleted from Maricopa County's election servers, admitting the data is, in fact, intact and they've been looking for it the wrong way. Imagine that, it wasn't real.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan joins us now with more. I mean, so much of this is falling apart, and yet people believe it.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And the QAnon community is absolutely obsessed about it, which I guess really shouldn't be surprising, Jim and Poppy, given that this whole audit, which is a bit of a sham, is because of a conspiracy theory, right? They are trying to give life to a conspiracy theory and the big lie.

And what we're seeing is many of the same people who were involved in that critical period between November's election and the January 6th insurrection, who are stoking so much fear and misinformation are at it again.

I want you to take a listen to MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEVE BANNON, HOST, BANNON'S WAR ROOM: How key is a successful outcome in Arizona to the case that you're making?

MIKE LINDELL, CEO, MYPILLOW: It is huge, because that's going to be -- then you have the smoking gun. You have a state point. You have not just all the proof we have, but you have an example of the proof.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'SULLIVAN: And, obviously, you might ask what does the pillow guy know about elections. Clearly not a lot. And also this is a challenge, right, because you see this ridiculous stuff online, the stuff in the QAnon forums, the stuff Lindell is saying. And it is -- objectively, it's pretty crazy stuff.

But as we saw in the lead-up to the January 6th insurrection, it is all this stuff that sticks and it is this stuff that really gets regurgitated by the former president and then it goes all the way -- it goes back through the forums, back through the blogs, back through the hyper partisan websites.

And, look, I mean, we're seeing so much discussion around Arizona right now, it's a big moment that many Trump supporters, many QAnon believers anticipate that this could overturn the election.

[10:50:02]

What happens when it doesn't, that's for anyone to say.

HARLOW: But, I mean, it begs the question when does this end. Because they've gone from one thing, now latching onto Arizona, well, that so- called audit is going to come to an end at some point. And then what?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes, it doesn't. And, I mean, I think this is all going to bleed directly into next year's midterms. We're going to see those candidates, those pro-Trump candidates basically run on the platform of the big lie.

But you're right, I mean, in terms of the long-term effects, this will have a seriously corrosive impact on trust in American democracy and in elections in Arizona.

SCIUTTO: And then they'll challenge the results of the next election. That's a thing a lot of folks, Republican and Democrat, are warning about that now.

O'SULLIVAN: Yes.

HARLOW: Donie, thank you, as always.

Well, new proof of just how well COVID vaccines are working, our new analysis is next.

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[10:55:00] SCIUTTO: So, would you like some good news? Real-life evidence, hard evidence here in the U.S. that coronavirus vaccines are working.

HARLOW: A CNN analysis has found seven states that have vaccinated at least 70 percent of adults with at least one shot have case rates that are 10 percent lower on average than states that have not.

Dr. Paul Offit, Director of Vaccine Education at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is with us. We should also note you are an FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee member.

So, I mean, just looking at these numbers, the evidence is really obvious. I mean, seven states have reached the Biden administration's goal so far of at least 70 percent of adults with one shot by -- well, ahead of July 4th. Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, over the past week, they all have 10 percent lower case rate. Would you then expect that number would continue to go down pretty remarkably there as more and more people get vaccinated and then in other states as they reach that threshold?

DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR, VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: Yes, we're getting there. It's not just vaccination. Remember, natural infection also protects. So if you look at overall, we have about 38 percent of the population that's been fully vaccinated. You have about 100 million people, another 30 percent that has been naturally infected, roughly, based on antibody surveillance data. And although those two groups aren't completely separate because there are people who were naturally infected that also got vaccinated.

You're probably at about 55 to 60 percent population immunity from natural infection immunization. Get to 80 percent, and I think we can dramatically slow the spread of this virus. Vaccinate another 80 million people, then I think we can be there.

So I think what we should do is what charities do, put up the little thermometers where you need to get to like 80 million and just keep checking that off every day. We're almost there.

SCIUTTO: It's great. I'm glad you made that point again, because you've been making that point consistently for weeks, right, that we're closer to heard immunity than some of these numbers indicate.

I do wonder though, because vaccination rates, there is a red state/blue state divide here. What impact will that have in terms of reaching that figure?

OFFIT: Right. And maybe you can explain this to me. I mean, the previous administration, a Republican administration spent $20 billion on Operation Warp Speed to create what I think was the greatest scientific achievement in my lifetime. And my lifetime includes the development of the polio vaccine. I mean, within one year, we made a vaccine, these mRNA vaccines, a novel technology, remarkably safe, remarkably effective, clearly works in the real world, and yet you don't have that administration embracing it. I don't get that. I mean, the Republicans should be beating their chest talking about the amazing accomplishment they've made, but they don't.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: Can I ask you? You bring up how remarkable this is. And to compare it to and say it bests even the development of the polio vaccine is stunning, is this mRNA technology, which both Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines are based on, that have been so safe and so effective, is this now going to change the game going forward for so many other vaccines, especially in terms of speed of development?

OFFIT: Well, I'm not sure in terms of speed of development. I mean, when the government puts forwarded $24 billion --

HARLOW: Yes, that helps.

OFFIT: But I think certainly for vaccines like an immunodeficiency virus vaccine or better tuberculosis vaccine or universal flu vaccine or a malaria vaccine, certainly, there are studies that are going to be done looking at the mRNA technology and we'll see whether that also applies to those pathogens.

SCIUTTO: I have got some of that running around in my bloodstream right now, from the Pfizer vaccine.

Very quickly before we go, because a new group able to be vaccinated are kids 12 to 15, 16 and up. As you see kids vaccinated, does that us that help fill that gap in the number that you were describing there in terms of getting the country to effective herd immunity?

OFFIT: Yes. So, the 12 and 15-year-old represents about another 15 to 17 million people. It's another 5 percent. Yes, it definitely helps. And I think, hopefully, by the end of the year, we'll be able to extend it to younger children.

HARLOW: Jim and I certainly hope so. And a lot of other parents hope so too. Thank you, Dr. Offit, as always.

And thanks to all of you for joining us today. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Isn't it nice to be able to report good news about the coronavirus?

HARLOW: It's great. You're always the glass-half-full guy, Sciutto.

SCIUTTO: I'm excited. It's what gets me through the day. I'm Jim Sciutto.

At This Hour with our colleague, Kate Bolduan, starts right now.

[11:00:00]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

Here are the top things we are watching at this hour.