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Russia Appears to Hack System; Tens of Thousands Flee Goma; Dr. Ashish Jha is Interviewed about the Pandemic; Home Shortage Sparks Bidding Wars. Aired 9:30-10a ET.

Aired May 28, 2021 - 09:30   ET



JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: As well as Molotov cocktails and explosives.

Of course, that raising the question about whether anyone knew this. Whether this was suspicious in anyone's mind that the shooter knows -- knew and why they didn't call law enforcement.

We also know from that top FBI agent that there are now approximately 50 investigators here working with the ATF, working with local law enforcement trying to go through every bit of evidence to try to piece together that motive.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And, Josh, you've confirmed that in 2016, U.S. Customs officers actually found this memo book in the shooter's suspect's baggage that was filled with just hate-filled messages about his employer, is that right?

CAMPBELL: Yes, this was incredible reporting yesterday, first reported by "The Wall Street Journal," confirmed by our CNN colleagues at the Washington bureau, that back in 2016 the shooter in this mass attack was actually detained by Customs officials as he returned to the United States from the Philippines. And during screening of his possessions, they found books on terrorism, books on manifestos, also troubling they found a memo book that apparently contained writings where he described hating his employer.

Now, what we're waiting to hear is whether that information was ever shared with law enforcement, whether that rose to the level of a potential threat there. But, of course, every time we see one of these incidents, both the public and both law enforcement, they want to look back and see, were there any missed signals because this is certainly a community that is demanding answers after losing nine people in this mass shooting.

HARLOW: Josh Campbell on the ground again for us this morning in San Jose. Thank you for the reporting.

Well, ahead, tens of thousands of people forced to leave their homes after a warning that this volcano could erupt again at any moment. Our Larry Madowo is live in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jim and Poppy, this post-apocalyptic scene is what is left behind after the eruption of one of the most dangerous active volcanos in the world right here in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. I'll have more right after the break.



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Just weeks ahead of President Biden's first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian hackers strike successfully again. Overnight, Microsoft Corporation reported it detected yet another cyberattack originating from Russia. This time targeting U.S. government agencies involved not just in foreign policy but in contact with many critics of the Russian government. Of course the worry is exposes those critics to risk, Poppy. We know how Russia treats critics of Putin and the Kremlin.

HARLOW: That's exactly right.

"The New York Times" reports this, quote, hackers linked to Russia's main intelligence agency surreptitiously seized an email system used by the State Department's international aid agency to burrow into the computer networks of human rights groups and other organizations of the sort that have been critical of Vladimir Putin.

Matthew Chance joins us in Moscow.

I mean the timing here and the context is so important because this comes weeks after the Colonial Pipeline hack.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes, I mean, look, I mean, the timing is incredible because of that, but also because it's just a couple of weeks from now that President Biden is going to be sitting face-to-face with President Putin in Geneva.


CHANCE: And they were already going to have a very awkward conversation and it's just got even more fraught and full of tension because this is an issue which I think the U.S. administration is going to be -- find very hard not to -- not to respond to because it was just last month, remember, that President Biden imposed very tough sanctions on Russia, expelled diplomats, put economic sanctions in place to target Russia's debt sales, sanction individuals associated with the SolarWinds hack.

What Microsoft say is that this hack, which has been ongoing, it's been taking place as recently as this week, was carried out by the same hacking group as carried out the SolarWinds attack. And the White House, through their intelligence agencies, have said they're very confident about who that was, the SVR, the Russian foreign intelligence service, one of the successor organizations to the -- to the old KGB. And so, yes, it looks like the finger of blame is again pointing

directly at the Russian state, even though, of course, they deny it.

SCIUTTO: Matthew Chance, successive administrations of both parties in this country, Obama, Trump, now Biden, have tried to deter Russia for these kinds of attacks, penalize them, sanctions, et cetera, even authorizing U.S. offensive cyber operations against Russia. It doesn't work. You've covered Russia for a long time. What is Russia's calculation here, that the price is worth it, in effect, that they gain so much from the cyberattacks that, you know, consequences be damned?

CHANCE: That's a great question. And, you know, I'm not sure, after even given the years that I've spent covering Russia, that I have a good answer for it. What does Russia actually want? What is it doing? Why is it doing this? It says it wants a seat at the top table. It wants to be consulted on issues of strategic stability around the world. It says it wants to be treated like an equal. And, you know, and it's obviously something for domestic consumption here they want to show.

I -- you know, I think it's this, they want to be treated like an equal but they also want to show their domestic audience that they can confront the United States, that they are still powerful like the Soviet Union was.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Good point.

HARLOW: Yes, I mean, that is -- that is a great point.

How is Biden -- I mean I was -- like David Sanger and -- was talking about it this morning and wrote a piece on it for "The Times." The interesting things is, he -- his assessment is, no, Biden's not going to pull out of the summit with Putin because of this, right?


You confront even your adversaries.

But I wonder, because the approach of the Trump administration's so different vis-a-vis Putin than Biden, how does Biden handle this?

CHANCE: Well, again, I'm not sure the approach of the administrations is going to be different. The approach of the individuals, I think, the expectation is, is going to be very different indeed.

I mean I was back at the -- at the last presidential summit they had in Helsinki in 2016 and, you know, it was astonishing the way Trump went with Putin over his own intelligence agencies, over meddling in the 2016 election. You know, President Biden is going to have that in the forefront of his mind. And so I'm expecting a very fraught, very tense press conference after that summit in Geneva.


HARLOW: Matthew, thank you very much. Well, authorities are warning a deadly volcano could erupt again at any moment. It will be the second time in just a week. Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing after a mandatory evacuation in the city of Goma, that's in the DRC. The first eruption destroyed at least 900 homes and five schools.

SCIUTTO: This is playing out in real-time before our eyes, before the eyes of CNN's Larry Madowo. He is at the scene standing in a lava field there behind him.

Larry, tell us what you're seeing. How quickly is this all moving?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So we're looking at what essentially looks like a sci-fi movie. When you look at this, it's like a post-apocalyptic scene. But this is what happens when the force of nature and the wrath of mother nature all combine into the scene over here.

Mount Nyiragongo is at the back. It has an active volcano, one of the most dangerous in the world. And that lava essentially, the deadly lava swept down this wooded area and swept everything in its path.

What we have now is igneous rock. It's cooled off now. And it sort of breaks like hardened egg shells, as you can see that. But what officials are telling us here is that there's active magma underneath and that could still implode. (INAUDIBLE) they're saying there's increased activity and that is why they ordered people to leave. UNICEF saying another 400,000 people could be displaced if -- if the mountain erupts again. So that is a really dangerous scene because there's still families looking for their loved ones. There's at least 40 people who are still missing from this situation and they don't know what's happening.

Right now, in this city of more than a million, ten neighborhoods completely cleared out because people were trying to get far -- as far away as possible just to avoid being in the direct path of one of the most deadly volcanoes in the world.

SCIUTTO: Yes, well, Larry, don't kick the rocks too hard. Keep yourself and the team safe. But it's good have you there. It's remarkable to watch this unfold.

Thanks very much.

Well, ahead, confusion over coronavirus booster shots. Will we need them? Who exactly? When? It's a big question going forward. We're going to discuss, next.



SCIUTTO: A big pandemic milestone. This morning, according to the data, one in 10 Americans have now been infected with COVID, although, Poppy, we've talked a lot -- about this a lot on the show that probably understates the actual number of people who were exposed. HARLOW: For sure.

Yes, absolutely. And this news comes as CNN learns the race to vaccinate Americans depends a lot on where you live. A new analysis finds countries where people have lower income, lack of Internet access, they're lagging way behind in vaccination. It's a huge concern to really helping the globe.

Joining us now is Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

Dr. Jha, it's great to have you.

And it is -- I mean it's weird. I said this earlier this week on the show, it's weird to have to have a lottery for a million dollars to get some people vaccinated. I'm not saying it's a good or bad idea, but it's weird to have to do that here when people are literally dying in line around the world to just get access to a vaccine.

And Nick Kristof wrote in "The New York Times" about that and helping the world more on vaccines. He wrote, so far the United States and the group of seven leading countries haven't actually, in his assessment, shown leadership in fighting the pandemic globally. American vaccine nationalism means that we're hoarding both vaccines and the raw materials to make them in a way that led to unnecessary deaths abroad and undermined our own recovery.

That's quite an assessment. What do you think?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yes, so first of all, thanks for having me back.

Mr. Kristof is right. Unfortunately, look, first and foremost, I think the Biden administration has done an extraordinary job getting Americans vaccinated. We have a lot more vaccines now than we have arms willing to get them. And so, of course, that means we're putting a lot of effort into getting people motivated, like lotteries. But we have plenty of vaccines now to share with the world, and we've got to be doing a lot more in getting vaccines out, getting raw materials out. This is a global pandemic and it really is an opportunity for American leadership.

SCIUTTO: Dr. Jha, in this country, of course, well ahead of really most countries in the world, I've been watching that figure on our screen now daily. It's at 40 percent. But it really took about a week to get from 39 percent to 40 percent. I mean a much slower pace of acceleration.

Have we -- I mean is that indicative? Have we reached really the lion's share of folks in this country who are willing or eager to get that vaccine?

JHA: Yes, so I think we've certainly reached the lion's share of people who are eager to get the vaccine. The willing is the complicated part here. There are a lot of people who are willing, but it's hard for them. They can't take time off. They don't know exactly where to go.

It turns out that it's more complicated than we think. And often particularly for people who may have fewer access -- less access to health care and other challenges.


So that's going to be the ground game. This is going to be hard work getting that group. I think we can get them but it's going to take a lot of work.

SCIUTTO: And maybe it takes a lottery, right, for some of them.

HARLOW: Right.


HARLOW: Where are we on boosters? Because there was that "New York Times" reporting earlier this week that some data show maybe people who have been infected naturally or had the vaccine aren't going to need boosters for a long time. They say the immunity lases for years in their bone marrow. But then there's also the question of, if you do need a booster, if I got a Pfizer vaccine, can I get a Moderna booster? Can you mix them? Do we know yet?

JHA: Yes, so there's not a lot we know. But I'll tell you what I do know. I am personally very skeptical that anybody's going to need a booster from a vaccine this year. My sense is, given all the data, everything we know about these vaccines, is that they do provide a durable level of immunity. Forever? Probably not. We'll need a booster at some point. Many of us may need one next year. We don't know. We're going to track this closely.

And on the issue of mixing and matching, may sense is we'll probably be able to do that, but we really have to study that. We don't have the data yet.

But I don't think that we should be worried about boosters any time soon. Most Americans will not need one in 2021.

HARLOW: OK. Dr. Jha, thank you. Have a good weekend.


JHA: Thank you.

HARLOW: Right now the Senate is reconvening after a marathon night. But with Republican stall tactics, when will senators actually take that vote on the January 6th commission bill?



SCIUTTO: A shortage of homes for sale in this country is sparking multiple offers and bidding wars, expensive ones. HARLOW: Yes. It's fascinating to see what's happening here with the

prices surging, especially right out of a pandemic.

Our Vanessa Yurkevich reports on what has turned into sort of an end of pandemic housing boom.


LARA WARD, SOLD HER HOME DURING THE PANDEMIC: We put the house on the market on a Friday afternoon at 3:00 and by Sunday evening we had 12 offers over asking price.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Lara Ward's story is not unique. In a housing market so hot, buyers are gifting a trip to the Caribbean, promising to name their first-born child after the seller, or offering $100,000 in cash over the asking price just to secure a home.

WARD: It didn't even end there on Sunday evening. The people who had already bid in were bidding higher. So offers were climbing.

YURKEVICH: The pandemic fueled demand in the housing market, as did low interest rates. Now with low inventory, U.S. home prices are at a record high, up more than 19 percent in the last year. Ward listed her home in New Milford, Connecticut, for $300,000.

WARD: If we had put it on the market a year before, it probably would have gone on the market for $270,000, and we were looking at being happy with $250,000.

YURKEVICH: She accepted a $350,000 all-cash offer just days after she listed her home, $50,000 above asking.


YURKEVICH: Connie Strait has been a realtor in Danbury, Connecticut, for 45 years. She says homes are closing in record time.

STRAIT: We're selling in six hours.

YURKEVICH: This townhouse in the area sold in one day to this buyer from New York, who are often pricing locals out of their own market. A lakefront piece of land was listed for $1 million.

STRAIT: We sold it. And within 20 minutes later, that gentlemen went down to his attorney, you know, on the same street and sold it for an additional $250,000. And it was just -- I mean I've never seen anything like this, nor has anybody else in this area.

JON CORBISCELLO, REALTOR, KELLER WILLIAMS CITY VIEW: We're marketing this as -- to be turned into a duplex.

YURKEVICH: For a buyer, the market can be discouraging. Jon Corbiscello has shown his client, Breana Van Rye, half a dozen homes in her $500,000 price range in Bergin County, New Jersey. They've made several offers, but are outbid every time by cash buyers.

CORBISCELLO: The asking price is really the start at what the bid is. You know, if you're not prepared to pay 25 percent over asking price, you're not prepared to buy that home.

YURKEVICH: Open houses are like survival of the fittest. One pitted Breana against 40 other buyers.

BREANA VAN RYE, LOOKING FOR HOME: I was like, is this normal? Like -- like, this is crazy. You know, it looked like the new, you know, iPhone was on sale or something. It just was a crazy, chaotic experience.

YURKEVICH: She's adjusted her expectations and requirements, but not her budget. So the search continues.

YURKEVICH (on camera): When you find that perfect home, how do you think you'll feel after all that you've been through this past year or so?

VAN RYE: We'll be excited. We'll definitely throw a party.


YURKEVICH: Now, Breana and other buyers are probably going to have to wait longer to find their perfect home. That's because inventory is down 20 percent and new construction is also down. And with lumber prices sky high, any new home is going to be that much more expensive.

And then you think about all those buyers who showed up to open houses and made bids and didn't get those homes. That's pent up demand.

And, Jim and Poppy, there is one thing that could change the game. The CDC moratorium on evictions is expiring next month. And, sadly, that means there's going to be some foreclosures and short sales. But for desperate buyers, that's good news as they are willing to do anything, clearly, to get a new home.

Jim and Poppy.

HARLOW: Vanessa, thank you for that reporting, very much.

SCIUTTO: A very good newsy Friday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow.

Happening right now, fierce debate on Capitol Hill.


The Senate back in session this morning after a marathon night.