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U.S. Pledges to Send 80 Million Doses Worldwide By End of June; U.S. Earmarks About 5 Million Vaccine Doses for Africa; Biden Unveils Expanded List of Banned Chinese Companies; Biden Floats Concessions on Infrastructure, Roadblocks Still Remain; U.S. Capitol Police Officers Describe Horrors of Attack. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 4, 2021 - 04:00   ET



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Sharing the vaccines. The United States announces that it's giving tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to the rest of the world.

President Joe Biden expands a ban on American investment in dozens of Chinese companies. We're live in Beijing with reaction there.

Plus this --


WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Did you ever think this might be a life or death situation for you?

BYRON EVANS, UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE: I remember specifically thinking it when I was on the floor.


BRUNHUBER: Asking for answers. Capitol Police officers talk exclusively to CNN about the January 6th riot and lawmakers' failure to investigate it.

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. President Joe Biden says the United States is ready to help fill a vaccine shortage around the world with tens of millions of additional doses, but there's a catch. The majority of those surplus vaccines were made by AstraZeneca and haven't yet been approved by the U.S. government. That authorization is required before the U.S. can export them to places like Vietnam. But as one White House official said, the U.S. has a moral obligation to help protect as many people globally as possible.


JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Our overarching aim is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible. It's as simple as that. We want to save lives and thwart variants that place all of us at risk. But perhaps most important this is just the right thing to do.


BRUNHUBER: CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has more on how the U.S. plans to distribute millions of doses worldwide.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The United States has more than enough vaccine to vaccinate the entire country against COVID-19 and so today the White House announced how much vaccine would be given to other countries and when and where it will ship. So let's take a look.

The plan is to send 19 million doses to COVAX, that's the international vaccine initiative, of those 6 million will go to Latin America and the Caribbean, 7 million to Asia and 5 million to Africa. 6 million doses will be shared directly with countries in need. Now, these doses represent a sizable chunk of the vaccines that are being produced in the United States and there are plans to make more. Let's take a listen to Jeff Zients a White House official coordinating the COVID response.

JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: These 80 million doses represent 13 percent of the total vaccines produced by the United States by the end of this month. We will continue to donate additional doses across the summer months as supply becomes available, but at the same time we know that won't be sufficient. So the second part of our approach is working with U.S. vaccine manufacturers to vastly increase vaccine supply for the rest of the world in a way that also creates jobs here at home.

COHEN: Most Americans are glad that the United States is taking a leading role in distributing these vaccines. Let's take a look at results from a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Kaiser asked people living in the United States should the U.S. plays a leading or major role in distributing vaccines to other countries. 66 percent said yes, 88 percent of Democrats said yes, 65 percent of independents said yes, only 41 percent of Republicans said yes.

Sharing vaccines worldwide of course can save lives in other countries but it can also save lives in the United States. Viruses of course, they don't know borders so when a virus starts in one country, as we've seen, it can easily go to another. Also variants can develop in other countries and potentially come back to the United States. And for those variants it's possible that the vaccine might not work terribly well so it's also in the United States' best interest to be sharing this vaccine to help stop the growth of variants. Back to you.


BRUNHUBER: So as Elizabeth Cohen just mentioned about 5 million doses are earmarked for Africa. The U.S. says it will coordinate with the African on where to distribute them and there isn't a lot of time to do it. The head of the World Health Organization in Africa warns the continent is at risk of another wave of COVID-19 if it doesn't get more vaccines soon.


CNN's David McKenzie joins us from Johannesburg. David, so 5 million doses not a lot. So what kind of difference could it make on the continent?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly it will make a difference. It isn't a lot and it's a drop in the bucket compared to the demand that is needed to be met here on the African continent. Many countries have started their vaccine distribution but still, Kim, the levels here are very low proportionately, in many countries as I said.

One pickup of course is that the AstraZeneca vaccine won't be shared by the U.S. at this point. There are several countries that were very good at distributing the first dose of that vaccine including Kenya and other parts of East Africa. They need those second doses. So that would be very important to get that cleared up as soon as possible.

There's also the issue of distributing these vaccines. The U.S. made it very clear that they are going to work very closely with COVAX and the African Union to identify countries which can actually give out the vaccines. So the issue here is really a long-term issue that the capacity isn't necessarily there in many of these countries to get vaccines into arms for the majority of the population.

And you're right, Kim, there is a third wave building in parts of this continent including here in South Africa, an increase of some 20 percent of cases over the last 14 days compared to the prior 14 days says the W.H.O. And some specific countries of concern here in South Africa one of them other parts of southern Africa and Uganda recently saw its highest single day case of -- cases of COVID. So there's a long way to go but at least this 5 million will start the process -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, at least some good news there. Thanks so much, Dave McKenzie in Johannesburg. Appreciate it.

The number of Americans getting vaccinated each day has declined dramatically since April and for the first time since January the daily total of shots has fallen below 1 million. President Biden's goal of American adults to get at least one dose by July 4th is currently about 63 percent. The former head of the U.S. CDC says bridging the gap over the next month is doable but will be a challenge.


DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: We're making a lot of progress, but frankly we're entering kind of the slog phase of the vaccination campaign where the people who are most eager to have it and most able to get it have gotten it. Now we need to continue to make it easier to get and to address people's concerns, to listen to the concerns, to find the messengers and the messages that work and to emphasize that this vaccine is astonishingly effective and very, very safe.


BRUNHUBER: President Biden is almost doubling the number of Chinese companies that will be off limits to American investment. The White House says they pose a threat to national security because of links to China's military and its surveillance capabilities. The executive order continues the hard line taken by Donald Trump back in November. CNN's Steven Jiang is live in Beijing. Steven, what's been the reaction there in China?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Kim, a Chinese foreign ministry official just expressed China's, quote/unquote, firm opposition to this latest order, accusing Washington of abusing the concept of national security and harming the interest of Chinese companies as well as global investors. Now he urged the U.S. to correct its mistake by withdrawing this order or face consequences from Beijing. Although he did not specify what kind of countermeasures China will be taking analysts have pointed to the possibility of American companies including prominent global brands being added to the Chinese government's so-called unreliable entity list that would restrict or disrupt these companies' activities in China.

Now, as I mentioned this order is a continuation of a Trump era policy. Biden and Trump obviously don't see eye to eye on almost anything, but China seems to be a rare exception here. Because Mr. Biden has said he doesn't disagree with Trump's assessment that China is a strategic rival to the U.S. and threats from Beijing have to be addressed head on. But what the two men have disagreed of course, was approach. Mr. Trump preferred going it alone. Mr. Biden has said the best way to confront China is forming this united front against Beijing with allies and partners, especially those that share the U.S. democratic system. Our values.

That's why this this latest order he specified and clarified the scope of companies being targeted. They are on this list, and not only because of their alleged ties to the Chinese military but also because their products and technologies, especially surveillance technology have been used both inside and outside of China to repress religious and ethnic minorities, among them obviously the Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang, China.


So Biden is saying these companies are being targeted not only because they could harm the security interest of U.S. and its allies but also their shared democratic values including the protection of human rights -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right, thanks so much. Steven Jiang in Beijing.

Iran's top negotiator says time may run out to salvage the International Nuclear Deal with Tehran. He told a state news agency Thursday that the next round of talks in Vienna could be the last. Former U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018, the talks have been under way to bring the U.S. back into the agreement and Iran back into compliance. The U.S. says challenges remain and it's neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the talks.

Well in just a few hours we'll find out if U.S. jobs markets are picking up steam. The Labor Department is about to release its May report, a recent poll of economists is predicting 650,000 new jobs. That would be a huge jump from April when the U.S. created a disappointing 266,000 jobs. If the predictions hold true the U.S. would still be more than 7 million jobs down compared to before the pandemic and we're still hours away from the opening bell on Wall Street. But for now as you can see U.S. futures are just about flat there.

Infrastructure talks in the U.S. are pushing ahead as President Joe Biden offers to slash the price tag of his ambitious bill, but will it be enough to gain Republican support?

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought I was going to lose my life right there. All I could think was we can't let these people in.


BRUNHUBER: U.S. Capitol police officers describe what they saw and felt as Trump supporters attacked the building in January. That's ahead. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: U.S. President Joe Biden is determined to move his ambitious infrastructure plan forward. In an attempt to gain Republican support he's not only offering to slash the price tag, he's also floating alternate of ways to pay for it. CNN's Jeff Zeleny takes a look at where negotiations stand.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden hitting the road today on a ride for first lady Jill Biden's 70th birthday. As bipartisan negotiations intensify on his infrastructure package, the president is signaling that he's open to making serious concessions to keep the talks alive, including rethinking his plan to pay for it through raising corporate taxes, which had been a non-starter for Republicans.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are a range of paths forward here and the president remains committed to his goal of signing a bill into law, historic investment infrastructure by the summer. ZELENY (voice-over): Whether it's a path forward or the end of the road to finding a deal remains an open question. But the president has cut his original proposal nearly in half and is set to speak again Friday with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the lead Republican negotiator.

In a Wednesday meeting with Capito, the president said he was open to imposing a minimum corporate tax of 15 percent taking aim at profitable U.S. companies that now shortchange the federal government. He also called for beefing up IRS enforcement to collect more revenue.

PSAKI: Opposing this proposal would not -- would mean not only opposing raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans who've done extraordinarily well during the 10th pandemic. It would mean opposing the very enforcement of the 2017 tax law.

ZELENY (voice-over): The $1 trillion infrastructure plan is about more than rebuilding the nation's crumbling roads and bridges. It's a test for whether Washington can work in the Biden era. And the president is making it harder for Republicans to turn down the deal.

SEN. MITCHELL MCCONNELL (R-KY), U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER: We're still hoping we can come to an agreement on a fully paid for and significant infrastructure package.

ZELENY (voice-over): Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell must soon decide whether to accept Biden's concessions and offer some of his own. If not, Democrats will be left to try and pass the bill on their own in the narrowly divided Senate. That is why at least trying to find bipartisan consensus is far more than political theater. But a critical step in winning over moderate Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, whose vote is essential in either case.

GINA RAIMONDO, U.S. SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: We're definitely not there yet. I would say there is a -- there is a gap. And so, that's our job to try to find where the common ground is.

ZELENY: Republicans are expected to make a counteroffer on Friday when Senator Shelly Moore Capito has a phone conversation with President Biden. This will show how serious Republicans are in negotiating some type of a deal. The key question here is how much new spending they will propose. Now, all of this factors into how long these negotiations will last before President Biden asks Democrats to go it alone.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.


BRUNHUBER: Obviously going it alone would require all Democratic Senators to be on board and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin is signaling that he isn't at least not yet. Here is what he told our Manu Raju.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We need to do something in a bipartisan way, we can't continue on these types of projects because we were able to bring everything to fruition working through a bipartisan way. The Republicans didn't get everything they wanted the last time as you recall. And basically we're not going to get everything, but we can move forward. And the president has that desire and the urgency to get something big done.


BRUNHUBER: Some Republicans may welcome the news that President Joe Biden isn't planning to create a commission to investigate the January 6th Capitol attack. According to a White House statement Biden wants a more independent investigation. Other Democratic leaders have also dismissed the idea. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently told her caucus a presidential commission wouldn't be able to issue subpoenas unless empowered by Congress.

And former Vice President Mike Pence says when it comes to the Capitol insurrection he and his old boss would probably never see eye to eye. Pence was rushed out of a Senate chamber that day as Trump supporters stormed the building and called for his hanging. Last night in New Hampshire he took a dig at Democrats and the media.



MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol. But thanks to the swift action of the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement violence was quelled, the Capitol was secured. President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office and I don't know if we'll ever see eye to eye on that day, but I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years. And I will not allow Democrats or their allies in the media to use one tragic day to discredit the aspirations of millions of Americans.


BRUNHUBER: In the months after the attack the Capitol Police force has been shell-shocked suffering from both physical and psychological wounds. Nearly 140 of their members were injured on January 6th. Our Whitney Wild spoke with some officers who were there that day and described the horrors they endured.


WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: What was the worst thing they called you?


WILD: Why was that the worst thing?

GONELL: Because I serve my country. I went overseas to protect our homeland from foreign threats. But yet here I am battling them in our own Capitol.

WILD (voice-over): United States Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. at 12 years old in 1991. Deployed to Iraq in 2003, and then joined Capitol Police in 2008. He is speaking publicly for the first time about January 6, when he fought rioters trying to stop the certification of Joe Biden's presidency.

GONELL: I got hurt. I got hurt. I would do it again if I have to. That's my job.

WILD (voice-over): Sergeant Gonell led members of the department's civil disturbance unit. For hours, they battled insurrectionists attacking the Capitol. This video shows his fight on the west front.

GONELL: They kept saying, Trump send me, we won't listen to you. We are here to take over the Capitol. We are here to hang Mike Pence. They thought we were there for them. And we weren't. So they turned against us. It was very scary. Because I thought I was going to lose my life right there.

WILD (voice-over): Some of the most horrific video shows Sergeant Gonell steps from Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges, caught in a doorway.

GONELL: I could hear my fellow officers screaming, the agony in some of them. All I could think was, we can't let these people in. There is going to be a slaughter inside.

WILD (voice-over): Rioters beat Sergeant Gonell so badly, they cut his hand and he needed foot surgery. While he fended off the attack outside, Officer Byron Evans locked down areas inside the Capitol and evacuated senators.

WILD: Did you ever think this might be a life or death situation for you?

BYRON EVANS, UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE: I remember specifically thinking it when I was on the floor. I remember thinking all that stuff like, Byron, this is the day. All those times you've given thought on what you would do, you're doing it.

WILD (voice-over): For hours, Evans and the senators watched the riot on TV from a secured location.

EVANS: I just remember the anger I felt when I saw those images, busting windows, climbing the walls and stuff like that. There was an audible gasp in the room.

WILD (voice-over): Around 6:00, the riot had calmed enough that Sergeant Gonell could finally tell his wife he'd survived.

GONELL: I started texting my wife. And all I said to her, I'm OK. I'll see you whenever.

WILD (voice-over): Congress resumed certifying the Electoral College votes that night. Sergeant Gonell arrived back home around 3:00 a.m. January 7th but found little relief.

GONELL: When I came in, she wanted to hug me. And I told her no, because I was covered -- I was covered in pepper spray, my hands were bleeding, still. And I couldn't even sleep.


So I went and took a shower and instead of helping that re-inflamed the chemicals.

WILD: Did it soaked through your clothes?

GONELL: Yes. I took a bath with milk. That helped.

WILD (voice-over): Just hours later, both he, Officer Evans and hundreds more officers still reeling from the worst attack in two centuries, headed back to work.

GONELL: I did give my wife a hug. I started crying.

WILD: Why?

GONELL: It didn't happen, I didn't think I would be able to see them. I went to my son's bed and gave him a hug. He was asleep still. Gave him a big kiss. And I just started crying.

It's like five, ten minutes, hug -- I just cry. She kept telling me it's going to be OK. I'm like, no, I got to go back to work. I got to go back to work.

WILD (voice-over): For him, the riot is hardly in the rear view.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The motion is not agreed to.

WILD (voice-over): The failure of a bill to establish a commission to investigate the causes of the insurrection left him devastated but gave him a reason to speak out.

GONELL: It hurts me that the country that I love that I came in, that I have sacrificed so much don't care about us, and they don't.

WILD: Sergeant Gonell came forward on the day the January 6th commission bill failed. He came forward on his own, not on behalf of the department. He said he just couldn't stay silent anymore.

Whitney Wild, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: And we will be right back.