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Biden Heads Overseas As Agenda Stalls At Home; Source: Police Reform Bill Moving Closer To A Deal; Fauci: We Can't Let Coronavirus "Delta" Variant Become Dominant In U.S.; FDA Advisers To Discuss Vaccination Plan For Kids Under 12; Biden Arrives In England For First Overseas Trip. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 9, 2021 - 14:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Right now, President Biden is aboard Air Force One heading to Europe in his foreign trip in his presidency. While the stakes of this trip are high, his agenda back home is not where he wants it to be.

CNN Senior Political Correspondent, Abby Phillip, is with a closer look.

Abby, it feels like a lot of the agenda items he had to make progress on are stalling. Is that true?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Alisyn, it's about the math in Washington. Democrats just don't have the numbers on their side.

This is a 50/50 Senate. There are a slew of items, from infrastructure to tax to gun rights to voting rights that are stalled. A January 6 investigation.

And they're stalled because you need to get to 60 votes. That requires getting 10 Republicans on board. So far Democrats have had no luck getting that to happen on those items.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Let's talk about infrastructure specifically. We can forgive people for getting lost in the flurry of this group versus that group, versus this number and that number. Where do thing starts now?

PHILLIP: Negotiations have stopped in one corner but started in another. President Biden was talking with Senator Shelley Moore Capito for a while. They were negotiating, but those talks fell through.

The two sides remain far apart. The Biden administration has come down over $1 trillion from where they started but there are some significant issues. They're still having trouble coming to agreement on several issues.

[14:35:07] One of them is how big should this bill be in the first place. Republicans only want a couple hundred billion in new spending. Democrats want a trillion or more.

How do you pay for it? Do you have new taxes? Do you increase consumption taxes?

Then there are other issues that are part of how you pay for it, which is about the child tax credit, which Democrats passed in the last COVID relief bill. They want to extend it.

There's question of how long to extend it. Do they make it permanent?

And some Democrats in some expensive states, like New York, Washington, D.C., California, they want revisit the state and local tax deduction. That's been a major sticking point on the Democratic side.

Finally, a lot of Democrats also want to deal with the prescription drug overhaul.

As you can see, not all of these issues are directly related to infrastructure, but they have to do with the question of what is the price tag? How do you pay for it? How do you get both sites to come to the middle on issues where they're very far apart?

Some of these issues Republicans don't even want to talk about. So you see where the trouble is.

CAMEROTA: So now, is President Biden's next move to work with this group of 10 bipartisan Senators. We understand they met last night to talk about infrastructure. Is that the next move?

PHILLIP: That's where talks are headed now. There are a couple big things about this group. One is a bipartisan group. It involves both Democrats and Republicans.

On the Democratic side, two Democrats crucial to this, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Both of these members are required if Democrats even want a prayer of getting to 60 votes. They have been on the fence themselves.

As you can see there, it includes moderate Republicans, Senator Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, people like Mitt Romney, willing to speak to the other side, but necessary to get 60 votes.

So the Biden administration is shifting gears here hoping this new group can get them closer to a consensus.

BLACKWELL: Abby, on policing reform, on some process, CNN has reported this week there may be some progress moving forward.

PHILLIP: This has been chugging along quietly. Policing has been the talk of this town over the year since the protests last summer.

On the Republican side, you have Senator Tim Scott, who's been negotiating. Democrats will say in good faith on this issue.

And on the Democratic side, you have, you know, several Democrats in the House who are negotiating as well.

The sticking point here is on this issue of qualified immunity, whether or not people who are victims of police violence can sue, hold accountable the individual officers who were responsible for it.

Republicans have not wanted that. They want to get to a compromise that might perhaps be those individuals or their families can sue the police department or the city instead of the individual officer. So that is where the sticking point.

But we are hearing on Capitol Hill, our colleague, Manu Raju, is hearing progress is being made. Just in the last 24 hours, there's been a lot of work behind the scenes.

And there's a glimmer of hope they can get to a deal. Both sides want to have this done by June.

BLACKWELL: Abby Philip, thanks so much.

As the face of COVID vaccination continues to slow, expert are concerned about a contagious variant spreading here in the U.S.

We're also getting an updated timeline on when to expect shots for children under 12. We have details. Stay with us.



BLACKWELL: The number of daily new coronavirus cases continues to drop in the U.S., but there growing concerns about the Delta variant, first identified in India that made its way into the U.K. and is now in the U.S.

CAMEROTA: The Biden administration says it's linked to more than 6 percent of new cases.

Dr. Fauci implores American not yet been vaccinated to get their shots because of this new variant.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: About 60 percent now are having this particular variant, and it's been predominant among young individuals from 12 to 20.

A variant he in the United States, you don't want to give it the opportunity to take over as the dominant variant. We have within our power to do that.

by getting people vaccinated. We have very, very good vaccines. That's the reason why I've been saying we don't want to let happen in the United States what is happening currently in the U.K.


CAMEROTA: OK. Dr. Paul Offit is on the FDA advisory committee. He directs the Vaccination Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He joins us now.

Always great to have you, Doctor.

How concerned should we be about the delta variant.

DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR, VACCINATION EDUCATION CENTER AT CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: Very concerned. This is a bad coronavirus out of China has continued to mutate. When it mutates, it becomes more dangerous.

We've seen that once. The first variant was ultimately taken over by the B.1.1.7 variant, the so-called U.K. variant. Now this variant is more contagious. Could it take over? Of course, it could. All the more reason to vaccinate.


When viruses are more contagious, that means you have to vaccinate a larger percentage of the population to get to herd immunity. Let's do it and do it now, and as quickly as possible.

BLACKWELL: Speaking of vaccinations, we know that FDA advisers will be meeting tomorrow to determine the way forward on a trial for 12 and understand for vaccinations.

How long should we expect that trial would be? We know the 12 to 15 didn't take as long as the broader trials.

OFFIT: Right. The 12 to 15 was a little easier, because we knew the dose would be the same. Going down to 5 to 12, and then 2 to 5, we'll have to do more extensive dose ranging studies.

We need to make sure exactly what we're agreeing to in length of safety follow-up and safety follow-up. All of that will be discussed tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: That leads to myocarditis. That's the heart inflammation that the CDC says they are now seeing in some 16 to 24-year-old young men, more cases than they had expected, they now say.

And that's quite different from what they had said just two weeks ago, which was basically nothing to worry about. So now they're going to spend time looking into it.

But this worries parents. Even though obviously there are very, very few cases and they are treatable, it worries parents.

OFFIT: Sure. That's completely understandable.

The term inflammation of heart muscle, even if you use the term mild associated, isn't really reassuring.

It occurs just as you say, primarily in young men, usually after the second dose, usually in four days of the second douse.

The good news is that it appears to be self-limiting and short-lived and doesn't seem to involve the coronary arteries.

There's a phenomenon associated with the SARS COVID 2 virus, which is MIS-C. That also causes heart inflammation.

It looks like the vaccine is roughly one to three cases per 100,000. It's more common with the MIS-C. We saw five cases of that one a week. This also is a consequence of the natural virus.

BLACKWELL: When it comes to J&J, we know there would be potential unused doses that could be wasted because they're expiring? They have a three-month life in a refrigerator. We're not seeing this with Moderna and Pfizer.

How do we get to the point where we go from the rush to buy them and find enough to not millions could be wasted?

OFFIT: It's a shame, isn't it? Give credit to the Biden administration for putting in place something that didn't exist, which was an infrastructure, a public health infrastructure to mass administer this vaccine.

We did that. We were two million doses a day, three million doses a day. And then we sort of --


BLACKWELL: Doctor, I hate to interrupt.

The president and first lady, Dr. Jill Biden are arriving in the U.K. for the start of the president's first trip overseas since the inauguration.

CAMEROTA: They have just arrived. Jeff Zeleny beat them there, as we know.

He was talking about all that is on the itinerary, including giving more vaccine doses to the world, and trying to shore up alliances and democracy that may have frayed over the past few years.

Let's bring in Jeff Zeleny now.

Jeff, what do we expect first?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: We are seeing President Biden and first lady, Dr. Biden. They're in a Royal Air Force base, where U.S. Air force personnel are stationed. So the president and first lady will be meeting with troops and families, speaking with them.

And then making their way here to Cornwall. This is on the Cornish coast of England, where President Biden will make his debut back onto the world stage.

He spent much of his lifetime in public service traveling around the world. He's the most traveled American president certainly in history.

But he certainly has challenges facing him as well. He's going to start tomorrow here with the Group of Seven summit by announcing that vaccine distribution program.

As you said, the U.S. and other wealthier companies have come under fire for not necessarily plays as much of a role in purchasing vaccines.

So 500 million doses he will announce tomorrow will be distributed between the independence of this year and the early part of next year.


That's the beginning of this. He really has a big agenda. The summit here, of course, culminating next week, a week from today, that summit in

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

I love Jeff's phrasing there, his debut back on the world stage, because he's not -- he's a new president, but he's not a new entity.

So, this isn't like the first trip for Obama or first trip for Trump. He knows these people he's going to meet over the next several days.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, he knows these people and he's been waiting almost 50 years to take this trip as the commander-in-chief.

Joe Biden knows them, they know him. And I think that's really important because they've spent the last four years kind of not knowing what to expect when Donald Trump took the stage.

And with Joe Biden, again, there are pre-existing relationships here, including one with Vladimir Putin, which we can talk about, which wasn't always pretty and isn't always pretty.

And he knows them -- most of these people by their first name, has spoken with them on the phone.

Don't forget, when he was in the Senate, he was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. When he was vice president, he took on a lot of foreign policy tasks, Afghanistan, Iraq. And so there's a shared history here.

And I think he's there to say, you know what, I haven't changed. And we're going in a different direction here. We're part of the world.

CAMEROTA: Let's bring in Clarissa Ward, one much our chief international correspondents.

Clarissa, yes, they know Joe Biden, but do they trust Joe Biden after everything that's happened? After Gloria was just saying, he's going to sayings I haven't changed, but the United States has changed.

So, what is the wariness he will be met with?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there's definite optimism, but there's also skepticism, because as you say, particularly in Europe, there was so much rancor during the Trump years.

And now people are concerned that even if President Biden does say the right things and make the right moves, that that could all be over in a matter of years when the next election comes.

There's an overall sense of a lack of confidence in the U.S.'s ability to be in it for the long run.

So, I think for other G-7 countries, this is really a decisive moment. This is about can the G-7 still be relevant? Can this union of the world's most advanced economy still be relevant?

Remember, Alisyn, when this started out in the 1970s, the G-7, they constituted 80 percent of the global GDP. Now they constitute just 40 percent.

So, now more than ever, it's a time to show that international cooperation is still alive, that moves can be made, that, you know, alliances can be re-fostered and that they can stand up together to Russia and China specifically.

But that is a very tall order at the best of times. And the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the economic fallout from that, that is certainly going to be a tall order -- Alysin?

BLACKWELL: Jeff, we know there are some current -- some present challenges that this White House, these groups have to face, but from the White House perspective, how much of this trip is about restoration and repair after the last administration?

ZELENY: For President Biden, that is essentially everything. He talks about democracy. He talks about the need to show the world that the American democracy is very much alive.

But there's very much an open question about that. And we heard from Mr. Biden right in the days after he was elected, when he was president-elect, when he was fielding these phone calls from world leaders, their congratulations, but also asking the question, what is America? What are the politics of the United States?

So, President Biden is coming here to show that democracy is alive. But there are questions about the strength of that democracy.

So, he's going to talk about alliances. He is not going to be a bull in a China shop like President Trump was at all of these G-7 meetings.

I was covering those just a few years ago and every headline was about the former president disrupting the NATO summit, not agreeing with certain leaders. That is not going to happen here. President Biden, of course, is going to -- he thrives on these

personal relationships, so it's going to be a much more friendly, cordial encounter.

There's deep skepticism about what the United States is. Is Joe Biden the anomaly? Was President Trump the anomaly?

This is something Joe Biden has to convey, wants to convey. He's going to be extending those deeply personal relationships he spent a lifetime building.

One thing that's so interesting, as Gloria was saying, he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, eight years as vice president.


This is the first time he's stepping onto foreign soil as an American leader, not someone else's envoy. He's carrying his own foreign policy. He's setting foreign policy. This is something, of course, welcomed by leaders here.

But certainly, he'll be judged by his own policy as well.

CAMEROTA: Gloria, that leads us to what you just teased, the meeting with Putin.


CAMEROTA: I know there's not -- I know there was skepticism at home by some even in his own administration about, what's the point?

I mean, it's not as though Vladimir Putin is going to acknowledge the ransomware attacks or, you know, acknowledge having knowledge of the ransomware attacks.

And so what does President Biden hope to get out of that meeting?

BORGER: The thing I learned about Joe Biden over the years h his own ability to convey face-to-face to another leader exactly what he's thinking and what he means and convince them that they ought to listen to him.

Whether they agree with him or they don't agree with him, they ought to listen to him.

And when were these disagreements in the administration about should he go, should he not go? Why reward him with a trip?

Senator Sasse said, why reward him with a meeting face-to-face? President Biden says, because I want to be the one to tell him exactly what American policy is.

And they've had a relationship in the past, where he loves to tell the story about when he met with Putin about a decade ago, he looked into his eyes and said, you have no soul and that Putin apparently said back to him, then we understand each other, or something like that, to that effect.

And so Biden -- you know, there's no doubt about how he feels about Putin. Not only does he want to talk about Democrats versus autocracies. I think he thinks he's his own best messenger. He may well be.

In the end, he's president and he wanted to go and say this to Putin face-to-face and then say, so now that we understand each other, maybe we can deal with each other because I'm onto you.

BLACKWELL: Live pictures on the right of your screen. These are American troops there waiting at the Royal Air Force Mendenhall. The president will be speaking to them. This is the 100th air refueling wing. The only permanent U.S. refueling wing in the European theater.

And let me pick up on that thought that I just heard from Gloria and bring that to you, Clarissa.

We now know how the president approaches this summit. How does the kremlin approach this? What do we know about how Vladimir Putin will be coming to this meeting with the new American president?

WARD: Well, listen, we've heard President Putin talk about the new cold war. It's no secret that inside Russia, the Kremlin is very pessimistic about the U.S./Russian relationship. They view it as being at an all-time low and they're not happy about it at all.

And I think what will be really pivotal here is whether there can be any sort of common ground found during this summit.

I think Gloria is exactly right, that he wants to deliver the message in person, articulate the policy from his own lips and make it very clear, as well as showing this kind of show of strength, we've met with the G-7, we've met with NATO, we've met with the E.U., you know, the U.S. is back, the West is back, and we're not going to stand for this anymore.

I also think there's a real genuine desire from this administration to carefully calibrate policy in a way that really avoids escalation, that tries to find areas of common ground, that tries to find that gold goldilocks, just right sweet spot.

The trick will be whether they can, indeed, engage President Putin, whether it might be on the nuclear START Treaty, climate issues, issues peripheral to the thorny, substantive issues that deal with the U.S. and Russia.

But that this, perhaps, might give both sides a way to find a path forward together that, ultimately, I think, both sides would feel would have a more positive impact on the sort of global security.

CAMEROTA: Jeff, we only have a few seconds left before the top of the hour. I thought it was interesting to read -- I mean, just what you were saying.

This is the first time that he will be in command, but he had prided himself as vice president, as basically the frequent flier of all times. I mean, he had, I guess, traversed the globe or circumnavigated the globe millions plus miles.

Now it must be a very different feeling.


ZELENY: No question. Arriving on Air Force One. Air Force Two isn't bad.