Return to Transcripts main page
FDA Examines COVID Vaccine For Younger Kids; Infrastructure Negotiations; More Insurrection Charges Coming?; President Biden Announces Donation of 500 Million Vaccines Globally. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 10, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us on NEWSROOM. I'm Alisyn Camerota.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's good to be with you.
President Biden just made a major announcement in the U.K. He says that the U.S. will donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to poorer countries. He said the move is in the interest of the United States to fight against the coronavirus pandemic globally.
CAMEROTA: Earlier, he sat down with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for their first face-to-face meeting.
The two leaders will soon sign a new Atlantic Charter. It has been 80 years since the original was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. That was during World War II.
This is video that you're seeing right now on your screen of Johnson and Biden viewing those documents. And the new charter reflects the shifting threats of today.
CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins joins us now from Cornwall, England.
So, Kaitlan, tell us everything. The president -- well, let's start with the vaccines. The president says that this half-a-billion doses come with no strings attached?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's kind of been the White House's line as they have been talking about what their vaccine sharing plan is going to be, because that's obviously a jab at other countries that have tried to trade political favors for sharing vaccines.
But this does come amid some questions and even some criticism of, what was the actual U.S. plan going to be? That is what world leaders wanted to know. And the White House knew that they should have expected President Biden to get pressed on that by other world leaders as he is on his first trip abroad. And so that's why I think this timing of this announcement is
certainly no coincidence, with the president announcing that the U.S. has bought and is going to donate half-a-billion Pfizer vaccines.
Now, a lot of those are going to go out this year. But several hundred of them will also go out in the first half of 2022, according to the White House. And just to see the emphasis that they're putting on this, you saw the president standing there with the CEO of Pfizer, someone who he has met with multiple times and I have seen on multiple trips during his presidency of that, as they have talked about not only the effort to vaccinate Americans, but now turning to this effort to help vaccinate the globe.
And that is something that the president has said it's not just important to do so at home, but also to do so abroad, because that's a really major focus of this entire summit. The G7 summit that is getting kicked off tomorrow, which is why President Biden is here in Cornwall, did not happen last year because of the pandemic. It was canceled and not held in person.
And so that is the focus going forward. And that is why I think you saw the White House pulling out that agreement, announcing that here, waiting until he was abroad to make that announcement.
BLACKWELL: Kaitlan Collins, thank you. Stay with us.
Let's discuss all of this now and bring in CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward.
Clarissa, to you.
Do we have Clarissa?
CAMEROTA: I'm gathering Clarissa is not listening to us.
BLACKWELL: All right, we don't have Clarissa.
Kaitlan, we still have. So let's go back to you.
The president says that these vaccines come with no strings attached. But what is the diplomatic value, the diplomatic role of this half- billion-dollar donation?
COLLINS: Well, I think that a lot of it has to do with questions about what were Russia and China doing by giving vaccines, distributing them to these lower-income and low-income countries? And I think the question was, are they trading them for political favors? And are they trying to use it to their advantage to change their standing on the world stage?
And I think that's why there was so much criticism at the beginning of what the United States was doing and what their role was going to be there, because President Biden made very clear in the early months of his presidency that his focus was on getting Americans vaccinated, and then he would turn to the rest of the world. It wasn't a simultaneous effort then.
And now, of course, as demand in the United States has dropped significantly, it has become more of a discussion. That also pairs with production ramping up. But this is an agreement that we should note that the top coronavirus adviser to the president, Jeff Zients, has been working on for about a month now, working on getting this purchase these half-a-million (sic) vaccines, how they were going to distribute them.
A lot of that is going to be through COVAX. That's the international vaccine effort. And I think, just to give you a sense of how much of a role this pandemic is playing in President Biden's first foreign trip is, he brought that adviser here on this trip with him.
Of course, typically, you see presidents travel with their national security advisers, some of their top communication aides. But he also brought his top COVID-19 adviser alongside him. And he was there watching today with the first lady as the president was making this announcement next to the CEO of Pfizer.
And so I think you will see there the emphasis that they're putting on it, because they know it will define the United States' standing on the world stage. It's not just about this fact that he's not Donald Trump and he's not here to insult allies, as we saw happen often at summits like this for the last several years.
They also want to take a bigger role when it comes to the United States. I think some critics have asked if maybe they have waited too long to unveil their strategy of what this is going to look like. That was a big question when we saw COVID-19 raging across India and people asking, what is the plan to share vaccines?
And so they have initially rolled out that plan for 80 million vaccines. It's just 25 million happening right now. They're still waiting on an additional 60 million of AstraZeneca to get approved by the FDA. But now you can see this broader strategy that they're working on through the administration.
CAMEROTA: OK, Kaitlan, stick with us, if you would.
We think we have Clarissa now.
Clarissa, I understand you can hear us. Great to have you.
Just give us the big picture of what President Biden is accomplishing, hoping to accomplish, and particularly the dynamic with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think they're casting back to this historic moment between Winston Churchill and Roosevelt, trying to recreate that image of that era, where the U.S. and the U.K. were working together essentially to reshape the world and what the world looked like in the post-war era. Now, of course, we're talking about walking into a post-COVID era, and
what does that look like, and what is important? And if you look through this new Atlantic Charter that the two countries have agreed upon, the words Russia and China are never mentioned, but you can see quite clearly that this is a firm statement of democracies coming together, acting in concert, as a buffer, if you will, to the sort of rise of authoritarians.
They talk about the need to underscore the importance of democratic values, the importance of human rights, taking a stand against meddling, election interference, disinformation, very clear rebukes there, without saying the word Russia, to President Vladimir Putin, and so, clearly, the U.K. and the U.S. wanting to showcase or usher in, if you will, a new age.
But what's important to remember in all of this, Alisyn, is that it is much easier to make these statements and to use this kind of soaring rhetoric that casts back to bygone eras. It's much harder to deliver on tangible promises.
And there are so many complexities in this moment, not just with regards to Russia, of course, and to China and the threats and challenges that both of those authoritarian regimes pose, but also to this broader picture, when you're looking at the coronavirus, the global economy fallout from that, and other challenges as well posed by climate change.
So I think it remains to be seen whether this new Atlantic Charter will have the same historical significance that the original does, but, certainly, I would say the leaders of the U.S. and the U.K. both very much wanting to showcase that there is a new act in town and a new direction forward for the G7, which many people have called into question the group's relevance in recent years, including, of course, famously, President Trump, who called them outdated.
BLACKWELL: Clarissa, as we broaden this conversation -- and you brought up former President Trump -- there's new polling from Pew, research polling that shows America's image abroad as it relates to confidence and favorability has shifted dramatically over the last year, 34 percent favorable view of the U.S. at the end of the Trump administration, 62 percent at the start of the Biden administration, confidence from 17 percent to 75 percent from Trump to Biden.
Fill that picture out. What is the rest of the world responding to? Is it just rhetoric, or is there something more?
WARD: It's a really good question. When you look at the numbers in that poll, it's really staggering, because there was a lot of damage done during the four years of the Trump presidency to America's standing in the world. And we're seeing that borne out in those numbers.
There was a sense of the vacuum of global leadership, the fact that the U.S. no longer appeared to stand for those critical values outlined in that new Atlantic Charter, human rights, the sort of traditional liberal democratic values. And so now there's a sense going forward that maybe there is an
opportunity to see those values reinstated, to see the U.S. taking that role again. And, to a certain extent, it seems to many people that perhaps all President Biden really had to do almost was just show up, say the right things, affirm those strategic alliances, and that would be enough, in the wake of a post-Trump era, to sort of reinstate America's role.
But I would say that's an optimistic view, because, also, when you talk to people in Europe particularly, you realize there's still a lot of concern here that things could change during the next presidential election, that the pendulum could shift once again.
A lot of questions about, what is the U.S. is commitment here, the long-term staying power? Is the U.S. going to be continuing in this role, taking its sort of seat at the helm of the free world?
And there's no easy answer to that. And it doesn't really matter what President Biden says or what agreements the G7 come up with. There's always going to be that question mark now, that, because of the volatility of the U.S. political system, that that could change at any moment.
CAMEROTA: Such a great point.
Kaitlan, I mean, how does President Biden convince them, no, we're here to stay, the U.S. is back with the -- to be a recognizable country that -- not the anomaly that you saw during the past four years?
And, by the way, President Trump wore it as a badge of honor that some European leaders didn't like him or didn't trust him or that he didn't fit in. And so what can President Biden say to instill that confidence?
COLLINS: I think it's a hard thing to recover from, because you can't just come over here and not be Donald Trump. I don't think that's sufficient enough to reassure these allies, because Clarissa is right.
You see how quickly it can all change. And they went from four years of summits, where often you would see other world leaders on a hot mic trashing the U.S. president, things that were unheard of. And you would see, of course, the former president trashing them right back on camera, as he often did with several of these world leaders and making these really remarkable moments of these summits.
And so, while I think, of course, they're still wary of what that means and what that's going to look like, no matter how much President Biden tries to reassure them, they still know that, in one election, everything can change. Decades of alliances and partnerships that obviously do always come with disagreements can really be upended by one president.
And I think there is this question of this populist type of leader that we saw in former President Trump and whether or not that is something that will be resurrected in the next election or the election after that. And so I think that is always something that's going to be at the back of their minds.
The White House is aware of that. And so I think that they are working on restoring that, but also talking about the future of where we are right now when it comes to democracies vs. autocracies. That has really been a big message that you have seen President Biden trying to drive home while he is here.
And I think we will continue to see it as he does go on from meeting here at the G7, going to meet with NATO allies. And then, of course, the last meeting, the most highest-stakes meeting is that summit with President Putin.
BLACKWELL: All right, looks like it's approaching nightfall there as President Biden wraps up his first full day of this first trip as president there in the U.K.
Kaitlan Collins, Clarissa Ward, thank you both.
There are new developments on the insurrection roundup. FBI Director Chris Wray now says that he expects more serious charges to be announced.
CAMEROTA: Plus: As researchers push to get children vaccinated for COVID, doctors have a new concern, the other vaccines the kids are not getting.
CAMEROTA: Right now, FBI Director Christopher Wray is testifying before Congress, lawmakers grilling him about the Capitol insurrection on January 6 and the bipartisan Senate report on the security failures that led up to that deadly attack.
Wray says more charges are coming in relation to the attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: We are treating it as an act of domestic terrorism and investigating it through our Joint Terrorism Task Force. And we are, as you know, now in the midst of bringing any number of conspiracy charges, which are particularly serious, and -- but this is a very ongoing investigation and there's a lot more to come.
And I would expect to see more charges. And some of them may be more serious charges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: CNN's Evan Perez joins us now.
Evan, what is he saying about the intelligence failures ahead of the attack?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that's where he and members of Congress are in disagreement.
I don't think he views what the FBI did before the January 6 attack, Victor, as a failure on their part. They said that they had intelligence, some of it raw, some of it unverified, that they passed on in multiple ways to the Capitol Police. And, obviously, as you saw, the police at the Capitol were overwhelmed, and they had to get help from the D.C. Metropolitan Police, as well as calling in help from the FBI, the ATF and other agencies.
What he says is that they got this intelligence, including the now famous memo from Norfolk that talked about some very specific threats, and they passed it on to the Capitol Police. He does acknowledge, however, that one of the things that the FBI is trying to do is figure out how to get better sources, because, in the end -- and this was a very remarkable thing to be revealed here.
He said that almost all of the people, nearly 500 people who've been arrested connected to January 6, he says almost none of them were under investigation before that day. And I think that's a very concerning thing, because if these people can essentially prepare an attack like this under the noses of the FBI without any knowledge, then that tells you that they need better intelligence collection.
And I think that's one of the things that lawmakers got him to acknowledge there, Victor and Alisyn.
BLACKWELL: Yes, important point there.
Evan Perez, thank you.
CAMEROTA: We have a programming note now about a CNN special with more new details about just what happened on January 6.
Senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin talks with people who were their. "Assault on Democracy: The Roots of Trump's Insurrection," that's Sunday night, June 20, at 9:00 Eastern only here on CNN.
BLACKWELL: All right, new developments in the negotiations to reach a bipartisan deal on infrastructure.
Senator Mitt Romney, one of the lead GOP negotiators, says that a bipartisan group of senators has now agreed to an overall dollar amount for a deal and how to pay for it.
Let's go straight to CNN's Ryan Nobles with the latest.
All right, so what deal have they reached? RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they haven't
given us the specifics of this deal yet, Victor, and it's unclear just how close they are to actually releasing the information that all 10 of these members, both Republican and Democrat, have agreed to move forward when it relates to an infrastructure package.
Now, Senator Mitt Romney says that they have agreed to a top-line number. They have described it as a general agreement. Jon Tester, a Democrat, has also agreed with that language, that they have reached a general agreement as to how to move forward.
The big question is, how much money is it? Could be in the range of about a trillion dollars. And then how do you pay for it? That was a big stumbling block amongst this group before. Both Republicans and Democrats involved have said that they are going to call for no new tax increases, but they still are going to try and find a way to pay for it without contributing to the deficit, using things like the gas tax and perhaps fees and some things along those lines.
Now, we should point out that, even if this group is able to issue some sort of an agreement that they have come to, it's only 10 members. And there are 100 members of the United States Senate that would need to agree to it, including the two leaders, chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell.
Today, McConnell, the Republican leader, said he is hopeful that this group can come up with some sort of a package that the rest of his conference can support. And the majority leader, Chuck Schumer, has said that he wants them to continue negotiating, but he's also continuing on, on a separate track, negotiating with plans to perhaps just push this through with only Democratic support.
Then, of course, there's the White House. Where are they on all of this? They want a much bigger package than just a trillion dollars and broke off negotiations with Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito for that reason.
So, we're a long way to go in this process. This is progress. But there are a lot of people here on Capitol Hill that are very skeptical that, even if this group does issue some sort of an agreement with Republicans and Democrats, that it will still have a very difficult time passing the Senate and then passing the House later on -- Victor.
CAMEROTA: I will take it, Ryan. Thank you very much.
NOBLES: OK, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Thanks for making sense of all of that for us.
Meanwhile, the FDA is meeting today to discuss when children under 12 can get the COVID vaccine. We have the latest.
[14:27:33] CAMEROTA: The CDC says more than half, 3.5 million kids aged 12 to 15 have gotten at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and half of those 12 and older are fully vaccinated now.
BLACKWELL: FDA advisers are also meeting today to discuss which specific information vaccine companies will have to provide as they seek authorization for children younger than 12.
Joining us now with more Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez. She's a primary care pediatrician at the Columbia University's Irving Medical Center.
Doctor, welcome in.
Let's start here, because, the younger the kids get, the more concerned parents are, understandably. What are the specific concerns for this age group?
DR. EDITH BRACHO-SANCHEZ, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IRVING MEDICAL CENTER: That's right.
So, first to say, and bring a little bit of perspective, we have a process in this country that works extremely well. As a pediatrician and as a mom-to-be -- people who may not be able to see the baby bump, but I'm six months pregnant.
BRACHO-SANCHEZ: Thank you.
When I look at the process that we are following here, I am extremely reassured.
So, first, there are companies that are studying this that are creating the data. And then there are experts on the other end that are meeting before that data is even available to say, what are the thresholds? What are we going to require these companies to give us, including how many kids? What are the follow-up intervals?
What are we looking for in terms of safety, before we give the green line for the companies to go ahead and administer these vaccines.
So, altogether, I really hope that parents at home hear this and know that the process is in place and ready to go, so that we can move to this younger population.
CAMEROTA: And how does that process differ than what they had to do for the teenagers?
BRACHO-SANCHEZ: So, it's very similar Alisyn, actually.
So, we're looking at the same safety data. What happens? What are the most common side effects?
And what we have seen in teenagers so far, it's the same thing as adults we're getting, the sore arm, the fever, the little bit of fatigue. So we haven't really seen things in teens that weren't seen previously in adults, which is reassuring.
CAMEROTA: I mean, there is that little blip of the myocarditis of young -- of boys 14 to 16 -- or, no, sorry -- 16 to 24 or something that they're looking into.
BRACHO-SANCHEZ: That's right. And we're looking -- exactly -- to see if it's truly associated with the vaccine, right?
We have said we're not sure it's the vaccine that's causing this, but we are looking.
And I think, for parents at home, that that is the important thing, is, we have a monitoring process in place, so that, when these things pop up, we stop and we say, wait a minute. Let's make sure, let's check, is this related to the vaccine?
BLACKWELL: You know, we have talked a lot about children and teens getting vaccinated for COVID-19. We have not talked a lot about the other vaccinations.