Return to Transcripts main page


Senate Democrats Hold Key Test Vote Today on Election Overhaul Bill; White House to Focus on New Vaccination Milestone as Country is Expected to Fall Short of July 4 Goal; CNN Rides Along as Crime Rates Spike. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 22, 2021 - 10:30   ET


SEN. RON WYDEN (D-OR): The first senator in our country to be elected completely by mail.


I'm a Democrat. The second senator to be elected by mail was Gordon Smith. He was a Republican. We can address these issues in a fair way.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: So the difficulty, right, we're finding with so many things. I mean, it happened on COVID relief, it is still a bar on infrastructure, it is certainly a bar, really, just a red brick wall on voting rights, is getting to that 60-vote threshold. And there is a proposal to not eliminating the filibuster entirely but lowering the margin, make it 55 votes.

And you have heard some, not many, some conservatives and some Democrats express support for this. Do you think that that's is a path forward?

WYDEN: I think one of the ways that you can address this issue is at least require senators to show up in person. When I protected Oregon's death with dignity law, that is what I did. Our voters had voted for it twice. The House voted to get rid of what Oregon said. But I made it clear when it came to the Senate, I would show up in person. That is the kind of practical reform that makes sense.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Another issue I know that is close to your heart, this week, you're part of a group of bipartisan senators, I should note, so Republicans and Democrats united in this effort here, and that is to increase domestic semiconductor manufacturing. Why is this important? So many things we have, including this depend on the semiconductors, and yet, as you know, Taiwan makes the lions' share of these internationally. I want to ask you this very specifically because I hear from the folks in Pentagon and elsewhere genuine concern about China invading Taiwan, and then part of the resulting concern is, wait a second, it will then control the world's semiconductor manufacturing. Is that central to this attempt to try to bring some of this manufacturing back to the U.S.?

WYDEN: Having these memory chips is critical to national security, it is critical to economic security. We are moving forward with the strategy to outcompete China. The legislation that you mentioned, the bipartisan bill that I've introduced is a major step in that direction because from the time Americans get up in the morning until the time they go to bed, they depend on these memory chips. Our bill is going to pass and we're going to get a bipartisan vote.

SCIUTTO: And that is progress, there you go, not to be underestimated. Senator Ron Wyden, thanks for joining us this morning.

WYDEN: Thanks for having me.


All right, ahead, a warning from the World Health Organization about vaccine shortages in developing countries that they say could have significant ramifications around the world. We'll have a live report next.



HARLOW: New this morning, the White House is now expected to focus on reaching new vaccination milestones as the country is expected to miss President Biden's original July 4th goal of 70 percent of all American adults receiving one dose of COVID vaccine.

SCIUTTO: Instead, the administration will highlight that 70 percent of Americans 30 and older have received at least one shot.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joins us with more. So, I mean, big question is how close did we get and where do we go from here?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We're going to get very close to Biden's 70 percent goal by July 4th. It is really not that far. But I want to make an interesting note, which is that the Biden administration is great at setting realistic goals. We've seen them do it before. They set goals really that they know they can achieve. So when they set this goal, months ago, they thought they would achieve it.

What they found is that it is just really tough to convince nearly half of Americans to get a vaccine, to get a shot. Nearly half of Americans have opted, have chosen not to get even one dose of a vaccine.

I emphasize the word, chosen, because we were talking about in many parts of the world, you can't get a vaccine. There are shortages. That is not the case of the United States. So at this point, the people who aren't getting, really, for the most part, is because they've chosen not to, and they've been a tough group to convince.

So let's take a look at this Biden goal of 70 percent by July 4th. So that's been the goal for a while now. And the CNN projection is that he'll have like 67 percent to 68 percent by July 4th, which his very close, and 70 percent by the end of July.

Now, let's take a look at why it looks like this goal won't be met and why they're focusing on other milestones. Look at how the number of newly vaccinated adults in the U.S. has gone way, way down since the middle of April. Again, the people who wanted to get it, they've gotten it.

Now, we're down to basically trying to convince people and the people who public health officials are trying to convince are largely young people, elderly people, even people, say, over the age of 50, they've been much more enthusiastic about the vaccine. It is the young people that have proven to be the biggest challenge. Poppy and Jim?

SCIUTTO: As Dr. Schaffner said last hour, do it for yourself to protect yourself but also those close to you. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.

Well, the World Health Organization is warning that several developing countries receiving COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX vaccine sharing programs are already running out of doses.

HARLOW: David McKenzie joins us with more. David, this has been a warning for a long time, even before vaccines were fully developed and approved, that in order to get past this pandemic, you have to have adequate supply, especially in developing nations. What is the global impact of this given this dire warning from the WHO?


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, Jim, it is a massive global impact. You mentioned several countries. In fact, more than half of the countries, poorest countries that depend on that COVAX facility are not getting the vaccines they need. Many of them are running out or have run out of vaccines.

And the word from the WHO is that this could have a massive impact. Just where I'm sitting right now, Johannesburg, South Africa, I'm speaking to doctors, they are dealing with a very intense third wave, they have limited beds, people being helped at home and many don't make it into the ICU. So while the COVID pandemic is easing off in the U.S., it is still raging through many parts of the African continent.

There is some good news that has been announced, the technology transfer hub. Now, what that means is tech and knowledge will be transferred to a hub in South Africa where South Africa can produce vaccines with mRNA technology for itself and the rest of the continent.

But in the short-term, Poppy and Jim, we're facing a dire situation. I spoke to the -- or I asked the head of the emergency section of the WHO, what this means, he said, it is a catastrophic mal failure. Take a listen.


DR. MICHAEL RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WHO, HEALTH EMERGENCIES PROGRAM: We have a very, very short window of time to get our most vulnerable protected and we haven't done it. We have not used the vaccines available globally to provide global protection to the most vulnerable.


MCKENZIE: Well, the Biden administration is donating millions of vaccines but speed and volume are both critically important right now, Jim and Poppy.

HARLOW: David, I'm so glad you're on top of it. Thank you for that reporting. And it is important that everyone hears that warning that you just played from him. David, thank you.

SCIUTTO: Well ahead, a CNN exclusive, we take you behind the scenes of police patrols in New York as crime spikes there and many other cities around the country. What we found, what local officials and police officers say is causing the rise and ideas of what to do about it, that is next.

HARLOW: Look forward to that.

Coming up, also a quick programming note for you, sex, power feminism, she wrote the book on it, but this is the only story she never told. CNN Films Lady Boss, The Jackie Collins Story, airs Sunday night 9:00 Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN.



SCIUTTO: Well, appeals court has now blocked a decision that had over turned California's three-decade-old ban on assault weapons.

HARLOW: A three-judge panel issued a stay on that ruling, meaning the ban will remain in effect while the state of California appeals.

You'll remember this decision. It is significant. We covered it on the show earlier this month. Judge Roger Benitez compared the AR-15 to a Swiss army knife in the first line of his opinion and that and the opinion itself sparked anger for many across the country. California Governor Gavin Newsom called the AR-15, a quote, weapon of war.

SCIUTTO: Well, today, voters in New York City are casting ballots for multiple positions, including in a crowded race for mayor. A year after calls to defund the police were heard across the country, the leader in many polls in New York is a former police officer, Eric Adams, and the city's spiking crime rates have become a central issue in the race, shooting incidents up 73 percent since last May, overall crime in New York City up 22 percent during that same period.

We got an exclusive opportunity to see New York's police in action, joining overnight patrols on two busy summer nights in one of the city's most dangerous precincts.


SCIUTTO (voice over): In the South Bronx, just before midnight, police stop five young men for driving a car with an expired license plate. They recognize one of the occupants for previous criminal activity and cannot verify the others identities, so they take them to the station. The 4-6 was once nobody as the dangerous square mile in America. Crime rates in New York aren't near the peak of the early 1990s but they are spiking.

Are you seeing this getting worse and pretty much every part of this area?

YESENIA ROSADO, NYPD OFFICER: Yes. Growing up, like I said, I grew up in the South Bronx, I've never seen this.

SCIUTTO: Shooting incidents in New York City this May were up 73 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the NYPD. In the 4-6, these officers find many the shooters and victims are still in their teens.

ROSADO: And it sucks to see this, to see 16-year-old kids shooting and killing each other and that is what we do see a lot of here. And we have 16-year-olds with robbery patterns and murder charges, and it's like they didn't actually get to be kids.

SCIUTTO: A radio call brings word of a hit-and-run driver. We arrive to find the victim on the ground and bleeding.

Ask police officers and their commanders, why crime is rising, and they describe a mix of factors. The end of the pandemic has brought residents out of their homes, guns have flooded the communities. The jump in New York City has also coincided with changes to policing and the justice system. New York enacted bail reform to reduce or eliminate jail time for suspects while awaiting trial for many misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Police say this has had the unintended consequence of putting repeat offenders back on the street.

MICHAEL MCCABE, NYPD OFFICER: I'll still be at work and they'll be back at the precinct picking up their property before I'm even done with court.


SCIUTTO: Really?


SCIUTTO: That's got to be frustrating.


SCIUTTO: George Floyd's killing and a series of police-involved shootings over the last few years have eroded trust in police across the country.

That animosity creates real dangers for these officers on beat.

ROSADO: We've had people threaten us, threaten to kill us, threaten to --

MCCABE: Kill our families.

ROSADO: -- kill our family, I hope your family dies, I hope your family gets raped, stuff like that that you were supposed to brush off.

SCIUTTO: This environment is having a debilitating effect on the rank and file.

The NYPD is shedding officers faster than it can recruit new ones, some retiring early, some outright leaving the force. It is partly a morale problem. That's what the officers tell us. And the fact that it is happening as crime is rising is affecting operations.

The NYPD has had its own failures. 2014 death of Eric Garner during an arrest, in which an officer used a chokehold, did not result in charges but still resonates here. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, who repeatedly condemn George Floyd's killing, says departments have the responsibility to police their own aggressively.

DERMOT SHEA, NYPD COMMISSIONER: We have over 6 million calls for service a year. We may have negative encounters where we have to arrest people without force being used. But hundreds of thousands of times a year, Jim, one bad incident and it can set you back so far. And you see that across the country.

SCIUTTO: As New York And other cities simultaneously grapple with the aftermath of George Floyd's killing and the rise in crime, police are now debating a whole range of police policies and tactics.

SHEA: We had a situation last year with the murder of George Floyd, where we had hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people marching. And they had a voice too. And they had a point of view. So I think what we need is balance. What worries me over time is when we move too quick. And now we have to recalibrate and kind of play catch-up if, you will.

SCIUTTO: Shea and one of his predecessors, Bill Bratton, concede police overused some tactics, such as stop and frisk. The practice reached nearly 700,000 stops in 2011, according to NYPD data. Two years later, a judge ruled the policy was unconstitutional as applied since the NYPD focused too heavily on black and Hispanic people. Decision, allowed stop and frisk to continue but with new limits.

In 2019 the NYPD says it recorded just over 13,000 stops.

SHEA: It is how you do it, and do you overuse it, and who are you stopping and in what neighborhoods for what reason, that is the discussion. Clearly, when there was almost 700,000 in one year, I don't think you need a courtroom to know that is too far one way.

SCIUTTO: Nationwide, there is a far broader debate about the very definition of policing today. When we joined them on patrol, we found officers repeatedly facing difficult decisions over the incidents they address versus those better suited for EMS or social services. This is a familiar kind of call for them, a man experiencing a potential mental health episode, possibly brandishing a weapon. EDP is something you hear all the time on police radios. It stands for emotionally disturbed person. It is a big portion of the calls they get and answer. And when you hear about officers policing mental health issues, this is an example of that.

The officers that we met remain committed to the job of policing but we could sense their frustration. Just a few years ago, violent crime across the city was at its lowest in decades.

SHEA: We are never going to let it go back to the bad old days. We have a spike in violence right now, as many other cities do.

SCIUTTO: Controllable?

SHEA: Absolutely. We're going to need help though. We're going to need help.


SCIUTTO: This may be the broader lesson today, the recognition there are problems that policing alone cannot solve.

CABA: We're not only helping people in terms of the violence that is going on but also what do you have going on actually when you have. Maybe there is a substance abuse issue, maybe you need some housing.

SCIUTTO: David Caba, a former convict and younger brother of a victim of gun violence, works as a violence interrupter, a civilian who tries to diffuse and deescalate conflicts before they turn violent.

CABA: There is a difference with us. With us, there is no badge, there is no gun, there is no handcuffs, there is no bulletproof vest. It is our credibility. That is our strength.


HARLOW: Jim, what a piece. Can you tell our viewers why you guys wanted to go out? Because I know you went out two nights in a row and spent a lot of time with these officers. Why did you want to tell this story?

SCIUTTO (on camera): Because there is not a simple answer, right?


I mean, we are clearly seeing a rise in crime. It is a fact. It is in the numbers. And so often these issues are discussed as black and white issues, right, simple solutions, only it's really not. And all you have to do is spend a few hours out there and see that.

There are difficult decisions on mental health or violent crime, a whole host, like a witches brew of causes and no one single policy solution or police tactic solution. The police know that, right, when you go on the beat. They're not proposing simple solutions, neither are the people living in these neighborhoods. HARLOW: It is such a good piece to you, to your producer, Shelby, to your photo journalist, thank you for telling it on a week where we'll see what happens with police reform, a big week for that.

SCIUTTO: Exactly, yes.

HARLOW: Okay, thanks to all of you for joining us. We'll see you tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. At This Hour with Kate Bolduan starts right after a short break.