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Legal Experts: Trump's Big Tech Lawsuits Are Likely Doomed; Rudy Giuliani Barred From Practicing Law in Washington, DC; Rudy Giuliani's Law License Suspended in DC & New York; New Book Condemns Bill Barr for Corrupting Justice Department; Delta Variant Now More Than Half of All New U.S. Infections; Experts: Clusters Could Become Breeding Ground, Extend Pandemic; Researchers Identify 5 Undervaccinated Clusters in U.S.; Experts: Undervaccinated Clusters Put Entire U.S. at Risk; Dr. Wen: Biden Must Make The Case For Vaccine Requirements; Boot: Members of Congress, Right-Wing Media Fuel Fear and Distrust; 24 States See at Least 10% Uptick in Cases Over Past Week; Virologists Predict Three Likely Pandemic Outcomes; Britney Spears' Mom Files Petition in Conservatorship Case; Britney Spears' Mom Asks Judge to Let Daughter Pick Lawyer; Britney Spears' Manager, Lawyer Resign After Hearing; Spears' Co-Conservatorship Requests More Security Amid Death Threats; DOW Takes A Hit Over Delta Variant Fears; Stock Tumble as Fears Grow Over Delta Variant. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 8, 2021 - 15:30:00   ET



ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL AND LEGAL ANALYST: Let's just start with this, the First Amendment, the first word of the First Amendment is Congress, Congress shall make no law. That means it only applies to governmental entities, Congress, state bodies, boards of education, not to private companies like Twitter and Facebook. There's about five other legal defects with this as well. So, let's understand this for what it is. I think it's a publicity stunt more than anything else.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Onto Rudy Giuliani. He is barred from practicing law in Washington, D.C. How did that happen?

HONIG: He's running out of jurisdiction here same basis as New York. He lied in courts around the country and to the public. You know, sometimes consequences take a bit -- take a while to build up. But if you look at Rudy now, he's spread the big lie all over, but he's got civil lawsuits from voting companies, he's now had his license suspended in two jurisdictions, he's got criminal investigation down in Georgia. So, things are catching up.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Speaking of Rudy, you've got something in common, both worked as prosecutors, SDNY there. You got the new book, "Hatchet Man," which I have. Thank you for the copy. Tell us what it means there. This prosecutors code that was broken potentially. HONIG: The prosecutors code is based on you have to have real-life experience. And I talk a lot in the book about the real trials I did, mob cases, things I did in the SDNY. And I do that in part because I think people are interested. I think people should know how do prosecutors really make decisions, what really happens behind closed doors.

But also, each of those stories there's a principle behind it. Never lie, and that should be obvious. Never play politics, never stab your colleagues in the back. If you get it wrong, admit it and fix it. And all those things are things Bill Barr broke, violated, various scandals. From the Mueller, his lies about the Mueller report, which bailed out Donald Trump, his interference from the Flynn and Stone cases, his failure to do anything on Ukraine, all the way through.

So, I take it to Bill Barr here, I think there needs to be accountability because he broke those principles that I was raised on.

CAMEROTA: Bill Barr is now publicly, in some interviews, talking about how he basically says he tried, behind the scenes, to tell Donald Trump at the time, no, there's no election fraud, it's all B.S., as he says. So, that's the first time that we're really hearing his story. I know you have expressed skepticism at some of this.

HONIG: Well, he did do that in December, three weeks after the election. What he's leaving out of his image reclamation tort but I don't leave out of this book is that for six months leading up to the election, he helped fan the flames of the big lie. He was out there in national media, in front of Congress saying there's this enormous risk of election fraud and we can't do anything about it. I mean, that is so harmful.

And I'm sorry, he cannot worm out of it now. He has direct responsibility for starting this fire that continues to consume us. I'm not going to let him off the hook.

BLACKWELL: All right. The book is "Hatchet Man." He's not letting him off the hook.

Elie Honig, thanks so much.

HONIG: Thanks, guys.

CAMEROTA: Good to talk to you, Elie.

So, as the Delta variant spreads across the U.S., we're going to talk about the five COVID clusters. How do these five places put the entire country at risk?



BLACKWELL: The CDC says the Delta variant now accounts for more than half of all new COVID infections in the U.S. Experts say, it's more transmissible and potentially more dangerous, and the reason to get vaccinated if you're not already. 24 states have seen at least a 10 percent uptick in COVID cases in just the last week as this variant spreads. And experts recently identified five clusters in the U.S. with a high number of unvaccinated people that could put the entire country at risk.

CAMEROTA: CNN's senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is with us now.

So, these five clusters, where are they, and how do these clusters threaten the whole country?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, you know, it's interesting, about half the country is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If they were spread around evenly, it wouldn't be such a threat because those of us who are vaccinated could sort of protect them and keep any, you know, outbreaks from happening. But they're not. They're clusters.

So, let's take a look where they are. This is work from Georgetown University. Epidemiologists there have been following the vaccination rollout since it began in December. They're finding these five significant clusters. You can see that it's mostly in the Southeastern United States, that also goes into West Texas and also into Southern Missouri.

And let's take a look at some of the characteristics of the folks in these clusters. So, when you put it together, it's 15 million people living in those five clusters. Their vaccination rate in those counties and those clusters, 28 percent. Nationally, it's 48 percent. So, that shows you how poorly vaccinated those areas are. And 92 percent of the counties in those clusters have just fewer than 100,000 people. So, while there are some cities like Montgomery, Alabama or Amarillo, Texas, really what we're talking about is large groups of relatively small counties.

So, the threat to people who live there is obvious. We see it already. There are outbreaks in those areas unlike what we see in many parts of the country. But here's the threat to us, coronavirus is smart and it learns by doing, it learns by practicing, kind of like how we learn a sport by playing it a lot. The more that they multiply and spread from person to person, the more they learn how become variants that can outwit the vaccine.

Right now, the variants are outwitting the vaccine a little bit. We're seeing these breakthrough cases, but it really hasn't been too bad. The fear is, is that the more they spread, and those are the areas they're going to spread, the more we're going to see variants that could possibly outsmart the vaccines. Alisyn, Victor.

CAMEROTA: That really helps explain it. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you very much.

COHEN: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: OK. Joining us now is CNN medical analyst, Dr. Leana Wen. She's also the former Baltimore health commissioner, and " Washington Post" columnist, Max Boot, who wrote a piece this week saying that Republicans are to blame for the country not reaching President Biden's vaccination goal.


Great to see both of you.

Dr. Wen, these clusters, OK, that Elizabeth just showed us, obviously, they increase the urgency of vaccinations, and you say that it might be time for President Biden to mandate vaccinations. I can only imagine the hearing cry particularly from Republicans if that were to happen. Why not just let individual employers, individual businesses mandate them? Wouldn't that be a better way to go?

DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, it would be. And actually, that's what I'm asking for. I'm not saying that the federal government should put out some kind of vaccine mandate but rather that the federal government should be clear vaccines are not just about the individual.

Because right now, there seems to be this messaging coming from the Biden administration that if you're vaccinated, you're protected, so that's fine. Why should you care then if other people around you are also vaccinated?

You should actually care because of the possibility of break through infections. What if you live at home with people who are unvaccinated or who are immunocompromised? It does also matter to you if you're going into work and surrounded by people who are unvaccinated and could be infecting you. And so, I think if that messaging is out there, that vaccinated people are safest around other people who are also vaccinated, that then lays the groundwork for employers, for workplaces, for schools, universities to be putting in their own private vaccine mandates.

BLACKWELL: So, Max, you cast this or characterize this as the scientists and experts versus what you call conspiratorial crackpots in some of the lies about the vaccine. Who will win here? What's your count now as we're several months into this vaccine initiative?

MAX BOOT, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST," SENIOR FELLOW COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I think it's fair to say that in the population as a whole science is winning. That's -- you know, you have 67 percent of American adults getting vaccinated. But unfortunately, there is still a lot of vaccine opposition or vaccine hesitancy out there. You see it in various groups including the young and the African-American community. But the biggest element of resistance is in the Republican Party.

There was a shocking "The Washington Post," "ABC News" poll that just came out which showed that 86 percent of Democrats surveyed had gotten the vaccine compared to only 45 percent of Republicans. So, almost a 2-1 difference in Democrats versus Republicans. And you can also see it in the statistics on which states are the most and the least vaccinated. The ones that are the least vaccinated, they're all Republican red states. And in fact, many of them are in those clusters that you were just showing on the screen.

And the reason why Republicans aren't getting vaccinated is because they're listening to this garbage, this misinformation, to these lies that are being spread by sources like Fox News and many other influencers on the right where you have people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, the congresswoman from Georgia comparing getting vaccinated to being a victim of the holocaust. I mean, this is insanity but it has done real damage to our ability to vaccinate the entire population.

CAMEROTA: Max, I just want to drill down on that for one second, because I hear something in addition to politics and in addition to geographical differences, when I talk to some vaccine resistant people, meaning reluctant people, you know, I hear this kind of fatalism. If I get it, I get it. If it's god's plan, then I accept it. That kind of philosophical difference that I don't know if it's based on politics. I just know that that's their fi philosophy. And I don't know -- how are you supposed to tackle that?

BOOT: Well, I doubt that's their consistent philosophy. I mean, if it were, then they would have to refuse all medical care, right? And if they were hit by a truck, they would say, don't take me to a hospital, it's god's will. Very few people would act like that. They're really singling out this disease out in a way that they're not doing for others because it has become this political flash point. It's become part of the culture wars.

You had so many Republicans last year who refused to wear a mask and now, they're refusing to get vaccinated, which makes zero sense because masks protect you from infection and vaccines do the same thing much more powerfully. And if you want to stop wearing masks and do it safely, get vaccinated. That is what the science is telling us.

I think one of the most important figures I've heard in the last few weeks from the CDC is that in the last six months, 99.5 percent of those who have died from COVID-19 were not vaccinated. 99.5 percent of those who died were not vaccinated. So, if you want to stay alive, get vaccinated.

BLACKWELL: So, as we're seeing the delay here in getting to herd immunity, as we're seeing the delay in getting some states vaccinated or more people there, the question is how does this end, Dr. Wen? And there's a group of 20 experts who now say it's almost certainly -- let me go to something else because we're running out of time.


But I would just say, that this could end one of three ways. That we won't get it under control, there'll be ongoing severe disease or there will be transition to an epidemic seasonal like the flu, or we'll transition to an endemic that has lower impact than the flu. Which has more impact here for you?

WEN: I think this really depends on what it is that we do at this point. So, now, we have this Delta variant that is much more contagious. Because it's more contagious, it's going to be even harder for us to reach herd immunity. We're going to have to vaccinate an even higher proportion of people to get there.

What happens, then, if we end up having another variant developing that's even more contagious, that could cause more disease, that could evade the protection of our immune system? And so, how quickly we can get this under control and which way we go depends on what we do now when it comes to vaccination, to overcoming disinformation.

And what we really need to do at this point is make vaccination the easy choice. It needs to be hard for people to remain unvaccinated. Right now, it's kind of the opposite. It's fine. I mean, it's easy if you're unvaccinated. You can do anything you want to do anyway. But at some point, these mandates by workplaces, by schools, I think it will be important to say, hey, you can opt, but if you want to opt out, you have to sign these forms, you have to get twice weekly testing. Basically, we need to make getting vaccinated the easy choice. That is what it's going to take for us to actually end the pandemic.

BLACKWELL: All right. Dr. Leana Wen, Max Boot, thank you both.

All right, next, a new twist in Britney Spears' battle to get her freedom back. Her mom has just filed a petition with the court and the conservator says, she's getting death threats.



BLACKWELL: New developments today in Britney Spears' conservatorship case. Her mother, Lynn Spears, told the court that Britney is in a much different place now than in 2008 and should be allowed to choose her own attorney.

CNN's Chloe Melas is here with us.

Chloe, thank goodness.

No one knows this case better than you. What is happening this week?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Aren't I lucky that I have been following this for you all for more than a few weeks? It's been several years I have been following this.

So, Lynn Spears, Britney Spears' mother, has filed a petition with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, asking Judge Brenda Penny to allow Britney Spears to choose her own attorney. For the last nearly-13 years, Britney has had an attorney named Samuel Ingham, who was court appointed. And in the "Framing Britney Spears" documentary by the "New York Times," that was a big sticking point. Why did never get to have a choosing her own counsel?

So, as of right now, her attorney, he resigned earlier this week. So, he's out of there. There is a big-court hearing next week. So, we are going to hear what the judge has to say about that. But we are all kind of standing by to see is the judge going to appoint new counsel or is Britney finally going to get to pick her own attorney?

BLACKWELL: Yes. Tell us about these death threats, though. Who is getting those?

MELAS: So, Jamie Spears, her father, who's been the co-conservator of Britney's estate since 2008 over her $60 million affairs and all that kind of stuff but he doesn't oversee her medical decisions. He's filed a petition today stating that his family members, including himself, including Sam Ingham, the lawyer that resigned earlier this week, have been receiving death threats for months, for years.

And they say that they get phone calls and hang-up calls and all these types of just terrible things said to them because of their, you know, alleged wrongdoings throughout the conservatorship. But Jamie spears has maintained that he has always acted in the best interest of his daughter.

You know, I think that what's the most interesting here is that Jodi Montgomery, who has been overseeing Britney Spears's medical decisions for the last two years, she files last night a petition for guardian ad litem, which is yet, for everyone who doesn't understand because it's complicated, it's another court-appointed position.

CAMEROTA: Which is the last thing that Britney Spears wants?


CAMEROTA: So, very quickly, Chloe, is the conservatorship going to end?

MELAS: This is going to be many months in the process. So, this is going to drag out for a while.

CAMEROTA: Chloe Melas, thank you very much for updating us and being on it. We know you will be in the courtroom later on all of this.

All right. We are minutes away from the closing bell and fears about the spread of the Delta variant are rattling wall street, as you can see.



CAMEROTA: We are moments away from the closing bell on Wall Street, the DOW is down nearly 300 points partly because of COVID fears. And CNN's Matt Egan joins us now.

So, what's going on?

MATT EGAN, LEAD WRITER: Well, listen, this feels more like normal market turbulence. It's not necessarily anything to be overly freaked out about. Some of the investors I am talking to, they are more concerned about these variants. The Delta variant, in particular. It has been described as COVID-19 on steroids because it's twice as infectious.

And so, the concern is that it could dent the economic recovery. I think the fact that Tokyo is banning spectators from the Olympics. That Japan declared a COVID emergency. That's not sitting well because, I mean, this is a market that's been priced for perfection. Investors are banking on spectacular growth. They are not going to be satisfied if it's just good growth.

But listen, the good news is that the market is ending well off the worst levels of the day. It was down more than 500 points. The DOW, this morning, closing about 300 points lower. That's a good sign. That is a sign of confidence. People are coming in. They are buying.

Also, this market has been on fire. I mean, it had to pull back, at some point. Just 24 hours ago, the S&P 500 closed at a record high. Heading into the holiday weekend. Seven-straight record highs for the S&P 500. We haven't seen that, since 1997. So, it is healthy for the market to pull back. It's a good thing for the market to take a breather and it looks like that's what we saw today.

BLACKWELL: So, the expectation is that we're not going to see this drag on?

EGAN: That's certainly what the hope is and there is no reason to think it would really drag on from here.

BLACKWELL: All right. Matt Egan, thank you so much.

EGAN: Thank you, guys.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.

BLACKWELL: All right. "The Lead" starts right now.