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CNN NEWSROOM

U.S. Sees Four Straight Days Of 20,000 New COVID-19 Cases; Billionaire Richard Branson Set To Launch Into Space Tomorrow; Joe Biden Presses Vladimir Putin To Act On Ransomware Attacks; Biden Vaccine Push Goes Door-To-Door As Partisan Gap Widens; Interview With Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX); Justice Department: Trump's Lies That He'll Be Reinstated As President Could Lead To More Violence By Supporters. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 10, 2021 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[18:00:20]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Right now, people have gotten the doses of Pfizer, the prime and the boost, as well as the prime and the boost of Moderna or a single dose of J&J do not need to get a boost right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not unusual for immune responses after vaccination to wane over time. Does it remain above a level, which we need to protect people?

MAYOR NIKUYAH WALKER, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA: This statue is finally being surrendered. We are one small step closer to a more perfect union.

ZYAHNA BRYAN, STUDENT ACTIVIST AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZER: To the young people out there, I hope that this empowers you to speak up on the issues that matter and to take charge in your own cities and communities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): In just hours, entrepreneur, Richard Branson hopes to become the first person to ride a self-funded rocket into suborbital space.

RICHARD BRANSON, CEO, VIRGIN GALACTIC: I've had to wait almost a lifetime to be able to go into space. Hopefully, we can speed that process up for many, many others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Saturday.

And it has been a week of conflicting data and confusion over COVID. As you well know, vaccine maker Pfizer set up alarms when it released a statement saying immunity from its vaccine was waning and a booster shot may be needed citing data from the Israeli Health Ministry. Pfizer said, "Vaccine efficacy in preventing both infection and

symptomatic disease has declined six months post vaccination." But just hours later, the C.D.C. and the F.D.A. said, stand down. Fully vaccinated Americans don't need to worry about getting boosters right now.

But sadly, the U.S. is moving in the wrong direction again, when it comes to the number of COVID cases. Right now, the highly contagious delta variant makes up more than half of all new infections in the U.S. About half of the country is still not fully vaccinated.

Joining me now with more is Rhode Island Governor, Daniel McKee. Welcome to the show, Governor. You just extended the COVID state of emergency for another month in your state. Tell us why did you make that decision? And what does it mean for the people of Rhode Island?

GOV. DANIEL MCKEE (D-RI): Well, we are following the C.D.C.'s guidance, and for us in Rhode Island, even though we're in a really good place with our vaccination rates, 77 percent of our adult population has at least one shot, so we beat President Biden's goal by quite a bit and we continue to work on that.

But the pandemic is not over, and we need to make sure that we stay on, you know, on our guard. And so, extending the emergency, you know, declaration matching it up with the Federal designation made sense for Rhode Island.

BROWN: So, what will it do practically, though, in terms of isolation and quarantine for residents there? What does it mean on the practical level?

MCKEE: Well, from a practical level, we're going to continue to vaccinate people. And, you know, we just put, you know, put some incentives in on a strategy to reward our charities that have stepped up during the pandemic. Every 5,000 people that get vaccinated, we're going to be giving out $100,000.00 worth of $10,000.00 grants to our local charities.

We are doing that because it is important for us to make sure that people know that the vaccinations are important. And we know that our data shows that, 92 percent of the people who are getting COVID -- infected with COVID or are dying from it are people who have not had at least one shot.

So, we want the people in the State of Rhode Island to know that with the variants that you talked about in terms of -- in the introduction on the show here, Pamela, that it is not over, and we also want to make sure that, you know, that people of the State of Rhode Island know that because we're reopening our economy in a real strong way, and we want to keep it that way.

BROWN: Just help set the stage for us in terms of where the cases are right now in Rhode Island? I know you mentioned the number for unvaccinated in terms of cases and deaths and hospitalizations, but just give us a broader layout if you would. MCKEE: So, it's people -- and we've been very fortunate. So I mean,

last week, we had 17 people in the hospital up, you know week to date, it is 13. So, our numbers have gone down drastically, Pamela which is fortunate for us, but it's because of this high level of vaccination.

We're one of the first, if not the first, that all our universities and colleges are going to make it mandatory, that vaccinations for people -- for their students to get on campus, is the key to their dorm.

So, all of this is really feeding into the idea that we need to keep our people in our state safe, and we're going to continue to do that.

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BROWN: So, I'm just wondering, because you had said that 77 percent of residents have received at least one shot, yet you're extending the COVID state of emergency for another month. Are you concerned at all that that could send the wrong signal to those who are still on the fence, don't want to get vaccinated and think, well, gosh, if so many people already vaccinated and we're still under a state of emergency, why would I go get vaccinated?

MCKEE: Well, because you want to make sure that you keep yourself healthy, and you want to make sure that you keep your family healthy. And then, it's a community effort, too, right, Pamela? We want to make sure that our -- at large, all our communities are safe, regardless of which age group.

I mean, we're fortunate right now, 95 percent of the State of Rhode Island's 65 and older population have been vaccinated. We're reopening our schools all in, all our students will be in the classrooms in September, but we went out early and vaccinated all our teachers and related staff.

We have 90 -- now over 90 percent of our teachers, related staff, and our childcare, vaccinated. So, we're doing the work and the people in our state are responding in a way that is really important. Our National Guard -- I was a former Mayor, so all the municipalities are stepping in.

But we need -- we can't just relax. We're seeing variants. We have, I think 12 cases last week in Rhode Island. We know there's more, but we're also seeing that other parts of the country who are not vaccinated at the same levels that we are, they're going to -- they're going to be challenged.

We don't want to be that state. We want to be a state that's healthy. We want to continue to rank high as we do. I think we're in the top five in the country right now in terms of vaccinations, one shot, we just want to keep that going.

And keeping people alert is really important right now in Rhode Island. I think around the country, we need to create that, you know, that type of urgency right now. Let's not step away. We've come so far. BROWN: And you had talked about the vaccine incentive program that

you've instituted in Rhode Island. Do you think in some places the vaccine should be mandatory? Places like schools or in hospitals?

MCKEE: Well, we haven't made it mandatory. I don't think that's the way to go. And we have supported, like I said, our universities, Brown University, University of Rhode Island, and all our other universities in the state that they've made that a condition for their students to get into classrooms and onto campus. We support that, but we're not going to mandate anything.

We've been very successful in Rhode Island to appeal to people that live in all our communities, all 39 cities and towns to get vaccinated and it is working.

And as a result. I mean, just this week, you know, I attended the opening of the Newport Music Festival. I'll be at the Newport Folk Festival later this month. I marched in the Fourth of July parade in Bristol. It is the longest running Fourth of July celebration in the entire country.

So, us, being very diligent on this, Pamela, it is allowing Rhode Island to come back real strong, and last year, we had 26 million visitors to the state, you know in terms of tourism. We want to keep that going.

But we want to make sure that people who are coming in are vaccinated because we want to keep our state healthy and keep our economy healthy, and open up our schools.

BROWN: Okay, Governor Daniel McKee of Rhode Island, thanks so much for joining us.

MCKEE: Well, thank you for the invitation from the ocean state.

BROWN: Absolutely. You're welcome to come back anytime.

MCKEE: Yes.

BROWN: Appreciate it.

MCKEE: Thank you.

BROWN: Well, in less than 24 hours, Richard Branson is set to head into space on a rocket plane made by his own company, Virgin Galactic. If successful, he will beat his fellow billionaire, Jeff Bezos by nine days, setting a record that apparently matters in the world of billionaires.

CNN's Rachel Crane has the latest on this new frontier and the space race.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN BUSINESS INNOVATIONS AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Pam, well optically, it certainly does look like a space race, but I've spoken with Richard Branson recently. He told me, he and his team at Virgin Galactic do not see this as a race, and their accelerated timeline was the result of an updated F.A.A. license allowing Virgin Galactic to now fly spaceflight participants coupled with the fact that they had just a few weeks ago, what they deemed a perfect test flight.

So, that is what they say allowed them to leapfrog Jeff Bezos who was expected to fly on his suborbital New Shepard, July 20th.

So, you know, they are maintaining that it is not a race, but certainly from the outside, it does look like one.

But Pamela, let me tell you about being on the ground here at Spaceport America. Yesterday, we were behind the gates, and it was a flurry of activity. They are setting up tents. There's buses coming in. Fences being erected, because of course, there is the spectacle of the spaceflight, but also the event surrounding the spaceflight.

And in typical, Richard Branson fashion, he is making this a huge event.

[18:10:08]

CRANE: Lots of VIPs coming to witness this spaceflight. They're having musical performances. Stephen Colbert is even hosting the webcast of the spaceflight.

Today, the crew is going through rehearsals. Mission Control going through rehearsals to make sure that tomorrow's flight, scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Eastern and 7:00 a.m. local goes off without a hitch.

But Pam, it's important to remember that yes, Branson is flying on this, but this is still a test flight. So, the company taking extra safety precautions.

I had the opportunity to speak with Mike Moses, who is the Director of Safety, the President of Safety for Virgin Galactic. Take a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE MOSES, PRESIDENT OF SAFETY, VIRGIN GALACTIC: On this flight, everybody will be wearing a parachute, and it is there for a case that is pretty unrealistic, and very low probability.

We test on the ground, we verify that that doesn't happen. But it's also not zero, right? And so we want to give that extra level of control.

We haven't determined exactly how long that safety measure is going to stay in place, but for this flight, we'll be taking some of those extra steps, extra oxygen and parachutes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CRANE: And Pam, I want to note that Mike Moses is the husband of Beth Moses. Beth Moses is a mission specialist on this flight. Branson, his boss, also on this flight. So, the pressure is on for him. The world is watching this flight, space enthusiasts all around the globe, incredibly excited to tune into this incredible event -- Pam.

BROWN: We sure are. That is quite a power couple. Thanks, Rachel.

And we have plenty to cover this evening in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm going to talk to a Republican Congressman coming up and he is also a medical doctor. Can he convince the skeptics in his party to take the COVID vaccine?

The last Confederate statues come down in Charlottesville. I'm going to talk to the young woman who led the efforts for several years.

And long lines outside the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, families hoping to evacuate after the assassination of their President.

Plus, President Biden says Russia will face consequences for the rise in ransomware attacks. What should they be? I'm going to ask former State Department cyber diplomat, Chris Painter, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States expects when ransomware operation is coming from his soil and we know is not -- not -- sponsored by the state, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is.

And secondly, that we've set up a means of communications now on a regular basis to be able to communicate with one another when each of us thinks something has happened in another country that affects the home country.

And so it went well. I'm optimistic.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN U.S. CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: You said three weeks ago there would be consequences. Will there be, sir?

BIDEN: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: President Biden warning there will be consequences as you just heard him there, if the Kremlin refuses to help rein in Russian-based cyber criminals who keep targeting American companies and Federal agencies.

He spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday for the second time in less than a month. Ransomware first came up during their Summit in Geneva. Biden warning Putin then that the U.S. also has powerful cyber capabilities. And yet, Russian-based hackers launched another attack targeting a U.S. software firm last week.

Chris Painter is a former State Department cyber diplomat, he joins me from The Hague in The Netherlands. Hi, good to see you, Chris. So, you just heard Biden there. He also said that he told Putin that

he expected action. But how much time should he give for that until he imposes penalties against Russia?

CHRIS PAINTER, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT CYBER DIPLOMAT: Well, I don't think this is something where you just flip a switch and it all stops. I mean, if these are criminal groups, which it appears to be, you know, there is still a responsibility that President Putin has for groups acting with impunity in his territory.

And the reason they do that is he hasn't really done anything in the past to rein them in. So, it's perfectly appropriate for the President to say, this is a no kidding priority for us, and if you don't take action, we're going to take action. And that action could come in days, and weeks, and months. I expect it to be more in the week timeframe if there's no reaction, if there's no good faith effort by the Russian regime to rein this in, but we'll see.

BROWN: So, you think, he is handling this appropriately by saying to Vladimir Putin, look, you need to act you need to do something about these criminal hackers, or will or we will take action?

PAINTER: Yes, I mean, absolutely. Ransomware was not even something that was considered a major priority before the Colonial Pipeline's hack that you mentioned before. And now, it is a national security issue, and it's been raised by the President with Putin not once, but twice.

And so that leader to leader dialogue, that high level, saying, I really mean this, this is a real priority for us. And then saying, look, you know, if you're not going to do anything about it, we're going to have to, and we will, because we can't sit on our hands and allow our critical infrastructure to be attacked, allow people not to have fuel or food. Otherwise, it just will spiral out of control.

So, this is perfectly appropriate.

BROWN: And you've said that the U.S. can't just lay down a red line and not do anything. I also want to get your reaction to Russia's statement following this Putin-Biden phone call.

Russia released a statement saying in part, "Despite the readiness of the Russian side to jointly suppress criminal manifestations in the information space, no appeals on these issues have been made by the competent U.S. agencies over the past month." What do you make of that?

PAINTER: Look, I think that's a bit of a game. Before I was a diplomat, I was a prosecutor doing cybercrime for many years, and I've dealt with Russia many times on these issues. They've never been very cooperative, partly and sometimes these groups operate with the Kremlin's approval. Sometimes there's corruption involved, and sometimes they just turned a blind eye to them.

And the old song is, you didn't give us enough information. You didn't give us enough information. Well, you heard Biden say we're going to give you information, and frankly Putin knows, these are groups that are acting well above the radar.

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PAINTER: I mean, they're coming out there. They are trumpeting their successes.

Putin is not a stupid guy, he has very, very strong security services. And he can make these people's lives miserable if he wants to. So, it's a bit of a game to say, you know, they haven't made a request. You know, the President himself has made a request twice, and that's an appropriate channel, in my view.

BROWN: So what do you think Putin is thinking right now in the wake of the Summit and the subsequent ransomware attacks where there still hasn't been a penalty that we're aware of against Russia?

PAINTER: Well, that's exactly the issue. Now, that we've laid down this red line, as you say, but it's expectation of behavior, which is a reasonable one, every country should do this, to crack down on these safe havens.

If there's no action, and it continues to be the status quo, and we continue to see these attacks, then I think we have to act. If we don't act, then that just makes it seem like, okay, they're just talking. This is not important to them. And it means that you will see these attacks, redouble and redouble again.

You know, I think that we weren't strong enough pushing back after the election interference in 2016. We certainly saw Russia do that again later on. So, we have to show not just to Russia and the cybercriminals in this instance, but all the people who are on the sidelines who might do these attacks in the future that we mean business.

BROWN: Yes, we've got to walk the talk. All right, Chris Painter at The Hague. Thanks so much.

PAINTER: Thanks.

BROWN: Well, the monumental change in Charlottesville after Confederate statues are taken down from the same area where a Unite the Right rally turned deadly. We're live in Virginia, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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BROWN: This morning in Charlottesville, Virginia, two towering symbols of racial division came down. Bronze statues of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were trucked away and banished to storage.

Less than four years ago, white nationalist commandeered the debate over the city's effort to remove Confederate statues. Here's video of that from back then.

Their Unite the Right rally turned violent as you may recall, and ultimately deadly as neo Nazis fought with counter protesters.

CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is in Charlottesville. So, what was the mood like for this morning's removal there -- Evan.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, when you think about that pitched battle, nationwide battle that led to today, that battle that you mentioned that include, you know, debates in courts, court battles, the President of the United States weighing in, and of course, that horrible moment on August 2017, when those white nationalists came here, and someone was actually killed as part of the debate over this statue.

The thing that struck me the most about this morning was how joyous it was and how happy everybody was. Behind me, you can see what this whole thing is about, the podium that used to hold the Robert E. Lee's statue that was up for a hundred years in this park until about seven o'clock this morning. That's when cranes came in and started pulling it down, put it on a flatbed truck and drove it away.

Shortly after that, the Stonewall Jackson statue got a similar treatment, picked up and driven off. They're being placed in some municipal buildings for now until they figure out who is going to get these statues next.

But the crowds that showed up for this moment were almost all of them were cheering.

Charlottesville has wanted to do this, take these statues down since 2016. And after those court battles and everything else that happened, today was a day they got a chance to do it. The mayor this morning when she kicked things off was very succinct about what was going on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: What happened -- we have the ability to remove the statues today. It has stood for 104 years, and it doesn't need to stay a moment longer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: And that really was the attitude of a lot of people here in Charlottesville, Pam. Amazing to think about just how much time we spent thinking about this park and these statues, to see them come down and to see the way they came down, how happy everybody was here and how peaceful it was. Just a remarkable moment -- Pam.

BROWN: Okay, Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much.

And next hour, I'm going to speak to Zyahna Bryant. She started the petition back in 2016 to have these statues removed and she says it was long overdue, but there is still a lot more to do in the city.

That interview next hour right here on CNN.

When it comes to the coronavirus vaccine, the partisan divide is getting wider according to at least one study. Up next, I'll speak to Republican Congressman and doctor, Michael

Burgess about that. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:33:43]

BROWN: This week, President Biden said part of his administration's push to get more Americans vaccinated is through grassroots door-to- door efforts. The push comes as the gap in vaccinations among Republicans and Democrats grow larger by the day.

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found the vaccination rate in counties that voted for Biden was nearly 47 percent and 35 percent in counties that voted for Trump. Can the administration's in- person push convince skeptical Republicans to get the shot or does it risk further alienating an already disgruntled group of Americans?

Let's bring in Republican Congressman Michael Burgess of Texas. He's also a doctor who worked as an OB/GYN so he has an interesting perspective for many friends. Congressman, thank you for joining us on the show. The vaccination rate in your area is around 50 percent. Do you think President Biden's plans for stepped up door-to-door efforts will help with vaccinating more people in your district?

REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R-TX): I'm not sure. I do think it has actually - I've heard a lot of concern about that approach. Look, my main county, Denton County, really went all-in on providing a vaccination hub starting really in January of this year.

[18:35:02]

As soon as the vaccine became widely available, the county stepped up and the Texas Motor Speedway of all places began just a drive-thru lengthy vaccination process which got a ton of people. There are two shots that were required. There was a vaccine portal that was easy to use on the county health website and so it has worked extremely well.

I do know that I've heard from doctors offices who would like more availability of the vaccine in their offices. I've heard from pharmacists who would like more availability of the vaccine in their pharmacies, places where people trust to go and get their care. They trust the information that they're given there. And I think that's, perhaps, a much more sensible approach than going door-to-door saying I'm here from the government and I've got to shot. It might not work out so well.

BROWN: And just to be clear, so these are local officials and private sector workers and volunteers.

BURGESS: Yes.

BROWN: And this has been going on since April, but I think Biden coming out and saying it obviously after that there was this huge pushback among some prominent Republicans. I mean, many Republicans were outraged by Biden's plan. Here's Congressman Madison Cawthorn at CPAC in Texas this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): Now they're starting to talk about going door-to-door to be able to take vaccines to the people. The thing about the mechanisms they would have to build to be able to actually execute that massive of a thing and then think about what those mechanisms can be used for. They can think of door-to-door and take your guns, they can again go door-to-door and take your Bible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And the Attorney General of your state, Ken Paxton, also tweeted in response to Biden's door-to-door plan saying not on my watch. But again, this has been going on since April all over the country. Why the strong pushback from Republicans now? Is it just because Biden came out and said it?

BURGESS: Look, there's such a misstep here. This vaccine was developed in really a phenomenally short period of time and it has worked unbelievably well. I mean, that's the good news here in November, December, January losing, what was it, 3,000 to 5,000 people a week from this virus and one of those numbers today. They plummeted because of the availability of the vaccine.

Now, the misstep, though, why would not the Biden administration at least acknowledge the work done by the previous administration to bring them to a point where this was going to be available? Instead we heard, no, thank yous. No, I'm glad it's here. Not a good job for having done that and it was not easy, because there were multiple public health people a year ago who said this is not possible and you won't be able to do this.

Well, the fact of the matter is it did get done, the deliverable was met, not one but two vaccines with not 40 percent of efficacy but 95 percent. I mean, that's unheard of. And then the third vaccine came along with 70 percent efficacy, so that the country as a whole has benefited tremendously by having the availability of those highly effective vaccines.

Why not acknowledge the work of the people that came just before you and say that was a great job, let's finish the task and let's get more people to have the vaccination. And look, make no mistake about it ...

BROWN: So many Republicans - oh, go ahead.

BURGESS: ... if you're over the age of 65, if you have other medical conditions, really it is the most protective thing you can do, which is to take the vaccine. I get the argument about younger and younger age groups where the risk for the virus is lower and lower. But for right now, anyone age 65, 60 and over, really avail yourself with the ability to take the vaccine. It is truly a gift.

BROWN: It is truly a gift. It is literally saving lives. Yet still so many Republicans don't want to get vaccinated even if Biden or the administration at large came out and gave more credit to Trump and his administration and poured more praise on them with the vaccine and it being developed in record time. Do you really think that that would move the needle for those skeptics who don't want to get vaccinated or do you think there's a deeper issue here with the overall distrust of government?

BURGESS: Oh, I live in an area that's fairly vaccine hesitant. I've known that for years. Twenty-five years I was in medical practice I recognize that. So it's not just this vaccine, it is vaccines in general. Still, as a medical professional, I will tell you that vaccines are literally a gift from God.

Vaccine preventable disease has the more people have been lifted out of anxiety and stress because vaccine preventable diseases being prevented. This is a phenomenal gift that we've been given.

[18:40:05]

Now, I think the administration missed a big chance at the beginning of all of this. You can't go back and I don't think there's going to be a chance for a redo. But to continue to divide it on partisan lines, I don't think is helpful. People who are at risk should know that the vaccine is available to them. It's safe. In fact, the cost should not be an issue for anyone and just look at the numbers.

Losing 5,000 people a week, the day before the emergency use authorization was delivered to where are we now and the number of people that are in hospitals in ICUs who have had the vaccine is vanishingly small.

BROWN: And as you know, misinformation is being spread about the COVID vaccine. How much blame do you put on misinformation that's being spread online, on Facebook, on Twitter, and frankly right-wing media?

BURGESS: Well, right-wing and left-wing media, everyone has to do their own work. No one is going to be able to do it for you. You have to do your own research. Talk to the people that you trust to get your medical care. Talk to your doctor. Talk to your pharmacist.

That's what we've been trying to do as doctors' caucus generally, is try to make information available from a trusted source. Look, Joe Biden shows up at my door to give me a shot. I'm not happy, but I was extremely happy to get vaccine when I got it.

BROWN: In the grassroots efforts again, our local officials on the ground volunteers in the private sector and so forth. But I want to get to something else that's happening in your state in Texas. The last time you were on the show, I pressed you on your vote to decertify the election results.

This week, Republicans in the Texas State Legislature held a special session introducing new voting restriction measures after previous efforts failed earlier this year. The measures include banning 24-hour and drive-thru voting and adding new voter ID requirements for voting by mail. Do you support those measures?

BURGESS: Well, let's see what they end up with. As you know, this has been a fairly lengthy process. But all of the proposals that that I have seen coming at the state level have been making it easier to vote. The hours of early voting are expanded. Look, I'm not a big fan of the mail of ballots to everyone unless they're requested. I do think photo ID is absolutely critical and I know the Democrats do not like that.

But at the same time when the - I think it was Lt. Gov. Patrick pointing to the fact that polling showed that 95 percent of people in Texas before all this started, 95 percent of people said it's easy to vote in the state. It's easier to vote in Texas than it is in New York or Delaware. We have longer early voting periods. I'm not even sure you have early voting in Delaware. In Texas, we've got two or three weeks. Some Saturday voting ...

BROWN: But Texas does have some of the strictest voting laws on the books in this country, that is for certain. And those in the Harris County, the biggest county in Texas with the banning of the ballot boxes and drive-thru voting and 24 hour voting, critics of this say that is going to make it harder to vote in a state that's already strict. But I just want to ask you what everyone is thinking in this.

BURGESS: That all just started last November. None of that was in place.

BROWN: In the pandemic, that's absolutely right. That's absolutely right, but they ...

BURGESS: None of it was in place previously.

BROWN: It did.

BURGESS: So the State legislature is doing its job saying let's look at what has been going on. It is up to us after all to make those determinations. That's what it says on the Constitution. So they're doing their job, good for them.

BROWN: Right. But critics of this and I'm bringing in both sides here, critics of this say that there was not fraud to justify taking away these measures that made it more convenient for people to exercise their constitutional right to vote too, but you are also right that the Constitution gives the State legislatures the power to change the laws. We're seeing this process play out.

But I just want to ask you the question that, that everyone is thinking and they don't really ask, but I'm just going to ask you. I mean, is this really just about the fact that Donald Trump only won Texas by a slim margin. The second closest Texas race for the White House of the last quarter century and Republicans want to make sure they put measures in place that will work to their advantage and to Democrats' disadvantage?

BURGESS: I don't think that's the case at all. In fact, we were pummeled with information throughout the month of October, how Texas was turning blue, Texas was turning purple. We were going to lose six Republicans. We're going to lose congressional races. The state house was going to flip to Democratic control. None of that happened. I mean, it's been a fantasy amongst Democrats for years. It didn't happen then it's not going to happen now.

BROWN: OK, wish we had more time Congressman Michael Burgess.

BURGESS: Any time.

BROWN: Always nice to have you on the show and hearing your perspective.

BURGESS: Good deal. Thank you.

[18:45:00]

BROWN: Well, as the last of the fencing around the U.S. Capitol comes down, the threat has not gone away. Justice Department officials warn that former President Trump's claims that he'll be reinstated could fuel more violence. That story ahead.

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[18:49:38]

BROWN: Even with fencing around the U.S. Capitol coming down, Washington's guard is going up again with fears of new violence. Take a look at what is perhaps the most disturbing video yet from a January 6th insurrection just released this week after CNN and others sued for access. You see one rioter trying to wrestle away an officer's baton and others hit the line of police with flagpoles and metal poles.

[18:50:03]

One attacker can be heard yelling 'you're going to die tonight'.

Now, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security are worried about the threat that still remains. Our Marshall Cohen is here in Washington. So what more are we learning Marshall?

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Pam. We're learning a lot from the Department of Homeland Security, from the Justice Department. They both say that Donald Trump's continued promotion of the big lie that the election was stolen could continue to incite his supporters. Look, it incited them on January 6th, it could happen again. He's not giving it up.

And not only that, but also this crazy talk of reinstatement that he somehow might get back in the White House next month. That is specifically something that the Justice Department called out in a court filing this week. I'll read you the quote, it really jumped off the page when they put this in their filing, because they don't always call out the president.

They said, "Former President Trump continues to make false claims about the election, insinuate that he may be reinstated in the near future as President without another election, and minimize the violent attack on the Capitol." They went on to say that television networks continue to carry and report on those claims, with some actually giving credence to the false reporting. Of course, we're not giving any credence to the false reporting. It's

right-wing outlets like Fox News, OANN that have been talking about these voter fraud lies, the reinstatement theories.

Look, Donald Trump, he can say whatever he wants. He never faces any consequences. But this is coming up in court. Prosecutors are arguing that because Trump is still out there promoting this crazy stuff, that his supporters might get radicalized again and they're too dangerous to let out of jail or let out of house arrest, which is what they want. They want their freedom. Trump is getting in the way.

BROWN: All right. Marshall Cohen, thank you so much. It's just frightening to think about how all of this could happen again based on what these prosecutors are saying.

And now let's go what to what is the heart of Trump country this weekend, CNN's Donie O'Sullivan is in Dallas covering CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference. Donie, Trump will headline the event tomorrow, but you're already hearing some ominous messages from some of his supporters in recent days.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Pam. Pretty much everyone we've spoken to here today believes falsity that the election was stolen and also believe somehow that Trump supporters weren't actually responsible for the January 6th insurrection.

Although most Trump supporters we have spoken to are now talking about him returning in 2024 running again. Some are still obsessed with this idea which Trump has been flirting with for some time now that he could be reinstated. Have a listen.

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O'SULLIVAN: What are you hoping to hear from Trump?

SUSAN FOUNTAIN, CPAC ATTENDEE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: That he is going to regain his rightful seat as president.

O'SULLIVAN: In 2024?

FOUNTAIN: No.

O'SULLIVAN: When?

FOUNTAIN: As soon as the election is overturned for the election fraud.

O'SULLIVAN: So you are one of the very few people I am likely to meet here this weekend will tell me that Biden won the election fairly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's unfortunate. I got to have the evidence. I got to see it. If you tell me you're going to release the kraken show me the freaking kraken for crying out loud. And don't tell me go to Mr. Pillow Man's website to get the information.

(END VIDEO CLIP) O'SULLIVAN: And so that gentleman there was actually - we spoke to

probably about 20 people here today at CPAC. He was the only person who believe that the election that Biden won the election fairly. But all of this talk, of course, is all centered around the idea that the election was in some way fraudulent.

And, of course, Pam, I think the important thing for Trump supporters when he comes here tomorrow to speak is, is he going to continue to push this false idea that he could come back somehow before 2024 which, of course, is preposterous but they will be hanging on every word, Pam.

BROWN: They sure will. All right. Donie O'Sullivan, thanks so much live for us from Dallas.

Well, Coronavirus cases are on the rise in more than half of states. When we come back, I'm going to speak to Maryland's health Secretary about his push to get people vaccinated.

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[18:59:56]

BROWN: New concerns as the COVID Delta variant tightens its grip across the United States. New cases and deaths are rising. Many states are seeing a common thread running through them all.