Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. Sees Four Straight Days Of 20,000 New COVID-19 Cases; Trump To Headline CPAC In Dallas Tomorrow; Billionaire Richard Branson Set To Launch Into Space Tomorrow; FBI, DHS To Help Investigate Assassination Of Haiti's President; Danny Bonaduce On Filming "The Partridge Family." Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 10, 2021 - 20:00   ET



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

Four-straight days with more than 20,000 new COVID cases each day as the highly-contagious delta variant gets an even firmer foothold in the united states more than half of all new American cases are linked to that variant, the delta variant.

This all comes at a time of confusion over boosters. Earlier this week, Pfizer said we may need them. But within hours, strong pushback from both the CDC and the FDA, saying, we don't need to worry about boosters right now.

Now, adding to all these questions, some say it's time to talk making vaccines mandatory, but some major unions are saying, no, including America's largest healthcare union, Service Employees International, along with the New York State Nurses' Association and the powerful Communications Workers of America.

This is also a huge question for many school systems across the country, as they are poised to start the new-school year within weeks, in some areas of the country.

The CDC is out with new guidance, saying last year's empty classrooms won't do in-person schooling must be a priority, this fall, regardless of whether mitigation efforts like ventilation and student spacing can be implemented. And they are urging vaccinations for everyone, who is eligible, but stopped short of saying they should be required.

The nation's largest teachers union voted against mandatory vaccines, and so did its New Hampshire chapter. The president of that chapter, Megan Tuttle, joins me now. Thank you so much for joining us Megan, nice to see you.

So, why not back a mandate if it will protect the health of teachers and students, especially those who can't get a vaccine for health or age reasons?

MEGAN TUTTLE, PRESIDENT, NEA-NH: Thank you. So, you know, a mandate, I think, and we believe, is going just a little bit too far. New Hampshire right now has about 60 percent of its adult population vaccinated and about 65 percent have at least one dose.

If you put the vaccinations back, you know, with all the other mitigation procedures that we've been recommending and advocating for all along, hand washing, proper-cleaning techniques, proper ventilation, mask wearing for those unvaccinated, at this point, we really don't feel that a mandate is actually in the best interest of New Hampshire educators or the parents, you know, right now for them to choose.

Some are going to not want to get the vaccination for medical reasons, some are not going to want to get it for religious reasons, and at this point, we really need to be letting locals decide what's going to be best for them and their communities.

BROWN: And as we know, there can be vaccine mandates with exemptions for health reasons or for religious reasons. But why do you think it goes a step too far? Because there are other teachers' unions that also -- there's been a divide, frankly, among teachers unions, some that say there should not be a vaccine mandate and others that say there should be.

I mean, this is from the University of Indiana. This is, of course, a university, but the president of that school said this is saving lives. It is as simple as that, talking about the vaccine and the mandate, and it will enable us to have a normal fall semester.

So why is it a step too far?

TUTTLE: You know, we've been pretty good in New Hampshire, recently, with numbers of COVID cases. Even with the delta variant and everything else that is coming along, We were able to open up the schools in the local districts with the educators and then the administrators in the spring had worked together to make sure that schools could reopen. So we've been open, you know, for a little bit, at this point.

We are looking forward to re-opening in the fall, fully and we just don't feel a mandate is really in the best interest of New Hampshire educators or the students at this point. We need to keep going along with all the other mitigation procedures.

When you look at the vaccination, that's more medication than it is the mitigation. If you put everything together, we feel that, you know, very strongly, that we can reopen, we will re-open and we can do so safely.

BROWN: So, I want to ask you, because, ironically, your teachers' union, like many others actively pushed for teachers to be at the front of the line when shots were first made available. In January, you yourself said getting teachers vaccinated was the only way schools could safely re-open. How does then voting down mandatory vaccinations square with that?

[20:05:00] TUTTLE: So, we were advocating for the vaccination to be available for the educators to get it when it, first, came out and that did not happen in New Hampshire. We were placed lower on the list than we felt we should have been. We've always advocated that vaccination be made available but we've never advocated that the vaccination should be mandated. So, it should be there.

And we do have a large percentage and a large number of educators who are getting vaccinated. But to make it mandatory --

BROWN: Do you know the percentage?

TUTTLE: I know that in New Hampshire, I don't have the exact percentage of the educators, but I know that in New Hampshire, we have close to 60 percent of adults fully vaccinated, as well as close to 65 percent with at least one dose. So, if you add in that second dose by the time school starts things should be a lot better.

In the spring, when the vaccination was made available to educators, most school districts in the state by May had already had plans because of the numbers of educators they that had in their districts vaccinated to be fully re-opened. So, the administrators feel really safe about this, the educators are feeling better about this.

And so with the CDC guidance that we have been following all along and we have been advocating to follow along here in New Hampshire, we feel it's okay to not to have to mandate something, where we really need it to be left at the local level. We still need that flexibility of being able to decide what's best for the locals.

BROWN: So, places like Chicago, they want a goal. They do not have a mandate but their goal is 80 percent of students 12 years of age and older vaccinated before October 1st. Does the New Hampshire teachers -- New Hampshire teachers union support something like that?

TUTTLE: We do not have a goal that a certain percentage should be vaccinated at this point. You know, I think Chicago versus the schools in New Hampshire are a little bit different. New Hampshire schools -- the size, obviously, varies throughout the state, but I feel like a lot of New Hampshire, we have a lot more flexibility and keeping the three-foot distancing.

You know, we've shown that kids are okay wearing masks and that they can do it and they do it easily. So, having the non-vaccinated wearing the masks is another. We've been looking at the HVAC systems and, the -- you know, the air purification to make sure the airflow is good. Keeping up all those other mitigation procedures is going to be what is really important in this, not mandating that somebody get a vaccination that they might object to for, you know, personal, medical, or religious reasons.

BROWN: Ok, Megan Tuttle, Thank you very much for coming on and sharing perspective from the New Hampshire teachers union. We do appreciate it . TUTTLE: Thank you

. BROWN: And my next guest has a different point of view, I would say, on this topic. CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, former health commissioner of Baltimore, joins me now. Welcome to you.

First, let me get your reaction to Megan Tuttle's arguments against mandating vaccines for eligible teachers and students, Dr. Wen. . DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I think, it's important for us to take a step back and talk about why it is that we get vaccinations in the first place. Because I think, somehow, there has been this understanding that vaccination is just about you. And, yes, it's true, vaccination, of course, protects the individual very well against getting -- getting COVID-19 and getting severely ill.

But we also get vaccinated to protect people around us, so because we know that there is a -- a risk of breakthrough infection. So even if you are vaccinated, you could still get infected. It is the safest thing that is there is for everyone around you, even if you are vaccinated, to also be vaccinated, as well.

And so, this is the reason why you are seeing hospitals, for example, mandate vaccines for their employees because we don't want to be infecting patients. We are seeing colleges and universities begin to mandate vaccines because they want to have a normal school semester. They don't want to have masks and distancing in their classrooms.

And so, I actually do not disagree with your previous guest that if you want to keep up all these other mitigation measures, fine, don't require vaccinations. But I think a lot of people would not want to have masks and distancing anymore in classrooms. And one way to get to that point is for everyone to be vaccinated who is eligible.

BROWN: How much protection does the vaccine give you though over being unvaccinated and wearing a mask, because that was one point that she had brought up? . DR. WEN: Yes, and I think she makes a very good point. I do think that masks protect the wearer as well as others around them very well. And so I think it is a reasonable choice to say if you're not going to be vaccinated, you have to keep on wearing a mask.

My concern though is that there will be people who do not want to be vaccinated, and are not going to be wearing a mask. Usually, those two, at this point, go hand in hand.

There is actually one other thing that maybe we have not talked about yet, and that is having an opt out of testing. So I think it is reasonable to say, teachers don't have to be vaccinated. But if you're not vaccinated, you should go through, let's say, twice-weekly testing or if you're in an area of very low community spread, maybe once- weekly testing.

I think that's reasonable because, ultimately, the goal is not to compel people to do something they don't want to do. It is to keep everybody around them safe too. BROWN: Well, I want to ask on the broader scale, about vaccine

mandates. It is something you have been outspoken about, and you believe that President Biden needs to make a case for mandating vaccines.


Tell us more about that position, why that is.

DR. WEN: Look, I'm not saying that the president or the federal government needs to be mandating vaccines at all but rather that there are so many individual employers, workplaces, that want to mandate vaccines in order to keep their employees safe.

I mean, think about it as if you are coming into work and you are being asked to sit shoulder to shoulder to many other people in a crowded conference room without good ventilation, even if you are vaccinated, if you're living in an area with high rates of COVID-19 spread and if with the delta variant surging, there is a chance that you could become infected and also that you could be Infected yourself and spread it to people in your family, such as unvaccinated younger children or immuno-compromised people.

And so, I think that there are plenty of private entities that want to make vaccinations mandatory. And it would be really helpful for the president to come up with some type of system for vaccine credentialing, instead of just our card, our CDC card that one could fake very easily. It would be good to have a secure system that people can be using and I actually think something like that would be so helpful for the president and for the federal government to get behind.

BROWN: Okay. Dr. Leana Wen, great to have you on the show, as always. We really appreciate it.

DR. WEN: Thank you.

BROWN: Well, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, and soon, Richard Branson, the billionaire is set to make space history in a little more than 12 hours.

Plus, a special moment in Surfside, Florida, as a rescue crews honored for their hard work.



BROWN: In Dallas, conservatives are gathering for what is supposed to be the annual CPAC convention but it's actually the second one this year. And once again, former President Trump will take the stage. At least some of the audience tomorrow will be more than happy if he chooses to double down on the big lie about the election.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan is in Dallas talking to people there. So, Donie, is everyone you meet there at CPAC on the same page about Trump and the election?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And, pretty much, we spoke to a lot of people today, probably about 20 people, and every single one of them said they don't believe that Biden actually won the election. They think that Trump won, all, except for this one gentleman. Have a listen.


O'SULLIVAN: So you are, you know, one of the very few people I am likely to meet here this weekend, who 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 are going to release the kraken, show me the freaking kraken, for crying out loud.

And don't tell me, go to Mr. Pillowman's website to get the information.

O'SULLIVAN: Do you guys think the election was fair?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They tried to tell us the Tarrant County election, we went blue for the first time since 1962.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not called an insurrection to me. What about it was an insurrection?

O'SULLIVAN: They stormed the Capitol.


O'SULLIVAN: The Trump supporters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bullshit. I mean, I'm sorry, bullshit. You don't know who those people were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, some Trump supporters were invited in and there is video and there is audio that they said, come on.


O'SULLIVAN: So, as you can hear, there are some folks who are in absolute denial about what happened on January 6th at the insurrection only six months ago. And, of course, we heard concerns this week from the Department of Justice that this idea, this ridiculous notion that Trump could, in some, way be reinstated to office, an idea that he has been flirting, with how that could lead to further violence. Most people we have spoken to here today, you know, haven't really bought into that idea. They are looking -- they want Trump to run in 2024. However, over the past few weeks and a couple we spoke to here today, a couple of people did buy into this idea and do think that Trump may come back into office this summer. That is, of course, something that his supporters, his base will be listening for tomorrow in his speech hanging onto every single word from the former president. Pam?

BROWN: I just -- I wanted to say to those two women. Just look through all the court filings after the insurrection. The hundreds of them, where so many people, who were there, who were arrested, admitted to being a Trump supporter or going there because Trump told them to or being in a white supremacy group. So if you want to know who was there that day, look through the court filings.

All right, Donie O'Sullivan, thanks so much.

Well, this morning in Charlottesville, Virginia, two towering symbols of racial division came down. City crews then trucked away the bronze statues of confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and banished them to storage.

Less than four years ago, as you'll recall, likely, white nationalists commandeered the debate over the city's effort to remove confederate statues. Their Unite the Right rally turned violent and ultimately deadly as neo-Nazis fought with counterprotesters.

Well, just minutes ago, in Surfside, Florida, residents, local-first responders and officials delivered a heartfelt tribute to the Israeli search crew that has worked so tirelessly in the rubble of the collapsed condominium there. That crew, heading home with the gratitude of a heartbroken community.

CNN's Natasha Chen joins us with the latest. So, Natasha, describe the scene there for us.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Pamela. The Israeli rescue team, the Israeli defense forces, they will be returning home tomorrow. So, tonight, the local leaders held a ceremony in a church a few blocks away from here, thanked them along with other first responders.

And Miami Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava gave a couple of keys to the city to the team, gave some medals to them, a really deep appreciation for these partners and friends they have developed here.


And they also met with family members of the victims too who thanked them for their services. After all this wrapped up, just a few minutes ago, they actually returned to the pile to continue working tonight, even as it's raining now, even though they're leaving tomorrow.

The pace of finding people has really picked up over the past week, especially after the demolition of the remaining part of the building so that search teams could really access more parts of the area than they were -- than they were able to before. But, still, families are waiting news about their loved ones, because while 86 people have been confirmed dead, there are still 43 people potentially unaccounted for.

We did, however, hear from some family members that CNN has talked to over the past couple of weeks, including Pablo Rodriguez, whose mother and grandmother had been missing after the collapse. He tweeted today that they were identified and that it was the best bad news that he could have hoped for, that he was really struggling with this idea that they may have suffered, and to confirm that they did not was a bit of a relief for him.

Also among the victims was the sister of the first lady of Paraguay along with her husband and her -- one of her children, along with their 23-year-old nanny. And the Paraguay Ministry of External Affairs actually tweeted that the Paraguayan president arrived in the U.S. on Friday and will be staying in Florida until Tuesday because of those family members who were identified among the victims. Pamela?

BROWN: All right. Natasha Chen, thank you so much. And we'll be right back.



BROWN: 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, to the final frontier by nine days.

CNN's Rachel Crane has the latest on this new leg in the space race.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN BUSINESS INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: The countdown is on, and in just hours, entrepreneur Richard Branson hopes to become the first person to ride a self-funded rocket into suborbital space.


CRANE: A launch nearly two decades in the making.

Tell me how do you feel?

BRANSON: Well, I've managed to avoid getting excited for 17 years since we've started building spaceships and mother ships and spaceports and all these things. And I finally got the call from chief engineers saying that every single box had been ticked on the safety aspect and that I was -- would I like to go to space? And I hit the roof. I was so excited.

CRANE: The Virgin Galactic rocket-powered space plane is set to take off tomorrow from New Mexico. The mother ship will release the spaceship at around 40,000 feet. The rocket will ignite and take Branson, two pilots, and three others on a 2,400-mile-per-hour ride, more than 50 miles up to touch the inner edge of space, as defined by the U.S. military and NASA. The crew will experience a few minutes of weightlessness before gliding back to Earth.

BRANSON: When you're up there the spaceship will turn over and these enormous windows is going to be able to float around and look back at Earth.

CRANE: If successful, the space baron will edge out fellow billionaire and world's richest man Jeff Bezos, who is set to ride his own company's rocket into space in the coming days.

The two men have jockeyed for the astronomical bragging rights that come with being first. Branson has insisted that that's no space race with Bezos and that the missions are different.

BRANSON: The kind of experience you are going to get with the two companies are almost as different as (INAUDIBLE). So we don't see our self as a direct competitor.

CRANE: While Bezos' flight will be after Branson's, his rocket system, New Shepherd, will go even higher, past the Karman line, which is the altitude internationally recognized to be the demarcation of space. His company, Blue Origin, taking a shot at Branson's trip, tweeting that their rocket was, quote, designed to fly above the Karman line so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name.

LEROY CHIAO, RETIRED NASA ASTRONAUT: If you fly 50 miles or 62 miles, you are in space. I mean, you are not going to notice the difference between those 12 miles. Neither of these vehicles go into orbit, by the way. They touch space and then they come right back down.

CRANE: Both space companies have had successful suborbital test flights over the past decade.

But with space travel comes inherent risk. In 2014, a co-pilot for Virgin Galactic was killed during a test flight of a previous model of their spacecraft.

MIKE MOSES, PRESIDENT, VIRGIN GALACTIC: I like to say that you can do risky things safely if you know the risks you are taking, you know the controls you have in place, and you verify that they are active, and we do just that.

I don't think the risk of this flight is high, it is not zero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two, one, zero and liftoff.

CRANE: In the ten-year since the launch of Atlantis, NASA's final space shuttle mission, the privatization of space flight has quickly expanded. Today, the commercial aerospace company SpaceX, founded by yet another, billionaire Elon Musk, regularly takes NASA astronauts as it flies into orbit at a fraction of the cost of the space shuttle. So far, NASA has been supportive of the billionaires' endeavours especially after the successes of SpaceX.

BILL NELSON, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: We are seeing the result of these billionaires that you call them, putting their wealth into the research and development of the space program.


We're seeing a lot of advancing of technology, which is good for our country. It's good for building American jobs as well.

CRANE: If tomorrow's mission is successful, it could launch yet a new era of space travel, and the final frontier could soon open to space tourism. So far, hundreds of people have signed up for future Virgin Galactic flights, some paying more than $200,000 each.

Branson hopes that someday will be soon.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Million-dollar view.


BROWN: Thanks to that -- for that, Rachel Crane.

And joining me now to discuss is former NASA astronaut, Leroy Chow, and CNN aviation analyst, Miles O'Brien. All right. Leroy, you're up first, you're a veteran of space travel. What will this type of experience be like for brands and entering space for the first time?

LEROY CHIAO, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: Well, the very first time I flew into space, I looked back at the earth and was just awestruck. I mean, the colors are more bright and vivid than I had imagined. And then I saw that the blue -- the sunlight passing through our atmosphere causes it to glow, these beautiful shades of blue that really don't get captured very well on photographs. And so, he's in for quite an experience, even though it's only going to be a few minutes long. He will have that experience and they'll remember it forever.

BROWN: So, does this matter to America's understanding of the universe beyond just fun for those that can afford commercial space travel in your view, Leroy?

CHIAO: Well, there -- you're obviously not going to further space exploration with this kind of flights. However, you know, I think in the future, they plan to carry some suborbital experiments on board. But really, it's about trying to get more people to have that experience, and hopefully experience what we now call the overview effect, which is giving you that big perspective of what's really important in -- on the earth and in life.

BROWN: And, Miles, in terms of takeoff, Virgin Galactic operates like a normal plane, does this design make it safer for passenger and crew members compared to standard blastoff procedures that we're used to seeing with rockets?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: I wouldn't necessarily say it's safer, Pamela. In fact, the Virgin craft, unlike Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, does not have a crew escape system. So, there are some limitations to the amount of safety that goes along with this particular ride to space.

The fact that they're taking off with an airplane, that makes it possible to design a smaller spacecraft because it doesn't have to carry up all that fuel and rocket to maintain the altitude and speed to get you to 40 or 50,000 feet. The mothership does that. So, while it makes it simpler for the spacecraft itself, I wouldn't say it's inherently safer.

BROWN: And, Leroy, I want to go back to you on something that you ended with before. Just talking about, you know, it really reminds you of what's important in life. And not to get too philosophical here. But I'm curious, after you went to space for the first time you came back to Earth, how did it shape your understanding of life and, you know, what it's all about?

CHIAO: Well, I remember looking back at the earth and thinking, wow, it just looks so beautiful and peaceful. But, of course, intellectually, I knew that we were flying over some very troubled areas at that very moment, there was human suffering and, you know, bad things going on.

And so, it's kind of hard to kind of reconcile that economy and it's made me, kind of, appreciate life more and take the bigger picture view on things. I used to be the kind of person that was getting irritated on little things. Like, I felt I got cheated out of something. But now, you know, I'm able to pretty much let those little things go.

BROWN: Wow. I really would love to go to space and gain some of that perspective in terms of just not letting, you know, not getting irritated so easily and so forth.

But I'm curious also what your thoughts are, Miles, on just the commercial travel, right? What your thoughts are on companies like Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and SpaceX wanting to bring space exploration to reach the masses. What do you think?

O'BRIEN: Yes, Leroy hit on this idea. The fact that some billionaires and eventually millionaires can go, a lot of people might say, so what? You know, we've got a lot of other issues to worry about here on Earth.

But this is part of building a full ecosystem, a full economy that involves space, and that can lead to all kinds of things that we couldn't possibly imagine. Imagine in 1927, if you and I were talking after Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic, and you said to me, Miles, we're going to have an Airbus A380 someday. I'd look at you like you're from another planet.

So, it's very difficult to project where these kinds of things lead to at the moment. But the fact that more people can be a part of it inevitably is going to create something bigger, something more dynamic and something that we probably can't fully predict.


BROWN: So, Leroy, what will you be looking for during tomorrow's mission?

CHIAO: Well, I'll be looking for successful flights. I think they're thoroughly tested to your vehicle. And so, you know, we have confidence in it. And then obviously, Richard Branson has confidence in it. And so, I'll be looking for, you know, the passengers, reactions, you know -- not only Richard Branson, but the other people who would be making their first flight, and so it'd be very interesting to see what they have to say.

BROWN: So, Leroy, Branson is only entering the edge of outer space. How do you think that compares to traveling further into the depths of outer space the way that you and other astronauts have?

CHIAO: Sure. You know, I've spent almost 230 days in orbit, on space shuttles and on the space station, so you definitely start to get a different perspective, the longer you stay up there. But, you know, these guys will get a taste. I guess it's a little bit like, you know, getting a glimpse or maybe just a taste to something and a nice restaurant and then you're -- then you're kind of ushered out. But, you know, one day, they might be going -- some of these people might be going orbital as well.

BROWN: All right. Fascinating discussion. We're going to be continuing it, obviously, in through tomorrow when the launch happens. Leroy Chiao, Miles O'Brien, thank you so much. CNN's coverage of Richard Branson's launch starts at 9:00 a.m. Eastern tomorrow.

And another brand-new CNN Original Series is coming, "History of the Sitcom" brings you all the stories behind your favorite sitcoms, the classics, the mega hits, the new shows leading the way. Watch History of the Sitcom tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN. Here's a quick preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You come home, turn on that television. What do you want? You want comedy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there you go, situation comedy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Laughter opens you up.


LISA KUDROW, AMERICAN ACTRESS: We get to know these sitcom characters. They're your friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all share these experiences.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Laughter is a great way to deal with a very tricky world.

RANDALL PARK, AMERICAN ACTOR: Discussing race in a sitcom, you're able to, kind of, take in new ideas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, hi, neighbor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You hope that you'll have those kinds of relationships in your life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was revolutionary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Laugh out loud funny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one of the great accomplishments of the modern age.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The stories behind the moments we share, History of the Sitcom premieres tomorrow night at 9:00.





BROWN: Haiti tonight is a country still in deep shock and deeper instability following the assassination of the President. Police from Colombia and American FBI agents are helping investigate how the President was killed in his private residence this week.

Authorities announced that most of the alleged attackers are Colombian, but that two Haitian-Americans were involved as well. Why a group of foreign nationals would assassinate Haiti's president is still a mystery. Haiti's first lady was also shot and is receiving treatment in Miami.

Meanwhile, the country is reeling from extreme violence and poverty. All these people have gathered outside the U.S. Embassy hoping to be taken to a safer place. Matt Rivers is live in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.

Matt, are police any closer to solving this mystery who assassinated the president?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At least publicly right now, Pamela, no. I mean, I think that Haitian authorities are pretty confident when they say that they do believe that there are 28 suspects overall, that 26 of them are Colombian nationals, that there are two of them that are Haitian-Americans.

There have been 20 of those suspects detained, so far three killed, which would leave five on the run at this point. They would say they're pretty confident that those are the suspects here, at least that they believe have a direct hand in killing the president and critically injuring the First Lady.

But I would say they are not any closer to understanding the exact motive here, or at least they're not putting that out publicly. Why would all these foreign nationals be hired to come here to Haiti to carry out this assassination? How did they get in? Who sponsored them? A lot of Colombians need visas to come here to Haiti.

They oftentimes need a sponsor to do so, who did that? That's a paper trail to follow. What about the Haitian-Americans? Were they serving as translators like has been suggested here? Or did they have a more direct role in all of this? And what would the motivation be? Who would want to kill the president, especially at a time of such political instability here in Haiti?

There are, of course, a number of possibilities, Pamela. There's theories that are floating around out there, all of which are unsubstantiated, but not the least of which would be that there has to be some kind of Haitian help here that these foreign nationals couldn't have done this all on their own. But again, there's just no public proof of that so far.

BROWN: You talked about the political instability. It's been that way for quite a long time. And the assassination has left behind this power vacuum. Who's in charge right now?

RIVERS: I mean, this is a question that is going to play out over the coming days, and maybe even weeks. We haven't seen any political protests yet. The acting Prime Minister right now still is seemingly in power at this point. The former cabinet for the former president does seem to be in charge.


But just today, Pamela, the president of the Haitian Senate, it was last night actually that senators decided that they would appoint him, they agreed to elect him the interim president of Haiti. However, that decision was postponed this evening without a real explanation as to why that is, and so we're really no closer to figuring out a short- term or a long-term solution for Haiti's political stability, which very much leaves open the possibility of protests moving forward.

This is a place where political unrest has been going on for a long time. They are not strangers to protests that can turn violent. We're just going to have to wait to see how things play out over the coming days.

BROWN: OK. Matt Rivers, thank you for bringing us the latest there from Port-au-Prince.

Coming up tomorrow, Andy Slavitt, the White House former senior advisor for the COVID response, joins me as the Delta variant takes a wider hold across the country. Plus, the first woman Space Station Commander, former NASA astronaut, Peggy Whitson, will join me as we break down Richard Branson's historic spaceflight.

And CNN's latest Original Series, History of the Sitcom, will make its debut Sunday and who better to come on get happy ahead of that premiere than the one and only Danny Bonaduce from the Partridge Family. We'll be back.



BROWN: Characters you can't stop laughing at and situations you can't get enough of, since the beginning of television sitcoms have kept generations of Americans smiling and help them navigate an ever- changing cultural landscape.

Well, now, the new CNN Original Series, The History of the Sitcom, brings us a behind the scenes look at your favorites from across the decades.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those were not real people but they entertained and delighted us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, kids, dinner's on. We're sitting down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you get to Father Knows Best, it's very patriarchal dealing with tiny little problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quiet an evening at home. I can use it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I played Bud. Bud usually had a problem with truth telling on some level.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was all that racket upstairs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't hear anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was best represented the good life, the American Dream.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I'll read you one story then off the bed you go.


BROWN: And joining me now is Danny Bonaduce from the hit sitcom, "The Partridge Family." He's also co-host of the Danny Bonaduce and Sarah show on KZOK radio in Seattle. Great to see you, Danny. Thanks for coming on.

DANNY BONADUCE, AMERICAN ACTOR: It's great to be here. Thank you very much.

BROWN: So, on The Partridge Family, you had a single mom with five kids who toured the country plane and their family band. That is not your stereotypical American sitcom -- family sitcom. Why do you think so many people connected with the Partridges? BONADUCE: I don't really know at first because it's outlandish. The theme song to the Partridge -- One of the theme songs that we got to do is and Danny got Reuben to sell our song. And it really came together when mom sang along, really? What man do you know that was improved by your mother being in it? But people latched on, they like the bus, they liked meeting, they like Reuben, it's just a good time all the way around.

BROWN: They felt a special connection to it. The Partridge Family was so quintessentially '70s. But do you see the show as more of a snapshot of a moment in time? Or do you think the characters and stories are still relevant today?

BONADUCE: Oh, I think the storylines anyway, for sure, are still relevant today. I'll go by a couple that you couldn't get away with, unless it was a situation comedy. Because with the situation comedy, you have the magic words, just kidding. And as long as you're doing that, you can say anything.

I remember 11 years old, talking to Richard Pryor about an episode with Lou Gossett, Jr. and me 1971 walking down the streets in step with the Black Panthers. Why is that OK? Because we were just kidding. And still, you watch that show today. It's unbelievable and it's funny.

BROWN: Just saying just kidding. There you go. So, what would a 2021 version of the Partridge Family look like? What kind of music would they play? What would their life on the road and at home look like?

BONADUCE: I'll tell you the first thing I think about a current day Partridge Family. And by the way, this is not the first time I've thought about that. Let me just confess, I'd be Reuben, I'd be the manager of the band, the band would tour. And here's the thing that they never did. The band would not sell out every time.

I went on tour with David Cassidy to lines around the block. And then the next night in a dingy nightclub with 40 people in there, and three of them were servers. So, I think that's what -- I'd make it a little more gritty and I'd make me a little more not a one trick pony.

BROWN: So, it sounds like you've thought about this before you say, why aren't you making it happen, you know, a modern version Partridge Family?

BONADUCE: I would love to do that, to be honest with you, and it's a good clean, wholesome part. And let's admit it, my reputation could amuse a little bit of polish. So, I would absolutely put the Partridge Family on the air and modern it up a little bit.

David never got a chance to show the musician that he was. David was driven crazy by I think I love you so -- you know, he -- to be honest. He hated it. He felt that he was a Jimi Hendrix and puka shells and the man was close to it. He was brilliant on that guitar.


BROWN: All right. Danny Bonaduce, thanks so much for joining us on this Saturday night.

Well, the all-new CNN Original Series, The History of the Sitcom premieres with back-to-back episodes tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.

And don't forget, you can tweet me @PamelaBrownCNN. You can also follow me on Instagram with the same handle. Thank you so much for joining me this evening and keeping me company. I'm Pamela Brown. I'll see you again tomorrow night starting at 6:00 Eastern. "The Nineties" is up next.