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Dow Sinks as COVID Cases Rise in All 50 States; Dow Sinks Dramatically as Delta Variant Fears Hit Wall Street; Future of DACA in Jeopardy after Judge Bars New Applications. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired July 19, 2021 - 13:00   ET


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN IMMIGRATION REPORTER: News coming to a head at this particular moment, and that's going to weigh on them going forward.


JOHN KING, CNN INSIDE POLITICS: This is this -- this week, next week, the next few weeks, just fascinating choices to be made, not only by the president but by members of this party as well.

I appreciate your time today on Inside Politics amid all the breaking news. See you back here this time tomorrow.

Don't go anywhere, a busy day. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.

ANA CABRERA, CNN NEWSROOM: Hello and thanks for joining us. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Several big developments we are tracking. Moments ago, pivotal sentencing in the Capitol riot.

Plus, cases on the rise in Tokyo days before the Olympics kick off and Wall Street shaken by the contagious delta variant.

COVID cases are rising in all 50 states right now. And as a result, right now, the stockmarket is plummeting. A short time ago, President Biden reminded Americans that the best way to bring back the economy is to beat the virus. And the best way to beat the virus is with the vaccine.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Please get vaccinated. Get vaccinated now. It works. It's safe. It's free. It's convenient. You know, this virus doesn't have to hold any longer. It doesn't have to hold our economy back any longer. But the only way we put it behind us is if more Americans get vaccinated.


CABRERA: But a large portion of Americans simply won't. And those same people are overwhelmingly bearing the brunt of the surge. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: If you are vaccinated, you are very well protected against hospitalization and death. Unfortunately, that is not true if you are not vaccinated. And we're seeing 99.5 percent of deaths from COVID-19 in our country are happening among the unvaccinated.


CABRERA: This summer surge is a tale of two Americas.

We begin in the heart of unvaccinated America. Natasha Chen is in Alabama where vaccine demand is way too low. Natasha, what are you seeing?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, this is actually a city of Birmingham event to try and help people resolve their traffic tickets. So they actually paused for the lunch hour. More people will be coming back soon. But there was a line out the door, and they're resolving those cases in there.

On the side, the city thought it would be a good opportunity to hold a vaccine clinic over here. But as you can see, there are zero people in this corner taking advantage of these shots that are available. They could just come out right after their court proceeding and get one. But, so far, the pharmacists that we've been talking to have only given two or three people a vaccine.

And one of them actually spoke with us about why he was afraid of needles his whole life and why these pharmacists convinced him today.


DEWAYNE HENDERSON, FIRST TO GET A VACCINE AT TODAY'S CLINIC: I was really afraid of the shot, because I don't like shots. This gentleman talking me, her spirit is -- she's great, great lady. And it just -- it brought me up why I was afraid. It just when she told me it worked. And I feel great about it. And I'm happy about it.


N. CHEN: And it's taking these pharmacists a lot of patience as they have been trying to go down the line, trying to convince people to get the vaccine in Alabama. Only about one-third, about 34 percent of people are vaccinated. That's the bottom of the list tied right there with Mississippi.

And they are hearing all kinds of reasons. One guy told them he doesn't want to be part of the zombie apocalypse. We hope he was kidding. There another person who really gave them a lot of pushback about concerns she had about interfering with medications and such.

So they are calmly listening to people and trying to dispel the misinformation, trying to offer them valid information and they're just saying to everyone, please, if you have actual questions about the vaccine, seek out your doctor, your trusted pharmacists, somebody that you trust who is a medical professional to answer those questions for you. Ana?

CABRERA: Natasha Chen in Birmingham, Alabama, thank you.

Let's bring in Dr. Wilbur Chen. He is a vaccine researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He also serves on the CDC's advisory committee on immunization practices. Doctor, it's great to have you with us.

First, I want to get your reaction to something we heard from former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: Most people will either get vaccinated or have been previously infected or they will get this delta variant. And for most people who get this delta variant, it's going to be the most risk virus that they get in their lifetime in terms of the risk of putting them in the hospital.


CABRERA: The most serious virus they get in their lifetime. Is that how you see this situation?

DR. WILBUR CHEN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I largely agree with him. I think that for most people who are not traveling to other far flung areas of the world, they're not going to encounter Ebola or monkey pox or some of these other viruses that are out there.


So there are nasty viruses that are out there in the world. But I think for the layperson, the common person will probably encounter if they encounter the coronavirus, it will be one of the nastiest viruses that they will encounter in their lives if they get it.

CABRERA: Have you ever seen anything like this where the people most at risk now are the ones least willing to get a life-saving vaccine?

W. CHEN: I haven't seen this before. In the areas of global health where we work in developing country settings, populations are very eager to get vaccinated against these diseases that they readily see every day and encounter. So, I think that, again, this is completely different than what I've experienced before.

CABRERA: And, of course, unvaccinated isn't just people who refuse to get the shot, it also means children under 12 who aren't eligible yet. So, as a parent, should I be scared for my kids, going back to what we heard from Dr. Gottlieb?

W. CHEN: I don't think that people should be too scared or alarmed. I think that they just need to be aware that these viral infections are out there. We can be comforted that largely the infection in children is a mild disease, so that is good.

We also know that the American Academy of Pediatrics really does continue to endorse that we all return back to in-school learning environments, and that is going to be a benefit for all children across America.

CABRERA: Yet the American Academy of Pediatrics just today, in fact, recommended universal masking for schools for kids older than two.

Dr. Anthony Fauci weighed in on the timeline for getting vaccine authorized for younger children. Let's listen.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The final decision is going to be up to the FDA, and I would imagine that likely will not happen until we get well into the winter toward the end of this year.


CABRERA: So, as someone on the CDC Advisory Committee, what can you tell us about the timeline?

W. CHEN: I think that what Dr. Fauci stated is consistent with what I'm hearing as well. I don't have any additional information to share but I think what we have been hearing from Pfizer, Moderna and the other companies is that they are projecting they may be able to submit their -- for requests for approvals in younger children perhaps sometime in the early winter.

So, again, this is -- this continues to change because, you know, we wait to hear for those companies to make those announcements.

I was hopeful that it would be earlier in the fall, but it sounds like that these studies are being performed still, and so we need to wait for the definitive data.

CABRERA: And quickly, if you will, what about full FDA approval of a vaccine?

W. CHEN: Full FDA approval of the vaccine, we know that the Pfizer vaccine, the BLA, or the biologics license was fully received by the FDA just last week, and so I think that, again, the FDA has a priority review clock of six months in which they can review it. But we also heard that the FDA is very eager to try to truncate that review process. So it will not hopefully take the entire six months.

And I'm hopeful that we may hear about it sometime in the fall. But, again, they have a full six months technically to --

CABRERA: Okay. Dr. Wilbur Chen, I appreciate your expertise. Thank you so much for joining us today.

W. CHEN: Well, thank you. CABRERA: And now we have this just in to CNN. A judge sentenced a Capitol rioters to eight months in prison for breaching the Senate chamber on January 6th. We're talking about Paul Hodgkins. He's a crane operator from Florida. He pleaded guilty to one felony count of obstructing an official proceeding.

Now, he's not the first to be sentenced but this is the first sentence handed down to a rioter charged with a felony.

Prosecutors had asked for an 18-month sentence. Hodgkins' attorney was asking for no prison time. He was caught on video inside the Senate chamber carrying a Trump campaign flag and taking selfies.

In handing down this sentence, Federal District Judge Randolph Moss said this. When a mob is prepared to attack the Capitol to prevent elected officials from both parties from performing their constitutional and statutory duty, democracy is in trouble. The damage that they caused that day is way beyond the delays that day. It is a damage that will persist in this country for decades.

Joining us now, Jennifer Rodgers, she's a CNN Legal Analyst, a former federal prosecutor and teaches law at NYU.

What is your reaction, Jennifer, to this sentence, and what message does it send?


JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Ana, I think it's a fair sentence. Judge Moss was very thoughtful in laying out both what you just read to the audience, but also saying on the other side that this particular defendant didn't damage any property, didn't commit any violence, and there are lots of other defendants coming before courts in the months ahead. And he wants to kind of leave room for those folks to get stricter, heavier sentences.

So I think the judge actually struck a good balance here for this particular defendant. Eight months in federal prison is no joke, so this is a serious sentence, I think it sends the appropriate message.

CABRERA: Do you think it sets a precedent of some sort for cases going forward?

RODGERS: It doesn't technically set a precedent. Each judge is charged with sentencing the defendant in front of him or her based on that individual person and the facts of the case. So it doesn't technically constrain any judge from what they want to do in any future cases.

But I think it sets a message that this was a very serious, serious offense on January 6th. You know, the judge completely rejected the defense lawyer's attempts to make this about cancel culture and about 15 minutes of bad judgment and the judge rejected that and said no way. This was an attack on our democracy. The defendant participated in that willingly. He came with Tampa armed a rope and goggles and gloves. He was prepared for conflict. So this was a serious matter. So I think the judge did set the right tone in terms of future cases being considered seriously by the judges who will have to sentence the defendants?

CABRERA: There are now more than 500 people who are charged in the Capitol riots. And here's what we know about the breakdown of the charges. At least 165 people are charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding police and at least 50 of them are also charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon. At least 230 charged with obstructing a congressional proceeding and at least 40 have been charged with conspiracy.

So, when you look at the charges, do you think they go far enough? Because we've heard from prosecutors saying, in time, the more serious charges would be coming for some of the alleged rioters.

RODGERS: It's really hard to say, Ana, without knowing the facts. They've charged a lot of people. You mentioned the different categories. So they're clearly distinguishing between the defendants they've charged. And you have to hope that if they had the evidence for the more serious, sedition conspiracy charges, they would bring them and maybe those are still down the road.

You know, so it's really hard to say without knowing more, but they clearly are working hard. They've charged a lot of people. And if today's incident is any sign, we will see a lot of people going to prison for these January 6th events.

CABRERA: I mean, at this point, the obstruction charge is one of the more serious charges. My understanding is, on paper, it could carry a maximum of 20 years in prison, the same as sedition, right? So, why aren't we seeing prosecutors go for the max?

RODGERS: Well, you really have to look at the sentencing guidelines which are just advisory but are where the prosecutors have to center their arguments, and in this case, the sentencing guidelines were 12 to -- or 15 to 21 months. So that's where they did center their request for 18 months and the judge went below that.

Prosecutors are never going to ask for the statutory maximum because they would have to prove facts supporting a vast upward departure from the guidelines, and that's very hard to do. But I think as we get to the serious cases, again, Mr. Hodgkins was one of the less serious cases in terms of the conduct that day, we will see prosecutors push for more time. And I think we'll see judges give more time than we saw today.

CABRERA: I always appreciate your insights. Jennifer Rodgers, thanks for being with us.

RODGERS: thanks.

CABRERA: Wall Street is on edge as COVID cases rise. You can see the Dow down more than 800 points right now on the fears that the delta variant will slow the economic recovery. President Biden says this is all temporary. We'll discuss. Plus, a devastating blow to a delicate dream, a judge's ruling puts the lives of young, undocumented immigrants, also known as DREAMERs, in limbo.

And Jeff Bezos speaks to CNN ahead of his historic space flight tomorrow.



CABRERA: Minutes ago, President Biden spoke, trying to calm fears on the economy but it doesn't look like Wall Street is listening. Right now, the Dow is down more than 800 points, down more than 834 points, to be exact. And you can see it's ticking lower, just an ugly day as investors worry about the impact of rising COVID-19 cases.

CNN's Matt Egan joins us. He is tracking the developments. Explain what's happening here, Matt?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS LEAD WRITER: Well, Ana, this is all about the delta variant, the worry. And I want to stress that it's just a worry right now is that these rising infection numbers could actually slow the economic recovery. And the fact that we've seen a spike in infections has reminded investors, and, really, all of us, that this pandemic is not over.

Now, as you can see, the Dow is down more than 800 points, about 2.4 percent. We haven't seen a loss like that since act of 2020, long before these accessible rollouts of vaccines. The losses are not quite as bad for the S&P 500, which is only down about 1.5 percent and the Nasdaq, which is down about 1 percent.

Investors are retreating from the most COVID-sensitive parts of the stock market. As you can see, the airline sector down 4 percent, cruise operators, like Carnival, down 4 percent, energy industry is down as oil prices plunge.

And we do need to keep all this in context because it was just a week ago that the U.S. stock market had finished at record highs despite the losses today. The S&P 500 is up more than 90 percent from the March 2020 lows. That means if you were lucky enough to buy in, you've nearly doubled your money.


But all this concern about the pandemic is on top of worries about inflation. I mean, consumer prices rose in June at the fastest annual clip since 2008. As the economy reopens, people are paying more for everything, from gas and airfare to bacon.

CABRERA: And I want you to listen to what the president said about this just a short time ago.


BIDEN: Most of the price increases we've seen are -- were expected and are expected to be temporary.

You've seen that in semiconductors, which are used in automobiles. That global shortage has slowed vehicle production, creating a temporary spike in car prices.

But, again, these disruptions are temporary.


CABRERA: So, temporary is obviously the message that they're trying to drive home. Will it work?

EGAN: Well, Ana, I think these are some of the most powerful comments that President Biden has made yet on inflation, and they do sort of signal that there is some concern within the White House about rising consumer prices.

The president did stress that they are vigilant while they take this -- they are taking this seriously. He said that he met with the chairman of the Federal Reserve and said, listen, the Fed is independent, and he said the fed should do whatever it takes to keep this economic recovery going.

CABRERA: Matt Egan, thank you very much for your reporting, as always.

A quick programming note, President Biden will join Don Lemon for an exclusive CNN presidential town hall. That's live Wednesday night at 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

There is uncertainty and confusion after a judge threw the future of hundreds of thousands of DREAMERs into doubt. What's next in the legal battle over DACA? And we'll talk with one woman who's caught in the middle of this fight.



CABRERA: Today, the future of DACA is uncertain after a federal judge in Texas blocked new applicants to this Obama-created program that shields certain undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation. And while the ruling does not immediately cancel current permits and renewals are allowed, it does bar any new applications. President Biden called this ruling deeply disturbing.

And CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig joins us now with what's next. Elie, let's first remind our viewers about what DACA is and who benefits from it.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Ana. So, DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. It was created by Barack Obama's administration, the Department of Homeland Security back in 2012. And what it does is it protects people who are sometimes called DREAMERs, meaning people who arrived in this country when they were under 16 years old, who are either in school or working or seeking to work, and who have not been in any trouble with the law.

These legal rulings that we get, Ana, they are ink on paper, but they have real world consequences. Over 800,000 people have received benefits or protections under DACA, which prevents them from being deported and gives them the right to certain federal benefits.

So, the implications are real and they are tremendous.

CABRERA: So, walk us through then this decision by the federal judge in Texas.

HONIG: Yes. So, the federal judge ruled that DACA is unconstitutional because it was created by executive action without specific legislation from Congress. The judge ruled that Congress has not granted DHS the statutory authority to adopt DACA.

Now, this ruling will be appealed to the fifth circuit. Joe Biden has already said that. The court of appeals here, the fifth circuit located down in Texas and surrounding states, is famously one of the most conservative courts in the country. So there will be an appeal. However, it will be an uphill climb here to try to reverse this judge's decision.

CABRERA: So do you see this ultimately back in the Supreme Court?

HONIG: It could well end up in the Supreme Court. Whoever loses in the fifth circuit is going to try to get the Supreme Court to take this case. Of course, the Supreme Court doesn't have to take any case. It's up to them. But, importantly, just last year in June of 2020, the Supreme Court gave us a different ruling on a related issue relating to DACA. In that case, the Trump administration tried to essentially cancel DACA.

Now, the court came down with a very interesting ruling where they said, a president has a lot of leeway to cancel prior executive actions but it can't just do it for now reason. And here, the Trump administration has not given us a good enough reason to cancel it. So, the court upheld DACA. That was 5-4. But the big difference now is Justice Ginsburg, who was in the majority, has, of course, passed and been replaced by Amy Coney Barrett. So, if she votes the other way, that could lead us to the opposite outcome for DACA.

CABRERA: Okay. Elie Honig, we appreciate it. Obviously, Congress plays a huge role here and can really get rid of the uncertainty. I appreciate it, as always. Thank you, Elie Honig.

At the same time, CNN has learned 13,000 DACA renewal applications have been pending for longer than four months now, a backlog of cases accumulated during the pandemic. And one of those waiting is Nancy Isidro, brought to the U.S. from Mexico when she was just seven years old. She's now 29. She works as a child care provider in Tennessee with dreams of becoming a first grade teacher.


But her permit expires on Thursday. Nancy, thank you for being with us.