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Dreams Dashed as More Athletes Test Positive Before Olympic Games; Opening Ceremony Director Fired for Anti-Semitic Remarks; Tucker Carlson Claims Capitol Police Officer Is "An Angry, Left-Wing Political Activist"; Trump Misleads on 1/6: "It Was a Loving Crowd"; NFL Issues New Rules on Handling of COVID Outbreaks. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired July 22, 2021 - 14:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: We are less than 24 hours from the official start of the Olympic games. Opening ceremonies begin tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. Eastern time.

First lady, Jill Biden, is now in Tokyo to lead the U.S. delegation.

And amid all of this excitement, though, Tokyo posted nearly 2,000 new COVID cases yesterday. That's its highest number in six months.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: There are dozens of cases now linked to the games, including five athletes from Team USA.

CNN's Selina Wang is with us from Tokyo.

Selina, it is not just COVID causing controversy. The director of the opening ceremonies was fired just a day before the games officially begin. Tell us about that.

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor, exactly. The opening ceremony has just been hit by one scandal after another.

The director fired for mocking the Holocaust in a comedy act back in the 1990s.

And this comes just days after the music composer resigned after interviews surfaced from the 1990s in which he described severe abuse and torment of his classmates when he was a student.

The organizing committee did not ask the music composer to resign. In fact, he resigned later after social media outrage.

Months before that, in fact, the previous director stepped down after comments surfaced of him being offensive to a female Japanese celebrity.

It is just not the great start for a ceremony that is supposed to be a symbol of unity and peace.

We know that this opening ceremony is going to be like none other in history.

It is going to be stunning to see the 68,000-seat capacity national stadium largely empty. Just 950 VIPs and dignitaries will be there, including Jill Biden. And they will be social distanced and wearing masks.

CAMEROTA: Let's hope all of the athletes can compartmentalize away and focus on the task at hand.


BLACKWELL: It will be tough, but I'm sure they can try.


Selina Wang, thank you so much.

Well, we have to report that there's more misinformation coming from Tucker Carlson. He is going after a Capitol Police officer who was subjected to physical and racist attacks during the insurrection.

We'll tell you what he said. We'll speak with one of the officer's attorneys who is now firing back.



BLACKWELL: TV host, Tucker Carlson, used his monologue on Wednesday night to attack the Capitol Police officer who is scheduled to testify at the select committee hearings.

His name is Harry Dunn. He is on the left in the video here.

Officer Dunn was one of the hundreds of officers who defended the capitol building and the lawmakers who were inside during the attack.


OFC. HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE DEPARTMENT: Here we are giving so much and putting our lives on the line to protect democracy and keep it, and we're being called racial slurs, traitors, and any just weapon that these people could use because they were upset about some things.


BLACKWELL: We know that there were many officers who were injured that day. He said he would put his life on the line for the people he was protecting.

But Tucker Carlson is accusing him of being an angry left-wing activist.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT": On Tuesday, Pelosi will call a Capitol Police officer, called Harry Dunn. Dunn will pretend to speak for the country's law enforcement community.

But it turns out Dunn has very little in common with your average cop. Dunn is an angry left-wing political activist whose social media feeds are full of praise, no coincidentally, for Nancy Pelosi.

Here is a picture of the two of them together.

"Racism is so American," Harry Dunn wrote in one post, "that when you protest it, people think you are protesting America. #leaveittowhitestotellblackswhatisracist, #istandwithilhanomar, #squad."

Harry Dunn, ladies and gentlemen. Just another fact-based witness to the insurrection.


BLACKWELL: He is checking people on facts.

The attorney for Officer Harry Dunn is with us, Mark Zaid.

Mark, thank you for being here.

I wonder, first, if Officer Dunn has seen or heard, read about what Tucker Carlson said, and if he has a reaction or response.


Unfortunately, it was Harry who alerted me to that, whatever one wants to call it.

When we are representing clients, we are out there to protect them and insulate them, so an attack on them is an attack on us.

They've gone through so much, not just physical trauma but emotional trauma.

And basically, what Tucker Carlson did last night was just to bring -- bring another day of attack, of January 6th, now into, what, whatever we are, July 20th, 21st, whatever date we are at.

BLACKWELL: You know, what Tucker said there was that Dunn is going to speak for the country's law enforcement community. In fact, that's not what he is coming to do. He is being asked to testify about his experience related to and on that day.

So what does he want the committee and, for that matter, the country to know about what happened that day?

ZAID: Right. There are going to be four witnesses opening up the select committee's investigation into January 6th, two Capitol Police officers, who I represent, and then two Metropolitan Police officers.

My clients are speaking on their own behalf. They're Capitol Police agency, of course, knows they will be testifying. I coordinate everything with them. We don't do anything to jeopardize their careers.

But they will be speaking in their own personal capacities.

Now, what Officer Dunn and Sergeant Ginell (ph), who will be sitting next to him, will speak for is what these officers experienced on January 6th in defending the capitol, Democrats and Republicans alike.

Maybe even Tucker Carlson's son, who I understand interns or works on the Hill for Congressman Banks.

And they will share their experiences as to how they almost lost their lives fighting an insurrectionist crowd.

BLACKWELL: I want you to react to what we heard from the new reporting.

It is a new recording from former President Trump, as part of the reporting from Carol Leonnig and Phil Rucker for their new book coming out on the last year of the Trump administration, in which the president offers this description of what happened on January 6th.

Let's play it.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): There was a lot of love. I have heard that from everybody. Many, many people have told me that was a loving crowd.

And, you know, it was -- it was too bad. It was too bad that, you know, that they got -- you know, that they did --



TRUMP: But my statement -- my statement --


LEONNIG: Mr. President, I apologize. What we're trying to understand is not blame, not castigate.

TRUMP: No, I understand.

LEONNIG: We want to understand, what did you want when you said go up there? What would you have dreamed for them to do?

TRUMP: I would have said that you will show -- not to go in, although they were ushered in by the police. I mean, in all fairness, the Capitol Police were ushering people in.

The Capitol Police were very friendly. You know, they were hugging and kissing. You don't see that.



TRUMP: But there's plenty of tape on that too, you know, because the Capitol Police were -- that's the way it is.

But I wanted -- I mean, personally, what I wanted is what they wanted. They showed up. Just to show support because I happen to believe the election was rigged at a level like nothing has ever been rigged before.


BLACKWELL: He says that Capitol Police ushered them in. There were hugs and kisses.

Let's show the video while I get your reaction. These are not hugs and kisses.

But, Mark Zaid, your reaction to what the president said?

ZAID: Yes. Listening to the president is like watching old episodes of "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits." It's not reality.

We all watched what happened that day. I have seen video and photographs that have not necessarily been made public and heard the stories from those that were there that day.

They were pelted by rubber bullets, hit with hockey sticks, hit by American flags, hit by bear spray, pepper spray, having their uniforms pulled, had severe injuries. Sergeant Ginell (ph) is going to be out for surgery shortly.

And they were yelling. The crowd was yelling to the officers that President Trump sent them there, that they were there for President Trump, that the officers should join them and fight for President Trump and democracy, that they should kill Speaker Pelosi and Vice President Pence.

And these officers did not let these insurrectionists into the capitol. They broke through the windows with force. They broke through the doors. They broke through the lines.

The Capitol Police held what they could. Thank god the Metropolitan Police Department helped them out.


ZAID: Significant.

And, you know, you will see videos I think on Tuesday and certainly in the coming prosecutions that make that clear. I mean the images do speak for themselves. I will agree with the president on that.


ZAID: Watch the images.

BLACKWELL: Yes, certainly not --


ZAID: This certainly --


BLACKWELL: Not being - certainly, not being ushered in by Capitol Police.

Attorney for Officer Harry Dunn who will be testifying before the select committee investigating the January 6th insurrection.

Thank you so much for your time, Mark.

ZAID: Thank you, Victor.

CAMEROTA: OK. Victor, we have breaking news right now. Just in, the NFL has a new strategy to prevent COVID outbreaks in the season ahead. And it could have a big impact on teams and their records. We'll tell you what is happening.

BLACKWELL: But first, this programming note. From Michael Scott in "The Office" to Jack of "30 Rock," find out the inspiration for some of your favorite characters, the horrible bosses on the next episode of "THE HISTORY OF THE SITCOM," Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern here on CNN.



CAMEROTA: We do have some breaking news. The NFL has just informed teams that if one team has a COVID outbreak among its unvaccinated players, and that game cannot be rescheduled, the infected team will forfeit and be credited with a loss.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Tom Foreman has the details of this.

This apparently is a plan to incentivize vaccinations. This is if you watched last season, it could be big for the league.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this could be huge. In football terms, this is a big-time blitz.

What they're doing is putting enormous pressure on the teams to, in turn, put pressure on their players to say, you need to get vaccinated, that means everyone.

Last week, news that at least two NFL teams had not even reached the 50 percent level in terms of vaccinating their players. Now league- wide, it's at 78 percent of the players vaccinated.

It's very clear from this kind of pressure that the league wants to say everybody get vaccinated, everybody take this seriously. We played the entire season last year, but we can't have this happen

again as a problem this year.

And by the way, if they can reschedule the game during the regular season, apparently this won't apply. If they can't, that's when these rather draconian measures kick in.

CAMEROTA: Tom, the team with the outbreak will also be responsible financially for what happens?

FOREMAN: Yes. This is a big deal. If you cancel a game, if they cannot play the game in the regular season, if it can't be rescheduled, nobody gets paid on either side.

But the side that caused the outbreak not only has to figure out what they're going to do about all their lost money, but they have to pay the other team for all the money they lost.

Think about what these players get paid. This is not inconsequential. If you have a bad outbreak that's not one week but it's two weeks, on and on and on it could go.

I don't have a doubt about what this really is. This is the NFL saying this is how we're going to mandate that you have to be vaccinated. That's the way to go forward.

Which also, in an interesting way, sends a ripple out through the stadiums and to the fans to say, look, this is about everybody getting vaccinated. It's the smart thing to do. It's the only thing to do.


If you love football, America, go get vaccinated. And if you want to play football, you really better get vaccinated.


CAMEROTA: Tom Foreman, thank you very much --


CAMEROTA: -- for that breaking news.

BLACKWELL: Also, knows his team.


BLACKWELL: Thanks, Team.

CAMEROTA: He's on our team.

BLACKWELL: All right, new warnings today as the pandemic is really taking hold of the unvaccinated in America. One expert said that Alabama is at the start of a major climb in cases. But that is not the only state that's causing concern for the rest of the country. CAMEROTA: We also have a quick note for you now. CNN is opening up our

video archives to the public for the first time, offering you the opportunity to own a piece of history digitally.

These collectibles, know becoming well known as NFTs, have just been released. They feature the moment, for instance, when CNN called the presidential election in 2020 for Joe Biden. Also the moment in 2016 when they called it for Donald Trump.

There are 1,000 available of each of these moments. Find out more at

You also get this framed piece of it. The numbers here are changing in real time.

BLACKWELL: That is legit fancy, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: That is legit cool, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it is.

CAMEROTA: OK. More on that.