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Delta Variant Fuels 65 Percent Jump In New Infections Across U.S.; CDC: Pace Of People Becoming Fully Vaccinated Hits Another Low; NFL QB Won't Say Vaccination Status, Inaccurately Cites HIPAA; First Olympic Medals Awarded Amid New Cases; Trump Holds Rally In Maricopa County, Arizona, Where An Audit Is Underway; Pelosi Considers Adding Republican Adam Kinzinger To January 6 Select Committee; Bumble Match Turns In January 6 Suspect Who Allegedly Whipped Police. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 24, 2021 - 16:00   ET





JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. A sudden about face as the highly contagious Delta variant fuels a rise in hospitalizations and a 65 percent jump in new coronavirus cases. It was enough to cause many GOP leaders to stop coddling the unvaccinated.

The Republican governors of Alabama, Missouri, West Virginia and Florida this week all stressing the need for more vaccinations but stopping short of stricter COVID protocols. And congrats to any Republican who finally decided it was in vogue to be a cheerleader for the vaccine, but where was that team spirit months ago?

Politics are a big part of how we got here. As a barometer, look at Canada, 69% of those who supported Canada's Conservative Party have gotten at least one dose, much more than the 52% of Donald Trump supporters here in the US. Now, look at how the US has rapidly falling behind Canada in vaccinations. Less than 600,000 vaccine doses are being administered daily. Now, that's down from a peak of more than 4.5 million a day in March.

We've heard plenty of reasons why people aren't willing to get a shot. Our Elle Reeve caught up with a woman in Arkansas.


ELLE REEVE, CORRESPONDENT: Did anyone you know get COVID?


REEVE: How old is he?

STARR: Eight.

REEVE: Wow. So that's like pretty rare for like a young kid. What was that like?

STARR: He was sick a lot. He's been sick a lot for a while and he's still sick. So wanted to be getting looked at and see if there's further damage, I don't know. I mean, he's he got real sick, fever every day for weeks.

REEVE: Are you guys going to get the vaccine?

STARR: No, no vaccine.

REEVE: How come? I just don't trust the government.


ACOSTA: CNN's Gary Tuchman heard another woman's reasoning in Alabama, the state with the lowest vaccination rate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don't think that I need it so I'm not going to get it.

GARY TUCHMAN, CORRESPONDENT: I do know, though, that almost everyone out who's dying or being hospitalized is somebody who hasn't been vaccinated. The people who have been vaccinated, almost all of them, are not going to the hospital, not dying. Does that concern you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not really. I'm a healthy person. I don't have any underlying health issues. I'm not really concerned about it.


ACOSTA: A quick fact check, nearly all coronavirus deaths were among the unvaccinated, 99.2%. Let's hope this jarring fact speaks for itself and could help undo the damage before it's too late. Let's get right to CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He's a Professor of Medicine and Surgery at George Washington University. Dr. Reiner, great to see you.

We knew even with the vaccines widely available, there were still be these COVID flare ups. But did you expect it to be at the scale that we're currently seeing?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: No, because I didn't expect there to be this magnitude of vaccine refusal. Right now, about 65 million adults, all of whom are eligible to be vaccinated today are refusing or have not yet been vaccinated. That's equivalent to about the total population of 27 states. So in my wildest dreams, I never thought that seven months after the introduction of these miracle vaccines, that 65 million Americans would just say no.

ACOSTA: And Alabama's governor was very blunt about the COVID surge in her state in a way we don't really hear from Republicans. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KAY IVEY R), ALABAMA GOVERNOR: Folks suppose to have common sense, but it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks, the unvaccinated folks that are left in the state.


ACOSTA: The governor says she's doing all she can but one month after ending the mask mandate in Alabama, she signed a bill banning businesses from requiring vaccine passports with vaccine requirements being effective way you think to incentivize vaccinations. Do we need to start prodding folks into doing this now do you think, doctor?

REINER: Yes. And I think it's going to happen. I love that Governor Ivey said that people who have been vaccinated are the regular folks. He's stating pretty clearly that the folks who are now irregular are those who have chosen not to be vaccinated.

Look, we've tried carrots. We've tried lotteries around the country. We've tried to appeal to the better angels and people. But ultimately, I think the only thing that's going to work is essentially industry and government requiring people to be vaccinated. So we're starting to see that.

We're starting to see hospitals around the country require employees like our institution here at GW to be vaccinated. We're seeing universities require returning students to be come vaccinated.


I'd like to see the federal government mandate vaccinations for the United States military. I'd like to see governors like Governor Ivey, who has basically thrown up her hand saying, I don't know what else I can do, require all state employees to be vaccinated. There's a lot we can do. And once we start requiring vaccines, people will get them.

ACOSTA: And I want to ask you about this because I think you just tweeted about it a little while ago, and it's been in the sports headlines in recent days. A new tactic we're seeing is people hiding behind HIPAA when it comes to disclosing vaccination status. Here was NFL quarterback Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you gotten vaccine?

DAK PRESCOTT, DALLAS COWBOYS QUARTERBACK: I don't necessarily think that's exactly important clearance. I think that's HIPAA.


ACOSTA: Dr. Reiner, can you set us straight on this, please?

REINER: Yes. So HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It was signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, right at basically the beginning of the electronic medical record era. And it was way basically to help facilitate the easy transfer of medical information, but while protecting the privacy of people's medical records.

So basically, it prevents someone's doctor from releasing medical information, let's say to the media about their vaccination status without the permission of the patient. But it does nothing to prevent any individual either a quarterback or member of Congress, like the 97 GOP members who refuse to disclose their vaccine status. It does nothing to prevent them from telling the public anything they want to about their own health.

So when you hear somebody say, I'm sorry, this is HIPAA. They don't know what HIPAA means.

ACOSTA: All right. And do you think we're nearing or even at the point where if you're going to get vaccinated, or we're going to have your mind changed about vaccinations it would have happened by now? Is this baked in? I guess, is the question that I'm getting at. And how do you get people out of that mindset?

REINER: Yes. So a recent poll suggests that about 45% of the folks who have not yet been vaccinated, say they will not get vaccinated. And that's a tough nut to crack. But that gives us about 55% to work on. And I think those people will get vaccinated when they're prodded by their employees.

And just to set the record straight, the government is not forcing people to be vaccinated, but there are some jobs that can prevent you from working if you decide not to protect yourself or protect your colleagues or your customers. And I think we're going to see industry understand that requiring vaccines for their employees is a pro- business initiative.

Think about what the NFL just said. If there's an outbreak, that team is going to forfeit a game, and the owners will forfeit revenue and players will forfeit salary. So requiring vaccination, protecting your teammates is a pro business initiative. And I think once this starts to disseminate into the American business community, we'll see a big uptake in it.

ACOSTA: All right, let's hope so. We need to get people vaccinated out there because this is just not getting the job done, all right. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, great to see you as always. We appreciate it. Thank you very much.

And the second official day of Olympic competition is about to get underway after an action-packed Saturday in Tokyo. The first gold medal of the games went to China, which is currently leading the medal count with four, the US failing to medal on day one of a Summer Olympics for the first time in 49 years.

But now, a new controversy is brewing after a South Korean broadcast of Friday's opening ceremony contained offensive language and images. CNN's Will Ripley joins me now.

Will, I guess we always have one of these episodes that at the Olympics on the broadcast side. Tell us what happened. WILL RIPLEY, CORRESPONDENT: So, there is a typhoon approaching in the coming days, Jim, but the storm right now is online. People are furious about what the South Korean official Olympic broadcaster was showing in their graphics and on their pictures during the opening ceremony coverage. When I was reading it, I thought it was a joke but what you're about to see Jim actually did happen.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, a made for TV spectacle seen around the world. Big names like Naomi Osaka, bulging muscles like the Tongan flag bearer, beaming athletes in the Parade of Nations.

And now, one Olympics broadcaster accused of raining on that parade.


South Korea's MBC is triggering a storm of controversy online, apologizing for airing what they call inappropriate images and expressions Ukrainian athletes pictured alongside an image of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. A graphic describing how Haiti's political situation is fogged by the assassination of the president. Another calling the Marshall Islands once a nuclear test site for the US. When Italy walked on, they showed a pizza, for Norway, a salmon fillet, Team Romania, Dracula.

South Korean social media is blowing up says Seoul-based journalist Raphael Rashid.

RAPHAEL RASHID, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Everyone is saying that this is extremely embarrassing and has damaged Korea's image abroad.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Rashid's tweet about the cringe worthy captions went viral.

RASHID: Had South Korea being referred to as, say a former colony of Japan, it will be offensive. It will be an insult. And people are asking how could this have happened?

RIPLEY (voice-over): MBC issued a formal apology, the problematic images and on screen texts were prepared with the intention to introduce each country's team in a short timeframe and make them easily understood. However, it greatly lacked respect. The broadcaster promising a full review of its editorial process, vowing no more Olympic blunders.


RIPLEY: Some commentators in South Korea are saying, if they were going to show those tragic situations for those countries, why not show 911 when you're introduced in the United States or any other horrific event? I mean, it's mindboggling. It might have been a very well-intentioned intent to try to educate their audience but, obviously, incredibly tone deaf. Some of them amusing, some of them obviously quite offensive. ACOSTA: Yes. I mean, there's no question that really fell flat. I think they're going to have to go back to the drawing board in the graphics department there. Will Ripley, thank you very much. My goodness for that report, I still can't believe that was real. But thanks for that.

Coming out, Fox News and the pandemic of disinformation, how it's left a lot of people in desperate need of an injection of truth when it comes to vaccines.



ACOSTA: Sixteen months into this pandemic and it's time for an injection of the truth, and a rejection of the lies about the COVID vaccine.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If the vaccine is so great, wouldn't it sell itself? Why should people who have recovered from COVID-19, and there are millions of them in this country who are immune to the virus, why should they be forced to get the vaccine? What's the answer? What is the harm rate from the vaccine?


ACOSTA: If you're watching COVID coverage on Fox News these days, you may have come down with a case of whiplash. Some anchors like Tucker Carlson are spreading anti-vax hysteria, while others like Sean Hannity are finally dealing with the reality that vaccines are saving lives.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Please take COVID seriously, I can't say it enough. Enough people have died. We don't need any more deaths. Research like crazy. Talk to your doctor. I believe in science, I believe in the science of vaccination.


ACOSTA: That's great, except Hannity walked back those comments a few days later, saying he never told anyone to get a vaccine. And over at "Fox and Friends," Brian Kilmeade presented his line of thinking.


BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: If you didn't get a vaccination, that's your choice. And if you did, like I did and they did and maybe you did, then you should not wear a mask. And if you didn't, if you want to go cliff diving this weekend, you don't have to check with me. It seems a little dangerous but I'm not going to judge you. And if you go ahead and put yourself in danger, if you feel as though this is not something for you, don't do it, but don't affect my life. STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS HOST: 99% of the people who are dying from COVID are unvaccinated.

KILMEADE: That is their choice.

DOOCY: They don't want to die. So they are -- the administration and the government is saying we need the mask mandate to protect the unvaccinated.

KILMEADE: That is not their job. It's not their job to protect anybody.


ACOSTA: He just said something about cliff diving. Cliff diving? If you cliff dive and you die, you die just you. You don't take out the rest of your family. Here's where that analogy is a big belly flop.

Many of the most alarming spikes and COVID cases around the country are in areas with low vaccination rates. Nearly all of the patients who are being hospitalized with COVID right now are unvaccinated. That's right. People who had access to the vaccines but didn't get the shot are getting sick, and many of them are now dying.

A large number of those Americans reside in Trump leaning states, that's the reality, where people choose to get their information from outlets like Fox News. The same network that has been peddling lies about COVID for months while demonizing this nation's top scientists.


TUCKER: Tony Fauci is too big to question at this point. "Oh, my God," one Biden voter wrote to Tony Fauci back in March, "Is there anything I can do for you besides being grateful?" Wash my feet with your tears, Fauci may have responded. We can't say that he did respond that way for certain we don't have his reply.


ACOSTA: That's so foxed up, but Tucker is always foxing around, isn't he? That foxer. He really should talk to his buddy Neil just down the hallway.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: He has been vilified to the point that you think he was Lex Luthor. And I don't know how productive that is.


ROBERT LAHITA, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I think it's unfortunate that we have to attack an individual who has such an important role in our society.

CAVUTO: That just odd to me but I -- at his core, he is a good man, a good doctor and we will got to just step back and take the chill down.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: Yes, chill dudes. One reason for Fox's Fauci fever maybe they just can't handle the truth when the nation's top infectious diseases expert calls out misinformation. Remember what Dr. Fauci told us last week on this program?


ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR: We probably would still have smallpox and we probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that's being spread now.


ACOSTA: Personally, I like getting my COVID information from a leading scientist, just like you want to pilot flying the plane, or the best soldiers in the military to take out the bad guy. Don't hire the guy who's watched Red Dawn too many times. I get it.

I love that movies battle cry, "Wolverines." But seriously, the misinformation surrounding the vaccine is just playing nutty, considering the fact that the former president has been taking credit for the development of these life saving injections for months. And Trump has been doing that on, wait for it, on Fox.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES (via-telephone): And I would recommend it to a lot of people that don't want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly. It's a safe vaccine and it's something that works.


ACOSTA: You think that, after hearing that, Trump supporters would be lining up for their shots, which begs the question why not make Trump the vaccine salesman and chief?


PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Would President Biden ever call former President Trump can say I need your help, let's cut a PSA and tell people to go do it?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We've seen almost every former president play a role in putting out a PSA, making sure people understood in the country that the vaccine is safe and effective. We don't believe that requires an embroidered invitation to be a part of.


ACOSTA: Sounds like the White House is a bit hesitant about that, perhaps for good reason. What would that reason be? Maybe because Trump can't be trusted to stay on message, to say the least.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it's ultraviolet, or just very powerful light, and then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it up in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or, or almost a cleaning.


ACOSTA: And that's the problem. We are 16 months into a pandemic of misinformation. So many Americans don't know what to believe anymore. We've been injected with lies about masks, about vaccines, and about the virus itself. No wonder we have been a nation divided and dying. Consider what I heard from Trump's supporters at a rally in Michigan last September.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you not wearing a mask?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because there's no COVID. It's a fake pandemic created to destroy the United States of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not afraid. The good Lord takes care of me. If I die, I die.


ACOSTA: If I die, I die. Hold on, here's the thought. Don't die. Live, live. Is it really a surprise that so many people have bought into the lies about the vaccines in this country? There are the conspiracy theories that the vaccines are being used to track people with a microchip.

Not true. Or my favorite, that the vaccine will make you magnetic. I mean, it might get you more dates, but no. Your keys are not going to stick to you if you get the shot. Though, I used to be able to do the spoon trick when I was a kid. I was pretty good at it, but I digress.

Tens of millions of people eligible for the shot are still not vaccinated. That's where we are in this country right now. They could get the vaccine right now. But they're not going to do it. Here's a thought. Don't wait for Fox to get it story straight to save yourself or your family.


Fox and Friends is not going to become vaccine friends, folks. I got news for you. The lies are not going to save you. The truth will. I have an idea for the battle cry for this pandemic. It's not, "Wolverines," It's, "Vaccines."

Coming up, how Speaker Nancy Pelosi tries to beef up the bipartisan credibility of the January 6th Committee but with the clock ticking, it may be an uphill fight. That's next.


ACOSTA: Former President Trump's election lies are getting a megaphone tonight. He's holding a rally in Maricopa County, Arizona, where a sham of an audit is currently under way.

People with little to no experience auditing elections, checking ballots for bamboo fibers and hidden watermarks and who knows what else.

Seriously, though, Trump's diehard fans are certain this will prove the former president right.

Our CNN's Kyung Lah talked with some of his supporters at the rally last hour.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do you think about how the vote went down?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was stolen. It was completely stolen. Trump won in a landslide.

LAH: What do you think happened in 2020?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was fraud. Fraud. Fraud is a good word.

LAH: What brings you here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The election was stole from us. So we're here to support President Trump.

LAH: Do all of you agree? You're not certain about the election results?





ACOSTA: Joining me now, former Republican Congresswoman from Virginia, Barbara Comstock, and CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro.

First of all, ladies, great to see both of you this weekend. Thanks for coming on.

Congresswoman, let me start with you.

At the end of the day, is this what the Republican Party wants, its supporters, like you say with Kyung Lah, doubting the results of every election that comes along unless their candidate wins?

BARBARA COMSTOCK, (R), FORMER VIRGINIA CONGRESSWOMAN: No, this is very divisive and destructive.

What those people there in Arizona should listen to is in Lindsey Graham's speech on January 6th on the Senate floor where he said he heard these claims of 8,000 felons voting in Arizona, claims from the Trump team.

And he said just give me 10 examples of it. He said they gave him zero.

And Lindsey Graham himself, reportedly, and Carol Leonnig and Phil Rucker's book, told Trump the reason he lost Arizona is because of his constant attacks on John McCain.

He not only attacked John McCain before he died. He attacked him after.

So it's not surprising that many Republicans, like me, voted down ballot in Arizona for Republicans but didn't vote for Donald Trump.

So this is -- the Big Lie continuing is so destructive to the Republican Party.

To people like Governor Ducey, who certified the election and said this was fraud.

And would be a great leader for us to have in the Senate or continue to be a national leader but Trump makes it impossible for saying Republicans to run with his continued Big Lie out there.

ACOSTA: Ana, what do you think? What do you think the lasting effect of this audit will be for the Republican Party in Arizona?

It sounds as though it could become a litmus test. Republicans trying to win elections in that state may have to attach themselves to the results of this audit.

What do you think?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think most people have even forgotten -- most sane people -- let me rephrase -- have forgotten that this audit is going on, right?

Joe Biden has been president for over six months now. He swore in six months ago.

But the people who are not -- who are part of the Trump cult are putting all their eggs in this Maricopa basket. And there's people that actually believe that Trump is getting reinstated in August.

They can't tell you how, they can't tell you why, they can't give you any sort of legal precedent, they can't make a logical argument.

But the same way the Tooth Fairy shows up, they think there's going to be somebody showing up and spreading dust and Trump is going to be president.

And then we ask ourselves how is it possible that people are not getting vaccinated?

And it's because the Republican Party, so many in the base, are being held hostage and manipulated by demagogues. And so many of us hoped that that fever would break when Trump was no longer president.

But it hasn't broken because it's being continued by folks in what you aptly call the bullshit factory over at FOX News and other people who are capitalizing on this, exploiting it for their own political purposes or economic profit.

ACOSTA: Yes, and I have to say, Ana, your reference there to the Tooth Fairy, I hope if the Tooth Fairy comes to my house, we don't find Donald Trump under the pillow.

But let me turn to a different subject, Congresswoman.

I want to ask you about this committee that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put together for the January 6th insurrection investigation.

She's considering another Republican, Adam Kinzinger, to be added to this committee. Trump has been called a loser president by Adam Kinzinger and so on.


Do you think that helps the committee by adding Adam Kinzinger to it or might other Republicans just write it off as, well, the Republicans added to the committee are simply anti-Trump?

COMSTOCK: No. I think this committee is going to be very important and I think it's going to be good. I certainly hope Adam Kinzinger will be on it.

What's going to be important about this committee is who and what they subpoena.

We're already seeing from all these many books that came out that those closest to the president were telling him from early on right after the election that he had lost and that his legal cases were bogus.

Whether it was Attorney General Barr or his own legal counsel, Pat Cipollone, and many others who Rudy Giuliani and others were doing was ridiculous.

So what we're going to be able to see through this committee is in real time how Donald Trump's own staff were telling him that this was baloney and getting all those facts out both for history but for the American people so we can stop this grift, we can stop this Big Lie that's going on that's very destructive to the country.

And I'm so happy we're going to hear from the frontline heroes, these officers that day who put their lives on the line to save the capitol, to save members of Congress and their staff. They are heroes.

Kevin McCarthy and others called them heroes that night and they were applauded, standing ovation on the House floor. Yet, now you have some Republicans who won't even shake the hand of a Michael Fanone. This is disgraceful.

So I think this committee is going to be very important.

It is going to be bipartisan because already you have Liz Cheney on it. You also have Adam Kinzinger.

But the facts are going to be bipartisan. And the records when they come out are going to show you that those closest to Donald Trump told him that what he was doing was absurd.

ACOSTA: Ana, where do you see this committee going? And what are you hoping to learn in this process?

NAVARRO: Look, I'm hoping for some immediate facts. I'd like to know exactly how this happened and why this happened, where the failures were.

I'm also hoping on the long term for some recommendations so that it doesn't happen again.

And if the Republicans are what they used to be, the law enforcement party, the ones who talk about blue lives matter, they owe it to the Capitol Police and to those people who were beaten and harassed and abused on January 6th to find some answers.

I think Nancy Pelosi should not only consider appointing Adam Kinzinger but also bring in more Republicans in other roles, advisory roles, staff roles.

I think there should be a place for somebody like a Bill Hurd, who brings CIA experience, you know, security experience, or a Mike Rogers, who was chair of the Homeland Security committee for many years, or a Barbara Comstock.

Some rational Republicans who are there for one purpose, not for partisan purposes but for finding the truth.

ACOSTA: And I'm out of time.

But, Congresswoman Comstock, have you been talked to about serving on the committee? Has that come up, very quickly?

COMSTOCK: I don't expect to but I've already been volunteering my time to help the officers and to help, whether it's Adam or Liz, to make sure that anything I can do, to help to get to the truth because I think it's important.

And I do think we'll be able to subpoena the records that will show really a lot of the facts that we already know. But it's important to get it into the history record.

People like Mark Meadows, Ivanka, Jared, the Trump family, the people who were there that day with him, they need to have their records subpoenaed. They need to have depositions taken. And they need to be sitting before the American people acknowledging

what we've already read in books, that we know that they have said.

ACOSTA: Yes. I think that would go a long way in convincing people, but I'm not so sure it's going to convince everybody.

Former Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, Ana Navarro, great conversation. Appreciate it.

COMSTOCK: Thank you.

NAVARRO: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Great to talk to both of you.

Our Wolf Blitzer will have special coverage of Tuesday's hearing beginning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. You're not going to want to miss that.


Coming up, it's not a match. A capitol rioter looks for love online and then gets busted by the FBI.


ACOSTA: A former DEA agent has been charged with bringing a gun to the capitol grounds on January 6th and allegedly lying to the FBI about why he was there.

He pushed that allegedly made-up story on America's primetime showcase for January 6 misinformation.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT": Did you do anything criminal that day?

MARK SAMI IBRAHIM, FORMER DEA AGENT ARRESTED FOR ACTIONS DURING INSURRECTION: No, not at all, Tucker. I never even stepped foot on the stairs of the capitol building.

Truth be told, I wasn't even going to go to the rally that day. A friend I served in Iraq with asked me to help him get there for documentation purposes. We were just spectators.


ACOSTA: The DOJ, though, has released images of him, quote unquote, "spectating that day" on the peace monument and holding a "liberty or death" flag and flashing his DEA badge.

CNN's Marshall Cohen is here with us now.

Marshall, break down these charges for us. Looks like he's facing some serious legal jeopardy here.

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Jim. The Justice Department thinks that they have totally caught him in a lie.


So I'll tell you quickly what he said on FOX and I'll tell you what they say is the truth.

You just saw the clip with Tucker Carlson. He told the story that his FBI buddy invited him to come across the country to D.C., on January 6th to officially document what was going on and help, in his words, catch the criminals.

OK, so it's a very valiant effort serving your country. He was a DEA agent at the time.

He also said that he was fired for all of this, for showing his support of Donald Trump.

In the charging documents this week -- we read them over -- very different story.

The FBI interviewed that buddy of his. He told them that this was a cover story and that he literally used the phrase "covered his ass."

That Mark Ibrahim, this DEA agent, made up this story, told it on FOX News and just made it up so he wouldn't get in trouble.

He also said that he was planning to resign anyway from the DEA and launch his own podcast.

So some of the reality is starting to come into focus here. They asked him when he was interviewed, did you flash your badge? Did you flash your gun? He said no. The pictures show that he did.

He was charged with lying. He was charged with some other crimes. He now has to face the music.

ACOSTA: Very much so.

We've also just learned of another insurrection arrest. The suspect was seen on tape whipping Capitol Police and he was reported by a match on a dating app. What have you learned about that?

COHEN: It's funny, but it's also not so funny. Right?

ACOSTA: No, not at all. Right.

COHEN: Sure. He was on Bumble. This guy's name is Andy Taake, from Texas. He was at the capitol on January 6th.

There's video of him, according to the Justice Department, whipping police with a metal whip. There's footage of him using pepper spray against a line of officers defending the capitol.

But that wasn't all that he was doing in Washington. According to the charging documents, he was also swiping on the dating app Bumble, got a match. The conversation turned to January 6th and he said that he was there.

He said he was there peacefully. He told this person he was there peacefully. They went to the FBI. He was arrested. The rest is history.

ACOSTA: He swiped right into the hands of federal investigators.


ACOSTA: Marshall Cohen, thanks for that great stuff. We appreciate it.

Coming up, the former president's long-time ally, Tom Barrack, out of jail just days after prosecutors warned he was a flight risk. We'll break that down next.



ACOSTA: A long-time ally of former President Trump is out of jail after being indicted on charges of illegal foreign lobbying. Tom Barrack, who served as the chair of Trump's Inaugural Committee, was released after posting $250 million in bail.

Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor and author of "Hatchet Man, How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor's Code and Corrupted the Justice Department," joins us now.

Elie, great to see you, as always.

One viewer wants to know about this: How likely is it that Tom Barrack might cooperate with prosecutors?

I think that's the question on a lot of folks' minds right now. That would be interesting.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's a big question, Jim. Barrack is in a tough spot. He's been charged with illegal foreign lobbying and with obstruction of justice.

We can't know what a person is going to do when it comes to cooperation, it's an intensely difficult personal decision.

But if we look at his incentives here, he's looking at serious charges. The evidence laid out in the indictment is really powerful. It's almost entirely Barrack's own words in emails.

He's 74 years old. If he gets convicted, he'll go to jail several years.

Very interesting development yesterday, as you said. Prosecutors went from saying he cannot be released on bail, he's too much of a flight risk, to now we're OK with it.

That could mean he's posted enough bail they now have some assurance he won't take off. But there's also a chance it could be part of an agreement that he'll

come in and cooperate. I've done that a few times. It's not common. But that could be the case.

We're in wait-and-see mode now, but the stakes are really high.

ACOSTA: They really are. Another viewer asks the defendant in the January 6 felony case was sentenced to eight months, which seems lenient.

Will that sentence impact other defendants who are sentenced in the future? A lot of us were shocked.

HONIG: I agree it was light. The early cases do tend to set precedent and set the market. But each case needs to be evaluated on its own.

Important detail out of this case, the judge noted that this defendant had fully accepted responsibility.

So future defendants who continue to cling to the Big Lie or claim they didn't do anything wrong or nothing really happened at January 6, they could be punished as a result.

It's important here these sentences need to promote deterrents. Judges need to send a message here.

That's a proper purpose of sentencing, that you cannot get away with this and any future efforts to do anything, like January 6 will be met with severe punishment.

I don't think this judge did that, but we'll see what judges do in future cases.

ACOSTA: And this week, the NFL issued a warning saying a COVID outbreak among unvaccinated players could lead to a forfeit and even a missed paycheck.

One viewer wants to know: Can a private company tell -- like the NFL issue policies that tell people to get vaccinated or punish people who are unvaccinated?

What do you think?

HONIG: Almost certainly yes, Jim. We've known over a century that states and governments can issue mandatory vaccine laws.

The NFL is not a government. It's not public. It's private. So if anything, they have more leeway.

Also important detail here. The NFL is not mandating vaccines, they are strongly incentivizing vaccines and potentially punishing people who don't get it.


But the NFL does that all the time. One of their jobs is to protect players' safety, Jim.

If we see a legal challenge here -- not clear we will -- I think it will not succeed in court. I think the NFL's policy will stand.

ACOSTA: Fascinating.

I think that got everybody's attention. If the NFL could help out and fix this vaccination issue, it's certainly going to be welcomed by a lot of Americans.

Elie Honig, thanks so much. Great insights as always. Appreciate it.

HONIG: Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: As we head to break -- thanks so much -- a quick programming note. Tomorrow, on CNN's original series, "THE HISTORY OF THE SITCOM," we revisit the office-themed shows where characters were working for less. That new episode airs tomorrow night at 9:00 right here on CNN.