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House Select Committee Hearing Begins in Coming Hours; CDC: Many U.S. Stats Have High Levels of Transmission; Inside a Florida Hospital Facing a Surge of Covid Patients; COVID-19, Tropical Storm Put a Damper on Olympics; Contentious Day of High-Level Talks in Tianjin. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired August 2, 2021 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and right around the world. I'm Isa Soares in London.
Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, we are just hours away from the House Select Committee's first hearing on the January 6 insurrection where lawmakers will hear testimony from police officers who struggled to defend the U.S. Capitol. Plus --
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REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): The delta variant is so infectious that essentially it finds the unvaccinated.
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SOARES: In crisis mode, health officials across the United States are sounding the alarm echoing warnings of surging cases and low vaccination rates.
And a heroic effort to safe her baby and her mother, we'll hear from the police officers who rescued them from under a car.
Hello everyone, happy Tuesday, thanks for joining us. In just a few hours, a handful of lawmakers will begin their investigation of the January 6 Capitol on the U.S. -- the attack on the U.S. Capitol and it will further highlight the deep political divide in Congress. The House Select Committee will hear from four police officers who battled insurrectionists who tried to stop certification of the Joe Biden's victory. Newly released videos are expected to show even more evidence of just how violent, as well as dangerous the assault actually was. Many Republicans still loyal to Donald Trump have consistently opposed the investigation. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has lashed out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi and as well as two Republican members she chose for the panel. More now from CNN's Ryan Nobles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's over. RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The House select committee designed to investigate the January 6th insurrection is preparing for their first hearing. The hearing will feature police officers who were on the frontlines defending the Capitol on that day, like Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone.
MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: We don't get to, you know, address and face the reality that it was a political insurrection, which was incited by former President Donald Trump, then I don't think that we're going to be able to move forward as a nation.
NOBLES (voice-over): The committee will also unveil never before released video of the violence and chaos on that day as they begin their task of getting to the bottom of what led to the riots.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We will find the truth. That truth will have the confidence of the American people.
NOBLES V: But despite that mission, the committee's work is being overshadowed by a bitter partisan feud. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy attacking his fellow Republicans Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney for accepting roles on the panel.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Who is that? Adam and Liz? Aren't they kind of like Pelosi Republicans?
NOBLES (voice-over): McCarthy pulled off five of his GOP picks after Speaker Nancy Pelosi vetoed two of them, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, because she believed they would distract from the committee's work. That showdown led to a contentious call between the two leaders, further damaging their already fractured relationship.
MCCARTHY: Well, I think it was contentious, yes, because I don't think -- I don't think the speaker doing something unprecedented to Congress.
NOBLES (voice-over): Some Republicans now want McCarthy to attempt to strip Cheney and Kinzinger from their other committee assignments, an effort Democrats can block.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are the applause.
NOBLES (voice-over): The threat and the attacks by McCarthy did not seem to face the duo.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Look, it's very serious business here. We have important work to do, and I think that's pretty childish.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): If the conference decides or if Kevin decides they want to punish, you know, Liz Cheney and I for getting to the bottom and telling the truth, I think that probably says more about them than it does for us.
NOBLES (voice-over): Meanwhile, Republicans are hatching a plan to counterprogram tomorrow's hearing. Democrats have promised that the committee's work will not be interrupted. REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): That ought not to be a partisan issue. Truth ought to be an intellectually honest pursuit. And that's what Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are going to do.
NOBLES: And as this committee gets set to begin their work on Tuesday, House Republicans are doing everything that they can to undermine the effort. The minority leader Kevin McCarthy planning a press conference for 8:00 a.m. before that group begins their work and also other Republican members including Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene and others, planning a press conference in front of the Department of Justice where they are calling for an investigation into what they are calling the prisoners of January 6th.
Those are the rioters that were arrested by law enforcement in the days and weeks after the insurrection took place.
Ryan Nobles, CNN on Capitol Hill.
SOARES: Well, two members of the select committee say the hearings will reveal the extent of the violence and the threat the insurrection imposed to U.S. democracy. Take a listen.
RASKIN: We're going to kick it off with law enforcement, which to me is like the moral center of gravity of the whole thing. Because these were hundreds of our officers on the Capitol Force and D.C. Police Force who were being beaten with baseball bats and Trump flags and confederate battle flags. The truth is going to come out and this is a democracy, and you can't have a democracy without the truth. And so, you know, they can attack their own colleagues in the Republican caucus. They can attack Democrats, but they're not going to stop us from moving forward.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): At the end of the day what this insurrection was about, was about a large group of people unwilling to accept the results of a democratic election and willing to use violence to have their way. And that is a very dangerous sign that our democracy is on thin ice. And one of the things that I hope that we will shed light on is how our country got to this point as well as how we got to January 6th. But what we need to do going forward to put our democracy on more solid ground. We fully suspect that they might choose some distraction tomorrow. It will only sharpen the contrast between the Democrats and Republicans on the select committee and their genuine desire to get to the truth and facts and this clown show that has become the GOP wedded to this grifter in the form of the former president.
SOARES: And you can find more information about the creation of the select committee and how its members were chosen at CNN.com. And CNN will bring you live coverage of the hearing starting at 2:00 p.m. if you are watching in London, 9:00 p.m. in Hong Kong.
Now, COVID-19 infections in the United States are rising at an alarming rate despite the availability of multiple vaccines. Officials in Baltimore, Maryland, say cases climbed 115 percent in the last four weeks. Have a look at this chart. Former CDC director warning it may only get worse from here, take a listen.
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DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: We're heading into a rough time. It's likely if our trajectory is similar to that in the United Kingdom that we could see as many as 200,000 cases a day four times our current rate within another four to six weeks. And although we won't see the horrific death tolls that we saw last spring because 80 percent of people over the age of 65 are vaccinated, you will see a steady increase in deaths, and these are preventable deaths.
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SOARES: Dr. Thomas Frieden there. Well as cases rise, many are taking action. Hundreds of bars in San Francisco will require 5proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to get through the doors, that starts on Thursday.
Meantime, dozens of medical groups in the United States are calling for all health care employees to be fully vaccinated, something California is about to require beginning next month. All state employees and health care workers must get their shots or get regular testing. And the Department of Veteran Affairs will require many frontline workers to be vaccinated, the first federal agency to do so.
Meantime we're following a troubling development across many southern states in the U.S. where vaccination rates remain relatively low. According to the CDC, every county in Florida has high level of community transmission of COVID-19. Also, Florida accounted for nearly a quarter of all COVID cases in the U.S. over the past week. And as CNN's Randi Kaye reports, hospitals there are overwhelmed as cases surge.
TAMMY DANIEL, CHIEF NURSING OFFICER, BAPTIST HEALTH: The increase started happening so quickly, and it's multiplying so fast every single day. We can't open a bed fast enough to meet the demands.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): We met Chief Nursing Officer, Tammy Daniel in Jacksonville's Baptist Medical Center on one of the hospital's COVID floors, where those battling COVID are kept in special rooms reserved for patients with infectious diseases. Baptist is now treating 389 COVID patients. That's an increase of about 11 percent from last week, 83 of the patients are in the ICU and on ventilators fighting to survive. Baptist says more than 99 percent of the infected patients here are not vaccinated.
5And Dr. Michelle Aquino says those getting really sick are younger, too. DR. MICHELLE AQUINO, BAPTIST MEDICAL CENTER, JACKSONVILLE: I've admitted perfectly healthy 19-year-old woman, OK, a perfectly healthy, 25-year-old. So, you're seeing these healthy people that are walking around saying, I don't need a vaccine, I'm fine. If I get COVID I'll be fine, and that's not true. For the delta variant, we're really seeing that is not true.
KAYE (voice over): About 44 percent of the COVID patients here are under the age of 50 according to the hospital.
MICHAEL MAYO, PRESIDENT AND CEO, BAPTIST HEALTH: Our average age right now is at the 50-year-old mark and have seen patients infected with serious respiratory problems as young as in their 30s.
KAYE (voice over): And once patients are seriously ill, it's too late to get the vaccine until they recover. But that hasn't stopped many from begging for it.
DANIELS: We're getting ready to intubate the patient in the ICU, which means putting them on a ventilator. And they said if I get the vaccine now, could I not go on the ventilator? So, I mean they're begging for it. They're desperate because they're gasping for air. They can't breathe. They are scared. They feel like they're going to pass away.
KAYE (voice over): In room 434, we find Francisca who tells me that her whole family has COVID, none of them got the vaccine.
FRANCISCA: I feel bad.
FRANCISCA: Yes, I cannot breathe good. I have shortness of breath. I feel sorry about not getting a vaccine.
KAYE: You're sorry. You're sorry you didn't get the vaccine. Do you -- do you think you would be here if you had gotten the vaccine?
KAYE (voice over): Down the hall, this patient is also unvaccinated.
KAYE: You were more concerned about the vaccine than the disease, and now you say you regret it.
MARIBEL: Yes, exactly. That's correct. That's right.
KAYE: You wish you had gotten the vaccine?
MARIBEL: Yes, exactly.
KAYE: You probably wouldn't be here.
MARIBEL: Yes, exactly. KAYE (voice over): Same story for Marico. He is 49, unvaccinated, and full of regret about not making the vaccine a priority when his doctor offered it.
KAYE: So, you're going to get the vaccine now.
MARICO: Yes, ma'am.
KAYE (voice over): Frustration is high among staff here since they know it doesn't have to be this way.
KAYE: Have you lost patients?
AQUINO: Yes, we've all lost patients here in the last few weeks. When you see someone who is 39, otherwise healthy, didn't get vaccinated for whatever reason, usually not a great reason to be honest. And then they come in here and they die from complications of COVID.
KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.
SOARES: So sad to hear these stories. Well, an official at another Florida hospital tells CNN his team is overwhelmed by the increasing number of COVID patients and they need more help. Take a listen.
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CHAD NEILSEN, DIRECTOR OF INFECTION PREVENTION, UF JACKSONVILLE: We had a previous surge in cases back in January of 2021 and we thought that it wouldn't get worse than that particularly with the vaccination coming out. But as of this point, we are seeing near cases doubling in just a week's time in our hospital. We're seeing an 8 percent to 10 percent rise almost every day in new COVID-19 admissions and it is starting to overwhelm our staff and our resources.
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SOARES: He said his staff needs more funding to hire nurses to make up the staffing shortages. They also need and more logistical resources from the government he says.
To Tokyo now where a tropical storm is threatening outdoor conditions at the summer Olympics. It's expected to make landfall later tonight local time, but plenty of medals have been handed out especially for swimming. The U.S., Japan, China and Russian athletes leading the medal count as you can see there. The United States 21 medals.
But the threat of COVID, as you can see, is still ever present. Olympic organizers say at least 160 cases have been linked to the Tokyo games so far.
Meanwhile that tropical storm is forcing some schedule changes. Rowing and sailing events will be held later this week while surfing was also moved up. CNN's meteorologist Pedram Javaheri will have more on the storm's track. Blake Essig is standing by in Tokyo. We begin with CNN World Sport Patrick Snell in Atlanta. In Patrick, good morning to you. A major upset for anyone waking up this morning in the tennis courts.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Indeed, a very good morning to you as well, Isa. This big story dominating from Tokyo this day, Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka eliminated from the women's singles tournament, this in the round of 16. Really is a huge shock for the four-time Grand Slam champion who likely never saw this one coming. The 23-year- old -- remember just for added context here with that iconic image of her, didn't we. When she lit the Olympic caldron at the opening ceremony on Friday. Well, Osaka losing to my God Marketa Vondrousova ranked 42 in the world from the Czech Republic. Osaka competing in her first every Olympics, too, going down in straight sets 1-6, 4-6 having been a breakup in the second set as well.
Well, Osaka has been in the news a lot -- hasn't she this year. In recent months having pulled out of the French Open in Paris, then Wimbledon citing mental health issues but elected to play in Tokyo. But a major upset there. No question at all.
So much more has been going on this Tuesday away from tennis. The Olympics have seen teenagers really rising to new heights, Isa. We were talking about that this time 24 hours ago. The women's skateboarding competition Monday, three teams on the podium. Well earlier today, more teenage exploits.
Lydia Jacoby becoming the first ever American Olympic swimmer from Alaska to win gold. It came in the 100-meter breaststroke final. The 17-year-old shocking South Africa star Tatjana Schoenmaker who won silver. And U.S. superstar Lilly King in the end settling for bronze.
Meantime in the women's 100-meter backstroke, Australia's Kaylee McKeown taking gold and setting an Olympic record as well, with a time of 57.47. A really emotional victory for her, for the 20-year-old there.
And history in the making as for the first time since 1992, America's men have lost a backstroke race at the Olympics. Evgeny Rylov of the Russian Olympic Committee claiming gold. His compatriot Kliment Kolesnikov with silver in the 100-meter backstroke final. While the American Ryan Murphy, the world record holder no less, in bronze there.
And Great Britain celebrating gold and silver. This in the men's 200- meter free style as Tom Dean and Duncan Scott finishing first and second respectively. First time since 1908 that two male British swimmers have ended up on the Olympic podium together. Isa, back to you. Our congrats to that duo as well. What a story.
SOARES: Some records being broken right now. Thanks very much Patrick.
Let's head live now to Tokyo CNN's Blake Essig. And Blake, you know, athletes have so much to contend with, you've got a tropical storm on the way, staying focused on the job at hand, but also the rising, the surging COVID cases. BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Isa, look we just learned within
the last few minutes that today in Tokyo more than 2,800 cases were reported. To put that in perspective, that is the highest case count that has been reported on a daily basis since this pandemic began here in Tokyo. The previous record was about 2,400 cases back in January during the third wave. And we had heard from experts over the past month that warned as a result of the delta variant that cases in the 2,000s were possible next month, down the road.
But we're here and the reality is right now, cases are surging, you know, to the point almost out of control. And part of that, even though there is a current state of emergency in place, you see a lot of people out and about, people are gathering, you know, to celebrate the Olympics. And cases are surging. And so, it's hard to imagine that you're going to see that stop.
And we've talked to medical professionals too who say that the medical system is currently already straining. And so, unless things turn around, unless the state of emergency that has been in place for a couple weeks now starts to turn the tide, you know, Tokyo is in trouble.
That all being said, today we are looking at this tropical storm that is also impacting the Olympic Games. Several events including archery -- where I'm at right now -- rowing and sailing have been postponed. The storm is moving north. Moving very slowly, expected to impact Japan here within the next 24 hours and could potentially impact events over the next day or two.
SOARES: Blake Essig for us there. Thank you very much, Blake. Let's turn to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with the latest on this storm that Blake was mentioning. And Pedram, as you saw his shot there -- Blake's shot, it looked sunny an hour ago. Today you can see in the last hour a cloud hovering -- a dark cloud hovering just above.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. You know, we had tremendous rainfall earlier in the day across Tokyo, in fact the wettest day we've seen in Tokyo going back for the past three weeks, was earlier today. So, impacts of the storm certainly, being felt and this was a system that initially had the potential to directly impact Tokyo but now a few hundred kilometers to the north making landfall near Sendai. Some were well north of this region. And that is where the heaviest rainfall is going to be centered. That's the concern of course.
We know some of the events, the outdoor activities there have been rescheduled now to move them out of the path of this particular storm. But high temperatures coming in at 32.1 Celsius, that's around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures here are the coolest in about two weeks' time. So, it kind of speaks to how hot it's been across this region. But a 90-degree afternoon is the coolest we've felt in weeks across the area, and it will be short lived.
The system again, working its way to the north by tonight into tomorrow morning. Across Tokyo expect above average temperatures once again to return and that's the concern moving forward. And of course, it is still very early in the tropical season. So, this wasn't a menacing feature. It wasn't a category three or four or anything along those lines, but still producing quite a bit of rainfall, winds up to 100 kilometers per hour or about 60 mile-per-hour gusts. So enough of weather in place especially north of Tokyo here to cause some disruptions and of course the activities as far as the venues are concerned around places such as Sendai and Miyagi Stadium where the football teams play, that is another area that folks have been on alert because of the storm system.
And you'll notice heat once again, returns and we expect the thunderstorms to be possible each of the next several days -- Isa.
SOARES: Pedram Javakheti, do keep us on top of that storm. Thanks very much, Pedram, great to see you.
Now, it was a contentious day of talks between the U.S. and China on Monday. Just ahead, what the U.S. confronted Chinese officials about and why it is getting under their skin.
And a landmark verdict has just been handed down in Hong Kong, how it could change the course of free speech in the city. Both those stories just ahead. You are watching CNN.
SOARES: U.S. financial markets are hoping to build on Monday's momentum as you see. But futures indicate a lower open today just slightly expected to open lower. Monday the Dow closed above 35,000, a fresh first crossed on Monday. The Nasdaq was virtually flat -- as you can see there, and the S&P 500 gained a quarter of a percent. Lots happening. We expect monetary policy today, an update on the fed. A busy week indeed.
Well despite recent highs on the stock market, dozens of business leaders are worried over the fate of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
So more than 140 of them from companies like United Airlines and Macy's, have signed a public letter to Congressional leaders. It expresses strong support for the bill's framework. The center piece of the Biden administration agenda is teetering on the brink of collapse with both sides of the aisle still far apart on a range of issues.
Well, the U.S. president has formally ending the American military combat mission in Iraq. Joe Biden has said it's time to focus on threats from today and not 20 years ago. But unlike the ongoing U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, this move comes as Iraq, and U.S. forces and actually leaving Iraq. The plan is fully to shift them to an advisory role by years end to help them Iraqi military fight ISIS. During a White House meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister -- as you can see there, President Biden vowed ongoing military, humanitarian and diplomatic support. Now China has been urging the Biden administration to lift all
unilateral sanctions and tariffs during high level meetings between the two countries in Tianjin this week. Talks between the world's two biggest economies were contentious with both sides trading barbs. And China accusing the United States of meddling in its internal affairs. CNN's Kylie Atwood has more for you.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's very clear that deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman bluntly raised U.S. concerns regarding actions that China has taken on a number of fronts in her meetings with Chinese officials. In the State Department readout, particularly pointing to specific concerns over human rights abuses, the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang, anti-Democratic crackdowns in Hong Kong and concerns about Beijing's actions in the cyberspace among other issues.
Now China clearly demonstrating that this is getting under their skin even before Wendy Sherman was finished with her meetings in China, the Chinese Foreign Ministry put out a statement saying that there appear to be a whole of government, whole of society approach to bring China down.
Now the Biden administration has repeatedly said that their approach towards China is multipronged, that they want to voice concerns over actions that China has taken particularly alongside U.S. allies to make that voice even stronger. But that they also want to maintain dialogue with China and that they want to work with China where there are areas of mutual interest.
Now Wendy Sherman pointed to some substantive conversations that were had in an interview with the "New York Times," but she said on that we will have to see where those go.
Kylie Atwood, CNN, the State Department.
SOARES: Now a hotline between the leaders of North and South Korea has been reconnected. And according to South Korean officials, the first call has been made. North Korea severed communication lines after walking away from nuclear negotiations last year. If you remember that the two leaders have been writing to one another since April and it was in one of those exchanges, they agreed to restore the hotline.
Still to come right here at CNN, a CNN exclusive report, missing witnesses, uncollected evidence, even death threats. New documents reveal the unusual challenges facing investigators looking into Haiti's presidential assassination. We'll have more on that.
And a longtime friend of Donald Trump who is deemed a serious flight risk shows up in court and enters a plea. The case against Tom Barrack, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:30:00]
SOARES: Now to some breaking news. The first person charged under Hong Kong's national security law has been found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession. The former waiter was accused of driving his motorcycle into three riot police while carrying a flag with the protest slogan "Liberate Hong Kong." CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is just outside the High Court in Hong Kong. And Kristi, of course, all eyes on this trial because it will radically transform the political and legal landscape of Hong Kong. Do you know how many years he will face in jail?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't know that just yet. The convictions are in, not the sentencing just yet. I'm standing outside the High Court here in Hong Kong where the landmark trial just wrapped up. The convictions are in for the first defendant under the national security law. 24-year-old Tong Ying-kit was found guilty of incitement to secession. That's a crime punishable with up to ten years in prison. He was also found guilty of terrorism a very serious offense. Under the national security law, he could be punishable up to life in prison. Earlier Tong pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Now it was on July 1, 2020, just hours after the national security law was imposed, when Tong Ying-kit, the defendant, was riding his motorcycle through the Wan Chai District while bearing a protest flag with a band slogan on it saying "liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times." He crashed his motorcycle into several police officers as they tried to stop him.
Tong Ying-kit during this trial was denied a jury. He was denied bail, a significant departure from Hong Kong's previous legal system. Also, the three judges who presided over this case were handpicked by leader of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam. Critics say that this case is part of a greater crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH CHENG, POLITICAL ANALYST: The crux of the matter is that the Hong Kong government would like to fully exploit the national security law to prosecute pro-democracy activists, accusing them of advocacy for independence, just justifying a severe crackdown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT (on camera): Western governments have slammed China for its tightening grip on Hong Kong. But Chinese officials are unwavering in their support for the national security law. Here is Carrie Lam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: I would honestly ask you what sort of freedoms have we lost? What sort of vibrancy has Hong Kong been eroded? If you look at the stock market, the property market and the technology sector, the startups, even athletes coaching now, they are all booming because of the support from the central people's government and because of the restoration of order and stability in Hong Kong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT (on camera): Since the national security law was imposed, the political landscape here in Hong Kong has fundamentally changed. As of July 26, we know 138 people have been arrested under the law including activists, protestors, pro-democracy and opposition lawmakers as well as students and journalists. Back to you -- Isa.
SOARES: And Kristi, on that point, what does this mean for freedom of speech? Because as you mentioned, for activists, for journalists like yourself.
STOUT: It adds an additional chilling effect. But look, there has been a rise in feeling that the voices of dissent are being slowed here in Hong Kong even before the verdict came out, even before this trial took place. The mass protests that we've seen during 2019 here at Hong Kong even before that, this once rebellious city, those scenes are over. In addition to that opposition voices have been silenced either because of arrests, disqualifications, or the fact that they have fled or just intimidated. And on top of that, press freedom has been under threat, self-censorship is on the rise here, especially among journalists. And sources who we try to talk to us on camera. And this will be further encouraged in this new reality after the verdict. Back to you -- Isa.
SOARES: Yes, very worrying indeed. Kristie Lu Stout for us in Hong Kong, thanks very much, Kristi.
Well, a landmark trial opens today as the Vatican. A prominent cardinal and nine others are accused of a list of financial crimes. The case against Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu centers around a controversial London land deal. The defendants say that they are simply patsies for the real culprit.
Now nearly three weeks after Jovenel Moise was shot dead in his home, there is no clear picture of how the attack unfolded or who was behind it. And now we may know why there has been such little progress. CNN has obtained a cache of documents from Haiti's justice ministry which revealed the roadblocks investigators are facing. CNN's Matt Rivers has this exclusive report for you.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The assassination of Jovenel Moise rocked Haiti and finding out who did it and why has become an all-consuming question on the island. But for some of the people investigating who took the president's life, it has meant risking their own lives to do so.
CNN has obtained a copy of a previously unseen formal complaint filed with Haiti's national police in which several Haitian court clerks, key figures in criminal investigations, detail the death threats they've received in the past few weeks. Hey clerk, you can wait for a bullet in your head, they gave you an
order and you keep on doing it read one text message.
The threat comes from someone anonymous, angry that the clerk has not followed certain instructions about whom and what to investigate.
RIVERS: The threats appear to be just one startling example of what appear to be consistent patterns of intimidation and a failure to follow procedure throughout the investigation into the president's death. CNN has spoken to multiple sources close to the investigation who detailed what they believe are clear attempts to block investigators and therefore, the public from finding out more about who killed the president and why.
RIVERS (voice-over): Starting just a few hours after the assassination around 7:00 a.m. outside the presidential residence. Sources tell CNN multiple court clerks were kept outside a police perimeter for more than three hours after arriving even while other law enforcement was inside. Normally experts on Haiti's legal system say clerks enter a crime scene right away to officially document any evidence and to take statements from key witnesses per Haitian law.
RIVERS: It's unclear why in this case they were delayed. But when they eventually did make it into the presidential residence just down the street behind me, sources tell us that not one of the roughly two dozen or so guards present at the time of the assassination were still there. Meaning no witness statements were immediately taken.
RIVERS (voice-over): Later on, that day, there was a fierce gunfight between Haitian security forces and some of the alleged assassins at this building. Multiple suspects were killed, all of whom were Colombian. Sources close to the investigation tell us court clerks were not immediately allowed into the shoot-out scene which would have been filled with evidence including we're told the bodies of the dead Colombians.
In an official document filed with Haiti's top prosecutor, clerks describe examining the bodies not here at the shoot-out site but here outside of an office building just down the road. That suggests the bodies had been removed from the crime scene before being processed. No official explanation of why that happened was given.
DR. CHRISTIAN EMMANUEL SANON: Where is the leadership of Haiti?
RIVERS (voice-over) him: A few days later authorities start to zero in on this man, Christian Emmanuel Sanon, as someone who allegedly recruited and helped organize some of these men seen here. The large group of Colombians and several Americans, Haitian officials allege carried out this crime. We haven't heard from them publicly. A source close to the investigation previously told CNN, Sanon told investigators he is innocent.
It was around this time that the anonymous phone calls started. According to the official complaint filed with police obtained by CNN, clerks received multiple threatening phone calls telling them to stop investigating two suspects in the case and remove them from their reports.
According to the complaint, the calls were followed by this text message, quote, they told you to stop going around searching people's houses in the president assassination case and you refused. You've been told to take out two names and you refused. We're watching you.
Sources close to the investigation tell us that the clerks were also told to add unrelated names to their reports, people who had no clear connection to the crime. It's unclear who made any of the calls or sent the text messages. And then there's what happened with the FBI. Special agents from the bureau invited in by Haiti's government went to the presidential residence about two weeks ago to collect evidence. Sources tell us the agents managed to find a lot including the megaphone used here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody back up, stand up.
RIVERS (voice-over): This is from the night of the assassination where one of the suspects is keeping people away from the scene by claiming that it was a DEA operation -- something the agency and Haitian officials repeatedly denied that it was. Sources tell CNN FBI agents were a little surprised to find so much evidence still at the crime scene and left wondering why Haitian authorities hadn't already collected it. Though sources added that they expect the FBI will have continued access to evidence that they requested.
RIVERS: Now CNN has reached out to multiple different Haitian government agencies seeking comment on this story. As of Monday night, we only heard back from one person, and that would be Haiti's top prosecutor who told us that many people involved in this investigation have actually received death threats including himself and that he would try and provide more security to investigators moving forward.
Matt Rivers, CNN.
SOARES: Matt Rivers there with that exclusive report.
Well, a longtime ally of former U.S. president Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal foreign lobbying. Tom Barrack is accused of failing to register his work with the United Arab Emirates. He's also being charged with obstruction and making false statements to the FBI. CNN's Kara Scannell tells us about his being caught, and why he was granted bail.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Tom Barrack entered a plea of not guilty in the courthouse just behind me on Monday, to charges that he was acting as an agent of the UAE to try to influence the foreign policy positions of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the administration. Now Barrack was released on bond today. The judge saying that he found
the agreed terms that they reached on Friday to be quite substantial, and he said that they were sufficient to mitigate the risk of flight. So, Barrack was released on a $250 million bond, that bond is secured by his ex-wife, his son and a former business partner. The judge had all three of those people participate in the hearing today to make sure they understood what was at stake if Barrack violated the terms of his release.
Now in addition to the bond, Barrack is also subject to GPS monitoring. That means he will be wearing an ankle bracelet. His travel is restricted in the U.S. to portions of California and New York and Colorado, and he can no longer fly on any private planes. And he's prohibited from making any overseas money transfers. Now his co- defendant in the case, Matthew Grimes, also pleaded not guilty today. He was released on a $5 million bond. After the court hearing, Barrack said, of course, I'm innocent of these charges and we'll prove that in court. Now both defendants are back, expected before a judge in September.
Kara Scannell, CNN, New York.
SOARES: Now European leaders are taking action as the Covid vaccination rate slows well the delta variant spreads. We'll bring you the new requirements ahead.
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SOARES: While the spread of the coronavirus delta variant across Europe is threatening another round of lockdowns, just as the vaccination rate appears to be slowing. The French Parliament has passed a law requiring proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, as well as bars.
Indoor dining in Ireland has reopened to fully vaccinated customers. The country is using the European Union's digital COVID certificates to verify people's vaccination status.
Scott McLean has the latest for us from here in London. And Scott, it seems that there are a lot of countries within Europe are starting to use more the stick approach rather than the carrot. How is it being received?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so Isa, at first Europe's biggest problem was supply of vaccines. Now the biggest issue seems to be demand. And so, many countries are now, as you say, using the stick approach to try to get people to get the vaccine and actually take it up. Telling people either get vaccinated or you will have to show a negative test to do basically, anything fun. Restaurants, bars, night clubs, theaters, that kind of a thing. Some countries are even saying that tests won't be good enough, you will have to get the vaccine.
France, Italy, Ireland, Greece just a few examples of countries starting to get tough. The U.K. for its part has dangled a lot of carrots, but now it's starting to get out the stick. It has done a remarkable job of getting almost 90 percent of the population at least partially vaccinated. But it is having one heck of a time to convincing that final 10 percent to actually get the shot.
And so, vaccination rates, you can see there, have really been slowing down at least for the first shot, over the last couple of weeks they've dropped now below 25,000 per day. And at that rate, if that were to continue hypothetically it would take eight months to vaccinate the final 10 percent of people with just one shot. That's about the same amount of time it's taken the other 90 percent to actually get vaccinated.
So, the U.K. is now considering requiring all university students to get vaccinated in order to attend classes. It's also considering vaccine passports for mass gatherings as well. But the urgent city of all of that, may well fall by the wayside if this trend continues and that's following infection rates.
The number of new cases has gone down by more than half in just the last ten days. Six straight days now we have seen declines. There are some explanations. Obviously, Brits are hoping that this is a long- term trend, but school is out so kids aren't mixing as much as they would be. Also, schoolchildren were required to have two lateral flow tests per week, and so one possible examination, Isa, is that this isn't actually a decrease in the number of cases, it is just a decrease in the number of tests that might otherwise pick up positive cases in a pretty unvaccinated part of the population.
HOLMES: Very good context there. Scott McLean, thank you very much, Scott.
Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, an incredible rescue caught on camera in New York State. Police and bystanders rushed to help a mother and her baby after a car ran them down. Coming up, hear from the officers who raced to save them. Back with that.
SOARES: Take a look at this. Huge wildfires continuing to ravage the Western United States and can easily be seen from the International Space Station. There are at least 85 large wildfires burning in 13 states right now. California's Dixie Fire, which started two weeks ago, is already the 15th largest in state history. And all told U.S. wildfires have burned almost 3 million acres this year. That's more than 1.2 million hectares.
Well, one still destroyed from these wildfires, a wildfire group was able to rescue this six-month-old black bear cub. His paws were buried in the fire near the California/Nevada border. He was treated with pain medications and fluids and is now recovering at a rehabilitation center in Lake Tahoe.
Now more than a month after the Surfside condo collapse the final victim has been accounted for. 54-year-old Estelle Hedaya was identified on Monday, her brother confirmed to CNN. She is one of 98 people killed when Champlain Tower South building collapsed suddenly last month. Crews have been working around the clock for weeks clearing debris and combing the rubble for victims. Officials say the focus will now shift to figuring out what caused the building to collapse in the first place.
Now we are hearing from two police officers who rushed to save a mother and her baby after an out-of-control car slammed into them and crashed through a store front window. CNN's Brynn Gingras has the story and a warning some of the video in her reporting is graphic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a baby under the vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's lift it up.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Quick thinking and a heroic rescue unfolding in a New York barber shop. An 8-month-old baby trapped underneath a car which seconds before slammed through the storefront.
OFFICER ROCCO FUSCO, YONKERS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Mom was in a little -- a state of shock, understandably, and she came to right away and told me that, she pointed under the car that the baby was underneath the car.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Yonkers Police Officers Rocco Fusco and Paul Samoyedy were eating nearby when this surveillance video released by authorities shows a car make a sharp turn, hitting parked cars and then barrel toward the mother holding her daughter in the street. Inside the shop, you can hear as the officers and others use their strength to free the mother and the little girl.
FUSCO: We weren't going to be able to move the car off of the baby, so the only way to get her out was to try to lift it up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got the baby.
OFFICER PAUL SAMOYEDNY, YONKERS POLICE DEPARTMENT: I was just glad we were able to react. As a father of four kids, it was really intensified the situation for me when I saw the baby under there and the arms moving, and not able to move any other direction away from the car.
GINGRAS (voice-over): The baby covered in motor oil, finally freed. She is suffering from a skull fracture and burns. She and mother are still in the hospital, but expected to be OK, and possibly even released later this week.
Behind bars right now, the driver of the car, 43-year-old David Poncurak, arrested for driving while intoxicated and vehicular assault. His attorney did not respond to CNN's request for comment. The dramatic video proving these two veteran officers, each with more than a decade on the force, are heroes.
FUSCO: I think the both of us in our careers have experienced some horrific scenes. I'm sure most of the bystanders and the people in the community haven't. But there was absolutely no hesitation. Everybody there did something to help.
GINGRAS: Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.
SOARES: Very heroic of them.
And that's it for me for this hour. Thanks for joining us at CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Isa Soares in London "EARLY START" is up next. Do stay right here with CNN. Have a great Tuesday, bye-bye.