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Gov. Cuomo's Atty.: Report That Governor Sexually Harassed 11 Women "Shoddy," "Biased," "An Ambush;" Aide Who Says Gov. Cuomo Groped Her Files Criminal Complaint; U.S. Averaging 100K Plus New Cases a Day as Delta Drives Spread. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 7, 2021 - 20:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The numbers of cases in our hospitals in children and our children's hospitals are completely overwhelmed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There seems to be this notion that children don't get sick from COVID. They do.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Children are heading back to school as the Delta variant rages across the country. And officials are aggressively urging anyone who is eligible to get their shots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're running out of time. You're absolutely running out of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't put this fire out right now with the weather conditions.

BROWN: California is facing some of the most dangerous wildfires in history was suffocating drought and intense heat, the flames now forcing 1000s in the states to evacuate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you receive an evacuation warning, please go. And if you receive an order, get out.

BROWN: And impeachment could become reality as support for Governor Andrew Cuomo dwindles. Tonight, his lawyer fired back against sexual harassment allegations.

GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: Thank you very much.

RITA GLAVIN, ATTORNEY FOR GOV. ANDREW CUOMO: We have a report that's not accurate. This was no Mueller investigation.


BROWN: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington and you are in the CNN Newsroom. Shoddy, unbiased and ambush, the personal attorney for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lashing out at the Attorney General's report that found the governor sexually harassed 11 women.

One of those women has filed a criminal complaint with the Albany Sheriff's Office claiming the governor reached under her shirt and groped her. So the political crisis that threatens his career now also places him at risk of criminal prosecution. And a wide-ranging interview with me, right here on CNN a short time ago, Governor Cuomo's attorney attack the credibility of the report.


GLAVIN: Because you have to look at what each of these people are saying and what each of these people are saying are not sexual harassment. There are facts they got wrong, important facts, particularly with respect to the woman who is claiming she was sexually assaulted. She most certainly was not. There was evidence that they collected and that they ignored and omitted putting in their report. And they also credited people that they know lied, and had motives to lie.

This is the problem that we are faced is that we have a report that's not accurate. That did not go through all of the evidence. This was no Mueller investigation. And I'm just telling you to say blaming the victim for the governor to deny what she has claimed is not victim blaming.

What I am doing is telling everybody that that report is shoddy, it is biased, it omits evidence. And it was an ambush. And they haven't shared all of their evidence.

So here's the thing, I -- from his perspective, and I do think you're going to hear this from him, he didn't believe it was inappropriate. He has seen what these women have said, and I know that he feels badly about this. And you're absolutely correct, Pamela, that he is the governor of the state of New York. And I don't -- you know, you do have to appreciate when you're in a position of power, and you have, you know, younger staffers, and the way he may have treated, you know, people he's had longer relationships, he's got to act differently. He said that repeatedly. And he's also talked about how he needs to -- you know, he does slip at times, he's not perfect, but yeah I get it.

BROWN: He does slip, when you say he does slip, what do you mean by that?

GLAVIN: Oh, he said it in his video, he said in his video statements, which is that, you know, he does make the mistake, he will say darling, he will say, sweetheart, he does ask people questions about their personal lives. He didn't think that that was improper. I do know, I mean, and let me reference this, Senator Schumer, look at the New York Times article from 2012, he routinely is talking to staffers about their personalized. Are you married? Why don't you marry him? When are you going to have kids? But the Governor does engage in that as well.

BROWN: Well, let me ask you this. Let me ask you this. GLAVIN: And I agree with you --

BROWN: Go ahead.

GLAVIN: Let me just finish in this.


BROWN: Sure.

GLAVIN: I agree with you, it can make people uncomfortable. I've had a lot of conversations. Now I'm a lawyer. I have associates who work with me in their 20s or 30s. And they've told me these things. This makes me uncomfortable. And I think that the governor has heard this loud and clear.


BROWN: Governor Cuomo is facing a bipartisan call to resign or face impeachment. And we spoke to one state assembly member who's a Democrat, and has been vocal in her demands that he be removed from office. She says, hearing Governor Cuomo's defense team argument has been painful.


YUH-LINE NIOU, (D) NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBER: I felt like that claim that a survivor after being violated should act a particular way. Otherwise, they weren't -- are supposed to be believed or they are not believable, is disgusting, and vile. I think that that is something a myth that we all have to break. I will say that this was extremely triggering for so many survivors across the nation. I got emails, letters, call, text messages, DMs and I posted and repost some of the tweets that were sent to me, because, you know, so many people felt the same way that I did because it was so significant. That response was something that hurt so many of us because they were basically saying that if you were somebody who was able to try to survive, that was somehow wrong. You know, and but this is how our brains work. The studies have shown, this is how our brains work to help us to survive. We just -- some of us go on to just do the next thing, some of us read a book, some of sleep, some of us eat cheese and crackers. So I think that it's OK. You know, and I don't want people to know that, it's OK.


BROWN: Let's bring in two CNN Legal Analysts. Joey Jackson is a Criminal Defense Attorney. And Paul Callan is a former New York City Prosecutor. Great to see you, gentlemen. So we just heard from Governor Cuomo's personal attorney. And, Paul, a big focus of hers is undermining the credibility of this report. What did you make of what Rita Glavin said?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: She was very impressive, Pamela. And I mean, you questioned her very carefully and on factual issues throughout the case. And Rita Glavin was very impressive. I thought in her performance tonight. She, as a matter of fact, I was thinking, if the governor was articulate as Rita Glavin, he wouldn't be in the hot water that he's in now. But what she's really put on the table here is that the governor kind of sounds like he's admitting to sexual harassment in the workplace. But he's saying, I didn't intend to do that. Because he's kind of living in the world of 1955 that his father used to live in, when you could pretty much say anything you wanted to underlings, and there was no action under the law that could be taken against you. With respect to the most dangerous claims against him and that's the executive assistant, number one, claim that she was groped in his office when only the two of them were there.

Glavin very aggressively went after her saying essentially she didn't report the incident for five and a half months. And but in a follow up question by you, it -- she indicated that the Governor had in fact signed a statute of limitations extension, allowing the victims of sexual crimes to sign at a -- to bring them at a later date. So I thought she found herself in a contradictory position there, Rita Glavin.

BROWN: Right, because we know sexual assault victims, sometimes don't say what they went through right away, it could take months, it could take years, which is why the governor had signed that.

But Joey, what was your take on this? I mean, she, again, was focusing on the credibility but also I mean, you know, we talked about the date of executive assistant one, the lawyer for the executive assistant, this accuser says that that date is wrong, but the date is listed in the report. Does that give the lawyer for Andrew Cuomo ammunition here?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it does. Good evening to you, Pamela. Good evening, Paul. Listen, this is a distinction, obviously, between the civil nature of this and the criminal nature of this. And when we start talking about the criminal nature of this, I think it's important to note the following. We have a report that's been released. That report is very damning. The report is very clear. The report of course notes, the 170 some odd witnesses, who were interviewed, many not under oath, right, I think 40 some odd were interviewed under oath, it references the 74,000 documents, emails, text messages, but it's a report that was put together by investigators. What we now do and what's important to the process is that report the challenge. I think the governor has a right through his attorney and through his own bidding should he choose to speak to the issues of why this contradicts the behavior, his engagement.


I'm very uncomfortable with a process where when you have a report that's issued, I've known Letitia James for 20 years very impressive, intelligent, and amazing, you know, individual. She didn't prepare the report other people did. Having said that, we can't just take the report, adopt the report and say there's nothing to see here. And so I'm a bit troubled by a person who operates in the courts of New York and has operated for the last two decades, and believes in the principle of due process and just saying, let's accept the report and we'll go home. No, it's time to look at the facts. It's time to look at whether there's any other contradictions, it's time to look at whether there are motivations, which may motivate people to say or not to say things and I don't think that in and of itself is victim shaming. You have to hold people to the test. Sexual harassment is serious. It shouldn't happen. There's no place for it. It should not occur ever. But if you're alleging that it occurred, then obviously there has to be specific facts and corroboration to those facts. And the governor is entitled to challenge that and that's what his attorney is doing with your excellent interview tonight.

BROWN: Thank you, Joey Jackson, Paul Callan, stay right there. We barely even scratched the surface. We've got more, Paul, hang tight. I've got more questions for you.

Also, tonight, California's largest wildfire eviscerating more than 700 square miles and it's only 21% contained. We're going to take you there.

And Allyson Felix becomes most decorated American track and field athlete in Olympics history. Will it be enough to help U.S. close the gap with China for most gold medals in Tokyo? A live report from the games, up next.



BROWN: And CNN breaking news tonight, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo deepened a political crisis and potential legal problems just days after the State Attorney General's Office found that he sexually harassed 11 women. One of his accusers has filed a criminal complaint. Just a short time ago, I had an extensive interview with the governor's personal attorney Rita Glavin.

Let's bring back our CNN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson is a criminal Defense Attorney and Paul Callan is a former New York City Prosecutor.

Paul, I know you wanted to talk before we went to break and I want to hear what you had to say and just follow up on something that you said before that, you know, it may have been that he sexually, that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed one or more of the women, according to this report all 11 women, but didn't realize it didn't have the intent. So legally speaking, would that give him any cover if it wasn't his intention?

CALLAN: I think it gives him political cover. But I don't think from a legal standpoint, for instance, if a sex harassment lawsuit was brought, his unintentional harassment would not be a legitimate defense. He's supposed to know what kind of conduct is permitted. After all, he's the person in charge of enforcing the laws in the state of New York. So I think that's a defense that will give him maybe a cover with the voters who will say, well, he's like my grandfather saying, you know, inappropriate things. But that doesn't make him innocent of sex harassment.

And that was one of the things that I wanted to add to the table that this entire report is about one thing, it's about feeding the New York State Legislature, the assembly evidence to support the impeachment of the governor. And you have to consider that in the end, you'll be looking at probably a claim that the governor created a hostile work environment in the Executive Mansion, maybe by sexually harassing some women who work there, maybe not all of the women, but the assembly is also investigating other things like the $5 million he got for writing his book, the number of people who died in nursing homes in New York, these things were already on the table being investigated by the assembly, which prepares articles of impeachment before this Attorney General's report came out. So there's a big picture here, and we're looking at one small part of that big picture with the Attorney General's report.

BROWN: Right. There's a political aspect of this, the legal aspect of this. And Joey, one of the accusers has filed a criminal complaint against Governor Cuomo and this afternoon, the sheriff overseeing that investigation says he found her credible. Now I asked the attorney, Rita Glavin about that. And she said that she found it problematic that he would say he found her credible when he's in the preliminary stages of an investigation. But what kind of legal problems could Governor Cuomo face?

JACKSON: So Pamela, when it comes to the criminal elements of it, what happens is, there are various district attorney's offices we know who are interested in looking at this, of course, you're speaking of the Albany issue, right? We have Manhattan, we have Nassau. But as it relates to this, there's a statute, it's called forcible touching. And that statute relates to a person who's squeezing, pinching, grabbing or otherwise groping. But what it speaks to is you have to do it with the intent of either degradation or as it relates to sexual gratification. And so I think that the defense will be that, hey, you know, this is politics. This is how I relate to people. This is how I interact with people. I didn't do it with any intent to sexually gratify. We know that's an, A, misdemeanor. What does that mean, Pamela? It means that it's an offence punishable by up to a year distinguishable from a felony, which is punishable by to a year to life, right? And so we know those are the states. There's another statute, it's a, B, misdemeanor, don't mean to be speaking in jargon, punishable by 90 days is which when you touch someone, really in a sexual way, and you don't have their consent to do it. And so that's his exposure as to whether the sheriff's found incredible, excuse me, the victim credible, not credible, that's really not the issue. The issue will be if it goes to a jury, right, in the event that it's a misdemeanor can, you'll have six jurors, if it goes that far. If there's a resolution of some sort, it's going to be up to what they decide. So when you look at legal exposure criminally, those are the different types of statutes he's looking at. And I think those will be the defenses that will be applied in those instances.


BROWN: What do you think, Paul?

CALLAN: Those are the most dangerous charges, but and actually the one that's the B misdemeanor, that Joey was talking about is by far and away the most dangerous one because the issue of whether he groped a woman's breasts, that doesn't happen accidentally, that's not like brushing against her back or kissing somebody on the cheek at a wedding. That's a deliberate sexual act. And I think if the legislature believes that he did that, he's in big trouble, and it could cost him his office. So that little B misdemeanor, could be the thing that destroys Andrew Cuomo, if it's believed, ultimately very important investigation by the sheriff.

BROWN: As you saw his attorney, Rita Glavin pretty strongly denied that and said that he did not do that. And you know, I think you both raise a really important point that there's still a lot more -- the report is out but as you point out, we haven't seen the transcripts of some of the these victims and other supporting evidence, but these are obviously very serious allegations from these women that these investigators found credible 11 women they assessed each woman found their story, found them credible. And that's important to note too. Joey Jackson, Paul Callan, thank you so much.

JACKSON: Nice being with you.

CALLAN: Thank you. Very good interview, by the way.

BROWN: Thank you very much.

Well, with no vaccines available yet, for kids under 12 children are vulnerable to the Delta variants. How can we all play our part to keep them safe as they head back to school? A pediatrician is here with me to answer our questions, next.



BROWN: The U.S. has just had a number of COVID-19 milestones, as of yesterday, more than 50% of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated. But the number of average daily COVID cases is once again above 100,000 for the first time in nearly six months. And as millions of students began heading back to school, the surge brought by the highly contagious Delta variant is reigniting the debate over how to keep children safe.

Dr. Allison Messina is the chief of the infectious disease division at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in Florida. And she joins me now.

Dr. Messina, thank you for joining us. So you have Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is among those refusing to allow school mask mandates, even as the state's pediatric hospitals fill up with patients. Do you believe policies like that are putting lives at risk?

DR. ALLISON MESSINA, CHIEF INFECTIONS DISEASES DIVISION AT JOHNS HOPKINS ALL CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Well, I think you know, as far as I am concerned, I -- you know, I'm an infectious disease doctor and I stick to the science. And what the scientists told us thus far is the best way to protect yourself from this virus is to be vaccinated if you were old enough, and to wear a mask, really at this point, whether you're vaccinated or not. And those layered protections are really what we need to keep kids safe. So what I've been advising my patients, as they head to school, this fall, is to wear your mask. And you know, even if it is not mandated, you can certainly opt to wear your mask. And what I tell parents is, you can mandate your own child to wear your mask if that is you know, what is important to you. And I think that it is one of those things that should be important to everybody.

BROWN: So why is Delta variant hitting younger people, younger age groups, I should say seemingly harder than previous variants. What is the data showing? We know it's more transmissible. But do you we have data showing that it's actually more dangerous for children?

MESSINA: Yeah, so the data is not really clear that it's more dangerous than the other variants. But as you said, since it is much more transmissible, that means we will be seeing more cases. And as you see more cases and increase that denominator of people who get COVID, you're naturally going to see more disease in general, whether it's mild disease or severe disease, you're just going to see more of it because you're unfortunately going to have more people infected.

BROWN: I want to go to a question from a viewer. We've had so many great questions. Tennessee resident here, we've been so careful for 18 months, my 14 year old wants desperately to start High School in person, but the governor won't mandate masks. We have five siblings here who are too young to get vaccinated. What do we do to keep everyone healthy? Any guidance is appreciated.

MESSINA: Absolutely. And that is a really common question and excellent one. I think what you can do is that you can make sure that everyone in your household that is eligible for vaccination get vaccinated. So the older kids if they are older than 12, get them vaccinated. Parents, vaccinate yourself and that will protect your younger children from being exposed to their family members, which is how a lot of children get sick.

Number two, you can encourage your own kids to wear masks. I think that's critically important. We know that masks work best when everyone is wearing them but they still work some when you're the one wearing them. So I would still advocate that.

Next I would make sure that your kids are up to date on all their other vaccines. This is not a good year to skip your flu vaccine. We really want to make sure that they're protected against all of those other things as well.

BROWN: We had a lot of the same question about when, when will younger kids get -- be able to get vaccinated? Another viewer is asking just that, when will my 6-year-old and 3-year-old be eligible for a vaccine? I'm so afraid I'll unknowingly pass the virus onto them. Even though I'm fully vaxxed. I understand that I feel the same way to as a mom with two young kids.

MESSINA: Yes, definitely. You know, I don't know for sure when that's going to happen. I've heard people project, hopefully, sometime end of this year, perhaps, you know, the companies are working very hard to ensure this vaccine is safe and those younger kids. And I think that that is very important. Again, if you are older and you have a child in your home that is too young to be vaccinated, you know, keeping yourself healthy and getting yourself vaccinated is, again, critically important.

BROWN: All right. Dr. Allison Messina, thank you very much for joining us and giving us this important information.

MESSINA: Absolutely. Thank you for having me on your show.

BROWN: Well, tonight, California's largest wildfire continues to grow as it destroys almost everything in its path. The Dixie Fire, now the third largest in state history, has scorched more than 700 square miles, and it's only 21 percent contained. At least three people are still missing in Greenville after Dixie torched the entire town to the ground.

CNN's Camila Bernal is in Northern California tracking the fire. So, Camila, CNN is reporting this fire is burning an area the size of New York Central Park, every 11 minutes. How is that even possible?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Pam, it's hot and it's dry and the fire spreads so quickly, that it's pretty much impossible to stop it. Firefighters with 20 or 30 years of experience saying that they've never seen a fire like this one. They're describing it as having frightening behavior.

But the focus, over the weekend, is to find the people who are unaccounted for. We know that they've at least found 21 people, but they will continue to search over the weekend. In the meantime, the firefighters working 24/7 around the clock to contain the Dixie Fire, which has already destroyed about 200 structures, but about 14,000 others are still at risk.

The River Fire, which is about 100 miles from where I am, has already destroyed about 100 structures. Firefighters have made progress there. It's about 48 percent contained, but still a lot of work to be done. Now, these two fires are essentially surrounding the town of Paradise. This was a town that was destroyed by the campfire in 2018.

And we spoke to Franci Lamb, she owned a home in Paradise that no longer stands and she told us she understands how difficult this situation is. She says she knows what people are going through, those people that have already lost everything.


FRANCI LAMB, LOST HOME TO CAMP FIRE IN 2018: I would take them in in a heartbeat. You know, they need a place to shower, they need a place to get some food, they need a place to sleep, and they need to be hugged. They need to be held and told them that the air will get better. It will get better. It did get better for us, but it took a long time. A long time.


BERNAL: Now, after the campfire, Franci Lamb bought this RV, she keeps it with food and supplies ready to go in case she needs to evacuate one more time.

In the meantime, though, she is dealing with the smoke as are many other people in this area. There are some counties even telling people, don't go outside, because the air quality is just not healthy. This smoke affecting people here in California and in other states where the fire is not even close to where they are. Pam.

BROWN: All right. Camila Bernal, thank you so much.

Well, Allyson Felix sprints into the Olympic history books by becoming the most decorated track-and-field American of all-time. We are live in Tokyo next as the 2020 games wrap up.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you remind us of what an amazing country we are. And you make us look so good as a country. These are the things that people look at around the world more than anything that I do as your president or other people do in public life. They get the impression of who we are as Americans, who we are. And you handle yourself with such grace and such as decency, just -- you made me so damn proud.


BROWN: Well, that was President Biden speaking with Team USA today, just moments before the final day kicked off at the Tokyo Olympics. In less than 24 hours, the Olympic flame will be extinguished, but not before the highly anticipated U.S.-Japan women's basketball final and the half dozen other events. The U.S. is running away with the total medal count, but full bragging rights will come down to this final day as the U.S. and China are currently neck and neck in the race for gold.

CNN's Will Ripley is in Tokyo covering the whole stretch of the game. So, Will, it may be the final hours of the games, but there was still time to make Olympic history.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There was. And Allyson Felix becoming the most decorated U.S. track-and-field athlete in Olympic history was certainly a spectacular moment. Think about taking home 11 Olympic medals, gold, silver, bronze, going all the way back to Athens in 2004. Allyson spoke about what this accomplishment really means.



ALLYSON FELIX, MOST DECORATED U.S. OLYMPIC TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE: I've grown up in this sport and so it means a lot. And then to close it out this way is really special. But also, just like sitting here and listening to what the other girls have said, it really means a lot to me, because, you know, I know those people in my life who came before me and how they inspired me. And I'm also thinking about the young girls and boys who are inspired by these women by their dominant performances.

And it's just a cycle, you know, and so the next generation is going to be up here talking about them. And I think that's just really cool. And to me, that's the biggest thing beyond running on the track is actually like impacting lives.


RIPLEY: So, I don't know if you remember watching the beginning of the Olympics, the weather was a lot like this, it was stormy. And then we had a lot of sun and heat throughout the games. That was actually the hottest summer games on record in Olympic history. But, yet now, things have cooled down significantly and it's back to stormy and kind of rain coming out to in all directions.

President Biden will be addressing a group of Olympic athletes doing a virtual teleconference over Zoom. You'll remember the first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, was here for the opening ceremony. The President will be here virtually for the closing ceremony, Pamela. And, of course, big news for Team USA Basketball winning gold. Not the women, unfortunately, but the men.

BROWN: Basketball winning gold. I'm getting worried about your glasses, they look like they're like --

RIPLEY: Oh, I know. Sorry.

BROWN: Just want to make sure you can --

RIPLEY: I keep wiping them off. It's because I -- you know, my dad -- my dad told me that, like, I have this weird forehead and he said, if you wear the glasses that shape -- it shapes your face. So, I've been trying to wear them, but they're not very practical in conditions like this. I might go back to the contacts.

BROWN: No disrespect to your dad, but I don't think you have a weirdly shaped forehead, Will.

And as we wrap this up, let me ask you, what else are we watching for in these final hours? Anything else?

RIPLEY: Well, look, I mean, this is going to be the kind of -- the medal count homerun. There are still lots of medals up for grabs today. And it's a very close race between China, which is currently in first place and United States in second. Japan doing really well, still the best medal haul that they've had. But it's really going to be quite a battle between the U.S. and China over who wins the most gold medals. The U.S. is actually leading in the overall medal count.

But people, you know, who say you show them to kind of the gold medals, kind of like people who say in the ratings, who show me count 25 to 54, because that's the demo that matters. The gold medals are what matters and that -- in that category, China is still in the lead, at least for now, but we'll see what happens by the end of today.

BROWN: All right. Good job weathering the storm. Well, go get some cover. Thanks.

RIPLEY: Yes. And some contacts.

BROWN: Take care of those glasses and get some contacts or whatever. All right. Thanks so much.

Well, Facebook is under fire for blocking access to a researcher who study misinformation on its platform. One of those researchers joins us live, up next.



BROWN: Well, the FTC is slamming Facebook for cutting off access to a group of researchers who were studying misinformation on Facebook. Now, bear with me because here's where it gets a little well technical. The researchers from New York University created a browser extension which let them collect data on Facebook ads. But Facebook shut them down saying this, "NYU's Ad Observatory project study political ads using unauthorized means to access and collect data from Facebook, in violation of our terms of service. We took these actions to stop unauthorized scraping and protect people's privacy in line with our privacy program under the FTC order."

But the FTC disagrees, calling their reasoning inaccurate and misleading. Here is what an FTC official wrote to CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. "I am disappointed by how your company has conducted itself in this matter. Have you honored your commitment to contact us in advance, we would have pointed out that the consent decree does not bar Facebook from creating exceptions for good-faith research and the public interest."

We asked Facebook to respond to that, but Facebook declined. Laura Edelson was one of those researchers who had her Facebook access disabled. Thanks for joining us, Laura. So, start by telling us what you were researching and why.

LAURA EDELSON, PHD CANDIDATE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE, NYU: Hi. So, really, the thrust of our work is trying to understand misinformation online. We try to understand how it's true, how it spreads and how it can be stopped.

BROWN: So, why do you think Facebook disabled your accounts?

EDELSON: It's a little strange. Facebook claims that they've disabled our accounts because of our browser extension ad observer, they say that it violates their terms of service. Obviously, the FTC somewhat disagrees, as do we to be clear. But what's strange about all this is that the effect of Facebook's banning of our accounts is that our other research that isn't connected to an observer at all, that's what's been stopped.

BROWN: So, not just this research other reasons too -- go ahead.

EDELSON: Right. So, a lot of our research right now is into disinformation around vaccines. So, these are some of the, you know, the vaccine myths that are being spread often for-profit, and also extreme partisan misinformation is the other major thrust of our work. So, trying to understand things about what happened on January 6 at the Capitol, trying to understand how groups continue to spread this myth that the -- that the 2020 election was stolen. So that kind of work in general.


BROWN: So right now, you're not able to do any of that work because of this, because Facebook has blocked your access, even though the FTC has said that they were wrong.

EDELSON: That's right. So, this has stopped our vaccine, misinformation work, has stopped our -- you know, our work into understanding, as I mentioned, some of this stuff, the steal stuff. I mean, I think one of the things that I am even more concerned about is that this is also cut off access for our tools that give information to the public. So, our public transparency websites are all broken right now, as well as the data that we provide to other researchers.

BROWN: And what are the consequences of that? Why is that so concerning to you?

EDELSON: I mean, I think, unfortunately, the reality of the situation we are in is that we are facing a misinformation epidemic online. And this isn't just having online effects. There are millions of people who think that the election of 2020 was stolen. There are millions of people who think that vaccines are not safe or effective. And we are in a time of pandemic, so beliefs like that do kill people. I think that, right now, researchers like me, we're racing against the clock trying to understand how these lies spread, and what can be done to stop them. So, honestly, every day we lose is really consequential.

BROWN: Really quickly on Facebook claims, they are saying that the extension on this -- the first issue, extension also gathered data about users who didn't install it or consent to its collection. Is that true?

EDELSON: Well, it depends on what you mean, because what Facebook means when they say that is advertisers. So, it is technically true that advertisers on Facebook are users. However, Facebook themselves, Facebook tell users when they -- sorry. Facebook tell advertisers when they run ads, those ads are no longer public. And I have to say, our position is that ads and advertiser names are public information. But if Facebook is going to, sort of, cynically twist words in this way, you know, there's a limit to what I can do.

BROWN: Well, and your work is so important, researching all this misinformation, and we're seeing the real-life consequences of it. Just recently with the vaccine and all the hesitation and skepticism about it that's been fueled by misinformation in large part on social media. Laura Edelson, thank you.

Well, after Bob Odenkirk is assuring fans that he is fine after a heart attack caused him to collapse on the set of "Better Call Saul," Odenkirk tweeting, "I'm doing great. I've had my very own "It's a wonderful life" week of people insisting I make the world slightly better. Wow. Thank you. I love everyone right now, but let's keep expectations reasonable."

The 58-year-old Odenkirk is currently filming the sixth and final season of his show, Better Call Saul.

Well, this summer, CNN is bringing you a special presentation, a series of all new CNN Film Shorts. Over the past two weekends, these documentary short films have been spotlighting people striving to build different kinds of communities across America. First up this week, "The Bunker Boom: Better Safe Than Sorry," which introduces us to a community of Doomsday preppers, they have uprooted their families and started new lives completely off the grid. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's so quiet and peaceful, and the sky is so wonderful, and the prairie and the hills are just so wonderful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the flowers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, yes. It's just a great place to live, but it's not convenient to live here at all.

WAYNE CORRIEA, VIVOS XPOINT RESIDENT: So, we've got one that's still in high school, she's getting ready to graduate, so we homeschool her, so we had to get the satellite set up right to the signal, but the satellite goes down if the power is not up, so I got to make sure the power is up at all times.

There's no waterlines out here, they all had to be piped in from a well. Even though I've got water supplied to certain things, and you'd still got to have containers of water. We've got cattle on the property. So, when you're driving, drive cautiously. All here. I'm cold, I'm cold that and it's 60 degrees in here. Well, I don't have a switch to turn on the heat and I can adjust it to 75 for you, kiddo. I got to start a fire and it's got to circulate. It's good to get about an hour, by then, you're going to be up, put some clothes on.


BROWN: Be sure to tune in for "The Bunker Boom: Better Safe Than Sorry," that starts in just five minutes.

And that's about it for me. But here's a sneak peek at tomorrow night's show. She is a frontline doctor helping fight anti-Asian hate and now a Barbie doll. You're going to want to hear about the moment she saw it for the first time.

[20:55:01] Plus, Dana Bash, my wonderful colleague, will be here and tell us about her new special series and share a clip of her conversation with New York Congresswoman, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

And then CNN chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir tells us about a crucial system of currents in the Atlantic Ocean that scientists say could be close to collapse. He's going to explain what that means for our weather and for all of us for life on Earth.

Don't forget that you can tweet me, @PamelaBrownCNN. You can follow me, message me on Instagram. Thank you so much for joining me this evening. I will see you again tomorrow evening starting at 6:00 Eastern. Have a great night.