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Second HIV-Positive Patient Goes into Remission Following Stem Cell Transplant; Testimony by Ethan Lindenberger and New Study Out Showing No Link Between Vaccines And Autism; NSA Phone Surveillance Program Likely to End; General Scaparrotti Testified Before Senate Armed Services Committee That He Lacks Sufficient Russian Intelligence; House to Vote on Resolution Tomorrow Condemning Anti- Semitism. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired March 5, 2019 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Advice for young women. Alyssa, thanks very much for taking the time.
ALYSSA MASTROMONACO, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR WHITE HOUSE OPERATIONS: Hi, guys. Thanks for having me.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Hi.
SCIUTTO: So where did this financial support come from? I mean, that's quite a haul for someone who at least, in East Coast political circles, less well-known.
MASTROMONACO: So I think probably -- I mean, I think he's taking some PAC money. I think that, you know, where Bernie was very specific about the grassroots support that he got, I feel like Inslee's money probably came from some more high donors, bigger checks that he probably -- I'm guessing, going into the quarter -- March is the end of the first quarter -- I think everybody wants to put up a pretty good number. My guess is he probably front-loaded as much of the money as he could so that he'd put up a big number out of the gate.
HARLOW: Well, look, it has people talking about him, right? In a very crowded field.
HARLOW: First of all, hello to your parents, Randy (ph) and Lydia (ph) --
MASTROMONACO: Yes, hi, Mom and Pop.
HARLOW: -- I understand they're watching.
Good morning, Mom and Dad.
Look, Inslee said this morning to John Berman on "NEW DAY," because he's -- was -- John asked him, right?
MASTROMONACO: Right. HARLOW: He said, "Why are you taking PAC money when a lot of the Dems
aren't?" And he said, "Look, these are -- you know I'm taking corporate money from fossil fuel, et cetera, I'm taking it from people and organizations that care about fighting climate change."
HARLOW: That is his platform. But when you look at the new -- like, Pew Research poll within the last year or so, it shows climate change is like the 19th most important thing to a lot of voters --
HARLOW: -- right now. How -- I mean, admirable for sure, for him to talk about something so important. How is it going to work for him to run on a climate change platform?
MASTROMONACO: I think that single-issue candidates will be hard, you know? I mean, I think that -- that you do have -- we all agree that climate change is a problem. I think that people also want to hear about fighting corruption in government, getting big money out of politics, which I'm not sure how he sort of finesses that message, to people who care. Dealing with health care.
I just don't know that people will ultimately coalesce around someone. But as we've learned, whether it was in the New York governor's race with Cynthia Nixon, having someone who 's pushing an agenda or a single issue really does help to shape the party and the platform of whomever becomes the nominee.
So I think it's probably nothing but upside.
SCIUTTO: Yes. And the number-one issue, frankly, you hear most often is, beating Donald Trump, right?
HARLOW: Yes, yes.
SCIUTTO: Let me ask you about this. Because Hillary Clinton made it official that she is not running, but said that she would continue to advise candidates. But it's interesting because you -- it's not like you have candidates actively seeking that, at least in public.
SCIUTTO: We had -- "NEW DAY" had a -- sort of a focus group this morning and asked about Joe Biden, and no one raised their hand, at least in that focus group, for Joe Biden.
I wonder if you sense in this field, but also in what Democrats are looking for this time around, that they want a fresh face. They want someone new.
MASTROMONACO: I think there's a real desire for -- you know, in the past couple of years, we've seen the same people diagnosing what they think are the problems, and giving their solutions. And I don't think that people have bought into that.
I think that they want fresh eyes and a fresh mind diagnosing what they see as the challenges in front of them, and hearing their -- hearing new ideas. And, you know, the truth is, maybe in the end they will choose someone who is --
MASTROMONACO: -- more trust-proven, you know?
MASTROMONACO: And able to -- you know, has been a public servant --
MASTROMONACO: -- has won elections before. But I think that right now, people want to hear more.
HARLOW: What about women?
MASTROMONACO: All the women?
MASTROMONACO: The binders of women running for --
HARLOW: All the women --
MASTROMONACO: -- president?
HARLOW: -- but -- right, but when push comes to shove and this thing gets closer and closer, you know, is America not only ready for a woman but do you -- how likely do you think it is that a woman has -- you know, as the top of a Democratic ticket?
MASTROMONACO: I am very hopeful that -- I mean, I think that the most important thing is that we have someone who can beat Donald Trump.
MASTROMONACO: I think that having a woman saying -- you hear a lot of people talk, "Oh, I want a woman," and it doesn't matter. I want a woman because I think a woman can beat Donald Trump. And so --
HARLOW: But, like, he hasn't attacked Kamala Harris publicly, which I think is really interesting.
MASTROMONACO: I think he knows that's even above his -- like, that's punching above his weight. I don't -- I mean --
SCIUTTO: We'll see.
HARLOW: We'll see. Yet.
SCIUTTO: Beto O'Rourke, you know, had --
SCIUTTO: -- some momentum. It's faded. And, again, this is just conventional wisdom. He's calling for the national legalization of marijuana. Corey Booker also pushing legalization. Why? Is that a driving issue in this cycle?
MASTROMONACO: I think it's very important, the more -- I mean, I am, you know, honestly very for the legalization of marijuana. It's helped my health. It helps people deal with all sorts of mental health issues instead of opioids. And help, like, stomach issues --
SCIUTTO: But there are Democratic voters who are not particularly excited about that and oppose it.
MASTROMONACO: It's true. There are. I mean, I don't think that any one party has a true litmus test for, you know, "We have to have this or we're not going to vote for you" --
MASTROMONACO: -- but I think that it is important, especially to millennial and Gen Z voters.
HARLOW: And then finally, this new poll that is really interesting to me, the NBC "Wall Street Journal" poll that showed --
HARLOW: -- 38 percent of Americans say the system is broken, a third party is needed. That's the highest number since they started tracking this in '95.
I think only one out of 10 Americans said the two-party system is working really well. What does that mean for a door being more open for an actual third-party candidate? Obviously, Howard Schultz considering a run. What do you think?
[10:35:02] MASTROMONACO: I mean, I don't think Howard Schultz is the third-candidate party that they're -- or third-party candidate that they're talking about.
I think that right now, we're dealing with, you know, an electorate that dealt with a government shutdown that was 31 days. Even if we can say the Democrats won, they stared Donald Trump down, they don't care. The people in that poll don't care. They know that they were worried about where their paycheck was going to come from, and that they had to decide whether to take their cancer treatments or pay their rent.
SCIUTTO: Yes. MASTROMONACO: So it's not even remotely shocking to me that people
feel that way. The question will be is, if there's a challenge to Donald Trump in the Republican Party, and if Democrats have a good message, do they still feel that way in six months.
HARLOW: Good point. Congrats on the book.
MASTROMONACO: Thank you, guys. Thanks for having me.
HARLOW: Number two, right? Second book.
MASTROMONACO: Second book.
SCIUTTO: Thanks so much, Alyssa.
MASTROMONACO: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: Well, we may be one step closer to a sure -- imagine that -- for HIV. A second person gone into remission. Could this breakthrough have researchers -- it's a breakthrough that researchers have been working for decades on. We'll have more.
[10:40:34] SCIUTTO: Scientists do not throw around the word "cured" very often. That's for a reason. But effectively, that may be what has happened to an HIV-positive patient in London.
HARLOW: It's remarkable. He is the second patient now in remission from the viral infection without the use of HIV drugs. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us from Atlanta.
Elizabeth, this is -- I mean, this is remarkable. I was just watching the movie "Queen," and you know, it was just brought back to that time when this was just such a tragic epidemic. Tell us about what has happened here.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, exactly. When so many of us lost friends and loved ones, and family members, to HIV. So what's happened here, Poppy, really is, as you say remarkable.
So this is now the second patient who not only had HIV, but who also had cancer. And so to treat the cancer, they gave this patient a stem cell transplant. And so they intentionally chose a donor who had this very unusual genetic mutation that made him immune to HIV.
TEXT: London patient might be cured of HIV: Male resident of U.K. diagnosed in 2003; Underwent stem cell transplant in 2016; Has been in remission for 18 months with no antiretroviral therapy; Second person to experience sustained remission; Comes more than 10 years after "Berlin patient"
COHEN: So they did the transplant with stem cells from that person, and it made this patient in London -- now called, appropriately enough, "the London patient," that made that person effectively cured of HIV.
This is the second time that that's been done. There was another HIV patient who also, coincidentally, had cancer and he also -- he has not had HIV. It's been more than 12 years. And neither one of these gentlemen is on any kind of HIV therapy. And so this is really pretty stunning.
I do want to add, though, they have tried this on other HIV patients and it hasn't worked. So sometimes it seems to work and sometimes it doesn't seem to work.
SCIUTTO: So let me ask about the circumstances. Obviously unusual because HIV-positive but also suffering cancer. Does this -- would you -- to get the same treatment, would you have to be -- have the same circumstances, right? Be both suffering cancer and have HIV, or could this be a model for a broader set of HIV-positive patients?
COHEN: Right. So the problem -- you might think, "Well, why not just do this for everyone?" And the problem, Jim, is that stem cell transplants are very risky. They can kill you. And so if you don't have cancer and you don't need this transplant, you don't want a stem cell -- I'm sorry, you don't need the transplant. You don't want to get it because it could kill you.
You're much better off just taking HIV drugs, which are very effective and which are very safe. So you don't want this treatment unless you have cancer. It's just not safe.
HARLOW: All right, Elizabeth. This is amazing to hear. Thank you for bringing us that story.
I also want to get you on this. Because right now, happening live on Capitol Hill, you're looking at pictures of Ethan Lindenberger. He's an 18-year-old who is testifying about the importance of vaccinations. We just had him on before his testimony because he defied his parents by getting all of these vaccines.
Let's listen to what he told us, just a moment ago, about why he's doing this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ETHAN LINDENBERGER, VACCINATED TEEN: When you're looking at the sources that spread this information, these lies, for lack of a, really, better or more accurate term, it's very clear that all the information is incorrect, skewed data. Everything is not cited.
And also, there's a lot of emotional appeals, talking about families and children and appealing to a parent's love and almost manipulating that to convince them that vaccines are dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Elizabeth, this comes on top of a brand-new study that once again shows that the MMR vaccine, for example, is not tied to autism at all. What can you tell us?
TEXT: MMR Vaccine and Autism Study: Studied 657,461 children; Found no increase in risk of autism in children; Did not trigger autism in "at-risk" children; 18th study to debunk link between vaccine and autism
COHEN: You know, this study is really huge. You can see that number right there. More than half a million children. They looked at who got a measles, mumps, rubella vaccine and who didn't. And they found that there was no association whatsoever between getting that vaccine and getting autism.
So once again, I say, hear this well. Vaccines do not cause autism. This is -- there's now been more than a dozen studies like this, Poppy, that show it. The science is conclusive. It is done. This question has been answered.
SCIUTTO: And yet people are still quoting one quack doctor, right? Who got this whole thing started years ago. Remarkable.
COHEN: Right. A quack doctor whose own journal had to correct him and retract his work.
HARLOW: Elizabeth, thanks very much on all of that.
COHEN: Thank you.
[10:44:33] HARLOW: A program that let the NSA collect domestic phone records may be ending. Why the White House is stooping the controversial practice is next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN, the most trusted name in news.
HARLOW: All right. Really interesting developments. So the NSA is scrapping a surveillance program that relied heavily on collecting data from your phone records.
SCIUTTO: The program was authorized under the USA Freedom Act and requires reauthorization at the end of the year, but the Trump administration may not seek to extend it. This, of course, one of the programs revealed by Edward Snowden. CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us now.
So, Barbara, what can you tell us about this program? I suppose best described, the metadata program here and what you might say is a surprise decision by this administration to scrap it. BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, as you
recall, Jim, you reported on it extensively. This was a program that was very controversial right from the beginning. Collecting data on phone calls and texts, duration of calls, where calls were being made.
TEXT: NSA Surveillance Program Halted, What We Know About It: Started as a secret surveillance program after 9/11; Edward Snowden exposed it in 2013; Congress replaced it with 2015 USA Freedom Act; Program analyzed phone metadata such as; Recipients of calls and texts; Duration and time of calls; Did not collect content of communication; Technical problems caused program to collect information on unauthorized subjects
STARR: Not collecting the content of the calls, not that kind of eavesdropping kind of effort.
[10:49:57] And after 9/11, by all accounts, it was an effort to have a window, if you will, into the United States in case there was credible information about terrorists calling into the United States and plotting and planning here.
But it became very controversial once it was revealed. People very concerned that the government was spying on them. And now it does look like it will not be reauthorized, not a lot of explanation yet from the administration about all of their reasoning behind it.
But according to some Republican staffers on Capitol Hill, it looks like this is a 9/11 program that's going to go away.
SCIUTTO: Yes, they always had trouble citing examples as to where that collection program actually prevented --
SCIUTTO: -- any attacks, and that's a key standard.
On another issue separate from the terror threat, talk about the threat from Russia. And we understand, the top general, U.S. general overseeing U.S. military forces in Europe, he's concerned about the U.S. response to Russia's aggression there. Tell us what he had to say.
STARR: Well, General Curtis Scaparrotti is on Capitol Hill, still testifying at this hour, right now, before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He's the head of European Command, so he oversees all U.S. military operations in Europe.
And a short time ago, he was asked by the committee chairman, Senator Inhofe, whether he was satisfied that the U.S. military had enough capability, enough ability to respond to Russian aggression. General Scaparrotti's answer, perhaps, not very comforting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. CURTIS SCAPARROTTI, NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE: I'm not comfortable yet with the deterrent posture that we have in Europe in support of the National Defense Strategy.
In particular, when you look at the -- both the building capability and the modernization of the Russian forces that -- that we face there. And then finally, of concern is my intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capacity, given that increasing and growing threat of Russia.
I need -- I need more ISR.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: The top U.S. general, telling Congress he needs more intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance capability in Europe right now, to understand what the Russians are doing.
Look, nobody thinks that the Russians are about to launch military attack on Europe. But their aggression, as you both well know, is very much aimed at destabilizing Europe through cyber, through information operations, through, you know, the sort of classic little green men moving into Crimea, moving into Ukraine.
And Scaparrotti is saying he needs more capability, right now, to be able to deal with that -- Jim, Poppy.
SCIUTTO: U.S. did not predict Russia's annexation of Crimea, invasion of eastern Ukraine. Could name (ph) us (ph) something else.
HARLOW: Yes. There's a history here. Important reporting, Barbara, on both those fronts. Thanks so much.
SCIUTTO: Back here at home, Representative Ilhan Omar, she's under fire again for comments that some are calling anti-Semitic. Now members of her own party are soon going to take action.
[10:57:23] SCIUTTO: For the second time in three months, House Democrats are expected to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, this following remarks made by freshman representative Ilhan Omar.
HARLOW: Last week, the Minnesota Democrat insinuated pro-Israel groups are pushing, quote, "alliances to a foreign country" -- allegiances, I should say, to a foreign country. Sunlen Serfaty joins us on Capitol Hill.
So this is really similar to the vote a few weeks ago by Republicans in the House to condemn anti-Semitism after some of her other controversial remarks on that front. But the significance here -- and the difference, right -- is that this is brought forward by Democratic leadership. Is that right?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Poppy. This is another very public reprimand for Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, in the wake of controversial comments.
But it is notable and significant, the fact that you have this resolution of disapproval against those comments, essentially.
TEXT: "I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country."
SERFATY: It has been -- it has a weight of Democratic leadership, but it's been driven in large part by Speaker Pelosi, by Steny Hoyer and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. They all took part in writing it. So that's a significant message coming from members of her own party, and important Democratic leadership here.
Now, the resolution does not mention her by name. It does not single her out in any way, but it's certainly not hard at all to read through the lines. The resolution in part says that it acknowledges, quote, "the dangerous consequences of perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes, and rejects anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States."
And this will be brought to a House floor vote at some point this week, very likely tomorrow. And from there, the thing to watch -- and I think how -- is how her House Democratic colleagues react. Will this be enough, to just condemn her in the form of another resolution on the House floor?
Or will there be additional calls for her to be stripped of her committee assignment on the House Foreign Affairs Committee? The chairman of that committee, a chairman who took part in writing this resolution, he has already called for her to retract and apologize, these latest round of comments. And that's something that, Jim and Poppy, she has not done yet.
SCIUTTO: Has she responded to this criticism?
SERFATY: She has. She has pushed back. We've seen her kind of get in a Twitter back-and-forth with many members who have called her out, really pushing back. And saying that -- in part, that she has been mischaracterized, but is feeling that it's within her right to have a debate.
She has not responded specifically to this resolution, and so that will certainly be interesting, going forward, as this heads to a vote.
[10:59:59] HARLOW: Yes. We'll see that tomorrow. Sunlen on the Hill, thanks so much.
Thank you all for being with us today. We'll see you back here tomorrow. I'm Poppy Harlow.
SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" starts right now.