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Measles Quarantine in California; Two Church Fires Investigated in Eastern Pennsylvania; Joe Biden Candidacy Video Reignites Charlottesville Controversy. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired April 26, 2019 - 10:30   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: This morning, another story we've been following closely. More than one hundred students and staff are under quarantine at two universities in Los Angeles, this as the U.S. faces, now, its largest measles outbreak since the disease was nearly declared -- or, well, declared eliminated in 2000.

The quarantine was issued at UCLA and Cal State LA for anyone who was exposed to one confirmed case there. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now, live, with more.

And, Dr. Gupta, we've been talking about this for weeks now. And every time I speak to you, there are more states on the map --


SCIUTTO: -- that have seen cases. This is becoming a serious national problem.

GUPTA: It is, Jim. And, you know, obviously with the backdrop, as you mentioned, that it was virtually eliminated 20 years ago back in 2000, now various cities, various areas are trying to figure out how best to deal with it in their particular area.

So, you know, in California, the situation unfolds like this. Someone has measles. They're in a public space. They have to go back and find who else was in that space. And they've got to ask those people, Jim, "Are you certain that you've been vaccinated? Are you certain that you've been immunized against measles?"

Most people are going to say yes. Because if you went to public school in this country and it was required, you got your vaccinations. But there's a lot of people who may not know. And that -- those are the people that we're talking about here, that are now in quarantine.

They've picked 21 days, sort of, for the quarantine to last for some of these folks, which is a bit of an arbitrary number. But the reason they picked that time frame, Jim, is because, between the time that you're exposed and the time you start to develop the symptoms of measles, days -- sometimes weeks -- can pass.

They want to be really certain that someone's not going to develop measles after the fact and spread it even more. This is an attempt to try and contain it.

SCIUTTO: You've described to me just how contagious this disease is --


SCIUTTO: -- that if someone with it walks in a room and I walk in that room after them, even after they've left, it's possible to get the disease?

GUPTA: Even within a couple of hours after that. So if I had measles right now, I left and someone came into this room two hours from now that was not vaccinated, they could get the measles.

Look, you sit next to someone on a plane, Jim, and they have a cold, do you think, "Well, that's not ideal, but probably statistically I'm not likely to still get the cold." If I sit next to somebody with measles and I'm not vaccinated, I've got about a 90 percent chance of getting the measles. It's one of the most contagious infectious diseases we know.

SCIUTTO: Now, as you know -- but our viewers may not -- I mean, this is based on an anti-vaxxer kind of phenomenon here, where people wrongly believe -- because it's based on fake science -- that the vaccine for this might cause Autism or other health issues --

GUPTA: Right.

SCIUTTO: -- the president himself has shared those concerns on Twitter in years past.

TEXT: Measles Vaccine: Two doses of MMR vaccine are 97 percent effective at preventing measles; First dose: 12 to 15 months old; Second dose: four to six years old

SCIUTTO: Today, though, from the White House lawn he said unequivocally, people need to get their shots. How important is it to hear that message directly from the president and nationally?

GUPTA: Well, I think it's obviously really important and I'm really glad that that's what he said because you're right. In the past he has sort of hedged on this issue, as have Ben Carson and Rand Paul when they were running for president as well. And I single them out because they're doctors, you know? They went through the same training that all of us went through.

There is no connection between these vaccines and the harms that people think that they have with regard to Autism in particular. Are there risks with the vaccines? Yes. There's risks with anything. But they're very small risks. And, you know, clearly the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

I think what's interesting now, Jim, is how do we -- how do we get control of this. What we don't want to see is that that entire map is lit up, right? We have 22 states now. We don't want this to become endemic, which means that it is spreading now throughout the country. And as a result, there's new measures that are going to be going into

place. You hear about the quarantine in Los Angeles. You hear emergency declaration in New York, you know, keeping people who have measles, who have been exposed to measles out of public places.

You're going to start to see new strategies unfold. Are you certain, Jim, that you've had your measles shot? Am I certain? Are adults certain? If they're not, they may go and have to get a booster shot.

These are all things that we didn't think we'd have to talk about. But now we do because of what's starting to happen here.

SCIUTTO: The thing is, you have a responsibility to yourself and your family, but also to the public.

GUPTA: To the public at large.

SCIUTTO: That's the point here. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks very much.

GUPTA: You got it, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Get your shots, folks. The concerns are based on nothing. No real science.

[10:34:27] Coming up, arson investigators search for clues after two fires in one church within just a few days. We're going to have an update on that story next.


[10:40:10] SCIUTTO: The ATF is now joining the investigation of two fires in two days at a small church in eastern Pennsylvania. Investigators say the first fire, at the Pentecostal Church of Bethlehem, was intentionally set, arson.

But the case of the second one, still under investigation. Of course, suspicious. CNN's Athena Jones joins me now.

So ATF's involved now. That means the federal authorities are on the ground investigating this. What have they found so far?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far this is a mystery. It's, of course, a disturbing story. The AFT is offering a $5,000 reward for anyone who has information that leads to the successful prosecution of whoever was responsible here.

But the mystery is, these two fires over the course of two days at this church, Iglesia Pentecostal de Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the fire on Thursday started in the early morning hours. The cause is unknown. There were no injuries.

But the earlier fire on Tuesday, which also started overnight, badly burned, badly damaged the church. You can see there. And that has been -- the fire marshal there in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has determined that that was arson. So police are investigating, of course. They say the motive is

unclear. They're encouraging anyone with information to come forward and contact them. They specifically say, you know, "If you were out and about on Wednesday evening in the area of this church and you saw anything suspicious, let us know."

They're also asking for anyone who was at a convenience store or a gas station and may have seen someone purchasing gasoline --


JONES: -- to of course let authorities know. But this is a mystery, and a disturbing one.

SCIUTTO: Church leaders, they're speaking. What are they saying?

JONES: Well, the daughter of the church's pastor, Nitza Colon -- she's also a church leader -- she spoke with our affiliate, WFMZ. Listen to what she said.


NITZA COLON, DAUGHTER OF PASTOR OF IGLESIA PENTECOSTAL DE BETHLEHEM: It was heartbreaking and really sad, that this would happen for the second time. And I said, "Who would do such a thing?" I mean, what else can they burn in the building? They already burned what we loved so much, the inside, you know? So what else. So -- I guess until they don't see it -- to the ground, I guess they won't let it go.


JONES: Now, again, this second fire, still under investigation. Not clear if it's for sure arson or what the motive may have been.

We do know that this church serves a Spanish language population. And Bethlehem has about a 30 percent Hispanic population, but we still don't know if that has anything to do with what happened. Of course, churches -- attacks on churches, fires have been in the headlines in recent days, both in America and abroad.

SCIUTTO: Is it a hate crime? Key question. Athena --


SCIUTTO: -- Jones, thanks very much.

Just moments ago, President Trump defending, once again, his response to Charlottesville, including those famous "good people on both sides" comments. We're going to speak about his response with Van Jones, next.


[10:47:08] SCIUTTO: This morning, President Trump, reigniting a conversation and a controversy around the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one woman dead nearly two years ago. The night before Heather Heyer was killed, you may remember, white supremacists marched toward a statue of the Confederate general, Robert E. Lee, carrying torches and chanting neo- Nazi slogans.

The president said that among those protesters were people who were simply protesting taking down the monument to "a great general," as he called him. Have a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if you look at what I said, you will see that that question was answered perfectly. And I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general whether you like it or not. He was one of the great generals.

I have spoken to many generals here, right at the White House. And many people thought of the generals, they think that he was maybe their favorite general. People were there, protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.


SCIUTTO: Well, this comes after the former vice president, Joe Biden, highlighted the president's comments in reaction to Charlottesville, as part of the reason he's running for president, fighting for the soul of the nation. Here to discuss now, Van Jones, host of "THE REDEMPTION PROJECT."

OK. Robert E. Lee. He also happened to fight against his own country to keep slavery the law of the land. Why can't the president utter just a clearer statement condemning white supremacism?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I mean, he has not figured out, even at this late date, how to be a president for everybody. He's given aid and comfort to some of the worst people in the country, some of the worst people in the history of the world.

Whatever he is intending, the people who anybody would despise in this country, love when he does stuff like that. But I'll tell you what. Politically, who can beat Donald Trump? Joe Biden just sucked him into the worst possible position he could be in, and did it effortlessly.

Joe Biden puts up one video, and now we're going to be talking about Charlottesville. And the president is helping him. I don't think Donald Trump knows how to deal with Joe Biden. Joe Biden knows how to deal with Donald Trump. He's got him right where he wants him already.

But it's really, really -- it's so painful to hear the commander-in- chief, the president of the United States, sit (ph) up here and brag on a traitor, brag on someone who's committing an act of treason, to defend one of the most abominable institutions in the history of the world. It's painful. It's wrong. It's wrongheaded. It's beneath him. It's beneath the Office of the President. But from a political point of view, Joe Biden just showed the world.

He knows how to put a banana peel in front of Donald Trump and watch him fall. And he hadn't (ph) even got out of bed this morning, I bet.

SCIUTTO: The president is claiming, here, he was misunderstood. And I've heard some of the president's defenders -- I had this happen to me yesterday -- saying, "Well, the president's not always as clear as he should be."

Let's be frank here, though, with these comments. He's had multiple opportunities --


[10:50:00] SCIUTTO: -- to state very clearly how he feels about white supremacists, and yet he doesn't take those opportunities. Is that intentional? Is he trying to appeal to an audience?

JONES: I don't know. You know, you have -- you can see that these different Trumps inside of him seem to be fighting all the time. So people will (ph) go (ph), you know, "You've met him, you talked to him. What are his intentions?"

I don't know what his intentions are. What I will say is this. I wish he took the pain of the people who are hurt by these white supremacists more seriously. And I wish he would speak out more forcefully about it. And the fact that he doesn't -- he has time and time to do it again -- makes people doubt whether he cares, and wonder whether he's trying to appease the unappeasable.

SCIUTTO: And gives license to others to speak in a similar way.


SCIUTTO: OK. Let's talk about something good.


SCIUTTO: Because you've got a great project, and it's positive and it speaks to something that's making a positive difference. It's called "THE REDEMPTION PROJECT." The show comes out, it's going to debut this weekend. Speaks to restorative justice. I'm going to play a quick clip and then Van's going to tell us what it's all about.


JONES: We like to imagine that after there's been a verdict, that the story is over. The reality is, whether they're the offender or the victim, the journey's just beginning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a sheriff's deputy at the door.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got some drugs I used.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Took a gun from him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember I shot him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put it to his head.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I pulled the trigger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it that you want to know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want him to look me in the face and tell me why he killed my mother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know where we're going to land. But we're all in then (ph).


SCIUTTO: Just such powerful moments there.


SCIUTTO: Victims facing people who brought so much pain to their lives. It's -- just explain what restorative justice is --


SCIUTTO: -- how it works, and does it work.

JONES: Yes. Well, let me just explain for me in my heart. I feel like the culture has moved in such a negative direction. There is no forgiveness, no empathy, no compassion. It is all just cancel culture, callout culture. "I'm going to block you." And that's poison. We can't go on that way.

And I wanted to put some medicine back into the culture. So I decided, let's go 180 degrees the other direction. Let's take people who have real pain between them, talk to somebody who's done something bad, wants forgiveness, wants to atone, wants to make up for it. We found the person that they hurt. And we just filmed them talking to each other.

And, listen, it doesn't always end up warm and fuzzy. I've got to tell you that. But there are some moments of real breakthrough, miraculous healing. It's a heartbreak-to-hope show, it's a heartbreak-to-healing show.

People are always (ph), "Oh, that looks like it's going to be too powerful. That might be too heavy." No, no, no. I guarantee you. You watch this show, you're going to come away believing that much more is possible between human beings than we've allowed ourselves to believe.

SCIUTTO: How do people get over that? You meet with Morai (ph), it's a young woman, a mother as well, whose own mother was murdered when she was a toddler.


SCIUTTO: She sits down across from the man --


SCIUTTO: -- who took her away from her.

JONES: You know, the thing is that I think people -- in this kind of true crime culture, we think that once you figure out whodunit and put the right person in jail, everybody's happy. Roll the credits and we can all go have a beer. No.

This is about the truth, long after the crime. Ten years later, 20 years later. People are still hurt and they don't have basic answers. And so -- because, yes, sometimes (ph) people cop a plea, they lie on the stand. So the people -- families still don't know what actually happened.

So just the idea, "Tell me what happened. Why did you do this? What were my mother's last words? Help me understand what happened." Just that gives people a little bit more space to heal. Even if they don't forgive. You know, "Well, I couldn't forgive."

Hey, in my show, some people don't forgive. But they do get one step closer to healing. And you see moral courage on both sides at Olympic levels, that should inspire the rest of us.


JONES: If these people can have a conversation, we should be able to have a conversation --

SCIUTTO: Absolutely.

JONES: -- in this society.

SCIUTTO: Well, that's a great lesson. Van Jones --

JONES: Hey. Well, thank you.

SCIUTTO: -- it's going to be worth it.

JONES: Hey, listen. 9:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.

[10:54:05] SCIUTTO: Get out and watch it. Be sure to tune in. The all-new CNN original series, "THE REDEMPTION PROJECT" with Van Jones, premieres Sunday at 9:00 p.m. in the evening, only on CNN. And we'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: The disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is in a New York courtroom as we speak now, for an important pre-trial hearing in his ongoing sexual assault case. CNN's Jean Casarez, she's been following this case. She joins me now.

What's going to happen today in this hearing?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in an extraordinary move, the judge has just sealed and closed the courtroom, so the media and the public are not allowed. And this is undoubtedly the most important, to date, pretrial hearing for Harvey Weinstein. His criminal trial begins in a little more than a month, and he is facing life in prison in this sexual assault trial.

What we do know is a brief summary, that the prosecution wants to bring in prior uncharged bad acts of Harvey Weinstein. In their case (ph), in chief (ph), remember Bill Cosby. Five accusers were allowed to come into that courtroom, saying that Bill Cosby had sexually assaulted them. We believe that that mirrors what the prosecution wants in this case.

In addition, the defendant, if he takes the stand, the prosecution wants to be able to cross-examine him on prior bad acts also. The media will not know until the trial begins and the public, what is allowed in this trial. It is going on right now.

Harvey Weinstein is facing rape, predatory sexual assault, sexual act in the first degree. He faces life in prison -- Jim.

[11:00:02] SCIUTTO: Jean Casarez, thank you for following.

And thanks to all of you for joining us today. I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" starts now.