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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Reached; Biden Says Special Relationship with Britain Affirmed during Talks with Boris Johnson; Trump Asks Biden to Give Putin his Warmest Regards; FDA Advisers Raises Caution About Vaccinating Kids Under 12; NY Times: DOJ Seized Records From Apple For Metadata Of Dem House Intel Committee. Aired 8- 9p ET
Aired June 10, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Message to all others who are sending those sorts of threats out there, that those words have consequences.
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AC 360 starts now.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Two big stories breaking tonight, John Berman here, in for Anderson.
One is on the question of kids and COVID vaccines, mainly whether to grant Emergency Use Authorization for children under 12 just yet. That's what an F.D.A. panel is discussing, and today, the talk was contentious.
At least 314 children have died of COVID, but one panel member is counseling caution. He joins us tonight shortly along with our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
The other breaking story is a deal on infrastructure and just what to make of it. In a nutshell, $578 billion in new money over present spending and no tax hikes to pay for it. It is the product of a bipartisan group of Senate negotiators, and precisely because of how fragile bipartisan anything can be in Washington, there's reason to be skeptical about what happens next.
So, joining us now, CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, host of CNN's "State of the Union." Dana, you've been working the phones, and I understand you have some brand new details on the group of senators involved, what kind of compromise they reached and how big it is?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we don't have the actual paper, so to speak of the details of this bill -- of this deal. But the fact that we do have that statement, John, from five Democrats and five Republicans saying full stop, they have a deal -- I know the bar is pretty low these days here in Washington -- but that is a big deal. And why that is a big deal is following: first of all, because we
don't see and hear a lot of bipartisanship, you know, these days, but also because what I was told early on that these senators were modeling the process and the strategy on was what the COVID process was, the COVID relief package at the end of 2020, one that the Republican leadership in particular in the Senate didn't want.
Well, they forced Mitch McConnell's hand and said, you know what, we have enough senators on both sides of the aisle. You need to do this.
The goal is similar, different dynamics, obviously a different guy in the White House. But it is very, very noteworthy. Also, John, I'm told that these 10 senators are on a text chain, they have been constantly communicating. And the Democrat who has been taking the lead on this, in that group is not Joe Manchin, who has gotten most of the attention, but Kyrsten Sinema, who is also under fire from a lot of progressives as a roadblock to their agenda.
Well, she has been working along with the others in this group before other Democrats really, really hard to not be a roadblock, to come up with a compromise. So, certainly, there is skepticism. We have to wait and see what the Democratic leadership says, what the Republican leadership says.
But five and five, in this environment, on this issue is a pretty big deal.
BERMAN: It is although you need 10 Republicans in this case, correct?
BASH: Yes. Yes, you need 10. Now, that is really one of the key questions is whether or not they can get 10 more whether -- I mean five more or whether they can get up to 10. I was told that there are a lot of active discussions, particularly among the Republicans and even with some of their likeminded Democratic friends that they could get there.
It's not done yet we're in a lot of people are saying, hold on, we're not going to sign on to anything until they see the details, until they see pen to paper. Never mind what we see in the public. And so -- but that is definitely a possibility. And a big question is going to be never mind the Republicans, what the President of the United States says, and we know that there is a new statement.
BERMAN: On that point, yes.
BERMAN: I have that statement here, and it says three things. I'm going to paraphrase it.
BASH: All right.
BERMAN: Number one, it says, it appreciates the work of the senators. Number two, it says it has questions -- questions need to be addressed about the policy and the pay-fors. In other words, everything. They have a lot of questions about what's in the details. And the third thing it says is we want to talk to other members as well.
So the idea that I think the White House is going to want to reach out to other democrats and take their temperature here. What do you make that?
BASH: Exactly. What I make of it is, it's not no, which is something. And what I also make of it is that just if you kind of look at the environment that President Biden is in right now, he needs a W on the board, and although he very much cares about the specifics, cares about the content, cares about the policy, you know, if there is a deal to be made here, and that he would almost certainly call a downpayment, while the Democratic Budget Chair, Bernie Sanders, his new good friend and partner works on the other things like for example, let's get specific here, more help for childcare, more help for elderly care, some of the things that Republicans say is a nonstarter, that could happen.
BASH: The other thing that I want to say here is the caution that I am told to have on this in terms of the details is the so-called pay- fors,
Republicans and Democrats who are working on this say that this deal has no new tax increases, and the question is, so how are they going to pay for it? And that, I think is what the White House statement alluded to whether or not that's going to fly.
BERMAN: We just don't know. We've got to find out these details. We know the top line number, we need to find out much more information, but they have a deal that in of itself, big news tonight.
Dana Bash, thanks so much for your reporting. We'll let you get back to work.
More now on where Democrats stand on the key question of how best not to do what Democrats often do so well namely, tangle themselves up into all kinds of knots. Joining us, Democratic strategist and co-host of "The Politics War Room Podcast," James Carville.
James, thanks so much for being with us. Look, you have one group of Democrats, these five saying we have a bipartisan deal. You have another group of Democrats saying they're fed up with trying to reach compromise with Republicans. How do you square that circle?
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, you're talking about the pay-fors that five former Secretary of Treasury said by I.R.S. enforcement, you could raise somewhere between three quarters of a trillion dollars and a trillion and a half dollars. So we could pay for a lot with just enforcement.
And I think every Democrat can rally around that idea. And the truth of the matter is, we don't have the votes. So, we get it -- you've got to get to 60 votes. I mean, if people get frustrated about that, there's nothing that can be done about it, and these people are trying to work to cobble something together. And I mean, you know, it's not everything -- it is not exactly what I
would want, but it's a start. And you know, you can't finish your journey until you start a journey. And I would also make the other point, the most important thing in my mind is 2022. We can win the Senate. We can pick up three or four Senate seats if you look at the map, and we hold the House, we can do all kinds of things that a lot of Democrats want to get done. But we can't do it with a 50/50 Senate and a four-vote margin and the House. You just can't do it. These people just can't count.
BERMAN: To that point, you know, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the House -- and she is not alone -- but she said, she is sick of basically playing patty-cake with Republicans and there are other Republican senators -- Democratic senators today who were complaining about the same thing. So, when you hear that, we don't want to play patty-cake with Republicans, what goes through your mind?
CARVILLE: What goes through my mind is a lot of these people that are criticizing live in kook PBI plus 40 districts, there's no chance you're going to lose to a Republican. Well, that's not the case with Krysten Sinema. That's not the case with Joe Manchin. That's not the case with a lot of people.
And if we want to expand our margins, we've got to do it somewhere else other than the Bronx. We're going to win that. And you know, these political people ought to live in real life. Look, we had two very encouraging elections. If you look in New Mexico, where we're supposed to be doing badly ahead of Biden, we have a tough candidate that talked about crime and how she would deal with it.
In Virginia, we had a remarkably high turnout in our primaries, and we got a lot of really good Democrats elected and won some of these primaries. So, I think that the news is encouraging. But if we go off the deep end, then the same thing is going to happen to us that happened to us in 2020.
No one is playing patty-cakes here. I'm talking about we didn't pick up near as many Senate seats as we hoped to and we lost House seats.
BERMAN: Are you suggesting that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and not just her, but these other Democrats who are starting to get antsy that they're out of touch?
CARVILLE: I don't know if they're out of touch, but they just -- they need to sit down and do the math. We don't have that many votes. We can't -- we're not playing patty-cake. We have a 50/50 Senate, and it's very difficult and there's a filibuster, we should have 60 votes. We have a four-vote margin in the House.
I'm a political guy, all right, but I can count. And if you want to change that, there's a way that you can do it and that is do what you can, build up the President's approval rating. Pick up three or more Senate seats, pick up six or seven more House seats and then a lot of the things that you're talking about, you're going to be able to do.
But we're having a discussion when we have the thinnest of all majorities and I just don't see it happen and I mean, I'm sure that they're all nice people and well-meaning and in very good progressive people and everything, but somebody has got to get a calculator because we just don't have the votes to do this kind of stuff.
BERMAN: How much do you trust Republicans though?
CARVILLE: And we've got to navigate the best we can.
BERMAN: How much do you trust Republicans though to be negotiators? To be reasonable, truthful negotiators?
CARVILLE: I don't trust them very much, to be honest with you, but if we look like we're trying and they look like they are lying, then we're going to do good in 2022.
And what the public wants is at least to try something, all right. And then if we try it, and we look like the people that were trying hard to do something that a lot of people had pulled out and will be unreasonable, then that is going to inure to our political benefit, which will cause us to pick up Senate seats and House seats and then, we can do a lot of the things that people are talking about.
CARVILLE: We can't do it under the current alignment that we have in the Congress of the United States, and that's just a fact. And I just wish people would realize this and give the President some operating space here. He's got some good things on the table. He's done some good things, and I think he's going to be in a position to do more. It might not be as fast and as much as some people want it, but some stuff is going to get done.
BERMAN: You did an interview with VOX recently, which got a lot of attention, and you said, quote, "Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it," end quote, and you say most of the Democrats you talk to you agree with you, but they're afraid to say it.
So what exactly do you mean, because you know, the pushback from a lot of progressives, they are like, you know, James Carville got a slip of the tongue.
CARVILLE: Well, first of all, somebody is out of step at times because our vote, our non-white vote went down. Right? So it was supposed to -- and the reason is we use jargon -- faculty lounge jargon terms. As I pointed out, Latinx three percent of the Hispanic people, Latino people in United States refer to themselves as Latinx. I don't -- I said, I don't know anybody who lives in a community of color.
I know people that live in neighborhoods, and if you want to accomplish things, you have to talk the language of the people. And I have woke people texted me and said, you know, James, honestly, I agree with you, just don't use my name.
And it's just this obsession with dictionaries and language that is not conducive to getting across the points that you want to. If you want to convince people, you have to talk to people in the language that they speak. And we were getting away from that, and we had all this too cool for school stuff and it hurt us. We came within 42,000 votes of losing the presidency to what I call a world historical buffoon.
And, you know, and I talk to -- and I miss just talking about this, the moderate establishment Democrat, I have no idea what an establishment Democrat is. You know, I'm sitting here in Mississippi with an LSU shirt on, does that make me an establishment Democrat?
But you have to talk the language in people. And when you do that, you're going to do better because we weren't talking to our own people. We've got to understand that. We didn't do very well. And you know, if some people on the left want to act like we have a 70-vote Senate, they can act like that, but we don't.
And somebody has got to step in and say, this is reality. This is the world that we are living in, and they're so busy, you know, attacking Senator Manchin where we find out that, you know, trillionaires or whatever they are paying zero taxes. We find out we don't even have the lowest enforcement we have in our I.R.S. That's something that establishment Democrats and progressive Democrats and justice Democrats and red state Democrats can agree on is tax enforcement.
So, there are many things that we can do together other than using jargon language of talking about things that are going to be impossible under the current political situation.
BERMAN: James Carville, thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it.
CARVILLE: Well, thank you, sir. You bet.
BERMAN: Still to come tonight, a live report from the United Kingdom where President Biden made a major announcement involving the coronavirus meant to reassert U.S. leadership during his first trip abroad as President and it comes just as the former President released this bizarre unhinged statement involving the trip.
We'll have details on both, next.
And later, with COVID vaccine approval for young children possibly coming later this year, I'll speak with an F.D.A. adviser who cautions against it.
BERMAN: Two major developments on the presidential level right now, especially important as they occur while President Biden is on a major overseas trip. The first which we'll get to in a moment is this new statement from the former President that is equal parts insane and disturbing and pertains directly to one of the leaders President Biden is scheduled to meet.
We start, however, on a major announcement made by Biden, the purchase of 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for global use. This is part of an effort to reassert U.S. leadership and counter similar efforts by China and Russia.
The announcement came during the first leg of President Biden's trip re-establishing the special relationship with the United Kingdom and meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Joining us now, our chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, who is following events there, and you know, Clarissa, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called this meeting of the President Biden, quote, "a breath of fresh air" despite the fact that then candidate Biden once called Johnson, quote, "a physical and emotional clone of Donald Trump." So, how did things go today?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, what a difference a couple of years makes, John, both leaders singing a very different tune. The ambience between them was sort of jocular, relaxed, showing a united front.
Boris Johnson really taking pains at times to appear deferential to President Biden, when President Biden made a joke about how both men had married up, so to speak. He said, yes, of course, I would not disagree with you there. And indeed, I would not disagree with you on anything.
So, I think what we're seeing from the Prime Minister is a real desire to kind of pivot away the focus from differences that obviously have existed between the two leaders, particularly on the issue of Brexit, but also on the issue of Northern Ireland, which has been getting quite a lot of attention and instead to focus on the special relationship, both of them announcing this new Atlantic Charter.
WARD: And really Boris Johnson trying to cast himself in the role of Winston Churchill, and the two countries, the U.S. and the U.K., reshaping the world, in a sort of post COVID world and what that will look like and all of the challenges facing these two countries in this new era. So, definitely keen to underscore areas of cooperation and downplay areas of difference -- John.
BERMAN: So, Clarissa, stay right there. I want to bring in CNN's Fareed Zakaria for more on the other big development we mentioned. So, Fareed, the former President, Donald Trump put out this statement. This is a week before Joe Biden meets with Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump puts out a statement talking about the great and very productive meeting he had with Putin in Helsinki, and everyone remembers Helsinki, where Donald Trump said that he had no reason to doubt Russia's claims that they didn't attack the U.S. election.
So the statement that Trump put out a few hours ago says, quote, "As to who do I trust, they asked, Russia or our intelligence from the Obama-era, meaning people like Comey, McCabe, the two lovers, Brennan and Clapper, and numerous other sleaze bags, or Russia. The answer, after all that has been found out and written should be obvious. Good luck to Biden in dealing with President Putin. Don't fall asleep during the meeting, and please give him my warmest regards."
So basically, Trump just reaffirmed what he said in Helsinki, that he puts more faith in Russia than U.S. Intelligence and he does it a week before the sitting U.S. President is meeting with the Russian leader. What do you make of that?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": Well, what I make of it more than anything else, is that Donald Trump is pathologically in need of attention. This is a man who is obviously depressed and desperate to be out of the media limelight. He is trying to find a way in. He figures, this is a path there.
And he is saying pretty much whatever he can to get attention. It is -- it's a sad reminder of the kind of circus that was the Donald Trump presidency. He said crazier things when he was President of the United States.
Now, as to the substance of what he is saying, you're absolutely right, John, what he is saying, by implication, is that he trusts the KGB more than he trusts America's Intelligence Services. Which is, you know, I mean, one doesn't know it's just breathtaking, one doesn't quite know what to say.
I don't know which is worse if he is simply saying this to get attention or if he actually believes that the KGB's Intelligence, self-serving intelligence of you know, one of the longest serving dictatorships in the world is better than the oldest constitutional democracies in the world? If that's what he believes, it only reinforces to me why Donald Trump was never fit to be President of the United States.
BERMAN: What do you think Vladimir Putin makes of it, Fareed?
ZAKARIA: Putin is very smart. Putin is very shrewd. He understands America very well. I have had the opportunity to meet with him a bunch of times. I think he is not swayed by this kind of circus. He is looking -- you know, he is very well briefed. He understands the issues.
He knows he is going to have a tough meeting with Biden. And my suspicion is that he is going to brush all the Trump nonsense aside and try to figure out, is there a way to have a more stable and predictable relationship with the United States.
He is going to push hard to assert his interests. Biden is going to try to have to push hard back. So, I would suspect that Putin recognizes that Donald Trump at this moment is really irrelevant. He's got to deal with Joe Biden.
BERMAN: So Clarissa, President Biden has got a lot of work to do even before he gets to the meeting with Vladimir Putin. After Johnson, he goes to the G7. He is trying to tell U.S. allies that America is back. But obviously these relationships need to be mended. How big of a lift does he have heading into the G7 meeting with other European leaders?
WARD: Well, I think he has a lift on several fronts. First of all, the very fact that we're talking about this statement from former President Trump just underscores how much damage was done by President Trump, and that was felt particularly keenly here in Europe, and now a lot of European leaders are still very concerned.
Okay, President Biden is saying the right things. He is making the right gestures. But is America reliable in the long haul? Or is it simply too capricious with this political system whereby everything can change on a dime and you can have a complete paradigm shift in the space of four years?
So, you're definitely going to see a need to feel that leadership coming from the U.S., not just in terms of rhetoric, but also in terms of substance. Also, there's a broader question of what does the G7 mean today? When the G7 started in the 1970s, you know, these countries constituted 80 percent of the world's GDP. Now they constitute 40 percent of the world's GDP.
WARD: They are tackling these enormous issues like coronavirus and vaccines without the support of major superpowers like China, like India, like to a lesser extent, Russia. So, this is a pivotal moment existentially for the G7, I think to show that it is still relevant, that these countries can come together, that they can build consensus, and really stand up as a bulwark against rising authoritarianism in the form, most notably, of course of Russia and China.
BERMAN: This is such an important trip. Fareed Zakaria and Clarissa Ward, we are lucky to get to talk to you during it. Thank you so much.
Next, the question of vaccinating young children against COVID, and the F.D.A. adviser who is urging caution for now.
BERMAN: A lot of COVID news tonight. As we touched on earlier, President Biden announcing plans to purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to give to people around the world.
And late today, word of a dissenting voice on approving vaccines for use in children under 12. Dr. Cody Meissner, Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Tufts University School of Medicine, he spoke out at a meeting of the F.D.A.'s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, and he joins us now.
Dr. Meissner, thanks so much for being with us.
So why don't you think an emergency use authorization can be justified for children under 12 years old now? What are you most concerned about?
CODY MEISSNER, DIRECTOR, PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASES, TUFTS MEDICAL CENTER: Well, first, thank you, John, for the invitation tonight, I appreciate the opportunity. I think, first of all, we have to remember that these vaccines are absolutely extraordinary. And these vaccines are leading us out of the pandemic, we are seeing declining rates of disease that are so dramatic. And it's a combination of naturally acquired immunity from an infection, and many that's been induced by the vaccine. Together, we probably have close to 75% of the United States population, immune to COVID-19. And that's why we're seeing the dramatic decreases in disease. It's lower cases of illness, and we've seen in the past 12 months, and that's wonderful. It's directly attributable to the vaccines.
These vaccines are equivalent to our accomplishments in space. So, landing on the moon, to placing a robot on Mars, absolutely astonishing. And we're so fortunate to have access to these vaccines. The issue is that disease in children under 18 years of age is also falling very dramatically. The most recent information from the CDC, on the so-called COVID-Net that everyone can look at, shows that the hospitalization rate for individuals under 18 years of age is four hospitalizations per million people. OK? A very, very small number.
It's very different than the situation we had with adults several months ago, earlier this year. There we had 4, 000 or more deaths a year -- a day due to COVID-19. We are not seeing that --
BERMAN: So, I'm sorry. So we have less and less fewer people are getting sick. I get that again. So why don't you think it should be authorized for children right now?
MEISSNER: Well, whenever we administer a vaccine or an immunization, there are two thoughts. Number one, is it going to benefit that individual? And is the benefit going to exceed any possible harm from the vaccine. And because the rates of disease in children under 18, adolescents and children is so low, that is four hospitalizations per million, then we want to be sure that any side effects that are related, adverse events that are related to the vaccine are less common than the complications from the disease itself. And we don't know that yet. I think that's going to be the case.
But I had -- I'm not opposing these studies. We need to do these clinical trials. But I don't -- I'm a little uncomfortable about rolling out these vaccines to millions of children and adolescence, because there are so many unknown factors. And one of which is this issue called Myocarditis. That does indeed seem to be related to the vaccine.
MEISSNER: The CD (INAUDIBLE).
BERMAN: So, hang on one second here, Doctor because on that point, I want to bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So, Sanjay first, based on what you know, where do you stand on the issue?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I want to be very careful here. We I think Dr. Meissner would agree that we don't want to be, you know, empowering increased vaccine hesitancy here, which is always a potential consequence. No question that for an authorization emergency use authorization, the sort of ratio of benefits outweighing the risks have to be proven for all the reasons that Dr. Meissner is saying, and that may involve, you know, more involved safety studies.
And, you know, when they did 12 to 15-year-old authorization, they did more, sort of, what are they called bridging trials, they bridged a lot of the data from older people to that, that age group. With younger people, you're going to have to do these safety trials and more complete data is going to need to be, you know, really accrued here is to prove that benefit risk ratio.
I think, you know, one of the things I think, you know, is important to remember is that, you know, we look at hospitalizations, we look at deaths. But I think one thing we have learned is that you don't want this virus, you don't want to get infected because we don't still know of some of the longer-term consequences, even in people who've had milder illness that wouldn't be counted towards that severe illness.
And, and I'm curious along those lines, Dr. Meissner, when you look at 12 to 15 year olds for whom the vaccine has been authorized about a quarter have already received at least one shot. What is your message to those parents? John and I both have kids in that age range who have just gotten vaccinated. What do you say to us?
MEISSNER: Well, I think approximately 23% of the children in that age group have received one dose, and it's a smaller number that have received a second dose. And remember, the myocarditis issue arises primarily in males, it's primarily in younger or at adolescents and young adults. It occurs pretty specifically that two, three or four days after administration of the second dose, it's more common after the messenger RNA vaccine than it is after the after the adenovirus vector vaccine.
So, all of those very specific factors, I think, need to be considered, when everyone is thinking about vaccinating a young child or adolescent because, again, the hospitalization rate is four per million. So, I would like to be sure that the side effects, specifically the myocarditis, is less frequent than four cases per million, because as you know, the data from Israel, for example, where they're a little bit ahead of us, in terms of uptake of the vaccine, they have seen rates relatively similar to ours, as has the Department of Defense in their immunization programs.
So, all I'm saying is that, yes, we need vaccines for children. But we want to be very cautious that the benefit exceeds the risk.
GUPTA: Right. And just to be clear, you know, the frequency of myocarditis, I think, out of 2.5 million roughly vaccine doses that have been administered about 80 cases. So we're talking about something exceedingly rare here, Doctor. And again, just for the audience, because a lot of people paying attention, who are considering these vaccines right now, for people in that age range. What I mean, this is the data they have, this is the information they have I get that we need to be careful, but what are you telling parents about this vaccine for that age kids?
MEISSNER: Yes. Dr. Gupta. It's a very difficult question. The point is, it's not the rate of myocarditis for everyone. The point is, it's the rate of myocarditis in a high risk group. It's very similar to the vaccine induced thrombose, thrombocyte -- thrombosis and thrombocytopenia syndrome that was seen in younger women. It didn't happen in older women, it didn't happen in men.
But if so, if you take the rate for everyone, it's pretty low. But if you look at the rate and people who are in the increased risk group, then it gets to be a little bit more worrisome. And I think that's the issue here. Again, we need a vaccine for adolescents and children. But I think we also want to be sure that the benefit exceeds the risk.
BERMAN: Dr. Cody Meissner, thank you for being with us. Sanjay, our thanks to you as well.
New reporting just in, how far and how far beyond the norm. The former presidents Justice Department tried to pry into the online lives of some top Democrats their aides and family members.
BERMAN: More breaking news tonight and yet another sign of just how aggressively the Trump Justice Department pursued leaks, even if it meant pushing all kinds of boundaries to do it. The New York Times has the story out moments ago the headline reads, Hunting Leaks Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress. The Justice Department seized records from Apple for metadata of House Intelligence Committee members their aides and family members. According to The Times, prosecutors sought data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the committee, aides and family members one was a minor, the target according to The Times, sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump associates in Russia.
Adam Goldman shares a byline on the story. He joins us now by phone. Adam, this is a remarkable piece of reporting. I did a double take when I saw this, which lawmakers did you learn that the Justice Department was investigating?
ADAM GOLDMAN, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, we learned that they were investigating Adam Schiff of California, a Democrat who was an enemy of Trump, who Trump consistently went after when he was president. I'm not going to name anybody else unless stick to what's in the story. But we also were floored when we when we learned about this. I mean, it was just really an extraordinary display of prosecutorial discretion.
BERMAN: You were floored and I mean, is there any precedent for this that you're aware of, of the government investing the chair, that intelligence committee?
GOLDMAN: Yes. Actually subpoenaed him --
GOLDMAN: -- his Apple account? You know, I'm not aware of that. I mean, we are aware of public corruption investigations in which, you know --
GOLDMAN: -- the FBI and Justice Department target members of Congress for actual corruption, but not something related, not something like this. And, you know, if you look at what they did, and the number of people they subpoenaed, this was a fishing expedition. And it ended up nowhere, like many other leaks we wrote about as part of this story.
BERMAN: I just read a statement from Adam Schiff. He's calling for an IG investigation into the investigation. What questions need to be answered?
GOLDMAN: I think there are a number of questions that need to be answered. For starters, you know, who was who was approving these, the subpoenas that the basically the, you know, many of them came at the end of Trump's administration. The ones involving Schiff came earlier. They really, you know, all the scores are, you know, I was subpoenaed by the Justice Department. And they seize my tow records and, and they also tried to seize my e-mails. But a lot of these actions took place just at the end of the administration.
And why are they doing these years after these investigations were opened? Why not wait for the next administration to weigh in? The political blowback on this has been pretty fierce. And you can imagine that this administration would have liked (INAUDIBLE).
BERMAN: To what extent were these authorities looking into lawmakers, families and children? What they're for?
GOLDMAN: You know, we can only gather or suspect that they think that maybe some of these people are using their family members e-mail accounts, which again, is quite restricted (ph) -- quite extraordinary. And, you know, clearly they got a subpoena, and they were able to, they were able to do this, but, I mean, this is where they cast it. They cast a wide net here. It's really something. And I guess, you know, I guess other lawmakers have to be worried about what else is this Justice Department going to do?
BERMAN: When you say this Justice Department? Are we talking about the Trump Justice Department are now carrying over to the Biden Justice Department?
GOLDMAN: Listen, I think the Justice Department and FBI have extraordinary authorities, and they have extraordinary powers. And we've seen this time and time again with them. My records were subpoenaed under the Obama administration. They were also subpoenaed under the Trump administration. So, you know, what? I would be asking what are the guardrails in place to ensure -- to ensure that, you know, the guidelines and attorney general guidelines in particular, are followed? And once again, the point I made earlier, prosecutors have discretion and they're supposed to use it.
BERMAN: Adam Goldman as I said, its extraordinary report. I appreciate you joining us on short notice and I thank you very much.
GOLDMAN: All right, thank you.
BERMAN: We're going to keep the focus on Democrats in Congress as Senate Democrats tried to wrangle their membership over stalled legislation. House Democrats face their own internal struggle. New comments from Congresswoman Ilhan Omar about Israel in the U.S. and the response to them from leadership have once again exposed the divide inside the party.
Sunlen Serfaty has the details.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Following outrage from Jewish members in her own party. Today, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is attempting to clarify, saying she was, in no way equating terrorist organizations with Democratic countries with well established judicial systems. At Issue this controversial tweet Omar posted on Monday appearing to liken American and Israeli atrocities with those of Hamas and the Taliban. Quote, we must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. Omar tweeted, we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.
A number of Jewish House Democrats immediately slammed the Congresswoman calling it offensive and misguided and saying she needs to clarify her words. Omar quickly fired back saying it is shameful for her colleagues to put out a statement and not just call her directly. Quote, the islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment and silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable. That doing little to quell Democratic criticism.
REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D-NJ): It's completely importantly unacceptable.
SERFATY (voice-over): Speaker Pelosi and House Democratic leaders tonight releasing a statement welcoming the clarification by Omar, adding, drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism, like Hamas and the Taliban for men's prejudice. That statement drawing the ire of Omar's allies ratcheting up their defense of her tonight on Capitol Hill. The benefit of the doubt doesn't exist for Muslim women in Congress. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib tweeted, House Democratic leadership should be ashamed of its relentless exclusive tone policing of Congresswoman of color.
And Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, saying she's sick and tired of the constant vilification intentional mischaracterization in public targeting of Ilhan Omar coming from our caucus. REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): When we see hate --
SERFATY (voice-over): Omar says she's no facing multiple death threats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Muslims are terrorists.
SERFATY (voice-over): And tweeted out one of them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And every anti-American communist piece of (INAUDIBLE) that works for her I hope you (INAUDIBLE) coming for you.
SERFATY (voice-over): The congresswoman's comments are just one in a series of several controversial comments Omar has made about Israel supporters and American politics in her two years on Capitol Hill.
OMAR: 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 (voice-over): In 2019. Omar was forced to apologize after Democrats accused her of anti-Semitism for using this anti-Semitic trope suggesting that congressional support for Israel was all about the Benjamins baby.
Sunlen Serfaty, CNN on Capitol Hill.
BERMAN: Well I'm joined again by our chief political correspondent and anchor of CNN State of the Union, Dana Bash. And once again, Dana, you have new reporting, this time about discussions behind Speaker Pelosi in response to Congresswoman Omar. What did you learn?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the group of Jewish Democrats who put out that statement, they were already in a meeting. It just happened to have a meeting the day after Congresswoman Omar said what she said at the hearing and then put it out in a tweet wanting people to see it.
I'm told a few things. Number one, there were members who wanted the language to be even stronger and condemning Congresswoman Omar but that they decided to pull back a little bit. And secondly, the notion that someone put in her piece that there was no outreach to her, it is not true. I am told by a source familiar that there was a back and forth and before these Jewish Democrats put out the statement, and that there was no resolution to that.
There's also a lot of concern, as you heard from Sunlen's piece of a certainly among Omar and her Muslim colleagues and other colleagues who are, you know, rallying progressive to support her that there's also a hunt of annoyance on the other side because she continues to fan the flames just recently she tweeted out, well, where were these progressives in coming to the defense of Muslims when Mo Brooks said something.
And you know what, that did happen. So bottom line is this is far from over. This is deep. This is raw and talking to Democrats tonight incredibly, incredibly unfortunate.
BERMAN: Dana Bash, once again, thank you for your reporting. Appreciate it.
(voice-over): Up next, new developments in the fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. What a state autopsy confirms about the case. Plus, what new legal action the Brown family plans to take, when "360" continues.
BERMAN: Tonight in North Carolina medical examiner's report on the fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. confirms what his family and their attorneys have said for weeks. He died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head. That matches up with the results of an autopsy commissioned by the Brown family. The state autopsy lists Brown's cause of death is homicide.
Three sheriff deputies opened fire on Brown's car April 21st as they tried to serve an arrest warrant on drug charges. The local district attorney says deputies were justified claiming Brown using his car as a weapon. The Brown family says this was an execution. They believe he tried to avoid the deputies. Their lawyers accused the DA of trying to hide the facts in the case and are questioning his objectivity after we decided not to charge any of the deputies. Also, more than a month later, most of the body camera video still hasn't been released to the public.
Tonight, the Brown family plans to file a federal civil rights lawsuit as they try to seek more answers.
Joining us now is Brown family attorney, Benjamin Crump.
Mr. Crump, thank you so much for joining us tonight. What is your reaction to this official autopsy report?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR ANDREW BROWN JR.'S FAMILY: Well, it was very assaulted that they release the autopsy to the media and the family found out from the media that the autopsy was made public. But this follows entire line of disrespect and cover up since this tragic shooting happened where yet again, another black man was shot from the behind fleeing the police.
I don't know what it is John in America, that the most dangerous thing for white police officers is a black man running away from them, not putting them in any harm's way.
BERMAN: Now you call it the death of Andrew Brown quote, in execution. The district attorney says the deputies involved were justified in their action because there hasn't been much transparency, right? The public hasn't seen the body camera footage. Have you been given any additional evidence in this case?
CRUMP: We have not John, and that begs the question. If he's not going to prosecute these officers, why haven't they released all of the investigations, all of the videos? What are they trying to hide? We already know what happened. The autopsy released today by the State Medical Examiner confirms what we all ready knew it was a kill shot to the back of the head and it completely discredits the district attorney as he continues to try to mislead us as to what really happened in this tragic killing of Andrew Brown Jr.
BERMAN: How does it discredit the district attorney?
CRUMP: Well, you know, he tries to claim that the officers had to shoot because they were in fear of their life. Use clearly see that when they shot Andrew Brown, his car was going away from them. Nobody was in harm's way. And is just follows the line of all these black man who they try to claim were a threat to their life, even though they were going away whether that's Jacob Blake Jr. in Kenosha, Wisconsin, whether it's Anthony McLean, one of the way in Pasadena, California, whether that's Joshua Feast running away in Houston, Texas, whether is Terence Crutcher running away in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the list goes on and on, when black people are fleeing from the police. They feel that they can shoot and kill them, which goes against every part of the law that we know.
But more importantly, it's one of the most cowardly things you could ever do. We all learned that when we're young, the shooter man in the back, why is that acceptable for the police to shoot black people in the back? Joey Jackson, the CNN commentator said correctly that we must stop letting local district attorneys be in charge of investigations over police officers that they work with every day.
BERMAN: Let me ask you are making plans to file a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the Brown family. What's the nature of this lawsuit and who will be filed against?
CRUMP: It will be filed against the two counties that are involved in the execution of this search warrant. Remember, this was a search warrant, John, this wasn't arrest warrant. They killed him executing a search warrant. And it would be filed against the officers for engaging in excessive use of force that violated the civil rights of Andrew Brown Jr., his most basic fundamental rights. And that is the right to life.
BERMAN: Would that be an avenue? Would that federal case be an avenue to win the release maybe of the body camera footage?
CRUMP: Exactly. Once we get into the litigation, we can get through discovery. And they will no longer be able to come up with excuses we believe, to deny the family, the transparency that they see, but more importantly, to let the public know what happened. So they can try to build this mistrust that has been created by this district attorney in Elizabeth City, North Carolina by trying to hide the truth of Andrew Brown being executed.
I don't know what you call it, John, (INAUDIBLE) when a person is shot in the back of the head going away from you.
BERMAN: Benjamin Crump. I appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you so much for your time.
CRUMP: Thank you.
BERMAN: All right, a lot of news tonight. It continues. So, let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris.