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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Take COVID Vaccine Booster Advice From C.D.C. and F.D.A., not Pfizer, Dr. Fauci Says; G.O.P. CPAC Convention Embraces Trump, Conspiracy Theories and the Big Lie; Biden Warns Putin On Russian Ransomware Attacks; White House Facing Ethics Concerns Over Sale Of Hunter Biden's Artwork. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 09, 2021 - 20:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: "The History of the Sitcom" premieres with back-to-back episodes Sunday at nine o'clock Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.

Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. The last thing a country in the middle of another rise in coronavirus cases and battling vaccine disinformation needs is conflicting messages from the government about the efficacy of the vaccine past the six-month period.

That is exactly what's occurred in the past 24 hours ending with an apology -- sort of -- from the company that started it. Dr. Anthony Fauci just tried to put a pin in it by saying, listen to us, the Federal health agencies, not a vaccine maker, but it remains to be seen if the damage has already been done.

This all began shortly before we went on air last night with a statement from Pfizer and BioNTech about their own vaccine that got a lot of people's attention. And I'm quoting, "Vaccine efficacy in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease has declined six months post vaccination. Pfizer and BioNTech believe that a third dose may be beneficial within six to 12 months following the second dose to maintain highest levels of protection."

Now, they didn't really offer any new studies or data. This was based on a report that was leaked out of Israel, only a caveat and an important one that efficacy against severe illness and hospitalization remains high.

Now, hours after Pfizer's statement, the C.D.C. and F.D.A. came out with a statement essentially shooting down that assessment, a message echoed by the White House today.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The C.D.C. and the F.D.A. put out a pretty clear statement last night after the announcement by Pfizer, making clear that Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Notice, she is saying "at this time." A statement from the C.D.C. and F.D.A. went a step further taking a gentle swipe at Pfizer for, well, here's what they said. "This process takes into account laboratory data, clinical trial data, and cohort data, which can include data from specific pharmaceutical companies but does not rely on those data exclusively."

Now, another development in this saga today. This is what Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN today about a phone call he received from the head of Pfizer.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The CEO, who is a really good guy, got on the phone with me last night and apologized that they came out with that recommendation. So, there is no -- not apologize about the recommendation, apologized for not letting us know that he was going to do it ahead of time.


COOPER: And apology for the surprise of it, not the substance of the actual statement. There is obviously continued confusion because after the C.D.C. and F.D.A. were saying that boosters weren't necessary right now, the C.D.C. Director today said that anyone, even if they have been vaccinated, should get tested if they've exhibited upper respiratory symptoms. In layman's terms, that means congestion or runny nose, sore throat or cough, which is pretty stark prescription for a country that's supposed to be rounding the corner.

Now that also came as the C.D.C. updated its COVID guidance for schools. Basically, schools should remain open in the fall regardless of measures schools can implement to mitigate spread of the virus, which is a change in policy and all of this information, some of it contradictory, is coming at a critical time.

According to medical professionals who insist we're not out of the woods yet. Cases are rising again in a number of places across the country. Here are the states -- a number of states in fact, as you can see here, the red areas represent states where surge is the greatest, much of that rise in the central and southeastern U.S.

And if we look past state lines, we see what the largest clusters of the surge look like. New data from Georgetown University identifies at least five large clusters of unvaccinated people, most in the southern U.S. that are vulnerable, obviously to COVID surges and could become breeding grounds for even more deadly variants.

So tonight, there's some confusion, questions and concerns about all of this, so many concerns we are pleased to have with us an expert on all of the above, Dr. Peter Hotez. He's a pediatrician, and the Dean of the School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor University. He has been involved in vaccine development. Plus, he is the author of "Preventing the Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-Science."

Dr. Hotez, let's just be clear about Pfizer and what they actually said because from what I understand, this information that was leaked from Israel was that people who had been vaccinated, I believe, the report was in January and February were starting to have a lower efficacy in some cases against the delta variant, I think down into the 60 percent range or 64 percent.

But according to Pfizer, I mean, didn't the head of Pfizer when a long time ago say that ultimately people would probably need to get another shot, you know, six to 10 months after their final shot?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Yes, Anderson, let me let me break it down like this and maybe it will clarify things.

I've been saying for most of this year that eventually, we will likely need a third immunization of the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccine, in other words, a booster, and the reason for that is it'll really jack up virus neutralizing antibodies, provide more robust resilience against the variants to come.


HOTEZ: Remember, we're as good a job as we're doing in the U.S., we're doing an absolutely terrible job or a non-job in Africa, South America, and in Southeast Asia. So, we're extremely vulnerable now to lots of variants coming in. So, a third immunization at some point, maybe later in the fall or next year will likely be warranted in order to provide greater resilience to the variants. Point one.

Point two is, it looks like the two doses of the current vaccine are pretty robust against the delta variant. You cite that 64 percent number in Israel, but in terms of severe illness, it is well over 90 percent, and by the way, in the U.K., and Scotland, and in Canada, there are now three studies showing over 80 percent protection, so pretty close to what we've seen.

And that's the reason why we don't need to be concerned right now about getting the booster, the protection against the delta variant is pretty robust. So yes, we'll need a third immunization but not now, and not for the delta variant. And it's unfortunate that they did put out that press release, as I've been saying also all year, and it's not only for Pfizer, it's the others as well, when a company sends out a press release, you have to remember it's not for you, it is not for me, it's for their shareholders, and it's to increase stock prices.

And this has been a chronic problem initially for Operation Warp Speed, and even now that there's been no control over the communications coming from the companies. So yes, we'll need a booster, but nothing to worry about right now in terms of vaccination.

COOPER: I mean, I think the company argues that this is, you know, they've erred on the side of being more transparent than then less transparent. But just to be clear, it seems like people are kind of talking past each other because the White House, you know, Jen Psaki there was saying, you do not need a booster right now.

And I think what Pfizer are saying is, well, we're just going to be developing this booster so that there is one when it is needed. I mean, isn't that kind of what both sides are saying?

HOTEZ: Well, but you know, Pfizer and Moderna have both already publicly said that previously, and whether it's going to be the same vaccine or fine-tuned to one of the other variants that's a topic that's being discussed among the scientists.

But the point is, we don't -- we don't need it urgently, and I think the other piece to this is, the other thing that is unprecedented is why giving a boost to an emergency use authorization. That's never happened before. And why make the announcement? Why not have this discussion with the F.D.A. in order to understand what the needs are going to be? That was kind of strange.

What we really need to do, Anderson, is we need the full approval process for the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccine and the J&J vaccine. This has been dragging on and it's become actually an obstacle in the talking point now, for the far right, you know, that want to try to make the claims that these vaccines are experimental or not safe.

I think that's the biggest priority. And then we can work out the booster with the F.D.A. and C.D.C. at a later time.

COOPER: Well, let me ask you that, because at what point do you think a booster would be needed? Because I mean, initially, the Pfizer CEO, a while ago had said, I think it was six to 10 months or eight to 10 months, possibly, you know, if people got vaccinated in April, which is when more people were able to get vaccinated. I mean, that would push a booster to when -- sometime in the fall?

HOTEZ: Yes, I mean, the key issue is we haven't really -- we've not really seen strong evidence of declining immunity, in part because we don't have the best markers for it. I mean, even if you see a decline in virus neutralizing antibodies, that's to be expected because you still have memory B cells, memory T cells and that's extremely important.

And we're not seeing a huge number of breakthrough infection cases and certainly not a huge number of breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths. Remember, the C.D.C. just came out with data showing that 99 point something percent of the deaths are all unvaccinated individuals, and the State of Maryland just came out with the same type of data yesterday or the day before. So, there's really no evidence of decline in immunity.

Now, obviously, you don't want to wait until things get too far before you boost. But that's the kinds of things that we're all looking at.

Again, I think a third immunization should not be a surprise, a lot of preparation ahead of that. But certainly not on the basis right now of what we're seeing with the delta variant.


COOPER: Dr. Peter Hotez, I appreciate it. Thanks.

We mentioned vaccines disinformation at the top of the program, what you're about to hear is a prime example of that comes from an interview with freshmen Republican Congressman from North Carolina, Madison Cawthorn. He is hyping up a conspiracy theory surrounding President Biden's push for door-to-door campaign that does nothing more than spread the sensible and accurate information about how vaccines are safe. Listen to the Congressman.


REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): And now, they're starting to talk about going door to door to be able to take vaccines to the people.

The thing about the mechanisms they would have to build to be able to actually execute that massive of a thing, and then think about what those mechanisms can be used for. They could then go door to door and take your guns, they again go door to door to take your Bible.


COOPER: I am joined now by Andy Slavitt, the former senior adviser to President Biden's COVID response team. Mr. Slavitt, given your experience at the White House leading the charge in the COVID response, I mean, it's obviously ludicrous and dangerous what he has just said. What do you -- how do you respond?

ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE TEAM: Yes, I don't think the Bible taking apparatus is quite built yet out of the White House yet. I mean, it's unfashionable to say you're anti-vaccine, but if you are representing a lot of constituents that are anti-vaccine, if you want to play to your base, the right strategy is to make the sort of subtle jabs and to suggest that because the government is involved in it somehow, it is there for fascism and I think that is the kind of Marjorie Taylor Greene. You've heard it a little bit here. You know, you hear it constantly.

And what that does is it takes people who are in the path of the storm -- the delta storm, and it makes them think that, you know, I don't need to get vaccinated. I'm too -- I'm brave. I'm tough. You know, the government is more of a threat to me. And that's really unfortunate because it crosses a number of lines we shouldn't cross.

COOPER: You recently went to Twitter, and I want to read a portion of it. It's lengthy, but I think it's very strong what you said and I want people to hear it.

You said, "I deeply regret that we live in a world where I have to respond to Marjorie Taylor Greene but alas, Greene is now comparing Biden's vaccination program to her new favorite topic: yes, Nazism. The latest chapter in her Holocaust education fetish is not encouraging."

"No one is in danger of asking Greene to teach a history class or a public health class with the exception of Texas anytime soon. But she did learn one lesson well from the Nazis, dangerous propaganda. The latest outrage is Biden daring to suggest that people go door to door to talk to one another about getting vaccinated. The hardly left wing 'Daily Caller' describe what this brown shirt campaign is. Ministers and neighbors sharing their stories."

"Yes, Biden was encouraging Americans to (gulp) talk to each other about getting vaccinated. If someone looking out for you and listening and talking to you about getting vaccinated is a blow to your liberty when a powerful variant is sweeping through your unvaccinated area, it's time to reexamine what liberty means."

"So Congresswoman Greene, spare us the imagined treachery of someone coming to snatch your liberty. Our liberty is earned. The burden of enjoying our freedoms is to contribute to the ideals of a country we can be worthy. And Congresswoman Greene, you, you're not." End quote.

Did you ever think giving a response like that to a sitting Congress person would be necessary?

SLAVITT: Well, God love Twitter, right? The truth is no. I mean, I think if Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn't want to get vaccinated, she doesn't have to get vaccinated. And I think that's true for everybody.

The Biden administration is not turning the screws to anybody. The reason they're encouraging people to go door to door is for exactly the reason that there isn't a mandate, and there isn't a requirement, that people do have free will and the President recognizes that.

And so when she does this, what she is doing is she's creating this sort of straw person, like saying Benghazi or like saying e-mails or like saying Fauciism, or whatever the expression is to get people riled up over something that is actually the most, I think, common and decent of things, which is tell your own story, listen to people you trust in your own neighborhood. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, talk to people you know. I think that's all the President is suggesting.

COOPER: I mean, it is this kind of phony outrage machine and it is propaganda and it keeps coming, how much of it is keeping us from fully overcoming this pandemic? Because I mean, the longer this drags out, the longer these variants, mutate, and new variants pop up, the more people who remain unvaccinated, I mean, it just goes on and on.

SLAVITT: Right. Look, I think we have about 30 percent of the population that's not vaccinated yet. I think about a third or about 10 percent are people that are real considerations. You know, they have real concerns. They want to see more information. They're nervous about it, but they're taking it seriously. But they are subject to misinformation and disinformation.

You have another 20 percent that are very solidly in the I-will-not- consider-it camp. And that latter 20 percent is very decidedly white, rural, Republican, and many of their concerns are, in fact, you know, ideological. So, I think it is unhelpful in states like Missouri and Arkansas,

where we have -- where there just has been a significant challenge for their leaders not to get out there. Whereas you look at West Virginia and Governor Justice, who looked at the people in West Virginia and said, if you're not vaccinated, you're part of the problem. And that's the kind of leadership that I think defies partisan politics and we need to see that.


COOPER: Andy Slavitt, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

Now, that clip we showed you a moment ago from that Republican Congressman came as conservatives kickoff a big conference in Dallas, just ahead we will tell you about the day one of CPAC and why it demonstrates the former President still controls the agenda of that party.

Also tonight, there's breaking news on the crisis in Haiti days after the Prime Minister was -- excuse me, the President was assassinated. The country is asking for U.S. troops to help protect vital infrastructures as chaos overwhelms the country. A live report when we continue.



COOPER: Before the break, we were talking extensively about the fight against the delta variant, the need to battle vaccine disinformation. Two topics sorely lacking, the Republican's big convention that kicked off today, the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas known as CPAC.

Now instead today, and this weekend, the topics will include fair affairs like the big lie, quote, "Detecting Threats to Election Integrity: How to Collect Evidence of Fraud," and, quote, "Spare the Fraud, Spoil the Child: The Future of American Elections."

Culture wars, also very popular, one discussion is about quote, "Can cancel culture be canceled." Another, quote, "Leadership, Justice and Jobs in the Age of wokeism: A Conversation with Conservative Governors."

And of course, critical race theory is very popular. "Head of the Class: Why is the Left Committed to Critical Race Theory When so Many Parents Disagree?"

The former President is of course scheduled to speak, he is going to speak on Sunday. Tonight, it was his namesake son, Donny Jr. who set the tone for the conference. That is now, of course his father's party.



AUDIENCE: Everything.

TRUMP, JR.: Everything. The difference between a conspiracy theory and the truth is about six months.



AUDIENCE: (Chanting "Trump.")

TRUMP, JR.: They're lying to you about everything. What else are they lying to you about, guys?

AUDIENCE: Everything.


COOPER: Of course, his dad lost by more than seven million votes. I'm joined now by former Republican Congresswoman Mia Love of Utah, CNN political commentator. So Congresswoman Love, what is the Republican Party's message other than clinging to the former President and his array of grievances and lies?

I mean, is there -- you don't hear a lot of policy issues, a lot of -- you know, the issues of the day actually being addressed by this party, do you?

MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And if you want Republicans like me and the majority of Republicans to really make sure that Republicans actually gained the majority in the House, and in the Senate, they have to start talking about what they are for.

Now, I understand that CPAC is going to try and do everything they can to raise as much money as possible. And I understand that they've got to throw as much red meat out there as possible. But at some point, parents are concerned about how they're putting food on the table. Why are they going to fill their car up with gas? What are they for?

How are you going to get out of saying, hey, we were cheated. Oh, my gosh, and Trump actually won. We want to get back to, how are we going to get the economy in place? What are we going to do to help Americans? What are we for? How are you going to behave in a majority stop acting like you're in a minority party?

COOPER: But I mean, it is -- it's not just red meat to the CPAC audience. I mean, this is -- this is the Republican Party now. I mean, that the base is driving -- is the driving force of the Republican Party. The big lie seems to be, I mean, the most important message being pushed by -- certainly by the former President by his, you know, his son who is allegedly running the corporation.

I'm not sure you know, how that's going.

LOVE: How do you win an election? COOPER: What does it say --

LOVE: How do you win an election with that?


LOVE: It doesn't make any sense.

COOPER: Do you think --

LOVE: I'm trying to say --

COOPER: Is there -- is their argument -- is their argument, though, that, you know, get people riled up enough and then you'll have a huge turnout in the polls because people will think, oh, well, the last one was stolen, and this time we're going to prove them, you know, we're going to stop that.

LOVE: With who? And are you bringing Trump back to do that? Are you going to have somebody that actually talks about Republican policies again? Because if they don't, they're going to lose. And that's what I'm saying.

You continue with the rhetoric of a couple of years ago, if you continue to look towards the past and you're not giving anything or anyone anything to hold on to for the future, Republicans are going to lose.

So, they need to start talking about the policies that they believe in. Okay, you don't agree with the infrastructure plan, what are you going to put in place?

COOPER: I want to get your reaction to something that Republican Congressman Chip Roy said. It's a recently leaked video. We played it last night. It's about what he believes is the G.O.P. strategy right now. Let's play that.


REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Honestly, right now, for the next 18 months, our job is to do everything we can to slow all of that down to get to December 2022, and then get in here and lead. I actually say, thank you, Lord, 18 months of confusion and inability to get stuff done. That's what we want.



COOPER: Now I get that, you know, politicians are partisans and I'm sure there's Democrats in a Republican administration who probably said the same thing behind closed doors, we just want to slow things down, we want to stop them from accomplishing stuff before the midterm elections.

But it's obviously incredibly cynical. And, again, when you aren't proposing actual policies, and that is your policy, that's the only thing you're kind of hoping for. That just seems particularly just a pathetic strategy.

LOVE: And that's why I keep saying, they really have to have something that they hold on to, something that they can sell to the American people, something that says, you put us in the majority, this is what's going to happen, not, hey, we're going to just completely slow things down, we're not going to do anything.

That's the difference between being in the minority, showing that you can't govern and being in the majority, saying, look, we deserve to be in the majority. This is what we're going to offer you. We're going to offer you a better tomorrow. We're going to offer you some hope. So that way, you don't have to worry about where your food is coming from or what you're going to do for work, you have a bright future ahead of you with us in the majority.

And so they have to stop looking back at conspiracy theories. They have to stop looking back at what they should have or could have had or what they thought they should have, or could have had, and start giving people something to hold on to.

COOPER: Yes, Mia Love, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

We mentioned the far right focus on conspiracies about the election based on the big lie. A key focal point right now, of course, is that so-called audit in Arizona that we've been following very closely. It was supposed to finish its count already, so we thought. Our senior national correspondent, Kyung Lah joins us now with the latest.

So, what is the latest chapter in all of this -- with this so-called audit?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a bizarre chapter. What we had been following and watching on the floor of that Coliseum, Anderson, is a hand count. We saw the Lazy Susans. They were looking at each individual ballot doing a hand count. That part allegedly is done.

So, you can look at this now as the summer sequel that you didn't want. What we saw -- and let me kind of catch you up to date. If you look at first this aerial picture, we saw the ballots being boxed up, moved out of the Coliseum brought across the Arizona State Fairgrounds on these trucks and delivered to a storage facility.

And now look at this next video clip, and this is from about a week ago, this facility looked like you'd expect, storage, the ballots are all boxed up. There's nothing happening. You know, it looks like a ring camera.

Well, suddenly, there was activity. This morning, if you look at this next video clip, suddenly there were two counters, there are paper counters that were delivered, and we are now told it's not a hand count, it is a machine count.

These machines are going to count each ballot, they're not going to look at what's on the ballot, they're just going to count the ballot.

The Arizona audit spokesman tells me that the reason they're doing this is to double and triple check what the contractor has done, Cyber Ninjas. Now, he is calling it basically cleaning up. What does that mean? I don't know. And I've just talked to a number of people, Maricopa County elections officials, national election officials, and they're also looking at this scratching their head saying, they just don't know what's happening -- Anderson.

COOPER: And just to be clear, whatever they announce, there's no -- I mean, I say this every time, but I just think, you know, it makes -- us even reporting on this makes it seem like, oh, they're going to issue a report, and then we'll hear the numbers and hear what that machine said the numbers of the ballots were.

They can say any number they want and there's no authoritative source to say, well, this is true or not, because this is just a private audit that they claim to be doing.

LAH: It's an exercise, I mean, that's really the best way to look at it. Numerous officials, election officials, both Republicans and Democrats say this ain't an audit. What's happening here is a partisan driven exercise that almost seems like a hunt for nothing.

No one can figure out what's happening. They're not updating anybody about what they are finding. And every day, there's a new surprise. So, if there is a report, and I am going to stress if because we're told that there's going to be a report someday. You know, what we're hearing in advance is that real experts in the election space, and remember we are talking about one of the pillars of democracy here, the vote, it should not be believed -- Anderson.

COOPER: Kyung Lah, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Coming up, President Biden calling up Russia's President warning him about the Russian cyber criminals attacking the U.S. A live report from the White House next.



COOPER: With U.S. getting a barrage of ransomware attacks by hackers from inside Russia, today President Biden spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House says the President made it clear to Putin he expects him to do more to stop the actions of the Russian cyber criminals. Then later in the day, when asked by a reporter President Biden hinted that the U.S. may get more aggressive about the problem.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Up until now the U.S. response has been to exercise sanctions -- impose sanctions on Russia for this malign activity. Does it make sense for the U.S. to take it up a notch and attack the actual servers that are used? JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Yes.


COOPER: CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins joins us now with more.

Kaitlan, you've been reporting extensively on the President's dealings with Putin, what more do we know about what prompted this call specifically? And what was said?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, after talking to White House officials, they essentially argued that the main reason behind this call today just come in three weeks after that summit in Geneva, where they met face to face was that ransomware attack that happened over the July 4 weekend. And Anderson that was a massive attack on a small Florida company. But it's a company that handles the software for hundreds of other businesses. And so, it essentially paralyzed them. And so, it did speak to the nature of the threat from these ransomware attacks. And we were told that was what was behind this call today where President Biden confronted Putin, according to the White House over these attacks, urged him to crack down on them, even if they're not being carried out by the Russian government, per se, but by criminals and cyber gangs. They're being harbored by Russia.

But I do think these echoes pretty similar to a warning that he gave Putin just three weeks ago when they were in person in Geneva. And of course you remember them. We had a pretty testy exchange when I asked him if he thought that Putin was actually going to change his behavior given he has not done so for other U.S. presidents.


BIDEN: Yes, I'm not (INAUDIBLE).

COLLINS (voice-over): So.

BIDEN: When did I say was not. I said, I said, what I said, look, let's get straight, I said what will change their behavior is the rest of the world react to them and they diminishes to standing in the world. I'm not coughing or anything. I'm just stating the fact.

COLLINS (on camera): But given his past behavior has not changed and in that press conference after sitting down with you for several hours, he denied any involvement in cyber attacks, he downplayed human rights abuses. He refused to say Alexei Navalny's name. So, how does that account to a constructive meeting as president? (INAUDIBLE).


BIDEN: You don't understand that, in (ph) your own business.


COOPER: So just be clear. I mean, what if anything has changed between the U.S. and Russia since you had that encounter since he met with Putin because he's now talking about better communication about consequences and ratcheting things up.

COLLINS: It's not clear that anything has changed. And of course, it has been three weeks, but this was really an area that the White House had wanted to focus on because of course, they know Putin is not going to change a lot of his behaviors. He likes the chaos, he revels in that, he likes rankling U.S. presidents. But when it comes to these ransomware attacks, the White House is greatly concerned about these just because you've seen the threat that they can pose to an a disruption they can cause to everyday lives.

And so, what President Biden said today, after their hour long phone conversation was he said he felt optimistic about it. He felt like he could send a message to Putin, he did talk about how American officials and Russian officials are going to talk on cyber crimes and ransomware next week, but whether or not anything actually comes out of that seems very unlikely or skeptical at best because you saw the Kremlin readout of that call today. They essentially cast doubt that any of these attacks are carried out in Russian territory, even though the White House has said repeatedly It is these cyber gangs. They are based in Russia they know that they say. Russia is not even alleging or not even acknowledging that they are in Russian territory.

So, it remains to be seen. The President says he feels good about it. But of course, these attacks are incredibly serious to the White House and we'll see what Putin does going forward.

COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much.

The White House also facing ethics concerns tonight over an upcoming sale of paintings by President Biden's son Hunter Biden, some very pricey paintings.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty reports.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These paintings by President Biden son Hunter are sparking ethics concerns for the White House. Hunter's artwork is set to be displayed and sold this fall at private and invite only showings in Los Angeles and New York City. Price between $75,000 to half a million dollars per piece. Some ethics experts are crying foul.

WALTER SHAUB JR., SENIOR ETHICS FELLOW, THE PROJECT ON GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT: It just is implausible that this art from an unknown artists would be selling at this price if it didn't have the Biden name attached to it. The cachet that comes with buying this art is getting to say that you own are created by the president son.

SERFATY (voice-over): And some are critics agree.

SCOTT INDRISEK, FMR EDITOR, MODERN PAINTERS & ARTSY: That I would say for a first time artist it's a little bit out of scale with normal pricing. They're fairly generic paintings, you know, there may be technically skilled in a certain way but they don't really have any find them or life behind them.

SERFATY (voice-over): Sources tell CNN the White House has been involved in forming a deal between a Soho New York gallery owner, George Burgess, and Hunter Biden, to attempt to address any ethics concerns. Two sources familiar with the arrangement say, neither Hunter Biden or the administration will have any knowledge of who has bid or purchased the artwork, it will be kept anonymous. And if there is any unusual behavior like the offer price is too high, the gallery is expected to turn down the offer.

SHAUB: The right answer here would have been to agree publicly to disclose the names of these purchasers. The public could in that case have tracked whether or not these buyers were getting preferential access in return for paying outrageous amounts.

SERFATY (voice-over): At the start of his administration, President Biden vowed to avoid even the perception of conflicts of interest.

BIDEN: Here's how I look at it. I said the foul line is 15 feet away from the basket, never get me closer than 17 feet, because it really is a matter of the public trust.

SERFATY (voice-over): Today the White House responded to questions over the sale of Hunter's art.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: After careful consideration, system has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within reasonable safeguards.

SERFATY (voice-over): On the gallery website, Hunter's biography does not mention that he is the son of the President, instead detailing his art style and describing him as someone who has devoted his artistic career to the visual arts. In the past, Hunter has been open with his battle with drug addiction and has suggested that art helps, telling the New York Times that painting puts my energy towards something positive. It keeps me away from people in places where I shouldn't be.

This isn't the first time family members of presidents blurred ethical lines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Billy beer for sale --

SERFATY (voice-over): In the '70s President Jimmy Carter's brother Billy promoted Billy Beer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The man who used to be known as first brother, as we all recall, started manufacturing the beer back in the '70s.

SERFATY (voice-over): And more recently, the Trump family while former President Donald Trump was in office, Ivanka Trump received more than a dozen patents from China. While the U.S. was negotiating a trade deal with China.


Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We have breaking news coming up next, what the Haitian government is now asking the United States to do in the wake of the assassination of the country's president? That's next.


COOPER: Last night, we brought you news of the arrest of at least some of those the Haitian government says they're responsible for the assassination of the country's president. These are the pictures of some of those arrested showing the floor after being seized.

This comes as there's breaking news tonight from Haiti, the government is asking the United States to send troops to protect the airport basic infrastructure in the ports in the wake of the assassination of the country's president. Now the Haitian elections minister said the request was for about 500 troops.

Meanwhile, the White House says tonight that the FBI and DHS officials will be on their way to the island quote, as soon as possible. All of this as the mystery around the motive of the assassination still swirls as well as the manhunt for some of those who the government says, are the killers.

CNN's Matt Rivers is the only international TV journalist who's made it into the country today, he went to the site of one building or firefight between police and some of the alleged assassins took place.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is a building where one of the shootouts took place between some of the suspects in this assassination and Haitian security forces and just by looking around at the damage here, you can tell just how ferocious this battle was. Look up here in the ceiling. It's a concrete ceiling. And there are multiple bullet holes. There are dozens just like that all across this building. And if you come over here, look at this detail. These are the bullet holes left behind after multiple rounds pierced this metal window frame.

And if you step back, you can see this was an entire wall of windows and frames that is now basically just gone. And this kind of damage just extends throughout this entire building. Walking into this room, you can see lots more bullet holes in the concrete ceiling and in here, more damage. Windows just entirely blown out more bullet holes. And here's the thing, there are still suspects on the loose after this assassination. So, it makes you think that could there be more confrontations like this one in store over the coming days and weeks.


COOPER: And Matt Rivers joins us now. Matt, I mean, is there an active manhunt for these -- for what's been described as More suspects and because obviously the airport the border with Dominican Republic was shut down after the assassination, so I would assume they would still be around and visible at the very least.


RIVERS: Absolutely. And the manhunt is happening right now to the point where we got an update Anderson just a few hours ago with Haitian authorities, saying that the number of detainees had increased from 17 to 20. They had been looking for eight remaining suspects. Now that number is down to five. So they are clearly continuing to conduct sweeps across Port-au Prince, there is a big police presence across the city, as we have seen throughout, you know, our time here so far. So this is very much an ongoing operation.

However, there's a lot of differing information coming out of the government. It's been difficult, frankly, to get an actual pinpoint on what is happening here. Take, for example, the fact that 26 Colombian nationals as of yesterday, according to Haitian officials, were involved in all this. Today, somehow that number dropped down to 20. They didn't provide an explanation for any of that. They just simply changed the number without saying it. That goes very much in line to what is happening here in terms of the government not giving us a lot of information about motive, for example, what exactly is happening, when it -- when these foreign nationals come here? They arrive here and there is no motive given at the time for why this country's president was assassinated.

The government hasn't addressed that question they haven't addressed who the financer might be behind this. They haven't addressed, you know, who the mastermind of all this might be Anderson. So because of all of that this remains a huge mystery at this point with Haitians just not really understanding exactly what happened to their president.

COOPER: And has the U.S. responded to the Haitian government's request to send U.S. troops.

RIVERS: Basically, they were very non-committal in Washington D.C. today, both the Pentagon and the State Department not really giving an answer to that request by the Haitians. But it's not clear that they're going to send those troops because we're not going into a huge history lesson here about Haiti. Over the last 100 years, foreign troops being placed on this island has gone wrong very, very, very often. So it's not clear that the United States will actually want to send troops here to protect infrastructure as the Haitian government says they want them to. And it's also not clear that the people of Haiti should U.S. troops appear here even in a protected capacity. It's very much not clear that the Haitian people would welcome their presence.

COOPER: Yes. I was there I think was '95, '94 -- I think was '95, '94, 95 when troops went to restore President Aristide to power after Cedras left the country. I think that was the last time the U.S. actually sent a large contingent of troops.

Matt Rivers, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Up next, a conversation with a TV legend. Iconic sitcom creator Norman Lear on how he has made television history, plus his secret to a long life he's about to turn 99.



COOPER: This weekend here on CNN you'll get a behind the scenes look at your favorite sitcoms from across the decades, the characters and can't stop laughing with in the situations you can't get enough of.

Here's a sneak peek of the new CNN Original Series, "THE HISTORY OF THE SITCOM."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Norman Lear always at the beginning of his career, and he was looking to find a show that he could really make his own and he was turned on to a British series called Till Death Do Us Part.

NORMAN LEAR, ICONIC TV SITCOM PRODUCER: It was about a bigoted father, that says (ph) Holy moly. That was the way I grew up. And I knew I had a show.


COOPER: That is fame TV sitcom creator Norman Lear. He is a legend and extraordinary career he's had giving some insight on how he came up with the groundbreaking sitcom All In The Family. He also created One Day To Time, The Jefferson's Good Times, a lot of other amazing shows. He's the executive producer of two films in theaters now I Carry You With Me and Reader Marino, just a girl who decided to go for. And I didn't mention he's about to turn 99.

We recently talked about all of this. Take a look.


COOPER (on camera): Mr. Lear, thank you so much for joining us. I am such an admirer of your work and your career. I don't think anyone can describe the impact all on the family, for instance, had on American TV culture. What other personal experiences have you drawn from when, you know, when thinking about creating a show?

LEAR: I am a bit of good listener all my life. And I paid a lot of attention. I came from a family that that lived at the top of its lungs and the ends of its nerves. And I paid a lot of attention to all of that. So, the people we have worked to collaborate with incur and put on the screen are all people I've lived with, in a sense, certain parts of all of them.

COOPER (on camera): It's -- I mean, it's extraordinary when you look back how your shows, I mean, you were tackling some of the toughest social, cultural, political topics of the day. I mean, I remember as a kid watching all in the family and all the things that were discussed and would spark discussions in my family with my parents. Why do you think it's important for sitcoms to kind of take on that material? And do you think they still do? LEAR: You know, I didn't think I was taking on anything in that sense. What we dealt with were problems that if we hadn't, as a family lived through them, we had cousins and relatives that did or neighbors up the street down the street across the street. We were living through every problem that all in the family dealt with.

COOPER (on camera): You're also I understand, but it'd be 99 on July 27th, which is just amazing and extraordinary. And you look great. And you sound great. What is -- what's your secret to the career that you have had to be on the really sort of the cutting edge of culture and forward thinking? What is -- what's your secret?

LEAR: If there's a secret, there are two little words I don't get enough attention to over and next. When something is over, it is over, and we are on to next. And if there was a hammock in the middle, that would be the best way I know of identifying living the expression living in the moment. So, I like to think in the moment, I spent the last day since I knew we were going to be talking, looking forward to this moment and I adore living it.


COOPER (on camera): I adore living it too. I'm glad we're looking at together. But you can do that -- you can do that you can say some things over and on to the next.

LEAR: On to the next, yes. And, you know, I think I see that in you as I watch you, every evening, delighting in that moment.

COOPER (on camera): I -- for me, it's a battle to be present in each moment. And that's something I tried to do and work on a lot. But I love that that you're able to do that and that that you're focused on that.

LEAR: Yes, I think about that a lot. You know, I've never driven up by we live on a hillside I never drove up the hill without thinking of seeing another tree for the first time or another something for the first time and marveling at it.

COOPER (on camera): I love that. That's a good ending for little talk. Norman Lear, it truly is -- I just an extraordinary honor to talk to you. It's -- you've done so much for so many people. I really appreciate it.

LEAR: I couldn't appreciate those words or you more frankly.

COOPER (on camera): Oh, well, thank you. And my best your wife and your family. Thank you so much.

Be sure to tune in the all-new CNN Original Series "THE HISTORY OF THE SITCOM" premieres with back-to-back episodes Sunday 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.


COOPER: He really is a legend. When we come back, remembering an American hero.


COOPER: We want to end tonight in this week by remembering a very special veteran of World War II. Henry Parham was the last known surviving African American to serve in a combat role on D-Day. He was part of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion then the Army's only combat team made up of solely African American soldiers. Their mission to float and then defend huge hydrogen filled balloons from the beaches of Normandy to protect American troops from aerosols. When "360's" Gary Tuchman visited, he and his wife Ethel at their Pittsburgh home two years, his wife said his optimism had served him well over the years. Among the many honors he's received with the prestigious French Legion of Honor.


Henry Parham died on July 4th. He was 99 years old. We wish his family the best and we thank him and them for their service.

The news continues. Want to hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris.