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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Biden Orders Federal Workers to Get Vaccinated or Face Strict COVID Testing and Masking Rules; January 6 Committee to Look at People who were Communicating with Trump on January 6; Dems Activists In Texas Conduct Selma-Inspired March From Georgetown To Austin; Actress And Activists Sharon Stone On COVID & Taking It Seriously. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired July 29, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BARBARA BUCKLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LEGAL AID CENTER OF SOUTHERN NEVADA: ... you're risking more exposure. Doing it when the delta variant is out of control is a really bad idea.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Leslie says she was evicted once already, moved in with her mom.
WATT (on camera): And now you and your mom are --
LESLIE, FACING EVICTION IN NEVADA: Yes, are getting evicted as well.
WATT (voice over): Nick Watt, CNN, Las Vegas.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Thanks to Nick, and thanks to you. AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, we begin with breaking news and perhaps, a way at least to begin to break through the resistance, so many people seem to have to getting a shot that could save their lives not to mention wipe out COVID. Not just a way, in fact, several.
Late today after a string of key announcements from the public and private sector in blue states and red, President Biden unveiled a series of his own initiatives to vaccinate more Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Federal government will now reimburse those employers to give their staffs -- to give their staffs time off, not only get themselves vaccinated, but also to get their family members vaccinated.
Today, I am calling on all states and local governments to use funding they have received including from the American Rescue Plan to give $100.00 to anyone who gets fully vaccinated. I'm asking the Defense Department to look into how and when they will
add COVID-19 to the list of vaccinations the Armed Forces must get.
Every Federal government employee will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. Anyone who does not attest or is not vaccinated will be required to mask no matter where they work. Test one or two times a week to see if they've acquired COVID, socially distance, and generally will not be allowed to travel for work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The President also said he is asking that similar standards be applied to anyone doing business with the government. And as we said, this was just the latest of many such new carrots and sticks today. The Las Vegas Police Department announcing proof of vaccination will be mandatory for all new hires. Nevada resumes mandatory indoor masking tomorrow. Test positivity in the state now hovering at 17 percent and ICUs are starting to fill up or are filling up.
In Kansas, State employees and their visitors will have to mask up indoors starting on Monday, and Atlanta just returned to indoor masking as well. Late today, the Los Angeles Unified School District, second biggest in the country announced, it is going to require weekly COVID testing for all students and employees returning to in-person learning regardless of vaccination status.
Boston's Mayor today said she is leaning toward a vaccine mandate for city workers. New York's mayor applauded private sector initiative specifically today's announcement from Danny Meyer, the head of a big local high-end restaurant group and also the global burger chain, Shake Shack, that customers in his fine dining locations will have to be vaccinated along with the staff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANNY MEYER, CEO, UNION SQUARE HOSPITALITY GROUP: If you really want to go unvaccinated, you can dine somewhere else, and you can also go work somewhere else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: His move follows similar steps from far larger employers including Google and Facebook yesterday. It also comes as a number of Republican politicians bucked the anti-vaxxers in their ranks and speak plainly, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made this radio spot for listeners back home in Kentucky.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): If you haven't been vaccinated, do the right thing for you or your family and get vaccinated right now.
It's nothing short of a modern medical miracle.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice had this advice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): If this delta variant comes and keeps coming faster and faster and faster, it'll be too late for a lot of people that didn't get vaccinated.
For crying out loud, you've got to get yourself vaccinated. That's just all there is to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And there are signs that for any number of reasons, including the sight of friends and neighbors going to the ICU, vaccination rates have started ticking up. That is the good news.
New vaccinations now averaging three 389,000 a day. That's more than 35 percent higher than just a week ago and it is the highest it's been in three weeks.
Joining us now is Dr. Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Murthy, thanks so much for joining us. So, that's certainly good news about the uptick. Do you have a sense of exactly why it's going up? I mean, are people just kind of heeding the advice more?
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, SURGEON GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, Anderson, I think what's happening is people are seeing how dangerous the delta variant is. They are seeing family members and friends get sick. They are realizing that the vast majority of people who are in the hospital and were dying from COVID are unvaccinated. And I hope they are recognizing that they can get protection if they get vaccinated.
I think there are other reasons, too. You know, there are many people in communities who have are just tirelessly been working hard to get the message out, whether they are faith leaders or local doctors and nurses, and I hope some of that message is starting to break through more, but we need these numbers to keep going up because there are still millions of people in our country who are not protected from the virus, and this delta variant is spreading very quickly.
COOPER: And obviously, it takes a certain amount of time, it takes weeks, once you've been fully vaccinated for it actually to take effect and offer protection.
The President said today that every Federal employee will be asked to, quote, "Attest to their vaccination status." I mean, critics will say the President missed an opportunity today to unveil or recommend a proof of vaccination system, why not go ahead and just, you know, recommend, if you're not going to mandate it recommended a proof -- some sort of proof of vaccination system?
MURTHY: Well, Anderson, first, let's start with what he announced today. It was an important step toward protecting the Federal workforce, and I think a model and in some cases, an important signal that he is sending to the whole country that we have all got to look at what we have in our power to do, in our workplaces, and our universities, and our hospitals and take steps and help ensure people get vaccinated.
As far as a verification system is concerned, what the President and his team have said is that they are not necessarily going to build a system on their own. But they certainly, you know, are, you know, I think supportive of the private sector doing this, and the private sector is already stepping up to create the verification systems.
I think what we're going to see more and more, Anderson, in the weeks and months ahead, is I believe we're going to see more universities, more hospitals, more businesses, and more retail establishments looking to put rules in place to require people to get vaccinated. And I think that will help us move forward on this effort to protect our country from COVID.
COOPER: Is that part of what the President was doing today? Essentially, making some steps that give private businesses perhaps more leeway to even go farther? I mean, there are a lot of big companies now which are saying, you have to be vaccinated if you want to work here. Are you hoping that that private industry lead, you know, really push this, adopts that across the board?
MURTHY: Well, personally, Anderson, I am hoping that more institutions will look at the steps the President took today. And that steps, frankly, that a number of businesses and universities have already taken to require vaccines and will ask themselves if they can do the same, because particularly, Anderson, when you think about hospitals and healthcare systems requiring the vaccine, this is I think, a place where it makes really good sense for such requirements to be in place.
We already, in many hospitals, require other vaccines like the flu vaccine, and this is really a matter of protecting the people that we are caring for, and that is why you saw 60-plus organizations step up several days ago, and endorse requirements for vaccination among healthcare workers and I hope that this movement continues to grow.
COOPER: In the Federal government, I mean, in the military, military members get vaccines given to them. Why is not -- why isn't this mandatory among the military? Is it a question of waiting until the F.D.A. actually has approval as opposed to emergency use authorization?
MURTHY: Well, this is actually a question the Department of Defense is actively considering. And it's important, because you're absolutely right. The military does require, you know, active duty officers to get vaccinated in many other cases, and I believe it would make sense here too.
So DoD is considering everything, everything from, you know, what we know about the vaccine experience we have with it, which is quite massive at this point to where it is in the F.D.A. approval process, and they will likely make a determination on that very soon. But this is part of a broader pattern that we're seeing across the
country, Anderson, which is people recognizing that if we want to keep our kids in school, if we want to protect the economy, if we want our country to get through this pandemic, you've got to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that people get vaccinated.
COOPER: I know you've said that the C.D.C. and the F.D.A. will decide when a booster dose is needed for Americans, not the company, Pfizer. In Israel today, the Prime Minister announced they will be offering a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine to people over 60 years old. Obviously, people are going to look at that here in the U.S. and say, well, should that be happening here? Should it should that be happening here?
MURTHY: Well, Anderson, what we've got to do to make that decision is to look at a series of data points. One is data from other countries, Israel being one of them. Another, our data from our cohorts here in the United States where we have been tracking more than 20 cohorts across the nation looking for evidence of when immunity may wane and when breakthrough infections may increase.
And putting all of that data together is when we're going to make a decision about how we're going to make a decision about whether boosters are required.
With that said, I think it's very possible that we're going to require boosters and it is possible we're going to know that fairly soon.
As soon as that decision is made, though by the F.D.A. and C.D.C., one thing I can tell you is there will be supply available and ample quantities for the population. And right now, what we're considering also is whether there are specific groups that should be prioritized, if and when boosters are required, for example, those who are immunocompromised or seniors.
And so all of that will be informed by the data. But rest assured, we are looking at that data closely regularly. We meet often to discuss it. And you know, we'll make a decision hopefully soon, based on what the data tells us.
COOPER: Just to be clear, when you say soon or fairly soon, what does that actually -- what does that mean, in terms of -- you know, sometime soon in the scientific field is a longer timeframe than a lot of people think soon is, so what do you mean by soon?
MURTHY: Well, it's based a little bit on what the data tells us, Anderson, and how quickly as we see a signal there, but I think it's very possible by the end of the summer, early fall, that we may have a decision on boosters. Again, it could take a bit longer, it could come sooner. It depends how quickly we see a signal in the data and these cohorts of individuals we are following.
COOPER: Dr. Leana Wen is joining me next. She has been critical of the C.D.C.'s messaging on masking both in May and again this week. She wrote in "The Washington Post" quote, "We need to return to indoor mask mandates not because the vaccinated are suddenly a problem, but because we don't trust the unvaccinated to voluntarily do the right thing. It's not a commentary about the effectiveness of the vaccine or even the trickiness of the delta variant, rather about the failure of unvaccinated Americans to fulfill their societal obligation to act in the interest of everyone's health."
Is she right? I mean, who is at risk to whom?
MURTHY: Well, it's an important question, and I think the point that Dr. Wen is getting at, what underlies it is the fact that in the majority of transmission we're seeing is coming from those who are unvaccinated right now. That is true.
And there are two -- there are several different pieces of the C.D.C. guidance. The guidance they issued a few days ago, which specifically ask individuals in areas where there is high or substantial transmission to put their masks back on when they are in public indoor spaces, that was intended to reduce transmission, recognizing that some breakthrough cases can actually end up transmitting infection and particularly for people like me and you, Anderson, and other parents out there who have unvaccinated kids at home. That extra layer of precaution will help us protect the vulnerable at home.
But localities like LA County and others that are putting mask mandates back in place, they are not only looking to protect to the vaccinated, but they are trying to protect or prevent the unvaccinated from spreading the virus to others, and because again, that is a dominant mode of transmission.
So, we've got to certainly make that clear to the public. But that's why I think you see more localities also revisiting mask mandates because we've got to protect the unvaccinated from infecting others and if those who are vaccinated in unusual cases have breakthrough infections, we've got to make sure they don't transmit that to others, particularly those in their family.
COOPER: Dr. Vivek Murthy, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
MURTHY: Of course, it is good to see you, Anderson.
COOPER: I want to get some more perspective now in all aspects of this public health challenge. Joining us, CNN medical analyst and former Baltimore Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen who we just talked about. She is the author of the new book, "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health." Also Arthur Caplan, Director of the Medical Ethics Division at New York University Langone Medical Center.
Dr. Wen, so we just obviously heard from the Surgeon General addressing your op-ed, what do you make of what he said?
DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I agree with Dr. Murthy. I actually think that his communication on this topic is really clear because there are two things that we are talking about that I think the C.D.C. actually got tangled up with each other. The first is, what about people who live at home with vulnerable
family members? Like us who have unvaccinated children or immunocompromised individuals, we should be masking up not because we are at risk, but because we don't want to be transmitting COVID back home to our vulnerable loved ones. That's not the reason, though, why we should now be having indoor mask mandates in place for everyone.
We are not the problem. The vaccinated are not the problem. The problem are the unvaccinated who constitute as Dr. Murthy said, the vast majority of the transmission. And so I think the C.D.C. should be really clear that the reason why locales and businesses want to be implementing indoor mask mandates, it is not that somehow something isn't right with the vaccinated, it's that, if we don't have proof of vaccination, there's no way to tell who is vaccinated and who is not.
So in a sense, the vaccinated are maybe some people are kind of mad and saying why do I need to put a mask on now? Well, the reason is, we don't have the honor code that's working and we are putting on masks now because we can't trust the unvaccinated to be masking.
COOPER: Art, I mean, just through kind of an ethical lens, this idea that the burden lies again on the vaccinated population who have made a responsible choice. What do you say to those who feel like they're being punished for the actions of the unvaccinated or people who are not fulfilling their duty as citizens?
ARTHUR CAPLAN, DIRECTOR OF THE MEDICAL ETHICS DIVISION AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY LANGONE MEDICAL CENTER: Well, I think it's time to get our moral house in order, Anderson. It's the unvaccinated who are the threat. It's the unvaccinated who are going to make us close our schools, lose our jobs again, shut down the economy, and make my friends with immune diseases sick. We keep talking again and again in this country about the rights of the unvaccinated.
Unvaccinated have rights, but they're limited when they start hurting or harming others. And I think we've got it all backwards. We basically need to recalibrate. I think it's time to move away from this mask debate and get serious about mandatory vaccination. It's the right thing to do. It works.
If you look at the numbers, everybody who is dead from COVID these days are not vaccinated. And I'm tired of sort of indulging, if you will, arguments that say, my body, my choice, my liberty. Morally, liberty ends when you if you will, swinging your arm threaten to punch me. If that happens, I have to restrict what you can do and that's what COVID is.
COOPER: Dr. Wen, what do you think about that? I mean, obviously, there are, you know, a whole host of civil liberties issues regarding it, just that you were a Baltimore Health Commissioner, how do you see it?
WEN: I really agree with Art here that at some point, we, as a society have to decide what are our values? Who is it that we're trying to protect? Right now, the unvaccinated are able to walk around maskless without any reason to be vaccinated, and they are able to infect our unvaccinated children. They are able to put the immunocompromised at risk.
And now, we know that they also pose a risk to the vaccinated because of the spillover effect and breakthrough infections. Is that really who we want to be as a society? And so I go back to the analogy of drunk driving, you can decide to drink in your own home. But at the point that you decide to get behind a wheel, society has an obligation to say this is about health. This is about security.
And I just have to say, I mean, I think that the Biden administration, I think they did exactly the right thing. I mean, they moved really fast on this. Remember, during Fourth of July, they had a celebration in the White House where at that party, they didn't require proof of activation. Right now, they are saying, the entire workforce, the Federal government workforce, they need to be vaccinated or be tested.
I mean, I think that's really important. It's a good move from them, although I would have really liked to see, as you pointed out in your interview with Dr. Murthy, I would really like to see proof of vaccination, because they're just saying that you can attest and use the Honor Code essentially, and say you're vaccinated, we know the Honor Code doesn't work.
COOPER: Yes. Dr. Wen and Art Caplan, thank you. I appreciate it.
Just ahead. Sharon Stone joins us to talk about why COVID prevention is so deeply personal to her and why she is so driven to make sure no one else goes through what she and her family has during the pandemic.
And next, a lawmaker who might be called on to explain their statements and actions in and around the insurrection including an update on one who wore body armor as he egged on the crowd to start taking down names and kicking ass. What might it take to make them testify? We'll be joined by a former senior Justice Department official and the former Deputy Director of the F.B.I.
COOPER: When we left you last night, we had just found out that Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, the taking down names and kicking ass guy, had worn body armor in that photo -- in that video right there when he incited the crowd, January 6, and that he was warned there might be danger. That's what he told a reporter.
Well, today in a statement he said, quote: "The only threats I was aware of on that day were BLM and Antifa." He added, "I had no threat warnings whatsoever by anyone regarding the Trump supporters at the Ellipse, which is where I was."
So, just make it clear, he was standing before a crowd, egging them on, and using literally fighting words while wearing body armor for what the former President would later describe as a quote, "love fest."
Today, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who sits on the January 6 Select Committee had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Actually, the body armor I was referring to was that worn by the rioters who attacked the Capitol, but I'm sure that we will want to talk to Members of Congress to find out what their activities were. And many of them and I think all those who have spoken publicly have indicated that they have nothing to hide, that they will certainly cooperate with the committee, and that would be my expectation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oh, is that wishful thinking? And if it is, what can the Committee actually do to ensure cooperation? Joining us for that, CNN legal analyst and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Elliot Williams, also CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former F.B.I. Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe.
So Elliot, given Congressman Brooks has said the purpose of the committee is to, quote, "create political propaganda." Do you think is wishful thinking that he'll just voluntarily comply?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Look, it might be, but that's a long-standing practice of Congress to first ask someone to first ask someone to come in voluntarily. And look, Anderson, you might actually -- this sounds counterintuitive -- you might get it faster by first asking them to come in.
If you go straight to a subpoena, there's a number of votes that would probably have to happen before you could enforce the subpoena. You've got to file a lawsuit or take it to the Justice Department and that may slow your whole proceeding down and you may ultimately not end up getting it when in fact, as Representative Lofgren said right there, if you start first by asking the individuals who are Members of Congress to appear voluntarily, either for a short period of time for a deposition or a transcribed interview, and then if he says no, don't give him a lot of time, then slap him with the subpoena.
But I think people have a false notion of how quickly subpoenas get enforced even in Congress.
COOPER: Andrew, I mean, Congressman Brooks, as we mentioned earlier, said he had information regarding threats of violence on January 6. Now, he is claiming it was from Black Lives Matter and Antifa, whoever apparently informed him of those threats clearly did not really know anything, because that was really not the focus of that day, despite what some, you know, QAnon people may still be clinging to.
But if that is, in fact true that somebody told him that, is that something a Member of Congress would normally share with the F.B.I.?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Anderson, you would hope so, right? If a member of Congress stumbled across some credible threat information as early as, I think he said in the reporting, Monday, so that would have been January 4th, you would certainly have hoped and I've been on the receiving end of these calls many times in my 21-year career in the Bureau, that the Congressman would have called the F.B.I. to say, hey, there's some threat information that you should be aware of.
I'd also be curious to know who is this source of Intelligence that's feeding warnings about BLM and Antifa to the Congressman, that is apparently the only person involved in this thing that we know that actually thought that because the F.B.I. has already said to us they had no information that those groups were involved in any of the activity on January 6.
MCCABE: So, I don't think he has put himself in a position of being any less relevant as a witness to the Committee.
COOPER: This reminds me when Louie Gohmert years ago, Congressman Gohmert talked about a friend of his at the F.B.I. or former agent or someone in enforcement who told him about pregnant women coming to have babies in America, and then they would become -- go back and then they would come back as terrorists and attack America and it was a whole plot. Look it up on YouTube. It was an interview. There was an interesting interview I did with him about it. No actual evidence.
So Elliot, if Brooks were to fight a subpoena, how long would that drag out for?
WILLIAMS: Yes, I mean, you're talking months, if not years. They just take a long time to enforce and look, Anderson. I worked both for the Senate Judiciary Committee and then doing this for the Justice Department. They just take a long time.
Now, look, Andy's point is exactly correct. This is incredibly relevant information. And if, as many Republicans in Congress are making the argument that this is about Capitol safety, if you're saying that you were threatened by BLM protesters that's relevant to the inquiry that's happening right here. Come in and say it under oath voluntarily to Congress.
Now, of course, we have every reason to believe that the Speaker would seek a subpoena if she had to, we have every reason to believe that the Justice Department would enforce one. So, he has a hammer over his head if they choose to go down that road, but it'll take a long time once they get into court.
COOPER: Yes, Elliot Williams, Andrew McCabe, appreciate it. Thank you.
Just ahead, those Texas Democrats who took off to D.C. spoke today with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams about Federal voting legislation. Meanwhile, back at home in Texas, supporters of that legislation continued a multiday march at the Capitol, Beto O'Rourke, a former Congressman as well as Bishop William Barber, two of the organizers of the march join us next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: While the President was speaking about the threat from COVID,
Texas Democrats were in D.C. trying to promote Federal voting rights legislation. Today, they met virtually with President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and voting rights activist, Stacey Abrams about how to move forward.
Later, they said that Abrams noted that even losing races as she did for Governor in Georgia can galvanize voters and produce wins down the road as it did in the two Georgia Senate runoff races this year.
Now, as this was happening, Democrats and activists in Texas were marching for second day, a part of what they are calling a moral march for democracy. They started in Georgetown, Texas and is expected to end in the State Capitol of Austin on Saturday. Two of the leaders of the March, former Texas Congressman, Beto O'Rourke and Civil Rights activist, Bishop William Barber join me now.
Bishop Barber, why, why are you marching?
WILLIAM BARBER, CO-CHAIR, POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN: Well, we're trying to nationalize Texas, as in '65, Selma in Alabama was nationalized, to say, we have to have federal protections. We have to have the end to filibuster, we have to fully past all the provision of the true John Lewis be the For The Peoples Act, the one he wrote before he died. We have when it's ready and written, we have to pass the restored Voting Rights Act. We need $15 living wage, we need to protect immigrants, and we've got to nationalize you can't litigate your way out of this mobilize your way.
I met with the Texas legislators the other day through Zoom, and they understand that clearly. And what's happening is not just Democrats, it's for people of all races, creeds and colors and party for the organization. My brother (inaudible) who's down there who said we would march from Georgetown, to Austin, and then on Saturday, we'll have a massive rally. People have been invited there. We've limited during the march but not for the rally. Even Willie Nelson is going to be joining us on Saturday because people know that 66 million people use mail out ballots this past election, 36 million people voted early voting. And these are the things that this -- these, look, state legislators want to take all over the country, they want to retrogress and take these away from the people and it's wrong, and it's unconstitutional and un-American.
COOPER: And Congressman O'Rourke, you know, to get a federal legislation. Obviously, the votes aren't there right now and the filibuster exists. Earlier today, Senator Joe Manchin said he's not changing his position on the filibuster, pass voting rights legislation. He said we'd lose democracy, if we lose the filibuster. What do you say to that?
BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX) FMR CONGRESSMAN: I think there's another path, I think we can change the rules of the filibuster as they have been changed a number of times in the past. For example, you can pass a fast track trade bill on a simple majority vote, you can pass the, you know, nomination of a Supreme Court justice or federal judge or a budget reconciliation deal on a simple majority vote, add one more exception that filibuster and make it a voting rights exception.
There was some good news yesterday, and I think thanks to the leadership of Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, he was able to bring Senator Manchin, Senator Schumer and others to the table and it looks like they're coming forward with something that they can all as Democrats agree upon. And with that political majority in the Senate, that means if they amend the rule to the filibuster, they can pass voting rights legislation like the For The People Act on a simple majority. That saves democracy and the right to vote and free and fair elections across this country.
And only good things can come from that whether it's a minimum wage, that's a living wage, or expanding health care, access to all confronting climate change before it's too late, or as Bishop Barber says, ensuring that those undocumented Americans who work so hard and contribute so much to our success, have a legal safe pathway to citizenship in this country.
So, good things will come, but we need to make some changes to the filibuster first.
COOPER: Bishop Barber, I mean, it does seem that without some sort of federal legislation, obviously, the Republicans control the legislature in Texas, and they can pass whatever they want really.
BARBER: Well, in some ways, you're exactly right. And everything that they're trying to do would be illegal, if we had the For The Peoples Act fully passed with all the compromises without any compromise. And, you know, when we talk about Joe Manchin, he hasn't faced pressure. A lot of presidents say or peep senators say what they want do. They said that they couldn't do a Voting Rights Act in '65 but Dr. King and Rabbi Heschel, black and white and brown went out and made them do it. Not only are we marching on Texas, we've been doing nonviolent direct action since the early part of July.
And on Monday, hundreds of pastors and low wage workers and clergy and rabbis are coming back to D.C. to engage in another round of moral direct action. We're not going anywhere because this democracy is at threat. And this is not just a race issue. This is an issue that threatens black people, white people, disabled people, Native people, Latinos, young people, and that's why people are standing up.
If you look at the crowd is marching with us. They see this as a threat not just to the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, but to democracy itself. And we're -- we call ourselves The Poor People's Campaign that says this is a moral resurrection and a march for democracy.
So, I wouldn't say just yet what people say they are not going to do. Seventy nine percent of West Virginians disagree with Manchin and they're still marching on his office and pushing him every day.
[20:34:59] COOPER: And Congressman O'Rourke as we mentioned earlier, Texas Democrats, state legislators are holding out in Washington, a number of them. Some are witnesses today in the House Oversight Committee hearing on voting rights. A GOP Texas State Representative had this to say to them virtually. I just want to play this for our viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. TRAVIS CLARDY (R-TX): But first, let me say this to my Democratic colleagues, they're with you today. It's time to come home. Enough is enough. You've had your fun. It's time to get back to work. You know, as well as I do this legislation has been negotiated in good faith and deserves your attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Congressmen O'Rourke, what do you say to that? I mean, how long can they decide to stay away?
O'ROURKE: You know, these courageous Democratic legislators have left not only their family, in some cases, young kids, but they potentially face arrest upon return to Texas. So what they've done through their sacrifice is essentially purchased us some time. This special session will end on the 6 of August, which happens to be the 56th anniversary of the signing of the '65 Voting Rights Act. Before then the Senate needs to make some progress so that we roll back suppression in Texas and advanced voting rights to the country.
So, they can only hold off for so long. Texas is doing all the Texas can do and we see it with Bishop Barber's leadership in The Poor People's Campaign marching from Georgia -- Georgetown, to Austin, arriving there this Saturday where everyone is welcome to join us. But after Texas has done its part it's time for President Biden. And those Democrats who hold a majority in the Senate to do theirs. They must pass the For The People Act.
COOPER: Beto O'Rourke, Bishop William Barber, appreciate you joining us. Thank you.
Just ahead, look at COVID in the workplace, when that workplaces Hollywood actress Sharon Stone will join us talk about her fight for mandatory vaccines on set and why COVID safety has become very personal for her as the disease infected even killed members of her own family.
COOPER: Actress and best selling author Sharon Stone is speaking out about mandating vaccines is or vaccinations I should say several members of her family have been infected during the pandemic. She shared an Instagram video last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHARON STONE, ACTRESS: They keep saying that the risks are so small and that you might not die and that it'll be fine. But I'm telling you what's going on with my family. My grandmother died of COVID. And my godmother died of COVID. My sister and her husband are fighting for their lives and my sister is not doing well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Sharon Stone joins me now. Sharon, thanks very much for being with us. You've said you were recently on a job in which vaccinations were not mandatory. You think they should be?
STONE: Yes, I -- I've been offered a job. And right now in our sag after situation, jobs on the set there, it's not mandatory vaccination. And with the networks and the streaming services, there is not mandatory vaccination, there is certain pods are vaccinated, and there is COVID tests on a certain kind of regularity. And that was good when that was all there was, we were trying our best and people were doing their best to fight this. And I salute that effort, of course.
But we're looking at a different situation now. And we have more intelligence and more understanding now. And I've worked in the infectious disease arena for all my adult life. As you know, I worked in HIV/AIDS community with amfAR and --
STONE: -- without, with many organizations.
COOPER: You (INAUDIBLE) a lot of money for HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
STONE: And it's been so fruitful. And I've learned so much as a frontline worker as a fundraiser, and as a mom, what it really takes to address an infectious disease. And what I see now is I understand people's fear, and I really do see how terrifying it's been because I've lost people that I love very much. And I went through a terrible crisis with my sister and her husband and my sister has lupus, which is an autoimmune illness. And so, her health was incredibly compromised with long term COVID. And we have a lot of this experience within our own family.
And certainly I've been working with Dr. Fauci for many years, on AIDS and on other infectious diseases, and just this year during 2020, polio finally came to an end with a and sleeping sickness.
COOPER: Yes. How is your sister doing?
STONE: She's OK, now. But --
COOPER: So she still have long COVID symptoms?
STONE: She's -- she has I would say long term, you know, probably lifetime difficulties that just kicked her health down to another level. COOPER: As you know, I mean, one of the arguments that people have about the idea of mandatory vaccinations is that it's an infringement on their civil rights. What do you say to that? We earlier -- we -- Dr. Leana Wen was on the program saying, look, you know, your rights to, you know, stop when it adversely affects other people. And if you're unvaccinated, you are a threat to everybody's child who can't be vaccinated.
STONE: Right. And I think that we should love ourselves as much as we love our children. And if we don't love ourselves, then our children will not be safe from us. And we have grown to understand this with the very fact that we have to have a polio vaccine, to go to school or to really go anywhere. Polio vaccines are mandate. And we've learned over the years what we have to do, how we have to deal with different illnesses differently.
You know, if you know you have a deadly disease and you give it to someone else, it's a felony. And we're starting to know and understand --
STONE: -- that COVID is a deadly disease.
COOPER: It's also, I mean, as you said, you've worked a lot on HIV/AIDS and the idea that, you know, there's still not a vaccine for that and there are people around the world, you know, I mean that would be an extraordinary thing, if there were a vaccine was developed. The fact that a vaccine, this miracle vaccine was developed for COVID in the amount of time that it was, and obviously, there was, you know, more than a decade of research and work done before. The idea that we're so blase in this country about it, that we're, you know, people are just half the country hasn't gotten fully vaccinated. And there's people all around the world desperately waiting and dying waiting of COVID for this vaccine.
It just seems particularly. I mean, I don't know if privilege is the right word. But the idea that we're, you know, the rest of the world is desperate for this, and we have it and we're just kind of turning the other way about it.
STONE: Well, you know, you wouldn't let a terrorist run through your neighborhood, on unbridled without doing something about it, because you know, that that terrorist is there to kill people. What we know about viruses versus bacterias is that you can kill a bacteria but you can't kill a virus. A virus can kill you, but you can't kill a virus. This is why we have vaccines against viruses. This is why science developed vaccines against all things that are viruses. And we have a special way that we deal with viruses versus bacterias. And what we can do about them.
So you have to think of a virus as a teeny tiny little microscopic terrorist. Are you going to let that run through your neighborhood, your family, your business, unbridled? I'm not. COOPER: Yes.
STONE: That's the decision that I think is a logical decision. We as a democracy, we make the decisions that are the greatest good for the greatest number of people. We now with giant refrigerator trucks full of dead people come to understand that we can't say goodbye to our loved ones. I couldn't say goodbye to my grandmother or my godmother, because it's such a deadly disease.
STONE: We have to wear masks everywhere we go because it's such a deadly disease. My best friend and her son got COVID last weekend, though they are vaccinated. They got the Delta variant, because the Alpha variant that they were vaccinated against, kept them from becoming so dangerously ill that they had to go to the hospital.
STONE: But yet they had flu symptoms for several days and needed to stay in bed and stay home and stay quarantined, so that they didn't spread that Delta variant to someone who is unvaccinated who could die from it.
COOPER: Yes. Well, listen, I appreciate you speaking about this tonight. And I hope people listening get vaccinated.
STONE: I'm with them (ph).
STONE: And when I go work on my sets, as a leading lady or a supporting lady, it's a work family. And I feel a lot like I'm the mom of my work family. And I don't want any of my family to die.
STONE: Just because I might have the privilege of being vaccinated or my pod might have the privilege of having more regular tests or being vaccinated more regularly. That's not a fair and even playing field --
STONE: -- to me.
COOPER: We're also in a situation now where private industry really can lead the way on mandating vaccines. And, you know, that's, that's another avenue besides government.
Sharon Stone, it's great to talk to you. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much --
STONE: I do, thank --
COOPER: -- and congratulations on your book.
STONE: Thank you.
COOPER: All right.
STONE: I just would like to say one more thing, if I might, which is this Anderson is why I'm running for a board seat on my union. Because I want my union, the Screen Actors Guild and I want the network's the streaming networks and these studios to protect us and I want our union to protect us.
COOPER: Sharon Stone, appreciate it. You take care.
STONE: Take care (ph).
COOPER: Ahead, the defiance on Capitol Hill from Congresswoman Lauren Boebert over mask wearing rules in the House. That's what they're talking about all the things going on in the country. They're kvetching about mask rules in the House.
All right, we'll be right back.
COOPER: Back to Capitol Hill, here's another look at the House Republicans who staged a mask-free walk to the Senate today were mask were not required. They're against the new mask rule for the House put in place by the Chamber's attending physician, a doctor.
Yesterday on the first day of the mask requirement for the House at least 24 Republicans were seeing defying it including Congresswoman Lauren Boebert. That same day a witness told CNN that Boebert through a mask back at a House staffer when she was offered one. Boebert's office that she simply slid the mask across the table.
Back in our district in Western Colorado and southern parts of the state, according to the CDC, several counties are hot zones for COVID with a high case count.
Tonight our Gary Tuchman takes us to Moffett County, Colorado in the northwest corner of the state where the vaccination rate is low and the case is high.
Here's Gary's report.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is a flame thrower, on Twitter saying things like COVID-19 mutated into communism a long time ago. And, the easiest way to make the Delta variant go ways to turn off CNN and vote Republican, a tweet she later deleted. And had a speech at CPAC where she implied that federal workers would bring vaccines to people's homes, something that is not being done.
REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): Don't come knocking on my door with your Fauci (inaudible), you leave us the hell alone.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And then there was this tweet trotting out Hitler's third (inaudible), Biden has deployed his middle Nazis to Mesa County, which is one of the counties in her district. What was she thinking with that tweet and the other thing she has written and said, we went to Capitol Hill to ask her.
(on-camera): Representative Boebert, quick question for you. Why did you use the term needle Nazis on your Twitter feed? Were you trying to make fun of people, were you liking them that Hitler the pandemic heroes? Any comments at all?
(voice-over): The tragic fact as much of Lauren Boebert's Colorado congressional district is now a COVID hot zone, amid this Delta variant surge. Here in mostly rural third congressional district, transmission rates are dangerously high, most of the districts counties, vaccination rates low.
MATTHEW GRZEGOZEWSKI, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT, MEDICAL DIRECTOR: It's as bad as we've seen since the beginning.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Memorial Regional Hospital in Tiny Craig Colorado had to reopen its COVID unit where people are getting sick and dying. Andy Daniels who describes himself as a super concerned have individual is the hospital's chief executive officer.
(on-camera): How does it make you feel the way Representative Boebert has treated this pandemic, the masks, the vaccine?
ANDY DANIELS, CEO, MEMORIAL REGIONAL HEALTH: You know, I'm embarrassed for Colorado too, quite frankly. I'm embarrassed that she is my representative.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): So you're the CEO of an important hospital, her district, and you're willing to go out on a limb and say that?
DANIELS: I am. I think if you're going to take a stance on health care policy, you might actually want to learn something about health care policy.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dr. Matthew Grzegozewski is the hospital's emergency department chief medical officer.
GRZEGOZEWSKI: She comes from a position of power being our elected official and I think that people are listening to what she's saying. And a lot of what she's putting out there is ideology that isn't fact isn't medically sound. And it's putting a lot of people at danger. And it's quite honestly costing people lives. And it's frustrating to have to fight against that.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The doctor and CEO would both like a chance to speak to Lauren Boebert about what's going on. And show her things like this, 78-year-old Robert Edwards is a patient in the COVID unit. The husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, who already had comorbidities was quite sick when he came in.
GRZEGOZEWSKI: How are you feeling?
ROBERT EDWARDS, COVID PATIENT: I feel a lot better.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Robert has improved very significantly. Doctors believe the reason for that is because he did receive the COVID vaccine.
(on-camera): You think he could have died if he didn't have a vaccine.
GRZEGOZEWSKI: Without a doubt.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): A few hours after I sat down with him. Robert was released from the hospital.
(on-camera): I know those are tears of happiness, correct.
EDWARDS: It was scary.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): I know.
(voice-over): Hospital officials say Representative Boebert has not paid a visit to this hospital to see people like Robert since she was elected to Congress last November. She also would not respond to me when I tried to talk to her one more time as she was leaving the Capitol.
(on-camera): Representative Boebert, just give me one chance to answer a question if you want to.
BOEBERT: Thank you, thank you.
TUCHMAN: It's very unusual Anderson for hospital officials talk negatively about an elected official. And these two men took no joy in talking to me about that. But when you're a doctor or a nurse or a CEO of a hospital, your main priority is keeping people healthy and keeping people alive and they are gravely concerned that people are continuing to be unhealthy here and continuing to die in the small county.
And they believe Anderson that a Representative Boebert spoke honestly and honorably about this pandemic. Her words and our actions could be very influential and could literally save lives.
COOPER: Doesn't seem she's interested in doing that. Gary Tuchman, I appreciate it. Thank you.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well, the news continues. Let's hand things over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris.