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At This Hour

CDC Doctors Concerned How The Unvaccinated Will Keep Their Masks On; The Supreme Court Is Taking Up A Major Abortion Case; A Second White House Official Has Been Hit With A Mysterious Illness; Bill Gate's Public Image Is Now Under The Microscope; A New Report Being Released By The Pentagon Next Month Showing How Serious The Federal Government Has Taken UFO's. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 17, 2021 - 11:30   ET



DR. CHRIS PERNELL, PUBLIC HEALTH PHYSICIAN: So it definitely left a lot of us perplexed. And I actually heard from folks right at the beauty salon where I was when the news broke, they're still wearing their masks.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I mean look there are tons of scenarios that you could play each of them out to try to get a best -- a best idea, a best guidance of how you should act at this moment. But what is your overarching guiding principle here when it comes to wearing masks, when not to wear masks and when you can take it off?

PERNELL: My overarching guiding principle is how do we keep the most amount of people safe and then considering you yourself as an individual. I think too often in our guidance we fall flat because we think only through the individual lens instead of thinking through the collective lens. Yes, if you are fully vaccinated you can unmask. You can unmask safely. But we have a far amount of folks who are not fully vaccinated.

I've been telling families where the parents are fully vaccinated and their children aren't quite eligible yet, to ensure your children are still masked when you are in public settings, whether that's when you are going to the grocery store, when you're going to the pharmacy or when you're going out shopping.

Even in my own church where the majority of the adults are fully vaccinated we're all still wearing our masks. It's just the best guidance and advice that you can give to people not knowing who in the room is protected and who is not.

BOLDUAN: I want to play something that Rochelle Walensky also said. It's somewhat answering kind of the question raised by "SNL," which is how can we trust the unvaccinated will keep their masks on. Let me play this.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: I think that people who were not inclined to wear a mask were not inclined to wear a mask before Thursday.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: But some of them were mandated to do so and those mandates are lifting in part because of your new guidelines.

WALENSKY: Yes. And what we're really asking in those settings is to say in terms of the honor system people have to be honest with themselves. You're protected if you're vaccinated. You are not if you are not vaccinated.


BOLDUAN: What do you think of that?

PERNELL: Public health doesn't work by the honor system. Public health works by guidelines and guidance that keeps the majority, the most of us safe while thinking in particular about those who are especially vulnerable or marginalized.

Look, there's been a lot of conversation, especially in health equity circles if the CDC's guidance just falls flat for communities of color. Communities of color where we've had barriers related to access, where vaccination rates are not on par with the rest of the United States.

I can even tell you in my state in New Jersey we are woefully under- vaccinated in communities of color. Are we making progress? Yes. Newark, a major city in New Jersey has finally cross the 40 percent threshold for adults having at least one vaccination.

So, I want the CDC not only to look at the science, but to think about human behavior and to think about real world scenarios. That's how we're going to build trust in our public institutions and that's how we're going to build to population or community immunity.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Good to see you Doctor. Thank you very much.

PERNELL: Always. Thanks.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, a mysterious illness hitting a second White House official. What happened and who could be behind it. A new report is next.

And a surprising admission from military pilots. They've seen unidentified objects, they've seen UFOs and they can't explain what they are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not (inaudible) is it?




BOLDUAN: This just in, the Supreme Court this morning announced it's taking up a major abortion case, giving the court an opportunity to take on Roe versus Wade once again.

The justice's will be hearing arguments next term over the -- a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. The ripple effects though could reach beyond this one case and far beyond that one state.

CNN's Jessica Snyder is following this and she's joining us now with the details. What are you learning Jessica?

JESSICA SNYDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, you know this is poised to be a blockbuster case sometime next term, that's after October. And this will thrust Roe v. Wade front and center in this fight that conservatives have bee priming for, for years. And, in fact, the lower court actually alluded to exactly that when it blocked this Mississippi abortion law in 2018.

The judge there said this, "The state chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to endorse a decades-long campaign fueled by national interest groups to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade."

So this is a Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks except in cases of medial emergencies, severe fetal abnormalities, but there's no exception for rape or incest. And really by its terms it aims to severely the limit the holding of Roe v. Wade, which of course found that constitutional right to abortion prior to viability, which is at about 24 weeks.

And it's not just Mississippi. Several states have recently passed abortion restrictions challenging Roe v. Wade and now the Supreme Court will be front and center here taking up this fight. And as you can imagine, this is unnerving abortion rights activists. And, in fact, we've heard from many of them.

The CEO for the Center for Reproductive Rights put out this statement say, "Alarm bells are ringing loudly about the threat to reproductive rights. The Supreme Court just agreed to review an abortion ban that unquestionably violates nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent and is a test case to overturn Roe v. Wade."


And of course Kate, the Supreme Court it is solidly six - three conservatives. So we're going to see this play out. You know Justice Thomas has been outspoken saying it should be overturned, Roe v. Wade.

The big wild card here, Amy Coney Barrett, you know she's expressed here anti-abortion views as a private citizen. But, of course, said at her confirmation she would follow the law. So we will see. A big test coming up next term. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Yes, fascinating and important. Thank you so much Jessica.

We also this morning have this developing. CNN has learned of a second White House official being hit by a mysterious illness. This one happening just steps from the White House. The two incidents here in the United States add to more than 100 similar unexplained report -- unexplained episodes reported by U.S. diplomats and spies and troops overseas.

CNN's Katie Bo Williams helped break this story. She's joining me right now. Katie fill us in. Katie Bo, fill us in what more you're learning.

KATIE BO WILLIAMS, CNN REPORTER: So what we've learned as that in November 2020 there were two members of the president's National Security Council where struck by the sort of strange invisible afflictions.

One of them was, in fact, walking from their car and entering White House grounds through an unmanned gate when he -- when they began experiencing they symptoms. The second official just weeks later was struck also while near an entrance to the White House grounds. And this official was ill enough to need to seek almost immediate medical attention.

BOLDUAN: I mean explain for folks how serious these symptoms can be and what we now have, I mean, more than 100 different people who have experienced this.

WILLIAMS: Yes, so what's been so tricky for intelligence officials as they've been trying to sort of figure out what is going on is that any one of these cases is not identical to the next case.


WILLIAMS: Victims are reporting a really inconsistent set of symptoms. In the long-run they're experiencing things like persistent headaches, vertigo, dizziness, nausea, even traumatic brain injury.

In the short-term when it's actually happening some officials are reporting hearing a piercing directional noise. They're reporting head pressure and even in some cases the ability to leave the place that they were standing and have the symptoms stop and then step back into that same physical space and have them resume again.

BOLDUAN: OK. And what's so frustrating, maddening and scary about this whole thing is trying to figure out still who or what is behind this, which has been going on now for quite some time. I mean, do -- are your sources, do they have any better idea at this point?

WILLIAMS: The CIA director is getting briefed every day on this right now, but the short answer is no. There's some thought it might be Russia, it might be China, but broadly because they don't understand what technology is behind this, there is not a consensus about who or what is causing this yet.

BOLDUAN: And is it -- I mean, and even if it's even really considered an attack even, right?

WILLIAMS: Precisely. Yes, precisely. There are some -- there is some speculation that it might, in fact, be an effort by an adversary to collect information out of official's cell phones and that they just had the juice turned up too high.

BOLDUAN: This -- I mean, great reporting and important reporting. Thank you so much.

WILLIAMS: Thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: Still ahead for us, we have new allegations that are surfacing about Bill Gates, including reports that pursued multiple women at Microsoft and that the board of the company that he founded was investigating him. The new details next.




BOLDUAN: At this hour Bill Gate's public image is under the microscope. A wave of new allegations are emerging about the billionaire philanthropist and founder of Microsoft, including from the "Wall Street Journal," reporting that the board of directors launched an internal investigation into Gate's past relationship with an employee.

And quote, "During the probe some board members decided it was no longer suitable for Mr. Gates to sit as a -- as a director at the software company he started and led for decades, the people said." That from the "Wall Street Journal."

Gate's insists his abrupt resignation had nothing to do with that investigation, but there is more. The "New York Times" also reporting this, "Bill Gates had also developed a reputation for questionable conduct in work-related settings."

Going on report, "On at least a few occasions Mr. Gates pursued women who worked for at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation according to people with direct knowledge of his overtures."

Joining me right now is one of the reporters with the "Wall Street Journal" who broke the story of the investigation, Emily Glazer. Thank you for being here Emily. So, Gates through a spokesperson acknowledged an affair from almost 20 years ago, saying though that it ended amicably. Can you tell us more about your reporting on this investigation into Gates and him stepping down from the board?

EMILY GLAZER, WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER: Absolutely. So our understanding according to our sources that in late 2019 a Microsoft female employee, an engineer wrote a letter alleging this multi-year romantic sexual relationship with Bill Gates.

That reached members of the board. They were tasked with investigating it and as is the case often with sensitive matters they hired an external law firm to do a thorough investigation.

As more became clear some board members decided that it really wasn't an appropriate relationship and that it really wouldn't be suitable for Bill Gates to stay on the board even though it was the company that he had co-founded. And certainly this is coming after the fact of the Me Too movement. Before there was any full vote or full decision Bill Gates resigned

from the board.


BOLDUAN: You also report that the employee who wrote this letter that sparked this had asked Microsoft to have Melinda Gates read her letter. That really jumped out at me from your reporting. What more can you tell us about that?

GLAZER: Jumped out to me -- to me as well. I -- what we can say is that we know there were discussions among this e-mail engineer who also alleged in the letter that she wanted a job change as well as, you know, disclosing this multi-year sexual relationship with Bill Gates. But what struck me in the reporting as well was that as part of these discussions this female employee asked that Melinda Gates read the letter.

To be clear, we don't know if Melinda French Gates read the letter or not, but given that there is the recent divorce just earlier this month and that a lot was coming to lay in this 2019 period, we also know we reported last week that Bill and Melinda Gates' lawyers were already -- Melinda Gates' lawyers were working on the divorce in 2019 and by 2020 both sides were (ph) working with mitigators (ph). So there was a lot happening during this time period.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely, yes. But what maybe want with getting the letter to Melinda Gates on this. But I want to ask you before I got to let you go. You also reported last week that, as you were saying, that Melinda consulted divorce attorneys roughly two years ago.

So, one reason then being Gates' connection to Jeffrey Epstein. So with this new reporting people assume that the relationship with another woman was also part of the reason for the marriage breaking up. I mean, were you able to get any further window into that?

GLAZER: To be clear, we don't know and no one knows precisely why Bill and Melinda Gates divorced. This a billionaire power couple that also co-runs a massive foundation that spends billions of dollars on a lot of causes. And what's interesting to us is, of course, that Bill Gates' prior sexual relationship lead to him abruptly leaving the board. It still isn't completely clear why the two divorced.

We just know that Melinda Gates was working with divorce lawyers at the time that more about Bill Gates' connections and relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender, became clear. And we also now know that this was going on with a Microsoft employ in late 2019 leading Bill Gates to abruptly resign in March 2020.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And then with the "New York Times" reporting that he had a reputation of -- well, at minimum awkward advances and there's also the view of totally beyond inappropriate there. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Thanks so much Emily, I really appreciate it.

GLAZER: Thank you. BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, former mystery in the skies. Members of the military describing a close call with a UFO.


DAVE FRAVOR, FORMER NAVY PILOT: I go like this and it's climbing still. And when it gets right in front of me it just disappears.


FRAVOR: Disappears. Like gone.





BOLDUAN: Alien life and UFOs have long captured our captive imagination. But a new report set to be released by the Pentagon next month shows just how seriously the Federal Government has taken what has been the stuff of science fiction. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something (ph) watch (ph). Whoa. Got it. Woo hoo. Look at that thing. It's rotating.


BOLDUAN: It's rotating. And now we are hearing from two former Navy pilots who say they've seen unidentified objects with their own eyes.

CNN's Barbara Starr is joining me now. Barbara, this "60 Minutes" report yesterday was unbelievable. I mean, what are these pilots saying and what are you hearing from there?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well here at the Pentagon they call it unidentified areal phenomenon. Now you and I and everybody else might know it more commonly as UFOs.

What's been happening is a number of U.S. military pilots recording these kinds of videos where they see objects while they're flying that have no explanation, that do not have the parameters of any known aircraft or areal type vehicle.

Pentagon has been criticized in the past for being dismissive of it all, but now, in fact, a report due to Congress and our colleagues at CBS's "60 Minutes" indeed had a fascinating chat with pilots who have been on that front line of seeing these events.


FRAVOR: And I go like this and it's climbing still. And when it gets right in front of me it just disappears.

WHITAKER: Disappears?

FRAVOR: Disappears. Like gone.

ALEX DIETRICH, FORMER NAVY PILOT: I think that over beers we've sort of said, hey man, if I saw this solo I don't that I would have come back and said anything because it sounds so crazy when I say it.

WHITAKER: From what I hear you guys saying, there's something.


FRAVOR: Oh there's definitely something that -- I don't know who's building it, who's got the technology, who's got the brains, but there's something out there that was better than our airplane.


STARR: So something is out there. What could it be? Extra terrestrial life, hmm, maybe not. Could it be very highly classified U.S. military programs that even these pilots don't know about? Possibly. But nobody's fessed up to that.

I think one of the big concerns is the national security threat, could an adversary be building and flying these things right into U.S. airspace and that's one of the big reasons.