Return to Transcripts main page
At This Hour
Report Says, China Could be Expanding Its Nuclear Capabilities; U.K. to Allow Fully Vaccinated U.S., E.U. Travelers to Avoid Quarantine Starting Next Week; Wife Shares Husband's COVID Battle to Urge Vaccination. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired July 28, 2021 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it pretty simply when told Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is criticizing the reinstatement of a mask mandate on Capitol Hill. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Leader McCarthy says it's against the science.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He's such a moron.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: It's hard to hear there, but she says, as she's getting into the car, McCarthy is, quote, such a moron.
Joining me now, CNN's Manu Raju. Manu, Pelosi is no longer holding back.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. And, look, the relationship between the two had been at an all-time low. And that has really just intensified over the last six months, in the aftermath of January 6, and as McCarthy has battled her efforts to push forward on an investigation into everything that has happened here.
But this came in response to McCarthy himself saying in a statement last night that the threat to bring back mask mandates is conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state.
And I can tell you, Kate, that now that there's that mask mandate back in the House, in which members can be fined when not wearing masks on the House floor, you're seeing tension again play out on the floor. Congressman Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Republican, threw a mask back at a staffer earlier today when she was given a mask and told to wear one when she was around maskless in her office, and she slid it back to the staffer. But a witness told me that they actually saw her throw that mask back at that staffer, and Republicans on the floor protesting that at this moment.
But there is also a sign of some bipartisanship on the other side of the Capitol, Kate. There's talk about bipartisan infrastructure deal coming together as soon as today to actually -- to begin debate on that issue. We'll see if they actually can pass it. So, we'll see.
Some bipartisanship on the Senate side and you're seeing a polarized state of affairs on the House side. Kate?
BOLDUAN: All at once. Thank you, Manu. I appreciate it.
There's also this, new satellite images showing that China is apparently building up its nuclear capabilities. Researchers say that it's possible more than 100 missile silos are being built in a new base in China's western deserts. This is the second missile base found this month alone.
It comes as President Biden has issued a new warning yesterday over the escalating cyber threat posed by China and Russia. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: And we've seen how cyber threats, including ransomware attacks, increasingly are able cause damage and destruction in the real world. I can't guarantee this, and you're as informed as I am, but I think it's more likely we're going to end up in a war, a real shooting war with a major power. It's going to be as a consequence of a cyber breach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Joining me right now is Democratic Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee. Congresswoman, thank you for being here.
First, on this new study, uncovering what appears to be a second field of missile silos in China. The scientists behind it say this. Together, the site signified, quote, the most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal ever. How concerned are you about this?
REP. MIKIE SHERRILL (D-NJ): Well, it's certainly concerning to see China increasing its nuclear capacity, but this is something that we are prepared for and we are preparing for.
The new national defense strategy of the United States takes into account this global competition and sees China, along with Russia, as a global competitor.
I also think that the president is smart to start the discussion of cyber. As we saw at the G7, he laid out a list of those things that should not be attacked, presumably so we can start discussing and coming to a global agreement as to what is appropriate in the realm of cyber and what may, in the future, constitute, as the president alluded to, an act of war.
These are all ongoing discussions and it's important that we continue to support our military and our national security strategy as we move towards this global competition.
BOLDUAN: Do you agree with the president when he says most likely the next real shooting war, kinetic military action, is going to be over a cyberattack?
SHERRILL: Well, let's hope it never gets to that. That's what our strategy is, is to make sure we can deter that type of aggression. I think if we learn -- we've learned that throughout the cold war. But we've also learned another lesson.
Hopefully, as we move into this new realm, we can do better vis-a-vis our economic relationship with China. They are a global economic partner. We have many ties there. We are interconnected in this global world.
So, I'm hoping as we are wary, we need to set some rules of the road for cyber. We need to ensure that we can compete with China's military and make sure that we continue to hold that advantage and deter any threats of aggression. But we also need to ensure that we are working on our economic relationship and working to ensure that we promote our economy around the world.
BOLDUAN: So, that's looking at the threat from abroad. But about to the threat now here at home, the brutal and devastating testimony from the four officers yesterday, the first hearing of the select committee investigating the January 6th attack.
I want to play something that Officer Harry Dunn said during the hearing, getting at who he thinks should be held accountable and what he wants the committee to work towards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: I use an analogy to describe what I want, a hitman. If a hitman is hired and he kills somebody, the hitman goes to jail. But not only does the hitman go to jail, but the person who hired them does.
There was an attack carried out on January 6th, and a hitman sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: The committee hasn't yet said who will be asked to or even potentially subpoenaed to testify, if needed. Who do you want to hear from?
SHERRILL: You know, there are a host of people that I want to hear from. I'm glad we were able to start this. I think the committee was very smart in starting this with testimony from our law enforcement officers. I think they laid out exactly what happened that day so emotionally.
And what really struck me about the testimony from our law enforcement officers was the real duty they feel towards our Constitution, the duty they know they have to protect and defend our democracy. And now, as a member of Congress and having the committee stand for it, it's our duty to make sure that we get to the bottom of what happened that day, that we protect and defend our Constitution and our democracy and ensure it never happens again.
And I think something that stood in stark contrast yesterday was the emotion and the seriousness and the real determination to protect this country that you saw in that committee hearing. And that was sharply contrasted with Kevin McCarthy's press conference and even trying to blame some of the heroes of that day, heroes that protected the lives of members of Congress, including myself, to try to somehow blame them for the events and not the former president who really incited those events.
BOLDUAN: Can you offer one name you would like to see testify as this goes forward?
SHERRILL: Certainly. I would like to see members of the president's administration. I would like a minute-by-minute account of what happened that day and to hear exactly who was in the room with the president as he was making these decisions, what they said. I would like to look at a list of members of Congress who were speaking to those crowds, were speaking before them, to understand what they were saying, the conversations that they had that day as the crowds moved towards attacking the Capitol.
BOLDUAN: Yes, it could reach far and very close -- and very near to the Capitol as this investigation goes forward. Congresswoman, thank you for your time.
SHERRILL: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, a very big announcement from the U.K. that impacts American and European travelers, the breaking details just coming in. That's next.
PELOSI: -- police of Washington, D.C. were our heroes. They risked their lives to save the Capitol, our democracy and to honor the Constitution, the Constitution which called for us on January 6th to count the vote, take the -- receive the Electoral College votes to count them and to certify the president of the United States.
There was an assault on that particular day. It wasn't just any day of the week, to make sure that we did not honor the Constitution and that we would disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.
Those law enforcement officers were heroes. They risked their lives to honor the oath they take to uphold the Constitution. Their testimony was powerful.
We thank these patriots, their heroism and the valor of that dark day. And we thank them for their courage to present their harrowing testimony of what happened that day.
We have a duty to the Constitution and to the country to find the truth, to follow the facts where they take us and to honor the trust that the American people have placed in us. We must ensure that the American people have confidence in the truth that emerges. We thank our heroes, more than just the four who testified, but the story they told.
I have quoted President Lincoln on many occasions, and I did most recently yesterday morning to the House Democratic Caucus. And this is what he said during the civil war. We cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one another of us.
He then went on to say, Lincoln did, we bear the responsibility to find the truth and to ensure -- again, this is my words now -- this attempt to overthrow the government -- never happens again. This is called patriotism. It is about the Constitution. It is about the life and future of our American democracy. There is no room for politics or partisanship.
I salute Chairman Thompson and the entire committee for the solemnity and patriotism they brought to the proceedings. I'm very proud of all of them, but all of us are most proud of the law enforcement officers who testified.
As the Select Committee pursues the truth, the House continues to work for the people. Right now, we have the appropriations bills on the floor that meets the needs of America's working families. I'm always taking pride in the Appropriations Committee being an appropriator for many years myself. It's a place where we always strive for bipartisanship, we always try to find common ground.
The president said that help is on the way. Well, we can say with these bills that help is here with the investments in jobs, opportunity and, again, working families. That is what unites us as Democrats, our commitment to America's working families, despite whatever differences we may have.
And in this legislation, we're benefiting America's working families with investments in health, education and financial security as we advance justice, rebuilding the infrastructure as we take America into a clean energy future to fight the climate crisis. We're helping workers by creating jobs, thousands of good paying jobs that this legislation will engender. We're fighting future pandemics and advancing America's preeminence in science, science, science, science and science.
(INAUDIBLE) our duty to veterans -- BOLDUAN: All right. We've been listening to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi really reflecting on the emotional and really brutal testimony yesterday from the four officers at the committee hearing, on the -- investigating the insurrection, and that investigation will continue. We're going to continue to monitor what the speaker says and bring you the highlights as they come in.
But we are also tracking this, because this is just in to CNN. The U.K. will be opening its borders to some fully vaccinated travelers starting next week. Travelers from the United States and the European Union will soon be allowed into the U.K. without quarantine now.
CNN's Scott McLean is live at Heathrow Airport with more on this and he joins us now. Scott, what more are you learning about this?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kate. I got tell you, England is a pretty good place to visit right now. All the pubs, restaurants, they are all open. You can go to sporting matches. You can go see a show in the west end. All the tourist attractions are open. And the throngs of tourists, the tour buses that you'd normally see in the summer, they haven't arrived yet. The only problem is getting here.
Right now, from the United States, to do a round trip, you would have to do no less than five tests, you'd have quarantine for a minimum of five days, but more likely six or seven. And it would cost you well over $200 in testing costs, and that's if you shopped around.
By contrast, it's quite easy for Americans to go to Europe. And so despite the fact the U.K. has this huge testing or vaccination advantage, in terms of vaccinating its own population, it's been losing out on tourist dollars to Europe.
And so Heathrow Airport has been lobbying for this change, the other airports and airlines have been lobbying for it as well. Americans and Europeans now, Kate, who have been vaccinated, the British transport secretary just announced today, will be allowed to visit the U.K. without the need for quarantine.
Of course, they will still have to do a test before leaving the states and still have to do a test when they arrive here. But it is a far cry from the restrictions that were in place before. The hope, obviously, is that it will boost tourism in this country. Kate?
BOLDUAN: Yes. Scott, thanks for that.
Back here at home, what the country is experiencing now in the United States is the pandemic of the unvaccinated. And it is no more evident than when you hear the stories from the patients and their families fighting for their lives in hospitals across the country as we speak.
William and Alicia Ball are in the fight of their lives right now. She was vaccinated, William was not. Both got infected with coronavirus, but only he ended up in the hospital. He's no longer infectious but the virus wreaked havoc on his body and he is still too sick to go home.
Joining me is Alicia Ball from Jackson, Mississippi. Thank you very much for being here and telling your story and William's story. What is the very latest on your husband? How is he doing?
ALICIA BALL, UNVACCINATED HUSBAND BATTLING CORONAVIRUS IN HOSPITAL: A little bit better, still having a lot of problems. They ruled out some major things. They ruled out the heart attack and sepsis, but he is still really, really struggling.
BOLDUAN: Describe that struggle for folks and how even after he's no longer infectious, how much he is suffering and the damage that this virus has done to him.
BALL: He is on 15 liters of oxygen. We have to get down to four before he can go home. He cannot breathe at all, hardly. He went from working 12 to 16 hours a day, because he own our own construction company, to -- he's a very hard worker -- to now he tries to sit on the bed, side of the bed for three minutes and then he is worn out at a time. He might can do that twice and then he's exhausted, has to lay back down. He can't walk at all, hardly and just having a difficult time, very difficult.
BOLDUAN: That honestly almost feels like an understatement what he is going through and what you guys are going together. I mean, I heard you say -- I'm so sorry, Alicia. I've heard you say that both of you did not take this virus seriously at first. Why not?
BALL: I don't know. I guess we just didn't know anybody around that had it. I guess we didn't really see the effects at first and then it kind of got more real.
BOLDUAN: Just talk to me about what you're feeling right now, because I know that you've -- you want to use your story for people to wise up and for people to get vaccinated and for people to protect themselves. But just talk to me about what you're feeling.
BALL: He will get the vaccine when he gets out. We have really tried to, after this, talk to as many of our friends and family as possible that they should get it. I never really realized how bad it would be, how bad this delta variant would be. And I'm exhausted. I haven't slept. But I'm really worried.
BOLDUAN: What are you worried about?
BALL: If he'll recover. I'm terrified about that he might not recover. I've been praying so hard and so, so, so many people are praying for him that he will recover. It's just really bad right now.
BOLDUAN: What do you think -- there are so many people who still have not gotten vaccinated and who think and feel the same way that you and William did before you both got infected. What do you think will or what do you hope will or do you think anything will convince people, if it isn't just convincing them, seeing the pain on your face and seeing your tears and what you are living through right now and what your husband is going through right now? [11:55:00]
BALL: I just never thought it could be as bad as it is right now, from him going to the hardest working person I know, taking care of everybody, his family, his customers, everybody, to -- it's a good day if he can sit up on the side of the bed twice for three minutes. It's just devastated his body. And I wouldn't want anybody else to go through this.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely not. You are, I'm sure, just exhausted mentally, physically, spiritually. Thank you, though, for your strength, for being here and for the strength I know that you are offering to your husband. Please give him our best and thank you for being here and for telling us your story.
BALL: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. Alicia, thank you. Alicia Ball sending the best to her husband, William.
Thank you all so much for joining us at this hour. Inside Politics with John King is going to start up after a quick break.