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At This Hour

Zelenskyy Removes Two Top Officials, Cites Hundreds Of Treason Cases; Monkeypox Cases Soar In The U.S. In The Last Week; Jury Selection Begins In Steve Bannon Criminal Contempt Trial; Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 18, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Ukraine's President announcing a big shake- up in his government. President Zelenskyy announcing that he has removed two of his top officials citing hundreds of criminal proceedings into treason among workers in their offices.

CNN's Nic Robertson is live in Kyiv with more on this. Nic, why is the president questioning their leadership? What more are you learning about this? Because this is a big move to be making in the midst of this war.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, some people were kind of looking at this as the end of the sort of domestic political honeymoon for President Zelenskyy that this is a change that he's making internally that he really hasn't had to do so far that has been focused on the war with Russia.

The Prosecutor General and the head of the security services, I think there was a sense in this country that the head of the security services, the SPU here, was perhaps in line for being changed for some time because he was a political ally of President Zelenskyy, he was a childhood friend of the president, he was someone who was very close to the president, but didn't have a real security background, a prosecutor general, perhaps not quite so clear.


But what President Zelenskyy is saying are very serious charges. 651 people total have cases of -- or there are 651 cases of treason and collaboration into both -- into people who work in both of their offices, 60 of their staff, who are in the Russian-controlled areas now chose not to come back to the Ukrainian-controlled areas of Ukraine.

And this is what President Zelenskyy is saying is that the root of this and he's saying that these people should be held accountable.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: Speaking in a foreign language.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone who together with him as part of a criminal group that worked in the interests of the Russian Federation will also be held accountable. It is about the transfer of secret information to the enemy and other facts of cooperation with the Russian special services.


ROBERTSON: Yes, I think you get a bit of insight looking at this when you understand that actually by the Constitution, the president really should have gone to the parliament who probably would have agreed with him anyway on the suspensions because he has the support in the parliament.

And I think the read here is that the people who are deputizing, who are stepping up to those jobs now, perhaps will have less -- perhaps less sway than their predecessors.

BOLDUAN: Nic, thank you very much for that update. Appreciate it. So the family of a 4-year-old girl killed in a Russian missile attack is now vowing to not let evil win. Liza Dmitrieva was buried on Sunday.

The young girl with Down Syndrome was one of at least three children who were killed when Russian missiles struck the city of Vinnytsia, the city far from any of the frontlines. Liza's mother was injured as well. She's still in intensive care at the hospital.

She was taking Liza to a speech therapist when the missiles hit. Ukraine says more than 350 children have died since Russia's invasion began nearly five months ago. Here are the sounds from this funeral. We'll be right back.





BOLDUAN: Welcome back everyone. Monkeypox is spreading rapidly across the United States right now. The CDC is now reporting more than 1800 confirmed cases as of Friday.

There were 866 cases reported as of last Monday, which is a 110 percent increase in five days of confirmed reported cases. Now, the former FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb is saying that it may be too late to contain the outbreak.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: I think the window for getting control of this and containing it probably has closed. And if it hasn't closed, it's certainly starting to close. We could have gotten control of this if we had been more aggressive up

front. We made a lot of the same mistakes that we made with COVID with this having a very narrow case definition not having enough testing early enough, not deploying vaccines, and aggressive faction -- fashion to ring vaccinate.


BOLDUAN: Joining me right now for more on this is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Biden. Dr. Fauci, what do you think about what Scott Gottlieb had to say right there about the response so far?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, I don't think the window was closed. There's a lot that has been done and that we will continue to do and accelerate both from the standpoint of the testing that will be available because, in the beginning, there were only the CDC tests that were available.

Right now we've rapidly commercialized so that we have five sources now at least and maybe more. We have Labcorp, Quest, Aegis, Mayo Clinic, as well as the network from the CDC. So what went up to maybe 10,000 cases -- excuse me, 10,000 tests per day is going to be now 5, 6, 7 times that.

The issue with vaccines is important. It would have been good to have had a lot more vaccines available early on. But right now, we have accelerated that extensively.

We had about 130,000 doses at first, another 154,000, and by the end of July, there should be another 700,000 plus. So one of the differences of this type of an outbreak from others that we have, A., we know the agents. It isn't like a mystery like it was with HIV decades ago.

Two, we have a vaccine that now as the days go by are going to become more widely available, we have diagnostics, and we also have therapy, therapy that we originally developed years ago against smallpox when we were concerned about a situation of bioterror.

Could we have done better? Always. You never say we did perfectly, but I think looking forward with more vaccines being available, with therapy being available.

And there is a lot of red tapes associated with that which the FDA and CDC and others are trying to cut down dramatically on the paperwork associated with getting drugs to people who would be benefiting from therapy. So again, the response hasn't been perfect, but it's getting better and better.


BOLDUAN: The CDC director on just Friday talked about how monkeypox can be spread. And she mentioned skin-to-skin contact, like kissing, but also touching objects like sheets or towels. Have you seen cases contracted this way, not through intimate contact, which has been primarily how it's been described?

FAUCI: Well, I don't think we can speak at this point, Kate, to individual cases that you say absolutely was with an inanimate object, what we call fomites, clothes.

But we know when you talk about the spread of a very similar virus, smallpox when you get pustules, which is the clinical characteristic of the disease when the material from those pustules can get off into clothing, or inanimate objects, it's quite understandable how over a period of time contact with that could spread it.

So there may not be a defined case that you can point to, but conceptually, we know that has occurred for decades and decades with smallpox, so it's not surprising that it could also occur with this virus.

BOLDUAN: Because that is important and knowing as it was with COVID, right? How close could we be? What -- how far do -- how far did your aerosols spread? I mean, it is important for people understanding their level of risk.

FAUCI: Exact. But I'm glad you brought it up in that context, Kate because we know now from clear epidemiological information that it is close person-to-person, skin-to-skin contact.

Obviously, from a demographic standpoint, it's heavily weighted to men who have sex with men. Now, when you look at that, does that mean it is only a gay man's disease? No. Not the case.

But under the circumstances of certain types of behavior, that can be spread which is the reason why, although you do not want to stigmatize under any circumstances, people who are getting afflicted with a particular infectious disease, you've got to let the community know of the danger, and you've got to let the physicians who care for these people be aware of that so that they don't miss the diagnosis. But clearly, the modality of spread is close skin-to-skin contact.

BOLDUAN: Dr. Fauci, just before air, I saw news that you are announcing your retirement plans now. What are the plans and why now?

FAUCI: Now, well, that is not news that's incorrect. If one reads the -- I understand the confusion with that.

BOLDUAN: I do not spreading misinformation. I saw that you were speaking about your plans to retire.

FAUCI: You're -- no, I know you don't. No, Kate, I know you don't. I know you a long time and I know you don't. What happened is that I gave an interview with a reporter and they said you know, you're going to have to step down sometime, you can't be in this job forever.

And I said you're absolutely right. I can't be in this job forever and I don't anticipate I'll be in this job before the end -- at the end of the first term of President Biden, which is January 2025.

Somehow, that got interpreted that it's announcing my retirement. I just said that it is extremely unlikely, in fact, for sure that I'm not going to be here beyond January 2025. So sometime between now, Kate, in January 2025, you can guarantee I'll step down.

BOLDUAN: This is how much time people need to prepare for a sea change like that. I mean, I say -- I say that only half with humor because after what -- I mean almost five decades in federal service, I mean, that is -- it is a major announcement. What impacts your --

FAUCI: 54 years.

BOLDUAN: What impacts your decision? I mean, did the pandemic, the spotlight it put on you, you've been candid about that? Did that impact your thought process on retirement?

FAUCI: No. No, not at all, Kate. First of all, I've established as 38 years as director of NIAID, I think, the best program in the world when it comes to infectious diseases.

Everybody's in a position of any influence in my institute, I handpicked so it's something that I've been working on now for almost four decades. So we have a good system in place. Obviously, you can't go on forever.

I do want to do other things in my career. Even though I'm at a rather advanced age, I have the energy and the passion to continue to want to pursue other aspects of my professional career.


And I'm going to do that sometime, I'm not exactly sure when. But I don't see myself being in this job to the point where I can't do anything else after that. So that's the reason.

It has nothing to do with pressures, nothing to do with all the other nonsense that you hear about, all the bombs and the slings and the arrows, that has no influence on me.

BOLDUAN: You know, I anticipate I'll have many more opportunities to bug you in the next couple of years about more of your retirement plans and your next chapter. It's good to see you, Dr. Fauci. Thank you for coming in.

FAUCI: Same here, Kate. That was good to talk to you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much. Coming up for us. Steve Bannon on trial. Who Prosecutors plan to bring for witness -- as witnesses in his criminal contempt case? That's next.



BOLDUAN: Jury selection is underway in the federal trial of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. He's charged with two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas issued by the Congressional committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. Prosecutors plan to bring investigators from the committee to testify.

If convicted, Bannon faces a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail. The next January 6 hearing will take place on Thursday night in prime time, not to be missed.

Thank you all so much for being here, I'm Kate Bolduan. INSIDE POLITICS is up next after this break.