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Federal Appeals Court Grants Sen. Lindsey Graham Temporary Reprieve From Testifying Before GA Grand Jury; Justice Dept. Faces Thursday Deadline On Search Affidavit Redactions; Doctors "Stunned" By Injured Little Leaguer's Progression. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired August 22, 2022 - 11:30   ET



ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Ebola as well, but he really rose to the spotlight during the COVID-19 pandemic when he was publicly clashing at times with former President Donald Trump as for relating to his strategy. President Biden asked him to stay on. And now we are learning that Dr. Fauci will be stepping down in December.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Arlette, thank you so much for that. Joining me now is CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner, medical adviser to the Bush-Cheney White House. Thank you for jumping on when we got this news, Dr. Reiner. What's your reaction to hearing this announcement from Dr. Fauci and how do you reflect on all of his years in public service?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I'd like to congratulate Dr. Fauci on a career really without comparison. I think anyone who's practiced medicine or trained in medicine in the last 40 years has studied from the textbook that he is the author of. His contributions to medicine go well beyond that, the COVID pandemic.

And as you said, he was instrumental in helping to construct the U.S. response to the HIV AIDS epidemic in the early 80s when I was training in medicine, SARS, Zika, the anthrax attacks, and now COVID and monkeypox. So, Dr. Fauci has been the tip of our medical spear and responded to these crises. And I wish him well.

BOLDUAN: Just last month, Dr. Fauci was on. And I had asked him -- there had been some talk about his retirement plans, and I asked him about if and when he would retire. I want to play for you part of what he told me.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: 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.


BOLDUAN: At that point, he had said that to me because he was trying to get everyone to tamp down talk of his retirement. And but he did make clear that no matter what it would be, which now we know, it'd be in December, that it was not the end of his career.

REINER: Right.

BOLDUAN: And as Arlette was just reading, one of the things that I know that he says that he wants to do is to inspire the next generation of scientific leaders. What do you think that looks like?

REINER: Well, maybe this will give him more time to be a mentor. I hope it gives him more time to write and to be an inspiration to young physicians and kids in high school. I would say that I would hope that this president would give Dr. Fauci the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but he's already received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I think he's probably frustrated with how much politics has polluted the work that he has to do. He's not just the scientist and chief medical adviser to the president, but the world in which he lives has been incredibly politicized. You know, just last week, there were, you know, members of Congress telling him to clear his calendar when the House changes majorities so that he could testify, you know, pretty much, you know, full time. That concept of doing that, I think, has to be very, very unappealing for him.

BOLDUAN: You mentioned the AIDS crisis. I mean, he was on far before COVID had anything. I mean, he really was at the frontlines of the AIDS crisis. What people need to remember about that?

REINER: Well, he received a lot of criticism. And you know, some of it, I think, you know, well placed. But I think when you talk to people who have been central to the AIDS and HIV crisis for the last 40 years, I think he's come to gain their respect. I think he has -- he has listened to his critics.

And ultimately, HIV AIDS has been transformed into a disease that when I was a resident, killed every single person that it -- that it infected to now a chronic disease that is that people live very long and very healthy logs within.

And that hasn't happened without people like Tony Fauci and it hasn't happened without his leadership. So I, you know, you'll -- you can ask people central to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, how much Tony Fauci has really garnered their respect and I think you'll see that their uniform in their praise right now.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I do want to ask you because there has -- there was the news this morning with regard to the fight against COVID. Pfizer is just -- has just announced that they are -- they have submitted their application for an updated booster shot, one designed to specifically target Omicron, how much of a game changer is that going to be?

REINER: I think it's a big deal. So we've been very fortunate that the vaccines that we've all received and hopefully we've all been boosted have been able to keep people from getting very sick, but they're no longer very good at keeping people from getting infected. You know, for the first year of this pandemic, vaccines dramatically reduced the vaccinated person's risk of infection and they're no longer very good at that. [11:35:10]

And I think the hope is that a booster that has incorporated BA.4 and BA.5 into the mixture will now help not just prevent serious illness as the current vaccines continue to do. But we'll be better than that. And also, we'll be able to reduce the number of people getting infected because every day in this country.

There are about half a million new infections. We only report about 100,000. But about half a million Americans are still getting infected every day. And we are nowhere close to putting this into an endemic level. Almost 500 people are dying every day still.

So the hope is that maybe we can start to finally bend the curve and reduce the number of daily infections and then the serious consequences that arise from that with a new, more targeted booster.

Remember, we've had this -- this shot was invented, essentially in January of 2020. And this virus has mutated many, many times since then. So it's time for a new version.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Good to see you, Dr. Reiner. Thank you.

Coming up for us, Senator Lindsey Graham, he's winning a temporary reprieve from testifying before a Georgia Grand Jury, details on that next.



BOLDUAN: A federal appeals court is granting a temporary reprieve to Senator Lindsey Graham from testifying before Georgia grand jury. Graham was scheduled to appear tomorrow as part of the grand jury investigation into alleged election interference in that state. CNN's Jessica Schneider has the very latest. She joins us now. Jessica, what does this reprieve mean for Graham and this investigation now?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kate, it's very likely that Graham will still be forced to testify but, of course, it definitely won't be tomorrow. And the extent of the questioning before the Fulton County grand jury, it actually might end up being a bit more limited.

And that's because this case, it's now going back to a district court judge who has actually previously ruled that Graham should testify. But now that judge is being told to more carefully consider whether Graham can have any of his subpoenas modified on the basis of the Speech and Debate Clause of the Constitution.

Now Graham has repeatedly raised that clause as a reason why he shouldn't have to testify at all, but the DA's office in response, they've countered that sure, you know, the clause prohibits questioning about legislative actions that Graham might have taken, but it doesn't touch on political actions. And specifically, the DA wants to ask Graham about two phone calls he made after the 2020 election to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Now Raffensperger has previously said that during those phone calls, Graham hinted that Raffensperger should try to throw out some Georgia ballots during the statewide audit. In response, Graham has said that any suggestion he was trying to throw out legal ballots is ridiculous.

But regardless, the Atlanta DA wants to question Graham about those calls, and even the overall effort by Trump to overturn the election results, you know. So, Kate, so this latest decision by the 11th circuit, it at least delays Graham's testimony, and it may ultimately limit what he can testify to.

But in all likelihood here, he will probably still have to testify. But he could ultimately appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. And that could really delay this overall, especially given that the grand jury is supposed to wrap up by May 2023. So we'll see how this plays out. But maybe Graham's ultimate goal here is to delay which is something he's right now achieving, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Jessica. Really appreciate it.

So the Justice Department is also facing a deadline this Thursday to send a federal judge proposed redactions of the affidavit used to justify the search of Donald Trump's home. And just this morning, the judge, in this case, is spelling out more clearly his position, his reasoning about releasing that affidavit, and how he feels about transparency. CNN's Katelyn Polantz is live in Washington with the very latest on this one for us. Katelyn, what did the judge say in this new filing?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Kate, what the judge is saying here is basically how he's going to balance this need for transparency for the public in this historic situation, which he acknowledges how he balances that with the needs to protect an ongoing criminal investigation that the Justice Department is still conducting.

So when he says he lays out in this order today exactly what he's going to be thinking about when he gets that filing under seal on Thursday from the Justice Department and confidentially looks at it, perhaps talks to them a little bit more.

And first and foremost, the thing that he cares about that the Justice Department also cares about is protecting witnesses. That is something that goes into detail, but there's a lot of information about witnesses in this investigation, what they've told the Justice Department already in this sealed affidavit that the media is trying to get more information out of.

But the Justice Department has already told the court and the judge agrees that the release of this type of investigative material could have devastating consequences for the reputations and rights of individuals whose actions and statements are described.

[11:45:04] So that's one of the reasonings here the judge is going to be taking into consideration as he looks at what could be released. It might not be a lot ultimately, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, thanks so much, Katelyn. Joining me right now is Kim Wehle, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and CNN's Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez.

Kim, let's start with what Jessica was laying out about Lindsey Graham. He's getting this temporary pause from an appeals court in this order for him to appear before the grand jury in Georgia. Lower court told him he should appear. This appeals court says you have a reprieve. What does this mean?

KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, the way this works is, of course, a lower court will make a ruling, and then it goes all the way up. The original ruling was about whether Lindsey Graham cannot testify at all. Sort of like complete immunity from even showing up based on the Speech and Debate Clause.

That issue went up to the 11th Circuit. And the 11th Circuit actually sent it back to say, you know what? Actually, let's see if there are certain parts of the testimony that can be actually gotten from Mr. Graham.

So I actually think it's -- I agree with Jessica that this is a delayed process, but I actually think this could consolidate the ultimate appeal because any sort of privilege, attorney-client, executive privilege, even the Fifth Amendment, it really needs to be implemented on a question by question basis.

I mean, I worked with Ken Starr in the Whitewater investigation, and even Bill Clinton as a sitting president had to testify before the grand jury. So Lindsey Graham lost that one. And actually, I think this is going to facilitate the appeals process because everything now is going to go up at once before the 11th Circuit.

BOLDUAN: Oh, that's very interesting, Kim. I'm glad that you're laying that out for us. Evan, let me ask you about Katelyn's -- this new order from the judgment, what Katelyn was also reporting. The judge in this order notes that in the filing that fact -- that the facts that the investigators have gathered and presented to him are -- so far are reliable.

And here's a piece that I know you picked up on as well, writing this. Having carefully reviewed the affidavit before signing the warrant, I was and am satisfied that the facts sworn by -- sworn by the affiant are reliable. That stuck out to you why.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It did because you know you've been seeing so many accusations from the former president's legal team and now even from Republicans who are raising the question about whether the Justice Department and the FBI have gone rogue here. And what they've just sort of paper over is the fact that a judge looked at this and decided based on what he saw in the affidavit. Judge Reinhart is saying -- he's almost speaking to those people saying, you know, what he saw in that affidavit, based on the evidence that was presented, based on the witnesses, he said is reliable.

And so again, this doesn't mean that there's someone going to be charged here or that someone's guilty of anything. But what he's saying is, you know, this deserves further investigation, and it either released met that bar for this judge.

BOLDUAN: And then we wait for the Thursday deadline to see what happens next. Kim, Evan thank you, guys. I really appreciate it.

PEREZ: Sure.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us. Stunned by the progress, that is what the father of Easton Oliverson is saying today. The young Little Leaguer making a recovery that doctors are saying is nothing short of a miracle even after a second fall. That's next.



BOLDUAN: An update now on this little tough guy we'll show you. Easton Oliverson who suffered critical head injuries last week after falling from a bunk bed at the Little League World Series. The 12-year-old, he fell again this weekend while going to the bathroom by himself hitting his head a second time but a CT scan performed after the fall came back normal, no swelling in his brain, the family calling it another miracle. Easton's dad says doctors are stunned by his son's progress. Here's Easton himself speaking over the weekend.


EASTON OLIVERSON, LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES PLAYER: Hey, this is Easton, thank you for the prayers.

JACE OLIVERSON, EASTON'S FATHER: Are you starting to feel better, bud?

EASTON OLIVERSON: Yes. I'm -- still, feel better.

JACE OLIVERSON: Awesome. Team Easton, we love you, buddy.

EASTON OLIVERSON: I love you too.


BOLDUAN: Sweet boy. Doctors say Easton is expected to make a full recovery.

Before we go, did you ever wonder what your dreams really mean? There's actually a science behind this. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has tips now on how dreams can actually enrich our lives in today's "CHASING LIFE."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, host of CNN's "CHASING LIFE" podcast. How often do you wake up and actually remember the dream you had and wonder if it has any meaning or purpose, or if it was just random? Well, not all dreams may feel intense or powerful, or even memorable. The fact is, we all dream. They are a universal human experience.

And dreams are also a pretty good reflection of our waking lives, our fears, our desires, our challenges. So no doubt dreams can provide new insights for us. And you can create a richer dream world by paying attention to bedtime routines, and also approaching the dreams with intent.

Switch off that screen. Try to find some tranquility early in the night. And when you get sleepy, make sure to make it a point to tell yourself you will dream tonight. In the morning, pause. Take some time to reflect on what you remember and record and share your dreams with family and friends. It's an opportunity to slow down and recognize another thing we all have in common, that we dream.

You can hear more about how to optimize your health and chase life wherever you get your podcasts.



BOLDUAN: Sanjay, thank you so much for that. And thank you all so much for being here on a good Monday AT THIS HOUR, I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" picks up after a quick break.