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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Gen. Colin Powell, First Black Secretary Of State, Dies At 84; Deadline Approaches With No Signs Of A Deal Among Democrats; Massive Backlog At North America's Busiest Cargo Port; Violent Gang Kidnaps 16 Americans & 1 Canadian In Haiti; Chicago Police Union Clashes With City Over Vaccine Mandate; Trump Sues To Keep Records Secret Related To Jan 6th Insurrection; Jury Selection Begins For Suspects Accused Of Killing Ahmaud Arbery. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired October 18, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: A trailblazing general loses his heroic final battle.
THE LEAD starts right now.
He left his indelible mark on the U.S. military and public service. General Colin Powell dies from a battle with cancer and COVID. A special look at his legacy ahead.
Whether you're buying a car, putting gas in the tank or groceries in the trunk, life is currently crazy expensive as so much stuff is just sitting offshore. One of the main people trying to fix the crisis is here to explain, what's the hold up?
Plus, an armed gang in Haiti kidnaps a group of American missionaries, including five children. We'll have a live update from Port-au-Prince as the FBI arrives.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We start with our national lead today, the death of an American icon and hero and the first generation son of Jamaican immigrants. General Colin Powell, who served as the very first black secretary of state and the very first black chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, died today from COVID complications. Powell had been fully vaccinated against COVID but his immune system was vulnerable, a source tells CNN that Powell was being treated for Parkinson's disease, as well for multiple myeloma, which is a type of blood cancer. President Biden today calling Powell a dear friend and patriot of unmatched honor and dignity as reaction poured in from around the globe.
I had the honor of interviewing General Powell several times including last June in the wake of the George Floyd protest when Powell spoke candidly about the state of the nation, the state of the Republican Party and his support for the-candidate Joe Biden. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Do you think that the country is in something of a turning point?
GEN. COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We are at turning points. I mean, the Republican Party, the president thought they were immune. They can go say anything they wanted. And even more troubling, the Congress would just sit there and not in any way resist what the president is doing.
And the one word I have to use with respect to what he's been doing is a word I would never have used before. I never would have used with any of the four presidents I've worked for. He lies. He lies about things and gets away with it because people will not hold him accountable.
And so, while we're watching him, we need to watch our Congress. I watch the senators heading into the chamber the other day after all this broke with the reporter saying, what do you have to say? What do you have to say?
They had nothing to say. They would not react. And so, we're not a country of just a president. We have a Congress. We have a Supreme Court.
But most of all, we have the people of the United States, the ones who vote, the ones who vote him in and the ones who vote him out. I couldn't vote for him in '96 and I certainly cannot in any way support President Trump this year.
TAPPER: So, yeah, I know you didn't vote for him in 2016. I assume based on the fact that you approved Joe Biden when senator -- then- Senator Obama picked him to be his running mate in 2008, I assume you'll be voting for Joe Biden?
POWELL: I'm very close to Joe Biden on a social matter and on a political matter. I've worked with him for 35, 40 years. And he is now the candidate and I'll be voting for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: As General Powell said, his life of service stretched over several decades and presidential administrations for both parties and from the battlefields of Vietnam to the hallowed halls of the state department.
CNN's Alex Marquardt starts us off.
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The news of Colin Powell's death prompted an outpouring of grief that reflects the profound admiration of a statesman unique in so many ways. ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: Colin Powell dedicated his
extraordinary life to public service because he never stopped believing in America, and we believe in America in no small part because it helped produce someone like Colin Powell. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
MARQUARDT: Tributes poured in from presidents, prime ministers and countless others. President Joe Biden said that Powell, quote, embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat. He was committed to our nation's strength and security above all. Powell, Biden said, will be remembered as one of our great Americans.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Obviously, a heartbreaking tragedy for the country and one the president is feeling personally.
MARQUARDT: From Powell's heritage as the son of immigrants to his storied military career before becoming a public servant who transcended party affiliation, the former four-star general and secretary of state paved the way for so many like Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
LLOYD AUSTIN, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed. Alma lost a great husband and the family lost a tremendous father. And I lost a tremendous personal friend and mentor.
MARQUARDT: At 84 years old, Powell was among the most vulnerable to the pandemic ravaging the planet. He had been vaccinated but he was also suffering from Parkinson's disease and being treated for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood's plasma cells, both wreaked havoc on Powell's immune system, making him much more susceptible to COVID-19.
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Multiple myeloma is a disease that itself suppresses the immune system, but it's also important to understand that the treatment for multiple myeloma which patients often take every day itself can suppress the immune system. So, General Powell represented our most vulnerable population in this country. He was over the age of 80. He had cancer and a treatment for his cancer made him vulnerable.
MARQUARDT: The vaccines are less effective with cancer patients generally and a study in July found that just 45 percent of multiple myeloma patients developed an adequate COVID-19 response when vaccinated, a reason why the FDA and CDC have approved booster shots for the immuno-compromised.
Powell had kept his cancer quiet. One of his last public appearances was in late September for the school named after him at the City College of New York.
Speaking with his daughter Linda, he grew emotional talking about the students.
GEN. POWELL: So, can each of you tell me where you're from, where your parents are from and what's your future? Each one of them, 12 I think, each one of them did that. And --
LINDA POWELL, GEN. POWELL'S DAUGHTER: Yes. They reminded you of yourself.
GEN. POWELL: The reason I'm crying is I looked at them and they were me.
L. POWELL: Uh-huh.
GEN. POWELL: And they came from an immigrant background like me. And they came from (INAUDIBLE) in the Bronx and they were smiling. They were happy.
MARQUARDT (on camera): And, Jake, that tender moment between General Powell and his daughter Linda was under three weeks ago on September 30th. And we have just heard that President Joe Biden has spoken about General Powell's passing.
Let's take a quick listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I became friends with Colin Powell who we just lost. Think of where Colin Powell is. Not only a dear friend and a patriot, one of our great military leaders and man of overwhelming decency. This is a guy born, son of immigrants, in New York city, raised in Harlem in the south Bronx, graduated from City College of New York.
And he rose to the highest ranks in not only the military but also in areas of foreign policy and state craft. This is a guy who we talk about who had teachers who looked at this African-American kid and said, you can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Powell's longtime chief of staff tells CNN that Powell was vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. That he got his second dose back in early February, was due to get his booster shot this past week but couldn't receive it because he fell ill -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Alex Marquardt, thank you so much.
Joining us live to discuss, CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel, and CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
So, Jamie, General Powell's longtime chief of staff Peggy Cifrino tells you that Powell also had Parkinson's disease. Tell us more about that.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. We don't know how long he'd been suffering from it. He'd been very private about this but he'd been suffering from Parkinson's. He'd been suffering from multiple myeloma. But very important she said she wanted everyone to know that he was vaccinated very early on, January, his second vaccine was in February. He was getting ready to have his booster.
But as we've been discussing, just having those illnesses and, Sanjay will speak to this much better than I can, makes the vaccine less effective. He was therefore more vulnerable. So to my mind, it's another reason why everyone needs to get vaccinated.
TAPPER: Right. And, Sanjay, isn't that part of the point that one of the reasons that people like me and you get vaccinated in addition to protecting ourselves, one of the reasons we do that and also wear masks is to protect people like General Powell who had a compromised immune system. He had multiple myeloma. He survived prostate cancer, Parkinson's. He was 84 years old.
This, if anything, reaffirms the need for people to get vaccinated to protect people like General Powell.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. I mean, you know, when we talk about herd immunity, it's a term that gets thrown around a lot, but just sort of philosophically, it means enough people get vaccinated that you protect the most vulnerable among us. People who can't get vaccinated or people who are very vulnerable because of age, because of talking about his multiple myeloma which is a difficult cancer when it comes to immunity. We know that this is cancer of the very cells that produce the antibodies, right?
So, it's the plasma cells that produce the antibodies. We also know we can put it up that about 45 percent of people who get vaccinated only have about an -- have an adequate response to the vaccine. Twenty-two percent have a partial response, and 33 percent have no response.
So we don't know where he sort of fell in there but that was also -- that's why it's been suggested that people who have weakened immune systems as he would have get that booster shot. But that's exactly the point.
And he got this virus from somebody somewhere, right? That's not to point fingers, more to say that's the point of herd immunity. If enough people get vaccinated you bring down the viral spread it protected people like General Powell.
TAPPER: Yeah. And, Jamie, let's talk about his legacy and the man that we all miss today, people who had the honor to have known him or interviewed him. You've been talking to people who were close to him. What are they telling you?
GANGEL: So I think we talk about people being larger than life. He really was. And he always had a smile. He wore his great success very lightly. He would -- he wouldn't say I'm from New York. He'd say I'm from the Bronx.
If someone said where did you go to college? He said I didn't go to West Point. He went to City University, and his grades were not so great. And he made a point of always telling people about that. He also liked to say he spoke Yiddish which growing up in New York. And if you had a Volvo that needed work done on it, he was your man. I think he fixed more than 35 Volvos for people. And it just speaks to the kind of person he was. He once said, let's everyone be kind to each other. So in addition to the extraordinary career, you just have quite a man there.
TAPPER: Yeah, one of the things he got such a kick out of was that he had come in third in the presidential race in 2016 because there was some errant electors who had voted for him and so he had framed a copy of that because he thought it was so amusing that somebody had written him in.
Sanjay, so obviously, General Powell's death is not any evidence of anything negative about the vaccines, but as you talked about how multiple myeloma, the blood cancer he suffered from, could compromise his immune system. Obviously, his age, 84, that makes him more vulnerable. But what about the fact he was a survivor of prostate cancer and the fact he was somebody fighting Parkinson's disease. Would either of those compromise his immune system?
GUPTA: I think there's less data on that. With Parkinson's, it may sort of make recovery difficult if someone has COVID but it's not as clear cut of an impact on the immune system. Someone being treated for prostate cancer because the treatments themselves, part of the way these treatments work is they suppress your immune system but I don't know he was actively being treated for that. So, I think it's less sort of clear there.
But in terms of the fact that he had been vaccinated, to reiterate your point, Jake, these breakthrough infections and we talk a lot about this, but, you know, there's some 187 million people roughly that have been vaccinated in the United States. We pulled some of these numbers. I want to show this. Data makes the point.
That of those 187 million, there have been about 7,200 breakthrough infections that resulted in death, 7,178, as you see there. Eighty- five percent of those are among people who are older than 65. And, by the way, not everyone who dies after being vaccinated die COVID- related deaths.
But this next graph sort of makes this point, Jake, that we've made before that if you look over all the death rate among the vaccinated versus unvaccinated, look at that. That is the point. People keep saying, you can still get it. What difference does it make?
That graph is the difference that it makes. You're far less likely to survive if you haven't been vaccinated. It's as simple as that.
TAPPER: Jamie, Sanjay, thanks so much.
Coming up, a hold up at U.S. ports costing Americans more by the minute it seems. One of the main people trying to fix this logjam joins us.
Also, he's the 25-year-old black man who is chased down and shot to death while jogging. Today the trial begins for the three men accused of Ahmed Arbery's murder. Stay with us.
TAPPER: And our politics lead, tensions boiling over inside the Democratic Party with another self-imposed deadline less than two weeks away. We've lost track of how many of these self-imposed deadlines the Democrats have blown through. Sources tell CNN that President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have decided it is time to wrap up negotiations on what exactly will be included in the Build Back Better Act, which is meant to expand social safety net programs such as child care and elder care.
And as Kaitlan Collins reports for us now, now, President Biden is hosting the two groups of Democrats at the White House again as the party infighting becomes more public and seemingly more personal.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden's agenda stuck in congressional limbo.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president is feeling an urgency to move things forward.
COLLINS: Democrats are in a standoff on how to scale back the social safety net and climate change proposal.
PSAKI: He's going to continue to work with Democratic leadership about having the kinds of meetings and engagements that will help move this across the finish line.
COLLINS: Sources tell CNN that Biden and House Speaker Pelosi believe it's time to wrap up negotiations ahead of an end of the month deadline to pass this bill and the infrastructure plan.
PSAKI: Tomorrow he will host two different meetings with house members here at the White House, one with moderates and one with progressive members.
COLLINS: Currently, Biden's plan would make child care more affordable, provide universal pre-K, expand paid family leave and address the climate crisis. But as moderate senators have drawn red lines on some of those provisions, other Democrats aren't hiding their frustration.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): What I do think is simply unfair is that two members of the Senate think that they have a right to obstruct what the overwhelming majority of the American people want, what the president wants.
COLLINS: Senator Bernie Sanders is attempting to increase pressure on Senator Joe Manchin, publishing an op-ed in Manchin's West Virginia hometown paper highlighting his opposition.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He said you're holding up the Biden agenda.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): No. No, there' s 52 senators who don't agree, okay? And there are two that want to work something out, if possible.
COLLINS: Manchin has drawn several lines in the sand from the price tag to the climate provisions to even pushing a work requirement in income cap on the child tax credit.
PSAKI: We're talking about targeting and focusing the president's proposals in some areas on people who need help the most.
COLLINS: Manchin has also told the White House he strongly opposes the clean electricity program an essential part of Biden's plan to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): We've got to do something about it. I don't believe that Joe Manchin doesn't know we have to do something.
COLLINS: President Biden only offering this response when asked if Manchin and Sanders can ever see eye to eye to get his agenda across the finish line.
Mr. President, can Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Joe Manchin ever reconcile their differences on your agenda?
COLLINS (on camera): And, Jake, of course, as the president is trying to secure a deal on that proposal, this latest proposal they are arguing over, he also is dealing with these supply chain gridlock issues that we detailed, of course, last week. Those are issues his Transportation Secretary predicts are going to last well into next year, though Secretary Buttigieg did argue that if they get that hard infrastructure bill passed that it will help alleviate some of those issues. Of course, Jake, getting that bill passed is contingent progressives say on getting an agreement on this social safety net and climate change package that Democrats are still very much divided over.
TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thanks so much.
The massive supply chain backlog is partially to blame for the higher prices we're all seeing on items, from groceries, to gasoline, to new cars. And one of the easiest ways to visualize this traffic jam is the scene at the port of Los Angeles, the busiest cargo port in North America, where hundreds of thousands of shipping containers are waiting to be unloaded and dozens of ships are stuck just offshore with cargo on board.
Here to discuss is Gene Seroka, executive director of the port of Los Angeles. Gene, thanks so much for joining us.
It's been five days now since President Biden announced that your port would move to 24 hours a day, seven days a week service.
Have you seen any of the backups start to alleviate?
GENE SEROKA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PORT OF LOS ANGELES: Good afternoon, Jake. And, yes, we have.
Last week when I reported to the senior administration officials, as well as the president, we had 25 percent of all cargo on our docks sitting here for 13 days or longer. That's been just about cut in half over the last week. We've also seen impressive moves on our rail product where we've cut back the amount of rail containers sitting here for long periods of time by about half over the last month.
TAPPER: So is it true that there are currently about 250,000 shipping containers sitting at the port waiting to be unloaded? And whatever the number is, how does that compare to a normal day?
SEROKA: We've got about two weeks worth of work sitting at anchor right now, Jake. That's about 200,000 20-foot equivalent units or containers as we call them, and really the question right now is, how do we segment this cargo? There's product that needs to get out there in super fast speed. Think about the toys, the other Christmas products and parts and components for factories.
Then there's other product that's been ordered just in case. We need to move that away so we can really focus on the product that needs to get to market.
TAPPER: What kinds of items specifically are the highest priority that are on these ships and in these containers still stuck in the port?
SEROKA: Mostly retail products, Jake. That would be anything from toys to bicycles, footwear, clothing, all the things we would buy for family and friends during the year end holiday season.
At the same time about 20 percent of our important lift are those parts that go to factories. The big three automotive folks in Michigan, as well as their tiered suppliers throughout the Midwest and others who really need these components so they can build their final products.
TAPPER: The White House proposed this as a 90-day plan, the idea of the port of Los Angeles working 24/7, 90-day plan. Is that going to be enough time to fix these bottlenecks?
SEROKA: We should be able to make good progress, but this is going to take some time. Most folks are telling me right now that we'll see strength in the import market through an early lunar new year in February of 2022, and then the major retailers have told me directly the second quarter of next year is going to be focused on replenishing this inventory.
We have been buying more than ever as American consumers and the retailers have really tried their level best just to keep up with demand, much less build in stock. And, in fact, our inventory sales ratio is the lowest it's been since pre-recessionary days.
TAPPER: So, do you think you need to keep up this 24/7 plan until next summer?
SEROKA: Yes. We're going to have to work all out. And realistically right now through our data mining, we've seen that 30 percent of our truck appointment goes unused every day, whether it be from the 8:00 to 5:00 shift or 6:00 p.m. shift at nighttime. We have to take advantage of that capacity and squeeze every minute and every hour of efficiency out of the port that we can.
TAPPER: So, a lot of Americans may have been surprised to learn the biggest port wasn't already a 24/7 operation. Why wasn't it? Was there just not the demand at the time?
SEROKA: There's an entire orchestra of players that has to get on the same schedule. Our truckers are federally mandated to drive no more than 11 hours a day and the American Trucking Association has said we're short 30,000 truckers right now across the country.
Our warehouses, of which we boast 2 billion square feet from the shores of the Pacific out to the desert region of southern California typically only work during the day. So part of what the president did last week was to telegraph to our largely private sector supply chain partners, you need to work more hours.
TAPPER: All right. Gene Seroka, thank you so much. Please come back and keep us abreast of what's going on. If you need us to push on our end the public officials, let us know.
Sixteen Americans and a Canadian kidnapped in Haiti and kids are among the captives. What we know about their condition and what's being done to free them. That's next.
TAPPER: In our world lead, the FBI is now involved in trying to find 17 missionaries, including five children, who were kidnapped by a notorious Haitian gang over the weekend. The 16 Americans and one Canadian are part of the Ohio-based Christian aid ministries. The faith organization says the missionaries and children were kidnapped after visiting an orphanage just outside Port-au-Prince on Saturday. Haiti's security forces claim a well-known local gang is responsible. There are reports some of the missionaries were able to send a group text just as the attack was happening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YVONNE TRIBMLE, HAITI FOR CHRIST: He said pray for us. We're being harassed. We're being kidnapped right now. There's so many of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP0
TAPPER: CNN's Matt Rivers is in Port-au-Prince and filed this report moments ago near the scene of the kidnapping. Take a look.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So several miles just down that road right there is where our source and Haiti security forces tells us that this kidnapping was carried out. In a more normal time we'd simply get in our cars, drive several miles and see the exact spot where this happened. But basically, we're following the advice of our Haitian producer and security team who say we shouldn't go further than this because it's too dangerous. Also further down that road is the suburb of Croix-des-Bouquets. That's a big area that is, according to our source, in Haiti security forces, completely controlled by the gang 400 Mawozo. That is a gang that our source in the security forces says is responsible for carrying out this kidnapping.
And that gang and others are responsible for terrorizing ordinary Haitians. Remember it's ordinary Haitians, Haitian citizens that make up the vast number of kidnapping victims. It's not foreign nationals. It's also gang violence that's made life so difficult in the capital city of Port-au-Prince and its surrounding areas.
And that's why there's a form of protest going on today in this area. Normally, this street would be packed with traffic, with a lot of life, and it's a lot calmer than normal because many have chosen to stay home. Schools are closed. Businesses, many of them are closed. Different types of transportation methods in the city have stopped.
It's a form of protest from ordinary Haitians who are basically saying enough that these levels of violence, the level of threats from these kidnappings, they are simply too high, unsustainable to live a peaceful life. They are demanding action from their government and this protest is how they are making their voices heard at least today. The government is going to change the situation. It's going to be very difficult because of the level of control exercised by gangs like the one that controls that area behind me and also other gangs in this area.
TAPPER: All right. Let's bring in Matt live from Haiti's capital now. And, Matt, do police have any leads on where these missionaries might be?
RIVERS: Well, we know according to our own reporting, Jake, that both the State Department and FBI, they say they don't know where these -- where the exact location is in terms of where these hostages are at this point. I do know here within local security forces, there is a sense that these kidnappees, these missionaries, they are in that neighborhood that we were just in front of. That makes sense when you think about it. That's the suburb controlled by the gang and that's accused of carrying this out.
In terms of specific locations, I think that remains very much elusive and we do know this gang does move its victims around to make them harder to pin down.
TAPPER: All right. Matt Rivers live from Port-au-Prince, stay safe. And thank you.
RIVERS: It's a matter of safety clashing with a matter of safety. What could happen if hundreds of police officers refuse to get required COVID vaccines?
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our health lead, as of today, two-thirds of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated. It's an incredible feat. More than 189 million people in the U.S. deciding to protect themselves and their families and their communities causing cases and hospitalizations and deaths to plummet. Lowest numbers for two of those factors in more than two months.
But for those 65 million unvaccinated holdouts, some may be just days away from being fired from their jobs.
CNN's Alexandra Field looks into how mandates are pitting some police officers against their own city.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A showdown between cities and powerful police unions is playing out over vaccine mandates.
MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: This notion that individual officers get to be insubordinate as they pick and choose, we're not having that.
FIELD: Chicago's police department now telling officers they must get special permission for time off as the vaccine mandate takes effect and warning officers who refuse to share their vaccine status, they could be fired.
In Baltimore, the police union telling officers not to reveal their vaccine status. Citing a lack of communication between city officials and the bargaining union, according to the "Baltimore Sun."
DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: This is not a good thing to mix up a public health crisis and a vaccine that can save lives amongst things like bargaining power. This is the wrong hill to die on.
FIELD: The looming mandates triggered concerns over staffing shortages. Seattle's public schools cancelled about 140 bus routes fearing too few vaccinated drivers. On Friday, just 82 percent of the city's police department was in compliance with the vaccine policy, that number now jumping to 98 percent.
Massachusetts moved preemptively to offset possible staffing shortages among state troopers by calling up its national guard to assist in prisons if needed and to administer COVID tests to kids in schools. As of today deadline day, the governor's office says 90 percent of state police have submitted their vaccine records.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: We know now the statistics. More police officers die of COVID than they do in other causes of death. So it doesn't make any sense.
FIELD: The rush of mandates targeting some of the 66 million Americans choosing not to get the shot, just as the country crosses a vaccination milestone. Two-thirds of all eligible Americans are now fully vaccinated. COVID-related deaths are trending down. Cases and hospitalizations falling to nearly three-month lows.
But health officials are still expressing concerns over the danger of failing to vaccinate more people.
FAUCI: There's always the danger that there will be enough circulating virus that you can have a stalling of the diminishing of the number of cases. And when that happens, there's the danger of resurgence.
FIELD: And Jake, we're now learning that more than one-third of Chicago's police officers have defied the city's mandate failing to report their vaccination status. Now, before there are any firings, the city will take a series of steps including the possibility of no- pay status for those 4,500 officers. For those who did report their vaccine status, the majority are vaccinated. Those who aren't will have to submit to twice weekly testing.
TAPPER: Alexandra Field, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up next -- Ahmaud Arbery's mother reacts to the jury selection in the trial of the three white men accused of chasing down and murdering her son.
Plus, breaking details about how former President Trump is trying to keep some of his records secret, right after this.
TAPPER: Breaking news, former President Donald Trump has just filed a lawsuit in relation to the deadly Capitol insurrection. Trump is trying to keep records from his presidency secret, records that might detail what he and key allies were doing before and during the January 6th attack on the Capitol. CNN's Ryan Nobles is live for us on Capitol Hill.
Ryan, who exactly is former President Trump suing?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Jake, in this filing that just crossed in the D.C. circuit court that the former president filed a lawsuit against the January 6th committee and the National Archives, in an effort to keep secret a whole tranche of documents the committee is looking for in regards to their investigation as to what happened on January 6th and what potential role the former president may have played.
As we go through these documents, one of our justice reporters and others going through this information, it seems as though the Trump legal argument is centered around three different claims. The first claim being that the committee has not demonstrated a specific legislative purpose for getting this information. And that is part of the responsibility of a congressional committee. They do have to have a legislative aim when asking for information. The former president's lawyers arguing there's just not enough in this regard.
He's also suing on behalf of the Presidential Records Act saying that there -- this violates the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, even when it pertains to a former president. That, of course, will be an open legal question. You have legal experts on both sides arguing as to whether or not that claim is valid.
And then the third thing that the Trump lawyers are saying is that they do not have enough time to go through these records to see exactly what the committee is looking for and therefore the process should be delayed. The committee is yet to respond to this lawsuit, Jake. It obviously doesn't come as a surprise. The president has been signaling both privately and publicly that he was going to do everything he could to prevent this information from getting into the hands of the select committee.
And he's also taken it a step further by reaching out to many of his former associates and telling them not to cooperate with the committee for that exact reason. So even if the committee ends up being successful in this legal effort, if they're able to stop this from happening, it's still creating an obstacle for them because it's going to delay the process and that's something they've been concerned with from the beginning.
So, Jake, the big news here, the former president filing a lawsuit to try and prevent that information from coming -- to come to the January 6th Select Committee -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Ryan, thank you so much.
Now, turning to our national lead, the start of the trial in the murder of an innocent man whose death shocked the country, Ahmaud Arbery. A 25-year-old black man chased down and shot while jogging in Georgia last year.
Initially, no arrests were made you might recall. That is until someone leaked cell phone video showing the horrifying incident. The video recorded by one of the alleged perpetrators. The images of the murder set off nationwide protests and calls for racial justice, and finally led to arrests while also exposing the ugly suspicion that without that leak, nothing would have been done.
Today, jury selection began in Georgia for the trial of these three men charged with Arbery's murder.
And CNN's Martin Savidge joins us from Atlanta.
Martin, how long is the jury selection process expected to take?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, the early estimate is about two weeks to maybe 2 1/2 weeks. It's complicated by a number of factors. Number one, COVID and safety precautions that are being taken. There are about 1,000 jury notices that were sent out. The first 600 or so were expected to show up today.
They didn't go right to the courthouse. They went to a gymnasium where they could spread out. When they're needed they will be taken in groups of 20 over the courthouse. So, that's slow.
On top of that, you got three defendants going on trial at the same time. Each of those defendants has two attorneys. So, six defense attorneys plus the prosecution, plus the judge all weighing in on the decisions that make up that jury.
Wanda Cooper-Jones is Ahmaud Arbery's mother. She was speaking about the jury but first she talks about the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANDA COOPER-JAMES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: I think without that video we wouldn't have an arrest, but I thank God that the video came and we got arrests and now we are here to select the jury to finally get justice for Ahmaud. I have my concerns. Being that the jurors will be picked from this community.
There's been a lot of miscommunications in the beginning on what happened on that day. But I'm hopeful that we'll get the right people in the right place to make the right decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Jury selection actually didn't begin until about 1:30 this afternoon. So it's off to a slow start, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Martin Savidge, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
China reportedly tests a missile that circles the globe and cannot yet be shot down. How is the U.S. responding? That's next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:58:19]
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, the man behind the Steele dossier containing unverified and in some cases clearly false claims about former President Trump gives his first on-camera interview. Is he standing by his oppo file?
And it's kind of like the movie "Grumpy Old Men" but with trillions of dollars at stake. President Biden being urged to get more involved with congressional talks as two political allies currently brawl over Biden's big spending plans. But, first, leading this hour, the next cold war heating up in a new development may have the United States playing catch up as China reportedly tests a hypersonic missile that no nation has the capability to shoot down.
The move comes as China appears to be licking its chops over Taiwan sitting right off the mainland, perhaps the most dangerous flash point in the world right now.
CNN's Oren Liebermann starts off our coverage with a closer look at how dangerous this reported missile could be.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The soaring tensions between the U.S. and China may have entered a new stratosphere. For years the U.S. has been working on hypersonic technology -- weapons that can travel more than five times the speed of sound. It's been a race between the U.S. and China which may have taken a major step forward.
According to "The Financial Times", China tested a hypersonic weapon this August, launched from a rocket in space. The weapon which glided back to Earth at hypersonic speed was capable of carrying nuclear weapons, "The Financial Times" reported. The Pentagon would not comment on the report. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said officials are concerned with China pursuit of advanced weaponry.