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The Lead with Jake Tapper

President Biden Finalizing Spending Bill Prior To Foreign Trip; Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) Is Interviewed On Nearing Deal On The Spending Bill; Concerns On GOP About Trump Endorsing Controversial Candidates; Armed Forces Seize Power In Sudan, Arrest The Prime Minister; U.S. Embassy In Sudan Urges Americans To Shelter In Place; Doctors Often Unaware Of Only FDA-Authorized Early COVID Treatment; Moderna: COVID Vaccine Shows Strong Immune Response In Kids 6-11; U.S. Rocked By Triple Play Of Extreme Weather Hazards; California Pummeled By Heavy Rains From Bomb Cyclone; Michigan State Asks Staff To Work Dining Halls Amid Worker Shortage. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 25, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The grace of God and the good will of the neighbors.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fresh off a hastily scheduled meeting at his Delaware home with critical centrist holdout Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer --

BIDEN: It went well. A few more things to work out, but it went well.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Biden taking his pitch to the public in New Jersey today.

BIDEN: When we make these investments, there's going to be no stopping America. We will own the future.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Officials now receiving signals Manchin is open to raising his top line number, to $1.75 trillion from $1.5 trillion, sources say.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think we're pretty much there now.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But despite clear progress underscored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi on CNN's "State of the Union" --

PELOSI: With 90 percent of the bill agreed to and written, we just have some of the last decisions to be made.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Those final decisions, by far, the thorniest. As Democrats map out scaling back or eliminating entirely critical components to secure Manchin's support for Medicare and Medicaid expansion to paid leave, sources say, as they scramble to finalize new ways to pay for a now substantially scaled back proposal.

PELOSI: We were ready to pay for 3.5. JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Right.

PELOSI: So we certainly can pay for 1 point -- half of that.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): After objections from Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the other key centrist holdout to raising corporate and individual tax rates. Democrats weighing a tax on unrealized asset gains of billionaires once only viewed as a progressive dream, now firmly in the mix of options, sources say. Just one of several critical decisions needed in the next 24 hours to secure a win for a president just days away from the world stage.

BIDEN: What becomes clear is this. Given half a chance, the American people have never, ever, ever let their country down. So let's get this done. Let's move.


MATTINGLY (on camera): And Jake, in talking to officials and sources on Capitol Hill, it's possible that two things can be true right now. The Democrats could be on the verge of a major agreement and they can also be in the midst of the most complicated and fraught part of the negotiations.

That said, White House officials making very clear, they do not plan on pulling the pressure any time soon. Now is the time for a deal, they are saying, and they continue to press forward to have something done, something agreed to, and something passed by the end of this week, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Phil Mattingly, at the White House. Thanks so much.

Let's bring in CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill right now. And Manu, you caught up with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, a central figure in these negotiations. He's explaining to you why he's been reluctant to side with those who want to expand Medicare to include coverage for hearing, dental and vision. What did he have to say?

MANUY RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He called it fiscally irresponsible, pushing back against many liberals in his party, including Senator Bernie Sanders who have demanded that an expansion of Medicare be included in this final package. But in talking to Joe Manchin earlier today, while he believes they're on the cusp of getting a deal, he also made clear he will resist some of the key provisions here including the expansion of Medicare which raises questions about whether that will get into the final package.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Medicare and social security is a lifeline to people back in West Virginia and most people around the country. And you've got to stabilize that first before you look at basically expansion. So, if we're not being fiscally responsible, that's really concerning. I believe that government should be your best partner, but it shouldn't be your provider. (END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: Now, on the positive side for Democrats, he did indicate that he believes a deal, an outline can be reached this week. That is much different than the message he has been giving for months when he had called for a pause in the talks, but can this deal if it is reached, win over progressives? That's another question, Jake.

TAPPER: And what about the other key figure in this on the moderate side, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona?

RAJU: She has made clear that she is going to resist increasing the tax rate for corporations and high earners. And that has forced Democrats to look at other ways to finance this package, including a potential billionaire's tax, including IRS tax enforcement. Now, she's indicating that she could go along with that, Jake, but still those details have not been released yet. So it remains to be seen how that goes over with the rest of the party.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju on Capitol Hill. Thanks so much.

Here to discuss, Democratic Congressman Mondaire Jones of New York. He's a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Congressman, good to see you and good to see you in person. You heard President Biden sounding almost a little bit irritated. Let's get this done. Come on. Let's go. Are you guys, are Democrats going to get it done?

REP. MONDAIRE JONES (D-NY): Look, I think the president is irritated by the obstruction that he's seeing from people who ran as Democrats but who are now talking about blocking some of the most broadly popular provisions in his economic proposals. I think we will get this done, Jake. I'm so excited about it.

We are closer than we have ever been and it's because of the progressive strategy, which insisted upon linking both of these bills. That is how we finally got Manchin and Sinema to the negotiating table.


So, I'm feeling vindicated but more importantly, I'm feeling excited for what we can deliver as Democrats for the American people.

TAPPER: Do you think that there will be enough of an agreement on this larger social safety net combating climate change bill that you'll be able to vote on the infrastructure bill before Biden leaves for Glasgow I think on Thursday?

JONES: It would be nice. But the most important thing here is to make sure --

TAPPER: It would be nice.

JONES: -- that we pass both of those bills. That's right. You know, we haven't seen a proposal yet --

TAPPER: Right.

JONES: -- to this effect. I'm excited about what we will see. But the negotiations are still ongoing. When I hear things like Senator Manchin is still trying to keep out Medicare expansion to include dental, vision and hearing which is popular with 83 percent or more of the American people including hundreds of thousands of seniors in West Virginia, I think to myself, we still got some negotiating to do.

TAPPER: Well, I think his point, I am not a spokesman for Manchin, but I think his point I'd like you to respond to is we need to make sure that Medicare is solvent because people need Medicare. They depend on Medicare. And we can't expand it if, you know, this is going to risk blowing up the entire program. I think that's what he was saying.

JONES: I think that's the argument that he's trying to make, but the fact is, it's, respectfully to the senator, an intellectually dishonest argument and here's why. First of all, even the $3.5 trillion proposal made by President Biden is completely paid for. We know that we can raise revenue when we have the political will to do so.

It's why even as Senator Sinema is saying she doesn't want to increase the corporate tax rate, people are pivoting to other forms of raising revenue.

TAPPER: Right.

JONES: We want to make sure that seniors in this country, like my grandmother who worked well past the age of retirement just to pay for the high cost of prescription drugs and medical procedures not fully covered by Medicare, are able to live in dignity in this country. And that is not asking for a handout. People paid into Medicare and social security.

TAPPER: I want to play what Speaker Pelosi told me yesterday on where this package stood, the one expanding the social safety net, where it stands as of now, at least this is as of yesterday morning. Take a listen.


PELOSI: With 90 percent of the bill agreed to and written, we just have some of the last decisions to be made. It is less than we had -- was projected to begin with, but it's still bigger than anything we have ever done in terms of addressing the needs of America's working families.


TAPPER: So that's a very positive way to describe it. Still bigger than anything we've ever done in terms of addressing the needs of America's working families. And yet I might also observe is right now we're hearing it's about $1.75 trillion over 10 years, which is a fraction of what the Congressional Progressive Caucus or members of it were pushing a few months ago in terms of $6 trillion. So $6 trillion down to 1.75. Do you fear that you lost too much in the negotiations in this process?

JONES: It's a number that is less than the $3.5 trillion proposal proposed by the president of the United States.


JONES: This is of course, the president's agenda. This isn't the progressive agenda. This is something that our moderate president of the United States has said, look, we've got to do these popular programs that are going to be life changing for the American people.

So, it's not everything that we wanted. But, of course, progressives are pragmatic contrary to what some people would like to push. And so we got to make sure that we do this thing especially as we contemplate all of the programs that will for sure make their way into this final bill. And I'm excited about those things.

TAPPER: So let's talk about some of those things. Here's some of the bigger points in the social safety net package. Universal Pre-K is in along with a one-year extension for the child tax credit, which is already lifting kids out of poverty, $300 billion for climate tax credits and incentives, funding for affordable housing.

Now, what appears to be out from the negotiations, money for a clean electricity program, free community college tuition, dental coverage under Medicare and to be determined, includes Medicare coverage for vision and hearing, four weeks of paid family leave, lower prescription drug prices because of inability to negotiate -- Medicare ability to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, $150 billion for other climate action.

So, obviously reduced from what you wanted, but if this passed, if this actually becomes law, does this give Democrats, other than Democrats in New York, does this give Democrats around the -- well, just a very Democratic state, Democrats around the country something to campaign on?

JONES: These provisions and more, which are still subject to negotiation as you know, are going to be the kinds of things that people like Terry McAuliffe can run on and that blue state known as Virginia where I believe he's going to win election anyway.

TAPPER: Well, we'll see. Mondaire Jones, congressman of New York, Democrat member of the House Progressive Caucus. Great to see you. Thanks so much.

JONES: Likewise.


TAPPER: Coming up, new scrutiny over President Trump's endorsement of candidates with some rather messy personal histories.

Plus, why are some COVID patients not getting this life-saving treatment. A CNN investigation, ahead.


TAPPER: In our "Politics Lead," new concerns being voiced about how Donald Trump could potentially hurt Republicans in the next election. CNN's Sara Murray takes a look now at Trump's endorsements of several Republican candidates with messy personal histories that has some Republican officials wondering if this destruction of norms might keep their party from winning the majority.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump defied political norms and he's doing it again post-presidency. With a round of endorsements for candidates whose troubled histories have come under scrutiny. Trump throwing his support behind Herschel Walker's senate campaign in Georgia.



MURRAY (voice-over): Sean Parnell's senate push in Pennsylvania.

TRUMP: Sean is a star. Sean, Sean Parnell.

MURRAY (voice-over): Or Max Miller's quest for Congress in Ohio.

TRUMP: We had some really great people. And Max was one of them.

MURRAY (voice-over): Trump endorsing Miller, a former White House adviser and ex-boyfriend of former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, even after Grisham says she told Donald and Melania Trump it was an abusive relationship.

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That's something I told the President and the First Lady about, and they did nothing. You know, if it didn't affect them and as long as I was keeping quiet and being good, then I guess that kind of behavior was okay.

MURRAY (voice-over): While Grisham has not identified Miller by name, she has identified him as a congressional candidate endorsed by Trump.

GRISHAM: It was like a gut punch when I saw that he endorsed him knowing, knowing what happened.

MURRAY (voice-over): Miller has responded by suing her for defamation. His lawyer telling CNN "Ms. Grisham's allegations that Mr. Miller was violent and physically abusive towards her are absolutely untrue." And accusing her of trying to boost book sales. Grisham says the lawsuit is an attempt at intimidation, which is right out of the Trump play book.

In Georgia, Trump is all in for Walker.

TRUMP: You know, Herschel is not only a Georgia hero, he is an American legend.

MURRAY (voice-over): Even though Walker has been accused of threatening his ex-wife and a friend of his ex-wife's in the early 2000s. An ex-girlfriend also said Walker threatened to kill her in a 2012 police report.

HERSCHEL WALKER, U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: You can get anger, but the anger that you can go out and really, really hurt someone, and that's when you know you've got a problem.

MURRAY (voice-over): The former University of Georgia football star spoke to CNN in 2008 about his diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder. And his ex-wife detailed how he had threatened her with knives and guns as he struggled with his mental illness.

CINDY GROSSMAN, HERSCHEL WALKER'S EX-WIFE: He held a gun to my temple and said he was going to blow my brains out.

MURRAY (voice-over): At the time, Walker said he couldn't remember being violent toward his wife, but didn't deny the incidents. His campaign said, "It is sad that many in politics and the media who praised Herschel for his transparency over a decade ago are now making false statements, stereotyping, attacking and attempting to sensationalize his past just because he is a Republican senate candidate."

The campaign also vehemently denied that he threatened his ex- girlfriend in 2012. If the allegations against Walker are disconcerting to other GOP leaders, few are speaking out. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently told "Politico," "There are some things written that indicate he's had some challenges in his life. On the other hand, the good news is he's made several impressive performances on national television. I think there's every indication he's going to be a good candidate."

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Donald Trump has gravitated toward some people with real skeletons and scandals in their past.

MURRAY (voice-over): Trump who faced more than a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct when he ran for president in 2016 --

TRUMP: I am a victim of one of the great political smear campaigns in the history of our country.

MURRAY (voice-over): May have blazed an easier path for GOP candidates with troubling paths.

CUPP: There definitely seems to be, you know, different tolerance level. And that's both inside the party and among voters, among Republican voters. I think once they swallowed Trump that sort of conditioned the environment to kind of accept anything.

MURRAY (voice-over): In Pennsylvania, one of Parnell's GOP opponents, Jeff Bartos, and an aligned super PAC are testing that theory as they try to use two protection from abuse orders filed against Parnell by his estranged wife in 2017 and 2018 as political weapons. UNKNOWN: 911 calls, protection from abuse orders, and now a gag

order. The real record of Sean Parnell.

MURRAY (voice-over): The protection orders were temporary, lasting only a few days. And the orders in the specific allegations against Parnell that prompted them have been expunged from court records. Parnell has called Bartos a desperate liar. Still, a judge denied Parnell's request for a gag order which had cited his campaign and concerns for his children.

His wife's lawyer celebrated the ruling saying, "The powerful and influential are not entitled to special treatment and they should not be permitted to silence others."


MURRAY (on camera): Now, the Parnell campaign declined to comment for this story. They did put out a memo today though that suggests they think the smear campaign is failing and they believe Parnell is going to be the nominee.

Jake, it will not surprise you to know that Donald Trump is not backing away from any of these endorsements. A spokesperson for Trump said he is proud to endorse patriots who love our country and he will not be dissuaded from supporting great candidates due to false smear campaigns.

TAPPER: All right, Sara Murray, thanks so much. Let's talk about this with our panel. Former Republican Congresswoman Mia Love, former Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy. Congresswoman Love, we should emphasize allegations are not facts. It does not mean that they are guilty, but in general, this is the kind of thing that has caused individuals to shy away from supporting other candidates.

Republicans are telling CNN now that they are worried that the party is too willing to accept individuals that Trump has picked. These endorsements could theoretically cost them the Senate majority next year if not the House majority. What do you think?


MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that the RNC is doing what they usually do as that they look at a candidate and they say okay, how is that candidate doing in his state? And Walker, the reason why they are supporting Walker is because Walker is up by 5 percent right now against Warnock.

And so they're going to put all of their eggs in one basket. To think that I would actually say is that Walker should try and do everything he can to concentrate on his state and stay away from whether the former president Donald Trump is backing him or not.

I think that that actually is going to be the thing that hurts him in the state. He should just -- he's obviously doing well in the state. They're not as concerned about what is going on or what has happened in his background. I think that those are things you should always be worried about and

concerned about, but he's doing well in his state. And he's going to be the Republican nominee. He's polling right now over 75 percent in the GOP in the primary. So, it looks like he's the presumptive nominee.

TAPPER: That's Herschel Walker in Georgia you're talking about. And Congressman Joe Kennedy, let me ask you, "Politico" said that this an example, these three candidates, of how Trump's political machine doesn't vet candidates. I don't know that I agree with that. I think that he doesn't necessarily care. What do you think?

JOE KENNEDY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think he vets and I don't think he cares. I think both of you are right. Jake, look, I spent some time, not a ton of years, but a couple of years as a prosecutor in Massachusetts and one of those years I was the domestic violence prosecutor in a small courthouse.

And it is one of the most heinous crimes we have anywhere. It is the most predictable form of homicide that there is. And the data bears that out. And look, yes, what you indicated were allegations. Who is to say exactly what happened here?

But the bottom line is when you have a former president of the United States engaging in a series of endorsements with multiple candidates that have credible allegations of abuse from one of the most heinous crimes that we have, that has to say not just something about the character of those that were endorsed but obviously the character of the endorser.

Of course, that being said, I don't think anybody is surprised about what this says about the former President Trump of his character or the credibility that he is willing to lend to women who claim abuse.

TAPPER: Congresswoman Love, moving on to other Trump endorsements, not grouped in with these three individuals. Democrats have been trying to link Republicans to Trump in all sorts of races. The Virginia governor's race for example, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe calling his opponent Glen Youngkin, the Republican nominee, Donald Trump in khakis.

It seems to be a very, very tight race. I've seen polls that have either one of them up but just by two or three points. What will the outcome of this race tell you, if anything, about how Republicans should run in the midterms in 2022?

LOVE: Well, you're asking someone who actually ran based on her constituents and based on her state and didn't really care about making sure I followed who was at the White House. But I would say that to any Republican candidate especially Youngkin that he really should just focus on what is resonating in his state.

He's talking about education and making sure that parents have a voice when it comes to their child's education. I think that he should do everything he can to run as an independent. In other words, not tied to Donald Trump. A person who is going to be one, first and foremost, on the side of Virginia.

And I think he'll do well. But I think that if he sticks to Donald Trump, Donald Trump actually likes to hang on to candidates that are close so he can say he actually helped them. I think Youngkin should do everything he can to actually just run on his own.

TAPPER: And Congressman Kennedy, I want you to take a listen to the accusation that Terry McAuliffe made on the campaign trail over the weekend about Republicans. He was campaigning with Stacey Abrams who had run for governor of Georgia and did not win.


TERRY MCAULIFFE, VIRGINIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: She would be the governor of Georgia today had the governor of Georgia not disenfranchised 1.4 million Georgia voters before the election. That's what happened to Stacey Abrams. They took the votes away.


TAPPER: Now, to be clear, the 1.4 million voters that were removed from the rolls were removed from the rolls from 2012 until 2018. And it was based on a law that a Democratic governor, Democratic legislature in Georgia assigned back in the '90s.


Glen Youngkin replied to what Terry McAuliffe said there on Twitter saying, "This morning Terry McAuliffe claimed the 2018 election in Georgia was stolen from Stacey Abrams, "They took the votes away," he said, one day after saying this kind of talk is "running down our democracy." What do you make of it all?

KENNEDY: So, I think it is a clever bait and switch by Mr. Youngkin in Virginia. Look, you got a candidate there that is taking advantage of what normally happens after a party sweeps control of Congress, which is some headwinds. That, again, that's normal.

Trying to capture the frustration and the passion of Trump supporters to then turn that back around off of an election where we did see a consistent effort from Republicans for not just across Georgia but across much of the south and, of course, now coming to a crescendo with voter restrictions being put in place in states across the entire country systematically off of concerns of voter fraud that did not happen.

SO, it's a great deflection by Mr. Youngkin to try to put this back on Governor McAuliffe, but the bottom line here is, I think Mia is right. This is going to be decided by the circumstances in the state and, Jake, I just got to say. I hope folks are understanding the cynical view that I think the Youngkin campaign is running here.

By running against mask mandates in schools that parents don't necessarily love, but keeping a delta variant rampant throughout communities that is then forcing government to step back in and take greater -- put on greater controls to try to keep people healthy that then Republicans are running against.

So, by running against these controls you feed a populism against government that keeps people sick that forces government to have to take a more aggressive position. And it is deeply cynical. It might be effective, but, man, that says something pretty dark about the tone of our partisan politics.

TAPPER: All right, Congressman Joe Kennedy, Congresswoman Mia Love, as always, great to see both of you. Thanks so much for joining us.

KENNEDY: Thanks, Jake.

LOVE: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Sudan's military has seized power in a coup and arrested the country's prime minister. The details, next.



TAPPER: In our world lead now today, the -- warning Americans in that country to, quote, shelter in place after a military coup in Sudan armed forces have taken over power, arresting the Prime Minister, detaining top Cabinet members and other government officials. Their whereabouts at this hour are unknown. On top of this, Sudan's internet is down. Phone calls are not connecting and we are learning at least two people, if not more, were killed in protests against this military takeover

CNN's Nima Elbagir has more now on this deadly power struggle.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sudan, once again, forced to a crossroads one month after a failed coup attempt. The military arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Monday, along with other civilian members of the transitional government, bearing all the hallmarks of military takeover, a coup.

Since the toppling of long serving ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019, military and civilian groups have been sharing power in the northeast African nation, intending to lead eventually to -- 2023. The transition has seen Sudan emerge from international isolation under Bashir's nearly three-decade rule. That democratic experiment now hangs in the balance.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): Via televised address, the head of Sudan's Armed Forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who is also the head of the Transitional Sovereign Council, announced that the military has dissolved the government and declared a state of emergency.

AL-BURHAN (through translation): The stress here that the Armed Forces intend to complete the democratic transition until the country's leadership is handed over to an elected civilian government.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Prime Minister Hamdok's home appeared to be surrounded by Armed Forces on Monday. According to the information ministry, apparently still loyal to the country's erstwhile civilian rulers, Hamdok was told to release a statement in support of the takeover, but instead called on the people to take to the streets in protest.

Tens of thousands demonstrated in Khartoum, burning tires and barricading roads. One eyewitness told CNN three key bridges had been blocked by protesters in the Capitol. And the crowd could be heard chanting, "The people are stronger and going back is impossible."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): What the military is doing is a big betrayal to all the citizens on all levels. Now it is important that every individual, Sudanese citizen acts and takes to the streets to not let any armed vehicle move.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Military forces stormed Sudan's state broadcaster in the city of Omdurman and detained staff, according to the information ministry, which also said live bullets were fired at protesters outside Sudan's army general command. The Sudanese Professionals Association, in part responsible for the 2019 uprising, issued a call to action, saying, quote, "We urge the masses to go out on the streets and occupy them. Close all roads with barricades, stage a general labor strike, and not to cooperate with the putschists and use civil disobedience to confront them."

Flights from Khartoum International Airport have been suspended and the internet and the mobile phone network have been severely disrupted. Sudan has been in the midst of a deep economic crisis, marked by record high inflation and shortages of basic goods.


The United States embassy in Khartoum issued a statement saying it was gravely concerned saying, quote, "We call on all actors who are disrupting Sudan's transition to stand down, and allow the civilian- led transitional government to continue its important work to achieve the goals of the revolution."


ELBAGIR: In 2019, we were able to embed with the revolutionaries, with the people on the streets of Sudan, and we saw firsthand the violence, the the viciousness with which Sudanese military dealt with those calling for democracy and there is real fear, Jake, that that can happen once again. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Nima Elbagir, thank you so much for that report. Appreciate it.

It's a treatment that could save lives. But a CNN investigation found doctors across the country are often unaware of one powerful early treatment for COVID-19. We'll tell you what it is next.



TAPPER: In our health lead, why aren't more doctors recommending a lifesaving treatment to their patients ill with COVID? A CNN investigation found that monoclonal antibodies, which dramatically lower the risk of hospitalization and death, if taken early enough, are often out of reach for the people who need it most.

CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now. And Elizabeth, even if patients become their own advocate and find out about this drug, how easy is it for them to get it before it's too late?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, it can be very difficult. And to illustrate this, I want to introduce you to a woman named Mayra Arana. Mayra is in California. She's a wife. She's a mother, and she's leukemia survivor. She's still recovering from leukemia and treatment for leukemia.

She came down with COVID last month. She called her family doctor and the doctor said, go home, rest, take care of yourself, there's really nothing we can do. Well, that just wasn't true. Mayra happen to also call her oncologist who said, wait a minute, we can get you antibodies. She did. She got much better, and she is doing fine now. Well that's just one story. But there are large scale clinical trials that show that antibodies really do work, they dramatically reduce the chance that someone will end up in the hospital or will end up dying.

So let's take a look at who monoclonal antibodies are for. They're for people like Mayra. They're for people who are ill in the first 10 days of their illness no more than 10 days. Because these antibodies won't work, past that, it has to be early. They can also be used to prevent infection after exposure. In other words, you've been exposed, you're not sure if you're infected or not, the antibodies can work in that situation.

Also Regeneron, who's one of the main producers of this drug, they have a program for immune compromised people who the vaccine did not work terribly well for them. And so they can take this sort of in place of a vaccine. It's not as good as a vaccine, but if the vaccine didn't work for them, this is something that they can try instead. So a lot of doctors, we found in our investigation, did not even know about antibodies, they didn't recommend them to their patients even when they qualified for them.

And then once patients do somehow manage to find out about them, many hospitals are only doing a handful of treatments. We talked to one major medical center that's treating two people per day with antibodies, even at the height of the Delta surge, they were only treating two patients a day. Whereas other hospitals say, look, we know that this can be tough. It has to be given by an intravenous drip or by shots.

There's a nursing shortage, but these hospitals have made it their goal. We're going to offer monoclonal antibodies and they do manage to do it large scale. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much.

Let's bring in Dr. Paul Offit, he's the director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital Philadelphia. He's also a member of the FDA Vaccines Advisory Committee. Dr. Offit, as a physician, what is the biggest barrier to doctors recommending these lifesaving antibodies?

DR. PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE: I think two things. I think it's its infrastructure and also knowledge that monoclonal antibodies work if given early in infection. When viral replication is at its peak, it doesn't work later in infection by the time that you're in the hospital and you have symptoms, it's really too late. So, a severe symptoms.

So it's just not a good infrastructure for that, you know, giving an intravenous drug really outside the hospital. We're very good at giving drugs inside the hospital, outside, it's much tougher. And I think and it's also lack of knowledge. I don't think people realize just how well these monoclonal antibodies work in those groups at high risk, as Elizabeth said, in preventing serious and occasionally fatal illness.

TAPPER: Well, we still seeing about 1,600 deaths a day in the United States. Should the Biden administration be pushing this more? Should hospitals be requesting more vials of this lifesaving medicine?

OFFIT: I think they're trying. I mean, Dr. Fauci has stepped forward and talked about, specifically over the last couple days, about the importance of monoclonal antibodies. Well in our hospital, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, for those over 12, we do have an infrastructure in place to give monoclonal antibodies for children who are at high risk of serious disease. And then there are some places, you know, like the actual clinic or the Mayo Clinic that have those infrastructures in place. But I think it's just -- it's evolving. It really isn't there yet.

TAPPER: Take a listen to Dr. Fauci on Sunday.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: So if all goes well, and we get the regulatory approval, and the recommendation for the CDC, it's entirely possible, if not very likely, that vaccines will be available for children from five to 11 within the first week or two of November.


TAPPER: So that's Fauci talking about vaccines for kids five to 11. Some parents might be a little disappointed by this considering we have heard that these vaccines could be available by Halloween. This is, of course, after that still better late than never, even though they're not guarantees. Should Dr. Fauci stop making these predictions like you'll have this before Halloween or whatever because it's so imprecise?


OFFIT: Well we'll see how this plays out. I mean, the FDA Vaccines Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow. We'll have a day long discussion, then it'll take probably a couple days for the FDA to accept or not accept our advices. And then it goes to the CDC, which is the recommending body on November 2nd and 3rd, so pretty close.

I think he was -- if this all works out that that it is recommended, he was pretty close. But again, I would just caution that we need to see how tomorrow's FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee meeting plays out.

TAPPER: Moderna just released its own data on kids six to 11, saying that their dose produced a, quote, robust immune response. The data, we should note, has not been peer reviewed yet. But but how promising do you find this initial information?

OFFIT: You know, I'm where you are on this. We're in sort of an age of science by press release. I'm just looking at the top line data like you what I'd love to see and I will -- we will see that the FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee, you know, we'll get the -- from the sponsor, from the company as well as the document from the FDA, all the data. So right now, they need to look behind the curtain to see just how solid those data are.

TAPPER: A study published today in the Journal Nature shows that COVID was spreading across Europe and the U.S. by January 2020, before a lot of people were even aware this was a real threat outside of China. Does that surprise you?

OFFIT: No, I think when we were first seeing those cases, you could assume it was the tip of the iceberg because as we now know, probably at least 50 percent of the transmissions are from asymptomatic people. So you knew you were looking at the tip of the iceberg with symptomatic people. It does surprise me now.

TAPPER: So we need to, as a world and as a country, prepare for the next pandemic. It seems likely that there will be another one at some point. What can we learn from this to make sure that the next time a highly transmissible virus is spreading around the world, it doesn't go so undetected for so long?

OFFIT: Well, you're certainly right. I mean, we've had three pandemic potential viruses over the last 20 years. This one was obviously the worst, but I, hopefully, will learn from this. I mean, there certainly is -- has been already much in the way of deconstructing all the mistakes that we've made so far in this country. I mean, we have roughly 4 percent of the world's population and 20 percent of the world's deaths. We've done a lot of things wrong here.

And frankly, the world has done a lot of things wrong. The most important thing I think is that the minute that that virus raised its head in China, and you knew that it was killing people, we shouldn't have had to depended on a whistleblower in China to tell us what was going on. You need an international surveillance system that lets you know the minute these viruses pop up so we can prepare all the things that we need to prepare for to stop this.

TAPPER: Dr. Paul Offit, thank you so much. Good to see you again.

From a so-called bomb cyclone to a nor'easter, tens of millions of Americans are threatened by severe weather this week across the country. That's next.



TAPPER: In our national lead, a triple play of extreme weather wreaking havoc across the United States right now. Parts of California reeling from a bomb cyclone which brought heavy flooding, devastating landslides and forced at least one county to issue an evacuation order. Tornadoes ripped through the Midwest causing significant damage in parts of Missouri, as officials warn of new twist or outbreaks this evening in the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic region.

Tom Sater is in the CNN Weather Center tracking all this for us. And Tom, we're coming off a record breaking weekend in California as the East Coast braces were for what could you say is could be very powerful nor'easter as early as tomorrow. Tell us about that.

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that's right, Jake. For the last week, we've been watching the forecast where a series of three potent areas of low pressure are riding in and slamming into the Western U.S. This is the atmospheric river. It's really pretty much just a funneling of the high moisture content. Sometimes when it originates near Hawaii, we call it a Pineapple Express.

But when it comes to what a bomb cyclone is, we see this with hurricanes. When the pressure drops, the storm gets stronger. When it drops 24 millibars in 24 hours, it's bombing out. We just had a record here. The lowest pressure ever recorded in an area of low pressure, a storm that moved off the coast of Washington.

We're going to have a now another bomb on the East Coast, and that's in the form of a nor'easter. The last system that moves through the Midwest spawning 13 tornadoes, Chester, Illinois Fredericktown, Missouri, that was an EF three, that's pretty strong for the month of October. Now the threat moves into the mid-Atlantic from North Carolina up to Washington, D.C., including the tidal Potomac, damaging winds along with the possibility of isolated tornadoes.

Radar shows that storm system moving into Northern Kentucky. But overnight tonight and really into tomorrow, the area of low pressure transfers its energy offshore. So this nor'easter starts to develop. This too bonds out, hurricane force wind gusts areas of around New England, Boston, Cape Cod, Nantucket. We're going to see coastal erosion, heavy amounts of rain. We could see a rainfall rates at an inch an hour heavy for parts of around Philadelphia up to New York City.

So again, 4 to 6 inches, even some may be higher than that. State of Connecticut could see maybe 60,000, 80,000 power outages. 30 million Americans under flash flood watches.

So let's go to the west coast because a lot to talk about. We have been a significant drought here. Firefighters got help, the Dixie Fire, the second largest in California state history is now 100 percent contained after scorching nearly 1 million acres.

Sacramento had a record just broken yesterday. 212 consecutive days, Jake, without any measurable rain. Well what happened? They just set a 24-hour rainfall record. Look at this, just about 5.5 inches.

Just to the northwest, tells us under 10.5. That's 80 percent of the annual rainfall for this area of a blue Canyon. Orville dam was below 30 percent capacity like all the other reservoirs, it's now risen 17 feet. We need more.


Slow and steady wins the race we could do without the landslides, the debris flows. Of course, unfortunately, that will happen. But we've got another one on the way, heavy snowfall already approaching 30 inches up in areas of Donner Pass to Soda Springs.

This is what we've been waiting for. We can do without the headaches, but again another one on the way. Be careful in New England.

TAPPER: All right, Tom Sater, thanks so much for that update.

The same professor teaching biology may now also be serving students at the cafeteria. We'll explain why next.


TAPPER: In our money lead, good help is hard to find the saying goes and that is unless you already have it on hand, I suppose. Administrators at Michigan State University are asking professors and college staff to volunteer to help prepare food and clean tables in the campus cafeterias. The university already shutdown some of its dining halls at the start of the school year because the campus was 3,500 workers short of what it needs.

Some professors and students strongly objected to the invitation to help out citing the enormous workload teachers already have. But Michigan state officials say several faculty members have already answered to the Spartan (ph) call.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." See you tomorrow.