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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Chances Of Agreement Before Biden's Europe Trip Tomorrow Narrow; FDA Advisers Recommend Pfizer Vaccine For Kids 5 To 11; Jan. 6 Committee To Subpoena Lawyer Who Told Pence To Overturn Election; Trump Endorses Brazilian Leader Accused Of Mishandling COVID Pandemic; Nor'easter Drenches Northeast, Leaves More Than 600K Without Power; New Tech Recognizes Your Face To Cut Airport Wait Times. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired October 27, 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: So why even continue to set these deadlines if Congress is just going to blow through them every time?
THE LEAD starts right now.
President Biden about to leave for Europe apparently empty handed with no deal among Democrats to pass his agenda. We'll talk to one member of Congress who met with the president.
The Northeast hit by a bomb cyclone. Hundreds of thousands of Americans left without power and the damage is not over yet.
And no more fumbling with your phone or boarding pass or your ID. The new tech allowing passengers to just breeze through airport security in seconds, but might this be yet another example of handing over all your private information to the government?
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We start with the politics lead. In a matter of hours, President Biden is scheduled to leave for Europe.
Best case scenario for the president, he'll leave after securing the biggest legislative deal of his presidency and an agreement among all Democrats on the social safety necessary package that would give Biden legislative victories on much that he campaigned on, universal pre-K, expanded Medicare coverage, paid family leave, funding for affordable housing, major policies to help combat the crisis and more, not to mention the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Again, that's the best case scenario.
But as of this hour, it seems that Biden will be departing empty handed. His party deadlocked like a hung jury, unable to reach consensus.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond starts us off from the White House where the chances of a deal have changed by the hour.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the clock ticks down, Democrats still working to resolve major sticking points, including the top line spending number, an effort to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing. Medicare drug price negotiation, the details of the climate provisions in the bill, and exactly how to pay for everything.
Despite the mountain of unresolved issues, the White House remaining optimistic.
Is getting a deal by tomorrow is still realistic?
JEN PSAKI, WHBITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, what we're talking about here is the nitty-gritty details. That's always what the focus is on, at this point in the negotiations. But it's only 1:30. We've got some time.
DIAMOND: At the White House and on Capitol Hill, a full-court press still under way. President Biden sitting down with the two key holdouts, senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema at the White House on Tuesday, making clear he wants a deal now.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): The president has made that very clear. He wants to move forward. We owe it to the president to move forward.
He's working 24/7. I guarantee you. I've been with him most 24/7. He's working as hard as he possibly can to get a good, solid deal. And, you know, he believes 100 percent of nothing is nothing.
DIAMOND: Today, top White House officials keeping up the pressure, meeting with Manchin and Sinema for more than two hours on Capitol Hill. And the president could also head to Congress himself.
PSAKI: We haven't made a decision to do that and we're making decisions hour by hour on what would be most constructive to move things forward.
DIAMOND: Manchin still casting doubt on key provisions to pay for the bill like a tax on billionaires' assets.
MANCHIN: I don't like it. I don't like the connotation that we're targeting different people.
DIAMOND: There is progress on some issues. Senator Sinema and Manchin both rallying around an agreement on a 15 percent minimum corporate tax. The White House officials telling lawmakers that the climate provisions in the bill will total more than $500 billion, reassuring progressives. As for the rest, with or without a deal, Biden will board Air Force One tomorrow.
PSAKI: There's some flexibility in the morning but I would not suggest that he's going to delay his trip. He doesn't have the space to delay it much. (END VIDEOTAPE)
DIAMOND (on camera): And, Jake, beyond the question of whether there will be an agreement, once there is one, the White House had hoped they could see a vote on the infrastructure bill in the House very quickly. But progressives are digging in saying they want a vote on the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package the very same day. The question is, can President Biden move them? The House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer telling reporters on the Hill he believes the president can look them in the eye and get them to where they need to be -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jeremy Diamond at the White House, thanks.
Here to discuss, Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California. She's part of the group of Democrats who met with President Biden and White House officials this week.
So, Congresswoman, I hate to sound like one of my kids in the back seat of my car, but are you there yet?
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): We're always almost there yet. We don't operate unless there is a deadline, and so the fact that there are deadlines and the deadlines move shouldn't surprise anyone because that's the way Congress does business.
It's messy. It's like making sausage. But this is transformational change that is going to take place as a result of these two bills. So it should be something that we rejoice about when it's all signed, sealed and delivered, and it's going to be signed, sealed and delivered within the next couple of days.
TAPPER: Within the next couple of days.
Today, the Senate Finance Committee released a plan for the billionaires tax to help pay for the spending bill. This would apply to those with a billion dollars or more in assets, such as real estate or business interest or for those who make $100 million or more for three consecutive years. Now, according to the committee, this tax could apply to roughly 700 American taxpayers.
CNN's Manu Raju pressed Senator Manchin about this plan. Take a listen to what he heard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Are you supportive of the billionaires tax? Are you supporting the billionaires tax?
MANCHIN: I'm supporting basically that we do -- everyone should pay their fair share. And I just trying to think of it -- I don't like it. I don't like the connotation that we're targeting different people.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: So, what would your response to Senator Manchin be?
SPEIER: Well, I like what he says in terms of everyone should pay their fair share, but the truth of the matter is people like Elon Musk who was objecting to the billionaires tax just made $36 billion on his stock yesterday. So what we need to do is find a way to make sure that those who are the very, very rich, the 700 people, are paying something.
If what they can do is hold onto the stock and take a loan out against it and not pay the taxes on it, then they're not paying their fair share. And, you know, for those of us that pay 30 percent, 35 percent of our income to taxes, we're paying our fair share. We just want to make sure everyone else is, too.
TAPPER: Progressive Democrats started off with a wish list in the $6 trillion range. Now you're in the ballpark of, I don't know, somewhere around $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion. How will you convince your voters that they're not getting scraps, that Democrats did deliver on the promises you campaigned on?
SPEIER: You know, Jake, what's really important to appreciate here is that we have just -- if we had just done $500 billion on climate change, as the president was saying yesterday afternoon, if we had just done that, people would be ecstatic. But we're doing that plus we're doing another $350 billion in creating universal pre-K. Only 50 percent of our kids actually have pre-K in this country. In Germany, it's 90 percent. So that's huge.
Child care, 7 percent of your income going to child care as opposed to 30 percent, which it is in some of the areas and certainly in my area. Another big win.
So I think what we need to appreciate, regardless of what that final number is, this is massive transformational change for working families in America. The infrastructure bill is going to create 2 million jobs, and we want to make sure that the 1.6 million women who have left the workforce over the last two years because of COVID, because of the child care network that doesn't exist, that they can go back to work.
So both these bills represent a jobs package. And that's the way we're going to sell it to the American people.
TAPPER: Arguably since the summer we've heard Democrats are on the verge of a deal in a few days, maybe tomorrow.
I want to play what Republican Senator Mitt Romney said about this entire process. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I watch this going on and it's like the Seinfeld presidency. It's a presidency about nothing. I mean, what is this? What's going on here with this negotiation? We're trying to get a budget in place. We're trying to get defense
authorization in place, and they're fussing around in stuff where it's really hard to tell where they're trying to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Are you concerned at all there might be other independent voters out there? Well, he's not independent, but other moderate Republicans and independent voters out there, maybe moderate Democrats who may also see it that way?
SPEIER: The proof is in the pudding. It was really easy for then- President Trump to pass a $5 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest 0.5 percent because they didn't pay for it. We're trying to be responsible here and have a package that is paid for, so that we can look the American people in the eye and say, yeah, this is happening. You're going to get universal pre-K, but it's also paid for.
So that's the difference. And while I really respect Senator Romney, he just needs to look in the mirror and realize he was able to vote for a tax cut that was never paid for. And we're trying to do the more responsible thing.
TAPPER: Well, I'm sure Senator Romney would say, well, he has a rebuttal to that. But beyond that we don't have any time. But you say the proof is in the pudding. We're sitting here waiting to see the pudding as I'm sure you are even more so.
Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thanks so much for your time today.
SPEIER: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Kids as young as 5 could soon be eligible for a COVID vaccine. But does that mean parents, parents will be on board?
Plus, one world leader just had criminal charges recommended against him.
That's the same world leader that former President Trump just announced he is supporting.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our health lead, parents, start thinking about scheduling an appointment. Your young children could get vaccinated against COVID as soon as next week. This would be a giant leap towards containing the pandemic and protecting your kids and loved ones now that the FDA made a key vote in favor of the smaller Pfizer dose for kids ages 5 to 11.
But as Nick Watt reports, in order to slow down the deadliest pandemic in a century, parents are going to need to get on board. So, how many will?
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Around 28 million kids could become eligible for a vaccine as early as next week.
JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: States have now placed their initial orders of vaccine for kids.
WATT: FDA advisers voted 17-0 to recommend the Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 to 11. In trials, over 90 percent effective at preventing them getting sick.
DR. PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE: When we make these decisions it's all based on one thing. Would we give this vaccine to our children? I think no one would have said yes if they weren't willing to give it to their own children.
WATT: But only about one-third of parents plan to get their 5 to 11- year-olds vaccinated right away. So says one poll.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: There's urgency because we're seeing disease in children. We've seen death in children. Among all children ages 5 to 11, COVID-19 was one of the top ten causes of death in the United States over the last year.
WATT: Louisiana just lifted its mask mandate everywhere except schools, done its job apparently. Broward County, Florida, will, starting Monday, lift the mask mandate for high schools.
DR. ROSALIND OSGOOD, BROWARD COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, FLORIDA: We are strongly encouraging the use of masks but not making it mandatory.
WATT: Many other school districts across the country are considering something similar, but the CDC still says wear masks in school. And has no plans to change that.
WATT (on camera): Here in Los Angeles, the city council did just change the deadline for all city workers to be fully vaccinated. It was last week. It's now December 18th. Meantime officials in New York City are standing firm, 5:00 p.m. Friday, the deadline for New York city workers to have had at least one shot. Now, as of this morning, more than a quarter of the NYPD still hadn't gotten the shot.
The commissioner says that some vaccinated officers might have to work overtime or double shifts -- Jake.
TAPPER: A hard decision for people who are in the business of public safety.
Nick Watt, thanks so much.
Joining us now, Dr. Richina Bicette-McCain. She's an emergency medicine physician and medical director at the Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr. Bicette-McCain, thanks so much for joining us.
So, right now, kids 12 to 15 are getting the full adult 30 microgram Pfizer dose. For kids 5 to 11 it will be 10 micrograms. Can you explain why are the doses based on age not weight considering, you know, a 12-year-old could be smaller than an 11-year-old.
DR. RICHINA BICETTE-MCCAIN, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: So, what we do know is that Pfizer actually tested a few different doses before they settled on the 10 microgram dose used in the phase three trial. So what I conjecture is that the 10 microgram dose is what seemed to fare the best in that age group.
TAPPER: What would you advise parents do if their kid just turned 12, go with the 12 to 18?
BICETTE-MCCAIN: Yes, definitely go with the 12 to 18 full 30 microgram dose of the vaccine.
TAPPER: You heard in Nick's piece, several schools are considering pulling back on their mask mandates, but community transmission is still considered high in almost 80 percent of counties in the U.S. Does this worry you considering not all kids are going to be protected right away?
BICETTE-MCCAIN: It definitely worries me. I think we're jumping the gun a little bit. We saw this happen in June over the summer when we declared the pandemic to be over a bit too early. We decided that those who are vaccinated need not wear masks, which turned into everyone not wearing masks. And then subsequently, the spike and the delta wave followed.
It's not the time to start peeling back those layers of protection just because we have a vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds on the horizon. We do still need children to mask in order to stay as safe as possible.
TAPPER: Over 6 million children in the U.S. have gotten COVID, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Do those kids still need to get vaccinated considering they do already have some immunity already from having gotten the disease and their body building up antibodies?
BICETTE-MCCAIN: Absolutely. The recommendations for children will be the same as the recommendations for adults. Even if you already have had COVID, natural immunity is not enough to protect you from contracting an alternate strain of the virus. So, for people who have had COVID, we still recommend you get vaccinated.
TAPPER: As cases and hospitalizations start trending down, are you worried about the 22 percent of the eligible, yet unvaccinated population, do you think that they are a lost cause at this point?
BICETTE-MCCAIN: I don't think that anyone is a lost cause. I do think, though, that there has been so much misinformation that at this point, it's kind of difficult for people to determine what's fact and what's fiction. All we can do in the medical community is continue to push the data, continue to push the science, continue to talk about facts and hope that those who are hesitant will listen.
TAPPER: The CDC says immunocompromised adults might need another booster down the line, theoretically a fourth shot, just for people with a compromised immune system. Do you foresee that the COVID vaccine booster could become an annual shot much like the flu shot even though I know they're different?
BICETTE-MCCAIN: It could become annual. It could become something that's biannual, actually.
A lot of vaccines work in that way. When you get the initial dose, it's sort of primes your immune system, almost as if you're painting a wall. You put the primer down so the color sticks and it pops a little more.
For those who are immunocompromised, while the rest of us may be starting at ground zero, they're starting at a negative ten because they don't have a functioning immune system to begin with, which is why it takes more doses in order for them to develop an adequate immune response.
TAPPER: So, as we mentioned, Pfizer is considering lowering the dosage of the vaccine for kids 12 to 15 in the future right now as you and I discussed. They're getting the full adult dose. Teens 12 to 15 are in the lowest vaccinated group when you break it down by age in terms of everyone eligible.
Do you think this inconsistent messaging is part of one of the problems that might be scaring some parents away? The fact that this is very much a work in progress?
BICETTE-MCCAIN: It's not inconsistent messaging. It's evolving messaging, Jake.
And while I do think that could potentially be scaring parents away, what I want people to understand is that we're not giving recommendations and then just changing our minds the next week or the next month. We're examining the data as it's presented and changing recommendations based on science.
It's the nature of science to evolve. For our recommendations, to stay the same from one week to the next in the face of new data would be misinformation.
TAPPER: All right. Dr. Bicette-McCain, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
BICETTE-MCCAIN: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: The committee investigating the insurrection on January 6th is now targeting a new Trump associate. The details, next.
TAPPER: In our politics lead, lawmakers investigating the deadly insurrection at the U.S. capitol have a new target. His name is John Eastman. You might remember him.
He's the conservative lawyer who worked at the Trump legal team and then tried to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence that he had the ability to overturn the election results, despite the fact his scheme was completely unconstitutional.
We are learning that the January 6th select committee plans to subpoena Eastman to learn more about that two-page memo he sent that he outlined for pence to subvert the Constitution.
CNN's Paula Reid has been following the story.
Paula, remind our audience where Eastman fits into all of these efforts.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Eastman is a conservative law professor who is working with Trump's legal team to try to convince former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election. Now, Eastman authored this two-page memo, which comes to be known as the Eastman memo, and many legal experts say it's just a completely nonsensical legal theory of how Republican officials could subvert the Constitution and try to overturn the election results.
Now this theory, if you will, was first presented to the vice president on January 4th in the Oval Office with Trump and Eastman and then on January 6th at a rally that preceded the Capitol insurrection, Eastman once again called out Pence. Investigators in the House Select Committee looking into the events of January 6th, they say they want to know more about the kind of pressure that Pence was facing from Eastman and others.
Interestingly, last night, we got a new video of Eastman talking about how he felt about Pence rejecting his big plan. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEMOCRATIC ACTIVIST: But, I mean, like, you know, just supporter to supporter, like, why do you think that Mike Pence didn't do it?
JOHN EASTMAN, TRUMP LAWYER: Well, because Mike Pence is an establishment guy at the end of the day. And all establishment Republicans in D.C. bought into this very myopic view that Trump was destroying the Republican Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP) REID: Now, that video was made by Democratic activist Laura Windsor. She posed as a supporter of Trump's and Eastman's to get him to talk. But it's significant because just last week, Eastman told "The National Review" that any plan to have pence overturn the election was, quote, crazy and not viable. You see there in that video, when he thinks he's talking to someone sympathetic, he has a completely different story.
Now, we've reached out to Mr. Eastman about the potential subpoena and video. He has not had any comment but a committee aid tells CNN he could avoid a subpoena if he wants to voluntarily cooperate with investigators.
TAPPER: So, we're also learning the committee investigating the insurrection has postponed a request for some records from the Trump White House. Why is that?
REID: That's right. The committee is adamant. They've postponed this request. They're not withdrawing it.
We don't know specifically what these documents are but it does appear that they're paring down the amount of stuff they're asking for because they are facing some potentially very lengthy litigation. We know the former President Trump has sued to try to block the House investigators from getting a lot of these documents and appears they want to narrow it down to what they really need but reserve the right to go back and ask for this stuff in the future.
TAPPER: Interesting. All right. Paula Reid, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Former President Trump just threw his support behind a world leader, a leader who just had criminal charges recommended against him.
Plus, law enforcement officials today revealing new details about the film shooting involving Alec Baldwin. They say no one, no one has been ruled out when it comes to potential charges.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our world lead now, a political endorsement for the man known as the Trump of the Tropics. In a written statement, former President Donald Trump is backing Jair Bolsonaro who is running for another term as president of Brazil.
Bolsonaro is a frequent target of human rights organizations who argue his policies have hurt Brazil's indigenous peoples and promoted destruction of the rain forest among other charges. And now, Bolsonaro faces possible legal charges of crimes against humanity for his disastrous mishandling of the COVID pandemic. Brazil, with more than 600,000 COVID deaths, trails only the U.S. in global coronavirus fatalities. CNN's Isa Soares takes a closer look now at Bolsonaro's fight for
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's being dubbed the Trump of the Tropics. And with less than a year until the Brazilian election, President Jair Bolsonaro is getting a re-election boost from the man himself.
In a statement, former U.S. President Donald Trump calls him a great president who will never let the people of his great country down.
Trump's show of support coming just hours after Brazilian Senate committee recommended that Bolsonaro face nine charges, including crimes against humanity for his mishandling of the pandemic which has claimed more than 600,000 lives. Only the United States has lost more lives.
The explosive report accuses Bolsonaro of intentionally allowing COVID-19 to spread throughout Brazil in an effort to reach herd immunity. It also claims he delays vaccine distribution in Brazil by ignoring at least 72 emails from Pfizer. Bolsonaro has dismissed the charged as politically motivated, blaming his opponents and leftist groups.
PRES. JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZIL (through translator): They label me as genocidal, a charlatan, document forger and exterminator. It's absurd what these guys have done.
SOARES: Throughout the pandemic, Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the severity of COVID-19 calling it just a little cold, and spreading misinformation about the virus. Just last week, he claimed on a Facebook live stream that COVID vaccines could cause AIDS.
Facebook finally removing the misleading video almost a week later. With growing anger on the streets and plummeting approval ratings, Bolsonaro has increasingly looked to the American right for inspiration.
DONALD TRUMP, JR., SON OF PRES. TRUMP: Do you go the path of socialism, or do you remain steadfast and strong for freedom?
SOARES: Just a few months ago, the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, an American import, joined in, hoping to revive Jair Bolsonaro's dwindling base, taking a page from the Trump playbook--
STEVE BANNON, TRUMP AIDE: Bolsonaro will win unless it's stolen, by, guess what, the machines.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The machines.
SOARES: Bolsonaro has been sowing doubt on the integrity of brazil's entire electronic voting system calling for printed ballots to supplement electronically cast votes.
BOLSONARO (through translator): You don't have proof that there is fraud, but there is also no proof that there isn't.
SOARES: As the calls for his impeachment grow louder and the threats of criminal prosecution loom large, Bolsonaro continues to fight for political survival. Echoing the words of his U.S. ally and role model Donald Trump and threatening not to hand over the presidency next year if there is suspicion of fraud.
BOLSONARO (through translator): I have three alternatives for my future, being arrested, killed or victory.
SOARES (on camera): Now, Jake, the report by the Brazilian Senate recommending those criminal charges against Jair Bolsonaro is expected to be handed over to the attorney general today. But many aren't sure anything will really come of it.
The attorney general, Jake, he was appointed by the president himself and is seen not only as an ally and a supporter of Bolsonaro. So, for those 600,000 families who lost a loved one to COVID-19, perhaps change may not come here with this report but perhaps it may come at the polls next year.
TAPPER: Isa Soares, thank you so much for that report.
Turning to our politics lead, and a brand new CNN special, CNN's Dana Bash travelled to three pivotal states in the United States to speak to lawmakers from both parties about how Trump's big lie about the election is affecting their preparations for upcoming elections, and undermining the competence of voters.
Dana joins me now.
And, Dana, one of the states that you visited is Texas where you pushed a Republican state lawmaker on some of the restrictive election changes they're making, despite no evidence, no evidence that Texas didn't have free and fair elections, ones that were quite successful for Republicans.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Really successful for Republicans in Texas. And one of the most remarkable takeaways, Jake, was that I did not speak with a single Republican in Texas or in Arizona or in Georgia who believed that the former president is telling the truth. They all said to me point blank, Joe Biden is the freely and fairly elected president. However, what they said was their constituents don't believe that and that is why they are feeling pressure to act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRAVIS CLARDY (R), TEXAS STATE HOUSE: We want to restore that confidence that we should all have in our elections. I don't think it was lost in Texas. I don't think it was in jeopardy of being lost in Texas.
BASH: Why do you have to restore confidence in an election that you're saying went well that you're saying was free and fair. The only reason you'd do that is because people are being gas lit.
CLARDY: I do have -- I think we do need to acknowledge in the political zeitgeist that exists right now, that is hanging over like a cloud.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: It's a pure theft.
BASH: A zeitgeist perpetuated by the former president and his allies.
TRUMP: We had a rigged election. We had a stolen election.
BEN GINSBERG, REPUBLICAN ELECTION LAWYER: The bigger picture is beyond Donald Trump. It is the changing demographics of the country.
MARC ELIAS, DEMOCRATIC ELECTION LAWYER: And the only topic they have left is to try to shrink the electorate and make it harder for black, brown and young voters to participate.
BASH: And there's no question in your mind that's what they're doing right now?
ELIAS: I don't think there's any question in their mind. They're not hiding the fact that this is what they're doing. They are pretty out in the open shouting it out loud.
BASH: Yeah, and the point that he just made is really critical because you said Texas went Republican. It did. Donald Trump won there. But he didn't win the big cities. And those are the places where the voter turnout was enormous, probably higher than ever. And those cities went for Joe Biden.
And that is why there is so much pressure and these Republican lawmakers there, even though, you know, they are hearing from their constituents, they also see an opening to change voting laws that maybe will keep them in power just a little bit longer, despite demographic changes that help the Democrats.
TAPPER: But don't they see that they are humoring Trump's lies, giving credibility to them, and that is doing lasting damage?
BASH: Privately, likely the answer is yes. But nobody would admit that anywhere close to the record. And that is because they are under such enormous pressure, Jake, by their -- again, by their constituents who believe these lies.
And over and over in various ways, they would say almost -- it doesn't matter what I think. It matters what our constituents think. And the pushback, of course, was, but you're a leader. You're supposed to say this is not true. What is true is that the election was free and fair.
And the answer was, we need to get back to election integrity. It's really remarkable. The same verbiage in every single place I went. They used the same term.
TAPPER: That's like saying we need to vote against NASA funding because my constituents think that the moon landing was faked.
BASH: Yeah, well, except for the difference is that the term election integrity has a lot of power. Not just with the Republican base, but even if you look at CNN's own polling, with the electorate that's broader than the base.
TAPPER: And what else can we expect to see tonight?
BASH: I think that it really does show that all of the discussion that you have on the show and elsewhere about the big lie, it isn't just a hangover from 2020. This is very much being used in an active way to change the laws in critical swing states that could change the elections in these swing states. Both in the midterms, a year from now, and ultimately in 2024, both in how voters have access to the ballot but also how the votes are counted and who is in charge.
TAPPER: Right. Voters are supposed to pick politicians. Politicians are not supposed to pick --
BASH: Nothing short of democracy in peril.
TAPPER: Yeah, absolutely. Dana Bash, thanks so much. Congratulations on the new special.
BASH: Thank you.
TAPPER: You can watch "Stop the Vote: The Big Lie's Assault on Democracy". That's tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
A big bomb cyclone unleashing extreme winds in the Northeast and it may not yet be over.
Plus, new tech that could change the way we all travel at the airport. We'll explain, next.
TAPPER: In our national lead, coastal areas of New England remain on alert after a powerful nor'easter bomb cyclone clobbered much of the region with hurricane-force winds. Gusts as high as 94 miles an hour tore through Massachusetts leading to fallen trees and power lines and leaving almost half a million residents without power. Heavy rain and wind are expected to slowly subside in parts of the Northeast as the storm moves farther offshore.
Tom Sater is in the CNN weather center tracking this for us.
And, Tom, who faces the greatest threat right now from this storm going forward?
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, I think, Jake, the winds will still be strong enough to keep power crews away from dealing with live wires. They're going to be cleaning up. There's a lot of damage.
But this storm system is slowly spinning off. Winds still Northeast. Hence the term nor'easter.
But I think a lot of people are shocked by how much damage actually we've seen. In fact, the amount of rainfall, the forecast was pretty good. I mean, over 4 inches central Manhattan. You get into areas around New Jersey toward Connecticut. You're getting 5 and 6 inches. But we did expect the wind gusts to become hurricane strength, and it really developed during the dark last night.
In fact, you see pretty much in Massachusetts, in around Cape Cod, over 80, 90 miles an hour. A lot of trees that are down, especially around Boston. I think those people are waking up to a big mess. It's going to take days, weeks in some cases.
The good news is, thank goodness the winds will be lightening up overnight and good thing this didn't occur two months from now because we'd be shoveling and really seeing a lot of snow plows on the road.
So, those that have lost power, at least they'll not wake up with frigid cold. They can make it through the next couple of days.
But now, the next system is on the way. Remember, we've been talking the last couple of days, series of three storms making their way from West Coast to East Coast. And each one has been producing tornadoes. A tornado watch, Louisiana, southeast, southern Mississippi, 10:00, Central Daylight Time. Even a warning right now, that's north of Baton Rouge.
Believe it or not, we've had eight tornadoes already today, East Texas and toward Louisiana, but many, many more warnings. And that's going to continue.
So, again, this third in a series of three gives us not only a threat now, the southeastern U.S., but it will continue to make its way into the Tennessee valley and then, Jake, you're in for more heavier rainfall as the storm by the end of the week continues to make its way back to the Northeast. So, those that have seen flooding and there were numerous water rescues.
This ground is still saturated. So, it looks like we're going to have another round of heavier rainfall moving into the area. But again, the good news is it's a snowless nor'easter. The series of three finally moving out of the area and winds will lighten up.
But, again, those, of course, it's a nuisance to lose power but give the crews time once these winds lighten up. They'll be able to get to work. Thank goodness this is getting over with. Next one, almost just couple more days. TAPPER: All right. Tom Sater, thank you so much.
In our tech lead, you might be your own ticket for the future of air travel. No paper or fumbling with your phone. Just your face. And a few questions about cybersecurity and privacy.
CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean got a look at the latest technology which is supposed to speed things up.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: For the first time, your next flight could be unlocked by facial recognition technology, starting at bag check, going through security and all the way to the gate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome to board.
MUNTEAN: The new partnership between Delta and the Transportation Security administration aims to save passengers time as people are flooding back to airports.
RANJAN GOSWAMI, DELTA AIR LINES: And really hopefully reduce stress and increase the speed at which people traverse through the airport.
MUNTEAN: Delta's Ranjan Goswami showed me how the system works at bag check. What typically takes two minutes and 30 seconds is now down to 30 seconds. He says the process of verifying your identity in the TSA checkpoint is now down to only six second.
GOSWAMI: I think the timing could not be more perfect in many ways because you're right, more and more regular travelers are coming back to travel.
MUNTEAN: The trial will start at Delta's busiest hub, at first for those in Delta's frequent flier program who also have TSA pre-check. Passport and visa photos in a federal database are compared with your live photo. The TSA insists that file is immediately destroyed, upping security from cyber threats and hacks.
JESSICA MAYLE, TSA SPOKESWOMAN: We've definitely taken privacy considerations into account the whole way. If somebody does not want to participate, they do not have to opt in and participate. They really have that choice if they want to have the experience.
MUNTEAN: American Airlines is also trying facial recognition at its DFW terminal lounges, but industry experts think using the technology from the moment you arrive at the airport could cut the time you spend waiting in half.
HENRY HARTEVELDT,L TRAVEL INDUSTRY EXPERT: If we see the TSA get that kind of an increase in productivity, long airport security lines could be a thing of the past.
MUNTEAN (on camera): The point is, Jake, this is just the start. Delta's also rolling out some of this technology in Detroit and it says more hubs will come online soon but this will face the real test here in Atlanta. Delta plans to serve about 2.5 million people during the Thanksgiving travel period here alone. More than 40 percent of all of its passengers airline-wide -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Pete Muntean, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
New details on the fatal shooting on set. We're now getting the account of the last person who touched that gun before handing it to Alec Baldwin.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, parents could soon be handed a miracle of modern science, a COVID vaccine for kids as young as 5. But will parents sign their kids up?
Plus, Democratic panic in Virginia. Will a Republican grab the governor's mansion in a state that President Biden won by ten points last year?
And leading this hour, officials in new Mexico this afternoon finally revealing details about the fatal shooting on the film set of the film "Rust" last week. Today, the Santa Fe sheriff saying it was a suspected live round that killed Halyna Hutchins. And when asked about potential charges for Alec Baldwin, the actor who fired the gun and is also a producer on the film, the Santa Fe district attorney said no one has been ruled out.
As CNN's Stephanie Elam reports for us now, newly released documents show the assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun told investigators he did not check all of the rounds loaded in the weapon before the deadly shooting.
SHERIFF ADAN MENDOZA, SANTA FE COUNTY: The facts are clear. A weapon was handed to Mr. Baldwin. The weapon is functional and fired a live round killing Ms. Hutchins and injuring Mr. Souza.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Authorities in New Mexico revealing the gun fired by Alec Baldwin and killing director of photography Halyna Hutchins on the set of "Rust" held a suspected live round.
MENDOZA: The actual projectile that was fired has been recovered from the shoulder of Mr. Souza. Until it's proven by the crime lab, it's a suspected live round that was fired.
ELAM: The sheriff suspecting some of the 500 rounds of ammunition recovered are live but only one of the recovered guns appears functional.
MENDOZA: The other weapon is a single action army .45 revolver. That one looks like some modification to the cylinder and may not be functioning but that will be determined by the crime lab. The other firearm is a plastic nonfunctioning revolver.