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Don Lemon Tonight

Mask Mandates Opposition In Schools And GOP Governors Politicizing It; Former U.S. Attorney Reveals Trump's Effort To Overturn The Election; FDA To Authorize Booster Shots In Two Days. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 11, 2021 - 22:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The news continues. I want to turn things over now to Don for "DON LEMON TONIGHT."

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us. This is DON LEMON TONIGHT and I've got to get right into this, okay, and I want you to really pay attention to this because it's -- you have to see what's happening around the country, chaos.

What is going on with a lot of Americans when it comes to wearing masks to stem the spread of COVID especially mask mandates for children who are heading back to school? It's turning so many people into angry lunatics, quite frankly.

Last night, the Williamson County school board voted to, in favor of having children in their elementary schools wear masks, okay. And after the meeting one man who spoke out in favor of the mandate was verbally assaulted in the parking lot.

Police officers had to make sure that he got to his car safely. I want you to take a look at the verbal abuse heaped on that man. Here it is.


UNKNOWNS: (Inaudible).

UNKNOWN: No more mask! No more --

UNKNOWN: Take that mask off.

UNKNOWN: No more mask! No more mask! No more mask!

UNKNOWN: God abusers! You are God abusers.

UNKNOWN: There's a place for you guys. There's a bad place in hell and everybody's taking notes, buddy. Keep that little smug.

UNKNOWN: Put it back on.

UNKNOWN: Put your mask on.

UNKNOWN: (Inaudible) UNKNOWN: We know who you are. We know who you are. No more masks!

UNKNOWN: Keep it calm. Keep it calm.

UNKNOWN: No more mask.

UNKNOWN: We're on these guys side.

UNKNOWN: No, no, they're not. You're not on our side.

UNKNOWN: The police are on our side. The police are on our side. Let's calm down. Calm down.

UNKNOWN: We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: You can leave freely, but we will find you and we know who you are. We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: You will never be allowed in public again. You will never be allowed. You're never going to be allowed in public again.

UNKNOWN: I know who you are. I know who you are. I know who you are. Let him out.

UNKNOWN: Stand back.


UNKNOWN: You better watch out. You better watch out.

UNKNOWN: Keep it calm. Keep it calm.

UNKNOWN: Everybody back up.


UNKNOWN: You guys back up, back up, back up.

UNKNOWN: I'm back, man. I'm on your side.

UNKNOWN: Everybody please, back up.

UNKNOWN: I'm a parent.


UNKNOWN: Everyone, peace. Peace.

UNKNOWN: We know who you are.



LEMON: What is happening to us? Parents? Is that the example you want to set for children whether you agree with mask mandates or not? I don't -- are people always like this? I don't -- my parents never acted like this. And none of the parents at my school growing up ever acted like that.

I don't know what's going on. It's horrifying. It's chilling. You can't watch it and not be embarrassed for those people and feel sorry for the man. It's just plain wrong that Americans are threatening another American who simply wants to protect children while they're in school.

He told us that a child in his kid's sixth grade class tested positive for COVID just today. And I get that no one wants to wear a mask, I get it. And I get a lot of parents don't want their kids to have to have to wear one while they're in school, okay.

But if it's going to protect children from getting infected, isn't that what matters most or what should matter most? Look at this map right here. Shouldn't we all -- aren't we all in this together? The numbers are getting worse. The map shows most of the country is red. Average number of daily cases across the country now at around 116,000.

In the past week, 94,000 children were diagnosed with COVID. And because of the surging delta variant, the CDC now projects the death toll in the U.S. from the virus could reach upwards of 660,000 by the first week in September. But one woman at the Tennessee school board meeting so angry about the mask mandate she is threatening to sue now.


UNKNOWN: Also, I'll see you all in court. My child will not be wearing mask.


LEMON: In the face of all this anger there are some brave people trying to get through with the facts.


Now, I just want you to hear what a respiratory therapist with two decades of experience who works with COVID cases and is also a parent told the Tennessee meeting.


CALITA PERKINS, ICU NURSE: You're looking at someone who's exhausted, frustrated and feeling helpless at this point. We know this delta variant affects the kids and it's at an all-time high. Some of these babies can't be vaccinated. Imagine what's going to happen in the next few weeks? Right now, over 120,000 Americans have been infected with COVID in one

day, kids included. Our local children's hospital is on the verge right now and we're just within our first week of school.

Yes, no more masks sounds good until it affects your family personally. It's our duty to protect our children and we don't have time to wait for others to get vaccinated. But what we can do right now is agree that masks will slow the spread.

It's our best defense we have to keep some type of normalcy within our community. So let's link arms, protect our children during these unprecedented times while we have the chance.


LEMON: Calita Perkins will be joining me shortly on this program along with a pediatrician who also spoke in favor of masks for kids at last night's meeting. Unfortunately, though, the issue of masks especially for school children is so politicized, as I've been talking about every night on this program, two Republican governors, Ron DeSantis in Florida, Greg Abbott in Texas standing out in front of everyone in making the issue all about politics, trying to advance their own political futures.

DeSantis and Abbott moving to punish local school district officials who are defying them and putting mask mandates in place. Today, it's even spilling into Arizona where GOP state lawmakers are calling on the Republican governor to withhold public funds from school systems that require masks for students and teachers.

But it's not only politicians politicizing COVID. A White House reporter for the Fox propaganda network trying to trip up the press secretary, Jen Psaki, today on the question of vaccine hesitancy, which at this point is vaccine refusal. Let's just make it plain. Vaccine refusal and trying to blame the president of the United States. Watch this.


PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: At the time when Donald Trump is out there saying we're going to have a vaccine in the next couple of weeks, next couple of months and Joe Biden is out on the campaign trail saying don't trust Donald Trump, did that create any kind of vaccine hesitancy?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Not that we've seen in the data. I would note at the time, just for context, the former president was also suggesting people inject versions of poison into their veins to cure COVID, so I think that's a relevant point.


LEMON: As if we could ever forget that crazy advice given by the one- term, twice impeached former occupant of the Oval Office.


you brought the light inside the body which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think he said you're going to test that, too. So it was interesting. And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning because you see it gets in the lungs.


LEMON: Remember that? How soon some people forget. Tonight, we're also learning more details about the extent of Trump's attempted coup. The former U.S. attorney in Atlanta Bjay Pak, saying that he abruptly quit during Trump's move to overturn the election results because he heard Trump was going to fire him anyway, that he apparently believed Pak was a so-called never Trumper.

A source saying that Pak told Senate investigators today that he left his job as Trump was pressuring the Justice Department to play a role in a scheme to claim massive fraud in the election results in Georgia. Quitting two days after this infamous phone call from Trump to Georgia's secretary of state Brad Raffensperger.


TRUMP: So, look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state.


LEMON: Again, how soon some might forget that. We know he didn't win Georgia and got no help in his fraudulent scheme from Brad Raffensperger. And the truth is coming out. The facts can be twisted but they can't be denied.

Opponents of mask mandates in one Tennessee school district showing their rage. Up next, two medical professionals who attended the school board meeting talk about their experience.


UNKNOWN: We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: You can leave freely, but we will find you can and we know who you are. We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: You will never be allowed in public again.



[22:10:00] LEMON: The science is crystal clear. Masks protect us from the deadly virus surging in this country. So, why are these face coverings the source of so much rage? Here's what happened at a school board meeting in Tennessee over a debate on whether children in elementary schools should have to wear masks.



UNKNOWNS: No more mask! No more masks! No more masks!


LEMON: The school board ultimately voted in favor of masks and things got even uglier so, joining me now, two parents who were at the meeting and were harassed for advocating for masks in the classroom. Dr. James Keffer, he's a pediatrician and Calita Perkins, she is a respiratory therapist. I'm so happy that you both are here. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for joining us.

It's a really important issue. I got -- my two great-nephews just went back to school today and I'm praying that they are going to be okay in the classrooms.


That's as close I get to having children at this point so, everyone is concerned about the little ones. So, Calita, things got very heated at that school board meeting and we heard you pleading to help keep children safe. What were you feeling as you spoke there and then saw all of this blow up?

PERKINS: I felt hurt. I felt disrespected. I felt disregarded. As a health care advocate for our community, it was a big blow. You know, I put 110 percent in into my community. We don't know who comes through these doors but we take care -- I personally try to take care of these patients like my own family members.

And they have -- last year they had the mask mandate and this year they have lifted it. And I just want to know that when I go into the hospital while I'm taking care of the community, I want someone to advocate and take care of my child.

And the vaccine is only available for 12 years and up. I have a 13- year-old. I have a 10-year-old. And I want to know that I can let my guard down when I come home, you know? So, I know that the numbers are proof. I know that masks help. They're not 100 percent. I know vaccines are not 100 percent but they help.

When this pandemic first started, what did we do? We trusted the mask, I mean, the medical experts, and they were able to help us get to the point of lifting the mask mandate. But when you lift the mask mandate and you have low vaccinations, what's happening now? The numbers are climbing back up. As of last week, our local children's hospitals was on the verge and

school had not even started yet. When I dropped my kids off, there was about 5 percent of students wearing masks. During this whole pandemic for the 19 months that we've been dealing with it in the hospital, in the ICU, we have never had the chance to not wear masks. We've never been able to lift our masks.

We have gotten used to seeing our coworkers from just this. We never stopped wearing the masks. And we have to be an advocate for our patients. We are fine. We never caught pneumonia. We never got any skin infections. And we wear our masks longer than anybody else. There for 13 hours a day. And the only time people let up is for lunchtime and --

LEMON: Yes. And that should be an example for the folks who are out there because parents do set the example for kids. If they tell the kids its okay to wear masks and they teach them that it's okay, the kids will be okay with it. If they say that they're bad --

PERKINS: They are resilient.

LEMON: Yes, exactly. Dr. Keefer, you also spoke in favor of wearing masks and you were heckled. I want to listen to this and then I'll talk to you.


JAMES KEFFER, PEDIATRICIAN/CONCERNED PARENT: What we've seen in the last year is some kids getting sick with COVID, most of them do really well, but some of those kids having long-term issues with their heart. What I've not seen is any kids coming in with my asthma is acting because of I have to wear a mask at school or I have a skin infection because I'm wearing a mask at school.

UNKNOWN: Please continue.

KEFFER: Thank you. We would love it if there was a way, another way out of this pandemic, but what we have right now is a way to vaccinate our students and our public. And we can wear masks until all that -- we can wear masks until all of that happens.


LEMON: I should say Dr. Keffer, pardon me. So doctor, you had really good information there. People just didn't want to hear that. Can you make any sense of that as a doctor who happens to be a parent?

KEFFER: You know, it's challenging, Don. I've been taking care of children for the last 20 weeks and it's hard for the lay public to really understand everything about different medical conditions in the same way you never want to ask me about your 401K because I just don't know anything about it.

But what I have seen over this last year is children go from not being able to wear a mask and keep going on, to them being able to keep a mask on, even children as young as two. So, 'm not surprised at it because I've seen disinformation, you know, all the way about vaccines to, you know, wearing helmets to car seats.

But I've not seen the amount of what seems to be just willful, you know -- willful, you know, disregard for people who really know just a whole lot, people who know a whole lot more than I do about how infectious disease spread.


And for 100 years we've been wearing masks to prevent a spread infecting our patients. If you ever have to have surgery, Don, somebody will wear a mask so that they don't infect you while you (inaudible) is opened up. If I'm never treated for cancer and my immune system is down because the chemotherapy, my health care team is going to wear a mask to help me not get sick.

This is not new information. I see about -- every month I see about 4 to 600 different individual patient visits. I've been doing that for the last 13 years of my practice here in the community in Nashville. And during this last year I have not seen children come in with I have an infection because of the face mask.

And, you know, the people who were there seem to be indicating that the masks were dirty and they're going to make you sick. Well, I can tell you when the children wear masks regularly, we do not see you because you're sick.

LEMON: Yes. You wouldn't say willful ignorance but I will say its willful ignorance. You said willful disregard, but same thing. They're being -- they're willfully being ignorant of this because they don't want to learn. They're defying what the science and what logic says.

Calita, look, I want to play again some of what we saw outside of that school board meeting as people were trying to leave. These anti- maskers harassing another person who spoke in favor of masks. Here it is.


UNKNOWN: Poor kids sucking that bacteria. How you like --

UNKNOWN: Put your mask on.

UNKNOWN: We know who you are. We know who you are. No more masks!

UNKNOWN: Keep it calm, keep it calm.

UNKNOWN: No more masks!

UNKNOWN: We're on these guys side. They are on our side.

UNKNOWN: No! No, they're not. They're not on our side.

UNKNOWN: No, no, the police are on our side. The police are on our side. Let's calm down, calm down.

UNKNOWN: We know who you are. UNKNOWN: We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: You can leave freely but we will find you and we know who you are.

UNKNOWN: You will never be allowed in public again!

UNKNOWN: We know who you are.

UNKNOWN: You will never be allowed in public again.

UNKNOWN: I know who you are. I know who you are. I know who you are. Let him out. Let's let him out.


LEMON: Wow. So, to hear people yell we know who you are, we will find you, I mean that's scary. Why are people so angry particularly these anti-maskers? What are they so mad about?

PERKINS: I think they're afraid of another shutdown. I think they have been so enclosed with not being normal that the potential of someone controlling their life, they are stressed out, you know, and they're lashing out.

And we are simply -- we don't want to wear the masks either. We are simply trying to be an advocate. We are seeing these COVID patients while they go to work and live their everyday lives. We are just trying to be an advocate for our community. That is it.

You know? We, right now as of today, we are opening up our fifth COVID unit as of a couple hours ago. I just got off from work today and we're starting to open up our fifth COVID unit. Our E.R. is full right now waiting for beds.

We are a high acuity of care hospital and a lot of community hospitals depend on us to take their most sickest patients. This virus does not have a respect of person. We know the delta variant is affecting the younger children as well as the younger generation. Ninety-eight percent of our patients right now are unvaccinated, 98 percent.


PERKINS: So, you know, when we were at the board meeting, the superintendent even said that the numbers were astonishing. And that was day three that -- the day on the board meeting, that was the third day of school, and the numbers had jumped from Friday to that Tuesday.

So, if we don't wear a mask right now what do you think is going to happen and then why should we have to wait until we have a shutdown?

LEMON: Well Calita -- PERKINS: I want to see football games and cheer leading and plays. I want to see that. I don't want to see the kids at home. The kids learn better at school. So, we cannot -- we can't do it by ourselves. We need the community to help us.

LEMON: Understood.

PERKINS: And if we don't do it together we won't get anywhere.

LEMON: Understood.

PERKINS: We'll be --

LEMON: I just want to put the numbers up because you talked about it. And Dr. Keffer, I'm going to ask you the question because according to the county school board superintendent, which Calita just mentioned, he said elementary level nurses reported 25 positive cases since Friday. He says an increase at the start of school compared to last year. So that's why the schools wanted a mandate. Do you feel like your kids are safe now with the way things are?


KEFFER: You know, I'm very fortunate, Don. My children are all over 12 so they've all been vaccinated. I informed my son who's starting his -- finishing up high school that even though he'd been vaccinated that I still want him to wear a mask while he was there because if he's one of those people who maybe didn't respond to the vaccine to develop immunity, I want him to be protected.

And if he's one of those people who's not feeling super sick but maybe is infected and could spread it, I don't want him to spread to someone else. Fortunately, he and his siblings have had jobs that they've had to wear a mask every day at work for 6 to 10 hours since March of 2020. So because we've coached them up, their work has coached them up, last year the school helped coached them up, it's not a big deal to them.

LEMON: Yes. Well, thank you, doctor. Calita, thank you. I really appreciate your passion, too, Calita, and you know, with children you can do a mask challenge, who's got the coolest mask, who's got the cutest mask, you know, make your own -- hand paint your mask, I mean all kinds of things to get them to appreciate wearing a mask instead of saying it's all bad and not even looking at the science, right?

KEFFER: Don, it's very much like when we had a child come in, he needs to have their ears (inaudible) and the parent is like this is going to hurt, that child is going to be scared. But when the parent is like hey find the potatoes in there, the child is like, oh, this is fun.

LEMON: Right. Yes.

KEFFER: We can coach our kids up.

LEMON: Well, there you go. Again, parents set the example. Just because you can have kids doesn't mean you should. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. See you both. Be safe.

PERKINS: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

PERKINS: Thank you.

KEFFER: Take care.

PERKINS: You too.

LEMON: He thought Trump was about to fire him so he quit. A former U.S. attorney testifying this all went down because he wouldn't lie about the election. Stay with us.



LEMON: So we're getting some new information tonight about just how far the former president was willing to go to overturn the election. A former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, BJay Pak telling Senate investigators he resigned in January because Trump was considering firing him.

According to "The New York Times" Trump wanted Pak out because he wouldn't push bogus claims of election fraud in Georgia. Joining me now, CNN political commentator Charlie Dent. He's a former Republican congressman and former deputy assistant attorney general Harry Litman. Good evening to both of you.

Harry, I'm going to start with you. So, U.S. Attorney Pak says that he quit because the former president was considering firing him for not getting behind these election fraud lies according to "The New York Times." It was suspicious at the time. Was that part of the attempted coup?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think so. I mean he was really focused on Georgia at the time that he, in just two days from there, will be calling Raffensperger and saying I just need those 1,100 votes. And he was totally apoplectic that his U.S. attorney wouldn't go along with the lie.

So, even though Donoghue at Justice knew it was a lie, they called Pak up and said the president is going to fire you. And Pak thought I'm going to resign with dignity, nobody will know about it then. But now that he's talking to the Judiciary Committee, they do know exactly why it happened.

Because the president was fixing to fire him, and why? Because he wouldn't support the lie of election fraud in Georgia, which he investigated and found no evidence of.

LEMON: Yes. We can hear you very well. We can't see you well so we're going to stick with it because what we need most is the information that you'll provide, Harry. You point out that a president can fire a U.S. attorney for any reason or no reason at all. But what about a refusal to lie about an election? This is for Harry.

LITMAN: Yes, so thanks for that. You know, I was a U.S. attorney and I got the sack eventually. And really, you know, he's not going to try to challenge it, but theoretically, Don, you couldn't fire him because you didn't like his race. And this are -- this is protected speech.

You say to him unless you -- because you won't lie about this I'm going to fire you, I think it's a technical constitutional violation. But it doesn't really matter. He resigned before it could happen and we know that he decided to just act with dignity rather than go along in any way. Nevertheless, what Trump was contemplating I think was probably unconstitutional.

LEMON: Charlie, if what Pak is telling this committee is true, do you think this is going to become part of the January 6th investigation?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I certainly hope it does because it really lays down the predicate of what happened. You know, before January 6th where the president insisted on pushing this false narrative.

And the fact that he would pressure and try to bully and intimidate Department of Justice officials, from Jeffrey Rosen down to Mr. Pak, to the secretary of the state of Georgia, to me it's simply so -- it's beyond stunning.

I keep coming back to the fact that if any other elected official had picked up the phone and had a conversation with Brad Raffensperger like the president did and it were publicly revealed, I would have to think that that elected official would be prosecuted by state officials and perhaps federal officials.

I mean, it is just so stunning to me that this could happen in America, that a president could use his office to try to really manipulate the Justice Department.


Thank goodness we have people like Mr. Pak and others who, you know, held their ground and did their duty and at these institutions, they prevailed.

LEMON: Charlie, I'm just wondering if any of this is going to make a difference with anything. The Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin wants to interview Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows. What do you think? Do you think it will happen?

DENT: Well, I think, you know, look, I know Mark Meadows. I served with him. But Mark Meadows has, he has to answer questions. You know, he was in the White House at the time. You know, based on a lot of reports, he seemed to be aiding and abetting Mr. Trump, former President Trump in his attempt to, you know, to try to -- try to change the election outcome.

So I think it is fair game that Mr. Meadows and others in that White House answer questions about their role leading up to insurrection day. And not only just -- not just what happened on that day, but what happened prior to election day, and this is one of those I think seminal moments that we need some answers, we need some clarity. The American public deserves to know.

LEMON: Charlie, thank you. Harry, thank you very much. We hope we can get you to a studio next time. We know you had some issues but you came through perfectly clear on your voice.

LITMAN: Very quick point though.


LITMAN: Can I make a very quick point to Charlie?

LEMON: Yes, sir.

LITMAN: The Fulton County D.A. may yet prosecute Trump. He's considering -- she is considering prosecuting Trump for the Raffensperger call so that might happen.

LEMON: Thank you very much. See, we got it loud and clear.

DENT: Understood.

LEMON: Thank you, Harry. Thank you, Charlie. I'll see you both soon.

So, do you need a third shot of the vaccine? Some Americans could benefit. The FDA is expected to make an announcement in the next 48 hours. More on that, next.



LEMON: CNN learning the FDA is expected to authorize COVID vaccine booster shots for some immunocompromised people within the next 48 hours. That as a new study suggests the delta variant is hurting vaccine efficacy here in the U.S. Although the vaccines still strongly protect people against severe disease, hospitalization and death.

Joining me now, Dr. Peter Hotez, a co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital for Vaccine Development. Good to see you, sir. Thank you very much. This pre-print study shows that vaccine efficacy is getting worse in July -- got worse in July. Moderna's efficacy by the end of July had fallen to 76 percent. Pfizer's dropped to 42 percent. When you see this study, tell me what you think what stands out to you?

PETER HOTEZ, CO-DIRECTOR, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT: Well, the most important piece to this, Don, is the fact that has -- that still the protection against hospitalizations and deaths is still there. So, that's the single most important component and the one to keep in mind.

If you actually look at the data, there's a bit of a drop off in the last month with the Pfizer vaccine, but it's hard to know how statistically relevant that's going to be. What worries me is the fact that in Israel and elsewhere, we're seeing similar things so it's not just the study.

So I think what we're starting to see now is decline in preventing asymptomatic transmission. And we have three or four studies showing it's going down to 40 to 50 percent, and that's concerning. The good news is if you got the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine like I did, I feel comfortable and I'm not going to go to the hospital or the intensive care unit.

But the question is going to be, what's the trigger from the USFDA and CDC to say maybe we should think about a third immunization? Adding to the confusions is the fact that we don't really know if this is waning immunity, declining immunity or if it's something unique to the delta variant because the two things are happening at once.

And then finally there's a lot of data that's out there that's not publicly available. So, I'm pretty confident at all these discussions are going on between the companies and the FDA and CDC.

So we'll see if tomorrow when they announce the third immunization for immunocompromised individuals and we'll see what should mean compromised conditions they're looking at beyond solid organ transplant recipients, whether they'll give us a hint of what's going on with non-immunocompromised individuals and whether they're looking at certain age groups, et cetera, to decide to give that third immunization.

LEMON: Well, you mentioned the immunocompromised group. I want to play this because a booster announcement for some immunocompromised people is a really big development. But I want you to listen to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy what he told CNN tonight. Here it is.


VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: While we think based on, you know, looking at the trends and the data that it is likely that boosters will be needed for a broader set of the population. What we are trying to figure out right now is the right timing for when to initiate those additional doses and also who those doses should be available to, based on where the need is greatest.


LEMON: So, as you've been saying, you say that there's a high likelihood a booster will be necessary for everyone regardless of health. When do you see that happening?

HOTEZ: Well, we've been talking about this for almost a whole year now, and that's to build in greater resilience to all of the variants that are coming in from abroad because we've done a terrible job vaccinating Africa, Asia and Latin America.

But, so, I have been anticipating a booster, a third immunization for quite some time. What caught us off-guard a little bit is when the Pfizer CEO put out the press release saying we need to do it now for delta and not really providing any of the supporting information. So I think what Dr. Murthy is saying is we're going to take this in

stages. We're going to start out looking at the ones that are most obvious need of a third immunization. People on immunosuppressive therapy especially solid organ transplants.


That'll be announced probably in the next day or so, maybe tomorrow. Then we may see just like their doing in Israel now, a third immunization for older individuals. In the case of Israel, they're doing over the age of 60. We'll see if we get any indication from Vivek, from Dr. Dr. Murthy or the others that we may need to go to that age group next.

It's unclear how much information they're going to provide tomorrow, though, in terms of when we think we might need this for the general population.

LEMON: Let's talk about children under 12. The surgeon general says that a vaccine for kids under 12 could be ready before the end of 2021. How does that change the dynamic of this pandemic? And how fast can we get enough kids vaccinated?

HOTEZ: Well, the reason we need it is really exemplified by what's going on now. We've got this fire storm raging across the south. We are seeing lots and lots of young people including adolescents and kids going into hospitals including children's hospitals, even pediatric ICU's.

And unfortunately, one of the reasons for that is the low vaccine uptake especially among young people. So, having that option to vaccinate younger school aged kids between 5 and 11 would be really great for a lot of parents who really want that comfort level.

You know, the truth is, if we had done in the south what's going on in Vermont right now where all the adults are vaccinated, all the adolescents are vaccinated, 12 to 17, we would not feel this urgency, but we've got a train wreck going on in the south where nobody is vaccinated and schools are about to open so --

LEMON: Some of them are open.

HOTEZ: -- everything you're hearing, Don, about hospitalizations, that's the warm up act.


HOTEZ: I mean, this is what I'm worried about.

LEMON: Well, I want to get to this next question in before we -- before I lose you here because you told me months ago that we would see a red state, blue state divide over COVID. You were just talking about it. Sure enough that's what's happening especially in Florida and Texas where the GOP governors are going against experts.

So Florida has about 6.5 percent of the U.S. population, but about 20 percent of the hospitalizations and cases. You know, as I was talking to you in the commercial break about how, you know, coming up for the fall and winter, are we going to see that is -- is it going to get worse? How much worse is this going to get, doctor?

HOTEZ: Well, that's the big unknown, right? I mean, we know when the schools are -- I'm not even thinking about the fall at this point, Don. Remember last fall we started to see the surge up in the mountain west states and then in the upper Midwest. So, we're going to likely see that again in the mountain west states where vaccination rates are also low.

But for now, it's a matter of getting through the next few weeks as schools open. You know, everybody stamped their feet and said we have to do in-person classes and I get that. I mean, I'm a parent of four adult kids, but when the kids were little, my wife Anne and I were, you know, always wanted to see the kids in school.

But the problem is everybody stamped their feet and demanded in-person classes but nobody wanted to roll-up their sleeves and do the hard work and put the policies in place in southern states to make it happen. It meant mandating masks. It meant mandating vaccines for everybody 12 and up.

And nobody wanted to step forward and do the hard work. And now I worry when schools open with this raging epidemic, I mean this is a screaming high level of transmission among the highest we've ever seen. And you open up schools without masks, without vaccines and tell me what's going to go well here.

And so we're already seeing schools opening up and then a week later so many kids are becoming positive they're shutting it down. And I think there's a good possibility we're going to see a lot of that happening in the south in the next few weeks when schools open early.

LEMON: Oh, boy. Thank you, doctor. I appreciate it.

HOTEZ: Thank you.

LEMON: Heroes protected the capitol during the January 6th attack as insurrectionists called them, take this, traitors. New video of the insurrection right after this.



LEMON: So take this. New video released by the Justice Department shows officers protecting the capitol and being called traitors by one of the rioters. The officer's body cam footage just another look at the brutal conditions police were up against that day. Watch this.


UNKNOWN: How dare you! How dare you! How dare you! You traitor! (BLEEP).


UNKNOWN: Let's get up here.

UNKNOWN: How dare you! How dare you, Traitors! How dare you, Traitors!


LEMON: While it is unclear who was calling the police traitors, the video was released as evidence in the case against Robert Gieswein from Colorado. Gieswein has been indicated by -- indicted, excuse me -- by a grand jury in D.C. on six counts including using an irritant spray and a baseball bat against U.S. capitol police.

I thought they said that they weren't armed. Some Republicans have tried to rewrite the history of that day as some sort of tourist visit or a day filled with hugging and kissing and once again the evidence of that of what actually happened proves that it was totally not the case.

Up next, a former U.S. attorney says he quit before Trump could fire him and it's all because he wouldn't perpetrate the big lie. Stay with us.



LEMON: Damning new information from a former top U.S. prosecutor who says he quit because Trump was going to fire him. "The New York Times" reporting a former president wanted him out because he wouldn't back the big lie.

Plus, the FDA expected to authorize a vaccine booster shot for -- a vaccine booster shot for some people with compromised immune systems within the next 48 hours. It comes as a pandemic of the unvaccinated is pushing hospitals to their limit. Florida reporting all new -- a new all-time high for COVID hospitalizations, pushing past the peak record by New York, which was hit very hard at the start of this pandemic.

So joining me now, CNN White House correspondent John Harwood, senior political analyst Mr. John Avlon. Gentlemen, good evening. Thanks for joining.


LEMON: John Harwood, I'll start with you.


This new information about the former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, his name is BJay Pak, shows just how desperate trump was to overturn the election in his final days in office. What can you tell us about this testimony?