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Don Lemon Tonight
Ghislaine Maxwell Guilty Of Five Charges; CDC Guidance Confuses People; COVID Death Toll Could Rise Within A Month; Government Looking To Mandate Domestic Flights. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired December 29, 2021 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST (on camera): This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. I'm Laura Coates, in for Don Lemon.
A huge break in a New York City courtroom just tonight. A federal jury finding Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and longtime companion of multi-millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, now guilty of five federal charges, sexual trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and three related accounts of conspiracy.
She was found not guilty, however, of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. As the verdict was read, Ghislaine Maxwell showed no visible reaction, but she faces the possibility of now decades in prison.
Her attorneys say they've already started working on her appeal, this was a case that relied a lot in the testimony of four women who came forward to say what they described happened when they were underage girls.
The women alleged that they were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein, and they say Maxwell facilitated and sometimes participated in that abuse. Now Epstein died of suicide while behind bars, awaiting trial on federal charges accusing him of sexually abusing underage girls, and running a sex trafficking ring.
Tonight, Virginia Louise Giuffre, one of Epstein's most prominent accusers, though she didn't testify in Maxwell's trial, tweeted this. "I hope the today is not the end, rather another step in justice being served. Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be."
I want to bring in CNN reporter Sonia Moghe, who's been covering the Maxwell trial for us. Sonia, thank you for being here and your excellent coverage as well. What can you tell us about the count two where Maxwell was found not guilty?
SONIA MOGHE, CNN REPORTER: Yes. Laura, you know, we knew that the jurors were tripped up on something that they were discussing something behind the scenes, and of course, our only glimpse into what was going on behind the closed doors was, were the jury notes. So, they had asked a couple of questions related to that enticement
count. They asked for what the definition of enticement was, they asked for the transcript for Jane, who that charge was regarding. And they also asked for travel log. They asked for testimony from two of the former Epstein pilots to be sent back to them as well.
So, in all, they asked for more than a dozen transcripts of testimony, almost a third of the witnesses who testified in this trial. So, clearly, these jurors were taking their jobs very seriously, and they were going through everything they heard in that trial that started at the end of November all over again.
COATES: Now, I already mentioned that Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Are there any other Jeffrey Epstein accusers who are speaking out tonight?
MOGHE: Yes, in fact, one of them is a woman named Annie Farmer, she actually testified in the trial against Maxwell. Which is such a difficult thing to do. To go and face a person who you say abuse you.
I want to read you her statement in full, because it's so powerful. She says, quote, "I'm so relieved and grateful that the jury recognize the pattern of predatory behavior that Maxwell engaged in for years and found her guilty of these crimes. She has caused hurt to many more women than the few of us who had the chance to testify in the courtroom. I hope that this verdict brings solace to all who need it and demonstrates that no one is above the law. Even those with great power and privilege will be held accountable when they sexually abuse and exploit the young."
So, this verdict, just finally a step in the right direction for some of these victims of justice. Many of them felt just this devastating blow after Epstein died by suicide in 2019, just after he'd been arrested on sex trafficking charges.
COATES: Because of course they thought that that would mean that there would be no accountability, that it would end there. But the inquiry of course did not end there. What are you hearing from Maxwell's defense team at this time? Are they shocked by the verdict?
MOGHE: They said that they were disappointed, and as expected, they said they are working on an appeal right now. Maxwell's family said that they feel that Maxwell will be vindicated.
COATES: Sonia, thank you so much. I want to turn to criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson, and former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig. They're both CNN legal analysts.
I'm so glad you're both here, because you all know precisely what is at stake in these kind of charges in cases and now convictions.
Elie, take us through these charges. I mean, Maxwell was found guilty on all counts, except for count two, which is an enticing minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. Why was this the account that they acquitted on, do you think?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Laura, big picture first of all, what's clear is the jury did credit did believe these victims. Their testimonies, apparently was powerful and believable.
The enticement count was the one that ended up in the not guilty verdict, it could be that the jury just got caught up on what does that mean to entice. What the law says is basically to cause somebody to do something, to offer them some incentive, it could be financial, it could be other. Perhaps the jury concluded well, it was really Jeffrey Epstein who is doing the enticing, Ghislaine Maxwell was more of the transporter and the sort of accomplice.
Either way, though, I want to be clear, the fact that one count ended up with a not guilty verdict is going to have no impact on the bottom line sentence, Ghislaine Maxwell is looking at a very heavy sentence, and justifiably so given the evidence.
COATES: And of course, they did ask about that enticement definition, right, more than note for the actual judge. But this wasn't -- this was an issue in that respect.
But Joey, you know, look, you are a defense attorney, and a long line of defendants in the past few months, let alone year, you've seen that they have all testified in their own defense. They've chosen to do so. Ghislaine Maxwell, though, she chose not to testify, saying at one point that the prosecution has not met its burden, and therefore she was not, it was a needed for her to now testify.
Did she make the wrong call, even knowing, even knowing, Joey, it's her right not to do so? Was it the wrong decision looking back now?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Laura, that's a great point, good evening to you and Elie.
You know, it's always interesting in retrospect, when you assess and examine what could've been done differently, what went wrong. But I think at that point in time, when she decided not to testify and defiantly so as you indicated, right, not only when the judge asked her about her testifying, did she say no, your honor. She said no, they have not, that is the government proving her case beyond the reasonable doubt.
And so, I think at that point her defense team felt pretty confident. Remember what they were doing, the defense was relying upon an attack of the memories of these particular then girls, now women. In addition to attacking their motivations, which they did via cross-examination.
The defense been very confident that the attacks on those particular victims would bear fruit, particularly given that they were decades old allegations. And so, they made that is in defense, a calculated assessment not to put their client on the stand.
Last point, whenever you put a client on the stand, it becomes not about whether the government has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt, but can we believe the particular defendant. Were they credible? Did they answer question to anyone satisfaction? Remember, Laura, when you put someone on the stand, it's not only
about the narrative that she would've had to indicate to the jury that she was smitten by Epstein, she was just as well as, you know, really taken advantage of him, like everyone else was. But she'd be subject to cross-examination, and I think that would have been a lot to overcome.
So, the final announces I just don't know that that would have made the difference. At the end of the day, the government had the goods. I think the jury spoke to that today with that verdict.
COATES: And the jury, the jury did have, what, 16 notes overall, Elie, over the course of their actual deliberation. But you know, as Joey indicated, they really did try to poke holes in the defense at the credibility of delayed reporting.
I know, I've prosecuted these cases of people who had delayed reporting. There are number of reasons of course, why one would delay reporting. I think if it was a minor who is assaulted or abuse. But the jury did not buy that there was lack of credibility, or the memories were an issue. But also, they did not seem to buy this scapegoat defense, that I'm only here, as Ghislaine Maxwell, because Jeffrey Epstein is not.
They even reference the bible at one point saying, you know, since the beginning of times, since biblical times, Eve has been blamed for the apple given to Adam. They didn't buy any of that, Elie.
HONIG: Yes, Laura, this jury did I think what we want juries to do, they took their time, they were careful, they are meticulous. They went back to the evidence, they clearly went count by count, element by element. That's all we ask our juries to do. This is what we call an empty chair case, when you have the sort of looming presence over the whole trial.
Of course, here, that's Jeffrey Epstein who is not physically present. Now, the prosecution argued, and I think it was persuasive, essentially, she was his right-hand, none of this could've worked without Ghislaine Maxwell. She is an accomplice, she's an aider and abettor, she is liable.
I don't think Ghislaine Maxwell's defense of saying well, she was just a victim or she was sort of unwitting was remotely plausible. It was contradicted by the evidence. And Laura and Joey, you both know, juries are told, you can use common sense, folks. You can use the good every day judgment you use out there in the real world.
And I think it's just absolutely unbelievable and implausible that Ghislaine Maxwell herself was somehow a victim, or somehow didn't realize what's going on.
COATES: You know what's always -- I tell you about this case, I know for, myself, it has been the idea of when a woman is involved in facilitating the abuse of another woman, in particular, another, a young girl at that, and you have this depression in life. Right? You can imagine somebody who's a minor who is looking for refuge. Looking for somebody else the adult in the room, we talk about colloquially.
And that this person was complicit in the crime, especially in an era like we're living right now, the idea of the Me Too movement and beyond, thinking about a woman being held accountable has a different layer nuance that needs to be discussed more thoroughly.
And Joey, you know, one thing that Elie mentioned was the idea of that this person had a role in it, this person was grooming these young women. These young girls. I hate to use the word women at this point, they are now women, at that point they were girls.
She is facing up to 65 years in prison, right now. I mean, she's already 60 years old. If they were to follow the basic guidelines, could she be in jail for the rest of her life, or do you think there's a possibility that because of that tape I've read earlier of one of the other victims, are there others that she could possibly talk to, talk about with the prosecutors to try to be more lenient in her sentence, or is it a done deal for Ghislaine Maxwell?
JACKSON: Yes, Laura, those are great points, and so let's address them in term. Right? The first thing is, when you speak to the issue of her facilitating and aiding, and grooming, that goes to the egregiousness of the conduct. Right? And that's something that I think resonated very clearly with this jury.
We cannot allow you to enable, we cannot allow you to facilitate, we cannot allow you to set the conditions and standards under which this will happen because we'll hold you accountable. As to the issue of punishment, we all know that in the federal system, they have that grip. Right? You have the offense level, and then you have the criminal history level.
The offense level is going to be steep. What am I speaking about? Most people, Laura, Elie, we know this, when you look at crimes you look at the statutory maximum, right? What does the law allow at the end of the day for a particular defendant to get? But then what you do is the norm is what the guideline sentencing arrange what otherwise did take.
It's not going to be lost on the court that this offense is egregious, her offense level will be significant, and therefore she will get a number of years in jail. At the same time, litigation. Right? She doesn't have a criminal history, et cetera. So, I do think that would be an opportunity not for her to spend the rest of her life in jail, but at the end of the day that she will get significant and stiff time for these, you know, just egregious crimes.
COATES: But Elie, what about that point as well? The idea of, you know, we often think about people who are getting leniency from the government because they have cooperated in somebody else's prosecution, as an incentive to somebody who charge to the crime saying, look, I could throw the book at you, I could ask for the maximum penance allowable as Joey talked about and the guidelines, or scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. She's the number two, though, it seems at this point in time. And if
Epstein is number one, is there anyone who is higher, I mean, that the jury heard kind of this who's who list of people who were passengers on the plane. And the news you hear of people who are the who's who, rubbing elbows, the people who were associates of Jeffrey Epstein. I mean, are others likely to be implicated in some way that now that this conviction has taken place?
HONIG: Well, Laura, so as you say, whenever you're cooperating with someone as a prosecutor, you want to cooperate up. You want to cooperate with the person against the more powerful person here. Ghislaine Maxwell clearly was the number two. There is no number one. Jeffrey Epstein is gone. He was the number one.
The question was to whether Maxwell might want to cooperate. That's a two-way street. First of all, does Maxwell want to try to save herself. She may wait and see what the sentence is. But Joey is right, she is looking at a major hit here and it's going to keep her into jail for most of, or possibly all of the rest of her natural life.
On the flip side though, does the southern district want to cooperate her now? I looked at the southern district. When we cooperate with people, usually you want them early. It is rare, it's possible, but it's rare to cooperate with someone after they've gone through a jury trial after they have been convicted.
So, if I'm back in the SDNY I'm going to say, what can she give me, she better be able to deliver some very important cases against very important people, and she has to be ready to come clean about everything. Cooperation is all or nothing in the SDNY.
So, ultimately, I think it's unlikely that we see a cooperation match here, possible, but unlikely.
COATES: Final point, Joey, will the appeal that she has now said that she's going to file and already working on, they think it will ultimately be vindicated for her? What do you think? Do you think it will loom largely, is that going to loom largely, is that something that the prosecution feel -- should fear at all right now?
JACKSON: Yes. So, two quick points, and one involves Elie's former office the Southern District of New York. A few years ago, I had an experience where client was convicted of one particular count. And after that fact he said, listen, in the event that you want to stay out of jail, you can give us other people we are looking at and we will certainly make that recommendation.
And so, I don't think that, you know, this story may be over yet. The same deal maybe be given to Maxwell. Here's what I say that. I'll go back very briefly to the point I made when I said, hey, the judge said, do you want to testify? And she said they haven't proven that case beyond a reasonable doubt. Why am I saying that? She was all in. She didn't feel like she was guilty. She was fighting to the utmost.
[22:15:00] Now, circumstances have changed. And so, the government has an appetite to go after other people, she may be more willing to stay her piece. On the issue of the appeal, briefly, we all know that an appeal is not just, you don't like the verdict. An appeal is, what mistakes or errors did the judge made that would otherwise indicate that the jury heard evidence and information they should've had.
That gives you your basis of an appeal. I think that certainly every defense attorney makes a record with respect to judicial errors, they will take that, right, and they will appeal that, whether it bears fruit it's too early to tell at this particular time.
COATES: You have been hearing from the law firm of Coates, Honig, and Jackson in alphabetical order, everyone. I appreciate talking to all of you. See it happen to come first.
HONIG: I'm in, guys. I'm in. Let's do this.
COATES: It happen to come first. Sorry. Nothing personal, just telling you about that. Gentlemen, thank you so much.
JACKSON: You deserve it.
COATES: They're going to give me a hard time after the show about that go, really, Coates? Your name just came first? Are you serious right now? Anyways, nice talking to you, fellas. I appreciate it.
JACKSON: I appreciate it.
COATES: So much more to get to today, of course, and a record number of COVID cases in the country. For now, the second day in a row. And critics are arguing the CDC's latest guidance could make things worse. Stay with us.
COATES (on camera): The CDC predicts more than 44,000 COVID deaths over the next few weeks. As the U.S. reports another record high day of cases. This coming as the Biden administration's top doctors are on the defensive about the CDC cutting the recommended isolation time in half for some people who catch COVID.
CNN's Alexandra Field has the latest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: This was the moment that we needed to take that decision.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Facing the biggest COVID surge we've ever seen, the CDC director defending the decision to cut isolation time in half for infected people who are asymptomatic, or who's symptoms are getting better.
WALENSKY: It really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate, if we can get them to isolate, we do want to make sure that they're isolating in those first five days when they're maximally infectious.
FIELD: The CDC arguing that 85 to 90 percent of transmission occurs in the first five days of symptom onset. Still, the new guidance is drawing fierce debate among health experts.
ERIN BROMAGE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH: There is absolutely no data that I'm aware about with the Omicron variant that supports people coming out of isolation five days after they were first diagnosed with the virus.
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You either shut down the society, which no one wants to do, or try to get a situation where you can safely get people back, particularly to critical jobs, without having them be out for a full 10 days.
FIELD: Long testing lines are still sneaking across the country. New cases are skyrocketing to numbers never seen before. Deaths and hospitalizations, key indicators at this moment, are also climbing but not as quickly.
CHRIS PERNELL, FELLOW, AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE: Are we seeing lower hospitalization rates because Omicron is less virulent or are we seeing lower hospitalization rates because we do have a considerable amount of the population that is vaccinated?
FIELD: Booster shots for younger teens may now be just weeks away says the CDC, while younger children remain the least vaccinated age group in the country.
LARRY KOCIOLEK, ATTENDING PHYSICIAN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST, LURIE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL CHICAGO: The vast majority of children that are infected with COVID get a mild infection. But you do have to be aware that that does put your child at risk for hospitalization, and it puts your child at risk for transmitting to other people in their classroom.
FIELD: Washington, D.C. schools now requiring a negative test for teachers and students to come back to class. With the peak of the surge likely still ahead of us, Dr. Fauci again warning people to take precautions ahead of another New Year.
FAUCI: If your plans are to go to a 40-to-50-person New Year's Eve party with, all the bells and whistles, and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a happy New Year, I would strongly recommend that this year we do not do that.
FIELD: Alexandra Field, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COATES (on camera): I want to turn now to Michael Osterholm, he's the director of the Center for infectious Disease, Research, and Policy. He's also the author of the book "Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs."
Dr. Osterholm, thank you for being here tonight.
MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICIES: Thank you.
COATES: I want to ask you, right where Dr. Fauci left off there. I mean, you hear Dr. Fauci saying that large-scale New Year's Eve parties are a no-no. What do you say to people who are feeling crashed by this pandemic, who are trying to do all the right things? They're vaccinated, they're boosted, they're wearing their mask, the social distances. But they don't have the reward of really, normalcy, even for New Year's Eve. What is your comment to them tonight?
OSTERHOLM: Well, I don't want you to be infected and potentially die, so that's a good start right there. I think, second of all, is the fact that what we're seeing happening right now is really a historic proportion. Not just with this pandemic, but frankly throughout the last 100 years.
The transmission we're seeing is just simply remarkable. And what we're concerned about is while Omicron may cause less severe illness overall than does Delta, the sheer number of people infected could still overwhelm our health care systems.
And on top that, we are seeing right now in the workplace starting, you know, 10 to 20 percent of people potentially been infected and out of work, which includes health care workers. So, the last thing you want to do is get infected right now. And infected in a way that you need health care, and so please don't get infected.
The second point to make is we have new and powerful drugs that will be coming soon. They are not here yet but you know, three months from now getting infected can mean something very different than it does now. So, postponing this infection doesn't mean you might not get it someday, but it could mean the difference again between having a life- threatening infection and one that basically is relatively mild.
COATES: It's a very important point, I think people, obviously, urge and with their eagerness to return to whatever normal looked like once before. I find people maybe flat-footed or resting on their laurels, thinking well, you know what, they've got vaccines, I'm hearing about the lack of severity, I'm hearing about hospitalization not being its, you know, peak as it was maybe a year ago.
But it's still not a time to actually relax. We are still are in the midst of a pandemic, and a gripping one at that. So I'm glad you mention that, Dr. Osterholm. I also want to mention that a CDC forecast is now predicting 44,000 new COVID deaths over just the next four weeks. I mean 44,000 new deaths over a four-week period? I mean, this is two years into a pandemic where we have vaccines. This is astonishing to think about. OSTERHOLM: Well, first of all, let's remember the backdrop that we're
dealing with. We have 90 million Americans who have not yet been vaccinated. We have 130 million Americans who are vaccine willing, who went out and got two doses, but didn't get those critical third dose yet.
And so, right there, we have a lot of wood for this coronavirus forest fire to burn. And we have to remember that. The second thing I think is really important in terms of understanding where we're at in this pandemic right now, is we don't yet know how much of the deaths we're seeing, or how many of the deaths we're seeing right now are actually due to Delta yet, and how much are due to Omicron.
And that's going to be a very important factor going forward, in terms of how many deaths occur with Omicron, to get to that number that the CDC estimated. Maybe it will be lower, maybe it will be higher. And we just have to acknowledge the uncertainty --
COATES: Now wait, doctor, on that point, I do want to ask you on that point because I hear it a lot. I know in terms of our intellectual discussions about whether it's this variant or that, it's important to know what the impact is. But in terms of what it really means, does it really have a difference or make one, depending on the Delta that's hurting people or Omicron for all intensive purposes is the same impact nonetheless?
OSTERHOLM: No, not really, because, in fact imagine you have 1,000 cases of Delta. And, in fact, of those cases 100 will be severely ill. I have 1,000 cases of Omicron, only 10 of them will be severely ill. That makes a big difference.
Now the problem is, what happens if it's not 1,000 cases of Omicron, it's 10,000 cases of Omicron because the higher infectiousness. Suddenly, you're in the same suit that you were with him with Delta. So, we're looking at this very carefully, and trying to basically figure out what will be the contribution in New York right now. Or, you know, all eyes in the country are focused on New York, which has become the epicenter of this current rollout out of Omicron in the U.S.
We're trying to figure out the rise in hospital rates right now, which are occurring. And we want to know is that Omicron? Or is that Delta? Because if that's Omicron, that's a bad sign about what could be happening. Because at the same time you know how many people are becoming infected. It's just going to be a matter of weeks before we have an entire viral blizzard across all of this country.
COATES: Now you mentioned earlier the idea of drugs being on the way. Medical opportunities and pills, et cetera, on the way to aid in the treatment of COVID-19. Tell me more about those.
OSTERHOLM: Well, we have several drugs, most notably the two that were licensed in the last few weeks. The one that I think most people are really most positive about is the Pfizer drug. That we think that if taken very early into the course of an illness, even when somebody with underlying health conditions it can put them at risk for more serious illness, may very well reduce the likelihood of having that serious illness.
We also know that another drug that we've had for some time, Remdesivir, now actually with more recent study shows much more effects and also doing that same thing as the Pfizer drug does. Now, take that in combination, if we had more of it, we don't have much of either, we could actually really begin to turn this pandemic.
And if I could use an example. That for those of us who have been in the business a long time, HIV used to be a fatal disease. Today, in many parts of the world where you have adequate drugs, people live long healthy lives with HIV. So, drugs can be very important. In this case, in the short term, we could possibly turn this pandemic into a much less serious event for people even if they did get infected.
We want to prevent infections in the first place, that's our goal. But if you can't prevent them, these drugs could be a real game-changer going down the road.
COATES: A very important analogy to draw this now. Dr. Osterholm, I want to ask you finally, the CDC is now defending its decision to amid the -- a lot of the push back it's getting, to cut isolation in half for those who are asymptomatic. But many are saying that it's politics that's driving the decision and maybe even a play for the midterms. Did they follow the science, or they following the elections? What do you say?
OSTERHOLM: Well, let me just make it very clear. As someone who pushed hard on this administration over the course of the last three weeks to do what they've done, I'm basing on science and the reality of what we are against. Not against any kind of political or economic issues.
Right now, imagine hospitals, if we lose 20 percent of our workers because they have a mild illness for which they are going to be out 10 days, we will have hospital beds with critically ill patients sitting there, without seeing anybody for eight-hour shifts, that would be tragic.
Wait until you can't get fire and police, wait until you can't get enough of the infrastructure critical people that we need. So, what this was is really an imperfect solution to a terribly imperfect problem. And so, I commend them. I know. I still would like to see the masking done differently. I would like to see testing done differently.
But what they did is they beat the bullet, because the next four to eight weeks are going to be unlike anything we've seen in this country, and when you have most of your people out sick, we're already seeing the big box retail stores beginning to close large establishments. They can't get enough people to come to work because so many are sick. [22:30:02]
That's where the CDC is trying to address. So, they're not trying to light -- lighten the time period of when you might be quarantined or isolated with more transmission, and many of the people who are critical of this frankly, are people who come from what I consider the academic world or the ideal is surely great. But as the former secretary of the defense once said, you don't get to go to war with what you want, you got to go to war with you got.
COATES: Well said. I mean, it's always a cost-benefit analysis and we don't live in perfect times. So, thank you for your clarification and for what you've done. Thank you so much. I appreciate you, doctor.
OSTERHOLM: Thank you.
COATES: You know, it's a pandemic within a pandemic. And something needs to be done, but there is no vaccine for abuse. And when people are home and isolated, there's no one to help. I'll make my case, next.
COATES (on camera): Vaccines save lives. And not just from the pandemic of COVID-19. But because of the shadow pandemic of domestic violence. For some of you, a lockdown may be an inconvenience, running out of shows to binge or activities to entertain your stir-crazy kids.
But for far too many others, a lockdown means running out of places to hide from the abuse, with no place to go when schools closed, no mandatory reporter or frontline worker, like a teacher, or a social worker, a nurse, or a physician who, under normal circumstances, would notice a bruise or despondency, or a telltale sign of abuse.
No direct contact or referrals to child protective services. No workplace for a coworker to see something and say something. The national commission on COVID-19 and criminal justice reports that domestic violence incidents increased 8.1 percent after jurisdictions and post pandemic related lockdown orders in this country.
The U.N. says that 45 percent of women around the world reported that they, or women they know, has experienced a form of violence against women since COVID-19. Abused, denied basic needs, denied communication, almost one in four women said that COVID-19 has made things worse in terms of how safe they feel at home.
Now as a prosecutor, I prosecuted so many domestic violence and child assault cases. I've seen what a child looks like when they have been starved nearly to death by their own parent. I've watched women and men, for that matter, still bleeding from their eyes as they try to look into mine. Physically unable to hold up their heads or even shake my hand.
And that's when someone was watching. And could report it in time. You know, President Biden often speaks with the kids sitting near fast food drive-throughs, hoping to access broadband to participate in distance learning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The 21st century in America, no parent ever should have to sit outside a fast- food restaurant to be able to hook up to the internet so their child can do their homework online.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES (on camera): How about the thousands of children, totally unaccounted for, while schools were closed? Are they safe now? People who were screaming at school boards because their kids are being asked to wear a mask --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: I'm going to come for everybody that comes at my kid with this stupid, ridiculous mandate!
CROWD: No more masks! No more masks!
UNKNOWN: OK. Right here, look, right here. So, as you can see, fists are now flying, all of this on live television. Fists are flying.
UNKNOWN: You are allowing child abuse. You are allowing child abuse, you are allowing child abuse, you are allowing child abuse, you with your snotty little face, you are allowing it as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES (on camera): I wonder why they're pointing fingers about mask- wearing. Had they given any thought to what happens to abused children if schools shut down from an outbreak? Distance learning is nothing compared to the prospect of children in need being out of reach.
You know, ending this pandemic is about more than just stopping a contagion. It's also about doing what's right for the most vulnerable among us. We have three vaccines for COVID-19. Three! But there is no vaccine against what too many people are facing. In the homes of your neighbors, perhaps it's in your own home.
You know, legally and as a society, we have to do everything we can to stop domestic violence. And at a bare minimum, it starts with giving people somewhere to go. An economy able to employ someone without the financial means to currently escape their circumstances. It means refuge for a child and a concerned adult looking out for them. Maybe just a meal.
And if my wearing a mask stops you from having to cover up a black eye, if my children must learn to enunciate through a mask from the comfort of a classroom so that someone else escape can feel safe for seven hours a day, or five days a week, if getting another shot in my arm keeps yours from being broken, I will gladly do it for the rest of my life. To save yours.
Next, to mandate vaccines on flights or not. Because in this country can't seem to decide. So, we'll make the arguments.
COATES (on camera): With coronavirus cases surging across the U.S., the country's top infectious disease expert says a vaccine requirement for domestic travel is, quote, "on the table." But Dr. Fauci cautions it's not necessary right now.
And President Biden says he'll leave that decision up to his medical advisers.
Joining me now, former Department of Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem, she's now a CNN national security analyst, and political commentator Scott Jennings is here as well.
I'm glad you're both here. What a very important conversation happening by the way all across this country as thousands of flights are being canceled, probably as we speak.
Juliette, let me begin with you. You said that President Biden should enact a vaccination requirement for domestic trial -- travel. Why do you think so?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I've been saying this since August and Canada has already done it. So, I want to take all the emotions out of this. All the emotions about why people are unvaccinated and listening to them and just give the facts right now.
So, the first of course we know vaccinations work. If you're unvaccinated, your 10 times more likely to get infected, and 20 times more likely to die from COVID. We know that mandates work as we saw over the course of the summer. Ninety-two to 97 percent compliance and most public and private institutions, including the police forces that had been originally reluctant to do it.
We know the United States government has an interest in protecting lives and that the burden of COVID as well as those infected is falling on all of us. Whether it's the closing of schools, or hospitals getting rid of voluntary operations.
So that's just the fact. We want more people vaccinated. And one way to do it is to deprive them, and I'm quite honest about this, of the rights, excuse me, of the privilege that is not a right, in other words, they can do whatever they want. They have the freedom not to be unvaccinated. I don't have to have any emotions about it. If they want to take a flight, they need to be vaccinated.
It seems simple, I say the government can enforce security rules around airlines and the president should do it, simply to get more of the unvaccinated to be vaccinated. This is what the purpose of mandates is. So, I'm sort of, like, you know, I finished a long time ago worrying
about the unvaccinated and their emotions. And just looking at the facts at this stage, this will work.
COATES: Now Scott, you have a different take on this issue entirely. Although I will note that 61 percent of Americans do favor of vaccination requirements for air travel according to a recent Gallup poll early this year, but you don't buy the idea of this being something to be used in order to get people to be vaccinated. You don't think this is an appropriate tactic. Tell me why.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it's punishing people for no reason. I agree with Juliette by way, that we know the vaccinations work, I'm vaccinated, I'm boosted. I believe in my vaccine, I believe in the science behind the vaccines, which is why I don't fear getting on an airplane.
Right now, in this country, about 85 percent of all American adults have had at least one shot. So, we've got 15 percent of people who have had no shots. I highly doubt we're going to capture those people in airplanes. But even if we did, they were getting into devices, airplanes, that are literally the cleanest places in the world to sit.
Our own government studied airplane air at the beginning of this pandemic, with the airlines, and they put out a report that says, 99.99 percent of all the articles on an airplane get filtered out within six minutes. You are unlikely to catch anything on an airplane.
So, the question that I have on a policy like this is, are you doing this to punish the people you don't like or are you doing this because it's in the name of science and it's in the name of good, sound policy? I don't think it's going to make a hill of beans difference in the overall vaccination rate.
But it is going to punish people, it is going to cause airports, which are already miserable to be even more miserable. And it's going to put a large pressure on the TSA which already struggles to do its current job to sort out who's vaccinated, who's not, who's got a religious exemption, and that doesn't even get into the legal issues, civil rights issues, you know, they go into how we treat people in public accommodations.
I think this was an idea that was borne out of the air when we --
COATES: So, can I --
JENNINGS: One more thing. This was an idea -- this was an idea that was born, I think, in an era where there are people who thought we could get to COVID zero. With Omicron, that's not happening. Vaccinations do not stop you from getting it. But if you believe in your vaccine, you shouldn't fear getting on an airplane.
COATES: Juliette, what do you think?
KAYYEM: Yes. So, I think Scott just put up like a lot of sort of, false arguments here, and I think part of it is the reason why I wanted to make it clear, what happens --
JENNINGS: What did I say that's false? What did I say that's false?
KAYYEM: No, no.
COATES: Hold on! Hold on! Let her finish. Do you want a chance to speak, let Juliette speak now. Go ahead.
KAYYEM: So, I -- thank you, thank you. That was weird. And so, what I want to -- what I want to say is, I never said what's happening on the airplane is relevant. Honestly. Like they may be at the cleanest places on earth. I never said. I said the government has an interest in promoting vaccinations.
We have hit a wall. The fact that there are so many Americans are unvaccinated is a problem for all Americans. So, the tools that the United States government has include oversight and regulation of travel. That includes deciding whether the security measures that would permit someone on an airplane, regardless of whether they are infecting people on the airplane, you're just setting a condition of flying.
It's not a punishment. There is no right to fly. You can drive, you cannot fly, you can do whatever. Also, just what was erroneous was, actually, I spent a lot of time studying figuring out what's going to move the unvaccinated. I have been a proponent of mandates since May or June when you saw this happen because the unvaccinated are telling us that what is going to move them to vaccination is to be deprived of something they want to do, and that can be as mundane as a football game or as serious of trying to see their grandmother over the holidays.
And so this is a missed opportunity to move people whose reasons for not getting vaccinated maybe -- we don't really care what the reasons are. They are telling us, and all of the data, that they will move. So, I think it's wrong to say it won't move them.
It actually every mandate that has been inforce in the public sector and the private sector has moved a swath of people to get shots. These numbers that we saw out of public safety, in the military, --
KAYYEM: -- in the private sector, have been remarkable. And that's a common good. We both agree.
COATES: I hear you, Scott, what do you make of the notion that obviously the deprivation could be an incentive for people? You still say that as punishment, is that right?
JENNINGS: Well, of course it's punishment. Now that we've -- now that we've established that I didn't say anything that was false despite what Juliette had to say. The issue here is will this make a difference? We have remarkable uptick of the vaccine. I'm candidly astonished at how many people have gotten at least one shot.
I do not believe that the people who are unvaccinated are going to be moved in large numbers by a mandate at the airport. I do believe that the rest of Americans who have done everything that we have asked them to do, from wearing masks, that some people say now don't work, to get their shots, to go home, to close schools, people have done everything we have asked them to do.
And now, we are going to make airports even more miserable just because we want to punish the people who won't do what we want them to do. This is not in keeping with the freedoms and the sort of spirit of the U.S. Constitution and the way that we operate this country, especially when you consider the punishment here is not for the unvaccinated but it's for the people who have to use these airports every single day.
JENNINGS: I don't think this is going to make a hill of beans difference, but I do think --
COATES: Hold on, Scott.
JENNINGS: -- you want to punish people who won't comply.
COATES: Scott, I had a quick break. I'm going to come back to both of you. I want to have a chance to flush this out further. We'll be right back. Stay there.
COATES (on camera): I'm back now with Juliette Kayyem and of course Scott Jennings as well.
We are talking about whether you should have mandates on domestic flights. Where we picked up, Scott was just explaining the idea of, that this is punitive as opposed to actually helpful and leading and following the science.
Juliette, what do you say to the argument that he just raised about this might over burden or overwhelm TSA workers and we'll have an impact on the misery within airports? Is that what portrays it all to you?
KAYYEM: There will be administrative burdens that I've written about that could be relatively easily overcome. Either at the moment of when you're getting your ticket, you upload your vaccine card. We know that there will be fraud, that's OK. What you're trying to do is you just have to get more people vaccinated at the stage.
And I should note, you know, what's Scott said about we'd be happy how many people are vaccinated, there is still 90 million Americans who have not been vaccinated yet. So, we do still have a while ago -- to try to protect people. They are much likely to die. The government has an interest.
So, you can administrative do this through the airlines or through TSA. This is what Canada did. There will be a little bit of a runway to get this working OK. And you will see, and then you'll be able to verify. So, this is not something that other countries that are doing it have found so onerous. Of course, there will be some administrative burden.
But you know, we just have to get out of this idea of feelings or you think that people won't respond. I really, I just want to make it clear to viewers that the data is absolutely clear about three things. One is that mandates work. And they work even in conservative elements, like the military and public safety.
The second is the ability of the government to mandate security procedures in airline and travel, has been well established. This is not a constitutional right. We -- you can smoke in your own home, for example, that's your freedom, you cannot smoke on an airplane.
And the third is basic data point here, is that the unvaccinated are telling us, and have told us consistently since January, that they will move if they are deprived of privilege they want. Right? And that's OK, they are telling us. We should listen to them.
COATES: At the same token though, Juliette, and Scott, I want you to have the last word on this, because we've talked about this, there are many people who are saying this is not what we want. The opposite is not what they actually want to happen. What do you say?
JENNINGS: Look, what we know about Omicron, what we know about the spread of this particular variant, what we know about what the vaccines can do to it, what we know about everything we've done here before is been based on old data, old, you know, the old way of thinking that we were ever going to get down to COVID zero and that we were ever going to get to 100 percent vaccination rate.
These two things are just not possible. And I think we have to start thinking about getting American life back in order. And this would throw it into even further chaos at a place that is already chaotic and miserable for most people who use it. And for what? For vaccinating a handful of people, maybe? Maybe? You're going to cause millions of people to suffer in misery at a
place that's already miserable? I don't think it's worth it. And I think it has a number of legal issues that would take forever go to the courts.
COATES: I got to tell you -- I got to tell you, Scott. I bet 800,000 people disagree about what would it take for one more person. But we'll have to leave it here for now. Thank you. Glass half full, glass half empty.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
COATES: I'm not sure which one applies to either at the moment. But before we go tonight, I want to let you know that I do have a new book on the way. It's called "Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor's Fight for Fairness." It's available for preorder wherever you get your books. In it, I break down how the very pursuit of justice creates, oftentimes injustice. I'm very excited for you all to read it and get to know me on a more personal level.
I want to thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues here.