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Clinic Accidentally Gives Customers Empty Shots Instead of Vaccine; Trump's Defense Secretary Blames Trump for Inciting Capitol Rioters; Trump's Time in White House Could End Up Working Against Him; FOX Propaganda Host Falsely Claims Pentagon Conspiracy Against Him. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 12, 2021 - 13:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Imagine enduring the coronavirus pandemic for the last year and finally getting a green light for a COVID vaccine only to find out later that the syringe you thought contained the vaccine that was put in your arm was empty.

That is exactly what happened to a small number of people who showed up to get their shots at a Kroger in Midlothian, Virginia, near Richmond. Workers at the clinic accidentally injected nine patients with empty syringes because they thought they were prefilled with the vaccine.

Carrie Hawes is one of those patients who got an empty shot.

Carrie, this must have been -- I don't know, you tell us. Walk us through your visit. Tell us what you were looking forward to. And if you thought, at the time, that there was anything weird about what was happening.

CARRIE HAWES, INJECTED WITH EMPTY SYRINGE OF COVID VACCINE: Yes. I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to get my vaccine. I know I'm one of the lucky people who are already seeing an appointment and getting it.

I actually went, my husband and I, and he went ahead of me. He had the first appointment. And then I went in.

And I remember just sitting in the chair being kind of emotional. I've heard a lot of people say they're just overwhelmed with the idea that it's finally their chance and they'll be protected and their loved ones will be protected.

And she put it in my arm. I didn't feel a thing. I was like, oh, that was easy. And went home. And got a call the next day around 12:00 saying we need you to come back.

It was a little anxiety-inducing to hear because that's not what you want to hear.


KEILAR: Did they tell you why? What did they say to you?

HAWES: They said that, unfortunately, a mistake was made and that we had received saline only in our injections, there was no vaccine or anything in them, so we needed to come back at our convenience to get the actual vaccine.

KEILAR: I mean, thank goodness, right, they caught it, right?

HAWES: Right. Absolutely.

KEILAR: I mean, thank goodness.

They've since apologized, I want to be clear on this, for the error.

And they said this in a statement, quote, "One of our TLC locations made a mistake and administered empty syringes instead of the COVID-19 vaccine. All impacted customers were contacted and have now received the COVID-19 vaccine."

The shot that you got was just a -- was a one-and-done Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Did you have any reaction to it once you got the real one?

HAWES: It did feel different the second time, I will admit to that. You could definitely --


KEILAR: Really? Do tell.


KEILAR: Tell us.

HAWES: So the first time, it didn't feel like much at all, just maybe a small needle prick, which is normal for some vaccines. You don't really notice much.

This one, you could feel it kind of spread through your arm a little bit, kind of burned a little. Nothing unmanageable. And my arm was definitely sore that day.

And then, the next day, I woke up and felt a little crummy, just tired. Nothing unimaginable. Nothing you couldn't deal with. And far better than the alternative. In my book, it was worth it.

But, yes, I definitely felt it when it was injected. It felt different.

KEILAR: That's really interesting that you say that. Not many people would have that comparison, I would say.

Carrie, so glad everything worked out.

Carrie Hawes, thank you for being with us.

HAWES: Absolutely. Thank you.

KEILAR: Coming up, how former President Trump's time in the White House could actually end up helping prosecutors who are investigating his finances.


Plus, a FOX propaganda host says there's a Pentagon conspiracy against him. We'll roll the tape.



KEILAR: Trump's former acting defense secretary, Christopher Miller, said it was Trump who incited the rioters who stormed the U.S. capitol.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think the president was responsible for what happened on the 6th?

CHRISTOPHER MILLER, FORMER ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY: I don't know. But it seems cause and effect, yes.

The question is: Would anybody have marched on the capitol and overrun the capitol without the president's speech? I think it's pretty much definitive that wouldn't have happened.


KEILAR: CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is following all of this for us.

What more are you learning here, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, former acting defense secretary, Christopher Miller, says that President Trump's January 6th remarks did incite rioters to go to Capitol Hill, and we saw the violent insurrection that resulted from that.

Miller stopped short of saying that President Trump knew his remarks would enrage the violence. But he does say that President Trump's remarks did play a role in what happened that day here in Washington.

The former acting defense secretary's interview is with "Vice," and is set to air this weekend on the showtime network -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Barbara Starr, thank you.

Trump's time in the White House, which was once a legal shield for the former president, could actually end up hurting him.

CNN is learning that New York prosecutors investigating Trump's finances have discussed using a legal maneuver that could extend the statute of limitations of potential crimes.


Joining us now is CNN's Kara Scannell.

Kara, tell us more about your new reporting and what impact this could have on Trump.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Sure, Brianna. So sources tell me that prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney's office are considering and discussing using a provision in New York law that could allow them to look a little further back into the former president's conduct because of the time that he was in office.

This all has to do with the statute of limitations, the time they have to bring a case from when it first commenced. And in New York, the felony -- statute of limitations on felonies is five years.

So prosecutors are looking at this code, part of the New York criminal procedure law, that says they don't need to count the number of days that a defendant is continuously out of state.

So even though the former president, his business is here and he's a lifelong New Yorker, since January 17, he's been living outside New York.

He's been at the White House or spending time at Bedminster, his property in New Jersey. And then he relocated to Mar-a-Lago permanently after he lost the election.

This gives prosecutors potentially several additional years of conduct that they could look back into because of this law.

And they've been successful using it before. They used it in the Harvey Weinstein case -- Brianna?

KEILAR: And the New York prosecutor who is actually leading the investigation into Trump announced he's not going to seek re-election next year.

Is that going to have any impact on this investigation?

SCANNELL: Sources tell me that the district attorney, Cyrus Vance, who did announce today that he's not going up for re-election, that he hopes to complete this investigation, which they first started back in 2018, before his term ends at the end of the year.

Prosecutors have really ramped up this investigation in recent weeks. They've interviewed more witnesses. They've brought in a former prosecutor who specializes in financial crimes. And they recent got those millions of pages of documents in the former president's tax returns. So they're working hard and diligently. And they still have about nine

and a half months to go.

But if Vance, for some reason, does not make a determination, the next person will be able to make that decision. And the office is led by a lot of career prosecutors as well.

So are certainly people there who have been working on this for a while and will be there working on it even after Vance is gone -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Kara Scannell, thank you so much.

Soon, we'll be hearing from President Biden, taking a victory lap to hail the historic COVID relief plan.

Plus, we're rolling the tape on who enables the FOX News propaganda machine -- the Murdochs.



KEILAR: It was a huge week for women in the military. President Biden nominated two female generals to four-star commands after their promotions were delayed under the Trump administration for fear the former president would nix their advancement.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Each of these women have led careers demonstrating incomparable skill, integrity, and duty to country.

And at every step, they've also helped push open the doors of opportunity to women in our military. Blazing the trail a little wider, a little brighter for all proud women following in their path and looking to their example.


KEILAR: It was also a big week for women in the military for another reason, and it's not a good one.

It's because a highly rated propaganda arm that usually professes to support the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States armed forces, FOX's Tucker Carlson, took aim at servicemembers who not only fight for this country but schedule the growing of human beings around deployments often to war zones.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX HOST, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT": So we've got new hair styles and maternity fight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It's a mockery of the U.S. military. While China's military becomes more masculine as it assembles the

world's largest Navy, our military, according to Joe Biden, needs to become more feminine, whatever feminine means any more since men and women no longer exist.

The bottom line is it's out of control and the Pentagon is going along with this. Again, this is a mockery of the U.S. military and its core mission, which is winning wars.


KEILAR: The backlash from the military, from all ranks of officers and enlisted members was swift and scathing.

First, the Pentagon.


ADM. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESPERSON (voice-over): What we absolutely won't do is take personnel advice from a talk show host.


KEILAR: And this was what Carlson zeroed in on when he responded to the uproar on his show last night.


CARLSON: Today, the Department of Defense launched a large and coordinated public relations offensive against this show. Pentagon brass issued hostile statements. People in uniform sent out videos on social media.

The DOD even issued a news release attacking us, "Press Secretary Smites FOX News Host."

"Smites," like we're a hostile foreign power.

This is bigger than a feud with some flak at the Pentagon. This is genuinely worrisome. The Department of Defense has never been more progressively or openly political.


KEILAR: Carlson had to respond because the backlash was fierce. So he chose to respond by pretending the backlash was just the Pentagon, just Biden political appointees rebuking him.

But that is not what this is. The military, at every level, is rebuking Carlson's comments because they are sexist and because they are anti-military.

Military spouses rebuked Carlson, veterans groups, veterans, like Kate Hetrick, who was enlisted in the Navy while she was pregnant with one of her children.



KAITLYNNE HETRICK, MILITARY VETERAN: I happen to think that his opinion is wrong.

As someone who served while pregnant, it's very disparaging to hear him say these things about women. I served with many women, women who were at the time.

None of us let our pregnancies affect our positions. And we all came to work every day ready to do our jobs. And we loved our jobs.

Again, he's entitled to his own opinion. But I believe the people in the Pentagon making these decisions have a lot more insight into what our military servicemembers need than someone who's never served a day in their lives.


KEILAR: Military of all stripes, from enlisted to general officers took aim.

Like three-star General Ted Martin, one of the officials who oversees training of soldiers in the Army, a former commandant at West Point, whose daughter also serves.

He tweeted this, quote, "Contrary to what you may be hearing, this woman and thousands of women like her are not making a mockery of our military. You wish your daughter was as awesome as mine, so back off."

The sergeant major of the Army, Michael Grinston, who is now the most senior enlisted member of the Army but, like many men and women in the service, volunteered in his teens, spoke out.


SGT. MAJ. MICHAEL GRINSTON, U.S. ARMY: The Army has 185,000 women in our Army today. And we have the most lethal Army in the world. And that is because of our people. And that's all of our people.

So I'm extremely proud of all of the women that I've served with in combat, that have been my commanders in units across my 32-plus-year career. I'm extremely proud of all of those women.

And I don't think those comments need to divide us as a military, because we have the greatest military in the world.


KEILAR: Active-duty women and men skewered Carlson. It was extraordinary that they spoke up.

But Carlson ignored that trying to say he was just focusing on making sure the military is strong.


CARLSON: Nothing matters more than what Joe Biden does to our U.S. military. Our military is the last functional institution of any size in this country. It's the last institution most people trust and respect. It is, by far, the most important. A weak military means no country. Period.


KEILAR: Now, if Tucker Carlson thinks that, why is he actively trying to weaken it by denigrating essential members of the armed services for no reason other than that they are women?

Maybe he doesn't realize his comments are weakening the military. After all, he wouldn't know a deployment from a trip to Nantucket or a rocket launcher from a la cross stick.

But that's what he's doing, maligning pregnant servicemembers.


CARLSON: Creating maternity flight suits. Maybe those suits have been around before but we've never heard of them.


KEILAR: He's never heard of them? Most Americans haven't. Fair. But most Americans don't use maternity flight suits as a springboard for a sexist attack.

Uniforms and body armor that fit women, whether pregnant or not, is an issue that's long been documented. The Air Force introduced maternity flight suits before Biden came to the White House.

If Tucker Carlson had bothered a basic search online for stories about it on Tuesday when he first made his asinine comments about pregnant women in the military, he would have seen that. But he's not about the facts.


CARLSON:: That phrase stuck out, not because we have some hateful bias against pregnant women flying military jets. We're pro-pregnancy, as we often say, but we're also open minded.

Maybe pregnant women make the best pilots. The Department of Defense measures everything. So there's got to be extensive research on this question.

If the Pentagon can show that pregnant pilots are the best, we will be the first to demand an entire Air Force of pregnant pilots.


KEILAR: What is he talking about? Pregnant pilots are just pilots who are pregnant. They aren't worse or better because they are pregnant. They are just highly qualified women.

In an all-volunteer force, in a country where most wouldn't qualify to join the military, needs highly qualified women.

It's not surprising that Tucker Carlson doesn't understand that or that FOX doesn't. The network has a double standard.

They have used their platform to effectively lobby for the pardons of male servicemembers and military contractors convicted or accused of war crimes.

FOX's Pete Hegseth makes the case successfully to then-President Trump that he should intervene on behalf of a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes and pardon servicemembers convicted of war crimes, as well as four Blackwater military contractor who opened fire in a Baghdad square in heavy traffic and killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians.


PETE HEGSETH, FOX NEWS HOST: I would note also that Blackwater contractors -- and you look at that story of Raven 23 and how it was misconstrued against those guys, god bless the president for having the courage that a lot of presidents wouldn't do --


HEGSETH: -- to pardon those men.



KEILAR: Tucker Carlson's predictable play would be to make this about free speech. Well, he is free to say whatever the hell he wants.

He is free to wake up in the morning and figure who he wants to insult and what nutso thing he wants to rant about to get the attention he seems to need.

But keep in mind, the highest-rated show on the network is Carlson's. He is FOX. And as FOX tries to right its rating ship, it's Tucker- izing its other programing as well.

Lachlan Murdoch said out loud that his network would be the royal opposition to the Biden administration. Was he cool with his top-rated host acting like the royal opposition to the rank-and-file of the U.S. military that the network says it champions?

What say you, FOX? You come to the aid of convicted war criminals but denigrate honorable female servicemembers.

We tried to find out more about this contradiction from FOX. They've had more than 24 hours to respond to our questions and they have not.

Tucker Carlson's comments stand out because of the two women who just became four-star generals. You don't get four-star female generals unless you can keep women in the military.

And you can't do that in big enough numbers unless you make it positive possible for them to have a family, and the things that come along with having kids, like childcare, and uniforms and body armor that fits.

Next, we have some breaking news. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to growing calls for him to resign, which include him blaming cancel culture.

And President Biden gets ready to hit the road to push his relief plan as he makes a pledge to get back to pre-pandemic life.