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FDA Recommends Johnson & Johnson Booster Shot; Interview With Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA); Bill Clinton Hospitalized; Capitol Police Officer Facing January 6 Obstruction Charges; President Biden in Connecticut. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired October 15, 2021 - 14:00   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They would pay you. The government would pay you.

And we increased that amount in the near term to $3, 600 for every child under the age of 6 to $3,000 for dependents between the ages of 6 and 17. The money is already a game-changer for working families. It is projected to cut child poverty in Connecticut, one of the wealthier states like Delaware, in Connecticut, by 40 percent.

If we don't pass the bill--


BIDEN: And it is real. It is a life-changer.

The Build Back Better Act says that you get the first half is paid you, and then the second half you get paid on a monthly basis. People are getting -- hardworking families are getting a check in the mail on the 15th. Today is the 15th, isn't it?

Or in their bank account, just like you get a Social Security check, but it is for your children. It's for being able to raise your kids. That monthly tax cut for parent is going to end in just a couple of months. And it going to impact families of 61 million kids right at the holidays when the winter heating costs are going up, when we need to keep the taxes for families going down.

The bottom line is this. When you give working families a break, we don't -- we're not just raising their quality of life. We're positioning our country to compete in the future.

When I talk to all of your folks out in the playground and, as I joked, because everybody knows I like kids better than people. Fortunately, they like me. And that is why maybe I like them.


BIDEN: But all kidding aside, you all talked about them. You all talked about what it means to families of these children.

And, granted, you had to cut way back. And because of a lot things happening, aren't the same as they were. But these bills are about strengthening the economy for decades to come. Both of these bills spend out over 10 years.

Take the infrastructure bill. All of those investments in roads, bridges, highways, high-speed, Internet, water, clean water, everything represents less than one-half of 1 percent of our economy each year if you add it up over those years.

And the cost of the Build Back Better bill, in terms of adding to deficit, is zero. So, when I hear people say it costs $3.5 trillion, I will be honest with you. We're probably not going to get $3.5 trillion this year. We're going to get something less than that. But I'm going to negotiate. I'm going to get it done, with the grace of God and the good neighbors of the crick not rising, as my grandpa would say.


BIDEN: But all kidding aside, we're going to keep coming.

And because the more we demonstrate it works, the more we could do. It is paid for because big corporations and the very wealthy ought to start paying their fair share. Let me be clear. Nobody -- and since I got elected and when I was campaigning, nobody who makes under $400,000 a year, which is a lot of money, will see their taxes go up one single penny. Nobody. Not one.


BIDEN: That is why in the highway bill, I didn't add a gas tax, so I could keep that commitment.

In fact, this plan cuts taxes for working people. There is no reason why, as I said, billionaires and -- should pay a lower tax rate, literally a lower tax rate, than a schoolteacher and a firefighter, a couple. So, that is what is happening now.

And it isn't right that 55 of our fortune 400 companies, the largest companies in America last year, 55 of Fortune 500 paid zero in taxes. And they made $40 billion in profit. I'm glad they made a profit, keep people employed. I mean that sincerely.

But pay your fair share. Just pay a decent portion of what we lay out in these pieces of legislation. And, by the way, I have had a number of Fortune 500 companies come to me and say, you're right, we can pay a higher tax than we're paying now, because they understand the impact if we don't invest like we have to on their long-term health and well- being.

This needs to change. Working folks understand it. And that is why, despite the attacks and misinformation, my plan still has the overwhelming support of the American people when they're told what is in it. They understand that when families have a little more breathing room,

America has a lot better shot. My dad used to say, for real -- my dad was a well-read, well-bred man who was -- regretted his whole life he never got a chance to go to college. And he worked like heck.

He would always come home for dinner and then go back to work. And I remember we lived in a four-bedroom split-level home with four kids and a grandpop. And my bed was against the wall, where my parents bed was against adjacent wall.

I remember one night I could tell my dad was just so restless. I was in high school. And the next morning, I asked my mom, I said, what is matter with dad, mom? And she said, well, honey, his company just told him they're going to do away with health insurance. No health insurance.


Well, you know what? My dad is not -- we weren't poor. We were -- my dad probably an average in those days, $20,000, $22,000, $25,000 a year, which is a decent salary. But he used to say everybody is entitled to just a little bit of breathing room. Just a little bit. A little bit of breathing room.

They know this is about dignity and respect. It is about building this economy from the bottom up and the middle out. I have never seen a time -- and some of you may have beyond my college and the Congress, and the press may have your master's or doctorate degrees in economics.

Name me a single time in American history when the middle class was doing well that the wealthy didn't do very, very well. Name me a time, one single time in American history.

So we're not hurting anybody. We're just making sure everybody gets a shot.

Let me close with this. And this is not hyperbole. The world is watching. Autocrats believe that the world is moving so rapidly that the democracies cannot generate consensus quickly enough to get things done. Not a joke. I have had these -- I have had hours and hours of meetings and personal with Xi Jinping.

I have spent more time with him, I believe, than any other world leader has when I was vice president and now on the phone. Every time he calls, or we talk, it's an hour. It's a conversation between an hour-and-a-half and two-and-a-half-hours. Not a joke. My word.

But he doesn't think democracies can compete, because they can't react quickly enough. In my summit with Putin in Switzerland, they're betting democracies can't compete, we can't move quickly enough. I'm heading to the G20. I came back from the G7.

You know how they measure? They don't measure us based on the size of our military. They don't measure us on how much power we have that way. They measure, want to know, can we get anything done? Not a joke. And you -- many of you travel internationally. Can we get anything done?

Can you put anything together to get something done in America? So, folks, they're betting that we won't respond to this inflection point in history. But I have always said, and I mean it -- some of you guys that work with me know this. I have said it 1,000 times.

It is never a good bet to bet against the American people. Never a good bet.


BIDEN: So, it's time -- it's time for us to invest in ourselves, show the world that American democracy works.

We have always led the world not by the example of our physical power, but by the power of our example. That is why the world has followed. And given us that half-a-chance, there is not a single, solitary thing that we can't achieve if we do it together.

So I'm hopeful. There is a lot of questions the press is going to want ask me, I know, about how are the negotiations going and how we're going to get this done and so on. Well, I told you before what my neurosurgeon years ago said when I had the aneurysm.

He said, your problem -- and I was in the Senate. Your problem, Senator, is you're a congenital optimist.

But I'm convinced we're going to get this done. I'm convinced we're going to get this done. We're not going to get $3.5 trillion. We will get less than that. But we're going to get it. And we're going to come back and get the rest.

So I want to thank you all. And God bless you.

And I know you're asking about President Clinton. I have been exchanging calls. He seems to be, God willing, doing well. And so, when I talk to him, I will let you all know.

But, in the meantime, thank you for taking time to be here. And I say this again. The press heard me say it. For all of you elected officials, it is like a busman's holiday for you--


BIDEN: -- to come, to have to listen to another politician speak.

But I am really -- and I mean this without exception -- I'm so proud to be associated with each one of you. You're honorable, decent and smart women and men. And there is a lot that we can get done.

So, thank you very much.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: The president there in Hartford, Connecticut. Thank you for joining us here in the NEWSROOM, CNN's NEWSROOM. I'm

Victor Blackwell.


You have been listening, of course, to, as we said, President Biden. He's in Connecticut promoting his Build Back Better agenda that is somewhat stalled in Congress. He was speaking at a child care center, though we didn't see a lot of children.



CAMEROTA: He highlighted the importance of investing in child care to keep costs down for working families.

BLACKWELL: Yes, he acknowledged that this safety net, the social safety net, will not be $3.5 trillion. But the separate factions here are hundreds of billions, if not more than a trillion dollars apart. And, of course, the talks have been stalled for some time now.

CAMEROTA: OK. Meanwhile, we want to turn to other breaking news that's happening this hour.

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction charges in connection to the January 6 insurrection. This indictment claims that officer Michael A. Riley told a Capitol rioter basically to tamper with evidence.

BLACKWELL: Well, Riley allegedly told the person that he was -- quote -- "just looking out for them.'

Now, a reminder. More than 100 officers were injured in the Capitol riots. One died the day after the attack. And four officers who were there that day later died by suicide.

Let's go to CNN's Jessica Schneider.

Now, Jessica, what more do about the charges against this officer?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is an officer, Victor, who has been on the Capitol Police force for 25 years.

But, this afternoon, appearing in federal court, he actually appeared virtually from a holding cell via Zoom during the court proceedings. This was just an initial hearing, so no plea was entered. But prosecutors, the judge did release him. He is being released with restrictions. He has to get any travel pre-approved.

He also cannot have any weapons, including guns. This officer now charged with two counts of obstruction, one count pertaining to the fact that he allegedly told an accused Capitol rioter to remove all Facebook posts pertaining to the January 6 insurrection, including videos that that rioter had taken, and also the second count of obstruction for then later deleting all of those Facebook online communications with the rioter.

This is all detailed in a six-page indictment. And it starts off by saying that this Capitol Police officer actually first got in touch with this alleged rioter before the insurrection on January 1 because they were both fishermen.

Well, then, on January 7, one day after the insurrection, when this Capitol Police officer, Michael Angelo Riley, noticed that this man had been posting about being inside the Capitol, the Capitol Police officer actually wrote him this, saying: "Hi. I'm a Capitol Police officer who agrees with your political stance," then continuing to say: "Take down the part about being in the building. They are currently investigating. And everyone who is in the building is going to be charged. Just looking out."

Well, their communications continued on for several days, including on January 13, when this Capitol Police officer allegedly wrote, "Get off social media," once again sending a warning sign to this alleged rioter that all of his posts could eventually get him in trouble, which it did. That rioter was arrested on January 19.

Well, one day later, on January 20, this Capitol Police officer then went in and deleted all of his messages with the rioter, that amounting to that other obstruction charge. So this Capitol Police officer now facing two counts of obstruction in this federal indictment.

He appeared via video before a judge today. His arraignment will be later on this month, but serious charges for a Capitol Police officer 50 years old who's been on the force for 25 years. We're told from Capitol Police that they were notified about this investigation several weeks ago.

They say he has been since suspended from the force and they have their own investigation going on currently, but very severe charges for this Capitol Police officer -- guys.

CAMEROTA: Jessica Schneider, thank you very much for explaining all of that breaking news.

OK, now to this. Nobody is off-limits. That's the message from the chairman of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

In an interview with CNN, Congressman Bennie Thompson does not rule out issuing a subpoena for former President Trump.

BLACKWELL: Now, we know the committee is moving ahead with the process to hold former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with the panel's subpoena for testimony and documents.

CNN congressional correspondent, Ryan Nobles, is following these developments for us.

Ryan, first, any indication of new subpoenas, but also how does this battle to get Bannon to testify move forward?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, at this point, Victor, there aren't signs that the committee is ready to issue new subpoenas quite yet.

But the next thing we're looking for is how they're going to handle their negotiations with that group of individuals that they gave subpoenas to in that first round. And we're talking about Mark Meadows, Kash Patel, and Dan Scavino.

They say that group is still engaging with the committee right now. And they have postponed their depositions for some time into the future, but they say only a short amount of time, which means that they could take that step of criminal contempt if they feel that these individuals are not cooperating well enough.


Now, back to anyone. Of course, that is the big focus of the committee right now, because they have taken that step of criminal contempt. And the next stage of this process will be Tuesday night. That's when the select committee will have a business meeting, where they will formally adopt a resolution that will then go to the full House of Representatives for a criminal contempt of Congress referral to the Department of Justice.

And this is a process. It's a process that the committee members say they hope will compel Bannon to cooperate. Their end goal is not to see him handcuffed and put in jail. They'd prefer that he came before the committee and provided with them the information and the documents that they're looking for.

And the other part of this process for the committee in terms of taking this aggressive action against Steve Bannon is because they want to send a signal to these other individuals that they're trying to get information from that they're not going to mess around, they're not going to deal with civil lawsuits that could lag on in the courts for an indefinite amount of time.

But they're going to take this step right away to turn it into a criminal matter, so that these subpoena targets and potential witnesses know that they are being serious. Ultimately, Victor and Alisyn, what the committee is in search of here is information. And the more they get into adversarial relationships with many of these witnesses, the more difficult it will be for them to glean that information.

So they have a number of tools at their disposal to make that happen. You see them in the case of Bannon using that toughest level of enforcement that they have, and with some of these other witnesses using negotiation strategy to get to that end goal -- Victor and Alisyn.

BLACKWELL: Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill, thank you.

NOBLES: Thank you. CAMEROTA: OK, so, moments ago, we just saw President Biden pitching

his agenda in Connecticut, but there appears -- there appear to be new setbacks today.

CNN is reporting that moderate Democrats Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have made clear to their colleagues that a deal is far from certain. A source tell CNN's Manu Raju that Senator Sinema indicated that there had been -- quote -- "a breach in trust" after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed that vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

And Sinema is hesitant to get behind the sweeping social safety net package until the House passes that infrastructure plan first. Sources also say that Senator Manchin is raising concerns over what's in the social safety net package, including a Medicare expansion and climate measures.

Let's talk about all of this.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell.

Congressman, thanks for being here.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Of course. Hi, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Has there been a breach of trust between progressives and moderates?


What is occurring right now is, we're in the huddle, we need to clap our hands and put the football in the end zone because too much is at stake. And so to the moderates, I would say, look, you're going to be accused of being a socialist, supporting open borders, wanting to defund the police. The Republicans are going to lie about you no matter what.

So why don't we deliver on child care tax credits, having a child tax credit, having free community college, investing in climate?

And to the progressives, Alisyn, I would say, wherever we come up short, let's go to the voters in 2022 and say we just made the biggest down payment on issues that will get people back into the work force, and there's more we can do with a bigger majority.

But we can't waste any more time and have infighting, as Republicans are doing everything they can with their anti-majority agenda to try and take over the Capitol in the midterms.

CAMEROTA: So let's talk about the timing.

Do you think the House should vote first on this infrastructure bill, as Senator Sinema suggests?

SWALWELL: I will leave that to the speaker. I just want results, because that infrastructure bill has $66 billion in rail investments. And my constituents would see a 42-mile rail project that takes 30,000 people off the road every day. That's a climate project because that reduces emissions. So we need to show that Democrats deliver and then put ourselves in a posture where we can define the stakes in the midterms that electing Republicans would be dangerous.

So I'm open to whatever the speaker thinks. I just think it's time, as I said, to put that ball in the end zone.

CAMEROTA: Well, given all of this haggling back and forth, do you think it was a mistake that originally the speaker tied these two things together?

SWALWELL: No. No, no. I think she has now put the ball essentially in the hands of the Senate, and they need to come up with what they accept.

But I would encourage everyone to get away from the number and talk about what you will rule in and what you will rule out. Do you want to have paid family leave for all? Do you want to have that child care tax credit? Do you want to have in-home support services for our senior and aging population? Do you want the free college for the first two years?

What do you want to take away to get to the number you want? But don't talk about a number. Talk about how it makes a difference in the lives of Americans and what you want to take off the table.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, Senator Joe Manchin is doing some of that, what you're suggesting. He doesn't want to see the Medicare expansion included, as far as we can tell, or certain climate measures, such as cutting greenhouse emissions to a certain level, but progressives say that those are musts in there.


So isn't this a catch-22? How do you break that?


As I said, we need 98.7 percent of Democrats to agree. So, to the progressives, I would say, look, this is going to be the biggest investment in families, workers, students ever. Franklin Roosevelt did this with the New Deal with 310-plus Democrats in the House. We have a plus-four majority.

So let's deliver and then go to the voters and show them we could do a lot more with a bigger majority. But the worst thing we could do would be to leave anything -- to deliver nothing and leave the voters wondering why they gave us the majority in the first place.

CAMEROTA: Let's move on to what the January 6 select committee is doing, particularly with Steve Bannon.

So it sounds like, next week, they're going to move forward with holding him in criminal contempt. But this is not a quick process. I mean, we have heard from all of our legal experts, as well as our reporters on the Hill, this is going to take a while to work its way through the courts.

And in some ways, Steve Bannon can slow-roll it. You just don't know. Do you worry that the clock is going to run out, basically, on being able to hold him accountable?


But I'm confident that, with Democrats in the majority and a subpoena power, that they will press, if Steve Bannon does not want to follow the law, like every other American, to put him in an orange jumpsuit and let him tell a judge why he should be above the law.

Now, Alisyn, I'm one of the few people who's actually interviewed Steve Bannon in a deposition. And it was like sitting with the Joker from "Batman" and "The Dark Knight."

The guy -- he was maniacal. He laughed at most of the questions, refused to answer most of the questions. We were in the minority, so we couldn't force him to answer any of the questions. He is doing exactly what he thinks benefits Donald Trump, because he has a consciousness of guilt.

He's not going to cooperate. We have to send a message that, if that's your posture, well, again, tell a judge, sit in a jail cell, but the rule of law has to matter in our country.

CAMEROTA: And what if Democrats aren't still in power in the House?

SWALWELL: Then we will have ourselves to blame, because these guys right now, as we see this infighting, Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy, they're circling the Capitol. They have got the gas cans in their hand. They're dousing the place. They're ready to drop the match.

So we need to deliver on Build Back Better, and then tell the voters over the next year the catastrophic results that our country would go through if these guys were in charge.

CAMEROTA: OK, Congressman Eric Swalwell, that's some vivid imagery. Thank you very much for being on the program today.

SWALWELL: No pressure.

My pleasure. Thank you.


BLACKWELL: All right, more breaking news now.

FDA advisers have just voted unanimously to recommend a booster shot of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. They recommend that it be given at least two months after people receive their first dose.

And new data from the CDC shows just how important it is that every eligible American get vaccinated. CAMEROTA: The study found that unvaccinated adults face an 11 times'

higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated adults.

Still, just a little more than half the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and the rate of those initiating their vaccination is slowing.

CNN's Nick Watt has more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do have 19 out of 19 unanimous yes-votes.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): FDA advisers just agreed with Johnson & Johnson. A second dose of their vaccine is a good idea.

DR. PENNY HEATON, JANSSEN: It will increase efficacy against severe disease. It will increase the efficacy against all symptomatic COVID. And it will increase the breadth of the immune response against variants.

WATT: And they say that second shot should come at least two months after the first.

Johnson & Johnson says their vaccine's protection against severe disease and death remains robust. But a VA study found that back in March vaccine protection against all infection was high across all the vaccines. By August, there was erosion. And look at Johnson & Johnson, fell from 88 percent to just 3.

DR. PAUL OFFIT, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: I think this, frankly, was always a two-dose vaccine. I think it's better as a two- dose vaccine.

WATT: The advisers are now discussing whether mixing and matching vaccine brands between initial doses and boosters is safe and effective.

DR. JOSE ROMERO, CHAIRMAN, CDC ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON IMMUNIZATION PRACTICES: Right now, the recommendation is to stay with the same vaccine that you received originally.

WATT: More than nine million Americans have already had a booster. Great, but this isn't.

More people are getting a booster every day than getting their first shot, and unvaccinated adults are 19 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die.

ADM. BRETT GIROIR, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: I urge everyone who's eligible for vaccines to get them.

WATT: In Chicago starting today, cops must submit to testing or prove they're vaccinated. Their union says half haven't had the shots. [14:25:00]

JOHN CATANZARA, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: But even the ones that are still, but like myself, believe that a forced mandate is absolutely wrong.

WATT: In Philadelphia, college staff, plus students and health care workers, must have had at least their first shot.

CHERYL BETTIGOLE, ACTING COMMISSIONER, PHILADELPHIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: If you're not willing to do what it takes to protect patients, maybe health care isn't the job for you.

WATT: Starting today over in Italy, every worker must have a green pass, proof of vaccination or recent recovery from COVID-19. A few people are pissed.

Finally, good news for the U.S. tourist trade. November 8, fully vaccinated foreigners can enter this country. "This policy is guided by public health," says the White House, "stringent and consistent."


WATT: So a lot of booster talk today.

Dr. del Rio was on our air earlier and summed it up perfectly, so I'm going to steal it. He said the best boost we could all get in terms of ending this pandemic is if people who haven't had their first shot just go and get it -- guys.

CAMEROTA: And those numbers are certainly very compelling about the difference between unvaccinated people and vaccinated.

BLACKWELL: Certainly.

CAMEROTA: Nick Watt, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring it down CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He's a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University.

Doctor, welcome back.

J&J was supposed to be the game-changer because it was one and done, right? But you heard from Dr. Paul Offit that it should have always been a two-shot regimen. You agree with that, now that we know that boosters recommended two months after the first shot?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Yes, it seems like that's pretty clear now.

And some of my colleagues like Peter Hotez have been saying this for a very long time. This is a two-shot vaccine. And what the FDA advisory committee today said, basically, is in contrast to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, that all people 18 and above who were vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson shot more than two months ago should get a booster.

And I think that makes great sense. Now, it'll be interesting to see what the FDA does going forward with this concept of mixing and matching, because, particularly with the Johnson & Johnson shot, you can get a much greater augmentation in the production of antibodies if you boost with a vaccine other than the J&J.

So it's an intriguing concept. The FDA has yet to discuss that.

CAMEROTA: For people who are under 65, because we have heard about how boosters will work well for people over 65, for people under 65, when should we think that our protection from our original Moderna or Pfizer will wear off?

REINER: Well, I think it's reasonable to understand that the efficacy for symptomatic infection drops for all people, whether you're over 65 or under 65.

The difference is that the folks who are over 65 have the greatest risk of a severe illness. And I think, at some point, everyone under the age of 65 will get -- speaking of the mRNA vaccines, a third shot, because we now know, as currently configured, those are very likely a three-shot vaccine.

When the FDA decide on how to and when to deliver the third shot to low-risk folks under the age of 65 is yet to be determined. But I think everyone should expect that at some point, probably in the next year, they will be receiving a third shot.

BLACKWELL: So, Doctor, we have talked a lot about boosters and third shots. Let's talk about that first shot and the CDC analysis that shows that unvaccinated people have an 11 times' higher rate of death from COVID than vaccinated Americans.

You really can't put a finer point on it than that, just how much. There will be some cases that people that contract the virus once they're vaccinated, but you will most likely survive it.

REINER: Right.

This is how I -- I look at it in a slightly different way. What you said is absolutely correct. The CDC and FDA -- the CDC basically opened up vaccination for all adults, regardless of age, in the beginning of April of last year.

And since that time, there have been about 200,000 deaths in the United States, since every American over the age of 18 was eligible, about 200,000 deaths. Every single one of those people would be alive if they were vaccinated, with just a handful of exceptions. Every one of those folks would be alive today.

I can't say it any clearer than that. You don't have to die. And, unfortunately, we have been struggling with a very dedicated disinformation campaign.