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Bill Clinton Hospitalized Tuesday to Treat Blood Infection; House Panel Moves to Hold Bannon in Criminal Contempt; Chicago Fight Police Union Over Officers' Vaccinations; Italian Workers Now Required to Show Green Pass; Growing Fears Lebanon May Be Slipping Toward Civil War; Strong Winds and High Temps Increasing Fire Danger. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 15, 2021 - 04:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and right around the world. I'm Isa Soares in London. And just ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM.

Former President Bill Clinton is in the hospital recovering from a blood infection. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has all the details for you.

Plus, lawmakers investigating the Capitol riot have a stern message for one of Donald Trump's former top political advisers.

And China takes the next step in its space race with the United States. We'll give you rare access to its launch center ahead of a key mission.

ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Isa Soares.

SOARES: Hello, everyone, welcome. It is Friday, October 15th, and we begin with news breaking overnight where former president Bill Clinton is recovering in a California hospital now. Now he's been there since Tuesday, being treated for an infection in his bloodstream. Doctors say he's in good spirits and he is responding well. CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta has all the details for you.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What we know is that on Tuesday, the President who's in Southern California for a foundation event, he was not feeling well. The former president said he was just sort of fatigued and not feeling well, but it was concerning enough to him and to his staff, that they took him to the hospital. University of California Irvine, where he was admitted to the hospital and subsequently diagnosed with a blood infection. As they investigated further, they found that this was something known as euro sepsis. That means a urinary tract infection that then spread to his bloodstream.

A couple important things, the President, former president has a history of heart disease. He had a heart operation in 2004. He had stents placed in 2010. But talking to the chief of medicine out there, Dr. Alpesh Amin, and his primary care doctor, Dr. Lisa Bartek, they said this is not related to his heart, they were definitive about that.

Also, everyone tested for COVID nowadays, especially if you're coming in for some sort of infection, and they say this is not COVID. The President has received his vaccine and has received his booster. They say this was definitively and the isolated blood infection related to his urinary tract. He was then started on antibiotics in an IV form. And they say he's responding well to those. He started feeling better. His white blood cell count, started to trend downwards. And they also found that his fever started to go down as well.

So, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, now Friday, he is receiving a few days of these IV antibiotics and may be able to get discharged either later on today, tomorrow at that point on oral antibiotics. That's what the doctors are telling me. So that's obviously a good sign.

Now I will point out that, you know, when someone's transitions from IV antibiotics to oral antibiotics, it's typically because they feel like the IV antibiotics have sort of done most of the work. And now the oral antibiotics can finish off the rest of the treatment course. As we get more details about what's going out, the former president we'll certainly bring them to you.


SOARES: Sanjay Gupta there. Well, Clinton's spokesman said in a statement he is on the mend, in good spirits and incredibly thankful to the doctors, the nurses and staff providing him with excellent care. Of course, we wish him a speedy recovery.

I want to take you to Washington now. U.S. lawmakers are moving forward this morning. Criminal contempt charges against Steve Bannon. The former Trump aide refused to show up for a deposition for the House Committee investigating the Capitol riot. Meanwhile, new video -- take a look at this -- shows the violent mob that day pulling police officer Michael Fanone from inside the Capitol out into the crowd. Prosecutors say the man pulling him yelled, I got one. Rioters stole Fanone's badge and radio and threatened to kill him with his own gun. And it's hard to see, but prosecutors say a rioter is jabbing a taser into Fanone's neck.

Well, Steve Bannon did not work at the White House on that day on January 6, but he was in touch with Donald Trump. Investigators want to ask him about comments like these the days before the riot. Take a listen.


STEVE BANNON, BANNON'S WAR ROOM PODCAST JANUARY 5: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. And tomorrow it's game day. I met so many people through my life said, man, if I was at the revolution I would be with Washington at Trenton. Well, you know, this is for your time in history.


SOARES: What does that all mean for Bannon? Ryan nobles has more now on this story.



RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On deadline day for Trump allies to cooperate, the January 6 Select Committee made good on their threat to, quote, not mess around. The committee chairman, Bennie Thompson, announcing the committee is moving ahead to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt.

The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceedings to refer Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt, Thompson said in a statement. That kicks off a process. Once the committee votes on it, it will go to the entire House of Representatives before being referred to the Department of Justice to act on.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Today we have an Attorney General that respects the rule of law, who upholds the principle no one is above the law. We expect those subpoenas to be enforced and enforced with prosecution.

NOBLES (voice-over): The former White House counsellor and Trump booster, Bannon went to great lengths to defy the wishes of the committee. Sending them two different letters to say he was deferring to the former president who directed him not to testify because the information is protected by executive privilege. A claim legal experts don't buy.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The other thing about Steve Bannon is his legal claims and defenses here are the weakest because he was not an executive branch employee at the time of these events. So, any executive privilege claim he may raise here is just completely ridiculous.

NOBLES (voice-over): While the committee on Bannon, they're offering some grace to the other three subpoena targets. The depositions of former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former DOD official Kash Patel have been postponed because they are engaging with the committee. Warning they will only tolerate the delays up to a point. Committee member Adam Schiff taking aim at Patel.

SCHIFF: Patel was a former Nunes staffer who was a deposition of the principal in the Trump administration that the more willing you were to do anything the president wanted, no matter how unscrupulous --

KARA SWISHER: It's call --

SCHIFF: -- The higher and faster you could rise. And he rose phoenix- like through the Trump administration. One position after another, even being contemplated to take over the C.I.A.

KARA SWISHER: Right. So basically, Remora Fish action.

SCHIFF: Well, I kind of view it more like an evil Zelig.

NOBLES (voice-over): The committee has also postponed the deposition of the former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino because they were only able to serve him last Friday.

Meanwhile, the White House will not stand in the way of the committee's request to obtain thousands of documents from the Trump administration from the National Archives that Trump also claims are protected under executive privilege. The move likely triggering another legal battle in the fight to uncover who is responsible for the insurrection.

NOBLES: A referral for criminal contempt of Congress is very unique. In fact, the last time that it happened was during the Reagan administration. But the select committee hopes that it is enough to convince anyone looking to defy their subpoena, that they are taking this very seriously. And to that end, the committee chairman, Bennie Thompson, telling CNN on Thursday, that there is one person they have not ruled out a subpoena for, and that's the former President Donald Trump.

Ryan nobles, CNN, on Capitol Hill.


SOARES: Well, some legal experts say subpoena for the former president is unlikely at best. So, CNN asked January 6 committee how realistic it is for him. Take a listen to his response.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): It is realistic. I mean, we're not going to jump to doing that immediately because obviously that's big. There's a lot of people that know a lot. But I'm going to tell you, I know the members of this committee. We've been meeting a lot. We're talking about these issues. We are determined to get to the bottom of what happened. I think what you're seeing with the potential criminal referral by -- of Steve Bannon by the committee, hopefully if people misinterpret anything else, interpret this. We're serious about this. And anybody that is either being subpoenaed now or will be in the future, think twice before you reject a lawful order from Congress.


SOARES: Now, if Steve Bannon is found to be in contempt, he could face a fine and up to 12 months in prison. The process is seldom invoked and rarely leads to jail time. But a former attorney for House Democrats says the threat is already bringing results.


NORMAN EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They're getting a ton of information, an ingredient in that is not just the carrot, but the stick. And this Bannon contempt, however long it may take, is the stick. I think it will bring other witnesses to step forward. So, it's a good move.


SOARES: Well, Donald Trump released a statement saying the January 6 committee should hold itself in criminal contempt. He says Republicans won't vote in 2022 or 2024 unless the issue of election fraud is, he says, solved.


Now, vaccine advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have endorsed Moderna's COVID booster shots. They're recommending emergency use for adults over 65, and those at risk for severe disease and exposure. The advisers will vote on Johnson & Johnson's booster shot in the coming hours.

And in November FDA advisers will discuss an antiviral pill. Merck and Ridgeback's capsule is meant to treat mild to moderate cases of COVID in high-risk adults.

Meanwhile, in Florida the governor is threatening to immediately contest the U.S. government's vaccine mandates for federal workers. It's scheduled to take effect next month.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): They're trying to exercise control over people and they are trying to create two classes of citizens. I think some of it is politics. I think they think that the people that don't want to be vaccinated are their political opponents.


SOARES: Well, meanwhile in Chicago, a battle is brewing between the city and the police union over vaccinations. Today is the deadline for officers to tell the city if they've been vaccinated against COVID or be put on unpaid leave. But the union says the requirement will lead to many officers being off the streets at a time when gun violence is skyrocketing. Omar Jimenez reports.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D) CHICAGO: Our expectation is that people will comply.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is doubling down.

LIGHTFOOT: It's pretty straightforward, are you vaccinated or not? If you are, you upload your information. If you're not, then you go to a separate page and you indicate that and that you'll be taking the testing option.

JIMENEZ (voice over): At the center of it all is the city's requirement to disclose vaccine status by Friday. City employees including police officers who don't comply would be placed on unpaid leave.


JIMENEZ (voice over): The president of the police union claim this week without cooperation, it could lead to a police force at 50 percent or less this weekend. Now telling officers to refuse direct orders on the mandate from police leadership and even recorded on body camera.

CATANZARA: The leadership is so ridiculously poor at the top of this department who are not pushing back on this Mayor, saying stop it already. But they're not. They're literally doing whatever she tells them to do.

JIMENEZ (voice over): The leadership at the Chicago Police Department called the policy mandatory.

BRIAN MCDERMOTT, CHIEF OF OPERATIONS, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: I know the residents and businesses have expressed concerns that the department will not be properly staffed heading into the weekend. I can assure you that this is not true. Chicago Police Department will be fully staffed and ready to protect the citizens of the city.

JIMENEZ (voice over): On vaccinations, employees who are not fully vaccinated by October 15th, including employees who have received an approved medical or religious exemption must undergo regular COVID-19 testing on a twice weekly basis, with tests separated by three to four days until the end of the year. This standoff comes after all four Chicago police officers who died in the line of duty in 2020 died because of COVID.

Even the previous Chicago police union president died of COVID earlier this month. But shootings are up 11 percent compared to last year and up almost 70 compared to the year before, leaving no room for a shortage of officers heading into the weekend when violence typically surges.

In a letter to Mayor Lightfoot, two city aldermen are urging her to drop the mandate.

We can lose officers if they get severely sick or die from COVID-19 or we may confront a further unraveling of violence on our streets if officers decide not to work because of this mandate. For now, we are asking you to reconsider. The Mayor not backing down.

LIGHTFOOT: But our goal is to create a safe workplace and the best way that we can do that, the biggest tool that we have is by getting people fully vaccinated.

JIMENEZ (VOICE-OVER): Omar Jimenez, CNN, Chicago.


SOARES: Well, the U.S. will donate more than 17 million Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to the African Union. U.S. President Joe Biden made the announcement when he met with the Kenya -- President of Kenya on Thursday. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is in high demand in Africa due to its single-dose vaccination style and flexibility really in storage as well as transportation. The move is part of the Biden administration's effort to help countries around the world struggling with COVID outbreaks.

Now, Italy is ramping up its vaccine mandate in a major way. Starting today all public as well as private sector employees need a so-called green pass to go to work. Those who the flaunt the rules will face a steep fine as well as suspension. Barbie Nadeau is live for us in Rome with the latest. And Barbie, it is one of the toughest vaccine mandates in the world. How is it being received there? I mean, does it have the support of most Italians?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, you know, there is a great deal of compliance. This is the green pass. Everyone who pulls a paycheck has to have this as of today. There have been protests, though, by those non-vax components of the society. We saw violent protests last weekend. We are expecting demonstrations this afternoon as well.


You know, most of the people in Italy have been vaccinated. They've already started the booster program here. So, there is a lot of support for it.

But those who are against it are very, very vocal as we saw last weekend. They broke into the labor union headquarters, you know, destroyed a lot of property. And this afternoon they're not expecting big, big crowds, but we'll see.

This does become very difficult if you aren't vaccinated. You have to prove a negative test. That has to be done at your own expense. So, it becomes very difficult for those who don't want to be vaccinated. And the people who are against it just don't think the government should be involved in people's personal health to such an extent.

SOARES: Yes, Barbie for us in Rome. Thanks very much. Barbie Nadeau there.

Now, Lebanon's military is out in force after the capital was rocked by deadliest clashers in years. And with an economy already in tatters, many say the country is drifting closer to civil war. We'll have that story for you just ahead.

Plus, fire crews are working to contain a new wildfire in California. Why officials say this outbreak was not an accident. We'll have both the stories for you after a very short break. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.


SOARES: It's Friday morning in Beirut shortly after 11:00 in fact.

[04:20:00] And a day of national mourning for the victims of Thursday's street violence for several hours as bullets flew everywhere. It felt like Lebanon could again be plunging head long into another civil war. Now there is an easy calm over the city as soldiers patrol the streets.

Just 24 hours earlier, this was the scene that many fear is a preview of what's to come. Heavily armed militants battling in the streets. At least six people were killed and more than 30 wounded making it the deadliest violence there in more than a decade.

Let's put it all into perspective for us. CNN's Ben Wedeman joins us now live from Lebanon's capital. And Ben, give us a sense of what the mood is like today, what you're seeing. Because of course, this investigation into the port blast isn't over yet.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the mood is one of in a sense resignation to yet another step on the way to the other collapse of Lebanon as a state. The army was able to restore calm in that area. And it's important to stress that it's not as if there was fighting all over Beirut. It was in a very specific limited area.

So, the army has restored calm, and today as you say, it's a national day of mourning. But people are really -- they were already in a state of shock given that the economy has basically utterly collapsed. People's buying power is about a 10th of what it was two years ago in August of last year. You had the Beirut port blast that killed more than 200 people and left more than 300,000 people homeless for more than a year.

Until very recently you had no government because of political squabbling. And the fighting yesterday in a limited area of Beirut really was just another blow to the hopes that people had that now that Lebanon has a government, that somehow the worst had been gotten through.

No, in fact, yesterday was a reminder that things can get even worse than they already are. It's important to stress that given the economic situation, not only in Lebanon, but throughout the Middle East, there just isn't the money to fund a civil war. You don't have the -- you have Syria and Iraq which are much more profitable proxy states, so to speak, than Lebanon which is a relatively small country.

So even though people were shocked by some of the images yesterday of children hiding under their desks in school, of people huddling in their corridors trying to hide from stray bullets, a scene that many people lived through during the civil war, the feeling is we're not at the edge of a civil war here, but as I said, the collapse continues and yesterday it accelerated -- Isa.

SOARES: Important context there from our Ben Wedeman in Beirut. Thanks very much, Ben. Good to see you.

Now, hundreds more are fleeing their homes as lava spews from the volcano La Palma in the Canary Islands. We've been showing you images there practically every day. It has been erupting nearly a month now. 6,000 people have already been displaced. The lava has destroyed more than 1,000 structures. 100 earthquakes have hit the eruption zone with the strongest measuring magnitude 4.5.

In California, warm temperatures and strong winds are increasing the danger in Sacramento County where this fire has flared up. Officials say it was human caused, but exactly how is still unclear. So far it has burned at least 50 acres, destroying some camp sites used by homeless people.

CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam has more for you -- Derek.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, what you were looking at there was one of the many fires taking place over the Western U.S. But now we have over 40 large active fires still burning out of control across the Western parts of the country. In fact, we're going to focus in on southern California today and through the early parts of the weekend for a potential Santa Ana wind event to take place. That's why we have an elevated fire risk across this area, including Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.

Winds gusting around 25 to 30 miles per hour in some instances, very low relative humidity, so the vegetation extremely dry, especially with our ongoing drought continuing across the area. Looking closely at the forecast, wind gusts across Southern California, there is Los Angeles, there's Santa Barbara. You can see in some of those higher elevation ranges, we could easily see winds in excess of 25, 30 miles per hour.

Again, this is going to potentially cause some problems, especially if we get that ignition. So, erratic fire can take place.


High pressure building in across the Great Basin funneling that dry air up and over the mountain ranges. It gets funneled through the mountain overpasses and into the canyons. And so, of course, unfortunately, that wind also dries out and heats up as it does so as it goes down slope into the greater Los Angeles area. Some of the most populated parts of California.

Now, here's a look at the ongoing fires over So Cal as we speak. The Alisal fire at just over 16,500 acres burnt with 11 percent containment. We do not want to see the winds pickup in Santa Barbara.

Look at this, very interesting. At the start of the year 34 percent of California was in the highest two levels of drought. That being he can extreme to exceptional. Fast forward to current date, you can see just how much the drought conditions have overspread much of California. The good news is climate prediction center has above average precipitation over the next ten days for the central and southern portions of California. Isa, back to you.

SOARES: Thank you very much, Derek.

Now, straight ahead right here on the show, police in Norway now say the deadly bow and arrow attack appears to have been an act of terror. What we are learning about the suspect next.

Plus, three Chinese astronauts are making history for the country's space program. An inside look at the next mission after the break.


SOARES: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Isa Soares. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top stories this hour.

The January 6 Select Committee could decide as soon as Tuesday to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt. Bannon isn't cooperating with the panel investigating the U.S. Capitol attack.

And former President Bill Clinton is said to be on the mend in a California hospital. He's being treated after urinary tract infection spread to his bloodstream. Of course, we'll have much more on both those stories in roughly 30 minutes on EARLY START.