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State House Committee Visits Robb Elementary School; Ex-Trump Adviser Pleads Not Guilty to Two Contempt of Congress Charges; FDA Authorizes Moderna, Pfizer Vaccines For Kids As Young As Six Months. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 17, 2022 - 10:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: New today, the Texas State House committee that is investigating the tragic mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, is having a part of their second meeting later. They will hear testimony from law enforcement and others related to the facts and circumstances, all that unfolded on May 24th.

Our Rosa Flores has been following all of this on the ground for weeks and joins me now live from Uvalde. Can you tell us what is happening today and also what this committee has learned so far?


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, we don't know a lot of what this committee has learned because most of the testimony, all of the testimony is behind closed doors. We do have public sessions where the committee members gavel in and gavel out, and usually make comments. So, what we know is very limited, but this committee is expected to issue a report once everything is finalized.

What is happening today is the committee members are visiting Robb Elementary School. They visited that somber memorial there at the school. And they will also be hearing testimony from a fourth grade teacher, a paraprofessional, and at least three police officers from the school district.

Now, clearly missing from those list of police officers from the school district is Pete Arredondo, the incident commander, the chief of police there. We will, of course, continue to see if he will be added at some point. I reached out to his attorney, asking if Pete Arredondo was going to voluntarily testify before this committee, and his attorney said, no comment.

Now, yesterday, during public comments, the chair of this committee mentioned that while the police officers from the school district are cooperating with the committee, the chair said that when it comes to the city of Uvalde police officers, the chair said, quote, they are a question mark, meaning it is unclear whether or not these police officers from the city will be testifying voluntarily. Now, it is important to note that this committee has subpoena power, so if these individuals do not voluntarily show up to city hall here in Uvalde, to testify, the committee members could issue a subpoena and force them to show up, whether it is here or in Austin.

Now, about the grief in this community, it continues here. You can feel it. A lot of the parents, though, are transitioning into anger and into demanding answers. They want accountability. A lot of them are still not speaking out, a lot of people in the community are still not speaking out.

But there is one parent that is being very vocal. His name is Javier Casarez. He says that he promised his daughter that he was going to fight for answers and he's very frustrated by the changing of stories by officials here. He describes his daughter as a sassy firecracker and he said that he's demanding answers. Take a listen


JAVIER CASAREZ, FATHER OF UVALDE VICTIM, JACKLYN CASAREZ: I'm going to fight for my daughter. I couldn't care less what anybody else thinks. I'm going to do it because I promised my daughter, she would be proud and she knows that daddy keeps his word.


FLORES: And, Poppy, again, we're still here, this hearing is ongoing by the Texas House committee that is investigating the shooting. There will be testimony throughout today and these hearings will continue next week. Poppy?

HARLOW: Rosa Flores, we're so glad that you remain on the ground trying to get answers there for those parents who deserve to know everything that happened that day. Thank you very much.

Well, right now, authorities in Alabama are giving an update on yesterday's shooting. This happened at a Birmingham area church in the evening, left two people dead, one other hospitalized. The attack took place at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills. It was during a small church potluck last night.

The victims, we just learned the names, Walter Rainey, 84 years old, of Aaronville (ph), died at the scene, Sarah Yeager, 75, died at the hospital, and one female, 84, still hospitalized. That's what we know right now.

Police say that the suspect was subdued by an attendee of the potluck dinner. That suspect has not been identified publicly but is in police custody. There has been no word yet on motive.

Meantime, U.K. courts approve sending WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange back to the United States. But WikiLeaks says, not so fast. Why his legal battle is far from over, next.



HARLOW: Happening now, former Trump White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro has pleaded not guilty to two charges related to the House select committee's ongoing January 6th investigation. He has now hired defense attorneys. He previously was Pro Say, he was representing himself in court. If convicted, he would face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one month.

Let's go straight to Sara Murray, who has been following all of this. He just spoke or is maybe still speaking outside the courthouse, right, Sara?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He just exited the courthouse. He has wisely hired some attorneys who are also speaking. And they said that they think this prosecution is outrageous. Of course, Peter Navarro pleaded not guilty to his two counts of contempt of Congress for not showing up, not providing documents.

Interestingly, when he was in court, his lawyers tried to argue that he shouldn't go to trial until next year because Navarro has a book coming out later this year he wants to promote and going to trial later this year could inhibit his ability to do that. The government objected to that.

Right now, they're looking at potentially a November trial date for Peter Navarro, and it will not surprise you that he came out of court, of course, promoting his book.


HARLOW: Yes. I heard him say it is on Amazon. All right, Sara, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

The British government has signed off on an order to extradite Julian Assange to the U.S. to face espionage charges. The WikiLeaks founder is wanted in the United States for publishing thousands of classified files and diplomatic cables in 2010. Assange has faced up to 175 years in prison if extradited and convicted.

Let's go to my colleague, Nic Robertson, he joins me now from London. It's really significant but it seems like Assange, his legal team, are saying, it is far -- their legal battle against this extradition is far from over.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. They say they're going to try every avenue. His wife, who he met and married while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy for seven years, hiding out in London, escaping extradition at that time to Sweden and obviously extradition proceedings to the United States before he was removed from there and put in a British jail, which is where he is now.

His wife and lawyers are saying they'll try everything they can. They have 14 days to appeal. They can appeal to the British high courts, the British magistrate's courts as well. I think The expectation is that there could be some delays in the process. But at the moment, you know, his family sort of relying on what decisions that were made in lower courts previously that have been overturned, that the ruling would be oppressive and that ruling was made over a year-and-a-half ago by a lower court and said that this would be unfair to Julian Assange's mental wellbeing.

Well, the latest review has said, you know, that the British home office is using as a basis, the extradition is saying, look, that his mental wellbeing will be taken care of in the United States. They're going to appeal -- the family, they're going to appeal to Australian government because, of course, he is an Australian citizen, that they say that, you know, potentially the change in government there could bring a different view on Julian Assange's situation.

But it does seem as if the sort of road really is running out. The process has gone through the British judicial system and the signoff now coming from the home office really does signal that the road is shutting down.

HARLOW: That's fascinating, significant development, absolutely. Nic Robertson for us in London, thank you, Nic.

So, also a significant development for children and COVID vaccines here in the United States, in the last hour the FDA has authorized emergency use of Moderna and Pfizer's COVID vaccine for the youngest, six months and older. Shots won't go in arms just yet but we're almost there. We'll tell you the last hurdle, next.



HARLOW: Welcome back. New this morning, the FDA has authorized emergency use of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines for children as young as six months. Shots cannot be given until the CDC's vaccine advisers vote on whether to recommend them. That vote is scheduled for tomorrow. Then the CDC director has to give the final go ahead. But we are close, right?

Let's go to CNN Health Reporter Jacqueline Howard for more on this. Can you tell I'm excited for my four-year-old?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: And I'm excited for my four- year-old niece, Poppy.

HARLOW: There you go.

HOWARD: Yes, there are many excited parents out there. But as you said, right now, vaccine advisers to the CDC are meeting to discuss what the recommendations will be around these vaccines.

But based on the authorization, here's what we know so far. For the Pfizer -- excuse me, for the Moderna vaccine, that is administered as two doses, four weeks apart, as we see on the screen, and then for the Pfizer vaccine for young children, that's administered as three doses. The first two doses are three weeks apart. The third dose is given eight weeks later.

And these are child-sized doses. So, for the Moderna vaccine, that dosage is 25 micrograms per dose for six months to five years old. And as we see here, the dosage increases by age. And then for the Pfizer vaccine, that dosage is three micrograms for the youngest kids. And then we see here for 5 to 11, it is 10, and then for 12 and older, it is 30.

So, that's what we know based on the authorization so far, Poppy. But, as you said, next, we'll hear from the CDC on what the recommendations are around these vaccines.

HARLOW: Right. And then the question is, a lot of states have preordered them, right, just thinking about when I can call the doctor's office on Monday morning.

HOWARD: Correct, yes. So, we could see vaccines being administered next week, as soon as possibly Monday or Tuesday. And the sites where most of the vaccines will be administered will be at pediatricians' offices and pharmacies. So, that's what we can expect, you know, next week as we see all of this unfold. Poppy?

HARLOW: Jacqueline Howard, thank you so much for your reporting.

And thanks to all of you for joining us today and all week. Have a safe, good weekend. We will see you back here on Monday morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

At This Hour with Boris Sanchez, in for Kate Bolduan, is next.



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Kate Bolduan.

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