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Dem Looking To String Congressional Wins After Legislative Failures; Doctors Advise Looking For Monkeypox Cases Outside LGBTQ Population; Indiana AG Investigating Doctor Who Provide Abortion Services For 10-Year-Old Ohio Rape Victim. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 27, 2022 - 15:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: These people are out of their minds and we need to say so. That's the quote that some Democrats want to say about Republicans heading into the midterm elections.

CNN's Isaac Dovere joins us now with his reporting on the Democrats' new strategy to just paint Republicans as extremists. Isaac, tell us about it.

ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: Well look, what the Democrats are hoping for here is that they can increase and intensify the conversation about what would actually happen if Republicans were in power. Things like a federal ban on abortion being pursued in Congress if Republicans take the majority there. Lots of abortion restrictions on the state levels, as well as threats to democratic elections, whether that's at the state level or in Washington. Things that could have meaning in a lot of ways, all across the country, but also leading up to the presidential election. Also, things like gun control and what Democrats say is Republicans putting school children in danger by not passing more aggressive gun control measures.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All right. Isaac Dovere, thank you.

DOVERE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Today the Senate passed the bipartisan chips bill. Now this pumps $52 billion into the tech industry to boost research and production of computer chips. Well, now it has to go to the House where it's expected to pass, and President Biden is expected to eventually sign it into law.

CAMEROTA: From computer chips to prescription drug prices, Democrats are closing in on several legislative victories before the midterms. CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill for us. So, Manu, can Democrats claim these as wins or are these bipartisan wins.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are bipartisan wins, this bill that passed the Senate today has the support of some key Republicans, including the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell. Another key Republican in the leadership is John Cornyn who backed this measure, Todd Young, another Republican. But more than half of the Senate Republicans did vote against this over concerns that the government should not be incentivizing these industries going forward, and only one member of the Democratic caucus voted against it, that is Bernie Sanders.

But nevertheless, this bill is significant. More than $280 billion to deal with science funding and research, as well as $52 billion included as part of that to deal with the shortfall in semiconductor chip production, concerns that this money would go overseas if this money was not approved. Eventually this will be approved by the House in a matter of days.

But there are other issues that the Senate is trying to deal with, namely dealing with prescription drug prices, a bill to give Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. That has not been sorted out. It is still unclear if they could get that done before they leave for an August recess.

And the issue of gay marriage, there is a growing support among a handful of Republicans at least to back codification of same-sex marriage. And proponents of this measure believe eventually they will get the 60 votes needed to pass this into law.


RAJU: How close to 60 votes do you think you are on the same-sex marriage bill at this point?

SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): I think we're making progress. I'm not going to get into specific numbers.

RAJU: Do you have more than five Republicans, do you think?

TILLIS: Oh, yes.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): The Republicans are in a dilemma on this and many other issues. Their base demands they take a position that is not popular with the American people.

RAJU: It's possible this does not come to the floor before the August recess, would that disappoint you?



RAJU (on camera): So that last point was critical because it is uncertain the timing of this. Democrats may not have the floor time to put this -- to get this bill through the Senate, and they may have to punt on this issue until September at which point, they hope the ten Republican votes will be there -- guys.

BLACKWELL: Understood, Manu, you caught up with Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who was highlighted during this last January 6th hearing for being caught on camera scurrying off after giving in fist pump of solidarity. What did he say?

RAJU: He was defiant. He said he had no regrets for anything that he did, even though the January 6th Committee said that a police officer said that he riled up the crowd before the riot began by that fist pump, and then later showing that video of him fleeing when the rioters had breached the Capitol. He said he doesn't regret anything he did and he contended that the committee has helped with his fundraising.


RAJU: The January 6th Committee said that they talked to a Capitol police officer who said when you made that fist pump, you riled up the crowd, do you regret that fist pump because of that.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): No, no I don't. I don't regret anything that I did on that day. And you know, it's a privilege to be attacked by the January 6th Committee, and I want to say thank you for all the help with my fundraising, it's been tremendous.

RAJU: But what about the video, the fact that they did released that video and showed you running, I mean, what's your reaction to that.

HAWLEY: This is an attempt to troll, and listen, I don't regret anything I did on that day, and the reason I'm being attacked by the January 6th Committee is because I'm in their way and the stand I took is one that I don't regret, and one I won't back down from.


RAJU (on camera): And a big reason why he was criticized that day is that he became the first Senator to say that he would vote to object to the certification of Pennsylvania's electoral votes. That led to a debate in each chamber of Congress about whether to overturn Pennsylvania, ultimately there was an objection to Arizona as well. But the criticism is he gave false hope to the rioters who came into the Capitol that day, but as you can see from Hawley there, no regrets for what he did, saying he did nothing wrong -- guys.

CAMEROTA: Manu Raju, thank you very much for catching up with him and bringing that to us.

OK. So monkeypox cases are increasing nationwide, and the administration's latest action to get the disease under control, we'll explain it next.



BLACKWELL: The CDC is reporting a new case of monkeypox has been diagnosed in a pregnant woman in the U.S. Now, she is one of more than 3,500 people across this country who have contracted the virus.

CAMEROTA: Today the FDA cleared the way for additional vaccines to be distributed in an effort to contain the spread. And the White House is considering appointing a monkeypox czar. A growing number of medical experts warn that this virus may quickly spread outside of its current risk group of gay and bisexual men.

Let's talk about this with Dr. Ali Khan the Dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's College of public health and the former director of Public Health and Preparedness and Response at the CDC. He's very qualified is what I'm trying to say, folks.

Dr. Khan, great to see you as always. So, I'm still confused about the warnings coming from public health experts because just this weekend, the deputy director of the CDC's pathogens and pathology department said 99 percent of our cases still report male-to-male sexual contact. So is that still the primary risk group, or is it spreading to, as we've heard, you know, heterosexual women, children, et cetera.

DR. ALI KHAN, DEAN, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER'S COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yes, Alisyn, spot on, that's those current numbers but please recognize that's a reflection of where testing is happening. And we do know, for example, we've had two kids infected. You just report a pregnant woman who is infected and fortunately the infant did well. We've women who are infected. So, what needs to happen is that clinicians as they see patients with the appropriate history and rash, they need to be asking the question and make sure that they're tested if they suspect that it may be monkeypox, and we're in a much better position now, and I think we can do about 10,000 tests a day now.

BLACKWELL: Should people other than men who have sex with men get the vaccine at this point?

KHAN: Victor, no, the only people who should get the vaccine at this point should be those who have obviously had contact, have been contacted by the health department that they have been exposed, those who are at high risk. Anybody else does not need to be vaccinated. Remember, this is not spread by casual contact.

CAMEROTA: So, is there a particular concern for pregnant women?

KHAN: Yes, there is a particular concern for pregnant women because from data that we've seen in Africa, the fetus can be severely affected. So, there is particular concern. There's also particular concern for very young children and for individuals who don't have intact immune responses.

BLACKWELL: The health and human services secretary described his concern as a ten out of ten. We know that tee pox, which is approved for treatment of smallpox is now being used on a compassionate basis. But doctors say it is hard to find for people with monkeypox. Where are the trials to determine if this is most effective or if there's something else that would be more effective if this is at a 10 out of 10 scale?

KHAN: So, this is actually the good news part of this story, that thanks to the investments that the U.S. has made in preparedness, specifically for smallpox, we have this vaccines that we've talked about, and we have these drugs that can be used. Fortunately, CDC has done a lot of work to make tee pox more available for individuals who need it. And now we're getting more data that shows that it does work. There was some --there was some lots of animal data. There was some human data that shows that this works, and now we're collecting additional data. But good news is that this is available and we have a lot of it.

CAMEROTA: But, Dr. Khan, what should the general public be doing right now to avoid getting monkeypox.

KHAN: For the general public, what they need to be doing is making sure if they have suspicious rash and they have a concern that they make sure their let their clinician know. Otherwise, they should probably be making sure that they're protecting themselves from COVID these days.

BLACKWELL: President Biden has now tested negative for COVID, he says he feels great, he's getting back to work. He will wear a mask for the next ten days. He's completed the course of Paxlovid, but we know there is this phenomenon of the Paxlovid rebound.


Where you test negative and then test positive again. Is that significant enough of a concern that his doctors should be doing anything special?

KHAN: There's only a 5 percent risk of a rebound from Paxlovid, and that rebound tends to be very mild, and the president's story is the story I'd like to see for every American, which is their vaccines are up to date. If they think that they're infected, they immediately get tested and they immediately get treated if they're at high risk, and that they use a mask in the right circumstances.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Ali khan, always great to see you, thank you.

KHAN: Always a pleasure.


The Indiana doctor who helped a 10-year-old rape victim seek an abortion says that she feels threatened since the story gained national attention, as she is facing an investigation from the state's Attorney General.



BLACKWELL: The doctor who provided abortion services for a 10-year-old alleged rape victim is now being investigated by the Indiana Attorney General according to a lawyer for the doctor.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Caitlin Bernard denies any wrongdoing and last night, she spoke about how quickly things have changed since Roe was overturned.


DR. CAITLIN BERNARD, DOCTOR WHO PERFORMED ABORTION FOR 10-YEAR-OLD ALLEGED RAPE VICTIM: I think we're at a time in our country where people are starting to realize the impact of these anti-abortion laws. And now, when it's finally become impossible for some people, I think people realize that that is actually not what they intended. We're hearing stories all across the country of people who are in dire circumstances, complications of their pregnancies or traumatic situations, and are needing abortion care and not able to get it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it worse than you imagined?

BERNARD: It's worse faster.


CAMEROTA: CNN's Alexandra Field has more. So, Alexandra, does the Attorney General have any case against this doctor?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he certainly says that he does. He's been saying it in the press. He announced it earlier this month that he would investigate. And in the new statement to CNN today, he is saying that he very much continues pursuing that investigation right now.

He says this: My heart breaks for this little girl -- talking about the 10-year-old of course -- as the Attorney General, I'm duty bound to investigate issues brought to my attention over which I have authority. Especially when they involve children. And as I said originally, we will see this duty through to verify that all of the relevant reporting and privacy laws were followed by all relevant parties.

Now initially, earlier this month, the Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita said he was investigating Dr. Bernard to see whether she had properly reported the abortion. CNN and others obtained documents from the state health department showing that she did report the abortion according to the state's timeframe. Her attorneys at the time said she acted fully in accordance with the law in providing medical care. They went on to send a cease and desist letter to the Attorney General, citing defamation.

And now while the Attorney General has been speaking publicly about the investigation, Dr. Bernard's attorneys say they have now received their first communication from the Attorney General's office about that investigation.

The statement from that attorney saying: It is unclear to us what is the nature of the investigation and what authority he has to investigate Dr. Bernard.

So, this all continues, and we should point out, it continues at a time when Indiana's lawmakers are in a special session debating a bill that is likely to enact a widespread ban on abortion in Indiana with very limited exceptions for cases of rape.

Very high stakes in all of this. Alexandra, I know you'll stay on it. Thank you very much. Now to this, the NYPD is searching for three unidentified individuals

seen in surveillance video as it investigates the alleged robbery of a flashy Brooklyn pastor. The incident was caught on a live stream of the service last Sunday.


Yo, yo. All right, all right, all right.


BLACKWELL: Bishop Whitehead says the thieves also stole his wife's jewelry and he's offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those thieves.


LAMOR MILLER-WHITEHEAD, PASTER, LEADERS OF TOMORROW CHURCH: I want justice. I want these men arrested. And I know somebody knows something. And I just want to make sure that y'all know that I'm invested into this.


CAMEROTA: Once again, did you see the person, the man sitting on the left of the screen there, who is very impassive? Maybe he was just frozen and shocked.

BLACKWELL: And that happens sometimes in crisis.

CAMEROTA: That does happen. But people have noted that this -- so the bishop is reacting -- the pastor is reacting as you would expect. Scared, and then the person on the left is not reacting as you would expect.

BLACKWELL: The whole story is bizarre. That this even happened and he's wearing a million dollars' worth of jewelry. But we know no one was hurt here, so that's important, but hopefully they get to the bottom of this.

CAMEROTA: Yes, if you know anything about this case, the New York police would like to hear from you. Call 911.

OK, meanwhile, after months of internal debate, the U.S. has a potential plan to trade a convicted Russian armed dealer for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. We have details on this offer straight ahead.


BLACKWELL: The Mega Millions jackpot is now above $1 billion after no winner was called last night. Third largest Mega Millions jackpot now in the game's history. Lump sum cash payout, $602.5 million.

CAMEROTA: Here's what you can do with that amount of money. You can buy your own private island -- I knew that -- you can buy 133 Lamborghinis if you needed that many, or you could take more than 1,000 trips to space aboard Virgin Galactic's Space Ship 2. You would be richer than Beyonce, Cristiano Ronaldo, Taylor Swift, and Jennifer Lopez, but probably not altogether.


And you would be more than twice as rich as Leonardo DiCaprio -- he has a lot of dough -- Tom Brady, and Serena Williams. The next drawing will be held on Friday. Back to the Quick Mart I go.

BLACKWELL: You know, so, we're not counting the spouses here, right? This is the stat that blows my mind. A million seconds is 12 days. A billion seconds is almost 32 years.