Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Biden Offers Convicted Russian Arms Dealer In Exchange For Brittney Griner And Paul Whelan; Ukraine Targets Key Russian-Held Bridge In Kherson; Russia Cuts Gas Through Nord Stream 1 to 20 Percent Of Capacity; Pentagon Preparing In Case Pelosi Travels To Taiwan; House Jan. 6 Committee In Discussions With Mike Pompeo For Testimony; Iraqi Protesters Storm Green Zone To Reject Nomination Of New Premier. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 28, 2022 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Wherever you are around the world, welcome to CNN Newsroom. Coming up this hour. Let's make a deal, an offer from the U.S. one Merchant of Death and notorious Russian arms dealer in return for an American basketball star and a former U.S. Marine.

Talk therapy, President Biden and Xi he will speak by phone in the coming hours their first conversation in months overshadowed by Speaker Pelosi's possible trip to Taiwan.

Did we learn nothing from a global pandemic, as monkeypox spreads around the world facing its first viral outbreaks is the coronavirus. It seems we're repeating many of the mistakes from the past.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.

VAUSE: One of the world's most notorious arms dealers could soon be freed from a U.S. prison in exchange for two Americans detained in Russia. As first reported by CNN. The Biden administration has offered up Viktor Bout in return for American basketball style Brittany Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan. Bout who is also known as the Merchant of Death, is serving a 25-year sentence for selling military grade weapons to terrorists and conspiring to kill Americans.

The Kremlin has long called for Bout's release, but for now has not agreed to this exchange. White House officials say President Joe Biden was directly involved in the offer.


JOHN KIRBY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONLA SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON: The President and his team are willing to take extraordinary steps to bring our people home, as we've demonstrated with Trevor Reed, and that's what we're doing right here. It's actively happening now.


VAUSE: Just hours before word of a possible prisoner swap, two time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner testified for the first time in her criminal trial. She described events leading to her arrest as well as dealing with language barriers and the Russian legal system. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has details.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A troubling site and a Russian court WNBA star Brittney Griner in a cage testifying at her trial for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs into Russia.

The Biden administration saying it is urgently acting and is offering Moscow a deal to get both Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan out of Russian custody.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying he'll speak to Russia's Foreign Minister for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I plan to raise an issue that's a top priority for us. The release of Americans Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, who have been wrongfully detained and must be allowed to come home. We put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate the release.

PLEITGEN: Sources briefed on the matter told CNN that in return for Griner and Whelan was detained in Moscow in 2018 and sentenced to 16 years for alleged espionage. The Biden administration is offering to release a Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, who is currently serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S. for conspiring to kill Americans and with the Kremlin has in the past demanded be released.

When asked by CNN is Kylie Atwood, the Secretary refused to go into details, but confirmed President Biden personally signed off on the offer.

BLINKEN: He signs off on any proposal that that we make any certainly when it comes to Americans who are being arbitrarily detained abroad, including in this specific case.

PLEITGEN: The U.S. considers both Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner to be wrongfully detained by Russia. Brittney Griner took the stand for the first time in her trial outside Moscow on Wednesday, saying she accidentally packed cartridges containing cannabis oil into her luggage as she traveled to Russia. She also said her rights were never read to her when she was questioned at a Moscow airport. And she was told to sign documents that she did not understand.

BRITTNEY GRINER, WNBA STAR: There were documents that I have to find. I can only assume that they were about the search and the cartridges. We had to use my phone for Google translate for him to be able to tell me a little bit. PLEITGEN: Russian courts have an extremely high conviction rate but the WNBA's star lawyer criticized the way authorities treated her case.

ALEXANDER BOYKOV, LAWYER FOR BRITTNEY GRINER: I'll just say that the detention, the search, arrest, they were different.

PLEITGEN: At the end of another trial day, Brittney Griner was led out the way she came in in handcuffs as she and her supporters hoped the Biden administration could secure a release and end the ordeal that's been going on for over five months. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.



VAUSE: Jill Dougherty is a CNN contributor and adjunct professor at Georgetown University. And for almost a decade, she was CNN's Moscow bureau chief, it's good to see you again, Jill.


VAUSE: OK, so this is long history of the Russians and the Americans conducting prisoner swaps. There are hallmark of the old Soviet era during the Cold War. So is it now back to the future, in a way, as relations between Moscow and the West continue to sour? Will we see more prisoners off like this? And to swap a prisoner, first have to go out and get one, right?

DOUGHERTY: Yes, that's the problem. Sometimes, you know, the reason it countries sometimes don't want to do it, especially the United States, is that the theory is, it would just encourage companies to grab Americans and do it all over again.

But, you know, I think this case is a little bit different. Because usually, the way these things are conducted is behind the scenes where it can be, you know, very deep, and I'm sure there have been, but very deep conversations and nothing is leaked. And then finally, they come out both sides, and they say we are swapping these people.

But in this case, the United States is saying, Look, we have this, we made this substantial proposal to the Russians. We think it's something that could be successful based on these conversations that we've been having, which nobody knew really about. And the Russians haven't said pretty much anything since June when it was proposed.

So it is different. It might be -- there might be many reasons for that maybe, you know, the United States is trying to bring it out in the open and kind of pressure Moscow. But this is a very sensitive time, as we all know, in the relationship. So maybe we can't expect it to be completely, you know, according to tradition.

VAUSE: The price for the two Americans being detained in Moscow was the release of the Merchant of Death, aka Victor Bout, aka the man who insisted to you when you interviewed him that he was just an honest, ordinary, everyday businessman. He's a little more from your interview in 2002.


VIKTOR BOUT, CONVICTED ARMS DEALER: I'm not afraid I don't need anything in my life, or what I should be afraid. And this whole story looks me like a witch hunt. Look, I'm coming to your office. I have a no problem. And I said, Hey, who is looking for me, I'm here. I'm not hiding from nobody. I'm having my normal life. And I don't want this story going on.


VAUSE: He doesn't come across as a Merchant of Death. But he is a notorious arms dealer, fueling conflicts around the world as well as army terror groups like al Qaeda. So why is the Kremlin so hot for this guy? Why do they want him back so bad?

DOUGHERTY: Well, he's one of theirs, so to speak. He it has always been believed, at least by the Americans, that he was involved or connected to intelligence in Russia. And remember the old early so the old Soviet days and early independence Russia, you had a lot of, you know, chaos and people making money in a variety of ways. And this guy came in and was apparently very sharp in the way that he put together this company that transported weapons and a whole lot else around the world, especially in conflict zones.

So, you know, that's really how he came to do that. And in order to carry that out at that time, you really had to have connections pretty much with the KGB. And that is what the Americans allege.

VAUSE: Connections with the KGB, does that mean connections to Vladimir Putin?

DOUGHERTY: Well, Vladimir Putin was a KGB officer. I don't know personally, if he is connected, but you know, Mr. Putin has made it clear that he always feels that he has a responsibility to people who are their own, and to bring them back so that could be part of it, which makes it a little bit more intriguing that the Russians aren't kind of jumping at this deal, so we have to figure out now why wouldn't they be immediately saying yes, let's do it.

It's -- I talked with a couple of diplomats today. And there is another idea that perhaps there actually is a deal that exist that we don't know about yet. But that could be announced. But that's only a theory. There is a whole lot behind the scenes that we don't know about. And we probably won't for at least you know a while.

VAUSE: Exactly. Well, if anyone's going to find it out, I guess you will, Jill. It's good to have you with us. Thank you.

DOUGHERTY: Thank you.

VAUSE: And this for prisoner exchange comes three months after American Trevor Reed was free to a Cold War style prisoner swap.

[01:10:05] He'd been held in Russia for more than two years. Reed says he thinks Griner and Whelan have a really good chance of being released.


TEVOR REED, FREED FROM RUSSIAN CUSTODY: I'm extremely optimistic about it. I think that's a good possibility. And I think that, you know, if the Russians are not stupid that they'll take that offer, yo know, I'm hoping that they're not that stupid, but we'll see.


VAUSE: Multiple Ukrainian cities are reporting Russian shelling, including around the capital Kyiv as well as Chernihiv and Kharkiv in the Northeast. Meantime, the fight to control the Eastern Donetsk region continues to intensify. The town of Bakhmut is under relentless Russian attack. Ukrainian officials say at least one person was killed Wednesday, when a hotel was partially destroyed.

But with 100 Howitzers on their way from Germany, the Ukrainians will be able to have the ability to hit back harder and deeper behind Russian lines.

And Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of staging attacks from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. One local official says Russia is using the facility like a fortress safe from Ukrainian fire because of fears of damaging the planet.

U.S. warns just like it did in 2014 with Crimea, Russia will soon move to annex Ukrainian territory now under its control.


BLINKEN: Here's what we expect to see next. Russia installed leaders will hold sham referendums to manufacture the fiction that the people in those places want to join Russia, then they'll use those false votes to claim that the annexation of these regions is legitimate. We must and we will act quickly to make clear to Russia that these tactics will not work.


VAUSE: Ukrainian forces are making moves to break Russia's hauled over the southern Kherson region by disrupting Moscow's ability to resupply its frontlines. Jason Carroll has details.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These images the Ukrainian say are their strategy at work. Ukrainian long range rockets struck a bridge in Kherson in the Russian occupied southern part of the country Tuesday night, targeting Russia's supply lines up.

By day the damage done all to clear. The Antonovsky bridge not destroyed still crossable but the Ukrainian government say it's damaged enough to prevent Russians from using it to send in more heavy armor and other reinforcements nearby.

The Russians admit the bridge is closed off but downplayed the bombing. Local pro-Russian officials saying the attack will ultimately have no effect on the outcome of the war. This, as Ukrainian authorities say Russians are sending additional troops to the south.

Analysts say Russia is preparing for Ukrainian counter offensive that is slowly gathering strength in that part of the country. But in the eastern Donetsk region, it's the Russians on the front foot. The scenes from the town of Bakhmut under relentless shelling by Russian forces. One man recorded the aftermath of strikes on nearby (INAUDIBLE) and surveyed the damage.

He says missile attack everything is completely destroyed. The State of Emergency Service in Donetsk says as a result of the Russian shelling at least one person was killed at a nearby hotel.

Russian forces are trying to push further into the Donetsk region. They've captured a power station that had become a battlefield for weeks. But amid stiff Ukrainian resistance, they are making very slow progress. Jason Carroll, CNN, Kyiv, Ukraine.


VAUSE: Germany and other European countries are stockpiling gas and other energy supplies ahead of winter. Now that Russia has drastically cut natural gas to Europe. Moscow says the Nord Stream 1 pipeline needs repairs a turbine needs to be fixed. Germany's Economy Minister though says there's no technical reason though for the reduction in the flow of natural gas. CNN's Clare Sebastian has that report.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Russia stayed true to its word Wednesday morning German network operator Gasquet (ph) confirming that supply is coming through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, we're down to about 20 percent of its capacity. A major blow considering this was the pipeline, but just a few months ago supplied about 40 percent of Europe's imports from Russia, while European leaders say Russia is weaponizing its energy supplies.

The Kremlin though for its part repeating its claim that this is because of the maintenance issue made more difficult and time consuming by sanctions.

The reality for Europe really is now setting in. Members agreed Tuesday to a voluntary 15 percent cut to their gas usage rationing in other words, that will take effect from next week. But questions are already being raised about whether the deal has too many exemptions. Not enough detail to ensure that the continent makes it through the winter without shortages.


And frankly, it's already too late to avoid economic pain amid soaring natural gas prices. The chairman of German chemical giant BASF said on a conference call Wednesday, they are having to reduce production at some of their facilities that require the most gas like ammonia plants. Ammonia is a key ingredient in fertilizer, companies that it was also passing on higher energy costs to its customers. So soaring energy prices, soaring inflation, and now an uncertain winter ahead, as Europe reckons with the cost of decades of reliance on Russian energy. Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Still to come on CNN, plans for extreme high level security now underway ahead of a possible visit to Taiwan by the Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi. And as China fumes over Pelosi's possible trip, the U.S. and Chinese presidents actually plan to talk a little conversation when we come back.


VAUSE: Recently, elected President of the Philippines is touring the damage from Wednesday's powerful earthquake. The President's being warned to brace for aftershocks. The 7.0 magnitude quake struck Luzon the country's most populous island.

The government says at least five people were killed. 130 others were hurt. Quake damaged hundreds of buildings including 61 schools, buckled roads and bridges for dozens of landslides as well. Authority say all up more than 200 small towns have been affected.

The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has not confirmed plans for a trip to Taiwan, but just in case, senior American military officials have given her a security assessment of trip and a security plan has been developed by the head of the U.S.-Indo Pacific Command. China has issued stern warnings to the United States about Pelosi's possible visit to Taiwan, and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says it's important to remain vigilant.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I remain concerned and you've heard me say this before about the aggressiveness of the PRC, and in the kinds of things that we've been seeing in the region lately. And so I think we have to be vigilant.


VAUSE: And then maybe clarity on where Beijing stands on a possible trip to Taiwan by Speaker Pelosi, with a phone call between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping in the coming hours. Officials have the conversation scheduled before noon Pelosi's plans. If she does go, Pelosi will be the first U.S. House Speaker to visit Taipei and a quarter of a century.

China's defense ministry already lashing out saying this trip if it happens, or shouldn't, should be canceled.

For more, Steven Jiang joins us now from Beijing. There is this idea of sort bad beauty, if you like or this sort of, you know, lack of specifics coming from Beijing, sort of keeping everyone guessing about what their real intentions are, how serious they are about, you know, this trip by Pelosi.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: That's right, John, you know, the lack of specifics from China is actually presenting a challenge to both the U.S. and Taiwan as they tried to prepare for potential threats from Beijing if the Pelosi trip goes ahead.


Now, there are hawkish voices inside China and outside experts speculating that the People's Liberation Army could set up a no-fly zone to in her plan visit or possibly scrambling fighter jets to shadow her aircraft or even sending war planes to fly over Taiwan itself trying to prevent her plane from landing.

But as of now, obviously, a direct attack on her plane still seems very much unthinkable. But the worry, of course, is with so many military assets from the U.S., from China, from Taiwan operating in this region, there is a growing possibility of miscalculations that could lead to real conflict. That's why stakes can be any higher as this phone call as you mentioned between Biden and Xi is scheduled to take place on Thursday.

Now as much as U.S. officials tried to describe this as a routine follow up from the two leaders conversations from March, this is anything but routine because of this latest showdown.

Now it's almost certain Xi Jinping would raise this issue with Biden and asking him to stop Pelosi from visiting, especially from the Chinese perspective, the two politicians coming from the same party in the US. But the problem of course, there is not only separation of powers between different U.S. government branches, no U.S. presidents including Biden wants to be seen as caving in under Chinese pressure.

So if after this phone call, Pelosi still goes ahead with this visit, it would be perceived by Chinese as a bigger humiliation, a personal insult to Xi Jinping, which could in a way compel them to respond even more forcefully to her visits. So that's why this is really a very precarious situation. No one wants to be no one can afford to look weak. And so much of this is riding on her decision now. John.

VAUSE: What does Pelosi gain? And what does Taiwan gain by having Pelosi visit at this present point in time? I mean, is it possible to delay this trip when we're not coming up to, you know, Xi Jinping's possible third term as President and President for life, you know, important anniversary for the PLA, that kind of thing. And you can move this around without losing face, I guess.

JIANG: Yes, that is part of the debate right now, right. But I think that the issue right now is there is so much domestics -- domestic politics involved on both sides of the Pacific, as you mentioned here in China. This is of course, everybody has been talking about for months, just a few months ahead of this Communist Party Congress when Xi Jinping is almost certain to assume a precedent breaking third term and paving the way for him to rule for life. So he must project this image of the strength, power and stability.

But also on the U.S. side, this could be possibly Pelosi's last high profile international trip as House Speaker as the Democrats are widely expected to lose the midterm elections and losing their House majority. Not to mention, of course, on the Biden side, he also cannot again afford to look weak ahead of the elections also, as -- at a time when he's struggling domestically, with so many policy issues, not to mention and low approval ratings for his job performance, John.

VAUSE: Yes, there are some concerns that, you know, Pelosi's trip has been sort of criticized as being a victory lap or, you know, farewell tours, which could have some serious consequences if that's the case. Steven, our Beijing bureau chief, thank you.

The investigations into efforts to overturn the 2020 elections and the riot at the U.S. Capitol appear to be gaining steam. On the congressional side, Donald Trump's former secretary of state that would be Mike Pompeo could be up next for a closed door deposition with the January 6 Committee and the Justice Department is reaching out to more former White House officials. CNN's Ryan Nobles has details.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Department of Justice investigation into the events that led to January 6 is expanding at a rapid clip.

ALYSSA FARAH, FORMER TRUMP WHITEH OUSE COMMS. DIRECTOR: I am aware of other White House officials who have been reached out to by DOJ and are planning to cooperate.

NOBLES: Former White House staffer Alyssa Farah telling CNN that DOJ has reached out to more former officials in the Trump White House beyond just Marc Short and Greg Jacobs, two top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence.

CNN now learning that Cassidy Hutchinson, the former top aide to Trump's chief of staff, he's just the latest official from the last administration to start cooperating with the DOJ's criminal investigators.

FARAH: And I think DOJ is keeping an eye on who's coming before January 6, and who may have helpful information.

NOBLES: The news comes at the same time sources tell the Washington Post and the New York Times that federal investigators have asked questions specifically about Donald Trump's actions suggesting their probe is getting closer to the former president himself, all while a separate state level investigation is looking at Trump and election interference in Georgia.

NORM EISEN, FMR. HOUSE JUDICIARY SPECIAL COUNSEL IN TRUMP'S IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: You see a pincers movement on Donald Trump. And perhaps this will be the occasion in which he cannot dodge criminal liability. NOBLES: The public posture of The DOJ is welcome news to members of the January 6 Select Committee who have been publicly pleading with federal prosecutors to take action.


REP. JAMIR RASKIN (D-MD): That encourages me or it solidifies the understanding I've always operated with, which is that the Department of Justice has a vast arsenal of resources at their disposal. These are extremely competent, effective lawyers. They know what they're doing.

NOBLES: However, there is no question the political calendar and a pending presidential announcement by Trump could complicate their plans, and Trump continues to show no sign he is backing down.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Now we have the January 6 unselect committee of political hacks and thugs.

NOBLES: But Attorney General Merrick Garland pledge that nothing including political pressure will impede their investigation.

MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We will hold accountable anyone who was criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer -- legitimate lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next.

NOBLES (on camera): And while there's no doubt that the Department of Justice investigation is expanding, we shouldn't take that to mean that the January 6 Select Committee is wrapping things up. In fact, they have now trained their focus on members of the Trump cabinet and in particular, the former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Sources telling us he could sit for a closed door deposition as soon as this week and the committee is centrally focused on conversations related to the 25th amendment after the Capitol riot. Ryan Nobles, CNN on Capitol Hill.


VAUSE: Protesters loads of the powerful cleric Moqtada Sadr storm heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad on Wednesday. They're angry over the nomination of a new prime minister. Iraq has been gripped by political and certainly now for months. Lawmakers have been unable to form a new government since elections last October. And CNN's Nada Bashir has that report.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (on camera): Well, these are shocking images coming out of Iraq, hundreds of demonstrators stone Baghdad's heavily fortified parliament building on Wednesday in protest against the nomination of Mohammed al-Sudani for the position of Prime Minister. Al-Sudani was nominated on Monday by Iraq's Coordination Framework bloc, the largest Shia alliance in Iraq's parliament, but his nomination has triggered fierce backlash from supporters of rival Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr. Sadr actually won a majority of seats in Iraq's election back in October, but he stepped down after months of failing to secure an agreement on who should take the role of president.

In video shared on social media, his supporters can be seen breaching the gates of Baghdad's Green Zone and gathering outside the doors of the parliament building. Iraqi security forces in response crackdown on the protesters using water cannons and tear gas to push them back outside the perimeter of the Green Zone.

In a tweet on Wednesday, al-Sadr called on his supporters to return to their homes, telling them their message had been received.

Meanwhile, the outgoing government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al- Kadhimi called on protesters to immediately withdraw and follow the instructions of the Iraqi Security Forces. The UN Assistance Commission for Iraq said in a statement that while the right to peaceful protest is essential to democracy, it is imperative that protests remain peaceful.

But of course, this isn't the first time we've seen protesters breached the Green Zone. In 2016, al-Sadr supporters stormed the parliament in a similar fashion and staged a sit in to demand political reforms. And now as we see some of the biggest protests since Iraq's elections were held in October, there are growing concerns this could open the door to further political instability in Iraq. Nada Bashir, CNN, Istanbul.


VAUSE: Still to come, the World Health Organization says millions of monkeypox vaccine doses will take months to get ready, it's global outbreak. After the break, we'll have more on this it actually means disaster.



VAUSE: U.S. President Joe Biden is back at work in person after testing negative for COVID. He will be tested more frequently and wear a mask for the next 10 days just as a precaution.

CNN's MJ Lee reports now from the White House.


MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Biden emerged from almost spending a full week in isolation literally with a pep in his step. He told the American people that he is feeling great after testing negative for COVID. And he sort of used himself as the poster child for the progress that the country has made so far in the COVID pandemic.

He talked about the fact that his case was relatively mild, that he recovered quickly. And he said that all of this is thanks to the fact that he had access to vaccines, to boosters, and of course, treatments. We know that he took a full course of the anti viral medication, Paxlovid.

Now in his remarks at the White House, he urged all other Americans to also take these kinds of precautions. But notably he said still a lot of people who do take these precautions, are going to test positive for COVID. He said that doesn't mean that you are doing anything wrong.

Now we also heard President Biden refer back to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, and recalling when he tested positive for COVID back in October of 2020. And he said that that was a very, very different time.

Take a listen.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here is the bottom line, when my predecessor got COVID, he had to get helicoptered to Walter Reed Medical Center. He was severely ill. Thankfully, he recovered.

When I got COVID, I worked from upstairs of the White House, and the offices upstairs and for the five-day period. The difference is, vaccinations of course. But also, three new tools, free to all and widely available.

You don't need to be president to get these tools to be used for your defense. In fact, the same booster shots, the same at home tests, the same treatment that I got is available to you. My administration has made sure that all Americans across the country, from all walks of life, have free access to those tools.

LEE: Now after ending those remarks, we saw President Biden walking directly into the Oval Office, where he has not been for several days as he has been isolating in the residence at the White House. The president making it very clear that he is excited to get back to work, but out of isolation.

MJ Lee, CNN -- the White House.


VAUSE: The World Health Organization raising hopes that the monkeypox outbreak can be contained. The W.H.O. declared the virus a public health emergency of international concern on Saturday. More than 18,000 cases have been reported in 78 countries.

For now, mass vaccinations are not being recommended, but the head of the W.H.O. outlined what was needed to prevent the spread of the virus.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: This is an outbreak that can be stopped. If countries, communities and individuals inform themselves, take the risk seriously, and take the steps needed to stop transmission and protect vulnerable groups. The best way to do that is to reduce the risk of exposure. That means making safe choices for yourself and others.


VAUSE: Joining us now is Dr. Bill Morice, chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the Mayo Clinic. Thanks for being with us.



VAUSE: Ok. Well, in many ways, the initial reaction to the monkeypox outbreak has been similar in tone and substance to the chaos and the uncertainty surrounding COVID -- shortages of vaccines, distribution problems, confusion of how the virus spreads, a lack of ability to test.

The difference though between monkeypox and COVID is that monkeypox was detected 64 years ago, and there's been an effective vaccine since 1796, the smallpox vaccine? Did we learn nothing from the pandemic?

DR. MORICE: Well no, I doubt that it gets really -- it's not entirely true. I mean there is no doubt that with the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an element of COVID fatigue and wanting to move on. And the thought that there were lessons to be learned that we needed to take into account. Not expecting that we would see another global outbreak of a viral disease on the heels essentially of COVID.

So, you know, there's lessons to be learned. I think that this pandemic, or excuse me, this outbreak of monkeypox will really reinforce that. In particular, you know, some of that stems from public/private partnerships to help U.S. government and other governments to respond to these outbreaks.

But in essence, I think what it will really do is solidify those lessons and there are elements that we are taking into account now as we respond.

VAUSE: One question is, why is it -- how do you explain the lack of testing? The lack of ability to test for monkeypox? Because that seems to be crucial in any viral outbreak.

DR. MORICE: Yes, in any outbreak testing is really key because without testing there really is -- you are flying blind in terms of understanding who has the disease, right.

So the challenge with this particular outbreak of monkeypox as you mentioned it's something that has been with us for decades, if not centuries, is that it is behaving differently. Typically monkeypox causes a systemic illness -- a flu-like illness, and after that, a rash over the entire body, a pustule or rash, that is diffused. This outbreak is characterized by not as many of the affected people having this prodromal or flu-like opening illness.

And then with the rash being much more limited typically in the anogenital area right now, actually. So there is that piece of it which in addition to testing and other things, explains somewhat the difficulty in responding is just an atypical presentation of the illness itself.

VAUSE: There is another issue though with monkeypox. And it's the vaccine issue. But it's unrelated to actual supply shortages.

Here is the head of the W.H.O. Listen to this.


GHEBREYESUS: There are also challenge with the availability of the vaccines. There are about 16 million doses of the NVABN (ph) globally. Most are in bulk (ph) form meaning, they will take several months to fill and finish into vials that are ready to use.


VAUSE: This is just a logistics question. But why would a vaccine be stored in that way?

DR. MORICE: Well, vaccines again are much different than testing which is my -- really my area of expertise. I think it does speak to both issues around testing and the vaccination. And look, people are naturally going to wonder about vaccination because that is part of the playbook on controlling viral outbreaks and the spread of infectious diseases.

So with both the testing and with vaccine production, it is not, unless you really have a plan in place, far ahead of time, the scale of production on either side it becomes quite challenging.

It just speaks to a level of planning. The good news with monkeypox is that the other basic playbook method of stopping the spread of an outbreak, isolation of the individuals to prevent spread. It's going to have a high likelihood of being effective here because monkeypox is spread by direct contact

So it's not like COVID where you have to have a very (INAUDIBLE) isolation or respiratory isolation. It's just contact isolation, if you are potentially expose.

Vaccines will be important. And I am sure there will be an effort to scale those up. But there's other tools. If we know who has the disease through the availability of test, which we really worked on, we can really take a lot of measures to stop the spread of monkeypox, even without vaccines being widely available.

VAUSE: The detecting and the tracing and finding out who has it and who they're with and all that kind of stuff was obviously when it got up and running during COVID, it proved highly effective. Obviously the hope is that it will be highly effective once again.

But when it comes to the vaccine itself, the FDA has approved 800,000 doses from factories in Denmark to be used in the united states. there are also reports of 100,000 of doses also from Denmark have been held up by inspection and red tape.

If there was one lesson, one crucial lesson from the COVID pandemic, it's that acting slow and timid is a combination for disaster in many ways. And that is one thing which is a very easily fixable problem but it is still there.


DR. MORICE: Yes. Well, I think that there is going to be -- there already is underway, really understanding the supply chain in health care. So we have seen this with, you know, x-ray contrast dye where there was a shortage because of the lockdowns in Shanghai.

Of course, we saw it in spades with COVID. And not just with the test, but with the swabs, which were produced and very -- you know, manufacturer base gets contracted when there is pressure on the supply chain due to downward pressure in pricing.

And so what's really I think we are going to have to think about is the health care community, and the community as a whole is how much plasticity and how much redundancy do we need in a manufacturing base. How much needs to be domestic so we can respond to these things. This will take time.

I think monkeypox again, on the heels of COVID will really reinforce the need to examine these really infrastructure and kind of structural issues, which will take, you know, significant investment and a real plan to address.

VAUSE: Dr. Bill Morice, thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate your insights and your time. Thank you.

DR. MORICE: Thank you.

VAUSE: Up next, how increasing costs will lower prices. To try and tame inflation and bring down soaring prices, the U.S. Fed has announced another hike in interest rates, setting up the cost of car loans and mortgages and credit cards and a whole lot of other things. That's when we come back.


VAUSE: They're sometimes called the scaly anteaters pangolins are hunted for their meat and scales. It's estimated that more than a million have been trafficked over the past decade leaving the entire species under threat.

Today on "Call to Earth", those docile creatures are given a lifeline in Liberia where an animal rescue center is rehabilitating and releasing them back into the wild.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wildlife caregiver Mercy Doe is taking two young pangolins for a walk into the forest. She is helping them learn how to find food in the wild. MERCY DOE, WILDLIFE CAREGIVER: I bring the pangolin for a walk because

for them, we cannot get their food from the market and put it into the fridge for them to eat. For them, they have to hunt for their own self.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Found in Africa and Asia pangolins are the most trafficked mammals on earth with all eight species at risk of extinction. These two were orphaned by the illegal wildlife trade and rescued while still babies.

DOE: So when I bring them I have to look for branches to break them, open all the branches and we'll see the termites in them, we put them down and they'll be able to eat.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mercy works for the Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary in Gbono Town, Liberia -- a haven where rescued and orphaned animals are given a second chance.

In 2016, the Liberian government introduced a ground breaking law banning hunting, trading and eating protected species like the pangolins. A year later, Libassa opened its doors providing care for animals in need.

But in a country where bush meat is traditionally consumed, keeping wildlife safe can be a challenge. According to the sanctuary director, in the past four years, they have taken in almost 600 animals. Pangolins and mangabey monkeys to birds of prey and dwarf crocodiles. And caregivers like Juti Deh Jr. (ph) are crucial to their survival.

JUTI DEH JR., WILDLIFE CAREGIVER: Some of them we confiscate at a very young age, and we have to bottle feed them because they still need milk.

Since I have started working with Libasse Wildlife Sanctuary, I feel like animal is part of me. So whenever I see someone hurting animal, I feel like they're personally hurting me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Liberia is home to three of the world's eight pangolin species and although commercial trade of them has been banned internationally, the World Wildlife Fund estimates that over a million pangolins have been trafficked in the past decade.

While they're meat is considered a delicacy, it's their scales used in traditional medicine in China and Vietnam that really drive the demand.

DEH, JR.: Pangolins are harmless. They cannot harm anybody. They don't have natural enemies, except we the humans.

So if they get a fright, they roll into a ball, and no other animal can bite through their scales. But also that makes it easy for we the humans to just pick it up and do whatever we want to do with it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Juti has personally cared for every pangolins that has arrived at the Libasse Wildlife Sanctuary, which by his count is over 70.

The goal is to rehabilitate and ultimately release as many rescued animals as possible back to the forests where they belong.

DEH: I'm very happy, and also proud I can say. After caring for an animal for sometimes one year and then putting it back in the wild, you actually feel proud because you already saving another wild animal.


VAUSE: Let us know what you're doing to answer the call, anything at all, whatever it might be, just anything with the hashtag Call to Earth.

You're watching CNN. We'll be right back after a short break.


VAUSE: After another big hike in interest rate by the U.S. Federal Reserve, financial markets went soaring. The Dow gained more than 400 points Wednesday. The Nasdaq finished up 4 percent.

For the second straight month, the Fed has raised rates by three quarters of a percentage point, an unprecedented effort to try and tame inflation. But with unemployment near a 50-year low and wages continuing to grow, Fed chairman Jerome Powell does not believe the U.S. is currently in a recession.



JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE: We're trying to do just the right amount, right. We're not trying to have a recession, we don't think we have to. We think that there is a path for us to be able to bring inflation down while sustaining a strong labor market. As I mentioned, along with in all likelihood some softening in the labor market conditions.

So that is what we're trying to get achieve, and we continue to think that there's a path to that. We know that the path has clearly narrowed really based on events that are outside of our control, and they may narrow further.


VAUSE: More details now from CNN's Brian Todd reporting in from Washington.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At his pawnshop in the Kansas City area, Denny Russell sees a lot of new customers these days, people dealing with runaway inflation selling off their personal items just to make ends meet. DENNY RUSSELL, BUSINESSMAN: We still have people coming in every day

that they've never seen this place before.

TODD: The Federal Reserve is desperately trying to tame inflation in America, again raising interest rates three quarters of a percentage point.

It's the fourth interest rate hike in America this year, and Fed chairman Jerome Powell says there could be more coming.

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE: Inflation has obviously surprised to the upside over the past year, and further surprises could be in store. We therefore will need to be nimble in responding to incoming data and evolving outlook.

TODD: Analysts say this means higher borrowing costs for many Americans.

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: It's going to make getting a mortgage more expensive. It's going to make paying off credit card more expensive. Auto payments, et cetera. So those pressures, particularly for people that have any debt at all, are going to rise.

TODD: Rising interest rates have already been jacking up the costs of our mortgages for months. In the week ending July 21st -- the rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage in the U.S. averaged 5.54 percent. Last year at the same time, it was under 3 percent.

Analysts say the effects of this latest rate hike on homeowners or prospective home buyers could be mixed. One expert says those people may not feel the pinch immediately because many banks had already figured these latest interest rate hikes into the rates they were charging.

DAVID WILCOX, PETERSON INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS: If you are a homeowner in the market today, you have already seen your opportunities limited by what is going on. House prices are up a lot, and mortgage rates are up a lot. So, you may have already had to adjust to a home-buying budget.

TODD: But others say the downside is that rate hike after rate hike, while inflation persists could start to catch up with people.

FOROOHAR: That's the possibility that you're going to start to see more defaults. You're going to see people finally being unable to pay their bills. And so, you know, there is auto loans that have been sliced and diced, you know, the way things were back in the financial crisis, those are going to start going bad.

TODD: How can the average American consumer cope with these rate hikes?

WILCOX: Be a little bit more stringent on your family budget, set aside some of the discretionary expenditures. Avoid borrowing for something that you could splurge for later on, when you've got already an extra cash cushion set aside. TODD: The analysts we spoke to say that means don't borrow money for

things like vacations. And they're giving the same piece of advice now that they've been giving Americans throughout these rate hikes. Pay off your credit card debt, or at least try to pay it down as much as you can.

Brian Todd, CNN -- Washington.


VAUSE: Higher interest rates will mean business loans would become more expensive. And in Texas, that will be a 1-2 punch for cattle ranchers whose business are already taking a hit -- a hit rather, from the relentless heat.

Ed Lavandera explains.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Summers are supposed to be quiet inside the Seguin Cattle Company auction barn in Texas. But manager Bryan Luensmann says the extreme heat and drought, is forcing thousands of cattle ranchers to sell off their herds.

What is it like been like being in the cattle business this summer?

BRYAN LUENSMANN, MANAGER, SEGUIN CATTLE COMPANY: Pretty much a rollercoaster ride. I mean it's been chaotic. They quit right in October last year so I mean it's just been desperate measures for people.

LAVANDERA: Cattle ranchers usually bring their herds to market in late fall, but the heat and lack of rain is making it financially impossible for many ranchers to keep sustaining the cows.

That's why Luensmann says almost twice as many farmers as usual are lining up here to sell off portions of their cattle herd.

Federal forecasters say this is the second driest year around the Seguin area in the past 128 years.

Priscilla McBee and her family have a small family operation of about 20 cattle.

You brought two cows and a calf.


LAVANDERA: Why do you have to get rid of them?

MCBEE: We're just trying to reduce numbers, trying to reduce how many we're feeding, because there's no grass and the hay we have is not going to last us through the winter.

LAVANDERA: She says her farm is running out of grass to keep the herd properly fed. MCBEE: It's hard, you know, our fields are barren.

LAVANDERA: So you're trying to save the rest of the herd.



LAVANDERA: Marty Schwarzkopf (ph) has a herd of 70 cattle. He brought one to sell today, he says he also usually sells 4,000 to 6,000 bales of hay every year to cattle ranchers, but this year the ground is so dry, he's only done about 300.

MARTY SCHWARZKOPF, CATTLE RANCHER: I feel for a lot of people, you know, people -- they've been doing this for years and years, and now they don't have anything to hold on to. They are having to let go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We put these bales of hay out a couple of days ago, and they're already gone. And there are $100 apiece.

LAVANDERA: Wade Maierhofer is a fourth generation cattle rancher on this land. He says this ranch field should be covered in lush green grass, a foot high. Now, it's a sea of hard scrabbled brown duck, the remaining burnt grass crunches under you feet.

We talked under the shade of an oak tree, as he explained he might have to sell more of his cows.

Did you get emotional thinking about that possibility?

WADE MAIERHOFER, CATTLE RANCHER: UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh yes, you don't want to do it. You don't want to sell. Most of these cattle -- well, all of these cattle we raised from babies. If we have to get rid of all of them, it's painful.

LAVANDERA: This part of Texas usually gets 24 to 48 inches of rain a year. It's received just four inches so far this year.

The pond of Meierhofer's cow is usually drink my from, is supposed to be seven feet deep. There's not even a drop of water left in it now.

Wade Meierhofer, we'll face tough decision soon. He sold off 20 cows last week, and if it doesn't rain and cool off soon, he'll be back in the auction barn, selling off more of his heard.

MEIERHOFER: I will sell them before they're skin and bones, I will sell them. I mean if we can't maintain them, then we'll get rid of them.

LAVANDERA: If cattle ranchers across the country don't get enough rain soon, they will have to continue selling off their herds earlier than usual, and if that happens, that means next year there will be a shortage of cattle on the market, and that means higher prices in the grocery store.

Ed Lavandera, CNN -- Seguin, Texas. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Some good news for some Beyonce fans, maybe some bad news for Beyonce.

Her latest album, "Renaissance", reportedly leaked in full Wednesday, two days ahead of the scheduled release. So far the only official release has been the reschedules, the single, "Break My Soul".

Many Beyonce fans took to social media, asking others not to listen to or share the leaks. This happened before in 2011, her album "Four" leaked three weeks before the planned release date.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

CNN NEWSROOM continues with my friend and colleague Rosemary Church after a very short break.

We'll see you back here tomorrow.