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San Francisco Declares Public Health Emergency; Variant- Specific Boosters In September; Jane Harman Is Interviewed About Pelosi And Xi's Warning; Trump Criticized For Hosting Liv Golf; Alito Mocks Foreign Critics. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired July 29, 2022 - 09:30   ET



BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: San Francisco is now the first major U.S. city to declare a local public health emergency for monkeypox. City leaders there are now calling for more vaccine supply. At the same time, New York state's top health official declares monkeypox as an imminent threat to the public health.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Now we should note that on a national basis, the total number of cases is relatively small, close to 5,000 cases, country of 330 million people. It does not transmit the way, say, the coronavirus does. It requires skin to skin contact. But it is concerning health officials.

CNN's Camila Bernal joins us now from San Francisco.

So, Camila, tell us why San Francisco is taking this step right now.


Well, they say it's because they are in desperate need of vaccines. They say they've seen those cases increasing rapidly and they have not been able to get the resources that they need in order to treat this, in order to bring those cases down.

I mean this emergency declaration, really it means it's just going to be easier in terms of logistics. They want to be able to have more resources and less roadblocks when it comes to outreach, when it comes to testing, to vaccines, and to treatments.

So, really the idea here is to make the process a little bit quicker. And to be able to get those resources more quickly and to be able to distribute them quickly.

But what Mayor London Breed is saying is that she is desperately reaching out to the administration. She says that so far it doesn't seem like they are listening. She says she sent a letter to the secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, asking for more vaccines, expressing her concerns and she says she has not been heard yet.

Here's what she said.


MAYOR LONDON BREED (D), SAN FRANCISCO: We want to make it known that San Francisco has one of the highest case rates already of monkeypox, of any other major city in the country.

We don't want to be ignored by the federal government in our need. So many leaders of the LGBTQ community have also, weeks ago, asked for additional help and support and assistance.


BERNAL: And a lot of these city leaders saying that they feel like this is deja vu. They feel like they were ignored during the AIDS crisis here in San Francisco. They were left on their own. And they're hoping that in this case they're not once again left alone trying to figure out how to deal with this crisis.

Jim. Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Hoping to ramp up pressure for more vaccine distribution.

Camila Bernal, thank you.

Well, "The New York Times" is now reporting that the White House is planning to roll out updated coronavirus booster shots in September. The new variant specific vaccines are expected to offer stronger protection from the omicron subvariant Ba.5.

CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now.

So, Elizabeth, who exactly would be eligible for this new vaccine?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, it looks like anyone would be eligible. HHS has not mentioned any limitations. This vaccine, of course, would need authorization from the FDA.

It would cover the -- it would be just like the regular one we've all been getting for years now. In addition, it would cover the omicron variants Ba.4 and Ba.5.

Now, I know what a lot of people are thinking of is, wait a minute, omicron might go away. There might be another new variant we haven't even heard about that will take over omicron.

That is possible. Omicron is extremely transmissible. It will be hard to beat, but it is possible this vaccine would still be valuable even in that situation. It would still be helpful. Maybe not as helpful, but it would still be helpful. The big question seems to be, will people take it?

I want to show you some numbers that show you sort of, I think, some fatigue that people might be getting from boosters. So if we look across the country at U.S. adults, 77 percent are fully vaccinated. That's a pretty good number. Only 51 percent got a first booster. And

then when you look at older people getting fourth shots, getting second boosters, those numbers get even lower, take a look at this, for 50 to 64. For 65 and older, the numbers are similar. It will be a big question whether or not people are willing to get this booster.

Bianna. Jim.

SCIUTTO: Just quickly, Elizabeth, would this Ba.5 variant booster be to replace the second -- the first or second booster or would it be in addition to that, a third booster in effect?


COHEN: I think the way that they're going, Jim, is that you -- if you haven't gotten a first booster, you should get this.


COHEN: If you've already gotten a booster, you would get this as an additional one.

SCIUTTO: OK. Makes sense. Thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

GOLODRYGA: And let's not forget that the rate of children boosted is also stubbornly low as well.


GOLODRYGA: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you for that.

COHEN: Thanks.

SCIUTTO: Later today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will leave for her trip for Asia, a day after President Biden's tense call with Chinese President Xi. Still an open question, does she stop in Taiwan? What's at stake? That's coming up.



SCIUTTO: Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will depart for a tour of Asia. It is still not clear, however, whether she will stop in Taiwan. That uncertainty comes a day after a contentious call between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Xi delivered an ominous warning about Taiwan saying, quote, if you play with fire, you get burned. The White House has refused to expand on what exactly Xi meant by that.

I'm joined now by former congressman from California, Jane Harman. She's a distinguished fellow and president emeritus at the Wilson Center, a non-partisan policy center tackling global issues. Jane Harman, always good to have you on.

First question, should Nancy Pelosi go to Taiwan?

JANE HARMAN (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I think it's up to her. And the White House is saying that too.

When I was in Congress, I went to North Korea, Syria, Libya. And as head of the Wilson Center, I went to Taiwan and met with the current leader when she was the opposition leader.

And it's - there's a difference. I mean Pelosi is third in line to the presidency, which is why I gather China's so anxious about this visit.


HARMAN: But she's in a separate branch of government from the executive branch, and she's entitled to go.

One other comment, finally there's good news from Congress. The chips bill and the energy climate, prescription drug bill. And if she goes now, it will step on that story. So, I think she has to be mindful of that.

And also I have heard, I don't know if it's true, but that the new government, the Yoon government in South Korea, will not meet with her if she goes to Taiwan.

SCIUTTO: Interesting. Why? Because they don't want to inflame tensions in the region?

HARMAN: I think that's right. I think Asia plays both sides.


HARMAN: And this is a difficult story. I mean South Korea less than some other countries, but I don't think anybody wants tensions enflamed. And I gather that the Biden call, by the way, was the fifth call during his presidency.

And it was previously scheduled. And they also talked about cooperation in addition to the other, more tense issues.

SCIUTTO: I want to talk about cooperation because one area of potential cooperation is North Korea. But when Xi Jinping says those who play with fire will perish by it, I mean, listen, to be clear, this is phrasing they've used before, and some of it's certainly directed at a domestic audience, but should Americans at home say, oh, my goodness, you know, they're threatening war over this, or should they take it with a grain of salt?

HARMAN: Well, I don't know about the grain of salt, but hot rhetoric is in -- plentiful in this country too. Remember which president called MBS a pariah and then went to visit him.

SCIUTTO: Yes. True. Yes, understood. Or which president talked about whose button is bigger than the other.

So, on that topic of North Korea, you had North Korea making a, you know, quite a concerning statement that it is, in the words of Kim Jong-un, prepared to, quote, deploy the country's nuclear deterrent. What's the significance of that?

HARMAN: Well, it came out of nowhere, at least as far as I know, because he had been pretty quiet the last few months.

I don't know what the significance is. I've always thought that their nuclear program was an insurance policy for the Kim family. But if they deploy it, there's no question that North Korea is risk -- talk about fire. North Korea's existence would be at total risk. So I can't imagine why they would want to do that.

I also think there's a much tougher new government in South Korea, which is just not going to roll over to rhetoric like that.

SCIUTTO: Understood. But what would deploying mean? Would that mean putting nuclear warheads on missiles?

HARMAN: I don't know. Let's see. While we're at that, let's talk about Iran for just one minute, because Iran is basically at breakout. If it had the intention, and we don't think it did -- does yet to weaponize, it can.


HARMAN: And that was, I thought, the best reason for Biden's visit to the Middle East, both to Israel and to the Gulf Cooperating Council.

SCIUTTO: To show unity in the fact of that. Yes. The moment in terms of nuclear spread in this world is quite a concerning one.


SCIUTTO: Jane Harman, always good to have you on.

HARMAN: Wait, wait, wait. Want to say one thing.


HARMAN: And that is about Ukraine. Thank you for your amazing efforts there personally in Ukraine. But I also went to Reporters Without Borders last night and the Ukrainian ambassador, Oksana Markarova, was there and said that the reporters in Ukraine are as brave as the soldiers fighting for freedom in Ukraine. So, kudos to all of you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Those are kind words. We've got a big team there and I appreciate that.

Jane Harman, thanks so much.


GOLODRYGA: Well-deserved praise there.

Well, this just in, the former president's son-in-law slamming one of Trump's staunchest allies. In a new excerpt in his new book "Breaking History: A White House Memoir," provided to CNN, Jared Kushner details his clashes with one-time fellow Trump advisor Steve Bannon.


He describes Bannon's presence in the West Wing as, quote, toxic.

SCIUTTO: Kushner claims that Bannon accused him of, quote, undermining the president's agenda. He also says that Bannon threatened to break him in half, that's a quote, if Kushner turned on him.

While the Trump White House was notorious for infighting, the detailed account in the memoir, set to be published next month, provides fresh insight into just how pernicious that environment was. The book comes just as the former president is gearing up for a possible 2024 campaign.

GOLODRYGA: And still ahead for us here, 9/11 families and survivors in Bedminster, New Jersey, today, protesting the Saudi-funded LIV Golf tournament taking place at former President Trump's golf club. Their message to Trump and those professional golfers, up next.



GOLODRYGA: The Saudi-backed LIV Golf League tournament is underway at former President Trump's Bedminster club in New Jersey despite protests from 9/11 family members and survivors. They have been very critical of Americans taking money from the golf league.

SCIUTTO: They say the tournament, which is about 50 miles from Ground Zero, is offensive, disrespectful, and hurtful.

Here's how the former president responded.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, nobody's gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately, and they should have.

But I can tell you that there are a lot of really great people that are out here today. And we're going to have a lot of fun. And we're going to celebrate. Money's going to charity.

The PGA was not loved by a lot of the players, as you know, for a long time. Now they have an alternative and nobody would have ever known there was going to be a gold rush like this.


SCIUTTO: Well, the 9/11 Commission and the FBI did get to the bottom of 9/11. And we should note that during his presidency, Trump blamed Saudi Arabia for 9/11 multiple times.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Bedminster, New Jersey, this morning.

Are you hearing more reaction there to the president's comments? Former president.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jim, that stunning defense that we heard from the former president here at Bedminster golf -- at his golf club just yesterday is only likely going to add to the pain that's being felt by so many families.

In fact, they are gathering off site right now and getting ready, at least preparing, for yet another protest. Among them will be Brett Eagleson, who's a president of the 9/11 Justice and also lost his father in the 9/11 attack some 21 years ago.

He told our colleague John Berman that what he heard from the former president yesterday, it is a sharp reversal compared to what he heard from then-candidate Trump in 2016.


BRETT EAGLESON, SON OF 9/11 VICTIM, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF 9/11 JUSTICE: For a former president of the United States, who in 2016 himself said the Saudis did it, who in 2019 chose to invoke the state secrets principle against these documents, it is absolutely shameful.

It is absolutely disgusting that we have to be here today, coming out in full force, shaming a former president and shaming golfers and shaming people at large who are doing business with this Saudi-funded golf league.


SANDOVAL: Now, in light of those recently disclosed FBI documents, in light of what we've also heard from the U.S. intelligence community, the Saudi government continues to deny any involvement, not only in the 9/11 attacks, but also in the killing of "Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi back in 2018.

So that is certainly fueling the controversy that continues today at this moment, Bianna, here at the golf club as those golfers prepare to tee off amid some controversy that is testing the sports world and foreign relations, as well.

Jim. Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, Brett was just 15 years old when his father died on 9/11. And now, 21 years later, he is still fighting for justice.

Polo Sandoval, thank you.

SCIUTTO: Still ahead, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito speaking for the first time since authoring the opinion that overturned Roe v. Wade, mocking critics of the decision. We'll have those comments coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


GOLODRYGA: After authorizing the pivotal Supreme Court opinion overturning constitutional protections for abortions in the U.S., Justice Samuel Alito is speaking out for the first time, mocking foreign critics of the ruling.


JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT: I had the honor this term of rating, I think, the only Supreme Court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders.

One of these was a former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. But he paid the price.


SCIUTTO: He also went after Prince Harry.

CNN legal analyst and Supreme Court biography Joan Biskupic joins us now.

I mean you've covered the court so long. I mean, I'm curious what more he said, but also is it unusual for him to speak so openly following a decision such as this?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST AND SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER: Well, in part this was classic Samuel Alito. But first, just a little bit about what else he said. He complained about the growing secularism in America and across the globe.

And he felt, he said, that religion is under siege and he mostly spoke from his point of view as a Christian, as somebody who practices Roman Catholicism.

But, as I said, this was sort of a signature Sam Alito moment. A sense of aggrievement (ph) even while he is winning. He is somebody who prevailed on reproductive rights, rolling back a half century of abortion with, you know, ending Roe v. Wade. But throughout this term and other recent terms, religious conservatives have been winning.

Now, there was a point in which Justice Alito was -- would often dissent or write a concurrence saying the court isn't going as fast or as far as he wants to go.


BISKUPIC: But now the brakes are off. And just think of what he was able to do to reverse, you know, nearly 50 years of abortion rights.

SCIUTTO: Yes. BISKUPIC: And then, Jim, the other thing that's happened here is that the court has increasingly gone in a single direction and very fast in a single direction to lower the wall of separation between church and state, to allow more government funding or require more government funding of religious schools, to allow more prayer in public spaces, like we had -- you remember, of course, the football coach who wanted to pray on the 50 yard line and with -- with other -- with young football players who might have felt some sort of coercion there. But that's -- this court is going in the direction that Sam Alito wants