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U.S. To Send $550 Million Of New Weapons To Ukraine; Grain Ship Departs Odesa For The First Time Since Early Days Of War; Organizers Cancel Annual Music Midtown Festival In Atlanta; 5,000+ Confirmed Monkeypox Cases In U.S.; House Dems Renew Call For Dhs Inspector General To Recuse Himself. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 01, 2022 - 15:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: New today, the U.S. is sending another $550 million of new weapons to Ukraine including ammunition for rocket launchers. This weekend Russia shelled the southern region of Ukraine. It hit civilian buildings and a hospital trauma center.

Meanwhile, the first grain shipment left the Ukrainian port of Odesa this morning. CNN's Jason Carroll is in Kyiv. Jason, where is that ship headed?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, it's headed for Lebanon. But as the U.S. Secretary of State basically put it this way, he said this is really an important first step. But the real work, the real test is going to come in the next days and weeks or so to see how this really plays out.

But again, clearly an important step. Some 26,000 tons of corn located onboard that particular ship. Once it arrives though, we should point out that what's going to happen is it's going to be inspected.

Once said inspection is over that will then determine what ships will then end up getting out next. But as for that ship, the last time a commercial ship headed out of the port of Odesa was back in February. So, you can see it has taken that long to really to get things moving.


The U.N. Secretary-General called the shipment, he said quote, that it's loaded with corn and loaded with hope. And that's where the millions upon millions of people as you know, Victor, in places like east Africa and places like Asia that rely on these shipments coming out of Ukraine.

But again, 26,000 tons of corn coming out of the port of Odesa. But still, there is still millions and millions of tons of grain still waiting in the port of Odesa. Still waiting to go out. One estimate gives us that there some 16 ships still waiting to set sail that haven't been able to do so -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jason Carroll reporting from Kyiv. Thank you, Jason. Monkeypox cases are rising. And New York City declared a local state

of emergency. More on that ahead.



BLACKWELL: A popular music festival in Atlanta has just been canceled. Organizers of Atlanta's Music Midtown Festival says it was called off due to circumstances beyond their control. Some outlets have reported it was canceled because of a Georgia gun law that now allows firearms in public spaces. CNN's Ryan Young is with us now. What do you know?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor, just a lot of questions about this story. Of course, it is summer time so it's festival season, especially music festivals. Piedmont Park is just behind me has this Midtown Music Festival. Big time acts have been here before including Bruno Mars. But today we learned that it's been canceled.

Of course, I've talked to two city council members just in the last hour or so who also tell me they were shocked. Live Nation who put -- is the sponsor of this put that online today seeing it was canceled and they also noted that in the next 24 hours, refunds would start going out to customers.

On that website though, they didn't cite a particular reason for this being canceled. But Rolling Stone is reporting it. Sources that are close to Live Nation are saying that the reason why is because of Georgia's gun laws.

This is a public park. It's one of the best parks in the southeast. And here you're allowed to open carry. Well, Live Nation, of course, have had the concert. They wanted to restrict who could bring guns into a popular venue like this with of course, alcohol and music.

You might not want a lot of people carrying guns. Well, can't do that in the state of Georgia. It may be challenged, in fact, in court. So, that back-and-forth started. Live Nation has moved forward with canceling.

Talking to city council members, they don't even know why exactly right now, why this has been canceled. But we do know those refunds will go out sometime soon. You just think about this in terms of all the impact it will have in term of tourism in this area. Because several thousand people come to the city just for festival like this one.

But so many questions, Victor, especially with the idea you may not want a couple thousand people carrying weapons if they come to a park event like this. And that's what Live Nation they've been worried about and that's why they may be moved forward with canceling.

Of course, another conversation that could be happening, how are ticket sales? All this has to be figured out. We had all the calls out to Live Nation and the people involved in the city try to figure out exactly what's going on with this event at this point that has been canceled -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Such a big draw for Midtown there. I remember that festival well. Ryan Young for us there.

YOUNG: It's a good one.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's a good one. Ryan Young for us in Piedmont Park. Thank you very much.

All right, New York City Mayor Eric Adam declared a local state of emergency over the city's monkeypox outbreak. A public health emergency is now in effect in San Francisco where this morning the line for vaccines stretched up to four blocks at one clinic.

Some experts are concerned that the U.S. missed a chance to contain the virus so far there are more than 5,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. and more than 22,000 worldwide.

Joining me now is CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen. She's also the former Baltimore health Commissioner. Dr. Wen, it is always good to see you. Let me start here with the concern that the U.S. has missed its window to contain this. Do you think that it has?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I definitely think that it's much harder to contain monkeypox now than when there were just a handful of cases. The U.S. is now leading the world when it comes to the total number of cases.

We have more than any other country. And I think it's important that local jurisdictions where there are a lot of cases are declaring an emergency because that allows for marshalling of resources. It allows for better coordinate between city, county, and federal health officials.

And I also think that clinicians and patients have to be on the lookout for any new or unexpected rash. I think a lot of times we're looking for that classic rash that we see in pictures. But actually, there are some studies that show people could have just one rash or a sore inside someone's mouth.

There could also be missed diagnosis, people thinking they have herpes for shingles but actually it's monkeypox. And so, we really need to have a high index of suspicion and do a lot more testing in order to try to get our hands around monkeypox.

BLACKWELL: How concerned should people who are outside of the high risk group of men who have sex with men be concerned about this? Should they change their behavior at all?

WEN: Not at the moment. So, individuals who should modify their behaviors are this high risk group. Men who have sex with men. In particular those who have multiple or anonymous sex partners. They should try to reduce high risk encounters and those individuals should try to get the vaccine if it's available in it their area.

For everyone else, the risk remains is very low. And I think it repeats -- or it needs a reminder to people that COVID and monkeypox are very different. COVID is spread through the respiratory route, very contagious even if you're sharing here with somebody in the same room as you.


Monkeypox requires direct prolonged skin to skin contact usually intimate contact and most of the cases thus far are linked to sexual activity. So, most people who do not have risk factors do not need to be concerned. However, if you do have a fever and unexplained rash, better to get it checked out and tested.

BLACKWELL: On the vaccine, there's some cities right now that are -- I'm not going to say rationing the doses. But they're giving only one of the two so they can get some protection to more people. How protected and for how long is someone who has just half the course of a two dose vaccine for monkeypox?

WEN: We don't know. Although studies thus far suggest that one dose is pretty protective. The second dose gives lasting protection. And so, in a situation that we're in where we have to ration doses, I mean, we have far more demand than we have supply of the vaccine.

In that case, we do want to stretch them out as much as we can. And I think it does make sense to only give that first dose of the vaccine and to try to target those people who are the most at risk.

There are some people who are saying that they're high risk even though they're not in order to try to get the vaccine. That's just not a good idea. We really should be limiting the vaccine to those at the highest risk. Because that's our best chance for containing monkeypox.

BLACKWELL: Let's put up this map. The source for this is the Kaiser Family Foundation in which they have found that there are ten states that requested 50 percent or less of their allocated doses of the vaccine.

Why would the states not want all that they are doing? Is there some public health justification for requesting less than is allocated?

WEN: There might some places that's just don't have much monkeypox at the moment. Which is possible. But I also think it's very likely that a lot of places just are not doing as much testing and therefore, don't know how much monkeypox is actually in their area.

That said, I do think that places that have received the vaccines, they are right to back some doses. Because we do want to give doses to people who are exposed to monkeypox.

And so, if you're distributing every dose to individuals who want them, you might not have enough for those who are the highest risk, and specifically in this case, people who are known contacts of those who have monkeypox.

They are by far at highest risk. And if they get the monkeypox vaccine early on in the course of their illness, that could actually prevent them from developing the disease.

BLACKWELL: All right, Dr. Leana Wen, thank you.

We're just getting this into CNN. House Democrats are renewing their calls for the homeland security inspector general to recuse himself from the probe into the missing secret service text messages. It all ties back to the investigation into the January 6th attack on the Capitol. We have more on that for you next.



BLACKWELL: Just into CNN, a new step by Congressional leaders against the inspector general of the Homeland Security Department. The IG Joseph Cuffari has been scrutinized for failing to notify Congress about missing texts from the Secret Service regarding the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Well, some House Democrats are accusing him also of secretly abandoning efforts to get the texts more than a year ago. CNN law enforcement correspondent Whitney Wild is breaking these details. Whitney, get us up to date.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of this comes after CNN exclusively reported just how long investigators at the Department of Homeland Security inspector general office knew that these text messages from the Secret Service had been lost to a data migration.

CNN previously reported that office knew in May. The House over sight committee chairwoman, Carolyn Maloney And House homeland security chairman Bennie Thompson want more answers after that CNN report. And today they are reiterating they're call for the Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to step aside in this letter released. Here is a quote from this letter.

We are writing with grave new concerns over your lack of transparency and independence. And further, they say the committees have obtained new evidence that your office may have secretly abandoned efforts to collect text messages from the Secret Service more than a year ago.

These documents also indicate that your office may have taken steps to cover up the extent of missing records raising further concerns about your ability to independently and effectively perform your duties as Inspector General.

There are a lot of pieces of news in here, Victor. Maloney and Thompson are also demanding transcribed interviews with key DHS IG staffers. Further they're asking for documents from the DHS inspector general office.

Victor, this represents a ramping up of the scrutiny from key House Democrats because now they're actually conducting what is amounting to their own investigation. Another couple of revelations in this letter, Victor, include an email

sent in July of 2021, a year before Cuffari took concerns about the missing text messages to Congressional committees.

And it's this July 2021 email in which a DHS deputy inspector general told a DHS liaison they were no longer looking for the Secret Service text messages. That was another thing first reported by CNN on Friday.

Further, Victor, there is another bombshell in here, and it said that according to information that these committees have obtained, a former high ranking official at DHS, Ken Cuccinelli was using a personal cell phone and DHS Inspector General investigators knew that as of January 2022. They want more information on that as well.


Again, asking for key documents, key interviews from the people who were at the very center of this -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, full of revelations and some pseudo accusations in there too.

WILD: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: Whitney Wild, thank you so much.

Well, despite warnings from the Biden administration and China, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan. We have more on that ahead.



BLACKWELL: Well, somebody won Friday's Mega Million lottery worth $1.3 billion. We don't know who yet. America's newest billionaire still has not come forward.

We do know that the winning ticket was bought at this gas station in Des Plaines, Illinois. Jackpot ranks at the third highest lottery prize in American history. $780 million is the cash lump sum.

"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.