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Biden Signs PACT Act, Biggest Expansion of V.A. Benefits in 30 Years; Trump Declines to Answer Questions in Deposition with NY AG; China Suspends Cooperation with U.S. on Climate Talks; FDA Authorizes Change in How Vaccine is Given to Stretch Supply. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired August 10, 2022 - 10:30   ET



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: We have been listening there to President Joe Biden speaking at the signing of a major piece of legislation, the PACT Act, which he's about to sign. He's speaking there to Brielle Robinson, the daughter of a service member who died as a result of toxic exposure. You heard President Biden in his remarks referencing his son, Beau, who he himself was exposed to burn pits in Iraq and then died of brain cancer.

This piece of legislation expected to help around 3.5 million veterans which, Poppy, Biden called a truly sacred obligation. This was bipartisan legislation. It did become the victim of political bickering, was held up by Republicans but it eventually did pass and it was pushed through after an uproar. Poppy, this is a truly momentous piece of legislation.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It really is. And as we saw the President hand the pen that he signed, the legislation with, to Brielle, who will always remember her daughter -- or her father who died it just as the President said 39 years old from that exposure.

And he's right, Alex, when he says this is an example of Congress working this legislation passed in the Senate 86 to 11 after a bit of a hang up, but Congress work for the American people. And it's important to note that. I'm glad we could bring that to everyone.

We also have this news just into CNN, former President Trump releasing a statement following his deposition with New York Attorney General's -- with the New York Attorney General's Office. The president saying he took the Fifth. He declined to answer any questions. We'll talk about that next.



HARLOW: This just in the CNN, Donald Trump says he pleaded the Fifth in a deposition today with the New York Attorney General Letitia James that happened this morning. She and her team are investigating the finances of the Trump Organization. MARQUARDT: And he is facing many legal woes this week. There's also the appeals court that ruled that House lawmakers can get their hands on his tax returns, a judge ordered former attorney -- his former attorney Rudy Giuliani to testify for a Georgia grand jury about the scheme to overturn the last presidential election in 2020. And, of course, we've also been learning new details about that FBI search at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

HARLOW: So let's pick up where we left off. But Abby Phillip, I'd interrupt you to get to that important signing at the White House. And there was news in the midst of that, and that is this long statement on truth social from the former president explaining why he pleaded the Fifth. And I just think it's important context, because we'll all remember in 2016, as it pertained to the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails. He said, if you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth?

Now he says in the statement, Abby, I want to ask if you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth? Now, I know the answer to that question, the former president writes, when your family company, and all the people in your orbit have become targets of an unfounded politically motivated witch hunt, supported by lawyers, prosecutors, et cetera, et cetera, you have no choice. What do you make of this?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, first of all, I think this is very much related to our earlier conversation, because the argument that Trump is making in the statement is that he is being targeted politically from all sides. And that's the case he's making to his base in order to engender even more support. So this just plays into that. But just, you know, a quick note, because, as you were, you know, reading that part of Trump's statement, it did remind me of the fact that Hillary Clinton and all the investigations that she was involved in that, that Trump himself said she should have been locked up for, did testify publicly and privately on these matters. Trump, on the other hand, has tried really aggressively to avoid being under oath in these circumstances. And this is just the latest case of that.

MARQUARDT: David, let's pick up on that. It's not just President Trump and his family, calling this a witch hunt, you have top Republicans, lawmakers who are saying that this series of events from the FBI search to his deposition today, which he answered no questions now, possibly Congress, getting his tax records. How -- what can be done, do you think to convince so many millions of Americans that all of this is lawful, that it's not a witch hunt?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He's going to have -- this is so entangling, it's really hard to sort of sort it all out. But I made earlier this week when the FBI agents swept into Mar-a-Lago and, you know, got all this information out and everything like that. You want had the feeling that the government was doing something was impossible for somebody else to do and that was creating Donald Trump as a sympathetic figure. Suddenly, he looked like he would be done in by all these forces. But now when he goes and takes the Fifth, you know, he's back to who he was very unsympathetic, you know, very much, you know, show me, tell me the truth about what you're doing. And I think he's miss played his hand here by taking the Fifth. You know, maybe it would provide temporary protection for some of his people. But in the end, he's going to have to come clean in one environment or another, and it would be so much stronger if he could tell us what's really going on, not only at Mar-a-Lago, but what's going on here and these other knees -- other fronts. So that we could -- the country could make a judgment, a balanced judgment. It's very hard to make balance judgments about Donald Trump, because he always surprises you frequently, I'm afraid on the downside.

HARLOW: So I mean, just, Abby, amid the increasing calls from Republicans, of all stripes to release the affidavit behind the warrant, to give the details on what led to the search in Mar-a-Lago is the reality that that warrant was shown to either, you know, to folks close to former President Trump that were on the premises that day.


And sometimes is there Elie Honig brilliantly pointed out on the air, there's an attachment to that warrant with details of the potential underlying crimes that got the judge to allow them to get the warrant. So someone saw it and may have a copy of it on team Trump, and could put it out there.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I think, you know, that's exactly where my mind went, as David was talking, that Trump attorneys have access to some further information about what the subject of the warrant was, and they are not releasing that information because it works to their political advantage to make this as opaque as possible. The argument here from Trump is pretty simple. This is a witch hunt. This is a miscarriage of justice. This is, you know, a third world regime going after me. But I think more information here will be clarifying about what is going on. And it may not be to Trump's advantage. I mean, if what we have reported is even just the scope of it all just a question of how he handled classified information documents that are government property that should not have been taken to Mar-a-Lago. Trump himself is the person who believed that those sorts of infractions should be treated very harshly. So I think it would be in everyone's best interest to know a little bit more the Trump aides and the White House -- and his and his lawyers could say more, but they're not doing it because it helps them politically for this to be a little bit of a black box at the moment.

MARQUARDT: David, bouncing off of that, you've worked alongside many DOJ, they are -- it is certainly not uncommon for them at a stage -- at this stage in an investigation to not say anything. But do you think it would be in their interest to not have this as much a black box, as Abby was saying and do put out something that while not be -- while might not be complete might be somewhat clarifying?

GERGEN: I do think being enormously helpful if they were -- if the Department of Justice was more transparent, and would give us more information about what this is. I realized that the DOJ traditionally does not give out any information. It's quite secretive during this stage as a procedures. But we have an unprecedented situation in which the home of a former president has been invaded in effect by the government in search of documents. And that's so unprecedented. It seems to me there ought to be -- we don't -- we shouldn't apply this the solitary standard, that we don't say anything when something comes along as like this, which really goes to the erosion of trust and government.

It's important for the DOJ to say, OK, we took the unprecedented step of going in. And now we're going to take the unprecedented step of telling you what it's all about. I do think Abby is absolutely right, it would help enormously. And it would certainly remove the sense that Trump is a sympathetic figure. That's not who he is, in reality, of course, but the way this is now put playing out, he's more sympathetic than we've seen him in most other situations.

MARQUARDT: Yeah, if there's anything that all of us, everyone can agree on, is that this is a truly unique moment. Abby Phillip, David Gergen, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

GERGEN: All right. Thank you.

MARQUARDT: I will ask the Inflation Reduction Act gets ready to face lawmakers in the House. We'll be hearing from the executive vice president of Bill Gates' Clean Energy Organization, on how this legislation could finally or allow green energy to really take off. That's coming up.



HARLOW: The House Rules Committee will meet today to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act that just passed the Senate, a final House vote expected this Friday. The health care climate and tax measures include $369 billion in climate funding and aims to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030. With me now is Mike Boots, Executive Vice President at Breakthrough Energy which is founded by Bill Gates. He previously led the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Obama.

Mike, it's great to have you given your work now, given your experience on this front in the Obama White House. Bill Gates wrote that op-ed this week calling this the single most important piece of climate legislation in American history. And I'd like your take on how consequential this is, given the fact that it's not an executive order that can be overturned by a future administration. This is locked in. These are decades of baked in incentives for the private sector. And interestingly, as our Bill Weir pointed out, not as many sticks as during the Obama administration more carrots right to incent people to put their money to work.

MIKE BOOTS, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, BREAKTHROUGH ENERGY: Absolutely. This is all about incentives. So it is a big -- it is a big deal if we can get it through the House of Representatives. You're right that it has passed through the Senate and now hopefully this week the House takes up that action but if that happens it will absolutely be the most comprehensive piece of climate legislation that the U.S. government which put in place, which is a big deal on three fronts, it's a big deal for climate, we've we're seeing the impacts of climate all over the country, right, the floods in Kentucky, the heat waves in the Pacific Northwest, the wildfires. And this bill brings us closer to being able to reach those goals by investing in the technologies and the solutions that we know we need to get there.


The second thing is it's fantastic for the economy. It takes what we are so good at in this country, which is being the engine of innovation and ideas, and having entrepreneurs who go tackle hard things. And it allows us to turn those innovations on energy into American industries, and something that the rest of the country, at the southwest of the world is actively trying to do. But it puts us in a leadership position on that. And then it's really good. In terms of energy security, right? We have -- we are all witnessing the price volatility of the pump. And in our heating and cooling bills, what this does is say, you know, we're going to produce more energy here at home. And we're going to do it in a cleaner way that costs less money. And so, us being able to position the U.S. in that way absolutely provides those incentives and those carrots in a way that we haven't done before.

HARLOW: Do you believe, though, given at the same time that this historic move is happening in the United States, which is so critically important, China, has just said, given after Pelosi's trip to Taiwan. China has just suspended cooperation with the United States, including critical climate talks? I mean, can real global progress be made on this front without China on board?

BOOTS: Well, look, you need all countries around the world doing their part. And you need the big emitters, which includes China, the U.S., the European Union, and the rest to do their part. There are possibilities diplomatically to pull those folks closer together. But the truth is, each of them have both a political and an economic imperative to be acting on their own. They want to win this race just as much as we do here in the United States, to build industries, to have markets that thrive, to have jobs for their folks that are looking towards the future, not the past. And so the idea of building around a clean energy economy is important in China. It's happening in China. It's happening in a variety --

BOOTS: And Mike, can I ask you if it was worth some of the trade-offs that it came with to get Manchin onboard over the finish line? Of course, this bill includes this provision that guarantees more oil and gas leasing, right? From the federal government level. One environmental expert called a "completely incompatible with maintaining a livable planet." Do you agree with that? Well, one outweigh the other.

BOOTS: We absolutely believe that the investments that are included in this package far outweigh any of the initial costs and any of the concessions that had to be made to get it across the finish line. As you said at the top, it is the largest package of investments and policies that this government has ever put in place. And, you know, I've been in D.C. long enough to know that in any package like that, getting through the Congress, you got to compromise and there's pieces that some people will love and some will not. But on balance, this is the most significant package we've seen.

HARLOW: Mike Boots, it's really good to have you. Thanks very much for your time this morning.

BOOTS: Absolutely, good to be with you.

HARLOW: All right, we'll be right back.



HARLOW: Welcome back, so health care providers have a new way to protect people against monkeypox. A new FDA emergency use authorization allows the vaccine to be administered through the skin rather than the muscle.

MARQUARDT: For more, let's bring in CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, great to see you. The goal here is to stretch a limited vaccine supply while there is very high demand. So how's this going to work?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, that's the goal. And the way that this might work is to try and basically administer this vaccine in a different way. That requires less dosage, a smaller amount for each particular vaccine. So right now basically, you have a vial, you have to give this shot, as you say, into the area just below the skin. If you give this medication into the skin instead, which is called intradermal, you could take about 1/5 the dose, so you're essentially stretching that supply by about five times.

You can see there that this is the diagram, you know, the COVID vaccine that went into the muscle, that's the diagram you see on the left the needle on the left, subcutaneous means into the fat just below the skin. That is how this vaccine, the monkeypox vaccine is typically given this particular idea now, which is being -- which is out there is to give it into the skin itself. So it's actually more of a thing that you'd see just a wheel, a little wheel just underneath the skin, if you gave the shot this way. Requiring 1/5, the dose that could actually stretch out the supply. The concern is you got about 3 million doses, essentially, that are necessary right now in the country. That's 1.5 million people, two doses each.

We know there's been several 100,000 that have already been shipped out. But what's left is 441,000 doses. That's you know, going to cover 200,000 people roughly, if you do the intradermal route, you can get closer to 2 million doses, which is going to get closer to a million, just over a million people more covered. So that's what they're trying to do here. A couple of caveats I'll just mention quickly. This is a harder shot to administer. It requires a different sort of needle, it requires a specific technique. It does require training. Sounds easy, but actually injecting something just underneath the skin can be more challenging than injecting it into the muscle or the fat. Also, there's not a lot of data on this, you know, in order to best test a vaccine, you have to really understand how it's performing in the middle of an outbreak. That's what they did with the COVID vaccines, for example, they trial that in the midst of an outbreak. This is -- these vaccines have been trialed in non-human primates primarily in in the lab. They did well they were they were safe. They seem to be effective. But in terms of how well this really works in humans, that data is still forthcoming.

MARQUARDT: All right so 1/5 of the data injected into the skin and so the muscle. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for breaking that all down.

HARLOW: Sanjay, thanks very much, and thanks to all of you for joining us today. We'll see you right back here tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

MARQUARDT: Great to be with you, Poppy. I'm Alex Marquardt, at this hour with Kate Baldwin starts right now.