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Olympic Spectators Are Now Being Banned From Events in Tokyo; President Biden Speaks Out Next Hour About The Future of Afghanistan. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 08, 2021 - 12:30   ET



GARRY PIERRE-PIERRE, PULITZER-PRIZE WINNING JOURNALIST: And, of course, President Moise was assassinated. And so right now I've been told by some credible sources in Haiti that they've been -- all of them have been at home trying to figure out what next.

Prime -- Interim Prime Minister Joseph has issued a decree basically that the country is under marshal law. People can be arrested at will. If you're in the streets they can invade your home without any warrant.

And so, it's a very precarious situation right now. We're watching this very carefully because this is -- can go from bad to worse at any moment right now. And this is a really alarming situation as we move in the second day of that tragedy.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: And we are talking about government institutions, police accountability, but we should of course worry most about he Haitian people who have been through decades, decades of political dysfunction.

There were conversations at the United Nations today, there are conversations inside the Biden White House today. What can, if anything, the international community and specifically the United States do today and tomorrow to at least try to stabilize the situation? Or is the answer, who knows?

PIERRE-PIERRE: Well, right now they're trying to figure out what's going just like we are. We're trying to figure out who's in charge, how do you engage. United States or anybody else cannot just go in and pose their will. It has to be negotiated with whoever is in charge.

The problem is right now we're not sure who's in charge, despite what Prime Minister Joseph has said to the media. He is not legally in charge. So basically, John, what we have right no in Haiti is a constitutional crisis on top of a political crisis, a social crisis, an economic crisis and a security crisis all wrapped into one while we try to decide how to deal with the situation. How do you engage? Who do you engage with?

KING: It's a -- it is the question of the day and it's sad that we don't have a very good answer. Garry Pierre-Pierre grateful for your insights. We'll stay in touch as this plays out in the days ahead, but I'm grateful for your time today. Thank you sir. And up next --


KING: Thank you. And up next for us the latest COVID news includes a giant Olympics disappointment.




KING: Biggest COVID headline today, an international headline out of Tokyo. Olympic spectators are now being banned from events in the host city because of a case surge that has triggered Japan's fourth COVID state of emergency.

Let's bring Dr. Jonathan Reiner, Professor of Medicine and Surgery at George Washington University to share his expertise and insights.

Dr. Reiner just days ago Olympics' officials thought they could have at least a limited number of spectators at these events in Tokyo, but another state of emergency, cases rising. Why?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND SURGERY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Because Japan actually lags in vaccinations. Japan probably should have cancelled this Olympics. As big a decision as that would have been and as disappointing as that would be to the Japanese people, Japan last week reinstituted a state of emergency in Tokyo for the coronavirus.

So, it's hard for me to understand how one can engage in such a huge event when you have a coronavirus state of emergency. They just don't seem to -- doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

KING: No. The officials -- I -- you say it doesn't make any sense. Officials say they're going to pull this off. We'll watch in the days ahead. But let's bring it back home, in the sense that you have a situation here where people say largely COVID is under control and then you get the buts.

And the buts are, when you look at the spikes, that at Georgetown University -- a study out of Georgetown has identified these five clusters that are very much lagging in the vaccinations. Five clusters here with low vaccination.

And watch at home, connect the dots here, remember where these clusters are. They span -- there's five clusters but they span eight states. Now just look right here, in these states you are seeing to different degrees but the increasing cases, case seven day average per 100,000 residents as we watch in many parts of the country cases starting to trickle up. Guess what? In the same area of these low vaccination clusters.

Or you bring it in this way, those same states affected are well behind, 39 percent Oklahoma, 35 percent in Arkansas, 33 percent in Alabama, way behind -- well behind the national average when it comes to getting people vaccinated.

Dr. Reiner when you look at the vaccination data, the rising data and these clusters we may not have a national COVID problem anymore but we do have a regional problem.

REINER: Exactly. And I think when, you know, people like to talk about, you know, when will -- when will we reach herd immunity. A better way to think about that is to think about community immunity. And some parts of the United States probably already have an element of community immunity. Places like Vermont, you know, where over 80 percent of adults are vaccinated.

But in other parts of the country, like some of those regions that you just mentioned, community immunity is a long way off. And with more transmissible variants the virus will be very active there. And we're seeing that in places like Missouri now, places like -- Springfield where it's like January. It's like the worse days of the pandemic there because immunity is low and the virus is active.

KING: And so, the question is how do you break through it. You mentioned the Delta variant, so let me just bring up, this is regional map where the Delta variant is now everywhere. These numbers keep going up.


You mentioned Missouri, it's right out here in Region 7, 80 percent of the new cases, 81 percent of the new cases now a Delta variant. Down in the southern region here 60 percent, it's 35 percent here.

It's everywhere when you look at the new cases. And the question has been, you know, the White House has this new strategy, go door-to- door. Send in Delta variant surge teams. Sending them into many places where the vaccination rate is well behind. How do you break through?

REINER: Well, we need -- we need people who the unvaccinated trust to now honestly speak out about this. So, there are about 150 million unvaccinated Americans right now. About half of that are children under the age of 18. But let's talk about the 75 million adults who are still unvaccinated. They've made a choice and their choice is a problem.

I think right now in the United States if you are choosing not to be vaccinated -- not to be vaccinated you are part of the problem. And people need to understand that they can still die from this virus and they will still die from this virus.

You know, where I live in Maryland every one of the deaths last month was an unvaccinated person, every single one. What more powerful evidence can you present to somebody.

But we also need to have them understand if they want to go back to normal life, if they want to be drinking in bars and going to see shows and going to concerts that's not going to happen in places in the south because by the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall some of those places with well below average vaccination rates are going to be in full surge mode.

Other parts of the United States is going to look like no more pandemic, but parts of Alabama and Mississippi, Florida now -- Florida now is surging. You know there are 2,500 cases per day in Florida.

People need -- people need to be told straight up, like the governor of West Virginia, Governor Justice is telling people that if you are choosing not to be vaccinated you are entering the death lottery.

KING: Right. And so you mentioned these places having the issues. I just want to show you Louisiana right now. Look at the -- this -- the light green means low -- way low on the vaccination rate.

And you mentioned, here's the cases right now, 36 percent fully vaccinated, 13 average daily cases per 100,000 residents, the national average is 4.5. So you have this state that's well ahead now when we are in the warmer period of time, when children are not in school. If this doesn't get better what happens when you get to kids back in school, the weather gets cooler?

REINER: Maybe you can't keep kids in school, particularly if you chose to require vaccination. You know, all over the United States universities now are having to make that decision about whether to require vaccination. So, you know, where I work here at G.W. that decision was made last month that every faculty and student returning to campus this fall must be -- must be fully vaccinated.

There were almost 400,000 infections in college students last year and that will continue unless the people who return to campus are vaccinated. So school districts are going to have to make a decision about vaccinations.

KING: Dr. Reiner grateful as always for your expertise and insights. We'll continue the conversation. Thank you sir.

REINER: My pleasure.

KING: Up next, first President Biden speaks out next hour about the future of Afghanistan. America's longest war is winding down, but quick Taliban gains are stirring worries of a mess.



KING: We'll hear from President Biden in just about an hour as he details the American withdrawal from Afghanistan. Certain topics include a promise to continue security and humanitarian assistance including steps to protect thousands of Afghan interpreters who worked alongside American forces throughout the 20 Year War.

Ending the war is a top Biden goal, but quick advances by the Taliban as American troops leave are raising concerns.

Our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collin joins us. Kaitlan, what are we going to hear from the president? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well he's essentially going to reiterate his commitment to withdrawing these troops, this decision that he made of course in the face of the agreement that his predecessor had made with the Taliban.

And that is kind of the way the White House is looking at this. Given that what we are seeing with the Taliban taking back so much of the region, you are seeing violence surging in a lot of places, that is painting a really ugly picture as this withdrawal of America's longest war is happening.

But what you're going to hear from President Biden today is, you know, he came into office with this agreement that President Trump had struck with the Taliban to have U.S. troops out of there by May 1.

And he kind of felt like he had no good decisions. This is a war that he thought should have ended a long time ago. We know what he advocated for when he was vice president to then President Obama.

And essentially his way of looking at it was that he could meet the agreement that President Trump had made with the Taliban to get U.S. troops out of there. Or, John, he was really going to have to break that agreement, risk having U.S. troops fired upon.

And we were told that he kind of was looking at it thinking he couldn't maintain the statuesque if that happened given the risk that U.S. troops would be facing. They would have surge more troops there.

So, really it didn't appear to be any good options. And so now, of course, we know he did not meet that May 1 deadline. It was moved to September 11. The White House does anticipate that they will be out of there by the end of August.

And, of course, one critical component is what is going to happen to those thousands of Afghan interpreters who risked their lives to help U.S. troops are now being targeted by the Taliban and we will hear President Biden talk about his plan to evacuate them today.

KING: Kaitlan Collins appreciate the live reporting. Again, we'll hear from the president next hour.

Let's bring it back into the room with the panel. One of the fascinating things about this, this is one of the few areas where, as Kaitlan noted, President Biden and President Trump essentially on the same page.


KING: Maybe difference over how to do it, difference over Biden may disagree with quival (ph) how the Trump people organized this, but the president believes he has brought political support for ending what has been America's longest war.

EVA MCKEND, SPECTRUM NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He does, John. I mean, there isn't a large pro-war constituency either in Congress on in the streets right now leaning on President Biden to reverse course. So I think that that's why he's comfortable moving forward, but I think still understanding the gravity of what's happening, having these briefings with the American public, leveling with the American public as he often likes to say, about how this is going to look in the months to come.

JULIE PACE, A.P. WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: It's not a decision without risks. It's just risks that Biden is comfortable taking. You know --

KING: Right.

PACE: -- we are staring at -- down a situation in Afghanistan where there's some obvious risks in terms of the security situation there both for the Afghan people, potentially for the region, potentially in the worse case scenarios for the west again. There are risks to women's rights. There's a risk of deep political instability in Afghanistan.

Biden's argument is, what is a small presence of American soldiers staying there for months or years to come going to do to alleviate that risk long-term? And the reality is, probably not a lot.

And that is the interesting, I think, alignment between what Trump and Biden have seen when they looked at Afghanistan. You know, what can the U.S. do long-term there? Both of those presidents have looked at the same situation and said, you know, it's time to go.

JACKIE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: But I think he was absolutely right that there is broad public support. There isn't a big pro-war contingent.

The open question is, what happens if things start to get extremely bad from a humanitarian perspective? From perhaps a terrorism perspective in Afghanistan? Does the public continue to stand behind where they are right now. That -- and that is a risk, as you said Julie, he's willing to take.

KING: A deal with the Taliban is a deal with the devil. Neanderthals when it comes to education. Neanderthal when it comes to women rights. Neanderthal when it comes to Democratic political rights.

But the president's making the calculation that's not going to happen in Afghanistan anyway. Let's get our troops out of there. Let's stop spending billions of dollars. Let's turn our focus to China or Russia or other global challenges.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes and it was telling when the president was asked on Friday, you know, about the risks in Afghanistan once U.S. troops pulled out, his immediate answer was to say we've been there for 20 years. And that's ultimately what this comes down to.

I can tell you in speaking White House officials in the last few days, there isn't a big sense of any regrets or second guessing of this. They are, of course, very, very closely monitoring the political considerations of this to see if there is any movement in public support.

But obviously that is something that will or will not be borne out in the coming six months as we see these images of the Taliban taking over more and more territory, perhaps coming closer to Kabul. And perhaps, as well, these atrocities.

And of course the question is, what will Republicans do as those images come forward?

KING: Right.

DIAMOND: How directly will they put this on President Biden? And that is why I think you see Biden White House talking about the extent to which this was a decision forced at least in part or at least jointly made with the former president. They don't want to just own this themselves.

PACE: Well and -- Republican politics on the war have changed too really dramatically over the last couple years.

KING: Right.

PACE: And I think that's also one of the really interesting factors here. You know, you do have the Lindsey Graham's, a couple of the predictable, you know, more hawkish Republicans who say that this is a huge mistake. But even within the Republican Party, you know, as they look toward 2024 as well, it's hard to see where a pro-war Republican candidate fits into the mix.

KING: Right. It will be fascinating to hear what the president says. I was just struck watching Kaitlan Collins there. I was standing in that very spot nearly 20 years ago when George W. Bush sent the first troops into Afghanistan after 9/11. So it has been a very, very, very long time. Be interesting to hear from the president.

Up next for us, one New York mayoral candidate lives up to his campaign promise, but it might not be, might not be, look at that, kind of promise you'd expect. We'll explain it in a minute.



KING: Topping our political radar today, a new announcement from the vice president on her issue -- the issue at the top of her portfolio, voting rights. Vice President Harris announcing an additional $25 million investment in a Democratic National Committee "I Will Vote" effort. The money earmarked for voter education, voter protection, voter registration and new technology designed to make voting more accessible.

Just moments ago Michael Avenatti, remember him? Arriving in federal court in Manhattan for sentencing today. The once high-profile lawyer who catapulted to fame representing adult film star Stormy Daniels convicted of extorting of up to $25 million from Nike. Avenatti also faces two other trials. One for allegedly defrauding clients and a second trial for allegedly defrauding Stormy Daniels out of $300,000.

President Trump's former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani already had his law license suspended in New York. Now he cannot practice law here in Washington, D.C. either. An appeals court in D.C. says it's temporarily suspending Giuliani's license pending the final outcome of the New York Bar situation. This all a result, of course, of Giuliani pushing the big election lie.

And promises made, promises kept. The winner of New York City's Democratic primary for mayor Eric Adams going to great lengths to prove he's not your typical politician. Look right here. He promised a group of kids he would pierce his ear if he won the primary.

And so Adams sharing this video of the piercing with the message promises made, promises kept. You might also note the mask. Two consecutive New York City mayors have been closet Red Sox fans. The new mayor, if he wins in November, a Mets mask. Look at that.

Just this quick programming note before we go, another brand new CNN original series is coming, "History of the Sitcom, " bringing you all the great stories behind your favorite sitcoms. The classics, the mega hits and the new shows leading the way. I'm going to watch it. You should too. Watching "The History of the Sitcom," Sunday night, 9:00 pm only right here on CNN.

Thanks for spending time with us today, hope to see --