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Pfizer Seeks FDA Authorization of COVID Vaccine for Kids 5-11; White House: Could Begin Vaccinating Children 5-11 before Thanksgiving; Today: Deadline for Trump Aides to Co-operate with Jan 6 Probe; Trump Escalates Lies: "Real Insurrection" was Election Day; Schumer: Deal Reached to Extend Debt Ceiling until December. Aired 12- 12:30p ET

Aired October 07, 2021 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Hello and welcome to "Inside Politics". I'm John King in Washington. It's a really busy news day. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Huge news on COVID for example, Pfizer just asked the government to green light vaccines for kid's age 5 to 11. We'll walk through the timeline and the potential impact on the broader pandemic fight. Plus, deadline day for four Trump aides subpoenaed about the insurrection.

A new Senate report and a brand new CNN review of court documents offer us some startling new details about how Donald Trump and his allies pushed the big lie and desperately tried to keep power?

And we've got to deal Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer agreed to kick the can down the road. But in the meantime, the U.S. government will not default and the stock market is rally. We begin though with that potential pandemic game changer for American parents and for their young children.

Pfizer today officially asked the government to OK its COVID vaccine for children ages five through 11. The FDA Vaccine Committee meets later this month and if it green lights, this emergency authorization request, some 28 million children should be eligible for shots. This morning, the White House telling CNN, it is ready for a rapid rollout.


JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: If there is approval, or authorization, and CDC recommendation, we are ready. We have the supply. We're working with states to set up convenient locations for parents and kids to get vaccinated, including pediatricians' offices and community sites.


KING: Let's get straight to CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen with more Elizabeth, this is a big deal?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, this really is a big deal. I can tell you and our 14 year old daughter finally was able to be vaccinated the sense of relief that my family felt I am so glad that hopefully soon parents of children ages five to 11 might also get to feel that same relief.

So I know the question on everyone's mind is OK, so they've applied for emergency use authorization, how quickly might that happen? Let's take a look at what happened with adults at the end of last year when Pfizer filed their emergency use authorization.

Let's see what happened after that. So what happened - what's - we'll talk about actually with the kids. So with the children, the FDA advisors are meeting October 26th. So this external group of advisors that's going to go over every detail of this our meeting October 26th.

For adults, the CDC gave the green light to the vaccine two days after the FDA advisors met last year. It just took them two days to give a green light. I'm not saying that it will happen quite that quickly. But it gives you sort of a feeling for how quickly this might happen.

Let's take a look at the data that we know for Pfizer's clinical trial with children age's five to 11. It's not everything, but it's something. So there were more than 2200 participants, they were given a dose that was 1/3 the size of the dose that was given to adults. And Pfizer says that the vaccine was safe and generated robust antibody responses.

Now John, I want to be clear here that's not what the FDA is looking for. They're not looking to see what antibodies did. I mean, that's interesting, but that's not the bottom line. The bottom line is where these children protected against COVID.

One would guess that they were or else Pfizer wouldn't be applying for this emergency use authorization. But we don't know yet what those numbers look like John?

KING: Elizabeth Cohen grateful for leading us off very important news. Let's get some perspective now from Dr. David Kimberlin. He's this Co- Director of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Division at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Kimberlin grateful for your time on this important day!

This is your wheelhouse, let's walk through it. Pfizer says it's ready to ask for emergency use authorization. We know the committee meets, as Elizabeth just noted, the final week of the month, based on all the public data you have seen is it likely children ages five through 11 will be eligible for a vaccine shortly after Halloween?

DR. DAVID KIMBERLIN, CO-DIRECTOR, UAB & CHILDREN'S OF ALABAMA DIVISION OF PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think it is likely that that will happen. Now I will I will say that we've not actually seen these data, the data set has been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. And they're doing a very deep dive into the data set to make sure that safety is there and that immunogenicity.

The amount of the immune response is comparable to older adolescents and to young adults. So that process is underway right now and then as the FDA makes their public presentation to their external Advisory Committee on October 26th I think that's when we really are going to see more about the data set.

Based on what we've seen already in young adults and in sort of the mid age range adolescents, the 12 through 15 year olds, I would expect we're going to see good immunogenicity and excellent safety. But we do need to see that first before we can get too far ahead of ourselves.

KING: Before we do I appreciate that very much the perspective. But the White House seems ready. I want to get your perspective on whether you think they've learned important lessons for about vaccine hesitancy about the rollout of the vaccine for adults?

In the sense that if you listen to Jeff Zients, the White House Coordinator on COVID. He says number one, they're ready to do this. Number two, Pfizer is prepared to produce the vaccine in boxes essentially of 100 doses not 1000 doses so you can take it to a pediatricians office in a small town and they would be capable of storing that as opposed to the larger facilities where you have to have either mass vaccination sites or only a big hospital systems.


KING: Does it appear to you that they have a better plan as we move on to this next group?

DR. KIMBERLIN: I think our nation is definitely in good shape in terms of being able to roll this out if authorization for five to 11 year olds is made, and the CDC makes a recommendation for use. I mean, think about it.

This is what this is the pediatricians' wheelhouse. This is what she and he do every single day in terms of giving vaccines that are life- saving to children. So I do think we are going to be in a strong position to have a rapid rollout.

I think the real key is to get enough parents interested in having their children vaccinated, so that we have a maximal effect on keeping our schools open, for example, on not spreading more viruses to older people, elderly grandparents, for example. Those are the kinds of things that I think we really have to do in partnership with families.

KING: And things that a pediatrician is more likely to be persuaded - persuasive if you will, to a parent than some large institution for which they're familiar. Dr. Kimberlin, as we continue the conversation to sort of walk through where we are right now?

There's no doubt we are making progress if you look at the big COVID metrics. Seven day average of cases down 11 percent, just since last week, a week ago, we were at 114,000 plus new infections a day. Wednesday, it was 101. The daily rate is actually below where the average is right now.

In the context of perhaps having this authorization of vaccines for children aged five to 11 how much impact would it have on this something you see, every day? The number of children hospitalized with COVID-19, you see the trend line, and that is encouraging its going down.

But there are still on this day more than 1800 of our children hospitalized with COVID, how much would having the vaccine available to 28 million more children and make a difference in that number?

DR. KIMBERLIN: I think it'll make a big difference. But I don't think it's going to be an immediate kind of difference. You know, even in the Deep South where we were hit enormously hard by the Delta wave that just slammed us so badly in you know, August and September.

We had increases incremental increases in our vaccination rates, but not enough to you know, achieve that herd immunity kind of impact that we all really would strive to get toward. So I think that having the vaccine for the five to 11 year olds will definitely be helpful.

But the other thing that really is probably more immediately of benefit is that knowledge of masking inside whether you're vaccinated or not, if you're in an area of the country, or an area of a state where there is high levels of transmission, or substantial levels of transmission, and doing the kinds of social distancing things.

Things we know through tried and true, you know, months of effort here through this pandemic that we know really work.

KING: Well, that brings me precisely to where I want it to come next in the conversation. First, I just want to bring up the case. I'm reluctant at times to say it looks like we're turning a corner because we have all lived this right? We all live through this in 2020, then through the fall of 2020 into the winter into early 2021.

So you see this, this was our summer experience. And you see we're starting to come down. But if you look at the broader metrics in the COVID fight right now, cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all coming down right now.

66 percent of Americans who are eligible to get a vaccine have indeed been vaccinated. We do see in the data, vaccine mandates are having an impact. There are fewer infections in schools, you just noted this schools that requiring masks are reporting way lower infection rates than those that don't require mass.

And now it looks like the vaccine would be available soon for children aged five to 11. When you add all of this up, where are we Dr. Kimberlin? Are we at a point where maybe by Thanksgiving, we can say the pandemic phase COVID is still with us but the ugly pandemic phase is behind us? Or is that still unclear?

DR. KIMBERLIN: I think it'll be unclear for some time. I would love to be able to say that. But the honest answer is none of us have that crystal ball. And John, as he pointed out every single time we've gotten through a horrific wave, and we relax and we breathe easier. And we think it's got to be over now. There's another wave that comes.

Now eventually there won't be additional waves. And I hope that as we have, you know, moved through this Delta fiasco, that as we get to the other side of that there won't be a new variant, for instance wave that's coming at us. But we don't know that for sure.

And so the best thing that Americans can do right now is if you're in an age group, and this very well may soon include five to 11 year olds, if you're in an age group that you can get the vaccine and you've not yet been vaccinated, roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated.

And if you're in a place of the country where there's substantial or high levels of transmission in your county, for example, continue to wear masks inside and politely ask your neighbors to do the same.

KING: Dr. Kimberlin is always grateful sir for your time we will circle back as we get more data in the days ahead. But very much appreciate your time today. Up next for us, these four allies of Donald Trump you see them right there on the clock to comply with subpoenas from the January 6th Committee. As we get new details shocking new details about how the United States came dangerously close to a constitutional crisis.



KING: Today is deadline day for four close Trump advisors to provide documents to the House Committee investigating January 6th. And some eye popping new information today reminds us just how important that committee search for the truth is.

A CNN review of court documents reveals how once under oath, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell concede they had no proof of their big fraud allegations and couldn't be bothered to check facts before spouting lies.

And a new Senate report out today details what it calls a full blown constitutional crisis? That report reveals then President Trump at least nine times directly asked the Justice Department to undermine the election results. Ultimately it didn't work, in part because of what his top White House lawyer described as a murder suicide pad.


KING: Meaning he and others would stage mass resignations if Trump followed through on his threats. With me now to share the reporting and their insights, Jackie Kucinich of "The Daily Beast" Zolan Kanno- Youngs of "The New York Times", NPR's Claudia Grisales, and CNN Senior Legal Analyst, Laura Coates.

I'll start with you, counselor in the sense that nine times the Senate report says at least nine times, the then President of the United States tried to get the Justice Department to overturn the election results. And his Chief of Staff violated clearly defined policy in picking up the phone and calling the Justice Department asking it to do things which you're not supposed to do.

So we continue to learn more. For many people, they'll say, I've heard this before. But the details are important to get to the depth of which the former president tried to hold power.

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: And the depth of which we need to do to deter this from happening in the future. And guess what's Congress's role in part to do to legislate deterrence as well and also to figure out if there is some way to punish what's happened?

Remember, the nine times and requests actually came after other attempts, the fomenting of the big lie, the metastasizing of the big lie, the attempt in courts across the country to say look, even without information, or any information of widespread fraud, remember, not just my word, the Former Attorney General William Barr said there was no evidence of these things.

And in courts, they conceded time and time again, there was no there, there. So now you have the ultimate act of trying to use the Department of Justice, we're supposed to be in apolitical entity in our government that's supposed to have credibility when they walk into the courthouse that cannot be tarnished to actually use them to try to implement a partisan, nonsensical procedure.

This is what you think of as a constitutional crisis, only two people stood in the way of a murder suicide pack. That was what saved our democracy. That's ridiculous.

KING: And to that point, let's listen this is Dick Durbin, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, which on the Senate side is doing this work. And again, you can get numb to this; you keep hearing Trump's telling the big lie, Trump's telling the big lie in a minute, I'm going to tell you he told the big lie again.

And you think why do you have to do this? Why do they keep doing this? Well, think about the threat. This is the President of the United States trying to cling to power. Listen to Senator Durbin.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): That day, when the president was teetering on the precipice and whether or not he was going to remove the Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, and replacing with Jeffrey Clark, it was Cipollone, who spoke up and said that he thought that this scenario, and what they were trying to achieve was a murder suicide pact and the president should not do it.


KING: Think about that. And think about the value of the January 6th Committee on the House side, which is trying to go even deeper into the facts here. That's why they're so important. The president's lawyer had to turn to him and say, sir, I will resign, and a whole bunch of people here and at the Justice Department will resign if you do not back down. It took that to stop Donald Trump.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, NPR: Yes, exactly. These are the kind of details that this panel is hoping to unearth this and more. There's still not a full story that we have of what preceded this deadly attack on the Capitol? And what built up to this moment, what was the president doing saying in those days and weeks ahead of time?

So that's what we're hoping to hear more about, especially today with this deadline approaching on records that have been subpoenaed.

KING: Right. And the person central to this doesn't want us to know more. He could not be clearer about it. The former president issued a statement last night attacking the committee attacking the two Republicans who serve on it and saying this.

The real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the presidential election not on January 6th, which was a day of protesting the fake election results. Again, Former Governor Nikki Haley, Former Ambassador Nikki Haley just did this the other day in a speech saying I don't want to go back to the Republican Party before Trump, well, then that is what you're asking for.

For anyone who says I want to stay with Trump. That's what you're asking for. That is another lie. That is another lie. The insurrection was an attack on an institution of the United States government on the government itself in the middle of a sacred process of certifying election results. And Donald Trump continues to lie, because he doesn't want us to know the truth.

ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: And you're seeing the former president continued to undermine not just the DOJ but also the process playing out on the Hill. And let's be clear, it's not just the former presidents not just Trump.

But also you're hearing folks like Former Vice President Mike Pence, you know, as well saying that, look, the January 6th, that the media is too focused on this deadly attack that happened on the Nation's Capitol as well, all of this in an effort to continue to try and undermine the investigation.

And let's be clear, there are now questions as well about whether or not Trump's allies will comply with some congressional subpoenas as well when it comes to this investigation.

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, I mean, that's even just kind of like a - of misinformation as well, because it also has the layer of undermining elections all over the country. I mean, and that has been a real time --

KING: Forward looking which you're making a key point. You're making such an important point. I'm sorry for interrupting but that's why it's so again, people out there say why do I have to go through this again, because he's trying to undermine the election, whether it was the California recall, which he talked about, which Virginia election next month, in the midterms and beyond?

KUCINICH: Well, and you mentioned the Virginia election next month, you have Glenn Youngkin, who's the Republican candidate talking about all election audits, something that I believe is already automatic in Virginia.

[12:20:00] KUCINICH: They go back and they look at the ballots. So but the reason and Trump sent out his statement Youngkin's statement after he said it. So this is being fomented from Trump, and by those who follow him around the country, and it's not going away.

COATES: And by the way, it's not just the idea of what happens on the campaign trail? The big lie aspects of it have been codified in certain states across this country. The presumption, they know it's false and yet there are aspects of it that are rolling back, really pivotal gains since the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

You don't have the benefit of section five any longer to be able to preempt and prevent what's happening. Section two is only after the fact or reactive measure. And so you have codified actual legislation now, in places like Georgia, other places around the country, they're attempting things in Pennsylvania and Florida as well, of course, all because they know that this big lie is a way to get around the truth of the matter, which is, look, and Donald Trump lost.

He does not know how to define insurrection, if he believes November 3rd was the day that it happened. And he's trying to build on and capitalize on what I believe he thinks is the ignorance of the American electorate, which does not exist because of programs like this that time and time again, say you, lost the election. This is the big lie, it cannot maintain.

KANNO-YOUNGS: And if I can just add one point to that also, in terms of forward looking not just undermining elections. It's worth also reminding the public as well. DHS and the FBI have continued to say that extremists throughout the country continue to be motivated by the false narratives around the election.

That is what continues to motivate people, you know, flocking to have these riots and what have you, the emboldened right wing militias as well. So there's also a security issue.

KING: And that's why today is so important. We can put the faces backup. Four close Trump advisors face deadlines today, to cooperate provide documents today and the committee wants to testimony from them later this month.

The indication is that most of them are going to say no, we will see how that turns out. I hope all of them comply. I'm skeptical. Jason Crow, a prominent democratic member of the House says if they do not Congress should act and decisively.


REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): If they continue to disregard the subpoenas, I'm going to highly encourage the authorities to pursue criminal contempt. If you refuse this subpoena, there are consequences for you. So they're darn well should be consequences for the president and his top enablers and attorneys here.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: It appears that will be a question for the Chairman and the Committee Members pretty quickly. How aggressive are we prepared to be how much are we prepared to go to court and then be asked the Justice Department to go criminal?

GRISALES: They sound like they are very prepared to be very aggressive. I just spoke to an aide this morning about what could follow if they don't comply, which is criminal referrals that would be sent to the House and I'm told those would be worked through quickly maybe in a matter of a couple of days down the line from there.

They could face fines, jail time, so they're very serious members have reiterated this from the panel multiple times. I think there will be consequences if you do not follow through with these subpoenas.

KUCINICH: I mean, the fact that they went to subpoena they didn't even ask. They just - they just - they said - they sent the paper they didn't even they skip the step. So I mean there's no doubt that this committee.

KING: Amen because every time you see another detail, A, it shocks you but then it raises additional questions. So we should get to that every last piece of the granular truth about this what those people knew, not only on January 6th, but on the days before about who was coming and what they were planning?

It's important and what the former president knew? When we come back developing up on Capitol Hill right now a deal in the works it has been reached to avoid a debt ceiling crisis why Democrats are both relieved and a little nervous next?



KING: Never mind all that talk of a government default and financial chaos. Never mind for two months anyway.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We have reached agreement to extend the debt ceiling through early December and it's our hope that we can get this done as soon as today.


KING: The deal announced there by the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer allows $480 billion in new government borrowing to pay the bills through December. It was top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell's idea which is more than noteworthy after months and McConnell saying Republicans would not help, not help raise the debt ceiling.

The panel is back. And so why Democrats are saying McConnell blinked McConnell caved he had said for months you're on your own. Then yesterday he raises his hand says I have a plan. Why? GRISALES: There's a lot of speculation why one part of the Democrats' plan is that pressure would build by yesterday by that crucial vote that was supposed to happen. Whereas corporate friends would start pressuring these Republicans including McConnell and say quit it, stop it. You need to put a hold on all of this, because it's really starting to mess with the market.

And so those concerns seem it bubbled up possibly to McConnell making this offer. I don't know if it's a full blink. I know Democrats want to say that maybe it's a half a blink. But it gives them a few more weeks to battle it out all over again.

KING: Right. Another calculation was did McConnell get really nervous that Democrats might actually change the filibuster rules which if you're in the minority, that's your power? That's your power. So McConnell on the floor today says I'm a hero.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): President, the Speaker and the Democratic Leader had three months' notice to do their jobs. But for two and a half months, the Democratic leaders did nothing, and then complained that they were actually short on time. The majority didn't have a plan to prevent default. So we stepped forward.


KING: So all praise Mitch McConnell is his view of this Dick Durbin that one of the top Democrats says, oh no.