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CNN Poll: Americans Growing More Supportive of Vaccine Mandates; Bush Likens Capitol Insurrectionists to 9/11 Terrorists; Hospital Won't Deliver Babies after Unvaccinated Staff Quit; More Hospitals Rationing Care, Deciding Who Gets ICU Beds; U.S. Looks to Israel for Guidance on Boosters; FBI Releases Declassified Document into Saudi 9/11 Links. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired September 13, 2021 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Monday, September 13. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar on this NEW DAY.


A growing number of Americans support vaccine mandates at workplaces and schools. This is according to a brand-new poll just out from CNN. More than half the country back mandates for schools, sporting events, concerts, returning to work, though there are divisions along party lines.

President Biden just announced a series of new vaccination requirements, including a mandate for testing or vaccinations for any company with more than 100 people.

The surgeon general tells CNN that this will benefit businesses and improve public health, but Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson argues that the requirements could backfire.


GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): The problem is that I'm trying to overcome resistance, but the president's actions in a mandate hardens the resistance.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Sixty-three percent of eligible Americans are now vaccinated, and the seven-day average of new coronavirus cases appears to be declining nationwide, although certain states are still experiencing surges.

Hospitalizations also appear to be leveling off, even as the average number of daily deaths continues to climb.

BERMAN: Let's talk about the brand-new poll numbers showing majority support for vaccine requirements. CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten is here.

This is part of the brand-new CNN poll, which was mostly taken in August --


BERMAN: -- before President Biden announced a series of new requirements, but Harry, we see a serious growth here in support for vaccine requirements.

ENTEN: Going up, up, up, climbing higher and higher, as Jackie Wilson once said. Look here: Support for vaccination mandates, attend in- person school, 55 percent; attend sports events, 55 percent; work in person, 54 percent. Only shop in a grocery store at 41 percent has less than majority support.

But the key here is the trend line. Look at this: 49 to 55, 47 to 55, 46 to 54. And even in shopping in grocery store, up 15 points, from 26 to 41 percent.

BERMAN: So aside from the last one, a majority and growing.

ENTEN: Correct.

BERMAN: All right. If you ask it another way, though, broadly speaking, the issue of requirements, what do people say?

ENTEN: Yes. Getting back to what Asa Hutchinson was saying, speaking about a partisan divide, this, I think, might be where we're heading if Republicans continue to push, or at least some Republican leaders, push against vaccine mandates.

So we asked it this way. Vaccine mandates for everyday activities outside of the home are acceptable to increase vaccinations. Look at that, 51 percent. Well within the margin of error. And unacceptable infringement on rights, which a lot of Republicans are going to argue, 49 percent.

And look at the partisan divide. This kind of looks like a presidential approval rating, not quite as bad but still fairly close. If you're Democrat or lean Democrat, 75 percent support that these vaccine mandates are acceptable to increase vaccinations. But look at this: 76 percent among Republicans or independents who lean Republican, an unacceptable infringement on rights. So a very clear partisan divide, at least on the broader question.

BERMAN: I will say, when you look at this number here, I wonder how many of these people are against the vaccine mandates for schools that exist in every single state right now.


BERMAN: They say they're opposed to it, but they all live somewhere where there absolutely are vaccine requirements.

Let's talk about partisan views on CDC guidance. Actually, it's not partisan views. What the CDC says, what are people doing?

ENTEN: Yes. So do you adhere to CDC coronavirus guidance? Forty-nine percent say always. Now, depending on which way you want to add this up, right, look, a significant chunk, 38 percent, say sometimes. This hard-core never is just 13 percent.

But you could argue that this is a majority, right, 51 percent who say sometimes or never. But most people, most Americans are at least sometimes following the guidance. They're not always, but at least sometimes following the guidance.

BERMAN: In terms of a change, we see an increase in support for mandates but we also see an increase in, I would say, trepidation, right?

ENTEN: Yes, yes. I would say that that's exactly right. So, look -- look here. Views on the coronavirus pandemic. Is the pandemic over? No. Eighty-six percent say it's not. Has the economic recovery not started? Look at that, 64 percent. Still taking precautions every day, again, look at that: 64 percent.

So there's still a lot of people who out there are scared who don't believe that this pandemic is over quite yet.

BERMAN: I mean, it's not over, right?

ENTEN: No, no.

BERMAN: Eighty-six is actually low, given the reality that we're seeing every day.

ENTEN: Maybe it should be 100, but still you rarely find 86 percent of Americans agree on everything. And they do certainly agree on the fact that the pandemic is not over.

BERMAN: Where are vaccination numbers?

ENTEN: Yes. Woo! College grads, 88 percent. Lean Democrat, 86 percent. White, 73 percent. People of color, 72 percent. Noncollege grads, 64 percent. Lean Republican, 58 percent. Vaccines are very, very popular, even if there is a divide, say a partisan divide between Republicans and Democrats or college grads and noncollege grads.

The fact is, a majority of adults in pretty much every single demographic group has at least gotten one dose of a vaccine so far. That, in my mind, makes this a pretty successful campaign, if -- even if we could be doing better.

BERMAN: A very smart man once told me the vaccinations -- these vaccines are as popular as Christmas trees.

ENTEN: I think I know that guy. Perhaps I'll talk to him afterwards. Buffalo Bills guy, about 6'2", maybe around 25 to 34 years old.

BERMAN: Very handsome. Looks like Harry Enten.

ENTEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, Harry. Thank you. KEILAR: So smart, kind of nerdy, that guy. I know that guy.

ENTEN: Maybe a little bit.

KEILAR: I know that guy. We like -- we like the nerdishness, though, Harry.

ENTEN: Thank you.

KEILAR: So this weekend Americans across the country, they came together. You saw them come together marking the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

Former President George Bush spoke at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where he alluded to the January 6th insurrection and warned of the dangers of domestic terrorism.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home, but then there's disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols. They are children of the same foul spirit, and it is our continuing duty to confront them.



KEILAR: A call to action there. And joining us now to discuss this, CNN senior political analyst John Avlon; and CNN political analyst and "New York Times"/"Washington Post" correspondent Maggie Haberman.

I wonder what you thought, John, of the speech?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It was a great speech. It was a strong speech. It was a speech that I think the country and Republicans needed to hear on the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

The fact that the former president who presided over the beginning of 9/11 and the war on terrorism drew a direct line between the spirit that animates domestic terrorists and foreign terrorists is incredibly important for people and Republicans to hear right now. Because extremism -- extremists do resemble each other. Fundamentalists do resemble each other. And the fact that he drew a line from Shanksville, where the plane was directed to the Capitol, we believe, to the January 6th attacks on the Capitol, I think, is something that's important that Republicans need be forced to confront going forward.

BERMAN: I have to say the mere choice to do it.


BERMAN: George W. Bush knows that this is the biggest platform he gets every year. He went in there with this really well-written speech, carefully, precisely written, Maggie. Children of the same foul spirit. Those are some words for the former president to deliver.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: John, you're right. And it's also striking, as you say, it's not just that he chose to do this at the biggest platform that he knew that he would have all year. It's that he has been relatively silent since Donald Trump came on the scene. He has chosen his words very, very carefully. This is the -- the most open he has been.

He did not invoke the former president's name. He did not specifically mention January 6th, but it's obvious what he is talking about.

Whether it leaves a mark, whether it makes a difference, it's not clear. But I do think there are a lot of people who have disliked what they have seen in our political spirit, in our political discourse and behavior over the last six years who generally have not spoken and who I think realize that the time is now or probably never if they're going to speak out.

KEILAR: And you know, I thought one of the things that really stood out, John, was that, of course, you know this was a plane that many believe -- we believe it was bound for the Capitol or for the White House. Many believe it was bound for the Capitol. And it didn't make it.

But that, of course, is the scene of the January 6th insurrection. So this kind of line between where he was specifically in Shanksville with Flight 93 and the Capitol, I mean, what did you think about that?

AVLON: I think that's exactly what made it so resonant, is that it was in Shanksville, that that was -- you know, American citizens putting something bigger than themselves on a critical day in a moment of crisis, as opposed to this self-centered leadership we've seen and that the target in both cases was the Capitol.

And I do think that's why it's important.

To Maggie's point, there are a lot of Republicans who try to pretend that George W. Bush didn't give that speech. That paragraph is too tough. It's too truthful. It's too painful to confront for them politically. And I think that's why they need to be asked about it directly going forward. Because it was so powerful, it was so poignant, because it was in that place.

BERMAN: You know, so there's new CNN polling that shows that 63 percent of Republicans think that Donald Trump should still lead the party. Which is interesting.

Do we have the poll -- there's another part of this poll that I think is even more revealing --


BERMAN: -- which is that, like, half of Republicans think that denial of the election results, right -- how important is believing Trump won 2020 to being a Republican? Very important, 36 percent. Twenty-three percent, somewhat important. That's unbelievable, Maggie. That's -- Well, I guess it's not unbelievable. Fifty-nine percent, Maggie, say that basically denying the election results is the ticket to admission in today's Republican Party.

HABERMAN: Look, Donald Trump is the party. And as you know, John, when you have a former president or a nominee for the major party, they are the party's leader. He will be the party -- party's leader. So trying to separate him out from that as to whether he should -- he should run again or anything like that is very difficult.

So it's not surprising that people are believing what he is saying. It is surprising the fact that he has continued talking about it. He has continued raising it in every interview, even though some advisers are telling him not to do that. And a number of Republicans, as you say, have gone along with it. If he continues down this path, he's going to bring a lot of Republicans with him.

BERMAN: Do we have that audio? Because the former president did an interview over the weekend where he stokes these flames. Let's play that if we have it.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via phone): We won the election by a lot, and they rigged it. And it's a terrible thing. And they -- I do believe they're going to de-certify this election.


BERMAN: You know, Maggie, Brianna has a great phrase, which is that, like, our muscles sometimes get tired; the outrage muscle is exhausted, right?


BERMAN: But that's the former president, who lost an election, saying he thinks it's going to be decertified. I mean, that -- that should not pass by lightly.


HABERMAN: Right. Look, John, it's -- the election is not going to get decertified, first of all. He doesn't explain exactly who would be doing that. The interviewer at a very friendly fringe network doesn't ask him that question.

But there are going to be people who hear him say that who take it seriously, who hear his words and see it as a further rallying to the cause. We have seen a lot of that. There are -- there's a segment of the population, his supporters, who believe this idea that he is going to be reinstated. We've been reporting on this for months.

When I reported a couple of months ago that he was telling people he expected he would get reinstated, Republicans and some Democrats got very upset. This is what he's saying. People should be aware of it, because it will have an impact with some people.

AVLON: Just I'm sorry. You know, the fact he's repeating this, aside from the fact that he apparently never wants to go on another social media platform ever again, this is -- these are the words of a crackpot con man. This is not the leader of anything, except a party that's decided to abandon anything resembling sense, to follow this person over a cliff.

He said the same thing at a firehouse on 9/11 in midtown Manhattan with less language about de-certification. So he is deeply committed to this, and the fact that a party is following this blatant lie is frankly pathetic.

KEILAR: Yes. Look, at a time, we should say, where online activity surrounding potential extremism in the wake of January 6th, we know that it -- it has been elevated.


KEILAR: That is the backdrop of all of this.

John Avlon, Maggie Haberman, thank you so much to both of you.

AVLON: Thanks.

KEILAR: A growing number of hospitals forced to ration care as they were running out of beds because of coronavirus. We have some new reporting, next.

BERMAN: Plus, the lessons the U.S. is learning from Israel as health officials weigh who will get booster shots and when.

And a report that's just been declassified reveals new connections between the 9/11 hijackers and Saudi diplomatic officials here in the United States.



BERMAN: Developing this morning, a hospital in upstate New York has announced it will stop delivering babies beginning September 25, because too many maternity unit employees resigned over coronavirus vaccine requirements.


GERALD CAYER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, LEWIS COUNTY HEALTH SYSTEM: If we can pause the service and now focus on recruiting nurses who are vaccinated, we will be able to re-engage in delivering babies here in Lewis County. Our hope is, as we get closer, that the numbers will increase of individuals who are vaccinated, fewer individuals who will leave, and maybe with a little luck, some of those who have resigned will reconsider.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: Hospital officials say that staffing shortages have been an issue for years, particularly in the maternity department.

KEILAR: This morning, coronavirus hospitalizations appear to be leveling off somewhat, even as the surge in new cases among the unvaccinated continues to overwhelm some facilities.

About 78 percent of all hospital beds are in use in intensive care units. Eighty percent of ICU beds are in use. And in some places, hospitals are at capacity, and that's forcing them to make some tough decisions around rationing care.

CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard is joining us with more on this story. I mean, this is so alarming, Jacqueline. When hospitals are running out of beds, then what happens? How are they deciding who gets care?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, all hospitals and health systems have some plan in place to deal with the surge in patients, but it is heart-breaking to see our hospitals in these crisis situations.

But I spoke with the American Hospital Association, and the group's director of policy says, quote, "Plans can include actions like adding beds, including in nontraditional areas of care in a hospital, like a cafeteria or a parking lot. And shifting patients between hospitals and working with their local and state health departments to find other sites of care." So, those are some examples of plans in place.

But Brianna, there's also a federal law called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. This law requires hospitals with emergency departments to provide medical screening and emergency departments. And it says that hospitals can't refuse to examine or treat people with emergency medical conditions.

So, there are plans in place, and then there is also the federal law.

But there's also another interesting part of this conversation, Brianna, because we are in a pandemic, and people have the choice to prevent serious illness or death by getting vaccinated. do vaccines come into play in these conversations at all? Our colleague, Anderson Cooper, asked Dr. Anthony Fauci about this. Here's what Dr. Fauci says.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If you're asking should you preference it for a vaccinated person versus an unvaccinated person, that's something that is always widely discussed. But in medicine, I know that you don't prejudice against someone because of their behavior. You just don't do that in medicine.


HOWARD: So that's the stance that many medical systems have. And Brianna, these are tough discussions happening right now at this moment.

KEILAR: Yes. Look, people are rolling the dice when it comes to getting vaccinated or not, and it might not be for their health care. It may be for someone else surviving.

Jacqueline, thank you so much.

BERMAN: So this week the FDA's scientific advisers will consider Pfizer's data about booster shots. If approved, the Biden administration is hoping to roll out a booster program a week from today.

Health officials have been relying on studies out of Israel, which began a booster program last month.

CNN Elizabeth Cohen, live in Tel Aviv with some of the results of what's been happening in Israel -- Elizabeth.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, it's really interesting what's been happening here. They've been doing boosters here for more than six weeks. Already about a third of the country has gotten them.

The Israelis are scrupulous about keeping data, and the director general of the ministry of health here tells me that two Israeli scientists will be testifying about this data to an all-important FDA advisers meeting on Friday.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can, and we will turn the tide on COVID-19.

COHEN (voice-over): President Biden anxious, like all of us, to get out of this pandemic. And to do that, he and his top health advisers are looking --

FAUCI: When you look at the Israeli data, and they are about a month or so ahead of us in every aspect of this --

COHEN: -- to Israel. At the beginning of the year, the vaccination rollout started much more quickly in Israel than in the U.S. Dr. Ron Balicer is chair of Israel's COVID-19 national expert advisory panel.

DR. RON BALICER, CHAIR, ISRAEL COVID-19 NATIONAL ADVISORY PANEL: By the end of May, Israel thought it was out of the woods.

COHEN: But even with a vigorous vaccination campaign, a dual threat arrived this summer. The Delta variant posed a challenge to the vaccine, and at the same time the Israelis say protection from the vaccine has started to wane over time, becoming less effective.

Cases in Israel now higher per capita than in the U.S. And that made Israel move quickly. They started administering booster

shots August 1. In the U.S., the FDA and the CDC are still reviewing boosters.

(on camera): Up until the booster shots, Israel waited for the FDA and for the CDC to chime in. But you guys just did boosters without the FDA and the CDC chiming in.

BALICER: I think there was a different level of urgency felt in the two countries. Decisions by the FDA have been made and we could have followed them. But in the situation that we were at, it was obvious that action was needed urgently. Decisions need to be made.

COHEN: Balicer and other Israeli health officials are in constant contact with U.S. health officials, sharing their data on COVID-19 after boosters.

BALICER: With the third dose, they are much better protected with the severe illness. So this is one reason to go through with a booster campaign.

COHEN: Now, while hospitalizations are skyrocketing in the U.S., the number of severe cases in Israel has plateaued recently, and per capita deaths in Israel are lower than in the U.S., offering a glimpse of what could happen if the U.S. takes certain steps.

I was vaccinated in Israel and received my booster shot last week. And it's not just the boosters that are different, no paper vaccine cards here. Instead, electronic vaccine passports that have a Q.R. code. Restaurants scan it and also ask for an I.D. to make sure it's really you before letting you in.

Other rules also much stricter in Israel than in many parts of the U.S. Masks have to be worn indoors and at large gatherings. University students have to be vaccinated or test negative every few days. Same for schoolteachers and staff.

BALICER: All of this needs to be put in place. And I think that booster are just one component of it. It's definitely not the one panacea that would solve all of the problems that we have in living COVID-19.

COHEN (on camera): You say we're going to live with COVID-19. So you think COVID-19 is here to stay.

BALICER: I think COVID-19 is here to stay.

COHEN (voice-over): A word of warning from the Israelis, as the United States grapples with COVID-19 numbers that at this point seem difficult to control.


COHEN: Now walking around Israel, you can see there are plenty of times where people break the rules, especially with masks. People don't always wear them when they're supposed to. But still, there are more rules. They are enforced much more than they

are in the United States -- John.

BERMAN: Cultural differences, I think, and historical differences about how people view government and whatnot. Elizabeth Cohen, very interesting to see --


BERMAN: -- some of these results over time. Thank you so much.

The FBI has released newly-declassified documents about the September 11th attacks. What the investigation reveals about the hijackers' connections to Saudi Arabia, next.

KEILAR: Plus, North Korea launching a newly-developed long-range cruise missile, its first missile test in months. So how will President Biden respond?



KEILAR: This weekend, the FBI began releasing the first of what is expected to be several documents related to its investigation of the 9/11 attacks and suspected Saudi government support for the hijackers.

This comes after an executive order by President Biden that called for the declassification of documents to begin in time for the 20th anniversary. Here's a look at what the documents show.


KEILAR (voice-over): The FBI releasing a newly-declassified document with more information about the September 11th terrorist attacks. It's the first of several expected to be released since President Joe Biden ordered a declassification review of the investigation earlier this month.

The heavily-redacted report from 2016 details the FBI's probe into suspected Saudi government support for the 9/11 hijackers. This includes whether a Saudi counselor official and a suspected Saudi intelligence agent provided logistical support to at least two of the men who hijacked planes on 9/11.

According to the document, the FBI interviewed an employee of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles in 2015. The person, whose name was redacted, said he was in contact with Saudi nationals suspected of providing support to the first two 9/11 hijackers to arrive in the United States.

The Saudi government has denied any government involvement in the attacks.