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Trump Takes Twitter to Court; COVID Cases Down in U.S.; Lessons Learned from the Pandemic; Taliban and ISIS Compete for Afghanistan; Powerball hits $670 Million. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 04, 2021 - 06:30   ET



MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Pressure to put him back on. And how they respond to that is going to be pretty interesting.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's a Twitter thing, more than a Trump thing. I mean having --

HABERMAN: One hundred percent.


HABERMAN: But the impact is going to be the same.

BERMAN: I want to ask you about Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who had been involved with one of these super PACs around Trump and has been basically pushed out because of an interaction he had with a fundraiser. This is Trashelle Odom, a Republican donor. And you wrote an article about this. She says that Lewandowski repeatedly touched me inappropriately, said vile and disgusting things to me, stalked me and made me feel violated and fearful. I'm coming forward because he needs to be held accountable.

Now, like I said, he's been pushed aside from the super PAC. Why this and not everything else from Corey Lewandowski over the last six years?

HABERMAN: So, that's a good question. And just one -- one note of clarity. They're in the process of pushing him out because they -- they technically can't oversee personnel changes at the super PAC. As far as I understand it, Lewandowski has not been going willingly. And so I think we're going to see more developments on that.

In terms of why this, there's a couple of things. It's been literally, as you and I both know, five years of people around Trump trying to, you know, separate Trump from Lewandowski, for whom Trump has a huge soft spot and I'm not convinced this is the end of Lewandowski, just the end of Lewandowski at this entity and -- and with this money, at least in Trump -- in Trump land.

There's a couple of factors, though. One is that there are people who have been trying to focus on his outside clients and suggested that he was mishandling that or that he was sort of making himself the face of access to Trump in exchange for other -- not exchange but at least the ability to get other clients in service of himself.

Now, almost everyone around Trump has their own clients at this point, so that's not unusual that people have zeroed in on that. There is a difference of somebody saying this on the record. But I think it's also people trying to basically, you know, warn Trump that if you run again, there are going to be these distractions, and this can't be one.

But, again, I just want to reiterate, we've seen this movie before with other staff. Maybe not to this degree. The things that are said in that complaint are really ugly, and so we'll see if that has, you know, durability with Trump. But most things don't.

BERMAN: Red Sox/Yankees on Tuesday. Yankees fold. We like the Red Sox, right?

HABERMAN: You know what, I don't like either team. So, have at it. Enjoy. Whichever one you want.

BERMAN: Appreciate it.

You want the Red Sox. I can tell. I can tell you are rooting for the Red Sox.

Thank you, Maggie.

HABERMAN: I'm a Mets fan. I'm not rooting for the Red Sox.

BERMAN: All right, is the U.S. turning a corner in the fight against coronavirus.

You get the hook as soon as you say something bad about the Red Sox.

Promising new signs of the pandemic, next.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, did the FDA's full approval of Pfizer's vaccine cause a spike in shots? We'll have CNN's new analysis, next.



KEILAR: Progress in the pandemic right now. Average new cases are at their lowest point since August. Around 70,000 people are hospitalized right now. That is actually down from 100,000 a month ago. And average daily deaths are below 2,000.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is joining us now.

These are -- you know, look, these are real numbers. A lot of people affected. But this is definitely trending in the right direction.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is trending in the right direction, Brianna, and we don't want to get too excited. And remember when we were talking back in June, is this the beginning of the end, and then delta came along.

But let's take a look at these numbers. I think it does give some hope that things might be going better than they were before.

Let's take a look at hospitalizations. When you look at this, you can just see those numbers go down so dramatically since the beginning of September.

Now, when you take a look at deaths, it's not as dramatic. The decline has been very, very small, but deaths follow hospitalizations. So hopefully, when we're talking, you know, several weeks from now, we'll have a death graphic that looks like that hospitalizations graphic. I mean we're still dealing with about 2,000 people dying in the United States every day.

Now, what would get this recovery to go faster, more people getting vaccinated. If we took a -- take a look at the most recent vaccination numbers, up nearly 76 percent of Americans have had at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine and about 64 percent are fully vaccinated.


KEILAR: I do want to ask you this talk. There was talk that once the FDA-approved vaccines there would be a spike in vaccinations because I think we heard from so many people, Elizabeth, oh, I'm just waiting for full approval. Did that happen?

COHEN: Kind of, sort of. It did not happen as dramatically as anyone would have liked. We were actually wondering, what did happen with that. Pfizer got their full approval from the FDA back on August 23rd. So we asked the Department of Health and Human Services for their numbers. And they said, look, when you compare what happened to Pfizer in the days following August 23rd, to Moderna, you do see a difference. So let's take a look at this.

In the days following August 23rd, which was the day of full approval for Pfizer, and the 12 days after, you do see the seven-day averages of vaccinations going up about 16 percent. I mean that's a nice spike. Moderna went up only 5 percent. And actually it was Moderna that had been doing better in the vaccination rate increases. So there was a switch and Pfizer started doing better.

Do we know that that's because of full approval 100 percent? No. But that's probably a major reason. But, both of these spikes were relatively short-lived. They then -- then the numbers for both vaccines, those rates started to go down around September 4th. So it was a modest increase after full approval and relatively short-lived.

So let's take a look at what Kaiser Family Foundation polls say actually seems to matter more than full approval. What they found was that if you know someone who was ill or died from COVID, that was more likely to be like a major reason for getting a COVID-19 vaccine.


The other factors that stood out in people's minds more were participating in certain activities. You want to travel, you want to -- want to go to a sporting event that requires vaccination, that was sort of a stronger reason for people wanting to get vaccinated, or seeing hospitals filling up with COVID cases. Brianna, I'm going to quote you back to you when we talked about these numbers a week or so ago, you said fear and fear of missing out, that's what makes people get vaccinated. And I think you nailed it.

KEILAR: Fear and FOMO. FOMO. That's what FOMO is for the folks who don't know.

COHEN: Fear and FOMO.

KEILAR: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much.


COHEN: Thanks.

BERMAN: (INAUDIBLE) into the COVID-19 pandemic and we are not near the end of it. And 700,000 people have now died in the United States and still tens of thousands of others battling coronavirus in the hospital. So, what have we learned and how can we make sure it doesn't happen again? I'm joined now by one man who helped guide us through this uncertain time, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. His new book, "World War C" is out tomorrow.

New book. I don't know how you found the time to write it, Sanjay, but, why? What do you want to do here?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we talk about this stuff on TV all the time but, you know, you do hours and hours of homework to be able to even speak for a few minutes about this on television. You learn so much about this. And it's been my life, you know, really for two years. I mean I've been so immersed.

I think there were several things. The science of the virus. Really what does this virus do to the body. How does a respiratory virus cause isolated loss of smell? I mean it's fascinating and important, I think. We're in a whole new era of these virus. The vaccine, how does that work? Just the science lessons. I really wanted to teach that for posterity.

But also just human behavior. I think there's been so many surprises here. How we evaluate risk. You tell somebody something is 0.5 percent lethal. That was -- that was interesting. People would say, 1 in 200 people are going to die. Let's do everything we can to be protected. Other people will say, so, I'm 99.5 percent good. What's the big deal? Like, how do you convey that to people. Same objective data, different subjective interpretations. Or the fact that it was novel.

We don't deal with novel things. Kids deal with novel things all the time. Adults, they don't. You have -- when's the last time you experienced something for the first time? But also then, how do you get out of your own way so make sure you can just look at this tabula rasa (ph) and say, let me just take this for what it is and figure out the solutions. A lot of lessons there. BERMAN: Yes. I mean how do you get out of your own way. The United States didn't. And one of the things that you talked about from the very beginning -- I remember so early on, Sanjay, from like February, March, April of 2020, the United States was doing worse at this than other countries.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, I think there's always this -- this -- this idea that wealth is going to buy health. We'll be OK. We're the United States. We have all these resources we can throw at something.

And what you find with this pandemic is that almost universally wealthy countries did worse. Diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, they have affected third world countries more so than really developed countries. Not so with this disease. Why? Was it because we -- we waited for the home run hit in the form of a vaccine and we couldn't be bothered to use masks and other basic public health measures? Perhaps. Is it just that, you know, we -- we -- we think of the -- the idea that we have these diseases of privilege, obesity and -- and heart disease, things that made us more vulnerable to the disease, could that have been a problem? These diseases set us up for worse outcomes. Those are diseases typically seen in wealthier countries.

So all these things that you sort of think about sort of made it more likely that wealthy countries were going to do poorer.

One thing I found really interesting, if you look at all these pandemics, John, the country of origin of the pandemic is often the country that was the least hard hit.

BERMAN: Really?


So 1918, the -- the pandemic probably started here in the United States. It was countries further and further away from the United States that was harder hit. China, with this pandemic, not as hard hit as countries like the United States, further and further away. Why is that? Could there be a low-level circulating immunity with pre- variants, if you will, of the virus sort of circulating? It really sets up an interesting question about how we surveil for these types of diseases going forward. Right now we just get hit, all of a sudden we're dealing with it, but there are sort of the pre-shocks, if you will, as well.

BERMAN: I never thought of that. That is interesting.

Getting healthier in general, Sanjay, you say is hugely important.

GUPTA: You know, Dr. Robert Redfield, who was the CDC director, he said, we did not show up to this battle with very good armor on. And I thought that was an interesting phrase. I made note of that. That was about a year ago we had this conversation. And then I started digging. And it is true that, you know, we heard that the number of comorbidities that you have, the higher the likelihood you were going to have a worse outcome. There was some comorbidities, like obesity, chronic kidney disease,

things like that, that really set you up for -- for significant problems down the road. We know we need to get healthier, but the idea that you could so directly tie these types of diseases to a worse outcome from COVID made the issue that much more urgent.


And also, you know, just even your immunity. People say I want to do things to build up my immunity. Well, how do you do that? Get healthy. Yes, of course. But so much of your immunity actually comes from your gut, the microbiome. And this -- this one microbiome researcher said to me, what you had for breakfast today could give a pretty good idea of how you would deal with the disease if you were infected tonight. It's that quick in terms of how your microbiome changes, how much that influences your immunity and how likely you are to be able to combat a disease like COVID. So --

BERMAN: I'm thinking Cheerios and four espressos. How am I doing?

GUPTA: You're doing great, John.


GUPTA: You're healthy. You're fine.


GUPTA: But, you know, it is an interesting point about just what our personal obligations are for emerging pathogens going forward. These emerging pathogens are going to keep happening, but pandemics don't have to.

BERMAN: The book is "World War C." Sanjay, we're so proud, we're so lucky that we know you and have you here to help us out through all of this and we wish you the best of luck going forward.

GUPTA: I appreciate that.

BERMAN: Congratulations on this.

GUPTA: Thanks, John. A privilege. Thank you.

BERMAN: An explosive new interview with the Facebook whistleblower. What she says about the link between the social network and the Capitol insurrection.

KEILAR: Plus, new violence in Afghanistan as the Taliban and ISIS compete for power. We are live from Kabul, next.



KEILAR: Developing overnight, the Taliban carrying out another operation targeting ISIS in Afghanistan. And this comes after a number of people were killed in an explosion outside a mosque in the center of Kabul.

CNN's Clarissa Ward is live for us from Kabul.

Clarissa, this was the deadliest attack since the U.S. left, right?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We haven't seen anything of this significance in quite some time, Brianna. And that's why it's made a lot of people feel very uneasy.

Right here in the center of town, a ministry of interior source telling us that seven people were killed. Among them, at least two Taliban. Now, the target appears to have been the funeral prayers that were being held for the mother of the Taliban spokesperson. There were a lot of the Taliban leadership present in the mosque at that time. No one has claimed responsibility yet, and nor has the Taliban said who they believe perpetrated the attack. But it is reasonable to assume that it may be ISIS-K, given that late last night there were a series of raids. You know, you could hear gunfire in the night. Images being shared on social media. In Kerhan (ph), a neighborhood in Kabul, the Taliban this morning saying they essentially they were targeting an ISIS safe house and that a number of ISIS-K insurgents were killed in that attack.

But this really underscoring, Brianna, the challenge of the moment the Taliban finds itself in because the one thing that they have been able to offer people, their main appeal, if you like, is the fact that they had been able to bring a modicum of security, that there has been a lull in the fighting that, of course, we were seeing in the years running up to their takeover.

But with yesterday's attack and some smaller-scale bombings in Jalalabad and around, there are now real questions about just how much of a challenge ISIS-K and groups like it could pose to the Taliban, Brianna.

KEILAR: Can you give us a little bit of the back story here on ISIS-K and the Taliban and the relationship or lack thereof between these two groups?

WARD: Right. I think a lot of people will probably find it confusing because if you think of militant Islamists, you would assume that they would be fighting on the same side as opposed to each other. When we sat down with a senior ISIS-K commander just really about a week before the city of Kabul fell to the Taliban, it was interesting to hear that his hatred wasn't really directed so much at the United States as it was at the Taliban. And we pressed him on this. And essentially what he said was that his men and ISIS-K feel that the Taliban is not strict enough in terms of their interpretation of sharia law.

Now, that might sound very strange to us but he gave the example of, you know, they're not chopping enough hands off anymore. And so they would like to see an even more extreme, even more draconian interpretation of sharia law being implemented.

But I think, beyond that, you can also interpret this as something of a power struggle basically. People who used to be in the Taliban who have now started their own group, who then align themselves with ISIS- K, who are fighting for power and who are fighting for territory, Brianna.

KEILAR: Clarissa Ward, thank you so much, live for us from Kabul.

There's a massive oil spill right now. We are waiting to see just how bad this gets. It's polluting the southern California coastline. It's closed beaches. Raising grave concerns about some sensitive wildlife and the environment there. We'll have a live report ahead.

BERMAN: Plus, one of the largest Powerball jackpots ever. It is still growing. And you still won't win. Christine Romans explains why.



BERMAN: The Powerball jackpot has grown to at least $670 million for the drawing tonight.

"EARLY START" co-anchor and CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now.

One of the things that draws us together, Romans, we both think the lottery is the world's worst retirement plan.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look, this is not a 401(k). It's the great American pastime, daydreaming that you'll win the lottery. The odds, John Berman, 1 in 292 million. So that means there's a chance.

So let's suspend reason, logic and financial literacy for a moment and let's dream about the current Powerball jackpot. And no one claimed the $635 million Saturday night. That means it's $670 million, John, for tonight's drawing. That is the eighth biggest in U.S. lottery history.

Think it could be you, folks? Well, you're more likely to be struck by lightning, a lot more likely, bitten by a venomous snake, a lot more likely there, too, or attacked by a shark.

But, dream if you must, because you've got some big decisions ahead. Are you going to quit your job? How big of a house are you going to buy your mother? And how are you going to hide from all your distant relatives asking for cash.

But, first, you'll have to choose between an after tax lump sum or 30 annual payments. The lump sum, John, $475 million. Yes, you should take the lump sum and spend your life growing the money, not spending the money.

And, John, you can see Phil for the office pool.

BERMAN: I will never do the office pool with Phil.


Not that I don't trust Phil. I just don't trust the office pools.

Christine Romans, thank you very much for that.

And NEW DAY continues right now.