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U.S. to Open Borders with Canada and Mexico for Vaccinated Travelers Starting in November, 2021; Actor William Shatner to Fly to Edge of Outer Space in Blue Origin Rocket; GOP Establishment Members Say They Will Support Donald Trump in Possible 2024 Presidential Bid; Nets Won't Allow Kyrie Irving to Play Until He's Vaccinated. Aired 8- 8:30a ET

Aired October 13, 2021 - 08:00   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He did the bridge. My is the medley on "Abbey Road." I can't get enough of the medley on "Abbey Road," and he would like that, because that was largely --

REMNICK: And this is a band who the last song they recorded, practically, is called "The End." I think they knew.

BERMAN: David Remnick, I appreciate you coming on this morning. I never wanted the article to end. I just wanted it to keep going and going and sort of bathe in it. Thanks so much for what you do.

REMNICK: I really appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

BERMAN: NEW DAY continues right now.

Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar. It is Wednesday, October 13. And this is a big moment in the pandemic in the United States. After 18 months, long, long months, for millions of Americans with families in Canada or Mexico, the U.S. will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated visitors from those countries starting in early November. This ban has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic, and this is going to be a huge lift, not just to the families, but also for tourists and businesses who have customers near the border.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And this is an announcement that is coming just weeks after the White House vowed to lift bans on overseas travelers and as coronavirus numbers continue to trend in a positive direction, which, of course, is down. And 38 states declining or holding steady on hospitalizations, 44 states seeing cases flatline or decline. Rafael Romo is standing by in Mexico. First though, let's go to Paula Newton in Ottawa, Canada, with our top story. Paula?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, when the border closed between the U.S. and Canada, land border, people didn't think it would last 19 days. We are at 19 months. And this has really been taking its toll not just on businesses from Washington state all the way to New York state, whether you're talking about British Columbia, Ontario. It's families, right, Brianna. They have really been waiting for this day. And finally later today we should get some details from the Biden administration.

Sometime in November, fully vaccinated Canadians will be able to finally drive over into the United States. A few wrinkles, though, Brianna, I have to say, one in 10 Canadians have either gotten AstraZeneca or have mixed doses, right? They got AstraZeneca and then maybe after they got Pfizer. We're still awaiting a decision from the CDC to see if those Canadians will be considered fully vaccinated. But I'm telling you, once those wrinkles are ironed out, there is relief and rejoicing across the country not just from Canadians who want to see loved ones, but remember the businesses right across both of the countries, both U.S. and Canada. People would go across the border to see their friends, to get a burger at their favorite restaurant. That was certainly not a part of life during this pandemic, and there will be a lot of relief from many, many people in the months to come, even though there are still wrinkles to iron out here, Brianna.

KEILAR: For so many people, closing the border was like drawing a line down the middle of their community and their daily life.

I want to go to Rafael Romo who is south of the U.S. border in Mexico. Tell us how this is affecting Mexico and how they're looking at this, Rafael.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Yes, Brianna, people with relatives on both sides of the border could not be happier today. And Mexico's health department announced just yesterday that 75 percent of the country's adult population has received at least one dose of any of the different coronavirus vaccines. The vaccination levels are as high as 95 percent in places like here in the capital.

And let's remember that three top U.S. officials including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas met with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador here in Mexico City on Friday. The meeting was about a new bilateral security agreement, but there were other issues discussed as well. The Mexican government announced last month that more than 3.8 million people who live in 45 cities on six different states along the U.S. border had been vaccinated. And President Lopez Obrador pushed then for a full reopening of the border.

American border towns were also pushing for a reopening because they have lost millions of dollars, Brianna, in the more than 18 months they haven't had any Mexican shoppers spending money in their businesses. Brianna, back to you.

KEILAR: Rafael and Paula, thank you so much to both of you.

BERMAN: We're now less than two hours away from a big event for people who love science and science fiction. Blue Origin's Shepard rocket seen here now live on the launchpad will blast off with Captain Kirk on board, 90-year-old William Shatner headed off to the edge of space for just a few minutes.

Joining me now is professor and theoretical physics at City University of New York, Michio Kaku. Professor Kaku is the author of the book "The God Equation, The Quest for a Theory of Everything." It's great to see you.


BERMAN: It's a big moment. It is a fun moment. Let's face it.

KAKU: Let's face it, we're going to boldly go where no Hollywood movie star has ever gone before, straight up, 60 miles straight up to the very edge of outer space.


Now, "Star Trek" takes place in the 23rd century. We're not there yet, but science fact is catching up to science fiction because while we don't have warp drive, we don't have transporters, but we do have now space tourism into outer space.

BERMAN: Which, of course, people were going up and down in space all the time in "Star Trek," which is what the promise of all this now really is. It isn't the technology. We were doing this 60 years ago with NASA. But the issue is it may be more accessible to people, regular people. What is the significance of that?

KAKU: We're entering an era of democratization of outer space. Not just air force astronauts and test pilots going up and out of space, but one day mom and dad will also go into outer space. Now, think of the history of transportation. We went from airplanes that mainly haul cargo and troops during war time, then we went to a place and time when rich people had airliners cater to their whims. Now we're in stage three, where we're beginning to see the fact that one day mom and dad could go into outer space, just like the airlines also evolved from hauling cargo, hauling rich people, to hauling average people.

BERMAN: Unless mom and dad are wicked rich, it's not mom and dad today, though.

KAKU: Yes, that's for the future, because it costs almost half-a- million dollars per seat to get on the flight. Remember, costs are going down. It did cost $10,000 to put a pound of anything, anything into orbit around the earth. That's $10,000 a pound. That's dropping by a factor of maybe two to four because rockets are now re-useable. We have billionaires competing, driving costs down. Even countries like the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East shot a probe all the way to Mars. We're talking about a new era where costs are dropping like a rock.

BERMAN: You're talking about cost per pound. William Shatner looks very fit to me. But the fact is he's 90 years old. Where are you on how safe it is for a 90-year-old to be doing this? KAKU: Well, just remember that just this past weekend there was an

explosion on the sun creating a giant solar flare, which might have interrupted with the flight in just two hours time. Realize that solar flares are a problem. One day we're going to have not just weather reports, but space weather reports telling us about the coming of giant solar flares from the sun that could disrupt satellite communications, knock out power stations, cause havoc with the Internet. Fortunately, we dodged a bullet.

BERMAN: Professor Kaku, it's always a pleasure to talk to you. We love your enthusiasm. And again, what we're going to see is just kind of cool.

And there has been a lot of focus on "Star Trek," and I know you're a "Star Trek" fan, but I don't think there has been enough focus on his truly great show, and that would be "T.J. Hooker." So we're going to speak to one William Shatner's co-stars from "T.J. Hooker" in just a few minutes.

KEILAR: It is such a good show. Actually, I did watch reruns. So guilty here.

Just into CNN, some new evidence this morning that a significant number of Republicans in Congress would be prepared to support Donald Trump if he were to launch another bid for the White House. This coming after a growing number of GOP lawmakers are publicly defending the former president's role in the January 6th Capitol riot.

Joining us now to discuss, CNN Capitol Hill Reporter Melanie Zanona and former Republican congressman and presidential candidate Joe Walsh. Mel, you've talking to a lot of Republicans, very interesting what they have been telling you, very alarming.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, whatever reservations the GOP may have had about Donald Trump appear to completely have evaporated from public view. We surveyed a very large swath of the Republican conference yesterday, and there was wide agreement around Republicans that not only would they support Donald Trump if he chose to run in 2024, but that he would be the automatic favorite to win the party nomination. Even swing district Republicans like Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey were saying that they would cheer him on for a 2024 run and downplaying his role on January 6th, even as Donald Trump continues to spread the same election lines that led to the insurrection on January 6th.

Look, I don't think it is surprising to hear this from Republicans, Trump's grip on the GOP has been well documented this year, even after the insurrection. But we are seeing the GOP establishment increasingly bring Trump back into the fold in a very public way and trying to rehabilitate his image as he weighs his political future.

KEILAR: What is the significance of, say, a Van Drew who he -- like he told you, he would support him, and also he doesn't blame him for the insurrection. He says people are responsible for their own actions. What is the significance of someone like a Van Drew who flipped from Dem to Republican? ZANONA: Right, he's a vulnerable Republican in a district. And even

he is not expressing reservations. This isn't just the fringe anymore. It is not just the Andy Biggs or the Jim Jordans. This is the GOP establishment.


You had Chuck Grassley, the most senior Senate Republican, on stage over the weekend in an Iowa rally with Trump. You have Trump headlining, actually, two upcoming fundraisers for the NRCC and NRSC. These are the House and Senate campaign arms coming up in the next few weeks. And so it just shows you that even the establishment Republican now is bringing him back, welcoming him with open arms, and tightly hugging him.

KEILAR: What do you think, Joe?

JOE WALSH, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This isn't a comeback. It is interesting -- it is a great story. This is no comeback, though. This has been his party since he came down that escalator, certainly since he got the nomination. It's been pathetic for five or six years. It's been pathetic post an insurrection that it is still his party. But it's his party.

And you're right, I think of Chuck Grassley, 88-year-old chuck Grassley, he's been in D.C. since, like, 1874. He's running for another term. He doesn't need Trump to win reelection. But yet there he is on his knees last weekend, bowing to Donald Trump. Steve Scalise, who I served with in Congress, cannot acknowledge the truth that the election wasn't stolen. None of this is a surprise. It's Donald Trump's party, and it has always been.

KEILAR: Chuck Grassley thinks Chuck Grassley needs Donald Trump, though. He almost said as much standing right in front of the president at his rally in Iowa where he said, 91 percent of Republicans here support Trump. But you think he doesn't need Trump? Because the way Trump looked at it, you're either for him or against him, right?

WALSH: There is no middle ground. You can't straddle a Donald Trump fence. Nikki Haley is finding that out. It has got to be full devotion. I don't think Grassley needed to do that. He is such an institution in Iowa. But the story is he felt like he had to. He felt like he had to kiss the ring. He's not a fringe character in the party. This is Trump's party, and it always has been that way. There was like an afternoon after January 6th where we thought things might change.

KEILAR: An afternoon.

WALSH: An afternoon. And then that was it.

KEILAR: Yes. One afternoon. So you tweeted yesterday, and I wanted to have you follow up on this a little bit. You were talking about a day when you were campaigning in Iowa in 2020, and you asked 40 Trump rally goers whether Trump had ever told a lie. What did they say to you, and why do you go back to that moment?

WALSH: It was the most depressing moment of my mission impossible primary challenge to Trump. Forty people in line at a Trump rally in Des Moines. And I went down, I went one by one, Brianna, down the line, and I asked them all the simple question. Has Donald Trump ever told a lie? I didn't ask does he lie, is he dishonest? Has he ever told a lie? Forty straight people said no. And most of them, Brianna, were adamant about it.

It was the most depressing day of that experience. I think about it often now, 750,000 Americans are dead because of lies Trump and FOX News spread. We had an insurrection, an attack on our government because of lies that were spread. And it just strikes me almost every week, Brianna, that the entire base of my former political party no longer deals in truth.

KEILAR: They're very wrapped up in the untrue. It is undeniable. Joe, thank you, Mel, great reporting. Appreciate it.

Up next, the big basketball star benched because he won't get a COVID shot.

BERMAN: Plus, every parent's worst nightmare, a child snatched by a stranger on the street. And the new White House push to break the supply bottleneck. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joins us live.



KEILAR: Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving won't see any playing time at home or away as long as he refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The Nets general manager Sean Marks released this statement saying, Kyrie made a personal choice and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full time member of the team and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part time availability.

Joining us now is Cari Champion. She's former ESPN anchor and host of the new podcast "Naked with Cari Champion."

Thank you, Cari, so much for being with us.

You know, what is your reaction here to this decision by the Brooklyn Nets?

CARI CHAMPION, HOST, "NAKED WITH CARI CHAMPION": Well, I think they're in a pretty tough situation like a lot of these teams are. But they have to make an example and let it be with Kyrie.

I have to give you background on this. Back in 2019, this version of the Brooklyn Nets would not exist. He was the lead recruiter if you will bringing on Kevin Durant, bringing on other players and said let's do this, let's go after some sort of championship. And here he is finding himself in a situation where reporting is being said that he's not so much an anti-vaxxer, he just feels as if he's being forced to do something he shouldn't do and he wants to be, quote/unquote, a leader if you will.

I joked about this the other day on social media, he wanted to start some sort of movement, I don't know what movement this is, but he really truly believes he's speaking up for those who don't have a voice. So now the league finds itself without one of its stars, because he has to play or he can't play rather and now he's looking around wanting to do more.

What I think is unfortunate, though, is that his message or whatever message he believes he's choosing is being co-opted. There are people saying, oh, well, he should not be forced. On the right side, I believe in him. Donald Trump Jr. tweeting at him.

And that is not even what this is about. And I have said this on many occasion about these athletes who choose not to talk about getting a vaccine, their message could be totally separate from what a political message could be. But it is being co-opted and they need to understand that they are really making a choice that speaks volumes about where we are in society today.

KEILAR: Yeah, Cari, I wonder, you know, whatever, if he and those around him are saying he doesn't want to be co-opted by the right, by those who are against this vaccine.


That language that people close to him told "The Athletic", right, this is just something where he's not anti-vaxx, but he's upset with people losing their jobs to mandates, the perceived control of society and people's livelihood, that is the fig leaf that people often on the right, you know, use when it comes to being against this vaccine.

Why does he realize that, do you think? And why is he ready to kill his career on this hill?

CHAMPION: You know, that's such a great question. I was in a group chat the other day with some other people who covered Kyrie as well. And I, you know, he's the guy, I don't know if you remember when he went to go as a Brooklyn Net play the Celtics in practice, he was burning sage on the court, just before he went out there.

He is a different type of guy. He's a different dude. He thinks differently. I take all of that into consideration and I truly think he doesn't believe how his message is being co-opted by the right. I think he truly believes he's doing something, and it is unfortunate because I have said over and over again, these players, well they talk about -- they want to speak up for someone or they want to do more research, I just feel as if they sound like they don't know what they're talking about, I don't want to say that in a dismissive way.

But there is so much on the line here. And I do believe Kyrie will give up his career. Just to prove a point. He's that kind of guy. He will give up his career to prove a point. Hopefully, it doesn't come to that. I did hear that he could go to

practice on Sunday. But at the end of the day, Kyrie will make a decision unlike any other. His career, if you look back on its history, says he does what he likes, when he feels.

KEILAR: Yeah. We will see. We'll see if this is the hill he kills his career on.

Cari, great to see you.

CHAMPION: You too, Brianna.

KEILAR: Coming up, a soldier runs face first into a concrete block? Bizarre stunts staged to impress North Korea's dictator.

BERMAN: And Don Lemon will try that next. He is here live, ready for basic training.



BERMAN: Who doesn't want to talk about what some people call cancel culture? David Chappelle said he was loving being canceled following backlash to anti-LGBTQ comments in his latest comedy special. You hear some on the right lamenting that Raiders coach Jon Gruden is out of a job after resigning from homophobic, racist and misogynistic emails.

A University of Chicago professor's guest lecture was canceled after comments surfaced and Congressman Dan Crenshaw is writing a children's book on cancel culture called "Fame, Blame and the Wrath of Shame."

I want to bring in Don Lemon, the host of "DON LEMON TONIGHT" and author of "This is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism."

I will disclaim I have an issue with this entire discussion. I think sometimes we cast the net too broad and it can be clumsy. Jon Gruden, for instance, we're throwing this into the issue of cancel culture. What does that saying? Like, oh, I want to live in a time where you can write -- with no consequences. What happened to those days when you could write emails like that, to get canceled over racist, homophobic and misogynistic things?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, DON LEMON TONIGHT: You kids can't do anything racist anymore. That's the point, exactly.

As you were scrolling through the list of all those things, okay, fine, but we have to remember, in Gruden's case, I don't mean this pun not intended, it is not so black and white. There is nuance to everything. Each case has to be looked at and judged on its individual merit merits.

I don't see why Jon Gruden is being lumped into a cancel culture category. You shouldn't go back and try it cancel people for accusations, there is due process. This isn't an accusation. They weren't even looking for Jon Gruden.

They were investigating the Washington football team and came across these emails and said, whoa!

Look at this! This guy is a leader of the NFL. He is a team manager. He's a head coach of a team.

BERMAN: With black players and a gay player.

LEMON: With a black players and a gay player. Is this acceptable in the workplace, somebody who should be setting an example for the league, somebody who hires people and makes decisions about people's future? Is this what we want?

It's not acceptable. Jon Gruden is not cancel culture. This is not an accusation. This is something that they found, there is obvious evidence of it and if it was not true, do you think he would have resigned?

He probably would have said, this is not true, I did not write those emails, and therefore I'm not going anywhere. He self-canceled. He canceled himself. He said, "I'm out."

So let's not put Jon Gruden in that category and let's not for conservatives and people saying this is cancel culture, conservatives, you can't do anything, you can't say anything anymore, are you fighting to make racism okay, to make sexism okay, to make homophobia okay? Is that what you want to be known for? Come on, it's absolutely ridiculous. Stop it.

KEILAR: Accountability, it seems like, a lot of the examples of it that we have seen, you're seeing powerful people, who, look, it's true, when people have power and they have influence, they do have something that they can abuse and some clearly choose to abuse it and they're being called out on it.

But Jon Stewart said something I thought was really fascinating. He said this in an interview with David Remnick at "The New Yorker" Festival, about this phenomenon.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: It is not you can't say, it's that when you say it, look, the internet has democratized criticism.