Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

FDA New Booster Recommendation; Kidnapped Missionaries in Haiti Enters Fourth Day; White House Pressured on Voting Rights; Astros Stun Red Sox; First Look at Lucille Ball Film; Queen Cancels Trip. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 20, 2021 - 06:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, a source telling CNN that the FDA is likely to recommend coronavirus booster shots to people as young as 40 who received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

Elizabeth Cohen with us now on this.

Elizabeth, last month the FDA authorized boosters for people 65 and older. So why the change here?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, new data keeps emerging. We've seen that before in this pandemic that new numbers come in and that prompts public health policy change.

So what's happened here is that there's been new data that shows that people in their 40s and 50s are ending up in the hospital sometimes even though they've been fully vaccinated because the vaccine has waned.

Now, this data's not all tied up pretty in a bow and published in a medical journal, but Israelis noticed the same thing really months ago. And as we've seen so often in this pandemic, what happens in Israel with the vaccine is often seen pretty soon thereafter in the United States.

So let's take a look at what a source is telling me will likely change.

So, right now, the Pfizer booster, as you mentioned, is currently recommended for everyone over age 65 or 65 and older. And for some younger people, too. People with underlying medical conditions, et cetera. But a source is telling me that health officials are likely to change that to be everyone over age 40 or maybe over age 50 and that Moderna is likely to have the same rules.

Now, a panel of CDC advisers are meeting this week to look at boosters. So expect to hear more in the next few days about any new rules.


KEILAR: All right, Elizabeth, we'll be watching that. Thank you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, the Brooklyn Nets opened their NBA season last night, losing to the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. The game -- the other big storyline of the game, though, surrounded the star player the Nets were without, Kyrie Irving, who will not be able to play or even practice with the team until he is vaccinated.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is urging Irving to get the shot. And now Hall of Famer Charles Barkley had some really interesting remarks.


CHARLES BARKLEY, NBA ANALYST: I got vaccinated. I can't wait to get the booster. I don't -- you don't get vaccinated just for yourself. Like Adam said, you get vaccinated for your family first. You get vaccinated for your teammates second. Things like that. That's what bothers me about this whole thing. I think everybody should get vaccinated.

The only thing -- and let me tell you something, I really am proud of the Nets for putting their foot down, for saying, no, we're not going to deal with this half on -- half on, half off. The only thing that bugs me, he's still going to make $17 million sitting at home. I wish they could find a way -- if he wants to go on this thing -- but, you know, people say he's like Ali. First of all, don't ever compare anybody to Ali. Ali went three years without boxing and he was the highest paid athlete in the world. This guy going to make $17 million for sitting at home.

But to every person out there, you don't get vaccinated just for yourself.


BERMAN: Barkley there was talking about Kyrie Irving's contract. He will still get paid even though he is not playing. And Irving defended his decision to not get vaccinated saying nobody should be forced to do anything with their bodies.

KEILAR: Yes, I feel like that is an excuse that we hear a lot, right, where he's trying -- we've heard from people around him who say that this isn't about being anti-vax, he just doesn't want people telling him what to do, which is an argument, you could say, I don't want to come to -- it's not that I don't want to come to work, I just don't want to be told that I have to come to work. I mean it's not -- the reasoning of it is a little suspect.

BERMAN: Also, look, Irving had an opportunity to get vaccinated if he wanted to, if he believed in the vaccine, well before New York City put those rules into place.


BERMAN: So, no one told him to do it. KEILAR: Correct.

BERMAN: And he still chose not to, which tells you what he thinks.

KEILAR: Yes, and to be clear, I like coming to work, I just want to say that, with you, of course, John Berman. Thank you.

BERMAN: Near me. At least on the TV.

KEILAR: So, if they pay the ransom, you can kiss us all good-bye. That's the message from a local priest as negotiations over the release of 17 missionaries, 16 of them American, kidnapped in Haiti continues. CNN is live from Port-au-Prince, next.

BERMAN: Brand new reporting about the pressure President Biden is facing to take action on voting rights and whether he's ready to try to do away with the filibuster.




ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have, in the administration, been relentlessly focused on -- on this, including sending a team to Haiti from the State Department. And we will do everything that we can to help resolve the situation.


BERMAN: That's Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking as negotiating over the safe return of 17 kidnapped missionaries in Haiti stretches into a fourth day. The violent gang that abducted them are demanding $1 million ransom per person.

CNN's Joe Johns is live in Port-au-Prince with the very latest, and you've got some new reporting this morning.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And one thing I can say, there have been multiple examples, John, that these Christian aide missionaries had close calls long before what happened on Saturday, going all the way back to 2019. They were in a truck outside Port-au-Prince airport, got rushed by a group of Haitian men. Got away that time.

Last night also I talked to Father Rick Frechette, who is an American priest who has been working in Haiti for years and years, best known for delivering medical assistance to children in Haiti.


But he's also been called in to work on about 80 of these kidnapping situations, including four involving 400 Mawozo, which is the group believed responsible for the current situation. He told me that he believes there's grave danger for visitors and foreigners in Haiti if a large ransom is paid.



FATHER RICK FRECHETTE, FOUNDER, ST. LUKE FOUNDATION FOR HAITI: For sure if there's big ransom paid for these people, you can kiss all of us good-bye because there's not going to be hope for anybody.

And I know the case is so public because they're white people, you know, but there were over 200 kidnappings in the Martisaw (ph) area, whole busloads of people.

Yes, it's kind of a litmus test for somebody else who's white, like me, or somebody else who's a foreigner here. It's kind of a litmus test. But for the public, it's going to be a sign of, is there -- is there any last straw, or are we all totally in the -- in the -- in the jaws of these lions now?


JOHNS: So the kidnappers in this case, as John noted at the top, have asked for $17 million for the release of the missionaries. Father Frechette says the numbers can go down in these ransom cases but also says it can take weeks and weeks to negotiate the process all the way through to the end.

Back to you.

BERMAN: What an interview with Father Frechette there. We are in the jaws of these lions.

Joe Johns, thank you very much.

KEILAR: The head of Iowa's Democratic Party says he has received racist, threatening messages after he criticized Donald Trump. Ross Wilburn was targeted after writing an op-ed in "The Des Moines Register" this month ahead of Trump's rally in the state. He criticized the former president and Iowa republicans who put loyalty to Trump ahead of helping Iowans. Wilburn, the first black person to lead Iowa's Democrats, says he received several racist messages, including a voicemail that referenced lynching. Police say they are investigating these threats.

And just in, some new CNN reporting. The Biden White House under mounting pressure to act on voting rights. Sources, though, tell CNN the administration is not ready to blow up the filibuster to ram a bill on this through the Senate.

Jeremy Diamond is at the White House this morning.

So where does that leave us, Jeremy?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, that mounting pressure has manifested itself in terms of mounting frustration from civil rights leaders. And that frustration growing increasingly vocal as well. We are hearing it from these civil rights activists who say that the White House just has not done enough to push voting rights legislation and to get it through Congress.

But the reality is, even as another test vote is set up for today, a major vote on a new, compromised voting rights legislation that was passed in part to accommodate Senator Joe Manchin's concerns, that vote is not expected to attract the 10 Republicans, if any Republicans, in order to pass the Senate. And the reality is, the White House, at this moment, has not decided whether they are ready to blow up the filibuster in order to get that done. And what they're certainly not willing to do yet is to pressure Senator Joe Manchin, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, those two centrist Democrats who are opposed to blowing up the filibuster for civil -- for voting rights legislation. They're just not willing to spend the political capital on that.

Instead, they have focused their efforts in lobbying those two senators on the Build Back Better agenda, the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that they are trying to get through. Something that's looking a lot more like $1.9 trillion at the moment.

So the reality is, what we're going to see from the White House, instead of this effort right now to pass this through legislation, we're going to see a ramped up public facing campaign, especially heading into the midterms next year.


KEILAR: All right, Jeremy Diamond live for us from the White House. Thank you.

We do have more on our breaking news.

Republican Liz Cheney raising the possibility that both former President Trump and his former top aide, Steve Bannon, were in on planning the Capitol insurrection. The latest details coming up.

BERMAN: Also I'm told there was some baseball last night, but pretty sure we can skip over that.



BERMAN: So, we're pretty tight on time and I'm not sure we have any time for this next story. It involves a baseball game last night.

Andy Scholes with the "Bleacher Report."

Andy, you're going to have to make it quick.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You know what, actually, John, I think with he should make time for this story because it was quite the turnaround last night for the Houston Astros. Things were not looking good. Six outs away from going down 3-1 to the Boston Red Sox in game number four. But their superstar Jose Altuve, like he's done so many times, coming through in the clutch. Altuve's solo home run in the eighth inning tied this one up at two.

Then, at the top of the ninth, the Red Sox bring in Nathan Eovaldi and he thinks he gets a strike out of Jason Castro right here to end the inning, but it's called a ball. The at-bat continues and Castro comes through with an RBI single to center. Flood gates open from there. Astros score seven runs with two outs in the ninth. They won 9-2 to even the series at two games apiece. Game five going to be today at 5:00 Eastern.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, looking to avoid a 3-0 deficit to the Braves. They were in a world of trouble, down 5-2 in the eighth, but they got two on for Cody Bellinger. He blasted a three-run home run to tie the game. Then later in the inning, Mookie Betts would come to the plate and he came through with an RBI double. Dodgers get four in the eighth, win it 6-5. L.A.'s going to look to even the series tonight at 8:00 Eastern on our sister station TBS.


All right, elsewhere, the drama in Philadelphia is reaching its boiling point. Disgruntled 76ers star Ben Simmons has been suspended for tonight's season opener against the Pelicans for conduct detrimental to the team. Head coach Doc Rivers kicked the three-time all-star out of practice yesterday after he reportedly refused to take part in drills. And all-star center Joel Embiid has had it with the situation.


JOEL EMBIID, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS CENTER: At this point I don't care about that man, honestly. He does whatever he wants. You know, that's not my job. But at the end of the day, our job is not to babysit somebody.


SCHOLES: Yes, John, the 76ers, the greatest soap opera we have right now in the NBA. You know, Simmons is there just to collect a paycheck, wants a trade. Embiid clearly doesn't want him there. Who knows when it gets resolved.

BERMAN: Yikes. I don't care about that man.

SCHOLES: That's some strong words there.


Andy Scholes, congratulations on the Astros game last night. They were terrific. Thank you.

SCHOLES: Thank you. Good series.

BERMAN: Brianna.

KEILAR: So we're getting a first look now at Nicole Kidman in one of the most dramatic transformations of her career, becoming the legendary Lucille Ball.

CNN's Chloe Melas has more.


CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: It's your first look at Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball.

NICOLE KIDMAN: I get paid a fortune to do exactly what I love doing.

MELAS (voice over): The film "Being the Ricardos" is written and directed by film maker Andrew Sorkin and Javier Bardem plays Lucille Ball's husband, Desi Arnaz. It follows the lives of the famous husband and wife duo as they filled their hit 1950s sitcom "I Love Lucy."

And based on the trailer, it appears one of the show's most iconic scenes made the cut. Yes, we're talking about Lucy stomping some grapes. The film premiers both in theaters and on the streaming platform this December.


KEILAR: Is that Lucille Ball or is it Nicole Kidman?

BERMAN: Yes, I had to do a double take.

KEILAR: I know.

BERMAN: Look, it looks so much like the original scene there, stomping the grapes, I wasn't quite sure. And the preview is really interesting because you hear Nicole Kidman's voice as Lucille Ball and she sounds exactly, exactly like her.

KEILAR: I know. I think it's -- it's amazing. She's had some roles where like you just kind of get lost in the role. You forget it's her. So it looks like this another one of those. And I love Javier Bardem. So I'm excited for this film.

We do have some more on our breaking news.

Democrats appear to be nearing a deal on President Biden's signature spending bill. We have some details about the concessions, and they are significant, President Biden proposed during meetings with progressives and moderates yesterday.

BERMAN: An emotional school board meeting in Texas where an administrator was recorded telling educators to teach opposing views on the Holocaust. We will speak to one former student who spoke out about anti-Semitic bullying he endured there.



KEILAR: We have some breaking news out of London. Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth has canceled a trip to northern Ireland today and has reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest for the next few days.

Let's bring in CNN's Max Foster on this story.

Max, what are we learning here?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, on the face of it, it feels quite alarming because the queen never cancels engagements last minute like this. But she has been given this advice by the royal doctor not to travel to northern Ireland. So she has canceled that series of engagements that she had over the water there.

I followed up with a royal source, someone close to the queen, and he has pointed out that she's resting at Windsor Castle and he emphasizes that she's in good spirits and that this is not COVID-related as well, by the way. Emphasizing that she's in good spirits and very disappointed that she can't travel across to northern Ireland. And he also pointed to these images from last night where she was at an engagement meeting business leaders, clearly in good spirits.

There was also a video call yesterday between Windsor Castle and New Zealand as well, where she was speaking to the new governor general there. And we heard the audio from that, and she sounded really well.

So, you know, they are, out of caution, asking her to stay behind, not go to northern Ireland, but they're playing down too much concern here.

So, we'll watch it. Obviously, she is 95 years old. But, at the moment, it does seem as though she is in good spirits and recovering in Windsor.

KEILAR: All right, we'll keep an eye on this.

Max, thank you.

BERMAN: So dozens of community members spoke out at a school board meeting in Texas after one of the administrators there was recorded telling educators that a new Texas law required them to teach opposing views on the Holocaust. One of the students who spoke out -- or one of the people who spoke out was a former student who said he had dealt with anti-Semitic bullying when he was in school there.


JAKE BERMAN, FORMER STUDENT, CARROLL INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: The facts are there are not two sides to the Holocaust. The Nazi systematically killed millions of people. There are not two sides of slavery. White Europeans enslaved black Africans in this country until June 19, 1865, a moment we're barely 150 years removed from. There are not two sides to Jim Crow. There are not two sides to racism and that same oppression continues today. These are facts.

The other facts are that I, a Jewish kid born in Dallas, was bullied on a daily basis for my religion for almost two years in this very district, nearly driving me to suicide before, thankfully, being removed from the environment thanks to an administrator. I still struggle with the depression that started at Dawson (ph)

Middle School in 2003 to this very day. The message you and the state are sending to your teacher opens the door for more of this type of behavior in your students. If you don't think that these same attacks are happening in your schools today with regard to someone's skin color, gender or religion, you're sorely mistaken.


BERMAN: And joining me now is Jake Berman. No relation.

Jake, nice to see you today. As someone who says you endured anti- Semitic bullying in this school district, what was it like for you to hear that recording where you had this school administrator saying, teach opposing views on the Holocaust?



But, you know, ultimately, I think that, from all accounts, she's a very capable administrator. And she was put in a really difficult situation. And so I think