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Dr. Lee Savio Beers is Interviewed about Vaccine Approval for Kids; States of Emergency Ahead of Nor'Easter; Mel Leonor is Interviewed about the Virginia Governor's Race; Biden Delays JFK Assassination Records; Bucs Negotiate Deal. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 26, 2021 - 06:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening today, an independent FDA advisory committee will vote on whether to authorize Pfizer's vaccine for emergency use in kids between the ages of five and 11. And if all goes as expected, Dr. Anthony Fauci says parents could expect to begin vaccinating their children within the first two weeks of November.

Pediatric cases have been declining for seven weeks, but they are still considered extremely high. The American Academy of Pediatrics reporting that as of last week, nearly 118,000 children tested positive for the virus, a quarter of all new cases.

Joining us now is Dr. Lee Savio Beers. She is the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Doctor, thank you for being with us on what's -- you know, this is very much an important week here, an important day.

And so can you just walk us through the timeline, because there are different steps to get to early November.

DR. LEE SAVIO BEERS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS: Yes, absolutely. And thank you so much for having me here today.

So as you pointed out, the independent advisory committee for the FDA will meet today to look at all the data that's been submitted for the vaccine for emergency authorization for five to 11-year-olds. You know, everything we've seen so far seems encouraging. And so we'll -- I think parents and pediatricians are watching that carefully.

You know, if the advisory committee recommends the vaccine, and the FDA authorizes it, then next week, actually, the CDC will take a look at it with their independent advisory committee. And at that point, then the CDC director will be able to make a recommendation about if the vaccine is recommended for children.

KEILAR: And shots begin for five to 11, you think?

BEERS: Well, so -- yes. Yes, absolutely. KEILAR: When?

BEERS: So -- so assuming that all goes well and all goes as we encourage -- or, you know, all goes as we expect, then -- then next week, after the -- the meeting on November 2nd and 3rd, the -- the vaccine should be ready to go.

Now, I think one thing that I've been sharing with parents and really talking to folks about is that this -- this vaccine is a lower dose and so it does come in a different vile because it is a lower dose. And so it's not going to be quite as simple as just using the supply that's already there. I think folks are getting -- working really hard to make sure that everything is teed up so that if and when the vaccine is authorized, it will be available.

But there may be a few days after the -- you know, after the vaccine is recommended before it's really fully in use and available.

KEILAR: So do you go to the pediatrician to get it, or, for instance, I got my shot in a gym, right, in a basketball gym. Will there be large events like that for children? How will parents be getting this?

BEERS: Yes, really all of the above. I think, you know, the plan has been really, I think, well thought out. And it includes a lot of different sites, really kind of recognizing where parents are most comfortable getting vaccines for their children. I think there's some families who know they want this and they want it as soon as possible and there's going to be some sites where, you know, you know, sort of these larger vaccination sites and/or retail pharmacies where you can go and get your vaccine. But they're also making sure that supply is getting out to pediatricians, and children's hospitals, and other places where parents may feel a little bit more comfortable getting the vaccine for their children, especially if they have questions or things that they want to talk through with the pediatrician.

KEILAR: So what do you make of this interim trial result from Moderna? Now, what we were just talking about was Pfizer. So this is Moderna. Interim trial results showing that vaccines are well tolerated by children, and that the Moderna vaccine works for children.

BEERS: Yes, again, I think this is very encouraging. You know, I -- it's hard to think back about -- you know, to think back to when we were looking at vaccines for adults. I mean we kind of went through the same process, right, where each manufacturer, you know, the data was available at slightly different times. And I think that's what we're seeing here. But it is really encouraging. And I think the more availability, the more access, the more options we have, the better.

KEILAR: Right.

Dr. Lee Savio Beers, great to see you. Thanks.

BEERS: Thank you so much for having me today.

KEILAR: The Northeast is facing some heavy rain and the threat of flash floods just weeks after Hurricane Ida tore through the region. We'll have the forecast ahead.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it messed up my hair bad on the way in.

KEILAR: My shoes.

BERMAN: Plus, Virginia in the balance. Big, new developments in the governor's race that could tell us where the country is headed.



BERMAN: This morning, New York and New Jersey issuing states of emergency as a nor'easter bears down on the region. Heavy rainfall and flooding are expected. I've seen the heavy rainfall and flooding already just weeks after Hurricane Ida killed more than 50 people across the region and caused a huge amount of damage.

CNN's Chad Myers joins us now.

Chad, it was a pretty harrowing drive in this morning.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I bet it was. There are some roads out there that are closed right now. The winds are blowing all the way down even toward the deep south. And the winds in Boston later on tonight and overnight could be 60 to 65 miles per hour.

Two low pressure systems. This one's going to take over later on today. It's the one that's close right now that's making all of this rainfall and the flash flood warnings, two to five inches of rainfall expected.

Later on today, the storm that's off the coast gets a little bit bigger. It may even get a little subtropical. Not going to get a name, but it's going to have a lot of warm water to work with. That's the gulf stream.

And then by tomorrow afternoon, things really get harrowing here for parts of the Northeast.


There will be winds on shore. There will be waves on shore eight to 12 feet tall. And there will, obviously, be this rainfall coming down as well. High wind warnings are in effect for some of these costal areas.

And I'll take you to about 5:00 tomorrow morning. Here's 4:00 tonight. Look at Boston. Everywhere that you see pink, that's a 60-mile-per- hour gust or more. Now, the only good news with this storm, John, is that it's not going to be the a snowstorm, because in a month or two from now, those temperatures would be in the 30s, and we'd be shoveling this.

BERMAN: OK, so glass half full. It's not a snowstorm. It's also not molten lava. I mean, but it's a lot of rain and wind.

MYERS: Yes. Yes, it certainly is.

BERMAN: All right, Chad, thank you very much for that.

KEILAR: So, today, President Biden is heading to Virginia to campaign with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. The high stakes race between McAuliffe and his Republican challenger, Glenn Youngkin, now in a dead heat with one week to go before voters head to the polls.

Joining us now is Virginia politics reporter for "The Richmond Times Dispatch," Melanie Leonor.

Mel, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

How's it going? What is the state of the race right now?


This was always the race to watch in 2021 because Virginia's such a great bellwether for how voters are doing and feeling nationwide. But in the last few weeks, this race has gotten really close. Terry McAuliffe went from being about five points ahead in September to really, like you said, a dead heat now. The most recent poll found that the candidates are in a virtual tie, 46 percent to 46 percent right now with Youngkin doing better, actually, among independents, which is really that -- the group that both of the candidates are trying to turn out.

KEILAR: So, one Democrat was telling us yesterday, he doesn't want to rule out Terry McAuliffe, but this is such a squeaker of a race. You said it's a bellwether. What is -- what are you extrapolating from this race?

LEONOR: I think, first of all, there was a big question about the role that former President Donald Trump would play in this race. I think Democrats worked really hard to tie Glenn Youngkin to Donald Trump. And Glenn Youngkin has managed to sort of straddle the line between, obviously, you know, staying pretty vocally that he supports former President Donald Trump and would support him if he again for president again in 2024, while also, you know, he barely mentions his name and the two have never appeared together.

And so I think that's been a test of, you know, the post-Trump era and how Democrats, you know, are going to have to message around that. Certainly, the former president gave Democrats a boost in the state, leading to two pretty successful elections for them. But it seems like Glenn Youngkin has managed to skirt around that issue.

KEILAR: So what is the thing that has made this so close? If Terry McAuliffe does not pull out a win here, will he and others look at what he said during the debate about parents' involvement in their children's education as the fatal mistake?

LEONOR: I think certainly the Youngkin campaign has seized on that in the last few weeks ever since that debate. Parent involvement when it comes to, you know, what schools are teaching, specifically when it comes to race, it's become essentially his closing message and the thing that they are most focused on.

And then he's kind of used that to talk about a lot of different education issues that are sort of heated and have helped boost his numbers, particularly among suburban voters, especially women. That, you know, goes beyond, you know, parent involvement and library books, for example, to the presence of police in schools, school choice, and even, you know, policies around transgender students, which bathrooms they can use and what -- what sports teams they can play in. That has sort of become, you know, the -- the center of what he's talking about right now on the trail.

KEILAR: Yes, it's really the new battleground in Virginia, and perhaps very far beyond.

Mel Leonor, thank you for being with us.

LEONOR: Yes. Thank you.

KEILAR: How did a loaded gun wind up in the hands of Alec Baldwin moments before he tragically shot and killed his cinematographer? We have new details about the crew that could explain it.

BERMAN: Potential harm to military defense. Intelligence operations, foreign relations, from what you ask? The potential release of JFK assassination documents. What could possibly be so explosive all these years later, and why is the White House blocking disclosure?



BERMAN: A new delay in the much-anticipated release of documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In a memo Friday, this is what the White House wrote. Temporary, continued postponement is necessary to protect against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure.

Joining me now is national security attorney Mark Zaid, who has handled various cases surrounding the JFK assassination.

Mark, thank you so much for being with us.

This is something you are steeped in and have worked in for years. That statement, which came out late Friday from the White House, which always sets off people's radar there, to say that national security is at stake by the release of the JFK assassination documents? What's going on here?

MARK ZAID, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: Yes, good morning, guys. Thanks.

Well, look, there is the possibility there's some information within these files that still needs protected. And that was statutory language. So I'll give you one example.


Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin, went to Mexico City in September of 1963. And we know he visited the Soviet and the Cuban embassies. We might have had, probably did, sources in those embassies, both human and technical, and protecting those sources, especially human, they could still be alive 58 years later. You know, they could be in their 80s right now.

But what is really at stake here is getting the White House and the agencies to identify specifically what the harm is so that people understand and have trust in their government.

BERMAN: And I have heard it told that -- that there are people -- I don't know if you're among them, that think it's the CIA specifically that's slow walking this.

ZAID: There's no doubt. Absolutely.

Now, most of these records are CIA records. And even though they have cited COVID, which is completely understandable, all the Freedom of Information Act lawsuits have been litigating for the last two and a half years have been stymied by COVID. We all get that.

But these records have been processed for the last 25 years. The agencies have been supposedly going through these that entire time. So to just now all of a sudden say, well, COVID required this extension is a little disingenuous.

BERMAN: So there's not much that the Trump administration and Biden administration agree on, but Trump delayed the release of some of this stuff also. And now Biden is.

So why does it seem to be happening with presidents of both parties who disagree on everything else?

ZAID: Because it's intelligence methods. I mean it really does emanate from the agencies. The CIA, in particular, as we've said, has pushed this and pushed this.

Look, a lot of the information actually doesn't depend or relate to what actually happened November 22nd. So there's no -- there's no smoking gun in these documents. But there's a lot of information surrounding the event. CIA activities in Cuba, trying to kill Castro in the years before, any other type of information that may relate to organized crime. You know, who knows? It's all about getting the fuller picture so that we have a better understanding of everything.

And what we really want is the -- this administration, as everyone before it, to comply with the statute. This was a congressional statute passed in 1992. And in many ways Congress dropped the ball too because they haven't done much oversight on it.

BERMAN: Are we ever going to see this?

ZAID: Eventually, we will.

And, look, this order that President Biden issued on Friday actually has some good things in it too. For -- so now we've got to wait another year, and that's not good. But he's requiring that the National Archives digitize all the records, a quarter million records, so that -- most these records are already publicly available, but you've got to go to the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, to see it. So hopefully, sometime within the next couple of years, these records will be online so anyone around the world can access them and do their own research.

BERMAN: I've gone deep into different rabbit hole on the conspiracies surrounding this, doing tours of Dealey Plaza with people who have truly wacky ideas, Mark. And I know you've got contact with all kinds of people also.

I just want to ask you one last time, you said you don't think, in the end, there will be any mind-blowing, smoking guns here?

ZAID: No, no, I don't. Look, those records are long gone if they ever existed. But -- but every piece of information is helpful to have a better understanding. And a lot of times it's getting those documents out so people can see there is no conspiratorial aspect to it to better understand it. Transparency, you know, in sunlight's the best disinfectant. Transparency is the best opportunity for people to understand and learn to trust the U.S. government again. And that even relates to events that happened 58 years ago.

BERMAN: We all deserve to know.

Mark Zaid, thank you for this. I appreciate it.

ZAID: Thank you.

BERMAN: So, damning allegations against Facebook and now CEO Mark Zuckerberg is firing back with a conspiracy theory of his own to explain all the bad press.

KEILAR: Plus, new comments from lightning rod comedian Dave Chappelle, who is now saying that he won't bend to anybody's demands.



BERMAN: So the Bucs fan who gave Tom Brady back the ball from his 600th career touchdown pass, man, he's getting this ridiculous haul in return.

Andy Scholes here with the "Bleacher Report."



You know, some experts believe that that 600 TD ball was worth north of $500,000. But the fan, 29-year-old Byron Kennedy, very kind and gave it back. And in return for his kindness, he's getting a pretty dent haul, two signed jerseys and a helmet from Brady, a jersey and game worn cleats from Mike Evans, who's the one who caught the pass and gave him the ball. He's also getting a $1,000 credit at the team store and two season tickets for the rest of this season and all of next season.

Brady said he's also going to give him a Bitcoin as well, but he told Peyton and Eli during the "Manning Cast" last night that Byron, well, he could have gotten much more.


TOM BRADY, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS QUARTERBACK: I think Byron realized he lost all of his leverage once he gave the ball away. He should have held it and get as much leverage as possible.

PEYTON MANNING: Amateur move. Yes. Yes, if he would have held it, he would have been sitting in the Tom Brady suite for the rest of the season. But, amateur move on his part.


SCHOLES: As for Monday night football, the Saints and Seahawks playing in a downpour in Seattle. First quarter, Geno Smith fired it over to DK Metcalf. (INAUDIBLE) loses a tackle, goes 84 yards for the touchdown. But from there the Saints playing stellar defense, allowing Seattle just 126 yards offense for the rest of the game. New Orleans would win a low-scoring affair, 13-10.

John, you've got the World Series game one tonight in Houston.


Braves in the fall classic for the first time since 1999. The Astros, it's their third trip in five years. And you know what, John, I was thinking, the Astros.