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President Biden Delays Trip to Europe to Speak with House Democrats on Passing Infrastructure Bill and Senate Reconciliation Bill; Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Interviewed on Possibility of Democrats Passing Infrastructure Bill and Senate Reconciliation Bill; Authorities Determine Live Round was Fired by Actor Alec Baldwin on Film Set which Killed Cinematographer. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired October 28, 2021 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: One of the school board members resigned after being given a police escort and said I can no longer take the threats to my life. Guess what, it pays zero to be on the school district where I was born and raised and educated. So that's the precise example of what I'm thinking about. That poor guy who, for all the right reasons, wanted to serve, and now he's out of the community. And God help us in terms of who will be his replacement.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, one of many. Michael Smerconish, great to see you this morning. Thank you so much. You can, of course, catch Michael's show Saturday at 9:00 a.m.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: NEW DAY continues right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
BERMAN: All right, good morning to the viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Thursday, October 28th. I'm John Berman alongside Brianna Keilar. And this is a huge morning right now for Joe Biden, the president of the United States, who is laying it all on the line in the next hour. He'll either be declaring victory of sorts on a deal on his social agenda, or explaining why he failed to bring Democrats together to pass a plan designed to help millions of kids, parents, seniors, and students in this country, at least pass it yet, pass it now. The president has delayed his trip to Europe by a few hours so he can race to the Capitol this morning to meet with House Democrats.
KEILAR: We are learning that he plans to lay out some key details of an economic and climate package in a push to get all Democrats on board. CNN's Kaitlan Collins is live at the White House. This could be a tough sell. No doubt, Kaitlan, he's going to be running into some disappointed Democrats, but the question is, can he get them all together?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's the big question, of course. And it remains to be seen once we see lawmakers leaving this closed-door meeting with the president, where we should note, no phones are going to be allowed in the room as the president is coming in and laying out this framework.
But we are told by people at the White House that they believe this is a framework that they believe all Democrats should be able to support and should be able to vote for. And of course, that would require all 50 Democrats in the Senate to vote for this. It would require a majority of them in the House to also do so because they have a very small margin in the House as well.
And so President Biden is going to go up there, and, you're right, he was supposed to be leaving here to come to Rome this morning, about right now. Of course, that is a trip that has now been delayed just slightly, that departure date, because he does need to go up there, the White House believes, and advocate for this and make a full throated endorsement of the framework that we've seen be pared back or had some things completely cut out from what the president had initially laid out in this number and in this proposal.
And so one big question will be what is the top line number going to be. And we know that President Biden has said privately about $1.75 trillion to $1.9 trillion is something that he thought he could get those moderate Democrats to sign on to. But I think when the president goes in the room today and talks about what is in this framework, maybe he doesn't get into the specifics, but he will be trying to get those progressive members on board with this, and also on board with that infrastructure vote, which they have said they want an agreement, potentially some of them want a vote on this bigger package before they agree to vote for the infrastructure package.
And so that is where the president is right now. So, of course, he is going to go up there, make this case, then he will be speaking publicly about what he's told lawmakers before he does leave to come to Rome. And we know that this is something that the White House has said they wanted before he left for this trip. He wanted an agreement because, in his eyes, as he told Democrats privately, he believed the prestige of the United States was on the line if they did not get an agreement. And you've seen officials tamp down those expectations in recent days, saying that these other world leaders he's going to be meeting with understand that there are domestic politics at play, but it does really remain to be seen, because what we are told is, despite him going up there, announcing this framework, there is no final deal yet. Not all Democrats have signed off on this. So that is what he is going to be trying to get when he goes up to the Hill in the next hour.
KEILAR: And we'll see if he can get that. Kaitlan, thank you so much for that report.
BERMAN: Maybe we'll get more information right now on whether or not he can. Joining me is Democratic Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland. He is the House Majority Leader. Leader, I appreciate you being with us. Fifty-six minutes from now the president's coming to see you. What is your understanding of what he's bringing?
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): Well, first of all, let me apologize for my voice. I've been talking to a lot of people. I've got a real hoarse voice. But having said that, I expect the president to come up here and talk about his confidence that we're going to pass both a bill that deals with the human infrastructure -- children, healthcare, workers, the environment -- as well as urge passage of the infrastructure bill. Now, I don't know the specifics because I wasn't at the White House last night when final details -- hopefully final details were put together.
But I expect the president to urge us to pass the infrastructure bill, and I expect him to say he believes and is confident that we can pass the Build Back Better cares act.
BERMAN: In your mind, is today the day that Democrats need to get on board?
HOYER: Well, today is the day that I think the president is going to urge us to get on board, and I hope that what he has to say will give confidence to our progressives that in fact the objectives that we all want to accomplish of helping millions and millions of Americans have a better life, access to healthcare, a better environment, and better infrastructure investments so we'll be competitive in the 21st century, I hope we will be convinced by what the president tells us and we'll give confidence to people to vote for the infrastructure bill with the expectation that the Build Back Better cares bill will in fact be passed by the United States Senate as well as the House of Representatives.
BERMAN: It appears you've lost your voice trying to convince progressives to get on board with this. Let me tell you what CNN has new reporting this morning. A source close to progressives is saying, quote, "We are told that the two senators have loosely said it is OK to a very general broad framework, but they will not yet commit to voting for the bill and that there are still open questions on various pieces." And then they say, "This is exactly why we need legislative text and all the parties fully agreed to that bill text." They want more than a framework, they want text. So what's your message to those potential holdouts this morning?
HOYER: I think the president is going to be the best informer of what he believes can and will be done. And I think we ought to have faith in the president's judgment. This is a program very important to him. It is his vision that he expressed during the course of the campaign, and I would hope that all Democrats would follow the president's lead. If you give the confidence that both of these -- the infrastructure bill is going to pass, in my opinion, at some point in time, but also that the Build Back Better Act will be able to be passed through the United States Senate. That's what our progressives -- and I hope the president convinces them that, in fact, that will happen, so they'll have the confidence to vote for the infrastructure bill.
BERMAN: Paid family leave, which is important to all kinds of people, many people, a vast majority of Americans according to polls, is it out of this plan?
HOYER: Well, it appears to be, but I don't know -- I can't answer that specifically. Clearly one of the United States senators, Joe Manchin, has indicated he does not favor that program. But let me tell you, rather than focusing on what's not in the program, it is an extraordinary, fulsome program in terms of childcare, in terms of homecare, 2.5 million or 2.2 million Americans who don't yet have health insurance because Medicaid was not extended to them in their states, they're going to be included in the ability to get healthcare. Clean energy, $555 billion or about a third of the program, as I understand it, is dedicated to energy, clean energy, and getting us to the objectives the president wants so that we can address substantially global warming.
So looking at what's in the bill is, I think, the thing that we all ought to do. There are obviously things that are not in the -- you go from $3.5 down to $1.75 or $2 trillion, obviously, everything is not in the bill. But what is in the bill is so important for the American people, it makes it worthy of support.
BERMAN: Listen, I've got to let you go and conserve what voice you have left. But you've been at this a long time. You've seen a lot of negotiations. Debbie Dingell told us a little while ago, Congresswoman, she's never seen sausage-making quite so difficult at this point. She said it made her sick to her stomach, it has been so difficult. But I want you to handicap this for me. One to 10, what are the chances that there will be a deal today, 10 being definitely?
HOYER: Well, I don't want to say 10 definitely today. But I will tell you 10, we're going to pass these bills within the near future if not today. We know we won't get the Cares Act bill signed into -- passed today because it needs to be put in legislative language now that we have, hopefully, an agreement. But the infrastructure bill is ready to go, and I hope that passes today.
BERMAN: Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, thank you so much for being with us. We can see the toll this has taken on Democrats as you try to work this out.
HOYER: Thank you very much.
KEILAR: We do have some brand-new details on the deadly shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's movie "Rust."
The Sheriff of Santa Fe, New Mexico, says the round that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was a real bullet. He also said authorities collected three weapons and approximately 500 rounds of ammunition, including blanks and what is expected to be live rounds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF ADAN MENDOZA, SANTA FE COUNTY, NEW MEXICO: Right now we can't determine exactly how that live bullet got into the firearm. That's going to be the basis for further investigation. We need more interviews, and that's going to be the million-dollar question is how a live round ended up in the revolver that Mr. Baldwin fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: The assistant director of the film, David Halls, acknowledged to investigators that he did not check all the rounds loaded into the weapon, and couldn't recall if the armorer spun the drum before handing it to Baldwin.
Joining us now is attorney Gloria Allred. She's representing the script supervisor of the film, Mamie Mitchell, who was standing near Hutchins when she was shot, and who also is the person who you may have heard on that 911 call. Gloria, thank you so much for being with us.
So this is what we're hearing now from authorities, that they think this was a live round. They have retrieved what they think is a live round from the shoulder of the -- of the director. Do you have any idea, does your client have any idea how that might have happened?
GLORIA ALLRED, REPRESENTS SCRIPT SUPERVISOR ON THE "RUST" PRODUCTION: Well, first of all, Brianna, I want to say that my client, Mamie Mitchell, is a real hero because she was standing very close to Halyna, the director of photography, and to Joel, the director, when that bullet went off and tragically took the life of this young mother, this wonderfully talented director of photography, and then went right into the clavicle of the director.
And she could have been hit, and that was very traumatic to her, plus the very loud sound that went off like an explosion when that happened. And she immediately ran out, had the presence of mind even though she was in shock, she ran outside and was the first one to call, as far as we know, 911, and you have on CNN been playing her voice on CNN.
Now, she has been in this business for 40 years, and she has never once in 40 years when she's been on a lot of film sets, never once seen an assistant director hand a gun to an actor. That is not his job. It is the job of the armorer to hand it to the actor.
So how did the bullet get into the gun, that live ammunition? As the sheriff said, that is the million-dollar question. But I want to say, there are many other million-dollar questions as well. Let's look at, for example, whether a gun was supposed to be fired at all as part of a scene. If a gun was supposed to be fired, Brianna, there would have been plexiglass protecting the crew. There would have been ear protectors on the crew. And most importantly, most of the 16 people that were there on the set when this tragedy happened would not even have been allowed in the church. They would have been outside. My client, the script supervisor would have been outside.
KEILAR: Sure. I think it is clear, Gloria, that --
ALLRED: So we have to find out why that gun was fired.
KEILAR: Obviously, I think it's clear it wasn't supposed to be fired. David Halls said "cold gun" according to the affidavit. So then who is to blame here? Is it -- is your client pointing a finger at David Halls? ALLRED: Well, my client wants to know what the truth is. She wants
accountability. And it may be that one person is responsible, it may be that a number of people in the chain of custody of that gun and of that bullet are responsible. And it may be that entities, the production company may also be responsible.
KEILAR: Does she know anything, Gloria, about the crew members allegedly plinking, about doing target practice with live rounds potentially with the prop weapon? These aren't prop -- they're real weapons used as props.
ALLRED: I don't have information on whether that is true or not. I know that it is reported. But obviously, there wasn't just one thing that went wrong. There may have been many, many problems and flaws and violations of the safety protocol. And that is really a big issue, because the safety protocol, which is in black and white, which every crew member is supposed to be aware of and is aware of, was obviously violated.
And it's not something that is just there, you know, to put on a wall and forget about it or put on a piece of paper. It is there for the protection of the crew, not just the actor, all of the people of the crew who the public never sees, who make a film happen, it's there for their protection. It must be followed not only the spirit, but the letter of it.
And, obviously, there were many, many flaws. And that is what many people in Hollywood want to know. How could this happen? And it should never happen again.
KEILAR: What about by Alec -- what about by Alec Baldwin then? He fired the gun and you're saying he wasn't -- this gun wasn't supposed to be fired.
ALLRED: I'm 100 percent sure the gun was not supposed to be fired. And I do think that it is a very positive sign that Alec Baldwin, according to the sheriff and the district attorney, has been interviewed by them and possibly been re-interviewed. And it's important that he disclose exactly what happened.
I think it is too late to call it an accident or too early to call it an accident. I don't think we should come to a conclusion of that it is as whether it is a criminal act. Clearly, when the district attorney said yesterday, Brianna, well, you know, she's not ready to say whether it is negligence, she has a criminal standard of proof.
KEILAR: Was Alec Baldwin wrong in your opinion firing that gun?
ALLRED: I'm ready to come to a conclusion that it is negligence, gross negligence, reckless endangerment from a civil standard, which only requires a preponderance of the evidence.
KEILAR: All right. Gloria Allred, thank you so much for being with us.
ALLRED: Thank you.
KEILAR: A brand-new survey showing a majority of parents do not plan to vaccinate their young kids right away and we have a top FDA expert here to answer parents' most pressing questions on the vaccine.
BERMAN: Plus, for the very first time we're meeting several members of the jury in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. This is an interview you're going to want to see.
BERMAN: Brand-new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds a majority of parents do not plan to vaccinate their younger children against COVID right away. This is -- this comes as we're days away from the FDA's decision for the use of emergency use authorization for children ages 5 to 11.
Joining me is Dr. Paul Spearman. He is the director of infectious diseases at Cincinnati's Children's Hospital where he led part of the COVID vaccine trials and he's currently on the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee of the FDA.
Thank you so much for being with us.
I want to pose to you some questions that came for our viewers here on this issue of children and vaccines. This question says my daughter is 11 and turns 12 on December 4th. Is there any benefit if she waits until she's 12 and gets the larger vaccine dose or is it better to get vaccinated with the smaller 5 to 11 dose?
DR. PAUL SPEARMAN, MEMBER, FDA VACCINES & RELATED BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Yeah, that's a very interesting question. The data that came out from Pfizer that was presented to the FDA's VRBPAC committee the other day showed that a ten microgram dose, a third of the dose that is licensed for adults was equally effective in terms of generating neutralizing antibodies, one of the most important means of protecting people from COVID-19.
So, I would say in the 5 to 11 age group, this ten microgram dose is a very good choice. And I wouldn't wait. There is really not an advantage to wait and get the higher number of micrograms in this case. We have seen equivalent immunogenicity data and perhaps a little bit better in terms of the reactogenicity, meaning, you know, systemic symptoms and sore arms will be less if you get that lower dose.
BERMAN: So, how long -- it's another question -- how long will the vaccines for children 5 to 11 be effective? Will they need a booster?
SPEARMAN: That is one of those million dollar questions, I'm afraid. We are all talking about boosters. Boosters certainly for those who are immunocompromised have been authorized and we definitely need that. And for those who are elderly and others who are at high risk. So that is already in place.
For kids, we don't yet know. We don't yet know how long -- how the durability of these responses that have just been reported is going to be because the studies are ongoing. So I would say, you know, stay tuned. It is likely that it will be durable for a year or more. But we just don't know yet. Let's wait and see. We hope it is even much longer than that.
BERMAN: So one of the things that happened during the pandemic, many people, all of us, because we're amateur scientists and we know a little bit about science that makes us think things sometimes are a little bit inaccurate. This question is, why haven't different types of COVID vaccines been prioritized? For instance, more familiar vaccines like Novavax rather than the limited options of the mRNA vaccines or the viral vector options?
SPEARMAN: Now, that's another good question. So the mRNA vaccines were developed in a rapid sequence, but were also tested very carefully. I can attest to that, the kinds of safety parameters and the data collected with these vaccines is extensive. So we know they have a great safety profile and they're very effective.
So you have to put that in the context of this question. But some people would much rather have a more standard protein vaccine, just because they're more familiar with it. That is very understandable.
Now the Novavax vaccine also looks very promising. They've done two phase three trials in adults that look really good. So, it is just lagging behind in terms of getting the submission to the FDA and other regulatory agencies around the world and getting it authorized or eventually licensed.
So -- and then, of course, there has to be tested now in younger age groups, just like the mRNAs have been.
So it is a good question. Very understandable. But it is going to be a bit of a delay before you see Novavax that is out there for this age group.
BERMAN: Dr. Paul Spearman, we appreciate the help you've given us answering these questions.
SPEARMAN: Thank you very much. Good to be on the show.
So we have a remarkable new interview, Don Lemon spoke exclusively with seven members of the jury in the Derek Chauvin murder trial.
KEILAR: And also moments away now from a critical GDP report. We're going to bring you the numbers next.
KEILAR: In a remarkable CNN exclusive, CNN's Don Lemon sits down with members of the jury that convicted former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This was about, you know, the -- obviously the death of a man, but I'm sure you knew the whole racial aspect of it. You're very diverse and nobody was afraid to share their feelings on that?
SHERRI BELTON HARDEMAN, JUROR: Not at all. Race wasn't even ever mentioned in the 3 1/2 weeks we were in that courtroom and it was never mentioned during deliberations, I don't believe.
NICOLE DETERS, JUROR: I think what got here because of systemic racism within the system, right, because of what's been going on. That's how we got to a courtroom in the first place.