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Texas Rainfall Makes History; Trump Asks for Special Master; Dr. Anthony Fauci is Interviewed about Retiring. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 23, 2022 - 08:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Time now for "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

Security vulnerabilities at Twitter pose a threat to national security and democracy. That explosive disclosure obtained by CNN and "The Washington Post" from Twitter's former head of security. Whistle- blower Peiter Zatko's claims were sent last month to Congress and several federal agencies. Twitter says Zatko was fired for poor performance and ineffective leadership and that his allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on the company.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: The White House is leaning toward the cancellation of up to $10,000 in student loan debt. Sources say the plan would offer forgiveness for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 per year.

BERMAN: California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that proposed allowing some cities to open supervised drug injection sites in an effort to stem the rise of deadly overdoses. Newsom says he has concerns about the unintended consequences.

COLLINS: Extreme drought conditions this summer unearthing tracks of a 60-foot dinosaur in Texas. Yes, the set of tracks discovered at the aptly named Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas. Park officials say that they date back 113 million years.

BERMAN: So, Tom Brady returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday after an 11-day absence from training camp. Brady was excused from the team for a personal matter, but, honestly, there are very few details about why he was gone for those 11 days and there were questions about when and if he would be back. When you see him playing football, all is right with the world.

COLLINS: And John Berman wants answers to those questions.

But those are the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day." We have more on these stories all day on CNN and And don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning. BERMAN: So, from drought to deluge in Texas, torrential rains causing

a once in a century flooding event. Rescue crews responded to calls from people who have never seen anything like this in their lives. At least one death has been reported.

CNN's Ed Lavandera live in Dallas this morning.

Ed, how do things look now?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, if you want to ride on the weather whiplash roller coaster, Texas is the place for you. As you guys were talking about, weeks and months of drought, extreme heat, essentially wiped away in just 24 hours. Many lakes across the state, we watched them evaporating. And now you see the runoff behind me. This is a popular lake in east Dallas. And so what you have seen here is a stunning deluge. In some places more than 10 inches of rain in just 24 hours, causing extreme flash flooding in many neighborhoods.

First responders reporting hundreds and hundreds of high-water incidents and rescues that needed to take place. We were in neighborhoods near creeks that the water rose up. And one of the things you kept hearing over and over from first responders is that people in these situations were surprised by how quickly the floodwaters came up on them.

One tragic bit of news, John. A 60-year-old woman was swept away in the floodwaters in southeast Dallas County. The police chief in the city of Mesquite, which is just east of Dallas, says that the woman was actually on the phone with her family. They were trying to find her when they lost contact. Presumably, that's when she was wiped away into the floodwaters.

So, this is very serious. And the possibility for more rain perhaps not as intense as what we saw Monday. But more rain is expected in the forecast in the coming days as well.


BERMAN: And let's hope it's not as intense. A summer's worth of rain in one single day.

Ed Lavandera, thank you so much.

So, it is primary day in several key states. And some of the races getting ugly. One race, who is going to get to take on Ron DeSantis in November and which sitting New York Democrat is about to be out of a job?


We'll break down the races to watch.

COLLINS: Plus, former President Trump's attorneys have now taken their first legal action since the FBI's Mar-a-Lago search two weeks ago. What is behind the timing? We have new CNN reporting ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Attorneys for former President Trump have taken their first legal action since the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago two weeks ago. The Trump team asking a federal judge to appoint a special master, this independent, third-party lawyer, to review what the FBI seized at his Florida house.

Joining us now is senior political correspondent at "Puck," Tara Palmeri, and CNN political analyst and national politics reporter at "The New York Times," Astead Herndon.

Thank you both for joining us on this.

And, Tara, it took two weeks which some people, even in Trump's orbit, were saying they should have moved faster on this front.

TARA PALMERI, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "PUCK": Right. I'm sure the people who collected the documents in the hands of the Justice Department, they've probably already seen this. This, I think, reflects the fact that it took a long time for Trump to build a real legal team and a real legal strategy. It seems like for weeks they've just been throwing things at the wall to see what sticks.


This is the latest.

But this is sort of just a pattern you see from Donald Trump, you know, sow questions of doubt, create the impression that there's a witch-hunt, slow down the process, attack the prosecutors.

You know, I've - I've - I've seen from legal analysts on your network that they don't think this will really stick and it will probably, you know, be something that is completely dismissed.

I also noticed that they said that he was a presidential candidate in 2024 in the documentation. It's almost like they're giving away their hand or they're just using it as a reason why he's being unfairly targeted.

BERMAN: Well, I think there are questions whether it's an actual legal document, it is, but if that's the goal, or if it's meant to be, Astead, a political document.

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, as all things with Trump, it's largely both. I mean to your point that they do that misdirection, they do that type of distracting. You know, this is a political candidate who's freed from a fact check. His supporters, his kind of political power is not reliant on him basically telling the truth. And he has leaned into that at every single turn.

I mean, politically, they are trying to use this as a moment to rally folks around his incoming or at least possible presidential run. You've seen from the moment that this raid happened, Trump allies and conservative media and from those statements saying this is a reason that, you know, the left is scared of Donald Trump and he must be the presidential candidate. We know that is free of fact. That is free of the kind of legal analysis here. But they're using it, as you said, as a political play.

COLLINS: Were you surprised at all about the message that Trump tried to send to Garland after this search happened, which basically it was from Trump's counsel to the lead Justice Department investigator on this, saying the heat is so high in the country, the pressure is so high in the country and that if they had a word to describe it, Trump would use the word angry.

PALMERI: Right. He's speaking out of two sides of his mouth, right. I saw that. They placed a statement with saying he's willing to help the Justice Department.

I sense, from people that I speak to in Trump world, that they are taking this very seriously. I just wrote in my column, "The Washington Mall (ph)," that he's not doing any Fox News hits despite the fact that they're calling in saying, President Trump, please call in, we want to hear what you think about the affidavit, about the warrant. And they're saying, use some restraint. Show some prudence because this is not an investigation by Adam Schiff. This is not an impeachment trial. This is the Department of Justice and you need to take this seriously, which explains also why they're trying to bring on former prosecutors to beef up his - his team.

So, while they're using this as a political weapon, they also realize, this is a real investigation and taking classified documents, if you - if it was just you or I with a security clearance and we took classified documents home with us, we would also experience a search of our homes and possibly a lot of prison time.

BERMAN: Look, Will Hurd, who had served in Congress but also was a CIA operative, told me yesterday that if he had done what Donald Trump did he'd be in jail right now.

PALMERI: Exactly.

BERMAN: He wouldn't be able to do an interview in jail.

It's primary day in New York and Florida. Let's celebrate the American people going to vote today, Astead.

The Democratic Party, though, I'm not sure is celebrating the situation that they sort of put themselves here in New York.


BERMAN: You have two chairman, chair people, running against each other because of redistricting, Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler. This is what is supposed to not happen.


BERMAN: If you are running a party during redistricting. HERNDON: Exactly. And, actually, Democrats thought New York was going

to be a beacon for them. They had view - they had thought that they were going to be able to draw maps to aggressively create these Democratic districts, use New York as a kind of antidote to states where Republicans are doing similar things. That was, of course, thrown out by the court, which has started this whole mess.

So, you have this member on member race on the west side of Manhattan. And it's turned increasingly nasty in recent days. You have Maloney calling Nadler - or talking about an article that calls him senile. I mean these are -- these are folks who are -


HERNDON: Usually aren't using this type of language, even in the Democrat versus Republican race, much less a Democrat versus Democrat race.

You also have in the New York Congressional 10, Congressman Mondaire Jones, who's not favored in that district this year. We might see in New York - we'll definitely see at least one sitting congressperson go down today. We might see two in what is, again, to your point, what's not supposed to happen. This was a fight that was started because of a mess from redistricting and from the - from the kind of court maps that couldn't be.

COLLINS: And they've worked there for 30 years.


COLLINS: And now one of them is going to have a career ender tonight.

PALMERI: They are in their 70s, fighting for their political lives, going after each other. One accusing one of using gender politics, the other one accusing the other of identity politics. It's just -- doesn't seem very savory as a way to end your political career because only one can win.

COLLINS: And their actual politics are pretty aligned.

PALMERI: Right. Exactly.

COLLINS: It will be fascinating to watch.

PALMERI: Exactly.

BERMAN: Tara and Astead, great to have you both on this morning. Thank you very much.

PALMERI: Thank you.

HERNDON: Thank you.

COLLINS: Thank you.

Meanwhile, a new court filing reveals just how close a member of the Proud Boys came to Senator Chuck Schumer during the January 6th insurrection.

BERMAN: Dr. Anthony Fauci stepping down from public service after advising seven U.S. presidents.


What's he most proud of? What are his biggest regrets? He will join us live.


COLLINS: Dr. Fauci will step down as President Biden's chief medical adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which he led for 38 years this December. He joined the National Institutes of Health back in 1968, when Lyndon B. Johnson was president, became the director of its infectious disease branch in 1984 as the AIDS epidemic gripped America and he's advised every president since Reagan, seven in total.

So, joining us now is Dr. Anthony Fauci.

And, Dr. Fauci, thank you so much for making this your first interview on CNN since announcing your departure yesterday.

You said you're leaving government to pursue the next phase of your career. What does that look like?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, Kaitlan, what I'd like it to be, and I think it will be, is to utilize, as you mentioned, the 54-year experience I have at the NIH, including 38 years as the director of NIAID and having had the privilege and the honor of serving seven presidents through some very historic outbreaks, dating all the way back to HIV, that I might use my experience in speaking, writing, lecturing and interacting with the younger generation of scientists, to hopefully inspire scientists and would be scientists and physicians to enter a career of public service, particularly in the arena of public health medicine and science.


And if I can do that, I think I might somehow, after my active government service, perhaps inspire people to enter a field similar to what I've been able to do and what I've been privileged to do over the last several decades.

COLLINS: Dr. Fauci, what does your departure tell us about where we are in the state of the Covid-19 pandemic right now?

FAUCI: You know, Kaitlan, I don't think it tells us anything specific about where we are, but I can address where we are. And I believe that we're in a situation where I hope as the months go by we will be able to get this outbreak down to a low enough level so that it won't disrupt society to the extent that it has over the last two and a half years. We have the wherewithal to do it, we just have to implement it. We

still, as I've told you several times over the past couple of years, we only have 67 percent of our population vaccinated and only about a half of those have been boosted. That is really unacceptable when you compare us to the rest of the world, including low and middle income countries.

So, we've got to do better than that. I mean this is a formidable virus. No matter what you do, there is going to be suffering and pain. But we can alleviate it a lot better if we follow the very obvious public health practices of vaccinating and boosting. And hopefully, as we get into the fall and the more updated boosters, particularly the new bivalent Ba.5 boosters become available in September, that we utilize them.

COLLINS: Yes. And I don't have to tell you this, Dr. Fauci, that Republicans really, to you -- to them you are a symbol of the restrictions that came along with Covid-19. Of course, Republican lawmakers and you have clashed many times and they are expected to take over the House this fall, potentially, and they promised to investigate you if they did.

Did that have any role in your departure?

FAUCI: None at all, Kaitlan. Really, none at all. Not even a slight amount. I have nothing to hide. And I can defend everything I've done. So that doesn't phase me or bother me.

My decisions of stepping down go back well over a year. I had decided I might want to step down at the end of the Trump administration. But when President Biden was elected, one of the first things he did was to ask me to join and be his chief medical adviser, which I took as a great honor and I enthusiastically accepted. I thought that was going to last about a year. That we would be having Covid behind us after a year. But, obviously, painfully so, that's not the case.

But having thought about that, and as you said now with the prior question a moment ago, I think we're in a relatively good place with regard to Covid, if we utilize and implement the interventions that we have. And I just felt it was the right time, particularly since I'm still healthy, energetic and passionate about what I want to do, and I think that's the time to move on to the next phase.

COLLINS: If once you've retired Republicans want you to go testify, would -- is that something you would do?

FAUCI: Sure, I certainly would consider that. But you've got to remember, I believe oversight is a very important part of government structure. And I welcome it. And it can be productive. But what has happened up until now is more of a character assassination than it is oversight.

So, sure, I'd be happy to cooperate, so long as we make it something that is a dignified oversight, which it should be, and not just bringing up ridiculous things and attacking my character. That's not oversight. COLLINS: As we said at the beginning, you know, you have this career

that it doesn't match a lot of people's, especially given the different crises that you've confronted. Right now -- I know Sanjay was saying earlier that one of your biggest concerns 20 years ago was basically what we saw in the Covid-19 pandemic.

What do you think is the biggest health threat now?

FAUCI: Well, I think it's to get through this outbreak that we're in right now. This is historic, Kaitlan. We have not seen anything like this in well over 100 years. It's to get through this, and, at the same time, have lessons learned that would prepare us for the inevitability of another outbreak. I'm sure, as Sanjay told you for years, that he and I have been talking about this, I've been saying that we need to be prepared. Of course, pandemics will occur. And there's preparation and there's response. And we've got to do better than what we've done. And hopefully we've learned important lessons through this painful two and a half year experience that we have been through.

COLLINS: And what have you been reflecting on in these days as you are now announcing your departure and you only have a few months left in these roles?


What have you been reflecting on from your own experiences?

FAUCI: Well, my experiences go back, as you know, four decades of leadership at NIAID. Things have changed. The thing that bothers me a lot now, I mean, the idea of making sure we get younger generations, smart, enthusiastic people involved in the field that I'm involved in, which is medicine, science and public health. I just am very disturbed by the intense divisiveness in our country. And if ever there was a situation where we wanted everyone to pull together and recognize we're dealing with common enemies, which are these pathogens that cause outbreaks and have already, for example, with Covid, killed 1 million Americans, that is not time to have political ideation be separating us in what should be a common effort to end this. And that's not the case.

So, when I reflect, I hope things improve. I'm fundamentally a cautious optimist. And I often say, I look for the fact that hopefully the better angels in all of us will ultimately emerge and we'll be a country that pulls together in the common enemy as opposed to one that seems to be fighting with each other.

COLLINS: Dr. Anthony Fauci, no one can deny the decades of service from that.

So, thank you for that. And thank you for joining us this morning.

FAUCI: Thank you, Kaitlan. Thank you for having me.

BERMAN: We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)