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New Day Saturday

Pentagon Blocks Biden Team From Meeting With Intelligence Agencies; Fauci Urges Caution Despite Vaccine Optimism; California Shatters Case, Hospitalizations And ICU Records; Obama: Georgia Outcome Will Determine Course Of Biden Presidency; Sources: Presidential Pardon Bribery Investigation Involves Kushner Lawyer And GOP Lobbyist; European Health Ministers Meet With WHO On COVID In Schools. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired December 05, 2020 - 07:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Be sure to watch CNN Heroes All-Star tribute. It's Sunday, December 13th.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And tonight, be sure to watch the new CNN Film, President In waiting," takes a very personal look at the role of the vice president. That'll be tonight, IBM and of course, it's right here on CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We end the week with sobering news about the pandemic. Even with vaccines on the horizon. New records, being set for cases, people hospitalized when people die. The leading cause of death for all Americans this week is COVID-19.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help is on the way. Vaccines are imminent, we have the expectation that at least 20 million Americans will be able to receive COVID vaccines by the end of this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump's Saturday visit has Republicans on edge . UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm deeply concerned about anybody who wants to tell Georgia citizens not to go out and exercise their right to vote.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not just about Georgia. This is about America. This is about the world.


PAUL: Beautiful sunny skies there, almost, as the sun is coming up in Georgia and a lot going on there in Atlanta and Georgia today. President Trump is going to be here after a virtual rally yesterday had President Obama saying what happens in President-elect Biden's term is dependent on what happens in Georgia on January 5th, we'll talk a lot about that. I want to wish you a good morning and welcome to this Saturday, December 5th. I'm Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: Morning to you, Christi. It's good to see you. Good to see everyone. I'm Martin Savidge in today for Victor Blackwell. PAUL: Always so good to have you with us, Marty. So, there is this stunning analysis now from the Mayor of Los Angeles who says a surgeon coronavirus cases is the "greatest threat to life his city's ever faced."

SAVIDGE: COVID-19 is the leading cause of death in the United States this week. On average, over the last week, roughly one American died from coronavirus every 43 seconds.

PAUL: President Trump's largely been silent on the pandemic. We're going to hear from him no today.

SAVIDGE: Hours from now, President Trump is heading to Valdosta, Georgia to campaign for two Republican senators.

PAUL: Exactly one month from today. In fact, Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue face off against Democratic opponents: Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. This is a race that's going to determine the balance of power in the Senate.

SAVIDGE: Now, the president strips worrying some Republicans because they fear that he could do more harm than good, and for sowing doubt with baseless claims of election fraud. Some conservatives say they don't even want to vote.

PAUL: CNN's Kyung Lah spoke with some voters who believe that President Trump is the true winner of this election.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 60 miles west of Atlanta sits Harrelson County, Georgia.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have a good day.

LAH: Here, lunch is served with the side of disbelief.

Do you believe in the results, in what happened here in Georgia?


LAH: Who do you think one in November?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I honestly think Trump did.

LAH: Who do you think won the election in your viewpoint, Trump?


LAH: For some shell shock supporters of the President, it's impossible to think about the upcoming January Senate runoffs with a continued deluge of misinformation from President Trump and others.

You voted in November, how are you feeling about the runoffs? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really don't know. I'm not going to change anything or not, it may or may not.

LAH: Why do you say that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, without the voter fraud and other stuff to talking about. So, I don't know. I'm saying you know what's going on? Or how they, how they count the votes or whatever. So, you know, it's confusing when, you know, trust in anything anymore.

LAH: That is the Republican nightmare and the upcoming Senate runoffs because here, the Republican who could hold the most sway is Trump. In Harrelson County, the President increases support by about 3,000 votes from four years ago, a trend in deep red counties. Donald Trump not only won these counties in November, he did so by roughly 276,000 more votes than in 2016. Republicans need that enthusiastic GOP base in places like Harrelson to vote for incumbent Republican senators Kelly Leffler and David Perdue in the January 5th runoffs but there's a complication, the president keeps saying this.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They know it was a fixed election. It was a rigged election. They know it, and I appreciate their support.

LAH: That baseless claim puts the incumbent senators on the ballot in a political pickle. Listen to David Perdue try to square that circle.


SEN. DAVID PERDUE (R-GA): President Trump's very frustrated, I'm very frustrated. We're going to do everything we possibly can to make sure that whatever anomalies are uncovered in November don't happen. in January but this is illogical for any Republican to think that oh, I'm just going to sit down and not vote and hand, as you say, the keys over the Democrats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has caused me concerned --

LAH: Republican Buzz Brockway is a former Georgia State Representative. He says Republicans are already telling him they will not vote in January.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've had dozens of people tell me that; the people that I'm going to show up.

LAH; There's not going to show up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do my best to try to talk, talk him out of it. But the Internet spreads things like well.

LAH: What happens if the president keeps tweeting and talking about a rigged election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That hurts. That absolutely hurts because he has a very passionate group of followers who, frankly are more committed to him than they are to the Republican Party. If he were to continue with that message that would be very hurtful to, to the Republican party and to Loeffler and Perdue.

LAH: Not everyone in Harrison County believes Trump's mixed message hurts. Andy Gunther active in the local Republican Party says the more outrage Trump is at the rally, the higher the enthusiasm for the senators.

UNIDENTFIED MALE: It's going to boost the electorate to come out stronger, I believe.

LAH: And why stronger?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's defiance. It's uh, you know, we're not going to take this stuff sitting down. We're going to come back out. We're going to vote we're going to show that we care.

LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Harrelson County, Georgia.


PAUL: Despite the hesitation, millions of dollars are pouring into the Peach Day.

SAVIDGE: Yeas, the candidates and outside groups have spent more than $320 million in TV and radio advertising.

PAUL: CNN Sarah Westwood's at the White House right now, Sarah, we know the President's rally is going to be as first since he lost the election. Now he's railed against the voting system. He's railed against the governor in Georgia in recent weeks. Is there any indication how he plans to balance all of that out while asking people to vote?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christi, President Trump is in a really complicated position heading down to Georgia today, and it's of his own making that he has continued to rail against these officials that are also working to reelect senators Perdue and Loeffler railing against the election results from November without any evidence.

And that's potentially casting doubt for some of the voters that Republicans need to turn out in January 5th, doubt that their ballots would be handled securely on January 5th, when this runoff election will take place.

So that's really causing some concern among Republican officials. Now, this is a big moment for President Trump also, because as you mentioned, it is his first political event since Election Day, his first rally, the setting where he tends to go off script. So, it will be interesting to hear whether he continues that counterproductive rhetoric when he is in Georgia standing alongside these senators or whether he is able to push those senators promote them, and potentially give him something to claim victory for if they do win in January.

But certainly, the argument that Republicans have been making to him in the run up to his appearance, now as he continues to refuse to concede the race, others around him are starting to acknowledge the fact that the President is not going to get a second term. Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence was campaigning in the Peach State. And he said that Perdue and Loeffler could end up being the last line of defense for Republicans and acknowledgement there perhaps that that could be occurring during a Biden administration.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we need to send them back. Because a Republican Senate Majority could be the last line of defense, preserving all that we've done to defend this nation, revive our economy and preserve the God given liberties we hold dear.

Now, most in the president's cabinet have not yet acknowledged that they will be out of jobs come January, but CDC had Dr. Robert Redfield speaking also in Georgia yesterday, did acknowledge that he may not be here in January as he was speaking about the work of his agency.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DOCTOR: They will continue to guide our nation's response to the pandemic after we're gone.


WESTWOOD: Now, Trump's appearance today his decision to convene this large in person gathering is coming against the backdrop of rising COVID cases in Georgia. In fact, today, the state's largest newspaper ran with a headline pointing to the record-breaking surge of COVID infections in Georgia, and that's what the President will be flying into this evening. Martin and Christi.

SAVIDGE: Yes, I saw that headline there. Sarah, one last thing before you go, we're learning that the Trump administration is preventing president like Joe Biden's transition team from meeting with the top Pentagon agencies this week, and I'm wondering, what more do you know about that?

WESTWOOD: Well, Martin, CNN is reporting that Biden transition officials were prevented from attending meetings about Pentagon intelligence agencies and the transition there at the Defense Intelligence Agency, for example, at the National Security Agency. These are some really key components of the transition here. Now, on Friday, there was a transition meeting at the Pentagon about policy issues, about military issues. But they were prevented from talking about Intel.


And in fact, there have actually been some restrictions put on the Biden transition team here. The Pentagon has asked that the Biden transition team submit their questions for intelligence agencies there in advance that they submitted advanced the names of people they want to attend meetings.

And then a Trump loyalist who has been installed at the Pentagon to oversee the transition effort is able to review those requests from the Biden transition team. So, it's really just another way that the Trump administration has tried to stymie the transition effort after weeks of delaying it. Martin and Christi.

SAVIDGE: Sarah Westwood, thank you very much for that. Meanwhile, the former President Barack Obama has been campaigning for Jon Ossoff, and Raphael Warnock. And we know now that President-elect Joe Biden plans to campaign in Georgia. So, let's bring in CNN Political Reporter Rebecca Buck, who has been following all of this for us. Good morning, Rebecca.

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Good morning, Martin, thanks. And Georgia right now is the center of the political universe and also, the sight of the first major political battle of Joe Biden's presidency. Obviously, Joe Biden still not going to be sworn in as president for another six weeks here. But this is a preview of some of the fights to come.

And of course, this runoff election in Georgia, these two Senate races will decide not only the balance of power in the Senate, but also the fate of Joe Biden's legislative agenda. Will he be able to do some of the big ambitious, more Democratic things that he wants to do and promised in the campaign? Or is he going to be constrained by Republican control the Senate.

So, those are the stakes. And because the stakes are so high for Democrats, you're seeing a flurry of activity in terms of Democrats coming out and campaigning in Georgia trying to get voters out to the polls in this very unusual race. It's obviously difficult to turn out voters when there isn't a presidential race on the ticket. It's not a typical election date for voters.

And so, one of the people we're seeing in that effort involved is President Obama, former President Obama campaigning on behalf of Raphael, Warnock and Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidates in this race, and I want you to take a listen to what he had to say about the stakes in this runoff election.


OBAMA: The special election in Georgia is going to determine, ultimately, the course of the Biden presidency. You are now once again, the center of our civic universe, because the special election in Georgia is going to determine ultimately, the course of the Biden presidency. And whether Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can deliver legislatively, all the commitments they've made.


BUCK: So, one of the big challenges for Democrats, though you heard the stakes there in this election, but one of the big challenges for Democrats is getting voters in Georgia to care about those stakes, especially because in the general election, we saw so many suburban voters around Atlanta, turning out not necessarily to vote for Joe Biden, but to vote against Donald Trump.

And so, the question for voters is going to be very different this time around. That's why you're seeing such an effort on the part of Democrats to get voters to the polls. And as you mentioned, Joe Biden will be one of those Democrats heading down to Georgia in the near future. We don't have a date yet. But of course, there's a month left in this race. So, we should see him down there in the near future. Christi and Martin.

PAUL: All righty, Rebecca Buck, appreciate the wrap. Thank you so much.

BUCK: Thank you.

PAUL: Later this hour, we're talking to the Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, by the way and Congresswoman-elect, of course, Nikema. Williams, so stay close for that.

SAVIDGE: President Trump is killing almost all U.S. troops out of Somalia. It is the latest series of major military decisions. It's a latest in a series in the last days that the Trump administration.

PAUL: Yes, we're talking about 700 troops that have been offered to leave -- ordered, rather, to leave the African nation by early next year. Another troops in Somalia primarily train and advise local Somali forces as they battle out Canada's largest affiliate al-Shabaab Pentagon says some will go to neighboring countries so the U.S. can participate in cross border operations now.

SAVIDGE: And still ahead, the record for new cases and hospitalizations in California shattered. Now, officials they are taking action to keep from running out of ICU beds.


PAUL: and the promise of vaccines being available soon. It's raised questions about whether employers will be able to require workers to get vaccinated. The answer might be more complicated than you think we're talking with a legal expert about that.


SAVIDGE: For all the optimism over COVID-19 vaccine, America's top name and Infectious Disease Prevention says it's vital that we keep sticking to public health measures.

PAUL: Yes, Dr. Anthony Fauci says even though a vaccine may prevent sickness, it's not the same as preventing infection. And there's a crucial difference to keep in mind, he says.


DR. ANYTHONY FAUCI, DONALD TRUMP CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE MEMBER: And even if you are vaccinated, you may be protected against getting sick, but you may not necessarily be protected against getting infections. So, you may have some virus in your nasal pharynx. It wouldn't bother you. And maybe it wouldn't even infect anybody else. But it could be there. That's the reason why you can't abandon all public health measures.

You can gradually attenuate them, the more and more people they get vaccinated, the lesson less the threatened society is, until he gets to the point where a few have the overwhelming majority of people vaccinated and you have a good umbrella of herd immunity, then I think you could get back to as close to normal as you would really want.



PAUL: And let's talk about what's happening in California today, because there are now restrictions for residents there, they have to face an effort to -- this is an effort to keep hospitals from getting overwhelmed, which they fear is going to happen very quickly there in California.

SAVIDGE: Now, the mayor of Los Angeles calls the crisis there the greatest threat to life they've ever faced. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in LA with the very latest for us.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Martin records being obliterated for COVID-19 in California as we speak. The latest numbers show that new cases in California erupted more than 9500 hospitalizations, and we have more than 2200 of those people are in intensive care units.

Here's why that is the key figure: California now has a new threshold. If in any of five geographical regions, the ICU capacity drops below 15 percent, then that triggers a new wave of restrictions, stay at home orders. The governor said they needed to put the brakes on the pandemic.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We had predicted the final surge in this pandemic. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We are a few months away from truly seeing real progress with the vaccine, real distribution, real accessibility, real availability. We do not anticipate having to do this once again.

But we really all need to step up. We need to meet this moment head on, and we need to do everything we can to stem the tide, to bend the curve, and to give us the time necessary by bending that curve to get those vaccines in the hands of all Californians all across the state.

VERCAMMEN: If the ICU threshold drops below 15 percent in a region, then we see those strict stay at home orders go into place, it shuts down most businesses such as hair salons or nail salons. It keeps open by the way, parks hiking trails beaches. There's a sense that keeping people outdoors is the route they want to go this time around.

And some counties ringing the San Francisco Bay have already implemented these much more severe stays at home orders. They are not waiting to get official confirmation that that threshold has dropped below 15 percent in the ICU units. Many businesses throughout the state keeping an eye now on ICU numbers. Reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen. Back to you now. Christi, Martin.


SAVIDGE: Thank you, Paul, very much. Later this hour, global, global perspective on the coronavirus, Dr. Catherine Smallwood from the World Health Organization. She'll join us to share some lessons that have been learned in Europe, including about school safety, which restrictions are the most effective and which precautions are worth taking over the holiday season.

PAUL: And also, of course, a lot of people the spotlight essentially looking at Georgia today, President Trump is going to be there for his first post-election campaign rally. We have not seen him in a rally since the election. We will see that today and some Republicans are concerned about it. They're concerned about his message and whether it may discourage voters for that January 5th runoff.



PAUL: Listen, it is a runoff election that could decide who controls the Senate. That's why this is so important. Senator Kelly Loeffler and Reverend Raphael Warnock go head-to-head live on CNN. That debate night in Georgia is what it's called Sunday night, tomorrow night. That happens at 7:00 Eastern.

And today speaking of Georgia, it's where the President's going to be. He's campaigning for the states to Republican senators in the January runoffs. This is the first time we're going to see the president. So, there's a lot of concern about what he may say because he has railed on the governor and the Secretary of State here in Georgia. President- elect Joe Biden said he as well is going to travel to campaign in Georgia.

Former President Barack Obama, though, is who made an appearance alongside the Democratic candidates in a virtual rally last night. He said the outcome of Georgia's race will determine the Biden presidency. Let's talk to a Congresswoman-elect and Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, Nikema Williams, thank you so much for being with us. It's good to have you.


PAUL: Good morning. So, I know you attended the virtual rally last night and you made the point that Democrats' win in November wasn't pure luck that the fight isn't over. And you expect this January 5th runoff to be a close election. Former President Obama, I want to hear from him specifically about what he said about January 5th.


OBAMA: You are now once again, the center of our civic universe, because the special election in Georgia is going to determine ultimately, the course of the Biden presidency. And whether Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can deliver legislatively all the commitments they've made.


PAUL: That is a heck of a lot of hefty weight to put on the shoulders of people in Georgia. It is intense. Do you have any concern that Georgia Democrats who showed up for the presidential election, got what they wanted in President-elect Biden and they may sit this one out, maybe they're complacent?

WILLIAMS: The big thing to know is that this election was never about Donald Trump for people in Georgia. This election was about giving the power back to the people. And so, when we showed up to vote in force a month ago, to make sure that Donald Trump was not returned to the White House, it wasn't about his power, it was about our power.

And so, Georgia Democrats, Georgia voters, people across the state are excited, and we are already requesting our absentee ballots. We are then-helping other people get their ballots requested, and ready to turn back out and force for January 5th. This is something that we've been building upon cycle after cycle, so it was never about one election cycle or one person.

So, while I agree with President Obama, we are the center of the political universe, it absolutely is not about Donald Trump for us. This is about the people in Georgia, recognizing their voice and their power, and exercising it at the ballot box.

PAUL: But what do you say to those people who say, I did vote because I wanted to get President Trump out of office. How do you entice them now to get to the polls as Democrats? Because, because a vote for Biden wasn't always in everybody's mind, a vote for his agenda.

WILLIAMS: Oh, well, let's be clear. I voted to get Donald Trump out of office too. The power just is not his, it's mine.

So, when I talk to people across the state, we're still talking about issues. We're talking about the fact that children across the state are still not able to learn safely in person in school.

I have a 5-year-old son who started kindergarten, Christi, in front of a computer screen, and it didn't have to be this way. It's the leaders in this country, it's the United States Senate that is holding up COVID relief. And we can get this right.

We have an opportunity in Georgia to get this right so that we can get resources back in the hands of people every day across this country who are hurting at the hands of this pandemic.

And we have two U.S. senators who enrich themselves instead of looking out for everyday Georgians.

PAUL: Congresswoman-elect, there's -- the divisiveness in Georgia cannot be understated. There's a headline in the AJC this morning about a Georgia Democratic senator who's receiving death threats. Republican leaders have received the death threats as well in Georgia.

Have you ever seen anything that has been taken to this level and what do we do about it now? WILLIAMS: So, unfortunately, Christi, as a black woman in the south, I have seen things reach to this level and it has been heightened right now. And it's unfortunate that we still have Republican leaders in our state who are giving credence to what is act -- what is being said, and these false narratives around election fraud -- series of election fraud.

Republican leaders and our secretary of state have told us this. We've seen the facts and we need to accept the facts of the vote that Donald Trump has lost Georgia, not one, not twice, but three times at this point. Every recount, he continues to lose the state.

So, I guess maybe he's coming in person today to accept this loss and this defeat in person. I don't know, but state senator Atlanta parents, my seat made in the state Senate, she's a great Georgian, and I appreciate her asking the tough questions to make sure that the facts were on the record.

So, I'm standing with Atlanta this morning and I encourage my Republican colleagues to do the same. Because this has gone way too far, they need to stop following hook, line, and sinker with Donald Trump, making an affront to our democracy, and stand up for what they know is right.

PAUL: Congresswoman-elect Nikema Williams. I'm sorry we've run out of time. So good to have you with us. Especially, I know this early on a Saturday morning, thank you.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Of course. And heads up next hour, we're going to get the Republican perspective of the Georgia Senate runoff race with David Shafer, chairman of Georgia Republican Party.

SAVIDGE: Up next, a new details about the people allegedly involved to the scheme to funnel money to the White House or team Trump in an exchange for a presidential pardon.



SAVIDGE: We are learning new details on the Justice Department's investigation into an alleged presidential pardon bribery scheme. Sources telling CNN, it involves D.C. attorney Abbe Lowell, who also represents Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. The potential crime involved funneling money to the White House or related political committee in exchange for a presidential pardon.

Now, this all comes as we learn that the president is considering granting additional preemptive pardons to allies, family members, maybe, even himself.

I want to bring in now Michael Moore, he's a former U.S. attorney. And sir, thank you very much for joining us this morning. Good to see you.


SAVIDGE: All right, let me ask you about the potential of these pre- emptive pardons for family. But most of all, the question I have for you is, can the president pardon himself? And if he does, doesn't that sort of admit he feels guilt?

MOORE: Well, I think probably, yes, it admits he feels guilt, and he probably knows that he has pardonable offenses out there or criminal offenses out there for his family members and colleagues.

The question about the preemptive pardons, I think, is one, that we've seen it in the past. I mean, if you think about Ford when he pardoned Nixon, it was a chance sort of to move on to clean the slate. And to allow us to erase a time in history that was -- that was particularly (INAUDIBLE).

So, I think that the question of the preemptive pardon is probably strong, where the president's favor that is the pardoning himself. The written I say that is the constitution -- the language of the constitution says that the president has the power to grant pardons, which is a simply something that you do to somebody else.

And if you -- if you want to read it from a strict constructionist standpoint, the word grant may be determinative on whether or not it's something he can do to others or give to others as opposed to something just give to himself.


SAVIDGE: And just to be clear, a pardon doesn't get you out of all of potential problems. I mean, you could still face civil suits, you still could be prosecuted on a state level?

MOORE: Well, that's true. He made his power to pardon, we think of it as absolute. But it's truly about federal crimes. And so, the investigation's going on, for instance, in the southern district of New York, in Washington, civil actions there.

We know that Ivanka Trump was deposed the other day. You know, those things go on because they are not federal criminal offenses, so he would have no power to relieve the burden of prosecution or of civil penalties for his family, his colleagues, or even himself.

SAVIDGE: All right, I want to move on to Georgia because, as we pointed out this morning, it is so crucial in politics these days. You are calling on election officials in this state to investigate irregularities and potential criminal conduct that might impact the January 5th runoff election. And I'm wondering what is it that you're seeing that causes this concern?

MOORE: Though we know Senator Graham call had a conversation with Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state here. And Secretary Raffensperger said that he felt that he was being pressured that there was an implication that he should discard legal votes.

Other words that Senator Graham had suggested, just look at counties and wipe out all of the votes if there have been some irregularities from the mail-in ballot. They wipe out these mail-in ballots whether valid or not. That we're (INAUDIBLE) as voter.

Well, the question about it, Senator Graham said, no, no, I'm not calling about the presidential election, I was talking more concerned with how to deal with the January 5th runoff.

So, it's a sort of a situation where the cover-up has explained more of his intention. And so, I simply requested that the state election board, as they have the authority to do, look into the efforts by the outside person that being the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, look into the efforts that he made to influence the Georgia election vote count and to disenfranchise Georgia voters.

He shouldn't do it in a presidential counting, and he shouldn't be do it (INAUDIBLE) as it relates to the -- to the runoff race.

I mean, he can manipulate the votes if he wants to on his committee, but he needs to quit meddling in the Georgia voting process. We've got people that are work in time -- I say to make sure that the votes are counted, the people's right to vote is protected, and that the votes that they cast is protected.

And so, what I'm asking is that the election board look into that, and to sort of build confidence back up. We've had a lot of people tearing down the confidence in the election system. They want to sew doubt about who the winner is. We need the public to be able to have confidence that taking investigation helps further that calls.

SAVIDGE: Real quick -- I got to let you go but before I do, I want to ask you --


MOORE: Sure.

SAVIDGE: This issue of the COVID-19 vaccine coming forward, employers now wondering, can they force their employees to get that vaccine? How do you handle that legally?

MOORE: Well, there's an old 1905 Supreme Court case that says the government can mandate vaccinations for public health crises. When you give to employers, it's a different thing, there might be some other questions that linger out there.

And so, we're -- you know, we're -- you know, we're sort of in unchartered waters there, but I do think that it's a -- it's a dangerous precedent that we've seen going forward where the court can coming in and give particular religious exemption -- constitutional exemptions for folks.

You got to remember that when their rights are pushed forward, that may affect my rights. So, if I want to be safe at work, I ought to have a right to know that my colleagues are coming in --

SAVIDGE: And I'm afraid that's when we lost the feed right there. But Michael Moore, thank you very much for joining us this morning covering everything from politics, pardons, and a pandemic. Christi.

PAUL: No doubt. All righty. Thank you, Marty.

So, while leaders in the U.S. are really struggling over what to do. Schools in Europe, they've kept the doors open.

We're talking with a senior emergency officer from the World Health Organization about what Europe is doing, and could the U.S. do something similar so our kids can go to school physically?



PAUL: So, next week, health ministers from across Europe will meet with leaders of the World Health Organization to talk about COVID prevention in schools.

SAVIDGE: On Thursday, Sweden ordered its high schools to switch to distance learning as a result of a recent spike in cases. Sweden is one of several European countries that have kept schools open. France, Britain, Germany, and Spain are also on that same list.

PAUL: So, joining us now from Copenhagen, Dr. Catherine Smallwood. She's a senior emergency officer of the World Health Organization, Europe. Dr. Smallwood, we appreciate you being here. Thank you so much.

There is an awful lot of frustration in the U.S. about kids who are going to school virtually, and the mental and emotional toll it's taking on them. What have you seen in Europe that seems to be working for these schools that never closed their doors, who stayed open through the pandemic?

DR. CATHERINE SMALLWOOD, SENIOR EMERGENCY OFFICER, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, EUROPE: Hi, Christi, and thanks for having me. And we've been going through the same thing in Europe. And early in the spring, most countries closed all schools, and all school learning was moved and switched to distance learning.

And throughout the summer, we had a first big meeting of health ministers and stakeholders in Europe, and we decided that coming into the autumn, we would keep schools open as a key objective of a COVID- 19 response.

That doesn't necessarily mean that they always must stay open. Being -- closing schools must stay on the table, but we really consider it in Europe here as a -- as a last resort.

And so, we've had three months now of kids going back to school. Not all kids, though as you rightly says. Many countries have switched to distance learning still for the older children. But for the younger children, most of them have been going back to school and we have had quite positive results.

[07:50:11] SMALLWOOD: But keeping kids in school sometimes means taking compromises and sacrifices in other areas. We can't necessarily have it all. So, there's some difficult choices to be made.

SAVIDGE: Why keep schools open when transmission rates are so high?

SMALLWOOD: Because it's not just about physical health and we pay a lot of attention to life's cost through the COVID-19 pandemic, but it's also about the livelihoods and the well-being of children. Especially young children who are in these early stages of their lives that need to be among their peers that are developing so quickly. And keeping them away from school does have real consequences on them. Especially children who are particularly disadvantaged at home and may benefit immensely from the stability that a school system brings.

PAUL: Have you learned anything from the younger students going back to school that would help in easing those restrictions for middle and high schoolers, and maybe bring them back into the classroom?

SMALLWOOD: Yes, and that's what we're going to be discussing next week. And when in the summer, when we were talking about these things, we didn't have much to go on in terms of the evidence because my schools had been closed for the beginning of the -- of the pandemic.

But now that we've had three months, we've learned quite a lot about keeping the kids in school, what are the procedures that need to be put in place, how can you stagger classing, how can you keep social distancing or physical distancing between children in place and how best that works. So, this is what we'll be discussing next week.

SAVIDGE: The question I've got for you is that, you know, in this country, of course, parents are greatly involved. They're greatly concerned. Now, there is a divide between parents. Many who believe that their children should be back in school that is for the best, and then there are other parents who know who fear greatly not only for their children but also of course for the concern of spreading coronavirus when the child comes back home. So, how do you deal with parents?

SMALLWOOD: Parents have right to be worried about both of those things. So, we know that children are susceptible to the virus just as adults are, but increasingly as their age goes up.

So, that means that very severe infections among children are rare, but they do happen, and they do happen in all age groups. And, of course, schools do play a role in community transmission. They reflect it.

So, if you have high-intensity transmission in local communities, you will be having transmission in schools. So, the bottom line is let's get community transmission down, let's do everything we can to keep transmission really well controlled. And then, kids can go back to school without parents having to fear the repercussions on the health.

PAUL: So, have you learned any specifics that the U.S. could learn from what European schools are doing? SMALLWOOD: Well, we'll wait to hear. And I don't want to prejudge the meeting that takes place next, next week.


SMALLWOOD: But some of the specifics is that we don't only need to look at what happens within the school setting itself and that what happens around the school infrastructure is also important. So, kids traveling into school and school buses. That's important how they do that, and also how parents come together around school. That's also important in terms of transmission.

So, there are lots of things that have come up that we weren't aware of or weren't paying enough attention to before that we now know and we can include into our planning.

SAVIDGE: How effective is the testing and contact tracing in schools, and what are the challenges there for you?

SMALLWOOD: Really important, and just as important as any outbreaks in any types of settings. Whether it be in the school or in a workplace or at a mass gathering. And so, where you have outbreaks in schools and they do happen, and they happen quite a lot of the time in a high school setting.

The investigation and the testing around those is crucially important, but it doesn't represent anything different to any of those other investigations that are so important when you see outbreaks or super spreading events.

PAUL: I want to touch on something you just mentioned about busing. How -- is there any evidence of how they're able to get these kids to school, to bused them to school? Have they been -- because I think a lot of the problem that people think about is, you can't cram a lot of kids into one bus anymore? There have to be guidelines for that. Do you know how they are managing that?

SMALLWOOD: Well, we'll wait to see. And certainly, putting in place the required additional buses is the same -- it's the same principles that need to be applied for schools as they are for public transport in general.


SMALLWOOD: So, kids get to school in many different ways. Some take public transport, some take school buses, some walk to school, some go via private transport. So, understanding in the different school settings how kids get to school will be really important.

And then, planning accordingly to put in place additional transport that is less crowded, seeing what the public transportation options are, and then also seeing what potential systems can be put in place for private transport.

PAUL: Dr. Catherine Smallwood, we so appreciate you talking to us about what else you're going to be discussing later this week. Thank you so much for taking time for us.

SMALLWOOD: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

PAUL: We'll be right back.

SAVIDGE: And we'll be right back.