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New Day Saturday

Health Experts: Breakthrough Infections may be Contagious but Spread Mostly Driven by Unvaccinated; CDC: Pace of New Vaccinations Highest it's Been Since July 5th; Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over Black Widow Dual Release; Amanda Knox Claims Matt Damon Film Stillwater Profits from Her Life. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired July 31, 2021 - 06:00   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Boris. I'm Christi Paul. We're so grateful to have you with us. Pivotal discovery for you this morning. The CDC issuing new mask guidance, recommending most fully vaccinated people resume wearing masks indoors. This as cases are surging, driven mostly by people who are not vaccinated.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Plus, Saturday session, senators heading back to Capitol Hill today to hammer out the text of that massive infrastructure bill, one of President Biden's biggest legislative goals. So where do things stand now?

PAUL: Yes. We'll talk about that. And filing suit, actress Scarlett Johansson sues Disney following the release of the Marvel film "Black Widow." Why she says the company breached her contract and how Disney's responding this morning.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And opting out. Simone Biles withdrawing from two more events at the Tokyo Olympics. Hear her message to fans coming up.

PAUL: Well, welcome to Saturday. We're glad you're up early on this July 31st. Oh my gosh, Boris.

SANCHEZ: We're almost ...

PAUL: How did we get to August already?

SANCHEZ: We're almost to August. Yes.

PAUL: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Time has flown by this year, Christi. Always great to be with you. Good morning ...

PAUL: Good morning. SANCHEZ: ... and good morning to our viewers at home. We're grateful that you are with us. We start with this race to avoid a new wave of coronavirus infections from sweeping the country. Officials are sounding the alarm about the spread of the deadly Delta variant and now, fortunately, the rate of vaccinations against COVID-19 is actually going up across the United States.

PAUL: Yes. So, we have this map to put it in perspective for you. Take a look here. It shows in new cases compared to last week and you can see there, every state is showing some sort of surge fueled by the Delta variant. Now, the CDC says it can spread as easily as chicken pox, but they stress getting vaccinated remains your best defense against the virus.

We know more than 80 percent of the U.S. population now live in a county considered to have high or substantial COVID-19 transmission. That's 274 million people who, according to updated guidance, should be wearing masks regardless of vaccination status.

SANCHEZ: Yes, but the staggering disparity in hospitalizations and deaths between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated may be convincing people to finally get the shot. An average of nearly 390,000 people are getting their first dose each day and that's the highest it's been in about three weeks. It is far, as you can see on your screen, from the peak, though, when the United States was administering 3 million shots a day.

So now states, local officials and even business owners and employers are making a full court press to get more shots in arms. We start this morning in DeKalb County, Georgia. CNN's Natasha Chen joins us now live. It's one of many places where experts are encouraging people to roll up their sleeves by offering incentives, right, Natasha?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Boris. They're giving out prepaid gift cards today in hopes that more people will come to this spot at a mall and get that shot, especially as school districts in this area are starting their school years sometimes a bit early to try and make up for lost instruction time last year during the pandemic, but like in many places across the country, Georgia is seeing a rising seven-day moving average of new COVID cases and that has a lot of people concerned.


CHEN (Voice over): America is waking up to a new day of increased COVID restrictions and President Biden says we're likely to see more as cases of the highly contagious Delta variant continue to rise.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In all probability. By the way, we had a good day yesterday. Almost 1 million people got vaccinated. So, I'm hopeful that people are beginning to realize how essential it is.

CHEN (Voice over): CDC data shows the rate of new vaccinations is the highest it's been in weeks, but just under half the U.S, population is fully vaccinated. The FDA says it's pulling in extra help to get COVID-19 vaccines fully approved as quickly as possible to ease the minds of those worried about vaccine safety.

This comes as we're learning more from the CDC about just how dangerous the Delta variant really is. The agency now says 74 percent of COVID cases in one Massachusetts county came from fully vaccinated people, though it is important to note that there were few hospitalizations there and no deaths.


The CDC maintains that vaccination and masking remain critical in the fight to slow the virus and we're learning more about how far COVID can spread with research showing that respiratory droplets in the air can carry the virus as easily as the smoke from a cigarette.

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH & POLICY, UNIV. OF MN: Just think of somebody smoking. If you can smell the smoke from their cigarette, that's the very same as if you are breathing in the air that they exhale out that has the virus in it.

CHEN (Voice over): Many medical experts now say the risk of transmission outdoors is much higher than previously thought. All of this as students are heading back to class for what they'd hoped would be a normal school year, but more than 100 students at one Atlanta school that does require masks are now being told to quarantine after at least nine students and five staff members tested positive for COVID. Only one of the staff members had been vaccinated and the school's eighth grade class is now back at home doing virtual school. One parent says he's not surprised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had the Delta virus and then the numbers started going up and I thought -- I felt real uncomfortable with it. I was like I don't think this is a good idea because we've seen on the news a lot this is picking up, so I'm not sure. It really didn't make sense right now with everybody not being vaccinated to go back to school and take that risk.

CHEN (Voice over): Meanwhile, some parents are fighting hard to keep their children from having to mask up in class.

SHERI MITCHELL, PARENT: I feel like it's our right to be able to have a choice to either mask or unmask our children just like you have a choice to vaccinate.

CHEN (Voice over): All together, eight U.S. states are taking steps to ban mask mandates in schools, but some areas of the country are taking the opposite tack as numbers rise. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has reinstituted a mask mandate in her city after cases more than doubled in one week.

MAYOR LATOYA CANTRELL (D-LA), NEW ORLEANS: The COVID pandemic is once again rating out of control.

CHEN (Voice over): And medical experts warn that we are far from done with COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The virus we're seeing today, as bad as it is, is not as bad as it can get.


CHEN: And of course, one of the conversations being had right now with a lot of employers is whether to require vaccinations for employees before they come back in person and that discussion is even happening in schools and school districts as the school year is about to start in many places, Boris and Christi.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And we're going to be speaking to an official from that Drew School where more than 100 kids had to be quarantined specifically about a potential vaccine mandate. That's later this morning. Natasha Chen, thanks so much for the update.

So it's been nearly four weeks after President Biden told the country on Independence Day that the coronavirus no longer controls our lives. It's clear that we are far from where he hoped we would be at this point.

PAUL: Yes. I mean, with the Delta variant ravaging so much of this country, the President's really been forced to shift his tone on the pandemic and keep his main focus on COVID. Let's go to CNN's Kevin Liptak. He's live at the White House for us right now. Kevin, I know that you're hearing, obviously much like, I'm sure, the public, there's a mix of frustration and really exhaustion inside the White House because of the pandemic. What are you learning about what's happening within those walls?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Christi. This is really a turning point in this pandemic for the president, but it's not the turn that he wanted to be taking at this point in August.

Rising cases forcing the president to take ever more urgent action in combating this virus, including some steps that he had been reluctant to take earlier on, like requiring federal workers to either test that they've been vaccinated or go through these intense mitigation steps and telling the Pentagon to begin the steps towards requiring the vaccine, mandating the vaccine, for military service members.

These are things that the president had sought to avoid earlier on. There had been worries that the -- about the political backlash and even pushing people away from getting the vaccine by taking those steps, but now the president forced into them by this Delta variant and these rising cases.

The president making clear to businesses, to schools, to local governments that the only way to get people vaccinated is to require it. Now, right now, the White House says a federal vaccine mandate for all Americans is not under consideration. It's not really even clear that that's possible for the president to do, but he did make clear yesterday as he was leaving the White House for Camp David that further steps might be necessary. Listen to what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, can Americans expect more -- should Americans expect more guidelines coming out more with restrictions because of COVID?

BIDEN: In all probability. By the way, we had a good day yesterday. Almost 1 million people got vaccinated.


LIPTAK: Now, what's driving all of this now? It comes down to a few things. One is that very worrying CDC data. We got the first glimpse of it yesterday. The president and other White House officials had seen it earlier in the week, saying that vaccinated people carried as much viral load as unvaccinated people. Also saying that the Delta variant was just as contagious as chicken pox.


Now, the president, we're told, is increasingly frustrated about this situation. He feels, as one adviser said, like he's had a brick wall in this vaccination campaign. The White House advisers, the president's advisers, are obviously cheered to see those vaccination rates ticking back up, but with half the country still unvaccinated, it's still clear they have a long way to go in this fight.

PAUL: Kevin Liptak, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

So, let's talk about all of this with emergency medicine physician. Dr. Anand Swaminathan. Doctor, it's so good to have you back with us. Thank you. So let's talk about the numbers that we're seeing and try to keep it in perspective. 125,000, as I understand it, breakthrough cases. That's out of 164 million people who are vaccinated fully which equates to about 0.08 percent, as I understand it. Give us some clarity, if you would, as to the efficacy of vaccines for people who are having questions this morning.

DR. ANAND SWAMINATHAN, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: What we know is that the vaccines are still extremely effective. They're very effective, especially against preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death and that's what they were really designed to do. We knew that there would be breakthroughs, we knew that was going to happen, but we still see a marked reduction in the severe cases.

We're talking about a 25-fold reduction. That is absolutely incredible. These vaccines will protect people, they will keep them out of hospitals, and they'll keep them from dying and that really is the push here. A little bit of a sniffle, little bit of a cough. Not a big deal, but we want to prevent those severe cases. That's the big push.

PAUL: And then for people who have questions about the efficacy of masks, charter school, this charter school we just talked about in Georgia, they had a mask mandate. They now have 100 students in quarantine because of an outbreak there. Talk to people about the necessity of masks and the effectiveness there because this would seem to counter that argument. So there's some confusion here.

SWAMINATHAN: Well, just like vaccines, masks aren't perfect, but it's about layered mitigation. It's about having both of these things in place and a number of other public health restrictions and kind of things in place to help to reduce and without layered mitigation, we can't really get to where we need to. So we know that masks are effective in reducing transmission. They are completely, 100 percent safe and I think any student going back to school should be wearing a mask.

K through 12th grade, every single student should be wearing a mask, the staff should be wearing masks and that's the best way to protect, but again, it is about layered mitigation. So getting any student who can be vaccinated, vaccinated, getting all the staff vaccinated and then as many people around those students vaccinated along with masks is going to markedly reduce the chance of kids getting infections, of kids getting quarantined.

PAUL: Just a little over 49 percent of people who are vaccinated in the U.S. right now. Is it too late to hit herd immunity?

SWAMINATHAN: We don't know. So it seems to be a moving target. We're not sure that that is achievable, especially when we see that Delta can obviously infect people who are fully vaccinated, fully vaccinated people can have high viral loads which means they can pass to others. So it's hard to know whether herd immunity is really going to be achievable, but in order for us to get there, we have to push harder with vaccines.

And I think that's what Delta is really telling us is that we need to take a new tack to how we're going to get people vaccinated, which means that we can't just be giving rewards for getting vaccinated. We probably have to step up our mandates and step up the other side of that which is some penalties if you're not getting vaccinated.

PAUL: I asked people on Twitter yesterday to send in their questions and please, I encourage you to keep doing so because we're talking to doctors all morning today, but I had a lot of questions about people -- from people regarding the fact that school is starting, some in three days in some districts, and they're concerned about their kids. Are you confident that kids can be safe and should they get the vaccine?

SWAMINATHAN: Well, I think this is really going to vary from community to community of whether we can keep kids safe. If you live in a community where vaccination rates are high, where the proper mitigation steps are being taken, then yes. I think we can not only open schools, but keep schools open.

So in my community, our vaccination rates are very high. Many kids over 12, that 12 to 18 group who are still in school, are vaccinated and we're going to have 100 percent mask mandate in classes. So I think that those are the important things we need to stress in order to protect our kids.

As far as kids getting vaccinated, every kid over 12 should have a vaccination. There is no doubt in my mind that that is the most important thing to protect our children, to protect our communities and I'm really hoping for a harder push to get it approved for the younger group of kids. I have two kids between 5 and 12 that are going to be starting school. I want them to be vaccinated too.

So I think we need to push to get that group, get that data out, get that emergency use authorization for that group and then for the 12 and up, really push hard to get as many of them vaccinated as we can.


PAUL: Well, and we saw earlier there are several states who are having some real issues and concerns in hospitals right now and ICU units that are really becoming full, particularly in the south in Mississippi, in Louisiana, in Florida. Are hospitals prepared at this point? I mean, what are you witnessing, Doctor?

SWAMINATHAN: Well, I'll tell you that where I work, our rates of sick COVID patients are fairly low. Nothing like what we saw last year. Nothing like what we saw in the winter and that's because our vaccination rates are high. So we're not strained. Our hospital is operating at a pretty good pace and we're doing quite well.

Now, I have a lot of friends in other communities, other parts of the country that are not seeing that. They are seeing their ICU's fall. I have a friend who works doing transfers and she's telling me that there are no ICU beds in her state, there are no ICU beds in numerous counties and not just for adults, but also for pediatric patients which is concerning as well.

And you can see how stressed hospitals are, how strained they are when you hear things about canceling elective surgeries. That's when you know that the hospitals are really being hit hard because that's a huge amount of revenue generation for a hospital. They are very reluctant to cancel those cases.

When you see those cases getting canceled, as are being done in, you know, many states and Mississippi being one of those, that's how you know that the stress or the strain on the hospital is so much that they really can't take anymore and I think we're going to see that across Mississippi, Alabama, we're going to see it in Arkansas, in Missouri, in Texas. If we're not already seeing it, it is coming.

PAUL: Dr. Anand Swaminathan, it is always good to get your perspective. Thank you so much for being with us.


SANCHEZ: It is a working weekend on Capitol Hill. So can senators hammer out the details and finally agree on a $1 trillion spending bill? We'll take you live to Capitol Hill for the latest next.

PAUL: Also, a superhero is ready for a real world fight. Why Marvel movie star Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SANCHEZ: We are 21 minutes past the hour and the Senate is working through the weekend on Capitol Hill ironing out that massive $1 trillion infrastructure bill. It's a bipartisan agreement that would fulfill one of President Joe Biden's top priorities, providing much needed money to fix the country's roads and bridges.

PAUL: Now, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the bipartisan group is still working on the final text of the bill. CNN congressional reporter Daniella Diaz with us live from Capitol Hill. Daniella, good morning to you. So talk to us about what's in the bill and what you're hearing happens next.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Christi, Boris, there's a lot in this bill. Over half of it, $550 billion, is new federal spending that would -- $73 billion rebuild the electrical grid, $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, $65 billion to expand broadband internet access. There's a lot in this bill. I can go into more details, but it's a lot of money that would fulfill a lot of priorities for this administration.

The problem here is that President Joe -- or excuse me -- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the legislative text for this bill is not finished yet. So senators cannot vote on a bill that is not written yet. So that's the problem here which is why the Senate is working through the weekend to try to accomplish this.

Once the text is unveiled, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will offer a finalized deal as a substitute amendment. Then other amendments are expected to be introduced this weekend. But look, he really laid it all out yesterday ahead of the vote to proceed. Take a listen to what he said.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) MAJORITY LEADER: Once they are finished, and this is a big job, the text will be reviewed and then I will immediately offer the text of the bipartisan infrastructure agreement as the substitute amendment, making it the base bill, as I have promised. As soon as the bipartisan group finalizes the text of the substitute amendment and becomes the base bill, we can start voting on amendments and make further progress on the bill over this weekend.


DIAZ: The bottom line here is the Senate is racing to try to vote on this infrastructure package ahead of August recess when all the senators are expected to go back to their home district for a few weeks. This is why they're working through the weekend and this is why, of course, we're here bringing everyone the latest. Christi, Boris.

SANCHEZ: And of course that recess might wind up getting delayed with that reconciliation budget bill that is on the horizon. Daniella Diaz from Capitol Hill, thank you so much.

This infrastructure bill is the result of bipartisan negotiations, something we don't see much of in Washington these days. CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer joins us now live to discuss. Good morning, Julian. Great to have you, as always.


SANCHEZ: President Biden campaigned on bipartisanship, which many did not believe was possible. He withstood calls from his own party to forego cooperation with Republicans in order to advance the agenda. It did take a bit longer than expected, but now this bill is on the verge of getting passed. So how does getting this done alongside Republicans help the president moving forward?

ZELIZER: Well, it's not going to change the basic partisan dynamics of Washington, but it's a big accomplishment. This is something that he can sell both as an important policy measure that provides infrastructure funding for much needed projects and, B, it fills the campaign promise that he can govern, that he can achieve bipartisanship in this case, but that he can achieve some sort of normality in Washington that we haven't seen.


I wouldn't bet there's going to be a lot of bipartisanship outside of this package. Nonetheless, it would be a big turning point.

SANCHEZ: Yes. So Senator Mitt Romney is saying the text of the bill is 90 percent done. He's anticipating it could be finished as early as today. The Senate then supposed to go into a recess August 9th, though Senator Bernie Sanders one of several senators saying they expect the reconciliation budget resolution may find its way to the floor of the Senate that week. What are you going to be watching for during this process as Congress attempts to pass these two pieces of legislation?

ZELIZER: Well, the reconciliation doesn't require Republican support. So what you're looking for is do Senators Manchin and Sinema, what are they saying? Democrats really want the rest of the items to pass as well. That was the deal and so it's those two senators who have so much power right now on Capitol Hill. That's who you keep an eye for. Will they go along with the party or will they become a source of obstruction?

SANCHEZ: And I want to ask you specifically about the senator from Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, because some of her comments about this reconciliation bill have drawn the ire of people within her own party, namely Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib. They tweeted some not very nice things about Sinema. How does the White House successfully balance these two wings of the Democratic Party? Here are some of the tweets for our viewers.

ZELIZER: Well, basically it's carrots and sticks. I mean, I do think there is a role for President Biden to keep reaching out to her to try to persuade her, as he has done with Republicans on the infrastructure bill to go along with the party, but there's also pressure that can be mounted in the states against her in her home state and I think it's a combination of the two that gets people to move. That's what happened with Republicans on infrastructure. It wasn't simply that Senator McConnell played nice. It's the realization if he didn't go along, Democrats might have gotten a lot more through reconciliation, pure and simple.

SANCHEZ: Julian, I want to ask you about the White House and COVID. First, listen to this message from President Biden given to a maskless crowd.


BIDEN: Over the past year, we've lived through some of our darkest days. Now I truly believe, I give my word as a Biden, I truly believe we're about to see our brightest future.


SANCHEZ: Yes. This week, we saw a sharp turn, the CDC saying that vaccinated Americans should wear masks in high transmission areas. President Biden now requiring all federal employees to be vaccinated. Some of the president's highest approval ratings have been on his handling of the pandemic. So how does he realistically keep the public on his side even as we're forced to reestablish some of the protocols that we shed a few weeks back?

ZELIZER: It's difficult. It's demoralizing for many Americans, but the president is now aware that volunteerism will not work in large parts of the public and so moving to a much more proactive stance, as we have done with vaccines, other kinds of vaccines in public schools. The way he reestablishes support and enthusiasm from the electorate is to take the steps necessary with vaccines and masks to curb this Delta moment.

This does not have to be the future and I think that's why the administration is being so proactive to try to change the trajectory of the virus.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And we'll keep watching to see what else the White House may do in order to counteract the rise in Delta variant cases. Julian Zelizer, we have to leave the conversation there. Always great to see you, sir.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks.

PAUL: So let's talk about "Black Widow." Star Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney. Why she's accusing them of a breach of contract. Where might this go? Joey Jackson with us next.



PAUL: Good morning to you, 33 minutes past the hour. Let's talk about today's legal brief. One of Marvel's biggest stars is suing Disney. Actor Scarlett Johansson we're talking about, of course. She says Disney breached their contract when they released the film "Black Widow" on its streaming service Disney Plus and in theaters simultaneously. Now, the actress claims, she was promised a theatrical release.

Disney says there's, quote, "no merit whatsoever to the filing" and that it's quote, "distressing in its callous disregard for the COVID- 19 pandemic." CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson with us now. Joey, it is always so good to have you here, thank you. So talk to me, first of all, about -- regarding what we know based on this suit of hers. How strong is it?

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Christi, good morning to you. You know, the devil is always in the details. And what I mean by that is that suits can't be predicated on hey, I love Disney, they should prevail. Well, Scarlett Joe Johansson, my favorite actress, she should prevail. There are always about what does the contract say, right? And so, we have and we live in a freedom of contract society, and when I say that Christi, I mean, that we bargain every day, and do you get the benefit of your bargain? And so, I think in this particular case, it's a matter of assessing a contract and seeing what the parties contemplated.

Was it contemplated that it would only be a theatrical release? What does that mean? It would be in movie theaters. Now, I would hasten to add that the original release, Christi, was supposed to be in May of 2020. We might recall that the pandemic's ravage assault sometime in March of last year, right?


And the reason I bring that up is because that goes to the issue of whether the issues they're fighting about we've even contemplated at that time. Certainly, I think contracts are going to look different, now the people know what the pandemic has done to movie theaters. Now, that we have technology with respect to streaming services and other things. So, what does the contract say? Did it limit it there, in the event that it was to go on the Disney Plus platform which should be compensated? What was the form and basis of that compensation? So, I think all those things will be looked at, but we also should note final point that in these instances often, they settle.

And so, if you made $20 million, that's what Disney is saying, we should note that Disney has -- you know, we're talking about Marvel, and Marvel made $318, you know, billion over the course of the last 13 years, so we're talking about big dollar figures here.

PAUL: No doubt. So, I want to move on here to another entertainment story with some potential legal ramifications. We're talking about Amanda Knox. She is accusing the new Matt Damon film, "Stillwater" of profiting from her wrongful murder conviction. Nowhere remember that Knox and her boyfriend were convicted twice and eventually exonerated in an Italian court for the 2007 killing of Knox's British roommate. And Knox says this new movie directed by Tom McCarthy used her story without her consent at the expense of her reputation. And McCarthy says her case was only used as an inspiration for the storyline. Joey, does an inspiration for the storyline afford her some sort of compensation?

JACKSON: So, it doesn't, it certainly a force or the ability to speak up and speak out about it. Obviously, she's very distressed about what she's gone through in her life and she should be, right? Twice convicted and then ultimately exonerated. We're talking about the 2007 murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher, right? In Italy and the fight that ensued. Amazing that it's been all these years later. But so she should speak up and speak out about anything that she feels that might hold her in a light that is not the light she should be held in.

She was acquitted, right? You know, and as a result of that, she's gone on to do great things in her life in public speaking, and you know, being a spokesperson, et cetera. And so, but when you get to the issue of a lawsuit, it's a little harder, Christi. We're talking about First Amendment issues, we're talking about the realm of ideas, we're talking about the realm of expression, and even in instances where someone does a biography, specifically, about you, we believe, right, we know "Stillwater" is loosely based on and inspired by it. But when someone does really a story about you if you're a public figure, you have limited recourse if that story is based on court documents, newspaper reports and everything else.

And so, whenever you get into the realm of ideas, certainly there's the problem as it relates to compensation for what you believe to be the profiting off of your image and your likeness.

PAUL: OK, so, let me ask you this because she did tweet out, "when I was acquitted and freed, the media and the public would not allow me to become a private citizen again." She's, you know, saying, look, this movie is damaging her reputation. What about the potential for a defamation lawsuit? Is there any space for that?

JACKSON: So, you know, wonderful question, but then the issue becomes, look, when you look at defamation, you're talking about saying something that is false about someone and is injurious to their reputation and it causes damage to your life. When you're talking about a movie that is not based on you particularly, but is inspired from you, then certainly, it may hold you in ill repute, but it's not necessarily targeting you, otherwise indicating what you did. We're talking about fiction at the end of the day. We're talking about "Stillwater" being predicated on something in France. And so, I think that, that is a lot different, Christi, final point than if it targeted her, spoke about her and otherwise defamed her herself.

And so, I think again, you know, look, our courts are open all the time, and people litigate when they have different points of view, but we are held to high standards, and I think in this standard, it would be a very uphill battle for her to fight.

PAUL: All right, Joey Jackson, it is so good to see you on this Saturday morning, thank you for making time for us.

JACKSON: Always, thanks, Christi.

PAUL: Thank you, Joey. So gymnast Simone Biles says, listen, she is still battling the twisties. Now she's officially withdrawing from the next competition at the Olympics and continuing to focus on her mental health. We have the latest for you from Tokyo. Stick with us. Programming note for you, be sure to join CNN this August for a once in a lifetime concert event. We love New York City, the homecoming concert. It airs Saturday, August 21st exclusively right here on CNN.



SANCHEZ: USA Gymnastics says Simone Biles, arguably the world's greatest gymnast has just withdrawn from more events at the Tokyo games. Biles says that she's been suffering from twisties, it's a mental block, a distortion that can keep gymnasts from being able to perform moves that they've done countless times before.

PAUL: Coy Wire is with us live from Tokyo right now. So, we know that she's really making sure, you know, her goal here is to make sure she's right again before she competes because she doesn't want to hurt herself, she doesn't want to hurt the team. How is this being received there?


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, she says her mentals aren't there, Christi. Good to see you and Boris. And she's receiving overwhelming support, and she's grateful for that, but this is -- we're talking about, the biggest star coming into these Olympic games. The athlete that everyone wanted to see. But here she is now taking herself out of Sunday's individual finals in both the vault and uneven bars in addition to withdrawing from already the team and all around individual as well. And this comes after posted videos of her struggling at a Friday practice session here in Tokyo.

And Biles said that she, quote, "literally cannot tell up from down. What's even scarier, since I have no idea where I am in the air, I also have no idea how I'm going to land or what I'm going to land on." Unquote. The 24-year-old said that when she's had the twisties as Boris mentioned before in the past, it's taken two or more weeks for them to go away. And Biles still has two more events in which she could potentially compete. Women's floor final is Monday, beam final is Tuesday.

USA Gymnastics released a statement, saying in part, quote, "she will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether to compete in the finals for floor exercise and balance beam, we remain in awe of Simone who continues to handle this situation with courage and grace, and all the athletes who have stepped up during these unexpected circumstances", unquote. Now, this likely will be the last time we ever see the greatest of all time competing in an Olympic games. The world is waiting to see if Simone Biles will feel well enough to compete here in Tokyo again.

Now, it was a busy day in the pool for Caeleb Dressel. I talked to his trainer who said that this was the day for which he trained so hard in that weight room. Three events in just 80 minutes including one of his signature events, 100-meter butterfly, Dressel exploded off those blocks for the lead and never looked back. The 24-year-old from Florida breaking his own world record en route to picking up his third gold medal in Tokyo. He said he was nervous before this race. He needed to tell his brain to shut up, he said. Caeleb now holds eight of the top ten times in the world, in this event. And look at his family in Florida, mom in the middle can barely watch.

Then she falls out onto the couch with Caeleb's wife, Meghan -- oh, two more chances to see Dressel pick up more medals here later tonight when swimming wraps up. And Katie Ledecky gets redemption. She failed to win individual gold for the first time in her career at the hands of Australia's Ariarne Titmus earlier here in Tokyo. But the 24-year- old beat her rival in the 800-meter free to prove she is still the most dominant female swimmer ever. Her sixth individual Olympic swimming gold, more than any woman in history joining Michael Phelps as only the second American to win straight Olympics in the -- three straight Olympics in the same event. Here she is.


KATIE LEDECKY, SEVEN-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I never dreamed of making it to one Olympics when I first started swimming when I was 6 years old. And to have the opportunity to go to three now and to win medals and to hear your national anthem play, it's amazing.


WIRE: Stanford grad, encourageable work ethic, passionate about philanthropy and making this world a better place, one of the most humble superstars I have ever met, Christi and Boris, she represents all the very best of the United States and what it has to offer. Congratulations to Katie Ledecky.

SANCHEZ: Yes, well earned. Twenty three fastest times in that event, from 1 to 23, it's Katie Ledecky in the record books. Coy Wire from Tokyo. Thank you so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Coy.

SANCHEZ: You've got it.

PAUL: So, we have some new details about just how far Donald Trump allegedly went to push the big lie. We're going to tell you what he wanted his own Justice Department to do to delegitimize that election.



PAUL: Fifty three minutes past the hour and we're learning more about yet another attempt former President Donald Trump made to overturn the 2020 election.

SANCHEZ: Yes, CNN's Paula Reid has the details.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Boris and Christi. Well, these new details, they are revealed in these handwritten notes from then acting Attorney General Richard Donoghue. In these notes, he describes a December 27th meeting between former President Trump himself and the then acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. And during this meeting on December 27th, the president allegedly told them that they should declare the election illegal and corrupt, reportedly telling them, just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and Republican congressmen.

Now, according to these notes, the acting attorney general told the president -- then president, that, look, we can't just snap our fingers and make things happen. That's not the way this works. Now, this evidence has been handed over to lawmakers, that's how it was released and made public, and is likely to be used in several ongoing congressional investigations looking at the former president's efforts to try to undermine confidence in the election and the events leading up to the January 6th insurrection. Both of those former Justice officials could potentially be called to testify.

Now, in another major legal development related to the former president, the Justice Department has ordered the Treasury to turn over some of his tax records to congressional lawmakers. Now, the House Ways and Means Committee had requested these documents over two years ago.


And the Trump Justice Department had suggested that the reason they were trying to get them may not be legitimate. But the Biden Justice Department disagrees with that reasoning and Office of Legal Counsel has said that they must be turned over. Now, it's not clear if the former president will fight this decision in court. We know Manhattan grand jury has already gotten some similar documents, and so far, they have not leaked, but Boris and Christi, we know, sometimes things leak off the hill.

SANCHEZ: Paula Reid, thank you so much for that. In the next hour of NEW DAY, we'll break down exactly why the CDC is asking vaccinated people to put their masks right back on. Stay with us.