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"Blaming" the Unvaccinated; Biden Admin Officials Shift to a More Urgent Tone as COVID-19 Surges Among Unvaccinated Americans; Trump Ally Tom Barrack Strikes $250 Million Bail Deal With Prosecutors After They Called Him a "Serious Flight Risk;" At Least 1 Suspect at Large, 2 Wounded After Shooting Outside DC Restaurants; Trump Going to Arizona to Peddle His False Election Claims. Aired 6-7pm ET
Aired July 23, 2021 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: The White House strikes a more urgent tone as the rapid spread of the Delta virus sweeps across the country. Even some Republican governors are sounding the alarm with one saying it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated.
Also, tonight Trump ally Tom Barrack is getting out of jail after prosecutors called him a serious flight risk. We're breaking down his $250 million bail deal.
And Democrats are vowing to get to the truth of the insurrection as the January 6 committee prepares for its first hearing next week. Will the GOP congressman help the panel get more bipartisan credibility?
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Jim Acosta, and you're in the Situation Room.
We begin this hour with growing alarm at the White House over the Delta various assault on the unvaccinated. Let's go to our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlan, new CDC data is giving the administration even more reason to be concerned tonight.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jim, because they're watching as this Delta variant is what's fueling these outbreaks that you're seeing across the nation with half of the nation still not vaccinated. And now this new data from the CDC shows that the daily average of people becoming fully vaccinated is at the lowest point than it's been since January when those vaccinations really were getting started and people could actually start getting in line for the vaccine. And this is something Jim that is not just causing concern here at the White House, but also for leaders nationwide.
COLLINS: A new sense of urgency in the White House tonight as the U.S. enters a troubling phase of the pandemic with officials, nationwide, voicing concern. JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We understand the frustration of leaders out there and public voices, who are trying to say the right thing, save people in their communities.
COLLINS: More than half the nation remains unvaccinated allowing the highly contagious Delta variant to spread like wildfire.
PSAKI: We're the first to say and we have long said that that's not enough. We need to ensure more people and more communities are vaccinated.
COLLINS: President Biden and his top aides are worried the gains they've made are being erased while issuing blunt warnings from the White House podium to the millions who remain unvaccinated.
PSAKI: Other communities where there's 40%, 50% or otherwise, that's not just a health issue, it's a huge health issue. It's an economic issue.
COLLINS: New cases, hospitalizations and deaths are a fraction of what they were before vaccinations. But the numbers are still rising quickly. The U.S. is now averaging 43,000 new cases per day, a 65% increase over the last week with cases topping 40,000 for the first time since May and 250 new deaths each day almost entirely among the unvaccinated.
Officials say the current surge from Delta could have been avoided with one health official telling CNN we are seeing the consequences of what we've been warning about. It's serious and it's spreading faster than was anticipated.
Booster shots aren't currently recommended by the FDA. But the U.S. government has now purchased an additional 200 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine, just in case.
PSAKI: Here's the bottom line. We've always prepared for every scenario. We don't know if we'll need a booster shot.
COLLINS: Republican governors are now outright pleading with their residents to get the shot.
GOV. JIM JUSTICE, (R) WEST VIRGINIA: You've got to get vaccinated now. And so all I would say is this Delta thing is coming.
GOV. MARK PARSON, (R) MISSOURI: Unvaccinated Missourians are the primary target of this new COVID-19 strain.
COLLINS: Alabama, one of the hardest hit and now the least vaccinated state in the U.S. Only 33.9% of residents are fully vaccinated as cases are double what they were a week ago. Alabama's Republican governor says she knows who to blame.
GOV. KAY IVEY (R-AL): The new cases in COVID are because of unvaccinated folks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it going to take to get people to get shots in arms?
IVEY: I don't know, you tell me. Those folks have common sense. But it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It's the unvaccinated folks that let me stay.
COLLINS: And, Jim, the White House says they're not sure yet. They're still reviewing the data. But they are hopeful that they are seeing some signs that these new cases driven by this Delta variant are actually encouraging people to get the vaccine, for the first time, people who have so far have been hesitant and get it. They say that they are seeing in areas where there are high case rates, places like Alabama, a few other states, they are saying vaccinations have an uptick there, even if it is a gradual one.
ACOSTA: All right. Kaitlan Collins thanks for that report.
Now to Los Angeles where the county health director is raising a red flag about breakthrough COVID cases, she says about 20% of new infections in the county are among vaccinated residents. Our National Correspondent Nick Watt is in Los Angeles. Nick, this is a concerning headline, but there's an important context here. Give us the latest?
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Well, Jim, the headline is this that in June more than 800 fully vaccinated people here in Los Angeles tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials say the number in July could be even higher, and they are pointing at the Delta variant, calling it a game changer. That's all the scary stuff. Here is the context. Among those fully vaccinated people who tested positive, very, very few were hospitalized most mild or asymptomatic. So that is the good news.
And the scary headline really kind of masks the real headline here, which is what Kaitlan was just talking about, and it's the Delta variant spread amongst the unvaccinated.
Here in Los Angeles highest case rates they've seen in months and the vast majority of those people catching the virus are unvaccinated. So what are they doing about it? Well, like elsewhere in the country, they are encouraging more people to get the vaccine and also here in Los Angeles, the mask mandate is back indoors, even if you're vaccinated, you are supposed to wear a mask.
Now, some law enforcement are saying that they weren't enforced that. But that is the message from health officials. And they use this analogy to explain why, they say think of this pandemic as a weather event, heavy rain. So your umbrella is your vaccine that keeps you pretty safe until the winds pick up and the rain gets even heavier. That's the Delta barrier. Then you are going to need a raincoat as well. And that is your mask. They want to stifle this Delta variant as quickly as they possibly can here and across the country. Jim?
ACOSTA: All right, let's stamp it out together. All right, Nick Watt, thank you so much.
Let's bring in our pandemic experts, Dr. Paul Offit. He is a member of the FDA Vaccines Advisory Committee and Director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Dr. Leana Wen, is a CNN Medical Analyst and Emergency Room Physician and the former Baltimore City Health Commissioner.
Dr. Offit, let me start with you first, you just heard from the governor of Alabama Kay Ivey, who said it's time to start blaming unvaccinated folks who are, "letting us down." I know people don't like pointing fingers and laying blame and that sort of thing. What do you think of that message?
DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR, VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: That's exactly the right message. The reason that this virus continues to spread, continues to cause people to suffer and be hospitalized and die and frankly, continues to mutate with the possibility of making an even more contagious variant, or a variant that resists immunity induced by natural infection is because a critical percentage of this population is unvaccinated. I mean, we talked about booster dosing or other things. This is the problem, we need to vaccinate people who are unvaccinated at or if not, this is going to continue to spread and continue to cause harm.
ACOSTA: And we've shown these great maps from our excellent graphics team showing a high vaccination rates in the United States in the northeast in the Midwest. That's where you're seeing lots of people fully vaccinated and then lay that other map on screen. It shows where these coronavirus cases are spiking. They're in largely unvaccinated areas. The correlation is as simple as that. Dr. Leana Wen, you have pointed out, though, that the great unknown right now is whether vaccinated people can transmit the coronavirus to others. How does that key question impact how we think about, what it means to be vaccinated? I mean, it's obviously better to be vaccinated, we just saw those two maps.
DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Absolutely. And I think we should absolutely be emphasizing the importance of the vaccines while also giving a bit more nuance than say, if you're vaccinated, you're protected. Well, let's talk about what you're protected against. We know that vaccines protect you extremely well against severe illness. So you're very, very unlikely to end up in a hospital or to die once you're vaccinated. That's the purpose of the vaccine, to keep you from ending up with severely ill.
At this rate, though, we also know that there is a chance that you could get mild infection. We don't know exactly what the number is because the CDC inexplicably stopped tracking these mild breakthrough infections. But the critical question also is, if you are infected, is there a chance that you could then spread the infection to others, even if you're fully vaccinated, and that's because of the Delta variant. We know now from studies that you are carrying 1000 times the amount of viral load with a Delta variant than with previous variants. And so if you're fully vaccinated, that reduces the viral load, but isn't enough to prevent you from transmitting it to others. I think this is one of the reasons why you see many public health experts still wearing masks indoors, if we are around people who we don't know are vaccinated or not because we want to use an abundance of caution with so much unknown about the Delta variant.
ACOSTA: Right, we don't want to catch it, spread it to others, even unknowingly, even though we've been on been vaccinated. That's a great nuance to point out.
Dr. Offit, new information though from Israel's Ministry of Health suggests the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against coronavirus is down to 39%. Though the vaccine does offer 91.4% protection against severe illness, what should the takeaway be from that new information? I suppose it's a bit of what Dr. Wen was saying. And that is, you know, one of the points of getting the vaccine is that you don't get seriously ill.
OFFIT: Right. And that's -- that, to me is the most important point, as Dr. Wen said. I mean, this vaccine, in turn -- if in terms of protecting against the Delta variant protects against severe critical disease, keeps you out of the hospital, keeps you out of the morgue, that's what you want. It is less effective, though, at preventing, you know, mild or asymptomatic or even low moderate infection. So for that reason, I think it's important also, as we move forward, especially into the winter to wear mask.
And I think Dr. Wen made a point that really should be emphasized, which is the first virus that came out of China, the so called D614G variant, which swept across Europe and the United States killing hundreds of millions of people. It was -- it eventually what -- that was replaced by the Alpha variant. The Alpha variant was, you shed 10 times more virus than the first variant. That's why it was more contagious. This is 100 times more than the Alpha variant. I mean, that's how contagious.
Therefore, you don't need to have very long contact with people to get infected. And it also means that you -- because it's more contagious, you have to have a higher percentage of the population that's vaccinated.
ACOSTA: And Dr. Wen, the Delta variant is leading to significant increases in the number of fully vaccinated people testing positive for the virus. Does the administration, do you think, need to do a better job of addressing the concerns of vaccinated people? Because I suppose there are a lot of people at home who are vaccinated. I have a lot of questions about all this legitimate ones.
WEN: Right. And I think the administration needs to first acknowledge that breakthrough infections do happen, and acknowledging that does not undermine trust in the vaccine. I mean, that's like saying, if you are wearing a seatbelt, and yet you still have an automobile accident that seatbelts don't work. No, it means that if there are reckless drivers around you, the seatbelt can protect you a little bit. But ultimately, they're still reckless drivers. And that's the issue. And so I think in this case, we should be emphasizing that the vaccines do work to prevent you from having severe illness, but that breakthrough infections can happen and what the CDC really needs to do is to start giving us the answers to what is the rate of breakthrough infections? Is it one in 1000? Or is it one in 10? Or is it one in two? I mean, we really literally don't know what is the rate of breakthrough infections, and the likelihood of that breakthrough infection ending up in a chain of transmission to others.
ACOSTA: And the important point is we call them breakthrough infections, but if you're vaccinated, it is very likely you will not get seriously ill or end up in the morgue, as Dr. Offit just put it.
Dr. Wen, Dr. Offit, thank you so much for that several analysis, we appreciate it, hope it makes a difference.
And just ahead, the terms of Tom Barrack's $250 million bail deal, might the Trump ally be considering a plea deal, next. You're in The Situation.
ACOSTA: Tonight, a billionaire Trump ally has cut a deal to get out of jail, Tom Barrack, striking a $250 million bail agreement with prosecutors who had called him a serious flight risk.
Let's bring in CNN Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent, Paula Reid. Paula, tell us more about this bail deal. This is an extraordinary amount of money.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It is an extraordinary amount of money. It's a quarter of a billion dollars. But prosecutors agreed to this deal that will allow Barrack to remain free ahead of his expected trial.
But this is quite a shift. Just a few days ago, federal prosecutors were arguing he's a significant flight risk. They said look, this guy has unlimited resources and international network and his co-defendant fled the U.S. in 2018, shortly after being interviewed by the FBI about this case. So what changed? Well, Mr. Barrack has the best lawyers money can buy. And they have been solely focused, Jim, on getting their client out of jail.
Remember, he's in California, but this case is being charged in New York. So their goal is to keep their 74 year old billionaire client off of the notorious Con Air, right the plane that the U.S. Marshals used to transport people, and it appears that they have been successful.
Now some people have asked me, does this deal mean that he's cooperating or signaled that he will cooperate against the former president? My sources say no, at this time, there's no indication that he's going to cooperate in any state or federal case.
ACOSTA: All right. Paula, CNN reported that prosecutors had enough evidence to charge Barrack last year. I understand members of Congress are not happy about that, they want an investigation into how this happened. Tell us about that?
REID: That's right. Well, me and some of our colleagues we reported earlier this week, the federal prosecutors believe they had enough evidence to charge Barrack last year, and this was well in advance of that deadline that prosecutors have where they're encouraged not to bring any politically sensitive cases too close to an election. They say this was taken care of before that, but he was attorney at the time in Brooklyn, Richard Donoghue. He didn't appear to support this case. Neither did his boss U.S. then Attorney General, Bill Barr. He wasn't a big fan of these foreign lobbying cases. And what's not clear is if Donoghue did anything to intentionally stall this case, or if the prosecutors working on it said look, we don't want to bring this if it's not going to have the support of the boss or the boss' boss. And now these Democratic lawmakers following this CNN reporting, they're calling on the Justice Department inspector general to investigate.
ACOSTA: All right, we'll see if they get any answers. Paula, stay with us as we bring in Dave Aronberg, the State Attorney in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Dave, you have some experience with billionaires who get into hot water I suppose from time to time. What do you make of this $250 million bail deal? I guess it's good to be a billionaire.
DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: It sure is, in life and in the court system. But keep in mind, he is 74 years old. So that mitigates him as a flight risk, although he does have a lot of money, he's got a private plane and he's got extensive ties to the Middle East, including special ties to the UAE and the Saudis. Both of those countries have no extradition agreement with the United States.
So you can see why prosecutors would have been concerned. But here's something the fact that prosecutors reached a deal with someone who has a clear flight risk, that often does mean that they think they could flip the defendant or at least cut a plea deal with them.
Now, we don't know, as Paula said, if that's happening in this case, but it does lead to some speculation and rightly so.
ACOSTA: And you just alluded to this, giving up his passport, getting fitted with a GPS monitor. This has to all be sinking in right now. Does Barrack still have time to consider flipping and cooperating? Or would he have done that before posting this massive bail amount?
ARONBERG: Oh, no, every day that he's facing 10 years in prison for violation of Section 951 makes them think about flipping at 74 years old, that could amount to a life sentence.
Now remember, this is not a FARA case, Foreign Agent Registration Act, a lot of people reported on that, that's a lesser crime. That's punishable by up to five years in prison. And that's for failure to register as a lobbyist for a foreign entity. When you're talking about what Barrack is being charged with. It's under Section 951. It's far more serious. It's -- the crime of working directly with a foreign government. It's also a crime referred to by some as espionage light. It's what Maria Butina was charged with, the Russian spy.
And so this is really serious for Barrack. And, you know, the UAE he used him as their own pseudo ambassador, because he was so well connected. They even asked him to develop a special 100 day policy proposal. And that goes beyond just lobbying. And then one other thing, he was so dumb to lie to federal investigators, and now they hit him with lying and obstruction of justice, that can add on many more years and also help prove the other charges because why would you lie unless you are guilty.
ACOSTA: Yes. All the allegations of lying to investigators, that's not going to sit well, that is something that they are going to take very seriously?
REID: They're going to take it very seriously. And again, this is someone with the best lawyers money can buy. He has unlimited resources to defend himself against this case, which is part of why he doesn't really have to cooperate. Some people they believe they're not guilty, but they can't afford to defend themselves against the resources of the Justice Department. But he really made this case a lot harder for his attorneys by lying to the FBI and allegedly trying to obstruct this investigation.
ACOSTA: We've seen liars go to jail before it. Dave Aronberg, Paula Reid, thanks so much for those insights as always.
And coming up after a tumultuous week, what should we look for when the House Select Committee starts taking testimony and its capitol riot investigation? That's next.
ACOSTA: The countdown is on to the first testimony before the January 6 committee just four days from now. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is looking to bolster the panel's bipartisan standing before Tuesday's hearing following a Republican boycott.
CNN Congressional Correspondent, Ryan Nobles has the latest on that. Ryan, what's the status of Pelosi search to add Republicans to the committee? It sounds like it might happen but you just haven't seen it yet?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and Jim, the speaker not tipping her hand as to her plans even late on Friday afternoon, just a couple of days before this hearing took place. She just sent a letter to all of her colleagues setting the stage for what this committee will do when they begin their work next Tuesday. And in part, that letter reads, "The committee established the key priority to begin with the testimony of patriots who served and sacrificed on that dark day. Each is a hero, and each will bring powerful testimony about the truth of that day." And it's no doubt the clear effort here by the Democrats that are running this select committee that they want to establish exactly what happened on that day, the truth of what went on here on January 6, by hearing directly from these frontline officers, from the Capitol Police Department, from the Metropolitan Police Department who were beat up and attacked by this riot.
And, of course, Jim, the big question becomes, though, who will be those asking the questions on that day, we know that there are eight members already established. Seven of them are Democrats just one right now is Republican that being Liz Cheney, but we know that the speaker is actively considering adding more Republican voices to that conversation among them, Adam Kinzinger, the Republican from Illinois, who's been of course a big critic of the former President Donald Trump, and a critic of his fellow Republicans that have attempted to whitewash what happened on January 6, and Pelosi also in talks with former Republican members of Congress to serve in an advisory capacity. She had former Virginia Congressman Denver Riggleman here on Capitol Hill yesterday and is in conversations with him.
At this point, though, Pelosi has not made that formal step of inviting Kinzinger, Riggleman and perhaps others to join the panel in official capacity. We'll have to see if that announcement comes over the weekend. But Jim, we are now closing out on just a couple of days before that hearing begins. And it's clear that no matter what Pelosi and House Democrats are ready to move forward, with or without Republican help, Jim.
ACOSTA: It's coming. That's right, Ryan Nobles. Thank you so much.
And joining me now, Congressman Jason Crow, a Democrat who serves on the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committees. Congressman, thanks so much for being with us. You thought you'd have to fight your way out of the House Chamber on January 6. What do you hope people can take away from this first select committee hearing with testimony from these four officers who put their lives on the line that day?
REP. JASON CROW, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Yeah, hi, Jim, thanks for having me. I did feel like I would have to fight my way out. Like many of us who are trapped in the House gallery that day. We made calls to our loved ones, to our family we didn't know what was going to happen. I haven't felt that way since I was an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The bottom line is we're going to do our duty, we're going to do what we need to do to protect the American people against this growing violent extremist movement, to make sure that this does not happen again, because voters cast their votes, and had to have those votes certified as we have, for hundreds of years in this democracy. This insurrection tried to prevent that certification from happening. It failed to do that, although it did slow it down. We're going to make sure that never happens again. And we have a duty to those officers over 140, who were brutally beaten, one who lost his life as a result of his injuries, one who later took his life after the event. We have an obligation to them and their families to find the truth, to hold those responsible, accountable, and to make sure that we fix this.
ACOSTA: And Congressman, one of the officers who will testify Tuesday is expected to say January 6, was worse than anything he experienced serving in Iraq. You also served in Iraq and Afghanistan. How does that resonate with you?
CROW: Yeah, it certainly resonates because I got back into combat mode, frankly, that day, you know, I never thought -- when I took the uniform off, I never thought I would be back into that mindset. And frankly, I'm kind of resentful, and still dealing with the emotions around that. And I put my uniform off. I've since become a parent, a father, you know, a veteran's advocate, a member of Congress, thought that I've left that life behind me. But that day, my mind was thrust back into that mode, I had to go back there, a place where I never thought I would have to go again, thinking about finding my way out. I, at one point thought about asking an officer for his firearm, because I knew that I could use it and do what was necessary to protect me and my colleagues if it came to that.
So that was a very difficult place to be. And I'm still kind of working through that. But that's what happened. That's the truth. This was not just another day. This is not just another tour, despite the fact that some people want to sweep this under the rug. It was a brutal, dark day. It was an insurrection and attack against our democracy, as well as against members of Congress and police officers and the staff of the Capitol.
ACOSTA: And we can see in this video right now, the Congressman Jim Himes tweeted out, put out, there's you right there, there you are, right there. You know, hiding, taking cover and wondering what to do next with other fellow lawmakers. It just must have been a harrowing situation. I can understand why it's staying with you to this day. But let me ask you, Congressman, Adam Kinzinger, on -- one of your colleagues on the Republican side, has privately said, we understand he would serve on this Select Committee, if he's asked, do you think the speaker should offer that position on the Committee?
CROW: Well, I'm not going to, you know, say who should and shouldn't be on the committee. I have a lot of respect for Adam Kinzinger. He's a serious person. He's somebody that I think takes his oath seriously. Now, to be clear, I don't agree with him on politics all the time, or even most of the time. But I do think he has somebody who takes his oath seriously, that would take his obligations to the Constitution in the country seriously. And, you know, this is a committee that needs serious people, because it's serious work. This is not a game. This is not a political circus. We're not going to allow it to become a political circus, because the American people deserve better. And I'm confident that the speaker will choose people that will be disciplined, that will be clear eyed, there'll be focused on the task at hand and discharge the obligations of this office and their oath to do right by the American people and those officers.
ACOSTA: All right, we'll be watching next week to see how this hearing plays out. And Congressman Jason Crow, we appreciate your insights as always. We know you'll be watching it and have more to say about it next week. Thanks again. CROW: Thanks, Jim.
ACOSTA: All right. I appreciate what you did that day as well. Thank you for that.
Just ahead, the stadium was mostly empty, or the pandemic hasn't gone away. But the Olympics officially open today. We'll go live in Tokyo, next.
ACOSTA: Tokyo Olympic Games are officially underway about 950 VIPs were on hand to witness the opening ceremonies. But the huge stadium was mostly empty. Spectators were not allowed because of the coronavirus pandemic. And we're joined now by CNN Sports Analyst Christine Brennan. She's a Columnist for USA Today and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. They're both in Tokyo.
And I know you guys are dealing with a lot just reporting from over there. So thank you so much for what you're doing.
Sanjay, you attended the opening ceremony as a doctor, a journalist, but also one of the very few people able to take in the start of the Olympic Games in person. Tell us about that experience. What was it like?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I mean, as you've heard so many times over this past week, it was it was strange. It was it was weird in many ways. It was magnificent for the event itself. And that Olympic Stadium, that National Stadium, which they've built, is a really majestic place.
Jim, I got to tell you, but you know, it's this tale of two cities, you have the excitement of the Olympics, and you have the anxiety of the population. People in Japan pretty much said, hey, look, stay home. We're in a state of emergency, watch this thing on your television. When I was outside, there were tons of protests. And it was very loud people on the streets.
I want to show you this video, Jim, that I just took on my phone as I was walking in. So going from the streets where there's lots of protests, lots of noise, camera on the corner and there's just basically, that's it. It's totally quiet. I don't know if you can make that out.
ACOSTA: Sure I can.
GUPTA: But that was just a few minutes before the beginning of the opening ceremony. And there was nobody there, walked in and there was nobody to tell you where to sit. Because there was, you know, there's nobody sitting in those seats. There's no vendors. There's no swag. There's no shouting. It was really, really quiet.
[18:40:09] The stadium itself, magnificent, I mean this -- you can just see the future potential of what they have built there. But on that night last night, there just wasn't a lot going on.
ACOSTA: Oh, it's just so eerie, you look at that video. Christine Brennan, you covered every opening ceremony since 1984. How do these games feel to you? This is just stunning word. Sanjay was showing us a few moments ago. I mean, you could almost hear the crickets?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Well, you could and there were so few people, Sanjay, I can't believe we didn't bump into each other. But yes, it was the most unique and unusual of the 19 that I've covered going back, Jim, to LA in 1984. And it really was fitting for Olympics, is trying to go on in the middle of a global pandemic. You know, there was -- the hope that this would be, the thing we've moved becoming out of the pandemic, that things would be getting better when they push the Olympics back a year. And instead, we're right smack dab in the middle of it. And I think it reflected it, it was somber, it was sad. It was reflective. And I'm afraid that's going to be the story of these games.
The exuberance from the athletes, you saw them coming, jumping in and whatever running around, that was nice to see. But overall, most of those athletes got the heck out of there as quickly as possible. There was a lot of mingling going on, and that clearly was not social distancing. And they got those athletes out there on buses back to the village as quickly as possible.
ACOSTA: I'm sure they did. And Sanjay 110 COVID-19 cases have been linked to the 2020 games so far. What is your sense on the ground? Are these mitigation efforts working?
GUPTA: I want to be, you know, fair here, Jim. And I've talked to lots of people about this, including the Chief Medical Adviser to the IOC about this. I mean, these numbers obviously, are concerning and they've been going up, as you know. I think one thing that they have sort of really emphasized is the testing that they're doing within the village. I mean, it's very hard to maintain a bubble, as we have talked about, I mean, you got 1000s of people coming from all over the world. So the idea of a bubble, like they did with the NBA, I think is just is really next to impossible. But the testing does make a difference and the tracing. So the biggest thing that they're looking for is to see if there's evidence of any of these, you know, mostly breakthrough infections that we're talking about, actually starting to leave the village, starting to transmit outside the village into the local population. And that is a criteria for them, as they've explained it to me that if they started to see that, that would be something that would signal to them that they need to start pulling things back within the Olympic Village itself. They haven't seen that.
So these exposures, these positive numbers that we're seeing, probably reflect exposures that happened before they got to the village.
ACOSTA: Oh, interesting.
GUPTA: We'll see, we'll trace these numbers over the next couple of weeks. But that's sort of their working theory right now. And they are testing a lot every day. People are getting tested in the village.
ACOSTA: And Christine, how are the athletes responding to the measures in place right now?
BRENNAN: Oh, they know, this is what they have to do, Jim. They are so thankful for the opportunity to be here. It's a very different perspective than what we think they have, instead of focusing on the negatives or focusing on the fact that they're even having this chance at all and they're willing to go run the gauntlet of COVID tests to be able to do it.
The U.S. Olympic team has 100 unvaccinated athletes, almost 105 vaccinated athletes. I was working on that story yesterday asking the questions of the USOPC that stunning when you think about it, 100 of them who chose not to get vaccinated, as I said, nearly 196 197, 198 we're not quite sure of the number of the 613 American athletes here, talk about being bad and bad guests. You know, you're coming to Japan, you're around your teammates, the contact tracing possibilities. It's really quite a story that so many American athletes chose not to be vaccinated coming into a country. That is the very definition of a COVID hotspot.
ACOSTA: Yeah, and we appreciate what you guys are doing to get to the games and cover the games for us. Christine Brennan and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks as always, we appreciate it.
And coming up, the gun violence epidemic, it's a popular restaurant road here in D.C. and the police chief here in Washington says he's mad as hell. Detail is here.
ACTOSTA: America's gun violence epidemic is hitting close to home here in the nation's capital. Gunfire erupted outside some popular D.C. restaurants last night, prompting diners to take cover.
As you may have heard, I was there when it happened. Grabbed my phone and took some video as I got a scary taste of what too many people have been experiencing in this country in all kinds of neighborhoods.
Our Brian Todd has more on this troubling summer of shootings.
Brian, seems like I witnessed last night are playing out every night and day across the U.S., isn't that right?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They really are, Jim. And today, even the White House press secretary weighed in on the latest violence here in D.C., saying that Washington is one of those cities getting federal help in its attempt to fight gun violence.
You know, we began at Nationals Park where gunfire had erupted. We ended here at the scene of increased police presence, the scene of another firing at a public venue.
TODD (voice-over): Rapid fire give up shots. This video recorded by CNN's Jim Acosta shows people in a popular dining and bar area in D.C. scrambling for cover as two people are shot and wounded on the street. A witness said it all infolded in about a minute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guns are shooting like all over.
You could see it hitting the ground. It was semiautomatics. It sounded like a war zone.
TODD: D.C.'s police chief says at least one of those injured appeared to be targeted in Thursday's shooting.
His frustration with the gun violence in his city palpable today.
CHIEF ROBERT CONTEE, WASHINGTON, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: People are really mad as hell right now. And I don't blame them. I am, too.
TODD: This comes on the heels of another shooting at a very public venue in Washington. Gunfire between two vehicles that injured three people just outside Nationals Park in the middle of a game between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres.
TODD: Panic stricken fans scrambled toward concourses and dugouts, thinking it was a mass shooting in the stadium. In other recent shootings in Washington and Philadelphia, a 6-year-old girl on a scooter and a 1-year-old boy was randomly struck by gunfire.
Tonight, America's summer of gun violence shows no signs of waning. So far this year, New York, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area have seen a rise in homicides from the same point last year. Chicago and D.C. are about on pace with where they were last year. City officials and crime analysts cite many reasons.
JEFFREY IAN ROSS, CRIMINOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE: We are seeing more people paying attention to these acts of violence in public. We're seeing more people outside because of the lifting of restrictions connected to the pandemic. People are dining at restaurants at outdoor eating establishments and so that's likely to be places where shooters may show up.
TODD: But D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee also cites a clogged court system allowing more dangerous people on the street.
CONTEE: Let's think about the individuals we locked up in 2020 during COVID that have not been through a judicial process. Where do you think those individuals are today? They're out in community. They're out in community right now, individuals that have been locked up for violent crime. Individuals who have been locked up with firearms, they're in our communities today. TODD: Illegal gun trafficking in the cities is a sited reason for the
continuing violence. The Justice Department launching strike forces based in several major cities to disrupt those trafficking networks. One of their biggest challenges, tracking so-called ghost guns.
ROSS: They are sort of self-manufactured guns or they have identifications have been removed, filed off. They're very difficult to trace.
TODD: Criminologist Jeffrey Ian Ross says of those gun trafficking task forces being set up by the Justice Department that we should not expect them to bring big declines in gun violence anytime soon. He says those units take a lot of time to work their sources, gather intelligence, share intelligence and then move on it. He says they might start to bring some results in six months, maybe a year, maybe as long as 18 months -- Jim.
ACOSTA: All right. Brian Todd, thank you very much for that report.
Coming up next, Donald Trump prepares to take his big lie to Arizona. We'll get a fact check from Arizona's secretary of state.
ACOSTA: Former President Trump will be in Arizona this weekend to peddle his baseless conspiracy theories about voter fraud, his go-to excuse for losing the 2021 election.
We're joined by the Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. She oversaw last year's voting and now is seeking the Democratic nomination for Arizona governor.
Secretary, thanks so much.
How dangerous is it for Donald Trump to be coming to your state tomorrow, do you think?
KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, it is dangerous. I'm glad you pointed that out.
But the bottom line is it doesn't matter what he says or does, nothing is going to change the outcome of the 2020 election. But it also doesn't change how dangerous this is.
The bottom line is that Arizonians are tired of being led by conspiracy theorists. They don't support this fake audit and they're ready for leaders who are going to put those partisan games aside and deal with real issues.
That's why I'm running for governor and folks can join me at KatieHobbs.org.
ACOSTA: And Arizona has been subjected to this audit, this phony election audit as you were talking about it a moment ago.
But "The Washington Post" reports former President Trump's political PAC hasn't put any money towards that effort. What does that tell you?
HOBBS: Well, I think that what we don't know is who is actually putting money towards this. They've been using this as a fundraising mechanism. Don't know where the money is coming from, don't know where it's going and how much there is. And that is, you know, if this is a post-election audit that's legitimate should have transparency in that regard. And what this really seems to be is a tool for someone to continue to raise money off of.
ACOSTA: And so, what is your message to Donald Trump ahead of this rally? Don't come?
HOBBS: Well, I mean, like most grownups, take your loss and accept it and move on. I mean, this is -- nothing that's going on here is going to change the outcome and really, this is nothing more than being a sore loser.
ACOSTA: And what do you think is going to be the outcome in your state after this audit is complete? Are you going to have to go around and educate people about, you know, how this was just a phony baloney exercise?
HOBBS: Well, we've been doing that all along. It's been clear from day one the folks running this exercise don't know what they're doing. It is so fraught with errors and problems that there is really no way they could come up with a legitimate outcome or result.
And at this point, who knows how long it's going to go on because as I mentioned, they continue to fund raise off of it, and, you know, we don't know what it's going to wrap up.
ACOSTA: All right. Well, we hope it wraps up soon and they end this and move on with their lives.
Katie Hobbs, thanks so much. We appreciate it.
I'm Jim Acosta. I'll see you tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on "CNN NEWSROOM". Thanks for watching all weeklong.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.