Return to Transcripts main page
Hala Gorani Tonight
Blinken Defends U.S. Withdrawal Before Senate Panel; British Prime Minister Outlines Fall And Winter Pandemic Plan; Britain's Prince Andrew Sued Over Sexual Assault; Video, Interviews Cast Doubt On Pentagon Account Of Drone Strike; Californians Decide If Governor Should Stay In Office; Apple Unveils New iPhone Amid Spyware Concerns; Teenager Shocks Tennis World With First Grand Slam Title; The Met Gala. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired September 14, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello everyone, live from CNN in London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Another day, another grilling for Antony
Blinken, who's been taking some tough questions from U.S. senators the last few hours who want answers about America's messy exit from Afghanistan.
What the Secretary of State had to say is coming up.
Also this hour, we've all heard about them, booster jabs, also vaccinations for some children. Well, in the U.K., it's all part of Boris Johnson's plan
to ward off a Winter COVID surge. I'll speak to this country's vaccines minister this hour. And it was fabulous, it was freaky, it was the Met Gala
in all its glory. The best and worst from the red carpet.
After 20 years, 2,461 American lives, countless Afghan lives, $2 trillion spent, the U.S. Secretary of State says it was time to end America's
longest war. Antony Blinken as been testifying before a Senate panel on Afghanistan today, at times using the exact same language that he used the
day before during a pretty combative house hearing. And, again, he is strongly defending the decision to withdraw American troops after two
decades of conflict. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: There's no evidence that staying longer would have made the Afghan security forces or the
Afghan government any more resilient or self-sustaining. If 20 years, hundreds of billions of dollars in support, equipment, training did not
suffice, why would another year, another five, another ten?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So, those are the questions and those are -- that is the logic that has been used by the Biden administration to support the complete
withdrawal of U.S. troops. Now, as far as the Taliban are concerned, they say they want a, quote, "positive relationship with America, and they are
thanking the international community for more than $1 billion in emergency aid pledges." Let's talk more about this. CNN's Nic Robertson is in Kabul.
First, Kylie Atwood joins us live from the State Department. And Antony Blinken was really attacked by both and predictably by Republican senators,
but also Democratic senators who were very unhappy and made it known publicly with the messy withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country just a
few weeks ago, Kylie.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. I mean, even as the secretary defended this decision to withdraw from the Biden
administration and the manner in which they withdrew from Afghanistan, you heard fierce criticism from Republicans going after the Secretary of State
and the Biden administration for making one of the worst foreign policy decisions in U.S. history, things of the like. And then you heard from
Democrats who said that they were frustrated with the information that was coming out of the Biden administration over the last few weeks because it
Things from the State Department didn't match what was being taught -- told to them, excuse me, by the Pentagon, by DHS. And so, they voiced some
frustration on that front. They also asked some very specific questions about the way forth. And I think that, that is significant right now. There
are going to be more investigations about what the Biden administration did and when they did it. The secretary was very much defending what the Biden
administration had done, but there will be more to be, you know, investigated in terms of what they didn't do.
But the way forward, the secretary spoke about there being about 100 Americans still in Afghanistan. That's a hard number to give because he
talked about some Americans not wanting to leave the country. He also said that there are about thousands of legal permanent residents of the United
States still in Afghanistan. What he didn't tell us is how many Afghans are still in the country that want to leave the country. And then of course, a
significant conversation about the future of the U.S. relationship with the Taliban. The secretary said that will depend on the Taliban's actions.
But even from Democrats, you heard them talking about what the Taliban has already done. You heard Senator Menendez, the top Republican -- I mean,
excuse me, the top Democrat on that committee talking about what the Taliban has done in going after women, in separating classrooms by gender
already, and really urging the Biden administration to be cognizant of that when they say that they haven't yet made their decision about the future of
the U.S. relationship with the Taliban.
The last part that I do want to shine some light on is that the secretary said the Taliban's relationship with al Qaeda has not been severed. And of
course, that will be critical in determining the way forth between the U.S. and the Taliban because the Taliban has professed to the United States that
it won't allow Afghanistan to be a place from which there can be attacks planned and carried out against the United States, terrorists attacks and
U.S. allies. Hala?
GORANI: All right, Kylie, we're going to highlight by the way that aspect of Antony Blinken's testimony with our next guest. The fact that Blinken is
saying he doesn't believe necessarily that the relationship between al Qaeda and the Taliban has been severed. What are the implications as far as
America's actions in that country going forward? And Nic Robertson is there for us on the ground in Kabul. Antony Blinken strongly defending the
decision to withdraw, and said that really nobody had expected the complete collapse of the government and the U.N. -- then the Afghan army so quickly.
I wonder, really, we have a little bit now of hindsight. We can look back a little bit on that withdrawal. What inside Afghanistan largely is the
reaction to how America is now dealing with its decision to leave?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I think Afghanistan and Afghans are just hugely disappointed in the United States.
Those that fought them bitterly like the Taliban, it's good riddance. There's an absolute lack of trust and a lot of anger towards the United
States. For those in the population who believed in what the United States was doing here and believed in their potential, that eroded over the years,
over the decades when they saw corruption in the government that was supported by the United States, when they saw -- when they saw the
elections that were supposed to be democratic that were flawed, that were - - that there was widespread fraud within those elections.
I think for all those reasons, you know, Afghans had gotten to a point where they realized that the United States' presence was part contributing
to part of the violence because that's what the Taliban was fighting against. It wasn't taking them to the place that they wanted to go, to a
safer place. They did want the democracy that was on offer. They did want the improvements.
They did want the benefits to the economy. But there was a cost involved in all of that. And I think in some ways after 20 years, many Afghans felt
that the United States had had a big opportunity here and the people that had backed them, the government, was now a burden on the country, not that
they wanted the Taliban to come.
So, now the United States is going to, when they listen to Antony Blinken, describe this a very much in American terms, you know, about American --
GORANI: Yes --
ROBERTSON: Decision-making, an American national interests. You know, this is -- this is already the history here, what Afghans do want, and I've
heard this several times today from Afghans here is, they do not want the United States to back further sanctions against the Taliban because they
know that will hit the people of Afghanistan. Antony Blinken was talking about potentially the Taliban doesn't keep good on its promises to allow
people with paperwork out of the country, to --
GORANI: All right --
ROBERTSON: Stop abuses against women and to not -- and to stop retribution. That is the potential, Antony Blinken said, for a tightening
on a U.N. resolution or a potential tightening or adding to sanctions. That's what Afghans --
GORANI: All right --
ROBERTSON: Care about at the moment, what the -- what the United States can do in the future.
GORANI: All right, thanks so much Nic Robertson and Kylie Atwood. So, my next guest says there is plenty of blame to go around for the war in
Afghanistan, how it began, how it developed, how it ended. But right now, we should perhaps focus more on that chaotic ending. Ian Bremmer is
president of Eurasia Group, he joins me from New York. And Ian, also -- we can focus on the ending, obviously, but let's focus also on the future.
Because what does it look like when -- for the United States and its involvement potentially with Afghanistan when Antony Blinken in testimony
today had this to say about the Taliban's relationship with al Qaeda? Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): In your view, Mr. Secretary, has the Taliban abandoned their sympathy and collaboration with groups like al Qaeda and
the Haqqani Network? Do they continue to have the same aim, and are they -- are they of like spirit? Or has that -- has that relationship been severed?
BLINKEN: The relationship has not been severed, and it's a very open question as to whether their views and the relationship has changed in any
kind of definitive way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: I mean, so, Ian, why did the U.S. leave? This was a conditions- based withdrawal, that the Taliban would promise not to host terrorist groups that could organize attacks against the west. And we're hearing this
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: Yes, so why did Trump continue with the drawdown and continue pressuring the Afghan government to release the
5,000 prisoners that strengthen the Taliban? And why did Biden then continue with it? And the answer to both of those questions is very
It's because Democrats, Republicans and independents opposed the continued presence of U.S. boots on the ground, and because Afghanistan is a
significant ongoing national security concern in its region for the Chinese, the Pakistanis, for India, for Russia, for Iran. It is a moderate
issue of concern for the Middle Eastern allies and for the European allies. But for the United States in terms of refugees or drug export or the export
of radical Islamic terror, it's a very low level national security interest.
And let's remember that whether it's Trump's America first or Biden's foreign policy for a middle class -- and that's an American middle class,
not an European middle class, it's not an Afghan middle class, the decision point that you get to on Afghanistan ends up being quite similar.
GORANI: Yes, but I mean, ultimately, here you have a situation where the U.S. is setting this stage for potentially going back in, maybe not with
boots on the ground, but certainly militarily responding to what they might perceive as a terrorist threat from inside Afghanistan, right? So, there's
a withdrawal --
BREMMER: Not really.
GORANI: But then you might -- well, I mean, essentially, he's saying when Mitt Romney asked him, you know, would you consider reassessing the use of
force authorization that was suspended, you know, the answer wasn't no. So, there is the possibility that the door opened there, no?
BREMMER: Hala, I take your point because the Americans are never going to offer a definitive no. They're not going to tie their hands behind their
back for such -- for no reason. But we do know what the future of U.S. in Afghanistan is going to look like. It's going to look like the future of
U.S. and Syria. Remember, under Obama with the red line that didn't really matter and Assad must go and Obama's --
GORANI: Yes --
BREMMER: Gone, but Assad is still there. We know what Syria looks like. It is a very badly-run country with massive human rights abuse, with an
economy that's falling apart. And the principle countries that matter for the future of Syria are the regional countries with equities and national
security interests on the ground. It's Iran. It's Turkey and it's Russia. Afghanistan is going to be very similar. It's just different countries that
are going to be the --
GORANI: Right --
BREMMER: Dominant players. The United States will be a marginal player that will have very little to do with Afghanistan going forward. You even
saw that with the $1 billion in humanitarian aid for the Afghan people through the United Nations yesterday. The United States offered $64 million
of that. The vast majority of that money is not coming from the Americans. That's the lens that we should be seeing Afghanistan through. It's going to
be a post-America lens.
GORANI: All right, so, assuming that, that is the future that materializes where the U.S. is an extremely marginal, peripheral player donating very
little money in terms of the overall money that is pledged to help the Taliban government through the U.N., et cetera. Then what? What happens if
there is a terrorist presence that reforms and attacks western targets?
BREMMER: Well, again, let's talk about what targets it would hit. I mean, I would expect that to the extent that Afghanistan is going to become a hot
bed for radical extremism, you're going to see concerns inside China, you're going to see concerns in the Middle East. I've spoken to many Middle
Eastern leaders in the last couple of weeks who see themselves as much more concerned about the future of exported radicalism, especially in monarchies
that are themselves seen as much more westernizing and not aligned with the kind of fundamentalism that the Taliban bring to governance themselves --
GORANI: Such as what monarchies? Sorry to jump in. What monarchies?
BREMMER: In across the gulf, across the GCC.
GORANI: So, they're seeing -- they're seeing potentially what's happening in Taliban as a threat to them directly?
BREMMER: Of course --
GORANI: Inside Afghanistan --
BREMMER: Of course, they are. Yes, I mean, look, there's very few countries -- a lot of countries that are not necessarily aligned with the
U.S. are using -- you know, they're getting a lot of propaganda value out of how embarrassing and ugly and chaotic the U.S. withdrawal was. But those
are all countries that would much rather the Americans stay and pay for political stability such as it was in Afghanistan than the mess that they
are increasingly going to have to deal with themselves. That is the post- American reality we will see in this country.
GORANI: All right, so big picture then regionally, we're headed toward a very different post-America, as you mentioned, future for that part of the
world where it doesn't seem as though human rights and building democratic institutions and making sure that, you know, women and minorities are
represented in government is going to be a giant priority.
BREMMER: Yes, I mean, I don't see this through a Vietnam lens where the United States was in a cold war with the Soviets and there was a potential
domino theory that everything was falling ideologically to one side or the other. The countries you want to look at are the post-war -- the post-cold
war environment like Ukraine, Georgia, Syria and now Afghanistan.
All of these are countries in the broader Eurasian, Middle Eastern space where the United States kind of cares, but doesn't care all that much. And
when things go sideways, it turns out that the level of commitment is a lot less than the people on the ground had been hoping or had been counting on.
And I think you see this fairly consistently from Bush through Obama through Trump and now indeed through Biden.
GORANI: Big picture and briefly -- sorry, Ian. I could speak for hours with you as you know. But will this be -- will this hurt Biden a lot, do
you think long term?
BREMMER: I think Afghanistan and his level of credibility with independent American voters will be one of the issues that will be voted on in the mid-
terms and in 2024. I do think that where we are in the pandemic and where we are in infrastructure spending will probably matter more. But, yes, this
is going to leave a mark, Hala.
GORANI: Ian Bremmer, thanks so much as always, pleasure talking to you. Thanks for joining us --
BREMMER: Always good to talk to you --
GORANI: Still to come tonight, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveils his plan to fight this pandemic this Fall and Winter. And he's
going big on booster shots. I'll ask the country's vaccine's minister about that and more next. Plus, a major vote in America's most populous state.
Will California keep its democratic governor or remove him from office?
GORANI: The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says England is motoring ahead with the COVID-19 booster program. The country will start offering
booster shots to people aged 50 and over from next week. So, that would be the third shot after having been fully vaccinated. It's not something that
any of us really expected when we got our first shot all those months ago. That's just one part of Mr. Johnson's plan aimed at keeping the pandemic in
check this Fall and Winter. But while he doubled down on vaccines, the prime minister would not rule out more drastic measures.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: We will keep further measures in reserve. A plan B. We do not see the need now to proceed, for
instance, with mandatory certification, but we'll continue to work with the many businesses that are getting ready, such a scheme. We'll also keep open
the option of mandating face coverings as they have elsewhere, or advising people, again, to work from home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, for more, let's bring in the man responsible for the vaccine rollout here in the United Kingdom, Nadhim Zahawi is the U.K. Minister for
COVID Vaccine Deployment. He's also the U.K. Minister for Business and Industry and he joins me now live in London. Thank you for joining us, sir.
First of all, 12 to 15-year-olds could be vaccinated with consent from their parents, I understand. When will that start?
NADHIM ZAHAWI, MINISTER FOR COVID VACCINE DEPLOYMENT, UNITED KINGDOM: Thank you very much, Hala. So, the joint committee on vaccination and
immunization asked the chief medical officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to look at that. Of course, we've been vaccinating the
vulnerable, 12 to 15-year-olds for a while following the guidance of the JCBI. But yesterday, chief medical officers gave us the guidance to offer a
single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to healthy 12 to 15-year-olds through the school immunization program that we have in the U.K. that does
all the other school-aged vaccines that we deliver.
That will begin on the 22nd of September. And the really big one, which is the booster program, where we will be boosting all over 50s who are beyond
six months after their second jab with either the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine single dose or half dose of the Moderna vaccine. We've run a big clinical
trial in the U.K., and those two vaccines look like giving the highest level of protection both in terms of antibodies and T cells for those who
are most vulnerable. So, we're going to begin with --
GORANI: Sure --
ZAHAWI: Residence of care homes and those who look after them and they're just frontline staff. Of course, those who are with underlying health
conditions that may be younger than 50. So, from 16 to 49, and of course, ultimately offer it to all over 50 year-olds. It's a huge undertaking, as
big as the initial vaccination program. And with it, we'll be doing an equally ambitious flu vaccination program because I'm equally concerned,
there's not much flu circulating anywhere around the world, not in either hemisphere. But --
GORANI: Right --
ZAHAWI: Nevertheless, a bad flu season this Winter coupled with COVID could put massive pressure on our NHS, and which is why we're being so
ambitious on COVID booster and flu vaccination.
GORANI: I usually never talk about my health issues on TV, but I just came out of a flu, Nadhim Zahawi, that was the worst flu I've had in a long
time, tested negative for COVID four times. I was assured it could not have been COVID. And if this is a precursor of the kind of flu that people will
be catching during the Winter season, I can absolutely understand they're getting a flu jab for as many people --available to as many people as
possible is a priority. Let me ask you about the scientific logic for vaccinating the 12 to 15-year-olds? What are you relying on? Because you
mentioned the joint committee on vaccination and immunization. They did conclude that the advantage perhaps is insufficient to justify universal
vaccination of that age group. Why go ahead with it now?
ZAHAWI: You're actually right. Our clinicians have been very careful. Our experts have been careful. They've looked at data from the United States of
America both on first dose and on second dose and from Israel. And they came down, as you say, that the marginal advantage of having a vaccine
remains positive for those 12 to 15-year-olds who are healthy versus not having the vaccine. But it was, you know, very close and therefore couldn't
recommend a universal vaccination program, but actually recommended that we ask the chief medical officers to look at the impact, mental health impact,
disruption to education impact on 12 to 15-year-olds.
And when they looked at that and they deliberated with the royal colleges, the Royal College of Pediatricians -- Pediatrics and Royal College of GPs
and of course the JCPI, the joint committee were in the room. They were able to make the recommendations that they've made, which is what we're
GORANI: And what is -- if there's disagreement between the child and the parent, you don't have the vaccine hesitancy in this country that we're
seeing in the U.S., for instance. From the latest research that we've looked at, only about 3 percent to 4 percent of Britons are hesitant about
getting the vaccine, which is great, in the U.S., it's much higher. But parents may be reluctant, for instance, to -- in their minds, they may see
this as experimental to have their children vaccinated. What happens then?
ZAHAWI: So, you're quite right. In the very rare circumstances where there is a difference of opinion between the parent and the child, we have a very
experienced clinicians as part of this school-aged immunization system in the United Kingdom who will initially bring the parent and the child
together and to try and reach consensus. If there is no consensus, then they will assess whether the child is competent. It's called the Gillick
competency. It's something that we have been practicing since the '80s in the U.K. And if the clinician decides that the child is competent to make
that decision, then the child --
GORANI: OK --
ZAHAWI: In that rare occasion may be able to.
GORANI: All right, well, I don't know, 12, 13-year-olds, what kind of competence they might have, it's going to be -- I mean, we're all trying to
-- we're living and learning with this pandemic, aren't we? A quick last one on the boosters. You mentioned that it would be a full dose of Pfizer,
half a dose of Moderna. There's been criticism -- you've heard it multiple times that the rest of the world -- the World Health Organization is saying
this, the rest of the world needs to get fully vaccinated before we even consider a third jab for fully vaccinated healthy adults. So, why this
Because Africa, as you know, you have countries where they're at 1 percent, 2 percent vaccination rates. And that's where the next variant might come
from, there or Latin America or Asia or elsewhere.
ZAHAWI: And you're right. And we are, from day one, were given the instructions by Boris Johnson to focus on this when we started the
vaccine's taskforce. He gave us two priorities, one, find the vaccines that will work. Two, help the rest of the world. And we of course, funded the
research into the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine that is being delivered at no profit to the rest of the world. The real work, of course, the vaccination
program, very successful for us in our vaccination program. And then of course, over half a billion pounds into COVAX to deliver 1.3 billion doses
to low and middle income countries.
And we went further, announced at the G7, 100 million doses to be delivered from our excess vaccines by June of next year. We've already delivered 9.2
million of those. So, really important that we can do both things. We also have the responsibility to most vulnerable people in the United Kingdom who
-- where the protection is beginning to wane from the data that we've been able to see from Israel and other countries around the world. And we have a
responsibility towards them to protect them in the Winter months, as I hope we will begin to transition this virus from pandemic stages to endemic
And I hope we'll be one of the first countries in the world -- major economies in the world, I should add, that can demonstrate how you do that
successfully around the world. But we are cautious --
GORANI: Yes --
ZAHAWI: We have a plan B as you quite rightly described in the introduction. But sort of, the main thrust is the massive booster campaign
plus the surveillance, the very strong surveillance that we have on variants, the infrastructure that we have, and of course, test and trace
infrastructure as well.
GORANI: Nadhim Zahawi, thank you so much for joining us, we really appreciate it live in London --
ZAHAWI: Thank you --
GORANI: This evening.
ZAHAWI: Thank you so much.
GORANI: Now -- thank you. Now, to the latest in a civil suit accusing Britain's Prince Edward -- Andrew, I should say, of sexual abuse. In a pre-
trial hearing in New York, the royals legal team called the case, quote, "baseless and potentially unlawful." The suit was filed by Virginia Giuffre
who alleges that the prince had sex with her when she was a minor. Andrews lawyer says a settlement agreement she previously entered into means she
cannot pursue further litigation. Andrew has denied allegations from Giuffre in the past. And in-person hearing in the case is scheduled for
miss -- for mid-October. The judge in this case is sounding a bit impatient though in wanting to move this case along.
Still to come tonight, Russian President Vladimir Putin is now quarantining after someone he was in close contact with tested positive for COVID.
Details next live from Moscow.
GORANI: For the last two weeks, CNN has been investigating the U.S. military's final drone strike on a car in Kabul, Afghanistan, just hours
before American troops were fully withdrawn.
The military claims it hit a legitimate terrorist target but CNN's investigation is raising some very serious questions about the government's
accounts of what really happened that day. Anna Coren has been looking into this.
ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Doubts have been raised over whether the U.S. military actually hit an ISIS-K target when they dropped a
Hellfire missile on a car in a Kabul neighborhood two weeks ago.
According to the family and colleagues of the target of the victim, 43 year-old aid worker Zamarai Ahmadi, the U.S. got it wrong.
CNN's investigation was led by journalists Sandi Sidhu and Julia Hollingsworth and span the past few weeks. We have spoken to 30 people in
total, including five colleagues who were there with Zamarai on the day.
We've also spoken to two bomb experts, who dispute the military's claims there was a significant secondary explosion after the drone strike, code
for explosive material, which the U.S. suspected. One of them said, if there was a secondary blast, it most likely was the vehicle gas tank
We've also analyzed the CCTV footage that you are seeing right now from the day of Zamarai in the office. What is critical to note is that a U.S.
official with knowledge of the operation who spoke to CNN said the U.S. military never knew who was driving the car.
They began following this Toyota Corolla that Zamarai was driving, based on intelligence and chatter they had been monitoring from an ISIS safe house.
The official said they saw this car leave possibly from the same safe house and then followed it for the next eight hours before launching the strike.
We should remember that just days before an ISIS-K suicide bomber had killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 170 Afghans at the airport,
the U.S. had intelligence of an imminent and credible threat and were understandably on high alert.
From what we have established, there are serious doubts as to whether Zamarai, a father of highly seven, highly respected, who worked for a U.S.-
based NGO for 15 years that feeds the poor, was, as the U.S. claims, an ISIS-K facilitator, with suspected explosive material in his car for an
attack on the airport.
And he was not the only person killed. According to the extended family who lived there in this compound, nine other family members died, including
seven children, three of whom were toddlers.
We have seen this distressing footage of charred remains of what was left of the bodies, parents trying to recognize a hand, a foot, an ear, to work
out which body part belonged to their child.
The Pentagon says an investigation is underway but maintains the strike was based on good intelligence and that no military worked harder to prevent
COREN: Our full investigation will air later today on the Jake Tapper show.
GORANI: Russian president Vladimir Putin confirms he's in quarantine after several people in his inner circle tested positive for COVID. The Russian
leader said he had close contact with one person, who got sick even though he was vaccinated.
Mr. Putin says this is an opportunity to see how Russia's Sputnik V vaccine works. Matthew Chance is in Moscow with more.
Has President Putin tested negative for COVID?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he has. And that's why he's looking at this as a sort of natural test, as he called it,
to see how effective Sputnik V, the Russian homemade vaccine, is. He's had two doses of that vaccine.
And he's tested negative, apparently, so far for COVID-19, after this apparent exposure, though he'll have to be tested again. He says his
antibodies are quite high.
But it wasn't just this one person that he was in close proximity to that has been infected with COVID-19 after vaccination. But a couple of other
people apparently caught it inside the Kremlin, inside the close inner circle of Vladimir Putin, which is exceptional itself, because there are so
many protection measures put around the Russian president.
We've seen pictures in the past of an antiseptic tunnel that people have to pass through before they get near him. People have to be quarantined and be
tested and all of that stuff. It just shows the reach of this virus can get all the way to inside the inner sanctum of the Kremlin. And that's
something I think the Russians will be very concerned about.
GORANI: All right. We'll keep our eye on that story. Thank you very much, Matthew Chance in Moscow.
A stunning twist in the investigation into the assassination of Haiti's president. Now the country's top prosecutor wants the prime minister of
Haiti charged. We'll have a live report on the latest coming up.
GORANI: This hour, Californians are voting in a very important election. It's a recall election to decide if the Democratic governor should keep his
job. The race is considered basically a referendum on the Democrat, Gavin Newsom's, policies, from the way he's managed the world's fifth largest
economy to his response to the pandemic.
But Newsom is framing it as a vote between him and the ideologies of Donald Trump. Like the former president, his leading Republican challenger, Larry
Elder, has opposed COVID restrictions and is already casting doubt on election results.
GORANI: I imagine that's if he loses. CNN's Nick Watt joins us now from California.
Why is this happening and what's at stake?
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you mentioned, COVID is a large reason behind why this is happening. California acted pretty quickly,
acted pretty hard on trying to damp down the pandemic. And that, of course, impacted a lot of small businesses.
So that was kind of the rallying cry that got this movement going. But the Democrats inside definitely want to frame this as a Trumpian assault on
California, which is, of course, one of the biggest blue Democratic bastion states within this country.
Now the mechanics of how we got here are, frankly, bizarre. So in order to get a vote like today to happen, you need to get -- these guys needed to
get nearly 1.5 million signatures on a petition. They didn't have to really allege any malfeasance, anything like that; just signatures. So then the
So what happens in this vote?
There are two questions.
The first, should Gavin Newsom be fired from his job?
Yes or no?
Then the next question, is, all right, if he is fired, who takes over?
There are 46 names on that list, including Caitlyn Jenner, Larry Elder, the guy that Newsom beat by a landslide last time around. We've got a bunch of
teachers, farmers, politicians, entertainers, a retired homicide detective all on that list.
So you could have a very weird situation here, where 51 percent of the people vote to fire Newsom, 49 percent vote to keep him but that doesn't
matter. Then, on that list of 46, somebody could get 2 percent or 3 percent of the vote and end up being governor of the state, which, as you
mentioned, is the fifth largest economy on the planet.
So it's a big job. It's frankly a strange situation that we're in. But here we are -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. And it is a system that is -- that -- people outside the U.S. are finding this whole process fascinating and we'll be following
it on CNN. Thanks so much, Nick Watt.
Haiti's chief prosecutor is seeking charges against the country's prime minister in connection with the assassination of the president. The
prosecutor has asked a judge to charge Ariel Henry, alleging the prime minister received a phone call from one of the key suspects the day of the
He says he also has barred Henry from leaving the country. Patrick Oppmann has the latest.
Tell us more, Patrick.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course, you remember this just spectacular tale in July of teams of alleged Colombian mercenaries
going and assassinating Haiti's president, apparently not meeting any resistance, finding that he was somehow unguarded, killing him.
And then themselves being swooped up and arrested. And this tale just continues to grow and grow. And now it is entangling the man that Haiti's
assassinated president, Jovenel Moise, picked just days before his assassination to be his prime minister, Ariel Henry, a man who's a
political ally, part of his party.
And now accusations that he denies, that he somehow had a role in this killing, that he was in touch in the hours before the assassination with
one of the chief suspects in this killing, who is himself on the lam now.
So you have a prosecutor, who is asking that the prime minister, the head of this embattled country at the moment, be charged, face charges, that he
not, as you said, be able to leave the country.
Ariel Henry, in recent weeks, has denied having anything to do with the killing. He said he believes the mastermind of the assassination is at
large and he has nothing to do with it.
This is not a total surprise because you heard Jovenel Moise's widow say she believed there were people in Haiti's elite at her husband's funeral,
who were involved in the killing.
And this is something that reached high, high levels in the country of Haiti. So it is a shocking development. And like so often here, we just
have to see what happens next, because it just continues to astound people, how this killing was able to take place so easily.
GORANI: Right. Quite a saga. Just so much tragedy as well in Haiti, with yet another earthquake, so much going on there. Thanks very much for that,
You might want to listen up if you have an iPhone. Apple is rolling out the new iPhone 13 just after it issued an urgent software update for older
models, to address a critical spyware vulnerability.
GORANI: The new iPhones were unveiled with Apple's biggest product launch of the year. The phones have an improved display and camera and a bionic
chip. I don't know what that is.
Apple announced it had fixed the major flaw that allowed hackers to infiltrate the user's phone without the user having to click on any links.
That is scary. The vulnerability was discovered by independent researchers in Canada.
And PSA from me, you need to also update your watch if you have an Apple Watch because the same vulnerability happens to also be an issue on that
device as well. There's your tech advice from me.
Still to come tonight, the tennis world is still reeling from Emma Raducanu's big grand slam win. How the teenager is processing the victory
and what could lie in her future.
Plus some celebrities scored big at last night's Met Gala. Ahead, a special guest from New York joins me to recap the looks from fashion's biggest
night from New York but who happens to be in London right now. We'll be right back.
GORANI: The sports world is still celebrating and digesting one of the biggest underdog stories in tennis history. Emma Raducanu entered the U.S.
Open as a 450:1 outsider. But as we all know by now, the teenager pulled it off. Here's CNN's Alex Thomas with more on her meteoric rise.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Emma Raducanu's, U.S. Open tennis triumph, was such a surprise that she had booked flights home two
weeks earlier and even her parents couldn't get to New York in time to see their teenage daughter to lift one of the sport's most prestigious titles.
Now she's heading back across the Atlantic to Britain with a major trophy in her hands.
EMMA RADUCANU, U.S. OPEN WOMEN'S CHAMPION (voice-over): It still hasn't sunk in because, after the match I haven't had a moment to stop and embrace
what's just happened. I can't wait to enjoy and celebrate and, when I get back home, to see everyone at home.
It's been seven weeks away now. To go home, I'm just really excited to see my family and friends.
THOMAS (voice-over): Raducanu's dad was from Romania and her mom was raised in China. Emma was born in Canada and moved to the U.K. when she was
2. It's a global sporting success story, spanning three different continents that began in unremarkable fashion.
THOMAS (voice-over): This is Emma Raducanu's first school in the leafy southeast London suburbs. It's not especially sports academy for gifted
athletes, it's just a primary or elementary school run by the local authority. Emma was 5 when she first picked up a tennis racket and her
parents took her to a local club to see if she had a talent for the sport.
Her first coach remembers what marked her out from the others.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Her work rate, her commitment, she's always a very disciplined girl. I know it's crazy to say when she's 6 she's
disciplined and committed. But she made every training session. You never had to ask her to work hard. She listened really well.
Most things she did first time of asking. And if she didn't, she practiced and you could bet your bottom dollar that, the next time you did see her,
she could do whatever she couldn't do in the session before.
THOMAS (voice-over): Raducanu had to qualify just to get into the U.S. Open. She was a 450:1 outsider and ranked 150th in the world, yet won the
event without dropping a single set.
Judging from the raucous celebrations of the (INAUDIBLE) club, Raducanu is already inspiring youngsters, hoping to follow in her footsteps.
What do you like about (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): It's where she does really good shots and she (INAUDIBLE).
THOMAS (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) win a big tournament like that, does it inspire you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes.
THOMAS (voice-over): Would you like to do what Emma does?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes.
THOMAS (voice-over): Raducanu started the year as teenage student ranked 345th in the world, who never played in a grand slam tournament before. Now
she's the next big thing in women's tennis, with more than 1.6 million Instagram followers and the potential to earn tens of million of dollars a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Her upside in terms of the commercial sponsorship is tremendous. She comes from a big, big market domestically in
the U.K. That number is being thrown around, around 20 million pounds, around $30 million already in terms of what she might be able to amass.
She's with a big agency in IMG (ph). And when you think about her background, not only the U.K. but her mom was Chinese. She speaks Mandarin.
The upside in terms of that, marketing is huge for her.
THOMAS (voice-over): Raducanu has also had the royal seal of approval, with one of the first messages of congratulations coming from the queen,
who wrote, "It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age and is testament to your hard work and dedication." -- Alex Thomas, CNN.
GORANI: Amazing young lady. And Emma Raducanu also scored an invite to fashion's most exclusive night, the Met Gala in New York City.
Here she is, making her Met Gala debut last night in a black and white Chanel ensemble.
Joining me from New York is Richard Quest.
I thought you were still in London. I turn around and you're in a different country every time I talk to you. It's amazing that you have that kind of
energy. So first, let us talk -- I want to ask you a question.
What percentage of people on that red carpet would you be able to identify by name?
I streamed some of it live.
Would you -- I would say about 30 percent.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Whoopi Goldberg.
Yes, but that's one of them.
If you take 10 of the 10, how many would you be able to identify by name?
QUEST: Whoopi Goldberg.
GORANI: Well, here's the thing, celebrities these days -- we're --
GORANI: -- let's just say we're eligible for booster jabs. I'm not going to put a number on it. Celebrities are not the traditional. There are the
TikTok stars, the Instagram stars and they're not names I know. I have to Google half the people on the red carpet.
QUEST: All right. So we had -- obviously we had AOC, who was there with her famous dress, "tax the rich," making a whopping, great big political
There you are, tax the rich.
And then you have Kim Kardashian. Now I recognized her name. Of course I recognize Kardashian. I certainly wouldn't have recognized her. And indeed,
nobody did, because, if it hasn't been for the designer, whose name I can't pronounce -- which I think you could correct.
GORANI: Balenciaga; that I can help you pronounce.
QUEST: It doesn't do suits and pinstripes.
GORANI: No. They do not. They do many other fantastic things.
QUEST: They do and several dresses by Balenciaga was done. But memes of the Dementor, as she's being now known as a result of this particular
creation, have been -- have literally infested the social media ever since she walked down the red carpet.
The thing I loved about the --
GORANI: I was going to say, if you're going to wear a mask, why not make it a full body mask?
COVID looks at that and goes, forget it.
QUEST: The interesting thing about this year's Met Gala was the -- ah, there we go. Here we go.
GORANI: Naomi Osaka. Very interesting look.
QUEST: Yes, yes.
GORANI: J. Lo.
GORANI: Who I look at with admiration because she looks like she has an aging (INAUDIBLE) somewhere in her attic.
QUEST: But what about Lil Nas X, who changed costumes three times while on the red carpet?
I watched it. Frankly, we go from that to this, to a body-hugging suit, which you'll see in just a second. And it took so long to do it, they were
backing up on the red carpet, trying to get past him. But it doesn't matter because, when you are him, you can take as long as you like to get to where
GORANI: Yes, that's true.
Well, you don't have as many assistants helping you get into your suits and hair and make-up before your shows, do you?
QUEST: I just love it. I do. I really love it because, after COVID, this is so over the top, it is New York's glitterati, celebrating fashion, which
is a vast industry, as you and I know, but it's also nothing at the same time. I just adore it.
GORANI: And I like that AOC showed up with a message. Because had she shown up with just a pretty gown, it would have made no sense.
But Rihanna -- I love her. I love her. But she's --
QUEST: Turned up late.
GORANI: She's so austere.
QUEST: Turned up late. And partner was wearing something weird.
GORANI: ASAP Rocky.
QUEST: Yes. Wasn't quite sure what it was. They were 10 minutes late, by the way, after the carpet had closed. It was all a bit strange, the whole
thing was a bit weird.
GORANI: They were on Mediterranean time.
Oh, we've got to leave it there. I could talk fashion for hours.
QUEST: Quick little glimpse of suspenders for you. How's that?
GORANI: Thanks so -- that is beautiful. That is Met Gala worthy. I can't compete.
We'll see you in three minutes, Richard, on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
QUEST: You will.
GORANI: Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you next time.