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White House Says, Biden Supports Local Vaccine Mandates Across U.S.; New Book Details Trump Presidency Going Off Rails in Final Days. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 13, 2021 - 07:00   ET


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: His way back from being diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer last year.


Now, Alonso would end up beating Mancini by one in the final round and become the third player ever to win back-to-back derby titles.

Now, the Angels' two-way star Shohei Ohtani didn't get out of first round but he did six home runs more than 500 feet, which was a record. He's going to take the field in tonight's the all-star game as the American league's starting pitcher and lead off hit.

All right, New Day continues right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar on this New Day.

The U.S. surgeon general joins us in moments as the coronavirus variant spreads as do conspiracies about the vaccine.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: And the now former Tennessee official in charge of vaccinations says she's afraid for her state after she was fired for saying it's okay to vaccinate children.

BERMAN: Plus, the author of a new book about the final days of the Trump presidency joins me live. Why he says that Trump was crazier than he thought.

KEILAR: And Gloria and Emilio Estefan will join us live as the communist Cuban regime shuts down the internet and cracks down on unprecedented protests.

BERMAN: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States, and all around the world, it is Tuesday, July 13th.

The pandemic, it's not over. New cases rising 47 percent over the past week, the more transmissible delta variant is exploding, but not all communities are being affected equally. About a third of the nation's cases come out of five states, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Nevada. In all five states, the percentage of the population that is fully vaccinated is below the national average. In some cases, well below. Hospitalizations are ticking up again, nearing 20,000 for the first time in a month. An emergency medicine physician in Springfield, Missouri, told me yesterday that his sick COVID patients are all unvaccinated.


DR. HOWARD JARVIS, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN IN SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI: If they are sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, they are unvaccinated. That is the absolute common denominator amongst those patients.

I can see the regret on their face. We ask them because we want to know, you know, are you vaccinated. And it's very clear that a lot of them regret it.


KEILAR: Earlier this week, Dr. Fauci told CNN that he supports local vaccine mandates as does the White House, but the Biden administration opposes the idea of federal mandates on vaccines.

Let's bring in the surgeon general of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy. Doctor, thank you so much for being with us.

We know that federal officials meeting yesterday with Pfizer as Pfizer came out and talked about a booster certainly before the federal government said that's necessary. The federal government saying it's not at this point. But I wonder how far off are we from the federal government recommending a booster shot for vulnerable Americans, people like cancer patients or transplant patients who may have troubled immune systems. How far off are we from that?

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Well, Brianna, it's good to be with you this morning. What I'll tell you is we had a good conversation with Pfizer yesterday. It's always helpful to see additional data that companies have. But I want to make clear that the data from Pfizer is one part of a much larger puzzle, if you will, and we have to look the at data from multiple sources, laboratory data, clinical trial data, real world data from cohorts and look at that from not just companies but also from the United States, from other countries. All of that together will go into the decision about whether or not to recommend a booster.

I think it's possible a booster will be needed. But what we're looking for is clear evidence that immunity is waning and that that's consequential in terms of more breakthrough infections. If and when we see that, I can tell you that there will be recommendations made. And if boosters are required, we will have the supply to provide it to the public.

KEILAR: Will it be recommended for vulnerable Americans before Americans who are not vulnerable when it comes to their immune systems.

MURTHY: It's a great question, and that's certainly very possible. We know that there are some groups of people, people who are immunocompromised, and that's a broad group, so, in particular, people who may be on chemotherapy or may be on drugs that strongly suppress the immune system, where sometimes they do need, you know, some additional help with building immunity.

So, we are looking closely at that population to see whether or not a third dose of vaccine, in the case of the mRNA vaccines may be required. And, again, as soon as we see data that's compelling, that indicates it is, and we'll make that recommendation, but that very well could come as well.

KEILAR: When will you know?


MURTHY: So, we don't have a clear timeline yet because it's driven in part by the data. We are constantly looking at the data. And as soon as this signal pops that tells us that there's a decrease in immunity, and at that point, we'll go forth and make the recommendation. But it's hard to predict because it's driven by what the data tells us.

KEILAR: France right now has decided not to allow health staff to work if they are not vaccinated. We have heard anecdotal cases -- I will say these are anecdotal here in the U.S. of people saying that they did catch COVID from an unvaccinated health worker or an unvaccinated nursing home employee. We've heard that that has happened. Should the U.S. be following suit and not allowing unvaccinated health staff to work?

MURTHY: Well, Brianna, I can tell you this, having spent many of my years working in a hospital, we had mandates around vaccines, specifically the flu vaccine, that health care workers had to take that, you know, each year. That's part of how we protect patients from infection. Patients coming into hospitals are often vulnerable. And what you're seeing already is some hospitals include a COVID-19 vaccine in their requirements.

I think that's a very reasonable thing for hospitals to do. I think that health care workers have a responsibility to protect the patients that they're caring for, and getting vaccinated to make sure that you don't pick up infection and transmit it to your patients is one of those ways that you can help protect the people you're charged in caring for.

So, I think you will likely see more hospitals make that decision, but, again, that's a decision of the hospital, of the health care institution. That's traditionally how it's been in the United States, and I think that's what we're going to see in the months ahead.

KEILAR: Will we see a recommendation, do you think, Doctor, of people who are vaccinated needing to still get a COVID test if they have been exposed in light of this new delta variant?

MURTHY: So, Brianna, this too is a data-driven decision. It depends on what we see in terms of breakthrough. Right now, the data that we have assessed so far that the CDC has analyzed has led them to conclude that if you are, in fact, fully vaccinated, that means two weeks after your last dose, that your likelihood of becoming infected is actually quite low, which is why they made the recommendation that, you know, sort of exposure testing and quarantine is not required for people who are fully vaccinated.

But, again, we are constantly following the data, and if there is a case where we start to see more breakthrough infections, you know, in individuals who have been fully vaccinated because some amount of time has gone on by or based on other circumstances, then we'll change the recommendations accordingly. But, at this point, the CDC is continuing to keep its recommendations as is, which means that if you are fully vaccinated, that you do not need to be tested if you are exposed.

KEILAR: Right now, if you -- sorry, go on.

MURTHY: One clarification I should make here for everyone out there is that the CDC's guidance does very clearly say that if you have symptoms, regardless of your vaccination status, that you should get tested. And we know the systems of COVID-19 often mimic the symptoms of the flu or the cold initially. It can be a runny nose or fatigue or fever or other such symptoms. And so in those cases, it is important for people to get tested.

The reason I want to emphasize this, Brianna, is we have seen that many people are actually not getting tested around the country, even though they have symptoms. Many people are thinking, COVID is over, why do I really need to get tested. And this is particularly happening in areas, unfortunately, where the vaccination rates are low, which is exactly where we want to be testing more.

So I just want to encourage and remind people, if you have symptoms, please, please get tested regardless of your vaccination status.

KEILAR: This brings us to an interesting case study, I guess you could say. Bubba Watson, professional golfer, he can't play in the fourth and final major of the year. He's vaccinated but he was exposed to someone who had coronavirus. And now because of the strict rules in the U.K., he is being told he has to sit out. He does not have symptoms, to be clear. Is that necessary in your view?

MURTHY: Well, again, you know, every country is going to make their own determinations based on the data. The determination we have made here in the United States is that if you are fully vaccinated and exposed that you do not have to quarantine. That's a decision we made here in the U.S. I recognize the U.K. has its own agencies and make their own decisions. So, I won't comment on theirs. But I can tell you how we would operate here in the United States.

KEILAR: Right now, if you want to fly on an airplane, you have to wear a mask, right? That is the rule. But there's a bipartisan group of lawmakers who are asking the federal government if they can review the mask mandate. They're not asking to get rid of it, but what they're asking for is that, in light of where we are in the pandemic and in light of what we know about spread of COVID on planes, if this is something that should be looked at.


What do you think about that? Is that something that is going to be reviewed here in the near term?

MURTHY: I can tell you that the CDC is constantly reevaluating its guidance as new data emerges and that's how science should work, is that we shouldn't be static but we should change based on the evidence. If the evidence changes, we should change. So, the CDC will look at that. But the determination they have made to date is that masks are required in those settings.

And to be clear, what the science is telling us about people who are fully vaccinated is that their chances of both getting infected and transmitting infection are low. But there are some circumstances, again, people may choose to keep wearing their masks, if they are in settings where many people are, in fact, developing infection, or whether vaccination rates are low or if, based personal on their circumstances, they are immunocompromised, if they live at home with people unvaccinated, like I do, like my -- I have small kids who are not yet vaccinated.

KEILAR: You too?

MURTHY: So -- yes. So, people will make decisions in that case that they may want to keep wearing masks and that's perfectly fine.

What the CDC was saying in its guidance that was released about a month-and-half-ago about masks is that people now have a choice about what they do. They didn't say everyone should no longer wear masks or everyone absolutely has to keep wearing masks. They say if you're fully vaccinated, you now have a choice. Some people will choose to continue wearing masks, and that is okay.

KEILAR: Yes. I love my little kids, but I refer to them as my little vectors for a reason. Dr. Vivek Murthy, thank you so much, we really appreciate the updates on some very important topics here.

MURTHY: Of course. Thank you so much, Brianna. And about your kids and my kids, I should just say to all of those out there who have kids, one of the most important things we can do to protect our children who are not yet able to be vaccinated because they're under 12 is to get vaccinated ourselves. If we get vaccinated, we build a barrier against the virus, and that barrier protects our children.

So, again, do it for yourself, for your community, do it for the children, but get vaccinated as soon as you can.

KEILAR: All right. Mr. Surgeon General, thank you so much. John?

BERMAN: So, former President Trump has long insisted that the 2020 election was rigged. So rigged by whom, exactly?

Author Michael Wolff asked him that exact question. Here's a dramatic reading of how that conversation went at Mar-a-Lago not long ago, according to Wolff.

So, Wolff, so, who rigged it? Trump, a group of people within the Democratic Party working along with big tech and the media.

Wolff, some names? Trump, I can't give you names now. Names are going to be revealed. How about where the lock boxes show up days later, in other words, they're supposed to be picked up. They shouldn't even be there. That was done by Zuckerberg, but it was picked up and it comes days later and most of the votes in the boxes were for Biden, you know, in areas that were good areas.

Wolff, this is a big thing that happened. Somebody must have been coordinating this, no? Trump, it's a coordinated effort, and it's also cancel culture.

Joining me now is Michael Wolff, author of the new book, Landslide, the Final Days of the Trump Presidency. And, Michael, I wanted to start with that because at the very end of the book, you basically published a transcript of the conversation you had, long conversation you had with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, not long ago. And I wanted to read that because one, it's a very simple but important question, who rigged it, that he couldn't answer, and two, this entire discussion feels completely untethered from reality.

MICHAEL WOLFF, AUTHOR, LANDSLIDE, THE FINAL DAYS OF THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY: Completely. I mean, it's in the loop. You start to talk to him, and you go, whoa. And it's curious because when I went down to Mar-a-Lago to have this conversation, and I had spoken to people around the president before about what I should, and they were sort of feeling me out.

And I was asking them kind of how far I could go. And the clear message was if you challenge the president on this, he will end the conversation. So as a journalist, that puts you into a kind of weird thing. So, what am I going to do?

So, I thought, okay, I'll just go with it. Okay, the election was stolen. So tell me how. And he was entirely unable to do this, and he just sort of fell back on this weird math that he has. Someone told him there were these votes here, and on and on and on, and it escalates.

But what you'll find yourself in is the conversation with someone who has -- who lives in a separate reality. Nothing about what he says is subscribed to by anybody around him, is believed by anybody knows anything, is trusted by anyone who has literally spent time with him, his closest advisers.


BERMAN: Okay. And that's what's terrifying, perhaps, most of all, is he was surrounded in the White House, in the campaign, in a world of people who you say knew he was wrong, knew he was borderline crazy, yet did nothing about it. You write, quote, by the Friday after Election Day -- we're talking early on. By the Friday after Election Day, there was not a single White House aide or Trump campaign official or Trump pollster who believed that the vote count could be reasonably or effectively challenged. They knew it was nuts. WOLFF: But let me step back here because it's not that they didn't do anything. It's not that they were complicit in this. They literally stepped back. So they're not helping him in a way many of them in the White House, in the campaign, in the Republican Party are actively trying to put the brakes on this or undermine him. He is a man alone. His lawyers are saying, we're not going to do this. We're not going to fight these cases. His data people are saying this is -- we just don't have the data for this.

So he's a man from November -- within days of November 3rd, he is absolutely alone. And he is fighting this effort to overturn the election. This is where it really gets crazy, one of -- which would be one of the biggest legal efforts in history of American jurisprudence, it's just him and Rudy Giuliani, who is most of the time, frankly, drunk.

So, that's what's going on here. We're in the land not of a new despot, of a new -- you know, of American politics going in some horrible direction, we're in the land of absurdity.

BERMAN: Okay, and I want to get to Giuliani in depth in a second because he is the second central figure in this book, I think, beyond Donald Trump. But I just want to suggest, you say they're islands unto themselves, Giuliani and Trump, and other people were fighting them but it was behind the scenes, right? Any one of these people who were behind the scenes could have come out publicly.

Justin Riemer who the Washington Post today talks about an email where he calls Trump's effort a joke, you have this reporter in your book.

WOLFF: Let me just say that the Washington Post in this, they were lifted holy from my book, news thieves over there.

BERMAN: Let me just read out loud what you reported in your book. This is Justin Riemer who now says the Trump efforts were a joke. He said Rudy Giuliani was in a restaurant, right, near Riemer. The mayor sitting in the restaurant but in full battle mode with a few drinks in him damn well got Riemer himself on the phone, who the F do you think you are, how can you be going against the president? You need to resign, and resign tonight, because you're going to get fired.

WOLFF: And then he calls the head of the RNC to pursue this, and Riemer is not fired. Everybody goes, one of those things, okay, we'll just let this pass. And one of the interesting things about Riemer, and I think the Post made this a legal issue, and it actually was not for Riemer a legal issue. What he was saying to his colleagues in the RNC is this is a crazy thing for us to do. Why should we fight this election challenge? We should be fighting Democrats, not this cooky stuff.

BERMAN: All I'm saying is that Riemer and others, at any point, could have come up and said, I know this is a sham, I know this is a joke, publicly in addition to just the emails.

Let's transition to Giuliani here, because this is serious stuff that you write about and you're alleging here. You write of Rudy Giuliani that he was a pariah in some ways within Trump world. Staffers believed Giuliani was buzzed, nearly all of the time, that he had significant memory problems and lived in a vast world of data and technology disorganization, and indeed that he was one of the root causes of the Trump administration's failures.

WOLFF: Many more than one person very close to the president would say to me that this -- that it's on Rudy, the failures of this administration, the absurdities of this administration, Rudy was the toxic center.

Now, I don't necessarily -- I mean, I think it was Rudy plus the president. But, yes, it's these two men, both of them in their own way having departed reality, who are at the center of -- who have been at the center of this country for the last four years.


BERMAN: And you write of Giuliani, or you've mentioned of Giuliani in other places. What do you think it is that drives him? I have heard you say it's desperation.

WOLFF: Yes, I think to be at the center of attention, to be -- I mean, I think this is a man who can't stand the fact that he was pushed out, that he's, you know, a non-player over the Hill. He didn't become president. His career petered out. And because of this he was willing to do anything, willing to say anything.

I mean, the secret to getting along with Donald Trump, it's a very simple secret, merely to say what he wants you to say. If you do that, he embraces you. And even knowing better and Trump would go around saying Rudy is drunk, Rudy falls asleep, Rudy is -- you know, should be put out to pasture. But it doesn't make any difference because if Rudy was the only person, in many cases, he was, the only person saying what the president wanted to hear, he's back in, he's running the show.

BERMAN: In your opinion, in control of his faculties?

WOLFF: Rudy or the president, in my opinion, neither are in control of their faculties.

BERMAN: All right. Listen, stick around, Michael, because there's a lot more I want to ask you about election night itself, and also about what's going on in Mar-a-Lago right now.

WOLFF: Great.

BERMAN: All right. Don't go far, we'll be right back. Brianna?

KEILAR: The governor of Texas is threatening to arrest Democratic lawmakers after they fled the state in an effort to block new restrictive voting laws.



BERMAN: Back now with Michael Wolff, author of the new book, Landslide, the Final Days of the Trump Presidency.

We were talking about Rudy Giuliani and the role he played inside Trump world, almost as a pariah, in some cases, almost as a circus freak here.

WOLFF: Well, everybody is -- literally, everybody in the administration and in the family is trying to keep Rudy out.

BERMAN: You write, almost everybody left in the White House was fighting not to overturn the election but fighting the band of odd balls and irregulars that the president had enlisted to fight the election.

WOLFF: I mean, everybody knew that these were crazy people. Everybody knew that what was going on here was abnormal, and dangerous and on top of everything else, ludicrous.

BERMAN: All right. You also write extensively about election night itself. And there's a cross-journalism right now. There are people who point to the moment Arizona was called by Fox. Something flipped a switch with Trump. He was really upset when Arizona was called by Fox for Joe Biden.

You suggest that it was Rupert Murdoch who ultimately made the decision, the final decision to make that call. You write, Lachlan got his father on the phone to ask if he wanted to make the early call. His father with a signature grunt assented added, F him.

Now, Fox disputes this. They say the account is completely false. Arnon Mishkin, who leads the Fox News decision desk made the Arizona call on election night and Fox News Media President Jay Wallace was then called into the control room. Any other version of the story is wildly inaccurate.

WOLFF: They just lie. I am Rupert Murdoch's biographer. So, I have spent more time with Murdoch than any other journalist not in his employ. At this point in my life and career, I know what Rupert thinks before he thinks it. There's no question here. I don't suggest this, I know for a fact this is what happened.

There is no possibility that Rupert Murdoch on election night is not calling almost every shot. This is the day of all days for Rupert.

BERMAN: All right. Again, I did read the Fox statement so people know what Fox now says about it. You also say Bill Hemmer called the Trump campaign -- Fox Anchor Bill Hemmer -- to tell them that Fox was about to call Arizona for Biden and Hemmer says that never happened, it's completely untrue.

WOLFF: Right. And the person he called, Jason Miller, says, oh, yes, that happened, and there were many people around who heard it happen. So, there's no question here. I mean, they're just dissemblers and liars. BERMAN: All right. I want to talk about Mar-a-Lago today because you were there.

WOLFF: I was.

BERMAN: You went down there and you write, Trump is not just a former president living in a Florida country club, he's also the greeter and tumbler pressing the flesh with his customers. He and Melania dine every night at a Mar-a-Lago patio behind a red rope, rather like zoo animals.

WOLFF: Everybody is -- look, it's even -- even beyond it, as I thought about this, because everyone's clearly looking at them, but in a way, they're more like a bride and groom every night. They're the wedding party at the head table. They don't really talk to each other. They just spend all of dinner being greeted.

Trump is going on, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and he talks -- his conversation is interesting because it's not toward one person. It's like this conversation and then he can just move it, and it just keeps going. It's like a spread. And Melania is -- she's very gracious. Hello, hi, thank you so much, yes, yes. I mean, this goes on, and this goes on every night, this is what they do.

BERMAN: So, one of the former president's obsessions over the election and life seems to be how the Supreme Court wasn't there for him after the election. He seems to think that the justices that he nominated owed it to them, decide with him, particularly Brett Kavanaugh. He says he feels betrayed.


WOLFF: Absolutely. I mean, it is a very clear quid pro quo. He put them on the court, he defended.