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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  August 5, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PDT

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in december and she started the year in a wheelchair and won't end in one. >> so sorry to see that happen. but great to see her cross the finish line. thank you very much. quick programming note for us, the next brand-new episode of history of the sitcom air this is weekend. all about the working class sitcom. don't miss it. sunday night at 9:00 eastern on only cnn. very good thursday morning. i'm jim sciutto. this morning a warning from the nation's top infectious disease expert, doctor fauci, said if we don't get control over the delta variant, it is possible worse variants could be on the way. >> as long as the virus continues to spread, you give it ample opportunity to mutate. and when you give it ample
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opportunity to mutate, you may sooner or later get another variant. and it is possible that that variant might be in some respects worse than the already very difficult variant we're dealing with now. >> that is what the virus does. it changes as it goes from person-to-person. the best tool to stop the spread, of course, health experts agree, the data shows, get as many people as possible vaccinated and new data from moderna seems to back up that advice in a big way. they have announced that the covid-19 vaccine remains 93% effective after six months. however, the company also said that it is possible a third shot will be necessary before the coming winter months because of the steady rise in the delta variant infections. and moderna said the data collection for this report was completed before the delta variant emerged here in the u.s. we're watching for updates on new headlines. more from the white house and
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the covid 19 response team expecting to brief the press less than an hour from now. joining me to discuss dr. leana wen, former baltimore health commissioner. always good to have you back. i wonder when you look in this news from moderna, it does show something that we've been hoping for, right, that the vaccines lasts and the protection lasts but the delta variant is posing a challenge to that. how much of a challenge? >> well, we always thought that the possibility of a booster is there. and that is for two reasons. one is if the immunity waned over time and two if we have variants that may somehow evade the protection of the vaccines. it does look at this point that the vaccines do last. however, it is a bit unclear what the combination of the delta variant exactly how long and how well protected people are. people are protected well
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against severe illness, less so against symptomatic illness and i think it is time for the fda and cdc to allow individuals who are severely immunocompromised or those with chronic medical problems, to allow them the opportunity of getting the booster. that is not saying that everybody should get the booster but through may be a sub group that may consider getting the booster and allowing that opportunity for patients to make the decision with their physician, that is the right thing, that is the right move at this time. >> make clear to folks who are watching, i always want to take advantage of smart people like you, doctors, people who are getting deluged with information every day about this, some of the confusing. one data point has not changed is that the vaccine keeps people alive and out of the hospital. 99% of the folks who are getting hospitalize and died are unvaccinated. explain to folks how clear that is. >> that's the key statistics and that is what the vaccines were designed to do. to keep you from getting se
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severely ill. less than 1% of those dieing from krcoronavirus are the vaccinateds. the cdc said that the vaccine protects you 25 times from getting severely ill and eight times from contracted covid-19 so it protects you and other people around you as well. and i really think that there has been a lot of confusing messaging unfortunately, but the message still needs to be that vaccines are life saving and they protect other people around you and so if you have unvaccinated children, if you care about the community that you're in, getting vaccinated also protects them too. >> that is the thing. protect yourself and protect others. we have the advantage to some degree of having looked at how other populations and countries experience the delta variant. and there is something consistent maybe hopeful and i'm curious what you think, the u.k., holland and india, all of which faced big surges in infections due to the delta variant and then saw dropoffs.
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now even country is different. in vaccination rates, et cetera. but should americans look at that and say, hey, wait a second, there might be light at the end of the tunnel on the delta variant here or could you not reach that conclusion. >> i don't think we could say for certain what is going to happen. if anything that we've learned in the pandemic thus far, if you try to make a prediction, chances are you're going to be wrong. and i think it is certainly possible that we may get a reprieve from the delta variant as the other countries have. but i don't think that we could plan based on this hope. i think that we need to be doubling down at this point. agree with the cdc's recommendation for example for indoor masking not because of the vaccinated are the issue, but because we have so many people in this country who are unvaccinated and indoor mask mandates help to protect the unvaccinated. >> but do you have any idea why those countries saw that
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dropoff? >> well, part it may be that for scam the u.k., they have a higher rate of vaccination. india started imposing restrictions so it may be a combination of factors but here in the u.s., i don't know that we know that the vaccinations that we have, the vaccination rate that we have is enough to stem the surge of delta. >> dr. leana wen, thank you so much. i should note she has a new book out called life lines. certainly relevant with all we've been going through this last year. thank you. celebrations of the milwaukee buck's turned into superspreader events. milwaukee health officials say that nearly 500 coronavirus infections have been linked to events that brought more than 100,000 people cross together. there are the pictures outside of the bucks home rina known as the deer district. omar jimenez joins me now live. this is been a consistent
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experience throughout the pandemic, right, that superspreader events are often one of the biggest sources of new infections. >> reporter: well when you see crowds of people german like that, even in celebration around the milwaukee bucks who played a great season, obviously, you did have those concerns. looking at people and seeing how close together they were. and then you get this report coming out of the wisconsin department of health services nearly 500 cases or probable ones linked to people who either attended the bucks' game or were celebrating in that deer district. now important to note, while these are all people who have in common, having attended this in the past in light of their diagnosis, the department of health services say they can't quite pinpoint definitively that that is where they got covid-19 since there could have been many points of contraction. however when they go through the questions in the contact tracing process, they ask if you have
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attended a large gathering and that is something 491 people had in common having attended over the past month. when you look at the number of people that came through, it was tens of thousands, up to 100,000 over the course of this all this in celebration and cheering, yelling, doing everything you would do as part of a basketball celebration. but this is a serious situation that people here in wisconsin are taking seriously and why they've now instituted like the cdc have recommended, the new mask guidelines in indoor settings. >> all of the things that set it. omar jimenez, thank you very much. republican governors in florida and texas are holding firm sticking by their orders banning local mask mandates, in effect mandating no mandates. florida governor ron desantis said his office is finalizing rules this week that would not ban masks in school, instead
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they would give parents the right to opt out. it comes as florida reported the most new covid 19 cases in the entire nation last week. the state's covid-19 hospitalizations, that is cases of severe illness, breaking pandemic records. highest they've seen in the entire pandemic. joining me now to discuss is kevin cho tipton, a nurse practitioner in miami. so good to have you on. it is said that nurses and nurse practitioners experience all of the kind of things the most. you're dealing with patients every day, multiple times a day i would like you to show us what it looks like where you are, to give folks who are watching a vision and you've provide us some photos that help us do that. here is the first one. it is one of the paramedics at your hospital. and i wonder if you could describe what this shows. >> yeah, this is actually a picture of one of or paramedics who was the spouse of one of our nurses who ended up passing away
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from covid-19 after contracting it from taking care of parents. he's one of 165 people that i've taken care in in the last 18 months that have passed away. right now this hospital systems that about 1600 patients in a capacity for usually only about 1,400 and there is right now about 65 people suffering from the virus and those numbers are representing families at home worried about them and i think that is the human side of what we see. >> no question. there is another one, with a room with your sickest patients and you know that all of them are unvaccinated. >> yes. out of the 65 patients in icus, and this is shown across the state by the florida hospital association numbers, about 95% of all patients in hospitals in florida, which is about 12,000 right now, are unvaccinated. and almost universally everyone in icu are unvaccinated. >> yeah. one thing speaking to you in
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advance, that stood out to me, only about half of your staff is vaccinated. that is remarkable to me given the increased risk of course of infection that staff, hospital staff have dealing with infected patients. why? why do you find that many of your colleagues are not protecting themselves in this way? >> you know, there is a lot of fear around the vaccines. the politicization and the hysteria on the social media and the misinformation campaigns that are being fought by the surgeon general and his team are rampant everywhere and people are falling for it. even those who have seen so much death and heartbreak. and as really been unable to combat it personally and professionally. >> that is amazing to me given that you and your colleagues, you see what it does, right. i mean, you see what this infection does. it is not some distant
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description of it, some theoretical thing. what breaks through? i mean we've read a lot of accounts of people who when they do get sick, their saying publicly i wish i got vaccinated. are you finding that folks see this new surge and say, wait a second, i have to do something? >> actually, yes, right now just lost several people, about 50% of our patients are under 55. many of them are working parents with toddlers and teenagers to care for them at home and the stories that we hear from their families of regret and fear if they're going to see their mom and dad again are devastating to have. and they have been on a daily base and the nurses and physician and respiratory therapists are listening and realizing it is time to get vaccinated and protect ourselves because we need to be there for our kid and on the other side we're having parents lose children. 50 and 60-year-olds that are losing 30 and 40-year-old adults
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kids and it is a lot and it forced people to re-evaluate where they stand on vaccination. >> what do you say to politicians who have turned public health issues like wearing a mask, which we know helps -- it is not 100% but it does help stop the spread or make it harder. what do you say to folks who made these political questions as opposed to public health questions, for someone like you who is seeing the consequences every day. >> it is painful. it is painful to watch people use something as simple as a mask for political benefit. and it is -- it hurts because all of the numbers that we see on tv and we see on paper, represent a person. one family that is home worrying about their loved one if they're going to come home and it seems so cruel to disable local communities to protect themselves in the best way they know and that is with mask use and physical distancing and to say no that we can't do this is
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really troubling. >> kevin shull tipton, thank you so much for what you're doing. we wish you the best of luck. i know you have a lot of tough day as head of you. >> thank you. coming up, an intelligence investigation into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. the treasure trove of genetic data they have found in wuhan, china. just ahead. plus the biden administration now weighing in on the battle over former president trump's tax returns. of course he's been fighting for years to keep you from seeing them. why the administration said the documents should be turned over promptly but not released just yet. at least four district attorneys now requesting information from the new york investigation into sexual harassment allegations against governor andrew cuomo as lawmakers threaten to impeach him if he does not resign.
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tried. tested. never bested. shop at this just into cnn, lawyers for the biden administration have now weighed in on the potential release of former trump's tax returns. telling a federal judge that the returns should be turned over promptly to the appropriate congressional committee but also agreeing the legal battle must play out in court. kara scannell joins me now from new york. this is been going on for a few years. all presidents and candidates since nixon have voluntarily released their tax returns, how
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long does this particular fight drag out in court. >> it is up to the judge. the biden administration in this new filing saying that they think that these returns should be turned over to the house ways and means committee promptly but they will forebear doing that and agree to an expedited briefing schedule which could have oral arguments on this matter by the end of september. but donald trump's personal attorneys arguing that the president needs discovery and he needs to understand why the treasury department and justice department have changed their views on why his returns should be returned over to the house committee. they're proposing a schedule and they want discovery that could be the 60 days from now with more briefings after that. so they're proposing a much further timetable. ultimately this is up to the judge. this case as you say has been playing out for two years but ultimately he will decide how quick this briefing schedule will be made, if it is the 60 days the treasury department is proposing or even longer as the trump administration is proposing but that will fall in
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his hands. jim. >> kara scannell, maybe we'll see them. thank you very much. well cnn has learned that a former top doj official was set to resign over trump's addressive pushing of the big lie if then president trump would have fired his acing attorney general at the time, jeffrey rosen, for fending off what the officials said were direct instructions from the justice department to push the lies. president pushing the justice department to push false election claims. a draft of the resignation letter was included in a trove of doj documents turned over to the congressional committee's investigating the capitol insurrection which was fueled by the big lie. lawmakers have obtained a separate letter now published by abc news proving that one top doj official was willing to get on board with the big lie. willing to push it himself. falsely claiming that the department had identified, quote, significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states
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including the state of georgia. remember, bill barr, the president's quite loyal attorney general, rejected that claim very publicly. whitney wild joins me now from washington. you look at this, i know folks at home have heard about this for years, weeks, months, so it might seem like just another thing. but it is quite a direct effort and someone in the justice department was willing to pursue it. >> that is right. there was this man, jeffly clark who willing to take this all the way and it was in the vacuum of bill barr. who was gone at the time. so there was a power vaccine and people saw the opportunity to try to take the false claims to the finish line. fortunately for democracy colleagues shut these false claims down. but let me take you inside doj on december 28th, five days after bill barr had left, this is the acting head of the civil division jeffrey clark sending
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around a letter internally at doj urging officials in georgia to convene a special session of the state's legislature to evaluate quote irregularities that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states including georgia. here is what letter said. i think we should get it out as soon as possible. personally i see no valid down side to sending out that letter. i put it together quickly and i want to do a formal site check before sending but i don't think we should let unmess moss grow on this. and bill barr had already shut this down and said that did not happen. and colleagues at doj saying there is no chance they'll get on board with this. one of them writing there was no chance he would sign this draft letter or anything remotely like this adding from where i stand, this is not even in the realm of possibility, jim. >> so we know that house investigators interviewed the former justice department
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official who drost -- who drafted a letter of resignation over trump's direct instructions, that is a quote, to use the department to support his false election claims. he didn't tender that resignation letter in the end. why? >> well simply because his boss acting attorney jeffrey rosen was not dismissed. so let me take you inside of the doj and the white house and in these very important days leading up to the riot. it was january 3rd, there was this apre -- apprentice style meeting within the white house because clark was trying to boot jeffrey rosen from doj saying he won't get the job done but i could. he wanted to advocate himself to the president that he could take the election clause forward. so they have this apprentice style within the house and cooler heads prevail because in the end trump did not dismiss jeffrey rosen but this
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resignation letter, it points out there was this theory, real fear within the justice department that jeffrey rosen would leave and clark would start commanding the justice department and use the powers of the top level of law enforcement to perpetuate the election fraud and undermine and eventually over turn the election. it is extraordinary days leading up to the riot, jim. >> goodness. remarkable. a thin line between saving the election or successfully over turned it. thank you so much. lawmakers tell cnn they have the votes to impeach governor andrew cuomo if he refused to resign. >> that news comes as multiple district attorneys taking another path here, looking into possible criminal charges over the sexual harassment claims against him. we'll bring you an update next.
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this just into cnn, the new york state assembly said it's impeachment investigation is nearly complete and it is now inviting the embattled governor andrew cuomo to submit any evidence to counter the state attorney general's report on the sexual harassment allegations against him. this comes as a majority of new york assembly members tell cnn they are already prepared to vote to impeach the governor if
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he refuses to resign. that is the first step and then there is a trial in the senate, much likely to see in the u.s. congress. polo sandoval has more. so tell us where we stand on this process. if the impeachment investigation is complete, they're reaching out for a defense, and that shows you how quickly this process is moving. >> reporter: and that is important of this reporting. jim, it gives us a time line when it comes to the impeachment investigation ongoing regarding the new york state assembly looking into the allegations against governor cuomo. with a source close to the investigation it seems that the attorneys for governor cuomo were presented with a letter informing them that their probe which started in early march was, quote, near completion. this letter also going on to advise governor cuomo that now is the time to present any kind of evidence that would support his defense against these mounting allegations against the
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governor and that he would have presumably until or we expect that he would have until next friday to present any kind of evidence that this committee should consider before then formally presenting the new york state assembly with their findings here. so that is telling here. but governor cuomo, remaining define. rejecting the calling for him to step down as the support crumbles around him and the legal fallout that we've seen here with at least four local prosecutors requesting the evidence that was actually compiled as part of the attorney general's investigation as they potentially consider criminal charges here. what we know based on the new reporting from our colleague, suggesting that we could potentially hear or see some evidence presented by governor cuomo in his defense as he continues to deny these allegations and he has about eight days to produce that evidence. >> polo sandoval, thank you for updating us on it.
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so let's take a few moments and look at the evidence and how this unfolded. it all begins in december 2020. lindsey boylan first accused the government of sexual harassment and unwanted kissing. at the time the governor denied it. moving up. february 24th, boylan expands on the allegations in a blog. describing how cuomo asked her if she wanted to play strip poker and claimed he kissed her on the the lips without warning at work. three days later another woman came forward. former adviser charlotte bennett alleges to the new york times that the governor inundated her with questions about her personal sex life on february 28th, facing political pressure the governor then asked new york attorney general letitia jams to create a council to investigate the claims against him. on march 1st there was a third
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accuser, this one anna rock. the woman who had never worked for cuomo shared this photo with the times and claimed that he asked if he could kiss her at a wedding reception in 2019. later that same day the a.g. announced the independent investigation. and the governor immediately went on defense. >> i now understand that i acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. it was unintentional and i truly and deeply apologize for it. i ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general's report before forming an opinion. >> on march 6th, as that investigation continued, to more former cuomo staffers came forward with allegations of
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inappropriate sexual conduct. karen hinton told "the washington post" that the governor summoned her to a hotel room while anna list told the "wall street journal" that he inappropriately touched her at a reception. >> andrew cuomo is the master of the art of this kind of behavior. and it's something that shows his pattern of behavior over time. >> on march 12th, former reporter jessica bakeman accused cuomo of putting his hands on her back and waist, refusing to let go while posing for a photo at a 2014 hold party. next, march 19th, an eighth accuser, this one a current cuomo aid. melissa mcgraph saying that he made suggestive comments and call her beautiful italian. that then brings us to tuesday. after a four month investigation, a new report by the new york attorney general found that the governor sexually
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harassed allegedly 11 women including a state trooper assigned to his security detail as well as an unnamed former aide who said that cuomo groped her at the executive mansion. the governor continues to deny the errors and also said that he will not resign. now at least four district attorneys offices in new york are requesting additional material from the state's report among them the manhattan d.a. office which is asking for evidence to quote, probably investigate these potential sex crimes. joining me now to discuss deanna paul and a former new york city prosecutor. great to of you on. your experience reporting on this story and also as a prosecutor yourself and you've been covering this from the beginning. tell us about the potential criminal investigations here said setting aside the political ones, the potential impeachment because the bar is quite high, the legal bar is quite high to prove crimes were committed.
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explain what that is and what happens next here. >> thank you so much for having me. and yes, at this point there are four district attorneys offices that have requested evidence from the attorney general's office and a fifth d.a. office that is reviewing the allegations made in the report. so the manhattan d.a. and the westchester d.a. and the nassau county and albany. and a criminal case you have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt and so they're at this point going to likely call in the complainants, and review the evident themselves and conduct their their own independent investigation. >> you could give us a sense about time line here, right. and the mean the manhattan d.a. for instance said it is asking for evidence of course, it has multiple investigations underway into other things but that is the nature of the way d.a.
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offices work. what would the potential crimes be and over what time frame might we see them? >> so i can't tell you what the time frame will be but i could tell you that the letter that came from the manhattan district attorney's office talked about incidents involving two different women. so a state trooper where the governor is -- something happened at his office in manhattan. and then there was a second incident where a state employee where he grabbed her buttocks two times. so those are the two things that the manhattan d.a. office is looking into. the state trooper is actually the subject of what the nassau county and westchester are also looking into. so she seemed to be the focus of a number of d.a. offices at this point. >> explain the physical touching here, right, as part of this. because that seems to be, that case for instance, the one in the elevator and the state trooper involved physical
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touching. explain the importance of that in potentially proving criminal activity, criminal behavior. >> i mean, the crimes that could be charged could be forcible touching. i mean they would involve physical touches. and so in nassau county, the incident that the d.a. is looking into is where the governor is said to have put his hand on the the state trooper's stomach and ran it across to her hip where she had her gun holstered. and so i'm sure that the d.a. office will probably look into the corroborating evident and i know the report had a number of text messages and they spoke to 179 different witnesses and reviewed 74,000 pieces of evidence. so i'm sure the d.a. office will also be looking into all of that. >> final question here because there is also a civil line of investigation, right. so there is one lawsuit so far issued here. what is the potential outcome of those? that is basically a financial penalty path.
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is it not? if you could prove financial damages. >> so civil suits, there are financial damages. lindsey boylan yesterday released a statement that she planned to sue for retaliation. and so the report actually found that the governor and his senior officials had retaliated against her after she came forward with claims of sexual harassment. by trying to discredit her and disparage her. there is also possible civil liability for a hostile work environment created for the other complainants. so time will tell. we'll see what, if any, of the civil suits are. >> understood. i know there is a lot still to be resolved here. deanna paul, thanks for helping us walk through where it stands rielg now. >> thank you for having me. coming up next this hour, cnn is learning of a treasure trove of genetic data that u.s. intelligence found in a lab in wuhan, china. could this lead to establishing the origin of covid-19. we'll have a loive report comin
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we have exclusive cnn reporting on efforts to uncover the origins of covid-19. right now u.s. intelligence agencies are digging through a treasure trove of genetic data that could be key in finding the answer. the catalogue of information contains genetic blue prints drawn from virus samples studied at that lab in wuhan, china, questions about origins there.
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cnn katie bow williams joining me now. tell me how big this trove of data is and what they're hoping to find in there. >> this is a big pile of information. and what intelligence officials are looking for is they are looking for, as you said, genetic blueprint of a virus sample that is closely related to sars-cov-2 with the hope to piece together some clues about how the virus evolved into the variants that we know today. this is tough. this is a little bit like finding a needle in a haystack. and some of the scientists that we spoke to said, look, we're a little skeptical that there are any virus samples that this lab in wuhan was working on that we researchers who work on this kind of stuff all the time weren't already aware of. and to make things even tougher, even if the intelligence community is able to sort of identify a sort of kissing cousin to sars cov 2, they need
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other information to be able to reach a high confidence judgment about whether or not this was something that leaked from a lab or whether this was something that developed naturally. >> right. the wet market explanation for this. where does that investigation stand? because we've heard back and forth that some believe one theory is more likely than the other. are we any closer. >> at this point the intelligence community is split into the two prevailing theories. and some of the investigation takes time. so with this big tranche of data that national labs are digging into, you have two big problems here that makes this sort of such a big lift. one of them is there is so much data here, it takes an enormous amount of computing power to process all of that. the other one is you have to have specialized linguists who are scientists who are able to
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interpret all of this. this is a big lift. >> thank you very much. >> thanks so much, jim. ahead, the olympic sprint fresh belarus is now happy and safe in poland after she said that the officials tried to force her to return to her home country. questions about what she would face there. so look at this. a prison camp where dissidents are being held. maybe she would have ended up there as well. we have exclusive cnn reporting. e where we've got the best deals on refrigerators, microwaves, gas ranges and grills. and if you're looking for... (vo) at t-mobile for business, unconventional thinking means we see things differently, so you can focus on what matters most. whether it's ensuring food arrives as fresh as when it departs. being first on the scene, when every second counts. or teaching biology without a lab. we are the leader in 5g. #1 in customer satisfaction. and a partner who includes 5g in every plan,
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bella russian olympic sprinter saying during a news conference today that she feels happy and safe now that she is in poland. she hopes she and her husband will be able to remain there. she defected after she said officials tried to force her to return home after she had criticized her coaches, the government has cracked down on so many dissidents in recent days and nick paton walsh is following those images inside of belarus of what would be a camp for these people. >> many people i think listening to the plight wondered how bad it is gotten inside of belarus to make her fear in the moment at the airport being forced home. we've seen images of what looks
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to be a prison camp outside of minsk and you could see some in of the images, the barbed wear on the outside and security cameras. inside that you could see an individual in military fatigues. the people who filmed this were told to move away by a military patrol. a lot of refurbishmentond reflected screens and bars on windows, a collective body of evidence that many ask what else could this be for given the current repressent climate. and after the last heavy crackdown last august where some people were put in a similar style camp for a brief number of days and leaked recordings of police officials talking about how they might need to build camps like this. so the official i spoke to said it was, quote, possible, that this had been built for that purpose. so a lot of concern i think at the pictures.
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questions as to exactly why this might be needed given the repression so intense that demonstrations rarely happen. a new election further on in the next months ahead over a constitutional referendum. so how much worse they are preparing for inside of the country. we got no comment out of the belarusian government. but the repression is startling to hear in the country and the increase emboldenment of lukashenko government acting in places like the olympics, now, jim. >> so much thousands of dissidents arrested. thank you so much for covering it. and thanks for joining us today. i'm jim sciutto. "at this hour" with kate bolduan will start right after a short break. velveeta shells & cheese versus the other guys. ♪ clearly, velveeta melts creamier.
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show me the olympics. [ "bugler's dream" playing ] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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hello, everyone, i'm kate bolduan. here is what we're watching "at this hour." a forever pandemic. a month ago we were close to independence from the pandemic. today we are close to 100,000 new daily cases of covid. the latest on the crisis and hot spot states and answering your games. impeachment or resignation for new york governor seems to be more of a matter of when not if. the second in command is preparing to take over. and there is no replacing alex trebek but after weeks of tryouts jeopardy has picked a new host, someone that probably knows the show better than anyone. let's begin with the reality that the numbers can be overwhelming. numbing really. numbing to the point of no


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